Mic Check

Hi! I mean, assuming anyone is still out there reading this. 😉

I started this draft back in January; in the meantime a lot has happened. The world has exploded into something out of a pandemic movie, minus zombies and widespread looting (except for corporations and the rich, that is. #zing). COVID-19 has affected everyday life for us, just like pretty much everyone else in the US. We’re both working from home (at once both relieved to have income/health insurance and bemused at the strange determination of our companies to focus on business right now) and making the best of it; frankly this isn’t hard, apart from my superhuman need for solitude and the constant occupation of our living space by both humans in this family making true solitude utterly impossible. But I can still pick up takeout, and have largely been able to get everything we’ve needed at the grocery thus far, so we’re doing quite well. *shrug* To up the shenanigans ante, in mid-March I accidentally ate cauliflower, which I am allergic to (not because I am fool enough to eat it, but because a pizza place used the wrong crust and I had no idea what I was eating until it was too late), and promptly followed that up with a kidney infection. (Spoiler alert: I am not old, young, or pregnant enough to be socially forgiven for pissing myself, so thank fuck I was already working from home when that happened.)

All of the above was surpassed–at least in terms of my own personal bubble and emotions–by the death of my dad on March 30. This was both expected (he was old and had been dealing with a health issue for a few years) and totally shocking (we didn’t know how bad his condition really was because of him refusing treatment and our parents being unreliable narrators, plus he went downhill very rapidly–over the course of one day, really). On top of all this, I couldn’t travel to Texas to be with my family: my preexisting lung condition means flying during this particular pandemic would be incredibly fucking stupid, and at any rate the hospital was not allowing any non-patients in anyway. I said goodbye to him over a telephone, held to his comatose ear by a (very kind and sympathetic) nurse, which even for a dysfunctional family like ours is hardly closure. I’m not close with my parents; I won’t go into that so much here, aside from saying that complicated relationships make for complicated grief, and while I anticipated this I could not have prepared for the reality. My own struggle is compounded by the expectation that I should help manage my remaining parent’s emotions; not to air too much dirty laundry, but knowing what I know about their toxic “relationship” (if it may be so called) and having had difficult relationships with both of them makes this expectation really, really, unpalatable. At the same time, I want to help my siblings and do what they ask because they’re important to me. Rock, meet hard place.

TL;DR version: aside from getting pizza, it’s been shit, y’all. 

IMG_4801

Tycho side-eyeing his vet *and* this entire year so far.

IMG_20200322_180022

Your palate cleanser: my dog eating an apple.

Below is the draft as it was before the Ides n’ Ends of March whooped my boney ass. I still want to put it out there (I have serious regret over not just hitting “Publish” in February!) and hopefully re-engage here more regularly soon. Thanks for reading. ❤


Maybe others are noticing this also, but blogs seem to be in decline these days. I get it: Instagram makes it easy to immediately connect and interact. Even I use IG much more regularly than I blog (albeit at what I suspect is a lower-than-average frequency) so I’m part of that trend myself. But speaking only for myself, I still love blogs! Maybe it’s a temperament thing (I like reading long-form things AND writing long-form things) but I do enjoy reading posts on blogs I follow when I have the time and energy. Perhaps I’m just in the minority there, and am a dinosaur. 🙂

Obviously my own blog has suffered from neglect in recent months. I’ve been in a dark mental space for the past couple of years and am still struggling to emerge from that; between personal things, seemingly the entire world reverting to the baser human instincts of cruelty, hatred, and selfishness in the name of perpetuating white supremacy and late-stage capitalism, and my work life taking a demoralizing turn (plus having to write the company blog), I just haven’t had the mental energy to keep this space up the way I’d like to. Even my sewing and knitting practices have suffered: I made fewer things last year than in previous years, and so many stitches felt like work rather than a hobby I engage in for fun. This year isn’t exactly off to a running start either, which is sad; on one hand, I need an outlet to help me feel better, but on the other I struggle to participate in my hobbies when I’m feeling low–it’s a lose-lose situation. I don’t really have a point here, just trying to put into words why this blog has fallen by the wayside. 😉

There’s so much I didn’t share on the blog last year that I wanted to: home remodeling projects from 2018! Shit I made for our vacation! Our vacation!! A truly hilarious FAIL of a project from Halloween! The outfit I made–for Tom–for my office holiday party! There’s more I’m forgetting.

Normally for my first post of the year, I’d be excitedly fucking around with pie charts in Excel to break down what I sewed, choosing favorites among my successes and flops alike, and thinking ahead to the next year of creating. This year I’m not doing any 2019 Top 5 posts at all. 😦 (It’s funny, but having no blog posts for a lot of the stuff I made last year makes it really fucking hard to remember and count up the stuff I made!) Not because I quit sewing or anything–no way!–but because I just can’t find the energy to do it. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about 2020 though!

This year, I am committed to lightweighting my stash and only sewing/knitting from what I have. People, I have so much stash–for knitting and sewing alike. It’s appalling. I am not a minimalist (if my entire wardrobe fit–by choice–on one ugly-ass, not-in-a-closet-where-it-belongs rack I would weep bitter tears) but I’ve reached a point where I am overwhelmed by what I own and am finally prepared to do something about it. I want to lessen my consumption because I believe it’s the right thing to do for myself, for my family, and for the planet. I want to look at my fabric (and yarn) and see limitless creative potential instead of a cringe-inducing hoard. To that end, I have unsubscribed from all fabric and yarn emails and have also unfollowed any shops I followed on Instagram. I have also started the tedious, shame-vomit-inducing process of going through my stash and purging things. Because the yarn world has Ravelry, I am listing yarn for destash over there. I still need to purge more yarn, but for now I’ve done the first wave and it felt awesome. As for fabric outcasts, I dropped the first wave of those off at Goodwill already, and still hope to get rid of more. (Yes, I know: Goodwill donations usually end up foisted on the developing world and/or in the trash. My mental health and the planet are at odds on this item, and if I wait for a perfect solution to come along I will still be here waiting when EarthDeath occurs; I won’t have my sanity anymore, but I’ll have tons of fabric I won’t sew. O_o A compromise must be made. Don’t @ me.) I’m hoping that removing this roadblock of STUFF will help me dream up future projects, and generally get more joy out of my hobbies.

