Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simplicity 2192 - a second try

My first try at Simplicity 2192 turned out unwearable, not because of my sewing, but because of the fragile nature of the fabric. 

I did like the pattern though, and thought this worthy of another try. 

Thoughts? I like it. It's stash fabric, I'm happy to use it. I'm hoping it'll soften further in the wash, since I think the silk of the earlier version drapes better - something that's a necessity in this boxy shirt. 

I'm making a lot of really easy tops, and am wondering if it's time to branch out to a more complicated project. We'll see. After a summer of not very much sewing, easy tops have got me back to the swing of things, and I like having sewing mo-jo.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Simplicity 2246 - The Lisette Traveler Dress

I can't remember when I started this dress. I'm going to say - June. In any case, this dress was on my table when my ex-machine went away to be serviced, and came back in bits and pieces.

Then, I bought a replac

ement machine, and started a different project.

Then I needed buttons.

Then, my serger was threaded with white thread, not black.

Basically, I procrastinated and procrastinated about this dress, but it is finally done.

I made a size 10 on top, size 12 on the bottom. Shortened it as needed, etc. I wish I remembered more, but this dress got done over many months. It was easy enough to sew, but it did have many steps. The fabric was a gift from my aunt and uncle, a couple of years ago. (Again, stashbusting, yay!)

I didn't sew the fabric belt. I've decided the fabric belts that come with sewing patterns are just not flattering. Even the pattern photo has the model wear a store-bought belt - that should say something.

Minor quibble - looking at the photo - the top pockets are clearly too high.

Slightly not-so-minor quibble - the damn dress shrank in the wash. 100% cotton. Should have known better - next time, I'll prewash.

I'm now down to 2 WIPs on my table from the summer. One just needs hemming, the other, buttons. It's amazing how I can procrastinate on the simplest tasks, really.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The quest for the perfect casual t-shirt: McCalls 6566 - version 2

As you may recall, I made my first version of McCalls 6566 at my cousin's. I cut out a medium, sewed it up, decided I looked like a complete and utter frump, did what I could to salvage it.

Still, I thought it was worthy of another shot, and here it is.

This time around, I cut a Small. I took 2 inches off the length, and 1.5 inches off the length of the sleeves.

Verdict - so close! Ok, I like the sizing, it has that casual slouchiness that I think I'm going for. The only thing I'll nitpick about is the length - which is more obvious when you see the back - that hem is too long. 2 additional inches shorter, I think.

I'll save that for the hypothetical version 3.

But hey, I've sewn 3 things so far in September? Even if they are easy, easy pieces? Three is a good number. I like three.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another quick top - McCalls 6510

I'm nurturing along my sewing mo-jo like it's a skittish colt. I feed it gently, I make no sudden movements, I sew the easiest of easy makes.

Including this one, which, in essence, is a glorified rectangle. (Yes, vs. drafting it myself - somehow, I thought it was better to spend 99c at a JoAnn's McCalls sale buying a pattern of a rounded up rectangle. You may mock the laziness now.)

For a simple pattern, this did give me a bit of trouble - the neck is super wide and deep - I need to wear a tank top for modesty - plus I raised the neck at the shoulders by at least an inch, and then it was too long, so I took an additional 3.5 inches off the entire thing. Still, given that the thing is the easiest  pattern to sew, ever - even with all the trouble I had, it took only a couple of hours of actual effort to make.

Laziness caused me to serge the hem, vs. actually sewing it. Meh. You can't see it, it doesn't matter.

During the make, I felt like this was speeding, head-first into failure-land. Somehow, though, it turned out quite okay. Yay! (And double-yay - this is old, old stash, bought ages ago at a Wal Mart. I bought one yard, I have just bits and pieces left.)

You'll have to excuse the lack of jewelry, make up, and coordinated clothes. It's hot; I spent a fair bit of time this evening making tomato sauce, plus I was roasting potatoes in the oven. It would be the understatement of the year to say that I couldn't be fussed with primping in the middle of all that. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

A quick top - McCall's M6751

 Dear readers, this has been the summer of obligation sewing - not a good feeling. There have been three baby quilts, some hand-embroidery for a friend's wedding, assorted mending, and so on and so forth.

Not surprisingly, I've been on a sewing slump. Let's be honest, mending does not inspire me.

