Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Year End Tally

Of course, I still have 4 days, and sewing *will* happen - I already cut out a t-shirt for myself tonight.

But, here's the projects I did this year, in numbers...

Quilts/quilt tops:
1. Moda Sanctuary top - December 27.
2. Woolen scrap quilt top - completed sometime in December.
3. T-shirt quilt - completed sometime in December.
4. The Very, very Red quilt top
5. Pink and yellow baby quilt top
6. Black & white quilt-along quilt top (collaboration with my mother)
7. Gender-neutral baby quilt
8. Pink zig-zag baby quilt

Random other sewing: (I probably did a lot more in this category, but I don't generally bother blogging about it...)
1. Two tote-bags

1. Flowered shirt - BWOF 06-2011-106
2. White top - BWOF 06-2011-106
3. Jason Wu-inspired grey t-shirt (variation of Simplicity 4020)
4. My beer t-shirt refashion (BWOF 02-2011-114)
5. Plaid shirt (McCalls 6035)
6. Camouflage top (McCalls 6400)
7. White shirt with McCalls 6035
8. Brown dotted top (Simplicity 2594)
9. Mustard t-shirt (McCalls 5105)
10. Purple turtleneck t-shirt (BWOF 09-2010-121)
11. Blue flowered knit top (BWOF 12-2008-113/114)
12. Black solid knit top (McCalls 5890)

1. Blue cardigan (BWOF 08-2011-117)
2. Grey cardigan (McCalls 5890)
3. Black cardigan (McCalls 5890)

1. Black skirt - McCalls 5817
2. Graphic black and white skirt (Simplicity 4047)
3. Woolen mustard skirt (Simplicity 4047) (Or could this have been finished in 2010?)
4. Brown plaid with side pleats (BWOF 08-2010-135)
5. Green plaid skirt (Simplicity 4047)

1. Dark green Simplicity 2700 pants
2. BWOF 04-2010-120 jeans (utter failure!)
3. Black knit pants (McCalls 5890)

1. White, black & blue knit dress (McCalls 6112)
2. Blue swirl version of Vogue 1250
3. Red Vogue 1250
4. Blue stripes version of Vogue 1250
5. Wide blue stripes knit dress (BWOF 11-2008-118)
6. Pink tie-dye knit dress (BWOF 11-2008-118)
7. Cream and blue batik dress (Simplicity 3803)
8. The How I Met Your Mother/Santa Claus dress (utter failure) (McCalls 6200)
9. Black knit dress (McCalls 6243)
10. Pink ruffled dress (BWOF 04-2010-112)
11. Light blue dress (Simplicity 2963)
12. Yellow and red plaid summer dress (Simplicity 2444)
13. Cream, blue and brown flowered summer dress (Butterick 4443)
14. Deep pink Vogue 8110 sheath dress
15. Blue knit birthday dress (BWOF 09-2010-122)
16. Printed blue knit dress (McCalls 6200)
17. Black and white print knit dress (BWOF 12-2008-113/114)
18. Inspired by Proenza Schouler dress
19. Rust knit dress - McCalls 5890
20. Black and white gingham frankenpattern dress

That's 52 things! Apart from this, I know there's atleast another dress that I made and never blogged about, and also a skirt (same thing...) That's a lot of sewing!

In 2012, I'd like to increase the pants-sewing, increase the lined winter dress sewing (I have very few winter-suitable dresses) and sew as few summer dresses as possible. (I have a ton of summer dresses, I really, really don't need any more!) Let's see how that plays out!

Sewing on the go means more quilting

I've brought a couple of clothing projects to sew in Mrytle Beach, but it's amazing how much equipment I take for granted when sewing at home - large cutting mat, weights, pins, etc.

An easier sewing-on-the-go project was at hand, a Moda Sanctuary pre-cut pack. My mom had bought this early spring at the Creativ festival. Before we headed out, I quickly cut up strips of sashing. I asked my mother if she wanted to sew it, but she was too busy being in 'vacation-mode' - and so I got to work. (I don't get this kind of gift of time in Toronto, what a perfectly lovely vacation - plenty of time to sew!)

I'm hoping to actually be able to quilt it up on vacation. My brother's two cats are weirded out by the sewing machine though. They aren't used to the noise - and spend a lot of time just staring at me. Plotting to take over the world, I'm certain. Either that, or eating me when I'm asleep.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In use, two quilts

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I'm sure you are tired of reading about these quilts, dear Readers, I'm certainly a little tired of writing about them. But, I don't think I showed a completed picture of the t-shirt quilt, plus, I like my blog to be a record of all the projects that I do.