Fingers crossed, but my 2020 is improving in terms of my hobbies. I need more socks so I plan to focus my 2020 knitting efforts on my sock drawer, but I do want to cast on another sweater very soon too. Sewing-wise I have made 4 pairs of bottoms AND 3 knit tops in 2020, plus I’m still making that ridiculous quilt every month. O_o On balance, that’s a commendable start! There’s also a pile of mending for me to do, which while not creatively fulfilling is at least helpful and counts as sewing! Tom and I are also committed to eliminating as much single-use plastic from our house as we can, so I will be making reusable produce bags and cloth napkins, plus knitting dishcloths at some point. (Let me point out that it’s not individual people but corporations and industry that are chiefly responsible for the appalling state of our planet, and that the onus is being wrongfully placed on consumers to change instead of the biggest contributors to climate destruction. However, we still want to do the best we can to limit our own household’s contribution to waste and pollution and are in a position–economically, medically, and otherwise–to take these steps. I fully appreciate that this is not the case for everyone and do not intend my personal declarations to apply universally. <3)

I did buy yarn earlier this year because mohair is having A Moment and I didn’t have any for the 2 patterns I wanted to make (because who stashes a random sweater quantity of mohair, anyway?!?), and of course it turns out I AM ALLERGIC TO MOHAIR. :’-( WHYYYYYY?!? So all the mohair I bought was gifted to a friend–I hope she can see past my appalling taste in colors! In my mourning period I bought 4 skeins of sock yarn but now I swear I’m done! I did buy some fabric also, but a very kind friend gave me a gift card to a fabric store local to them and that was my motivation. I only got 2 fabrics, so it was a very modest haul.


In closing, I hope anyone still reading this is safe and able to find ways to care for themselves mentally and physically during this completely surreal time.

Speaking of surreal, here’s a .gif from a music video my band made several years ago; maybe it will cheer someone out there up. 😀 (And yes, the song is about Easter Peeps.)

123_11

Easter Peeps

2018 Top 5 – Hits, Misses, and Highlights

It is that magical time again: Top 5 season! I had hoped to have this post (and the next one) done before the end of the year, but you can see how well that worked out! #sorrynotsorry But better late than never!

top-5-of-2018.jpg

If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll know I look forward to this every year, as it’s a great opportunity to look back on my past year of sewing and see how my naive set-last-year goals materialized (or didn’t) and evaluate how valuable all my projects really were. And I love a good navel-gazing postmortem on my year, if I’m honest. 😉 As per usual, I will do 2 posts instead of 5 for this, since I find they group together well this way. But first, SEWING STATS!

In 2017, I managed to sew a whopping (for me) 31 things. One of my goals for 2018 was to meet or surpass that; if I count every single garment I made, I did it! 2018’s grand total was 39–a 25% increase over last year. (It would be 40 if I counted my hand-knitted sweater, but I’m keeping this count sewing-only.)

2018 Sewing Projects

(Sorry the chart is tiny–it won’t get any bigger for some reason!)

Categories are:

Tops – Medium Blue (7)
Skirts – Orange (1)
Pants – Gray (6)
Dresses – Yellow (7)
Layers – Light Blue (5)
Costume – Green (2)
Friends & Family (F&F) – Dark Blue (11)

That’s a pretty good mix of things! Obviously the F&F category was by far my biggest single category last year, and I was a little surprised when I tallied that up. None of those 11 items have been blogged, though. 4 of those items were adaptive shirts for a friend I love as she dealt with treatment for and recovery from a serious illness, 1 was a Driftless cardigan for that same badass friend, and the other 6 are for my main squeeze-slash-personal paparazzi, Tom. His were all those baseball t-shirts that I’ve made him before–he knows what he likes! I don’t have photos of the specialized tops or gifted Driftless of course, so you’ll just have to take my word on those! Neither do I have photos of Tom’s finished t-shirts all together, but here are the photos I do have of them:

IMG_20180311_141229

#1 of 6, before thread trimming and a final pressing…

IMG_20180326_162153

These eventually became full-fledged t-shirts

IMG_20180326_162207

The very shitty but very helpful diagram I made to help me remember what pieces to cut from which colors…

I’m proud to report that, apart from periods of extreme temperatures, these t-shirts get worn all the time! (And are still complimented frequently by his friends and co-workers, which blows my mind.)

The category with the most growth over 2017 was Dresses, and Tops had the biggest decrease in count YOY. I did fail to blog a few tops, and one of those I still can’t show you because it was a pattern test and it is unreleased as of this writing. I CAN NOW POST THAT BLOG BECAUSE TODAY IS ACTUALLY RELEASE DAY!!! So look out for that!

You’ll note 2 more new categories for last year: Costume and Layers. Costume is exactly what it sounds like, and Layers are things like cardigans. You saw one costume piece in this recent post, and the other was something I made to sell so I have no photos of that one for you. Once again, I failed to blog 4 of my 5 Layers pieces, but here they are along with the aforementioned unblogged tops:

20181224-Abbers-018

McCall 7471

20181224-Abbers-015

img_20190131_055253

4 Driftless Cardigans

Overall I was pleasantly surprised to see a mostly even distribution of my output in 2018 (sorry, skirts! I swear I love you). Now that we’ve done the stats, here are my Top 5 Hits:

Top 5 Hits

  1. Lander Pants
  2. Ariana Dresses
  3. Otari Hoodie
  4. Tamara Top
  5. Heather Dress

The Landers were far and away my biggest wardrobe Hit last year–I wore them so much!! I am planning a few more pairs for 2019 also. My Ariana dresses and Otari hoodie were straight-up staples also, and the Otari has the added bonus of being my first-ever pattern test. The Tamara is perfect for wearing with jeans on in-between days during Spring and Fall (and I feel very cute in it), and the Heather dress is perfect winter garb on days where I want to look a little nicer but still be comfortable. I already made that pattern again (something about January makes me realize I need Heathers, apparently) and I’m probably not done with this pattern yet! ❤

Now, unlike 2017, I don’t have any outright FAILS for last year–yay! But I will choose my least-successful projects and rank them, because why not?

