Friday, May 25, 2012

Vogue 1179 - Probably the easiest dress in the world!

Ok, how awesome is this dress! I opened the pattern envelope and pulled the uncut pattern out at 7.30pm yesterday - by 11.00pm, I was completely done sewing this dress. And I'm a distracted sewist - in between, I watched bits of TV, played with Biscuit, checked email, blah, blah.

3 pattern pieces. Very little fitting required. Nice and roomy, but yet not 'when are you due?'. I love this dress.

- I bought the fabric on my recent trip to New York Easter weekend. I was originally thinking a wrap dress, but that would have been more complicated fitting, and I wasn't in the mood for that. It is some kind of synthetic knit - $4 a yard, I think. (I think I bought it at Chic Fabrics, on W38? 39?)

- I didn't pay attention to fabric placement on the back, otherwise, I'd have centered the print. Meh.

- Yes, I realize this is not on my May sewing list. Bad Reethi.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I made PJs!

Ok, the excitement of the title is probably unwarranted.

But, after the intensity of the jacket, I needed a bit of a palette cleansing project, if you will. Uncomplicated sewing was in order.

Of course, I could have just pulled out anything and started sewing, but since I had a list, I pulled it out, and looked, and the PJs got made.

The fabric is one of the oldest in my stash, it dates back to the days I lived in Michigan. I didn't really even sew garments then, and I'm pretty sure I didn't have a project in mind when I bought it. However, it really is *perfect* for PJs, no?

The pattern is the same as before, New Look 6523. 2 pattern pieces, easy-peasy. 2 hours of work and I was done.

While I'm pretty happy with the PJs, I'm not sure about the palette-cleansing bit. I had the entire weekend to sew, dear Readers, and I regret to say that I didn't sew at all. Instead, I cooked, read a book, and did nothing. I seldom give myself permission to do nothing, and it felt weird. Long weekend's now over, and I feel a teensy-bit irresponsible, which is totally ridiculous, of course. Enough, I say!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sewing pattern review - Simplicity 2443 Jacket

I'm too much of a beer snob to drink Blue - it's a friend's cooler. 

While I've had Simplicity 2443 in my pattern collection for a while, the Best Of pattern contest really made me pull it out and get to work on it.

Here's some stream-of-consciousness-thoughts:

- I cut a size 10 shoulders, sleeves, and graded to a 12 at the waist.

- For a change, since this is a project that's above my typical skill level, I read the instructions, and followed along. The instructions were in general, quite good. If I make this jacket again, I'd only deviate from the instructions for the pockets - I'd cut a template out of cardboard, and steam my fabric around the template, to get even pockets. (Mine are reasonably wonky. It's all part of the charm.)
Close up of front
Close up of front
- And the plackets. The instructions there were really, really indecipherable. After trying the Simplicity method and failing horribly (hello, seam ripper!) I used this method described by Gigi instead. My fabric was a bit thick for this, and had I not been in a hurry, I'd have tried a third way, but it works, and the jacket's done, and that's what's important.
Placket close up

Placket close up
- Inside seam finishes - I kept it simple, and just serged exposed seams. Works fine!

- The fabric is from the stash, a gift from my aunt. It's kind of linen looking, but it is thicker, and more upholstery weight. It is perfect for an unlined jacket, thick enough to provide warmth.

- I'd neglected to take my fabric along when buying ribbon - so my ribbon was white, while my fabric was cream. Aargh. I'd a moment of sheer angst, and then, I remembered that I could tea-dye it. One cup of strong tea later, the ribbons match great.
- I really, really need top-stitching practice. The pockets? Not the best sewing in the world.

- I love the sleeve length, and the d-rings and cuffs add a trace of fancy without too much extra work.

- This is a pretty complicated project for me. The contest deadline kept me going (just in time, eeks!), but if it weren't for the contest, I'd have been tempted to stop lots of times. I'm glad I stuck to it though, this is a great jacket in a neutral basic, and I'll get lots of use out of it.

In conclusion: One off the list for May, woo hoo, and I just realized, this jacket is cream, and works for the 6-PAC as well. I love when that happens.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A quick, slightly bad photo of my new jacket

I'll update tomorrow with better photos, and a sewing description....