And so, pictures.

My brother Madhav, readying himself for a post-meal nap.

The t-shirt quilt, held up by my brother Keshav.

Keshav's pretending to be Yoda?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another version of BWOF 06-2011-106

So easy to make, another version had to happen.

This top was inspired by an Anthropologie top that I can't find on their site anymore. Basically, the fabric is a white print with a coloured border. I cut the front on the bias using the border, and the back is the printed white, cut on grain.

Dear readers, this is the top for which I actually bothered to sit and learn how to thread my serger - this fabric is very ravely, and I was too lazy to mess with French seams.

Other things - I changed the neckline from a V to a rounded neck and stitched the side seams all the way down.

I'm off for the next few days to Myrtle Beach to visit my brother. Sewing will happen though - we are driving down, and I'm taking my machine. (Most of my family, afraid of what would happen when I get bored, vehemently came out in favour of the machine going along. I make a very bad bored person.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


In shocking news, dear Readers, I've finally taken my serger out of the box. I've spent a large period of time trying to thread it, I finally think I have the hang of it, and yes, eating at the dining table doesn't really seem to be an option any more.

Oh, and since I took a picture, here's the woolen quilt, all quilted up. I actually did my best quilting job ever on this, (not good by a quilter's standard, but I'm no quilter, really).

And I've made another shirt! I'll try to wear it out tonight, and get a friend to take a photo...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BWOF 06-2011-106

Dear Readers, after all the selflessness I've been displaying, surely I was overdue for some me-sewing? I decided that yes, it was indeed time to make something for me. And thankfully, I had a blessedly unscheduled weekend, which actually left me time to sew - love!

I was looking for a low-commitment quickie project to get me back in the swing of things, and so I traced out BWOF 06-2011-106 (a one-dot pattern) and got to work.

My fabric was a bit of thrift-store cotton I've had lying around for over three years in my stash. (I bought it when I still lived in Michigan; I paid 50c for 1.5 yards of fabric.)

I did most of the work yesterday, with some hem finishing things today. What a simple top! Less than 30 minutes of sewing, I did it in 5 minute chunks - I kept getting distracted. Still, super simple. I should have finished yesterday, but didn't... This evening, my parents came over for dinner (my mom cooked, score!) and I should have got one of them to take my photo. Unfortunately, the top still needed hemming at that point, my allergies had been insane all day. Hence, self-taken photos of me, which I hate, really, but ah well.

I was aiming for a feel that was a sort of a cross between artist smock and peasant blouse. I'm not sure if that's the look I got, or if instead I got scrubs. I'm sticking to the former.

That's quite a v-neck, no? Ah, Burda - my breasts actually don't need to be on display when I make a shirt. Next version around, I'll raise the neck an inch or so.

This might be a contender for my SWAP. It certainly fits the 'Sew the Basics' theme.

And now I'm off to cut the next version...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Torn! And other random mumblings...

I'm rather torn at the moment, dear Readers. The last few weeks, I've been using my precious sewing time to finish crafting and quilting UFOs. On the one hand, I miss garment sewing so much! and that makes me slightly cranky. But on the other hand, I'm getting the super-satisfying feeling of striking things off a To-Do list, which is nice.

As in everything, the secret is balance. Which is why, when I finish with the current quilting project on my table, I will get back to my own sewing and make something for me.


A couple of weeks back, my overflowing crafting closet was getting rather stressful, and I decided to make a UFO-project list, with the intention of working on one UFO each week.


I divided my excel spreadsheet into three tabs - one for quilting, one for general-purpose crafting, and one for garment sewing. I starting listing UFOs, along with how many hours it would take to finish the project. And gulp! my quilting UFO list would take 188 hours to finish.

I think I spend maybe 10 hours sewing each week, which suggests that I'd be spending a good third of 2012 finishing up quilting UFOs. I don't think so. I'm going to hide all my quilting UFOs in my parents' basement instead.


All kidding aside, writing the UFO list was really good for me. I've already crossed off two items off the list - attaching the binding for this red quilt, and quilting my brother's t-shirt quilt.

Right now, I'm quilting this woolen scrap quilt for my other brother.

My thought is that I'll give them these quilts for Christmas (though of course, none of these quilts were actually intended as Christmas presents, it's just an artificial deadline to help me get them done and out of my apartment.)