Top 5 4 Misses

  1. Jailbird Hudson Pants (unblogged)
  2. Gray Driftless Cardigan (unblogged)
  3. Adaptive T-Shirt Mk. II (unblogged)
  4. Obnoxious Yellow & Navy Hemlock
image000000_31

The aforementioned Hudson pants and Hemlock tee serving their purpose

First of all, let me just say that all of the above items were worn multiple times. The first two are failures of fabrication: the Hudson pants were made from a fabric with no vertical stretch, so they’re not the most comfortable things to wear; the gray fabric of the cardigan has NO recovery and I swear to The Almighty Bobs that it is not long for this world.

the bobs

OBEY THE BOBS!!!

As for the adaptive t-shirt, there was one version that just did NOT want to get snaps installed in it–literal holes were torn in this knit top in the struggle with the snaps, and even then there were still pokey edges in a few places. I felt like a very lousy friend handing that one over (“Hey, sorry about your health crisis but maybe stabbing yourself with snap prongs will help you forget about it, urwelcomekthanxbai!”), but having only made 4 total tops I figured it was better to hand it over than not. 😦 Bless my friend, she wore it anyway and still speaks to me. #itsamiracle And the Hemlock, while perfectly wearable, is just not something I like wearing in public between the shape and the color; it has been demoted to sleepwear, which is a pretty good outcome actually.

With the business out of the way, let’s move on to Highlights!

Top 5 Highlights

  1. Personal Knitting Triumphs – In 2018, I tackled cables and made my first sweater! I also met my personal goal of completing at least 13 knitting projects last year, which is very exciting. I actually surpassed that goal also, getting to 15 finished projects. Spoiler: they were mostly socks. 😉
  2. MOAR REMODELING!!!!! – This is barely less exciting for me than my knitting, people: we got so much work done! I am hoping to do a separate post to show you everything eventually but for now, here is a list of what we did: refinished the upstairs floors, replaced the front and rear entry doors, totally revamped the landscaping out front, replaced the porch roof, and replaced the kitchen ceiling. And as a small-but-mighty bonus, we also had our guest room painted (a mere 7 years after moving in…yikes). Whew! The floors are the most staggering achievement, simply because they offer the biggest transformation IMO. (The landscaping is a very close 2nd there.) Plus it’s a great feeling as a lover of old houses to be able to restore something to its former glory after decades of wear and abuse. I can’t wait to show you everything!!
  3. Abbey 1, Student Loans 0 – I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS LAST YEARRRRRRR. For real, I don’t like parties but this made me almost want to throw one. I was able to pay them off early (by like, 8 and 11 months respectively, but still) and it still feels weird not to have to pay them every month. Full disclosure: I was one of the lucky ones. I had very little student debt to begin with compared to my peers (being a nerd can literally pay), and was some-crazy-how able to land a good job right out of college at the start of The Great Recession and remain gainfully employed full-time in the years since. Having said that, I reserve the right to party my metaphorical n*ts off over this achievement!
  4. Tales From The Crypt Redux – I mentioned this in a previous post, but I was honored to take part in this event again, and not as an emergency understudy. 😉 This time, my “character” was a talented 23-year-old  young lady who took part in Ziegfeld productions on Broadway during the Roaring 20s. It was a privilege to tell our guests about her (albeit a hard thing to do, since this is a mausoleum). I hope I did her some justice, if not in looks (she won many beauty contests…this is not my reality LOL!) then in showing her bubbly personality and love of her work and life. Eerily, this young lady very nearly got cast as Ramon Novarro’s leading lady in a movie (she was too tall for him!), and our production was mere days before the 50th anniversary of his death. Spooky!
  5. Family – I know, I hit this one every year! But last year was a big one: Tom and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. ❤ We also still have all three fluffy kids, which with Tycho’s age and medical history is never a guarantee. (He’s crankier than ever 😉 , and 2018 was also his 10th “Adoptiversary” and that was a wonderful milestone.) 2018 brought many challenges for us, from Tom’s job uncertainty to some private family issues that I won’t get into here; I’m glad that we’ve been there for each other and can laugh together, like and love each other, play MarioKart, and talk shit about people who deserve it together! 😉
hold this thread (3 of 21)

Big ugly sweater!!

img_20181014_182417

My first-ever cabled project on its very satisfied owner!

Dog Cowls.jpg

That’s right: I made cowls for my sister’s bassets. I’m that knitter, apparently.

Socks.jpg

This isn’t even all the socks I knit last year–2 pairs aren’t photographed!! xD

img_20180724_155110

Remodeling sneaky-peek; this is definitely a “Before” photo!

img_20180502_130342

Fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccckkkkkk YESSSSSSSSS

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 020

Fancy lady

BeFunky-collage

Familyyyyyy

Well, that does it for my first Top 5 post for 2018! I’ll be back soon with my Reflections and Goals post, just as soon as I finish writing it. 😉

 

 

A Triumphant(ish) Return!

Hellooooooooooo! Is anyone still out there? 🙂

After a serious lack of sewing mojo (and opportunity), I finally started sewing for Fall/Winter in November. O_o I also managed to sneak in a very minor costume project back in October, which I will also show you today.

I have missed blogging so much! (And sewing, for that matter.) This was a weird year: in February we found out that Tom would be without a job come November, which was highly stressful to say the least. (This was not helped by the extra-long timeline and a severance worth waiting for at the end of it.) Seriously folks, my hair started thinning and graying during that time because of how stressed out I was about it. I didn’t mention it here because I had no way of knowing how it would work out, and it didn’t seem appropriate to air it and have it hanging over not just my IRL life, but my blog and sewing life as well.

20181224 - Abbers - 012

Bonus cat-in-an-inappropriate-place photo

Happily, I can report that Tom not only found a better job before his end date, but that he still managed to get his severance out of the old place. Yay!!!! But between that whole thing and undertaking several remodeling projects in the Fall–smoke ’em if you got ’em, amirite?–I spent most of the year stressed out, fluttering between self-distracting productivity and creative paralysis (the kind with TONS of ideas but not the will to execute them). 😦 The real death blow for my sewing came in July/August when we had an appraisal done on the house and I had to tear down my sewing space. This was immediately followed by having our upstairs floors refinished, so all my sewing stuff in the attic got buried by a floor’s worth of furniture and clutter that we still haven’t fully put back to rights. And at that point, Tom did not have the new job lined up yet. Say it with me: UGHHHHHH. (Double UGHHHHHH for clinical depression and anxiety on top of all of this, which made everything that much worse.) I still haven’t got my supplies sorted out, but I’ve been able to sew a few things and am slowly relaxing and getting inspired again after being totally wound up for months on end.