Monday, May 14, 2012

I love outsourcing!

Outsourcing my quilting, I mean.

Once again, I sent off a quilt top to be quilted, and lo-and-behold, like magic, it came back all done.

At the time, I was a little meh about the quilt top, but wow, it looks amazing! I'm pleased as punch.

I still need to bind it, of course, but binding a quilt is relatively easy. I foresee only a few months of procrastination.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sewing plans for May

I'm one of those people that love to plan - lists are my favorite things! (Executing these plans - that's a different matter entirely.)

Anyhoo, there's a couple things I'd like to participate in the next few months, plus a vacation I'd like to sew for, etc. Plans seemed to be a good thing...

Here's the list:

1. PatternReview Contest - BestPatterns contest. I'm planning on sewing Simplicity 2443 - the very cool Cynthia Rowley jacket, in a cream/beige solid. (Fabric from stash, a gift from my aunt. Thanks, Chandrama!)

Best of Patterns 

The deadline: May 15. (Umm, get going, Reethi.)

2. PatternReview Contest - One Yard Challenge. During PR Weekend in Montreal (way back in 2009, I believe, gulp!), I bought this gorgeous green fabric with bright pink flowers on it, expressly to make a simple skirt. The fabric was $17 a yard, and I therefore only bought a yard. I'm going to sew it on the cross-grain. I'm searching for the perfect pattern for this - I'd like a minimum of seams, so as to not break the pattern up.

 The One Yard Challenge

The deadline: Also May 15. (I guess I know exactly what I'm doing this weekend.)

3. The 2012 Summer 6PAC Seasonal Collection Sew-Along is intriguing. I'm going to use whites and beiges as my two basic colours, I think. Related to this, I'll be sewing...

4. I've told myself the only way I can buy a June Burda Style magazine is to sew one thing from the May issue, and one from the April issue. For May, I want to sew pattern 127 - it's a jacket, in a white eyelet (possibly underlined to give it a bit of structure.)

5. And from the April issue, the cool sailor pants. (I can't be bothered to navigate the increasingly piss-poor Burda web pages. Burda's one of the few companies whose web presence seems to get worse over time, not better. Its rather staggering in it's complete lack of functionality.) The sailor pants - I'm thinking in a white linen-looking fabric.

6. If I magically find spare time after all of this, I'd like to sew a cream cardigan and a cream inner shell. My fabric is wool, which might be a bit warm for May, but (a) Toronto weather is unpredictable, (b) my store-bought cardigans are crying to be replaced and (c) I need to use the stash!.

4, 5 and 6 will work with the constraints of the 6PAC sew along. 

7. Also, if I magically find time, another pair of PJs. I've been living in the pair I made for the PJ Party, I love it to death, and making another one sounds lovely!

Ahem. Well, I'm certainly ambitious, right? 8 items, 20 days? Sweet, crazy Reethi.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

SWAP 2012 - All Done!

Of course, I finished sewing by the end of April, but I made my mom take all my photos yesterday. She did a great job! I sent off my email with all my pictures, and now I'm done!

My SWAP was really a rather meandering path - I had ambitious plans to make a raincoat, a suit jacket, and other such items. I did have to downgrade the ambition, but I kept consistent with my overall goal, to make wardrobe basics that would match well with many other items in my wardrobe, and wouldn't end up as orphans. I made 2 t-shirts and 2 blouses - I'd determined at the start of the year that I was quite short of tops. I also made 2 pants (another key wardrobe need), and 2 dresses. For the remainder 3 pieces, I made 1 button-down shirt, 1 jacket (my hoodie), and used a black cardigan (overshirt) as my  pre-made piece (it was made sometime last spring.)

In general, I find it pretty difficult to stick with a sewing plan, and this was no exception. But, I've done a wardrobe once before - almost 4 years ago, when I first started to sew, and there are pieces from that effort that still exist in my wardrobe. I know - painful though it is when I want to sew a summery dress - basics are what I need - pretty counts, but having something to wear is key. Especially in my life - I work for a large corporation - vintage inspired dresses aren't going to cut it at work.

And now the pictures! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Me-Made-May '12 - the first week

A week of Me-Made-May, and I only took one sucky (by my admittedly low standard) picture. Go me!