Back in the fall, I'd gone to Creativ (a big crafting/sewing/quilting festival in these parts). I was a bit disappointed by the sewing stuff on display, honestly. (I didn't sign up for the classes though, so maybe that was my problem?) But there was a ton of quilts on display, and they all served as pretty wonderful quilting inspiration.

While inspired, I didn't actually *want* to make a quilt top. Instead, I decided that my mother should make one of the quilt tops I'd seen at Creativ.

(Outsourcing the work? Check.)

So, I pulled fabric for a quilt, started cutting it out, and laid it out all over the floor of my parents' family room, thus forcing my mother to work on the quilt if she wanted to get her floor back and be able to walk around in that room. It worked like a charm! I don't think she's ever sewn a quilt top together as quickly as this one went together.

Pretty, right? I wonder what she should work on/I should cut out next?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What I'm working on...

I'm quilting (badly) my brother's t-shirt quilt.

I will say that quilting is not easier if a cat refuses to move out of the way.

Cat cuteness

Ok, I've no actual blog content (UFO finishing + boring projects + camera batteries dead.) Instead, I give you pictures of the little bear.

Seriously, how cute is that? Right?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jason Wu-inspired grey t-shirt

Two separate stories come together to make this t-shirt...

The first bit: I think it was Carolyn's lace dress that first made me aware of the Jason Wu lace thing. It led me to look at the rest of the collection, which then led me to this sweatshirt, which got filed away as inspiration.

The second bit: I've a bit of a bad habit. Sometimes, when I hang out at my parents, I just have to sew. And so I'll start cutting random things out, and before you know it, I've created a UFO.

And so it was with this grey t-shirt, which was basically a variation of Simplicity 4020.

I cut it out a couple of months ago at their place, and sewed up the sides and shoulders. At which time, I tried it out, decided I looked fat in it. In the middle of all that, I also proceeded to burn a big hole near the neck (iron malfunction) and so, I buried it in the UFO basket, and tried to forget all about it.

Cue to now. I'm trying to finish the UFOs. This was a pretty easy fix - I just needed to deepen the neckline to trim away the burned bit, and hem. I did both those things last night, but then decided the shirt needed something extra. Rummaging through the notions boxes, I found some midnight blue lace trim I'd bought forever ago, thought of the Jason Wu shirt, and got to work. And here you have it - the Jason Wu-inspired grey t-shirt.

Unlike the inspiration picture, I sewed my lace on the front of the shoulder seam, so that the lace is visible from the front. I thought about sewing lace on the back shoulder as well, but I hand-sewed the lace (my machine didn't do too well with the lace, for whatever reason), and honestly, just ran out of patience. The front works well enough.

Ah, the satisfaction of finishing these pesky UFO's! Now, back to the UFO basket, to see what else I can finish.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A T-shirt refashion

At this stage, after I've been sewing for a few years, one of the hardest bits of sewing for me is just figuring out what styles look good on my body. One thing I do know though, and have known for a while - regular crew-neck t-shirts look horrible on me.

So, when I got this t-shirt during some St.Patrick Day outing in Toronto, it sat in my refashion pile for ages, while I looked for a good pattern to use to refashion it. And when I saw the 02-2011-114 Burda pattern - I knew I'd hit paydirt, this was the perfect pattern.

Sometime in mid-September, I cut out my XL t-shirt, positioning the lettering carefully, etc. - and sewed it up. And then I thought it was a bit too short (not enough fabric) and it sat on the UFO project pile, waiting for hemming.

Now, I've been a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of projects I have in progress, and over the weekend, I decided to try to finish up at least one. This was the easiest project - all it needed was hemming - and so, I picked it up, ironed some interfacing to stabilize the hem, added some elastic, and finished it up.

Significantly better than a crewneck t-shirt, no? I'm not sure how much wear I'll really get out of it, but it's good for running to the grocery store, and stuff like that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Stitcher's Guild 2012 SWAP

I haven't done a SWAP in ages, but intellectually, I love them. (Reality check - I'm fantastic at making plans, significantly less so when it comes to following through.)

The full set of rules are here.

Basically, I need to make 11 garments - here's what I'm thinking of making.