So that’s been my last few months. But now we can get back to THE SEWING!!!

First up: a Talvikki sweater!

20181224 - Abbers - 023

Oof, that face! O_o

20181224 - Abbers - 024

The important view of this pattern

20181224 - Abbers - 025

20181224 - Abbers - 026

Artsy photo

This was a much-needed “win” project after months of limited sewing time and scarce inspiration. I love the fabric/pattern combo, and think it will be great dressed up or down through Winter!

The fabric is a scuba from Marcy Tilton, and I love it. I hardly ever shop there (it’s an issue of the selection not being totally up my alley and the prices, both for fabric AND shipping) but I’m glad I treated myself to this piece. Initially I thought I’d make a skirt but I have to acknowledge that knit skirts just aren’t my jam. I had *just* enough yardage to get this top cut out–and I mean just. It was worth the tetris.

And now for something unlike anything I usually trouble you with around here: a costume piece!

20181224 - Abbers - 001

Yes, I took outdoor photos of this thing *in December* for you all. You’re welcome.

20181224 - Abbers - 003

The back is the best bit, of course.

This is underwear. 1920s-30s underwear, to be exact. (And yes, those are vintage shoes ca. 1930s also–I love them.) The pattern is Depew Patterns #2029 and I very highly recommend it. I didn’t really follow the directions for sewing it but everything went together beautifully. Really, it’s a relatively easy project if you fancy some old-fashioned (and complicated-in-the-bathroom, since it doesn’t have a snap crotch) undergarments!

You might be wondering why I’d go to the trouble of making costume underwear, especially since I own extant undergarments from this exact time period (that DO have snap crotches). Well…I had an event!

I mentioned it in my Top 5 post for last year, but this event is called “Tales from the Crypt.” It’s held at Green Lawn Abbey and this year, I was honored to be asked to help with the event as an actor once again. (And not as an understudy, yay!) Since the researcher who did most of the work on my “character” and I had more time to talk about a staging setup, we had quite a developed idea going into the event. (Which was definitely mostly his idea!) He was going for a boudoir-like setting: a vanity table, mirror and brush set, and me in a dressing gown surrounded by playbills. (My “character” was a Ziegfeld Follies girl!) I was game, but didn’t want to wear my extant undergarments because they’re ivory and slightly sheer. My skin is also ivory and slightly sheer–not a good mix. 😉 And while awe-inspiring, the setting–a mausoleum ca. 1927 whose interior is white marble, at night, lit mainly by candlelight and gas lamps–didn’t really lend itself to my pasty skin in pasty lingerie standing out against the white background. So I decided to make something!

GLA

Green Lawn Abbey; photo is property of Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association

The teddy fabric is polyester charmeuse but the color is good for the era, and making it myself allowed me to line the entire bodice for added opacity. (No bra was going to work with that back!) I was also planning to make a kimono-inspired robe from Depew Patterns #3039 (also from 1927–how freaky is that?!?) but I picked a brocade that ended up being way too heavy for the shape of the design. I got it most of the way made and tried it on, and thought it looked like an appropriative wizard’s robe. (The fabric had a general Asian motif, since that was very popular in the 1910s and 1920s.) O_o So I scrapped that and decided I would wear my own extant vintage robe, which is a striking lapis blue color dating to the 1940s. The style is very much kimono-inspired, and could pass for something earlier.

20181224 - Abbers - 005

As close the The Charleston as I’m going to get…

And then on the day, the weather was COLD. Like, mid-40s and raining. And this building isn’t heated. The event lasts for multiple hours, and consists of 4 separate monologues for each actor on opening night. So in an effort to protect my health* I opted for a true vintage dress in the end. But I did wear my teddy underneath it! I was very nervous, and wearing something I made always makes me feel more confident in any situation. 😀

*Yeah yeah, I know that the temperature doesn’t make people sick. However, exposure can lower your body’s ability to fend off invading pathogens; since my lungs are vulnerable to infections already, this was not a risk I was willing to take.

Here are some photos from the event, courtesy of my resident paparazzi husband Tom, who was “voluntold” to take photos of the 2nd show that weekend. 😉

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 020

Fancy lady

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 041

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 021

You can see Sylvia, my “character,” in the background photo

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 038

Artful makeup application

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 040

Playbills for actual productions Sylvia was in!

20181027 - TFTC_Greenlawn_Abbey - 070

Our intrepid cast this year!

So that’s a lot of words about non-sewing stuff, far fewer about a cool sweater, and probably too many about a silly costume piece made out of polyester. 😉 I’m looking forward to sharing my (likely) final project for 2018 shortly, as well as doing my Top 5 posts for this year. I’ve been pretty absent from this blog lately, and I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my friends, both in real-life and online. Here’s hoping 2019 is a more active year in all those respects!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again soon!

 

In Which The Blogger Wears A Cupcake Wrapper

Hello out there! You guys, I have had a couple of posts in Draft mode for months but haven’t been motivated to finish them or get photos in a timely manner–lazy blogger alert! 😉

What have I been up to? Apart from the usual life stuff, I have actually been sewing quite a bit! I’ve made 19–NINETEEN!!!!!–things since I last wrote, with 2 more in progress. 11 of the 19 weren’t even for me: Tom got 6 new baseball tees (aka Easy Palate Cleansers), and someone I love got 4 adaptive tops ahead of a moved-up medical procedure, followed by a Driftless cardigan to celebrate her ongoing recovery. I have photos of 0 of those things, LOL. I may share Tom’s t-shirts eventually, depending on whether 1.) They are all clean at the same time for photos (highly unlikely) and 2.) We feel like it. I do kinda have my heart set on a .gif of him where he stands still and his t-shirt changes though!

As for me, I have 3 pairs of Lander pants/shorts to show you (photos are done, post is mostly done but I keep re-writing it because it was over 2500 words and UGH), plus 4 Driftless cardigans, plus this thing today. There is one thing I made that I’m not going to write a standalone post for, because it is far from my best work sewing-wise:

That’s a ponte dress made from M6886 and modified to have a split hem and elbow-length sleeves. I made every possible mistake on that project, which was a last-minute thing because I had a gig and was panicking about what to wear. O_o (For instance: I confused the CB seam I added for a side seam and sewed it up accordingly, on the serger to boot. FUUUUUUUUUUUUU.)