I needed a little trifle to cheer me up, and so, on Wednesday night, I quickly whipped up this little top. McCalls 6751 - view C. (Fall is definitely in the air, and this is the most out-of-season make. Nonetheless. It was quick and easy, and I wanted results!)

The fabric was a gift from my parents, bought on a recent trip to India. (Unfortunately, not stash. I've decided anything bought in 2013 does not count as stash sewing.) It is 100% cotton, and feels all kinds of soft and luxurious. Also, it presses easily and well. I didn't prewash, and I'm hoping it doesn't shrink.

Pattern sizing, changes - I made a small, and took out 1" off the length at the marked alteration lines to petite-size it.

Thoughts on the pattern? I love the front. It's got that loose unstructured vibe, but it isn't unflattering. It's exactly what I was looking for. Other likes - the high low hem, the square neckline.

The back? Less love. If it isn't hitched up at the right point on the shoulder, the back just looks sloppy. If hitched up, it looks better, but in either case, this is not flattering. (Also, I think it's probably about an inch too long, maybe?)
Slouchy back

Hiked up back. Not a lot better.

Pattern instructions? Not sufficient. I've been sewing for a while, and can muddle through, but basically, there's two layers in the back, and the hemming instructions offered no guidance on whether you were supposed to hem them together or separately. I hemmed them together, but that can be prone to some bagging if you don't get the hem exactly even, and there's probably a better way/order to put this top together. Given this is an easy pattern, probably geared towards a beginning sewist, better instructions should be a must.

Overall - A good make, with some quibbles. But I'm going to cut out and make the view D soon, so maybe I'll be happier with that. But at the end of the day, a make, just for me, made up just because I felt like it? Happy happy days.

Mine. Mine. All mine. My precious.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bounty from the garden - Aug 17 and Aug 22

Dear readers, I'm drowning in garden produce. 

This was Saturday's haul. There's tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and one mutant zucchini. 

And then, a mere 3 days later, there was this tomato explosion. (Also, more peppers, and tomatillos.)
Yesterday, in desperation, I gave half the tomatoes to my mother, begged my neighbor to take some tomatoes (she didn't, her crop's come in too, and she's also got more tomatoes than she needs.) I also made roasted tomatoes, per David Lebovitz.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

De-UFO-ing the UFOs - Dave and Erin's baby quilt

Dear readers, I'm buried in a pile of UFOs. I'm evidently in the middle of 4 makes, and I'll be perfectly honest, I don't function that way. While I'm often tempted to start many projects in a row, I am best at working sequentially - one project at a time.

When these two urges clash, inertia occurs. Nothing gets done, I'm too stressed to enter the sewing room.

As with everything in life, the solution is - unfortunately for me, who craves the easy answer - one step at a time.

And so, this quilt top, made for my friends Dave and Erin, who are about to have a baby in September. I'd finished the quilt top in July?, but I don't enjoy the quilting process, and so, it lingered on as a UFO.

Last week, I swore that I'd work 30 minutes every day on the damn thing, and get it done. It took a little more time than that, but hey - you know what - it's now done.

The front fabric is stuff I just stole from my mom's stash (don't feel bad for her, she has a lot of stash.) The back though, I pulled something from my stash - this grey cotton is lovely and soft, and I didn't really have enough of it to make it into anything else. It looks perfect in this quilt. (Also, yay, stash sew down.)

It isn't the best quilting in the world, but I'm not a good quilter, and it's a pretty good effort for me.
Unfortunately, my mother brought me a quilt top I need to quilt for her. (Trust me, this isn't altruistic in the slightest, it's one of my patterns, and she's been kind enough to test the pattern for me.) And thus and therefore, the UFO count still stands at 4. Sigh.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

McCalls 6566 - Purple t-shirt

Dear readers, there's some serious non-sewing going on here. I'm sitting in the middle of a massive pile of UFOs, and I'm slowly trying to dig myself out of it. It's slow going. Let's instead talk about something happier, shall we?

Normal front view.

When I visited my cousin in New York (June), we hit up a Joann's, and bought a ton of patterns. (There was a 5/$5 McCalls sale, and well, I went a little crazy.) She then forced me to actually sew one up in her house, and hence and therefore, this t-shirt! It's McCalls 6566, the version with the high-low hem, but with the little pocket omitted.