- 2 t-shirts. I'll probably make that long-sleeved black t-shirt that my wardrobe has been screaming out for, and a cream t-shirt. This is all about basics for me.
- 2 pairs of pants. Black for sure, and probably a brown. (Have to look in the stash to see what I have.)
- 2 blouses. This is where I'll incorporate the prints - I'll make a couple of blouses that will go with the pants.
- 1 suit coat. Probably something that goes with the black pants, as difficult as that will be to photograph.
- 2 skirt. For the first one, I'm thinking cream. I have some cream faux-suede that's been screaming to be made for ages. I've been procrastinating, since it would involve lapped seams, which I've never done before, but it's time to put on the big-girl-pants, and get to it. The second one? Well, I still need a black A-line skirt, and even a black woolen pencil skirt (I have a black cotton pencil skirt, but I can't really wear it in winter, I'd die!)
- Raincoat. Every single time it rains, I resolve to make a raincoat. I even have fabric - navy blue. This SWAP is a perfect impetus to make it up.
- Hoodie. Much more casual - but I need something to just grab and go. I'm thinking something fun and asymmetrical.

As I review the plan, I'm thinking - wow, that's boring. My colours are blacks, browns, greys, blues and creams.

And guess what? That's exactly what I need. Right now, I'm wearing a black t-shirt, a black cardigan, and a pair of peach-ish pants. Yesterday, I wore grey pants and a coloured sweater, with a black t-shirt underneath. This is how I dress to work, and I might as well sew the things I need for it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two tote bags

I feel like I should have a more interesting 500th blog post - but this is it. Still, I actually have a couple of free evenings this week, and real sewing will happen soon.

In the meanwhile, I spent a few minutes yesterday evening finishing up my tote bags, using assorted scraps that were lying around in my fabric closet.

My mom has already claimed one bag, which works fine for me, I like to use up my scraps, but don't need a million tote bags. (Although, oddly enough, tote bags tend to disappear. They probably live in the mysterious black hole where my socks go.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes, you just have to sew...

Dear readers, my life has been hellishly busy the last week or so.

My social life is always a little crazy (it's genetic - my mother is the same way - entirely too busy for her own good), but my work is usually nice and steady, to balance it out. Except the last week and so far this week - which has been insane!

After the Big-Important-Work-Meeting yesterday (the cause of all the extra work), I came back home, mentally wiped out, and sat on my couch mindlessly for a couple hours. And then, the itch to sew took over, but I was still wiped out. What to sew? Certainly not my fully lined dress, which is waiting for me - that would involve thinking, and I had nothing left in the tank.

And so, I reached into my closet, found some random scrap, and starting joining pieces of fabric together rather randomly.

Here are the results...

Two tote-bag shells, one finished little zippered pouch, and the fabric for another zippered pouch laid out.

Will these totes ever get finished? Will the other zippered pouch ever get made? Who knows? They served their purpose - sometimes, mindless sewing is pretty necessary.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A beer to call my own - photo!

They even named it after me! Ooh, the excitement.

Let's just say there was a fair bit of bragging going on.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A beer to call my own!

If you know me at all in real life, you'll know that apart from being crazy about sewing, I'm also crazy about beer. (Sewing + beer, still not a good idea.)

And so, you can imagine the squeal of excitement when I saw this on Facebook:

My beer recipe - actually being made. It doesn't show up on the Facebook feed - but the beer I'd suggested was a play on a classic Mexican 'mole' sauce - with chocolate, hazelnut extract and dried ancho chillies.

So excited! I'm positively giddy with delight. (I'm not going to actually put it on my resume - but I'm totally going to brag about this forever!)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Why I quilt...

Elizabeth asked an interesting question in the comments (I love both comments and questions - keep them coming!):

Can I ask why you keep making quilts when you don't like to? Why threaten your mojo and joy with things you don't want to do?

That's a great question, and one I actually think I have an answer to. Basically, I quilt for 4 reasons.

1. I quilt to finish up old UFOs.

The red quilt belonged to this category. This black-and-white quilt I did with my mother is the same - it sat in the UFO pile for more than 3 years. These projects tend to be fairly involved, left over from the days when I used to make quilt tops all the time. These are really grudging, with very little inherent reward. Why I do it? I do enjoy the satisfaction of checking something off a to-do list though, and that's basically what keeps me going.

2. I quilt to use up left-over fabric.

I can't stand fabric waste, and I'd much rather piece a quilt top than throw away scrap fabric. This is my most frequent type of quilting. My favorite quilts in this category are the woolen one shown above, and this crazy quilt. Examples of this kind of quilt top abound through my blog, and actually, of all the kinds of quilts I make, I have the most fun with these. Why I do it? It gives me immense satisfaction to make something useful out of scrap.