But anyway, on to my most recent project! This thing proved to be a queue-jumper, both sewing-wise and blogging-wise: I bought and printed the pattern last Friday, and finished the dress this Saturday. 😀

Presenting the Myosotis dress, View A, from Deer & Doe!

paper towel (3 of 17)

So fashun

paper towel (4 of 17)

A Twirl in 4 parts…1

paper towel (5 of 17)

…2

paper towel (6 of 17)

…3

paper towel (7 of 17)

…4

paper towel (8 of 17)

Back view, now with creepy grabby claw hands

paper towel (10 of 17)

Cupcake Wrapper

paper towel (11 of 17)

Obligatory “Thanks, it has pockets” photo

paper towel (15 of 17)

Yep, I can still see my feet…

paper towel (1 of 17)

Slightly evil?

Surely I’m not the only one who gets these weird, immediate urges to sew something specific RIGHT NOW, am I? That’s exactly what happened with this project; I totally overlooked the pattern on its (very recent) release day, but then got sucked in so completely that I shamelessly copied the sample. I was so desperate to make this thing that I even put the PDF together myself instead of waiting for a copy shop or print version. Yep, that’s right: I couldn’t wait to make a big white ruffled muumuu. 😉

I wasn’t kidding when I said I copied their sample: they linked the fabric they used (a white-on-white seersucker from Fabric.com, of all places) and I bought it. Normally I really dislike seersucker–I don’t want my clothes to look like they’ve been slept in and re-worn sans ironing–but I thought the added texture would help this dress feel more interesting. And honestly, I still dislike seersucker, or at least this one: this shit feels like thick paper towels. O_o But I think the texture works with the design and don’t regret the choice; I have about 1 or 1.5 yards left over though (D&D calls for 3.25 yards and I bought 4 because I was reading the 45″ width requirements, derp) and I really, really don’t know what to do with it. UGH.

extra rolls of paper towel (19 of 49)

My fave photo of the dress “floofed” out!

extra rolls of paper towel (20 of 49)

Swish swish

Pattern Notes

This was my first-ever Deer & Doe pattern. (I know, right?) On the whole, I’m really pleased with it! The PDF was fairly compact for a full dress–29 pages–and the pages lined up beautifully. All the pieces fit together pretty well (more on that later) and overall, I felt that the product was professional and well done.

I made a size 34. The only pattern adjustment I made was to add 1″ of length to the bodice; the darts were hitting me in the right place, so I opted to add it at the waist. Mostly I wanted insurance: this pattern has a raised waistline but I didn’t want to be in empire waist or pregnancy speculation territory! (Plus their brand ambassador is 5’8″ and she lengthens their bodices too, so I felt like this was the right call.) I snooped finished Myosotis dresses on Instagram and saw that some people were getting drag lines at the shoulder near the collar, so I made sure to check the shoulder slope and back measurements before beginning; I didn’t make any adjustments there. The dress is a little tough to get on and off, since the waist is closed and I have broad shoulders. (My waist might be smaller than the dress’s, but my shoulders definitely aren’t!) If I’m being really picky, I could use a hollow chest adjustment along the front opening: it sits away from my body a bit.

I kept the skirt short (i.e., unchanged from the pattern), mostly to keep it from feeling frumpy. Needless to say, I am SUPER GLAD I added that inch to the waist, because this thing is short! And the waistline is still quite above my natural waist–by about 2″. But the dress easily passes the “fingertip test,” so it’s office-appropriate in my opinion. (Having short limbs for your height DOES have some advantages!)

paper towel (17 of 17)

Okay, “bump watch” scenario has not been totally avoided…

paper towel (14 of 17)

Note to self: do not jump around in this thing at work.

Construction

Myosotis is a really simple project, particularly if you’ve made button-up shirts or shirtdresses before. I sewed the entire thing on Saturday, complete with multiple breaks. (I did cut it out on a different day though, which helped!) I did as much as I could with my serger; french seams would have been too bulky, and I wanted finished edges to prevent fraying. I did NO hand sewing for this project: the hems are topstitched, and even my buttons are sewn on by machine. (Seriously, I do not know why I waited so long to use the button foot that came with my machine–IT IS AMAZING.)

The directions were fine, though I pretty much just read through them once and then went about my business. I didn’t use their collar method, because the Four Square Walls method is still usable for a Mandarin collar and that’s my preferred way. (Having said that, the collar isn’t my best. Womp womp.) I think the open neckline is really pretty; it balances the volume of the rest of the dress and puts a bit more skin in the mix, which I like. My front bodices aren’t as sharply angled at the turn as the sample or line art, so I may not have clipped far enough into the seam; I blame the white-on-white-on-white situation going on, plus sewing at night with sub-optimal lighting–it was hard to tell the difference between thread and seersucker after a while! 😉

My biggest disappointment, apart from inadvertently making a dress out of paper towels, is the gathering. I bought a gathering foot for my machine, but we will need to spend some quality time getting to know each other because we…weren’t instant friends. Plan B was to turn the needle tension up on my machine, which actually produced beautiful, even gathers. But when the time came to attach gathered stuff to non-gathered stuff, I was disappointed by how much I had to relax the gathering to get things to fit together. 😦 I expected capital-G Gathering, you know? So they aren’t very evenly distributed because I had to keep letting them out between the side seams. I get it: the pieces need to be wide to achieve the shape of the dress. But UGH. The only pieces I’m really pleased with are the sleeves, which look nicely–and intentionally–gathered.

extra rolls of paper towel (48 of 49)

Some gathers…sorta.

Conclusions

Aside from a few complaints about the fabric and the gathers, I really am pleased with this project. It’s fun and easy to wear, and I think I did a good job on the sewing (distribution of the gathers aside). Plus it’s like nothing else I own, so it has that extra “novelty” appeal. I am sad that I can’t wear it home for hair appointments though, LOLOL. 😉

 

extra rolls of paper towel (35 of 49)

“Meh, the shoes are okay I guess…”

extra rolls of paper towel (2 of 49)

“Dude, you’re blocking my shoes.”

extra rolls of paper towel (38 of 49)

“Come here, buddy!”

extra rolls of paper towel (37 of 49)

Or don’t…

Honestly, I probably won’t make View B because it’s too plain for me–if I’m going oversized, it needs to have something going on–but might try View A again at some point. (In a flannel for Fall? Or a sleeveless version?) Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just make peace with paying $13 for a pattern I used one time and move on with my life!