Day 1 (Tuesday): Big work meeting, so I dressed "corporately". (I need to start making jackets, sheesh. Cardigans aren't really corporate enough for meeting the super higher-ups.) In the evening, I traded the pumps for black boots, added my hoodie for extra warmth, and headed to play trivia with friends. (A standing Tuesday night tradition.)

The dress is BWOF 09-2010-122. The cardigan is McCalls 5890.

Day 2 (Wednesday): Just a regular work day - I still need to be business-casual, but felt ok about adding colour. To work, I wore the blue shirt and the grey pants. In the evening, I was going to scope out a neighborhood I'm thinking of moving to, so I grabbed my hoodie and a scarf for warmth, and headed out. 

I"m wearing my Blue BWOF 09-2007-101 t-shirtgrey pants (copied from an RTW pair), my McCalls 4261 hoodie, and am carrying this scarf (it's hard to see in the picture though, but it's in my hand.) 

Day 3 (Thursday): Another work day, this time though, I think I was super-casual. (Bad Reethi.) I didn't really go out in the evening - my parents came over bringing birthday cake, I was already in my pjs, and so, I cut birthday cake in pjs. Which is pretty sweet, really. (Elastic is especially useful if you are eating massive amounts of cake.) 

Day 4 (Friday): I woke up at 3.00am to catch a 6.30am flight to Florida - a really good friend was getting married in Tampa. On the plane, I was wearing my Day 7 outfit and my hoodie. Once I got there though, there was a pre-wedding dinner, and I changed into a Butterick 4443 dress for that.

Day 5 (Saturday): Ok, this is my low-effort photo. There were meals with friends, there was catching up to do, and in the middle of all that, a photo for Me-Made-May just didn't really seem that important. I took this photo of a Simplicity 3503 dress in my hotel room right before I was going to shower and change into this McCalls 4444 dress for the wedding.

Day 6 (Sunday): Brunches, beaches, breweries, and the new Avenger movie. This was a good day. I made up for yesterday's photo by actually asking a friend to take my photo - on the beach. I didn't really want to leave. I'm wearing the dress I made for this year's birthday - Vogue 8667.

Day 7 (Monday): Reality intruded - mini-vacation over, I flew back to Toronto. Anything I wear on a plane is always chosen for comfort - this outfit included. (I've still resisted wearing PJs in public - but if there's ever a public place I'd want to wear pjs - it'd be a plane.)

I'm wearing my BWOF 06-2011-114 pants and an old Simplicity 2938 flowered shirt.

And that was my first week of Me-Made-May '12. How was yours?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Random mumblings

- It was the last day of the SWAP yesterday. I think I've made enough pieces to function as a cohesive whole. I was going to take photos last night, but was at work late (ugh!), and so I've earmarked some time this evening to take photos.

- I'm pretty excited to be done with the SWAP. We'll see how many pieces actually get used all the time, but I'm optimistic. I'm wearing one of the pieces today!

- A little bit of a quandary on what to sew next.

- A while back, I cut out a yellow dress, I should finish it.

- I'm getting incredibly good use out of my hoodie (I use it practically daily.) I should make another one!

- Any kind of outerwear will get disproportionate use, worth remembering.

- For the rest of the year, I'd like to tackle more complicated projects - jackets, pants (I think pants are complicated!), etc.

- I haven't made a single Burda pattern from this year's supply of magazines. That's ridiculous, people. If I don't sew something from the April and May issues in May - I'm not allowed to buy the June issue. (And I want to buy the June issue!) But, I don't want to 'cheat' by making a super-simple t-shirt either.

- I'm off Friday morning to Tampa for the weekend - a friend's wedding. I have most of Friday to myself. Any Tampa readers?

- I'm on a fabric fast the rest of the year. Or so I think. (My brother and I have a bet on this, since he mocked my fabric fast. I've $50 riding on it, so, whenever I look at a piece of fabric, I'll have to ask, is it worth it's selling price + $50? Thankfully, the answer has been "No" so far.)

- Though, I'm going on vacation in June, and it'll be hard not to buy a piece of vacation fabric. Hmm. Maybe I can bargain for an exemption...