3. I quilt as a gift for other people.

I don't often sew for other people, but there are times when a quick little baby quilt is the perfect special present... The t-shirt quilt made for my brother falls in this category as well. And the photo quilt top pictured above was a very special present for my grandmother's 90th birthday. Why I do it? I might grumble about the process of making these quilts, but I'm actually all warm and fuzzy when they receive it and really enjoy it. (I've made one quilt for someone who wasn't super appreciative, I won't be repeating that. Most people love being given a Linkhand-made quilt.)

A subset of this category is when my mom needs me to quilt her something (she's a quilter herself, so I only get asked when she's seriously short of time.) I might grumble (a lot) but my parents spoil the heck out of me, and it's the least I can do in return. (Damn! My mom reads my blog. Does this mean she'll pile more projects onto me? Kidding!)

4. Very rarely, I'll quilt because I have nothing else to do.

This is pretty rare though, but this will occur when I'm spending the day at my parents, or something like that, where I can spend some time sewing a quilt, but don't have any garment patterns at my disposal. (Also, my mother's sewing machine is the machine from hell - I'm not ruining a nice garment by using that thing.) The quilt above was similar - I was on vacation in Madras, my hometown. The internet access wasn't great, so in the spaces of time between visiting family, I made a quilt top. (Incidentally, this is the quilt that's on my bed right now. I do use them!)

So, though I whine each and every quilting project (and trust me, I whine!) - I actually get some satisfaction out of it (even if it is to just cross it off a list.) What I've become very good at nowadays is not starting a new quilting project (unless it is to use up scrap). And eventually, I'll be all caught up with the UFOs (ha!), and then, no more quilts. Until that day, I'll grumble away...

Calling for help! (Especially the Australian kind...)

Months ago, I was at some bookstore (in Montreal, I think?) and was flipping through their sewing magazines, and came across this one - the Stitches magazine, published in Australia. I was attracted by the idea of a no-sew draped top, but there wasn't enough in the rest of the magazine to justify buying it... or so I thought.

Months later, this is driving me insane, because in the article about the no-sew top, they referenced a book that is all about the draped clothing of cultures all around the world. (This is what I remember, at any rate.)

Does anyone have this magazine? If so, would you do me the world's biggest favour, please? Would you look up the article and tell me what the book they refer to is? That book, I think I would buy. Or atleast try to get my library to find. I'm trying to avoid spending $10 on a magazine just to find out one little book reference.

Pretty please? Sugar on top?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Plaid shirt - McCalls 6035

I did indeed get some time to sew buttons, and therefore, voila! Plaid shirt photos.

This is my third iteration of McCalls 6035. (Previous versions here and here.) This time, I cut the fabric in a single layer, to line up the plaid as best as I could. I did a reasonable job - not perfect, but at a level of imperfection that I can live with.

In this version, I thought I'd make the fun puffy sleeves. I was afraid I was going to look like a pirate or something, in super billowy sleeves, but I actually really like the result - it looks interesting, but not crazy.

I think the next time I make a shirt, I'm actually going to try to take out my David Coffin Shirtmaking book and try to apply some lessons from that book. I've got the mechanics of shirt-making down, I now need to up my game.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

T-shirt quilt for my brother (plus the giveaway winner!)

I'm not going to pretend that I sewed this entire thing with a smile on my face, dear Readers. Rather, it was a lot of mumbling and cursing about the necessity of sewing for other people, some angst about why I volunteered to do this for my brother, etc, etc.

But hey, it was an easy project, and it's done.

In case you were wondering about this two-quilting-projects-in-a-row thing, nope. I did (mostly) finish my plaid shirt. I still need to sew buttons on it, and then, find someone to take a photo of me. Hopefully, both of these tasks can be completed this weekend.

Given the large number of UFOs and projects-waiting-in-the-queue, I've decided that I'm going to alternate - one fun project, followed by one grudging project. Up next - fun project! Yay!!!!!!!

Oh, and the giveaway. I didn't really put an end date on it, but that post has been up for a week? so I think it's been open long enough, and it's time to announce a winner. I put all the comment #s in Excel, and used the random number generator to generate a winning number.

Which is...