And can I just say that I have never been happier NOT to be a vlogger? Because I cannot for the life of me figure out how the fuck to pronounce this pattern’s name. My-OS-otis? Me-OS-otis? Myo-SOTIS? Mitosis? Milo-and-Otis??? 😉

And now it’s time for OUTTAKES!!!!! And also a .gif, which may actually be the best one yet.

extra rolls of paper towel (24 of 49) (1)

Another blog, another jump FAIL

extra rolls of paper towel (25 of 49)

Come on, lady! How hard is it to jump gracefully?!?

extra rolls of paper towel (26 of 49)

UGH, Seriously?!?

extra rolls of paper towel (21 of 49)

There ya go!!

paper-towel-dance

“I’m A Little Cupcake,” which is my version of “I’m A Little Teapot” meets Riverdance I guess…

Well folks, that’s it for me today! I should be back really soon with my Landers, which have been patiently waiting since FEBRUARY to get blogged. 😀

 

2017 Top 5, Part 2: Reflections and Goals

Top 5

Welcome back! This is my final post of the year* ( 😦 ), and the thrilling conclusion to my Top 5 recap of my 2017 sewing!

*Sorry peeps, I meant to have this ready before the New Year began, buuuuut I didn’t make it! At least I started it before 2017 f*cked off, right? 😉

Let’s get into it with…

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I sewed a lot! – For me, anyway. 😉 I’m really bowled over by how many things I finished this year, and the fact that most of them were successful additions to my wardrobe. It is a much different feeling than when I reflected on 2016, that’s for sure!
  2. I have a lot of clothes – I am not a “Capsule Wardrobe” person, nor am I a minimalist. I like clothes! But I have a lot of them, and there are many pieces that I don’t wear. This is partly due to my climate, which has highly variable seasons throughout the year; but part of it is down to just being the sort of person who struggles to get rid of stuff. :-/ My sewing still can’t provide everything I need (YET!!), but that doesn’t mean I need to keep things needlessly!
  3. I have a lot of fabric – Again, same as above–minimalism isn’t my jam. But I do know when I end up with too much, and I’m there! But I must say, my abundant stuff is very well cataloged. 😉
  4. Inspiration Paralysis – This was more of a Q3 and Q4 problem this year, but I’ve felt kind of overwhelmed by all the things I want to make lately! I need more basics, but there are some things I have been desperate to make for months, too. The end result is that I don’t sew anything: my creative brain short-circuits and I just chill out on the couch instead! Or I may buy fabric for one of those must-make items but not start it! Not cool. I haven’t found a way to get around this that works for me–yet. (And no, the answer isn’t “start multiple projects at once.” That kind of chaos in my sewing room leads to a different kind of paralysis, and I’m not doing it!) But I think one key thing will be to make a note of those big, tempting, day-dream projects: I have a Fashionary, and I have an Excel sheet. Maybe if I put them down somewhere, I will feel like they’re getting some of my creative attention without distracting me from stuff I will be able to incorporate into my closet sooner (and with fabric I already have).
  5. Selfish Bitch – Obviously this is a bit tongue-in-cheek! But I really am disappointed in my sewing output for others this year. My bestie wants potholders for her mom, and possibly tea towels as well; my sisters should have Dirty Bird potholders of their own; Tom deserves more jeans and things!
img_20180101_180039.jpg

Fabric spreadsheet snapshot! Spoiler alert: there’s a TON of fabric on there. O_o

Beryl

A prime example of a thing I want to make and bought wild fabric for, but that isn’t terribly practical. (Photo property of Named Clothing.)

With these reflections in mind, I do have some (vague, as usual) goals for 2018! But first, let’s see how I did on 2017’s goals, shall we?

2017 Goals: Recap and Evaluation

  1. Cull the stash. Yes and no. 😉 I did destash about 20 pieces on eBay starting this summer (and basically broke even between shipping and what I sold them for–it wasn’t really about making $!) AND donated some to a local craft store. But I also bought plenty more fabric than I sold OR sewed.
  2. Make my jeans. HELL TO THE YES!!!! Finally. 2018 will hopefully be the year I kick all the RTW skinnies out of my house in favor of self-made pairs!
  3. Make basics. YES!!!!! Lark tees, jeans, warm-but-interesting tops, a black denim skirt…I did it.
  4. Conscious, Handmade gifts. Meh. Tom got a birthday sweater thing, plus another sweater thing and fingerless mitts for Xmas, so that’s good. (He also received 3 pairs of knitted socks this year, but not really as “gifts.”) Bestie got 2 pairs of socks AND a cowl knitted for her birthday (she really loved them!!). But otherwise, that’s all I managed. My 5th reflection above sums up my disappointment here. I also still need to make a baby shark for Dunuh’s owner’s new baby sister! O_o
  5. Draw stuff in my Fashionary so I don’t forget my ideas. Mostly fail. I was wayyyy better at doing this earlier in the year, but fell off the wagon. But per Reflection 4, I should probably revisit this in 2018!

As far as I can tell, I’m about 3 out of 5 on those (I’m giving myself partial credit for numbers 1 and 4!); not bad, but not great. That brings us to my goals for 2018:

  1. Cull the stash some more! I have lots of pieces of fabric marked for destash, I just need to get them out and get them listed. Hopefully with a full 12 months of this, I will get rid of plenty of stuff!
  2. Make at least 1 basic item for every “shiny” item! I figure this will help me make peace between the side of my brain that knows we just need to get dressed and the other side, which wants to make more exciting, spur-of-the-moment-inspiration/”concept” pieces instead. Addendum to this goal: keep track of my ideas better!
  3. Make a new winter coat. This has been on my list before, I know! But I’m starting to feel scruffy in my years-old RTW coat and I’d like to make a good, everyday coat to replace it. I also want a bold color for this project, which means I need to find material. O_o If anyone sees a good deal on lemongrass-colored wool coating, let me know! 😉
  4. Keep my sewing area(s) clean and tidy. This is always a problem for me–I hate tidying up and cleaning (I am my father’s daughter!), and always neglect my sewing areas at some point(s). In the new year, I want to keep my sewing room and the guest room–where my fabric lives–tidy enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone who doesn’t live with me saw them. I have to be honest: this will be as hard as keeping my stash under control, but I’m gonna try really hard. 😦
  5. Match or exceed the number of garments sewn in 2017. As I’ve said, my goal is to replace all my RTW stuff with things I have made–I am serious about that. In order to help me get rid of RTW clothes AND fabric, I will need to keep sewing at 2017’s pace or better. This will be a fun challenge!
simplicity-stadium-coat-pattern-8470-envelope-front

Simplicity 8470 View D – Future Winter Coat! (Image property of Simplicity.)

img_20180101_180749.jpg

Color-coded highlighting denotes stuff I’m going to list for destash

Garment Type

My 2017 results–aiming to top this in 2018!