(Antidote to procrastination. Having someone hover over you making you sew. Oddly effective, I recommend it.)

Let's talk about this t-shirt, shall we?

- I like the cut-on sleeves.

- I like the concept of the loose-fit, but I think I went too far here. This is a medium, on my next go-around of this make, I will make a small. There's plenty of ease here.

You can see both the cut-on sleeves, as well as the copious amounts of ease. (Oh, and also a tomato.)

- It turns out long! I think the front length was originally past my hip. Pretty dowdy, especially with the extra loose-fit. I cropped it so that it was slightly lower than my waist in the front, and half-covering my butt in the back, and I like this new length a lot better.

Side view, you can see the high-low hem, and it gives you an idea of the length.
- I can see this in a solid! I should definitely make myself another version, incorporating all my changes, because this would be a great basic t-shirt.

And this is the back. With the scarecrow pose, it rides up a bit higher, but most of the time, it covers about half of the jeans pockets.
All that being said, this current version, while not being exactly what I was looking for, still has a role in my closet. It's amazingly comfortable, it works over jeans, and it hides the beer gut pretty well. Love it !

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bounty from the garden - July 29, 2013

Dill, garlic chives, some Greek oregano, one slightly unripe tomatillo (wanted to see if it was ready, the answer - no), and one mutant tomato that might be a heirloom variety.

I'm in a pretty crabby mood today. My mortgage people in their infinite wisdom decided to overpay my property taxes, and are trying to recover the difference from me. I've spent at least 2 hours on the phone with them so far today, with plenty more to come, I'm sure.

And I made a major mistake on a quilt I'm working on. A week's work - wasted.

Sigh. Not my day today. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

I make my bed for my cat

I'm a big reader of the Happiness Project. One of Gretchen's maxims is about making your bed, and I totally believe that. However, that's not exactly why I make my bed every morning. Rather...

When my bed isn't made, Biscuit likes to sleep at the edge of it. She's disapproving, really. She carefully sprawls on just the hand-made quilt, risking no contact with the sheets underneath.

Same thing today. She was at the edge of the bed, slightly irate. I displaced her in order to make the bed. (No hospital corners in my world - I straighten the pillows, drape the flat sheet over the bed, drape the quilt over the flat sheet, and I'm done! 30 secs max.)

Seconds after that, Biscuit approvingly settled herself at the base of the pillows, and embarked on a cleaning routine.

And after a thorough cleaning, it's time for a nap.

Unfortunately, right after this picture was taken, one little kitty spit up on the handmade quilt, a gift from my aunt. Sorry, Chandrama! My chores for today now include washing a quilt.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bounty from the garden - Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swiss chard, mint, chives, basil and more cherry tomatoes.

Yup, there's some shameless showing off here. In case you were wondering, I used the swiss chard in a curry, the chives and the mint in a salad (grated daikon radish, grated carrot, chopped chives, mint, lemon juice and salt). 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bounty from the garden - Saturday, July 27, 2013

Grape tomatoes, other yellow tomatoes, beets (and lots of beet greens), lettuce, potatoes and basil. It's a good life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

McCalls 6551 - easy summer dress

Finally, some garment sewing, right?

When in New York, I did pretty well resisting fabric, but showed no such restraint around patterns. JoAnns was having one of it's 99c sales, and I think I bought about 15 McCalls patterns. (Ahem.)

Hence and therefore, I thought it might be appropriate to sew one up.

I was originally attracted to McCalls 6551 because of the colour-block, hi-low hemline, but decided my fabric was most suited to version C - the scoop neck dress. Sewing-wise, everything was chugging along just fine till I attached the sleeves. Eeeks. Horrors. Those are not good sleeves, they looked really bizarre, stuck out in a super-weird Star-Trek like way, and were just honestly pretty horrid. I quickly ripped it out and attached a bias strip to finish the armsyce. Much better.

I'm always quite in two minds about dresses with sashes. I like the waist definition, but they always seem a bit messy to me. Same with this one. The dress isn't too sack-like without the belt, and I might end up leaving it off more often than not.

Sizing-wise - I made a small on top, medium on the bottom, and did petite adjustments at all the marked lines.