Sorry, everyone else! Blame excel. Or, since I'm sure I'll do this buy-the-same-pattern-twice again, keep an eye out for the next giveaway.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Red Quilt all quilted up - sneak peek

Dear readers, I hate quilting.

Let's face it, while I can suck it up and finish piecing a top, the process of actually quilting it? Loathe it. (Additionally, I'm really bad at it too, so after doing something super-grudgingly, I don't even enjoy the finished results.)

In the past, I've saved all my quilt tops and have sent them to India to be quilted, but the work on the last few quilts have just been terrible. The guy who does them clearly doesn't want to do them any more, but doesn't know how to say no. (Kind of like me, basically.)

So, with the Very, Very Red Quilt top, I thought I'd try something different. I've always seen quilting services for auction on eBay, so I looked, found a listing, and sent my top off to her. Since she only ships to the US, I made my cousin pay for the auction, and the seller was going to send the finished quilt to my cousin.

My cousin received it yesterday, and sent me the following sneak peek pictures, and I thought I'd share these with you. I haven't seen the entire quilt yet, but so far, based on these initial pictures, I'm super-stoked.

Nice, right? I'm now plotting. If I can get the same lady to finish this woolen top, and this soon-to-be-finished quilt top, then I'd actually get some of these projects finished and out the door! Oh, the sweetness.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The "I am an idiot" Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

Dear Readers, I've been doing a lot of stupid things lately.

For starters, when in Lyon recently, I booked a hotel room for the wrong day. Through Expedia. Only abject grovelling - in French - to the nice lady at the hotel front desk got me out of that situation. (It is amazing how nice people are to you when you admit you are (a) an idiot, (b) wrong and (c) will they help you anyway?)

Yesterday, I went to see Fela. Almost didn't make it, because when I was buying tickets online, I bought tickets for Friday night, not Saturday night. Again, the nice guy on the phone bailed me out. I told him I was an idiot, he laughed and exchanged my tickets for the right date. Sweet!

But the most recent sign of idiocy? I'm doing a spot of (rare) cleaning. I have sewing patterns strewn all over my apartment, and when I went to put them away, I found that I had bought, in two separate occasions, two identical versions of Simplicity 2053 (sizes 6-14).

Sigh. There's probably some reflection here about mindless consumption here, and also another reflection that I have entirely too many patterns. However, instead of actually using this as a 'teachable moment', I'm going to get rid of the evidence by offering up my duplicate to anyone who wants it. If more than one person is interested, I'll do a drawing. (Please enter your email address so I can contact you for your address?) Oh, I'll ship world-wide...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Almost new - McCalls 6112 (view B)

It is Diwali today, and one of our Diwali traditions is wearing new clothes.

On the phone with my mom, I was trying to figure out what was new in my wardrobe. Nothing came to mind. I didn't have any time to hastily sew myself something new, and buying something when you have a fabric stash the size of mine - well, that isn't really an option.

So, I settled for almost new - this version of McCalls 6112 (view B), that I've worn out only once before. I started this mid-September, finished it early October right after I came back from France, and wore it out to a friend's for Thanksgiving lunch. Almost new was going to have to be good enough.

Let's see - this is pretty simple construction. I looked over the instructions, they looked fine. What I did differently? Interface the edges of the hem, neck arm-holes and shoulder openings, for extra stability. Though painful, this extra step is definitely worth it - my dress feels well-constructed.

In retrospect, I wish I had bothered to make view C - the version with pockets. Or added in-seam pockets to my version. However, at the time, I was ridiculously busy, and was looking for instant gratification, so no pockets it is.

(Showing off the crazy sleeves...)

Note to self: get a better black belt, this one is pretty pathetic. Or alter this one by cutting off the excess length.

Funny/random story: My parents drove into the city (they live in the suburbs) and my brother, my parents and me went out for Diwali dinner. To a Chinese restaurant. Eating Chinese for Diwali is definitely not a tradition (although our food was delicious - maybe it should become a tradition!) But it cracked us up, eating Chinese on the biggest Indian festival of the year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crazy Camouflage

Most posting catch-up here...

It was back in September, I think, that Faye had asked about McCalls 6400.

As it happened, I'd just recently bought the pattern, and was curious enough to try it out. I pulled out an impulse fabric purchase (promptly regretted...) - a bright green camouflage, and got to work. I made view B.

While this t-shirt feels current - due to the asymmetry, the dolman sleeve and the ruching, at the end of the day, I just don't know. I'm not feeling this t-shirt.