On the whole, I think my 2018 “Goals and Shit” are pretty boring, but hopefully they’ll help me grow and enjoy my hobby in the coming year. And you guys, I accidentally added a garment to my 2017 tally on 12/31/2017–I made an entire top from start to finish!! Ridiculous, right? 😉 So technically my 2017 count is now 31, so I have a slightly bigger challenge for myself in 2018! I am off to a running start though, because I MADE ANOTHER TOP TODAY. That’s right: I hit 31 things on 12/31, and on Day 1 of 2018, I made my first garment of that year. Who am I?!?!? (To be fair, I cut both projects out the other day, so that was one less thing to do!)

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start–I’ll see you all soon!

Do you set sewing goals for the year to come? Do you enjoy reflecting on the past year and seeing what you’ve accomplished and learned, etc.? (If you wrote a blog post about it, feel free to link to it in the comments so I can read it!) How do you balance sewing things you need with inspiration/impulse sewing? 

 

Dude Sewing: 2017 Edition

Hey there!

I’ve missed this blog, you guys–I did not intend to drop off the face of the internet! Stuff just got a bit busy and stressful, and even though I’ve been sewing, I just haven’t had the energy to get photos of stuff. I’m working on that, by the way! 😉 But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some things I have made for Tom this year.

I was mentally counting up all the things I have sewn this year and it occurred to me that I wasn’t even counting the stuff I’ve made for Tom! Admittedly, it’s not a lot, but it’s more than 0 so it counts.

First up is what I’ve always called a “baseball t-shirt” in classic Tom colors:

11.24.17 clothes dump (32 of 42)

Senior portrait pose!

11.24.17 clothes dump (33 of 42)

Aerobics class?

11.24.17 clothes dump (34 of 42)

Yep, definitely aerobics class. 😉

11.24.17 clothes dump (35 of 42)

Back view

This is a copy from a RTW shirt of Tom’s; he liked the fit and style, but it had a big ugly brand tag on the front near the hem. He hated walking around with a massive tag on display so much that he never really wore it. (I didn’t even realize he had that shirt–that’s how rarely he wore it!) I cut the shirt apart and used it as the pattern. Ta-da!

I used Kaufman Laguna jersey for this shirt, which I sorta recommend. “Sorta,” because it shrinks like the devil even after pre-treatment AND the color of this orange has faded considerably. My other complaint is that different colorways shrink at different rates, which is deeply frustrating. This is actually the second iteration of this shirt for Tom. The first one was a literal copy in terms of dimensions, and it shrank so much after a wash and dry (again, DESPITE being rather roughly handled–i.e., hot water and hot dryer–in pre-washing to prevent this) that it is now too short for him to want to wear it. For this version, I didn’t make it any wider, but made it a full 2″ longer; I also don’t dry it in the dryer except for on the Extra Low setting. That is not my idea of a workhorse fabric, and in my opinion, cotton/lycra jersey ought to fulfill that role without making such a damn fuss. Having said all that bad stuff, the fabric is comfy to wear and a pleasure to cut and sew. Plus it’s the right weight for men’s t-shirts and comes in a lot of colors, which is always nice. For the sake of convenience, I would use this fabric again–but with caution. It can be such a challenge to find knits that are suitable for men’s t-shirts, both in weight and in color/pattern. Do you have a favorite material for making dude t-shirts that you’d like to share?

Somehow, Tom gets a lot of love for this t-shirt when he wears it! I know I should just accept that for the awesome ego boost that it is, but it doesn’t make sense to me; it’s just a baseball t-shirt! 😀 But the color palette is very “him,” and I expect that combination doesn’t appear often in stores, especially free of logos and branding. Reactions tend to get more intense when he explains where he got it, LOL.

My other Dude Sewing project this year is also my first-ever Burda pattern!

11.24.17 clothes dump (36 of 42)

Too cool to care he’s in a photo…

11.24.17 clothes dump (37 of 42)

Posing is such hard work!

11.24.17 clothes dump (39 of 42)

11.24.17 clothes dump (41 of 42)

How big that cowl *really* is…

11.24.17 clothes dump (38 of 42)

Blue Steel

This is Burda 6718, from the “Burda Young” line. I made View B, the one with a big cowl/funnel collar and no pocket. I made this as Tom’s birthday gift this year, although a May birthday in Ohio isn’t a great time for this kind of garment! That’s especially true given the fabric I used: Polartec Power Stretch. I heard about it from Two On, Two Off and bought it at Rockywoods.com. This fabric is completely awesome, I just wish it was easier to find in more colors! The face is a smooth jersey with a dry hand-feel, and the back side is fleece-y. It’s kinda thick and very stretchy, and I certainly didn’t use it to its full potential for this pattern in terms of the stretch factor. It does a great job of blocking cold air and wind compared to normal sweatershirts, I am told. 🙂

I made a size 40 for Tom, and the fit is spot-on. It’s loose enough that he can wear it over other shirts but not so big that it looks sloppy. (For reference, Tom is about 5’10” and usually wears a Medium in shirts and hoodies.) It was SO EASY to make. The only complicated things were the casing and buttonholes for the drawstring, and those were still very simple. (The pattern would have you use grommets, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want this to be my first attempt at setting them. I made buttonholes instead!)