The fabric - a gift from my mom, many many years ago. 100% cotton, it's a woven yellow and red with the prettiest weave - looks orange from afar, but it's got a lot of detail in it. I love cotton to sew up - it irons well, cuts easy, and doesn't shift under the machine.

In summary:
Likes - scoop neck, the colour of this dress.
Dislikes - sleeves that got ripped out, sash.

Wearability - medium. I like it and will wear it, but it still remains a pretty ordinary summer dress. (Not a bad thing, that. Not everything needs to be special.) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden pictures...

Ok, I've gotten bitten by the gardening bug... I'm shamelessly showing off the garden so far. For context, the front garden (with all the flowers) was in place before I bought the house last year, but the back-yard was a weed-filled mess.

The front of the house. I do love the flowers, but had it been me, I'd have added other colours - the overwhelming purple theme isn't quite me. 
The pathway, leading to the shed in the back. To the left is my vegetable patch. (The arch in the back, next to the composter is a makeshift trellis for some squash to climb up.)
The vegetable patch. Since it was the first year I could plant in the house, I didn't have much of a plan - just threw in a lot of different vegetables into the ground, and I'm waiting to see what thrives, and what doesn't. 

The cluster tomatoes are doing brilliantly. 

I also got these, I think they are San Marzano. Good tomatoes for sauce. No sign of them ripening yet though.

The lettuce is doing well, the peppers (in the background), not so much. It's too early to tell what's going to happen with the Brussels sprouts, in the middle of the picture. 

The swiss chard is doing great though! (The slugs do rather like it, unfortunately.)

 Apart from all this, I also planted a couple of raspberry plants by the fence, and they seem to be doing ok as well. Next year, I'll try to have a bit more of a plan, but I've got to say, it's pretty fun seeing what I can eat out of the garden every day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

June happenings

What a terrible blogger I've been! Summer blogging is always a bit sparse in my world - but this summer has been especially bad. Since I bought the house last year, there's always some house project to do, seriously cutting into sewing and blogging time.

Anyhoo - I didn't really mean to sew another quilt, but at the start of June, I found myself shopping my mother's stash, pulling out fabrics that were very non-me. My quilting style tends to favour a lot of white paired with bright solids - this time, I pulled out the most subdued fabrics, the biggest prints, etc. and got to work.

And it is in fact very un-me. But in a good way - it isn't the normal colour palette I use, but I really love it.

I was also in New York in the middle of June for a weekend, catching up with some old friends, and one of them is going to have a baby. I had three months to make a baby quilt, but since I had all my quilting stuff handy, I pulled out some brights, used the same pattern, and got to work. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet, so I used all the colours of the rainbow, and made something that's hopefully colourful and fun.

And the garden! I've been dreaming about a curved pathway since I got the house. We finally put it in a couple of weekends ago. This is a pretty crappy shot of it, and it still needs to be filled in with soil in the bits that are bare earth right now, but here's the pathway so far. I did a fair bit of the work myself (and roped in friends for the rest) and I'm really proud of it. Plus, it even managed not to wash away in the flood we had, so yay!

In actual sewing news, there's been a half-finished dress on my sewing table for about 3 months. Sigh. I've been roped in for a project that's keeping me busy, but once July is over, I'm hoping to be able to get back to garment sewing... Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Giving in to temptation - McCalls 6112

I've been trying to stay away from the temptation of making easy, almost disposable pieces, but after the intensity of the quilt, I wanted a bit of a palate cleanser. So, I pulled out McCalls 6112 and went about making View A.

The flowers are in bloom, but I'm sure I could have removed the bags of sand. 

There's really nothing to say about this make. I used some knit fabric purchased a while back at Fabricland (yay, stashbusting!), and mucked around with the elastic around the waistline, ignoring the directions completely.

(Sometimes, I ignore directions completely because they are stupid - these directions weren't stupid, I don't think - but I ignored them because I was being lazy, and wanted to do something easier. My elastic is therefore visible on the inside, but I don't really care.) 

I don't think this dress is as strong a win as my previous 6112 make - which I really love. Still, it'll work just fine for lazy summer days, sitting on a patio, and sipping a beer. Which is really all that'll be required out of it.

Unwearable without the tank top, really.