For starters, my fabric doesn't have enough stretch.

But there's something about the shape that just doesn't work very well for me. (Incidentally, after looking at these pictures, I thought they had come out way better than the t-shirt looks in real life?) In addition, it just isn't very wearable - the t-shirt keeps getting twisted out of shape (grain issues, perhaps?) when I try to do any actual work wearing it.

Really simple sewing though. One pattern piece - join the side and shoulder seams, and you are done.

I will say I want to try it again in a fabric I like better. Like a solid black? We'll see. The queue is long, and the days are short...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to create multiple UFOs - a step by step guide

Step 1: Announce your intention to cut a shirt out by Friday, and then spend Friday evening watching a movie and grabbing drinks with a friend instead. (Ides of March, btw - and I highly recommend it.)

Step 2: Find out Saturday morning, that during the night, your sweet little cat has dragged your plaid fabric on the floor, and then proceed to throw up on it. Clean cat throw-up off the floor. Wash your fabric in the bathtub. Wait for fabric to drip dry.

(No pictures of this step, thankfully.)

Step 3: Create probable UFO 1 by starting another project while waiting for fabric to dry. Start a bit of a grudging project, making a t-shirt quilt for my brother. (Promised for 3 years, been waiting in the queue for that long. I thought I might finish it up for Christmas, since we'll be visiting him then.)

Step 4: Start t-shirt quilt project by cutting lots of t-shirts up. Make huge mess.

Step 5: Proceed through the mind-numbing boredom of cutting out 12.5 inch blocks of crappy interfacing to fuse on to the t-shirts to stabilize it. Fuse blocks. Start cutting them out.

Step 6: After cutting 3 blocks out, decide that this is the most boring project in the world. Get bored, decide to grab coffee/play with cat/listen to music/write a blog post/clean apartment instead. But wait, the fabric should be dry, no? Perhaps I'll do that instead?

Step 7: Cat decides in favour of the t-shirt quilt by sitting on the plaid shirt's pattern pieces. One does not mess with a cat. Ever. Especially one who likely threw up on your fabric deliberately because she's annoyed you had a friend over for drinks. ;)

Another quilting project. Why do the sewing gods hate me so? Sigh. I like my brother, but this is very, very grudging. I want to sew for me, damn it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

When life gives you tomatoes...

you make tomato sauce, of course...

A while back (August?), I was chatting with a friend of mine, who was basically complaining about the yield of his garden - he had too many tomatoes, and was wondering aloud what he was going to do with it all. Now, this is a pretty nice problem to have, right? So, I proposed a trade - I would trade him a six-pack of beer for some tomatoes - I let him figure out the exchange rate. He gave me two big baskets - like 10-12 pounds? (Well, it was very good beer.)

A perfect trade - we were both happy with what we got.

Now, I knew I wanted to make an Indian-style tomato sauce. I had visions of making a whole load of sauce, ladling them into bottles and freezing them. Then, when I was feeling too lazy to cook something from scratch, I could just pull out a bottle, thaw it, add a vegetable to it, and be done! A good vision!

So I spent the better part of an evening in the kitchen. I chopped onions, peppers, ginger and garlic and sauteed them...

Then, I added chopped tomatoes and let them all simmer (I threw in some Indian spices too - mostly cumin, but also some curry powder.)

And lo and behold, I had sauce.

(I would be in very good shape for winter, if it weren't for my unfortunate habit of being lazy quite a lot. I've already pulled out and used two jars - and I think I have about 8 bottles left...)

Oh, a sewing update? I've started cutting out a shirt. It's a kind of plaid, so the cutting is very slow going (cutting in a single layer, aligning the plaid, etc.) I hope to be done with the cutting tonight, which means that I should have time to finish the shirt this weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And done! The Very Very Red Quilt top

Dear readers - it was fairly obvious during this project that I was approaching this quilt rather grudgingly. "Finish the damn UFO," I kept saying to myself.

But what do you know? It was worth it. Look how pretty! (Lots of pictures, since I'm rather proud of it...)

Also, cats have magic powers! My cat can detect the moment a quilt top is spread out anywhere. And will be there instantly to sit on it.

This quilt top was made from assorted left-over pieces from many quilting projects. No new fabric (well, my mother has a basement of quilting fabric, why would I ever need to buy any? I simply raided her stash for border fabric.) There's remnant pieces here from projects that are over 10 years old. Totally impressive UFO-busting, if I say so myself. :)