Tom gets compliments on this thing all the time, too! (And unlike the t-shirt, I feel quite smug when I hear about them. 😉 ) The Burda Young line is very “cool” and fashionable, and really, this garment isn’t something I’ve seen an allegory for in stores. I also think that this fabric really adds to the cool factor. The colorway I picked has a melange effect, something Tom admired about the sweater knits I used for some tops early this year. For the effort expended, this pattern provides an amazing return on fashionable warmth! Tom has already requested more of these, especially if I can find more of this Polartec material. 😀

I know they’re not as exciting as a pair of jeans, but I’m glad I made these things for Tom. He appreciates the effort and thought that go into making something for him, but he also doesn’t have expectations or grabby-hands when it comes to my sewing time. Since sewing can be such an all-consuming and expensive hobby, having a supportive partner makes it that much more enjoyable for me. ❤ Along with more jeans, I’m hoping to try making him some underwear soon (I KNOW, WHAT THE HELL?!?) but as we all know, I tend to put myself first in the sewing room so who knows when he’ll get them! 😉

How about some outtakes? (Warning: .gif ahead)

Buckethubs

In a pinch, this thing could be used to make a Lord Buckethead costume…

meeee

Cowl in action!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some stuff I made FOR MEEEEEEEEEE. Thanks for reading!

 

 

It’s Spring, So Here Are Four Winter Things

Well, this post took me long enough, didn’t it? 😀

I don’t talk much about my non-sewing activities on this blog, as I’m fairly sure they’re boring. But back in January, I decided to audition for a 90’s alt-rock cover band and guess what? I GOT IN!!! I’m really excited–that genre has been a long-term love of mine from back when I’d sneak downstairs on Saturdays to watch MTV as a kid–but it’s been a lot of work. I have to learn not just the existing set list, but a whole host of other songs we want to add as well; then there’s the weekly practice, which takes most of an evening after work. I’ve had a really hard time adjusting to my new obligations when it comes to time management, so a top that I started for Jungle January took me until March to pick up again (and it was a FAIL–salt in the wound). Yikes! To be fair, I was also working feverishly on some hand-knitted birthday gifts for my bestie (2 pairs of socks and 1 cowl), so any spare craft time went to those items first. (And yes, they were delivered on time!) Here’s hoping I get used to my new extracurricular activity and make more time for sewing, eh?

So anyway, I had hoped to be sharing a leopard-print blouse–that I started in JANUARY–with you today. Unfortunately, I am still without a leopard print garment. 😦 Since M7436 is a big ol’ shirt, I didn’t bother doing any flat pattern measurements. Yeahhhhhh, my lats and shoulders were too big for the shirt. (Thanks, one year of varsity track and field!) I’m bummed, since I had been looking forward to this top being done after 2 months of not having time for it but badly wanting to wear it. Lesson learned: MEASURE SHIT.

To console myself, I jumped headlong into something else. I had bought some sweater knits–my first ever–on Fabric.com about 3 months ago and have been eager to use them. Here they are! (NAYY.) I have also been wearing the same busted-ass pair of Forever21 sweatpants for 5 winters (and falls…and springs…) now and was due for at least one new pair, so I bought some french terry knits from Urban Rag Trader (NAYY) for those. So while I meant to be showing you all 1 new thing, I have 4 different-than-planned things to share instead!

First up: M7471, View B!

Shirts and Sweats-7

A good depiction of the drape of the front.

Shirts and Sweats-8

Closer look at the front collar

Shirts and Sweats-10

Back wing-a-lings in action

Shirts and Sweats-6

We made the same face!

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how this top would work for me–the envelope photo looks a little too oversized, but I loved the idea of it based on the line art. I picked View B because it had all the elements I wanted: straight hem, long sleeves, and no ruching. I am really, really happy with the finished top: it’s a winner! I don’t think it’s too much fabric at all, and the shape of the top is interesting and stylish (but very, very easy to sew). It also used a lot less fabric than I expected: I had 2 yards of my knit, and I still have enough left to use for something else! The key, I think, is to pick a fabric that drapes well; otherwise this top will look like you are wearing a pile of fabric in heavy folds. Just my $0.02, anyway.

Pattern Adjustments

The only adjustments I made to this pattern were vertical: it would have been a belly top on me otherwise! O_o (If you go to the pattern page on the BMV website, look at the model in the red top–that’s the one I made, and that’s about how short it would have been on me…no thanks.) I added 2.5″ at the waistline (which is marked on the pattern) and gave myself an extra 1.5″ at the hem; I only took a 5/8″ hem. I left the sleeves alone after taking some measurements and deciding they were fine as-is.

Construction Notes

Like I said, this top is dead simple to make. Just beware of the instructions: they have you baste the shoulders and necklines together, and then tell you to fold down the front collar at the fold line (after you’ve basted PAST it), baste that down somehow, and then sew the shoulder/neckline seam for real. DO NOT BOTHER WITH THAT. I blindly followed the directions to that point and then realized I’d be sewing the same thing twice, for no good reason. I unpicked my basting from the foldlines on up, folded the collars down FIRST, and then basted everything. So much simpler.

The instructions also have you sew the side seams before setting the lower sleeves…yeah, nuts to that. I put the lower sleeves in flat and whipped up the side seams and sleeves in one pass with the serger.

Next up is M7538, View A:

Shirts and Sweats-19

Front view! You can see the top overlaps due to my fabric being lightweight…

Shirts and Sweats-16

Back view, which is basically identical to the front (right wraps over left, etc.)

Shirts and Sweats-18

Boob crossover in action! Nursing or soon-to-be-nursing folks, this top could probably easily be hacked for access! (I am neither: just an idiot who plays with her clothes.)

Now if M7471 has flown somewhat under the radar, THIS pattern is one that got everyone’s attention when it was released. It BEGS to be color-blocked. So of course, I did the most boring thing possible with this awesome pattern and just used 1 color for the entire thing. Style FAIL. 😉

The only things I would change if I make this one again (and I think I will) are to add a little less length, take a wedge out at each upper back piece near the shoulder blade, change the shoulder seam slope just slightly (those two factors cause the shoulders to fall down during wear), and use a heftier fabric. I think my hatchi knit is a bit too lightweight for this pattern, so the crossovers at the bust show through and look a bit bumpy. But otherwise, I am happy with this one.

Pattern Alterations

This is one of those tricky patterns for long-torso’d people. It clearly says, “No provisions made for above-the-waist adjustments.” So if you need that length, you have to figure out how to add it. My solution? Slice all the pieces except for the top ones along their horizontal centers and add 1″. I also added some amount at the hem, 1.5″ maybe? (Can’t remember, sorry!) It was definitely enough length, and I ended up taking a lot off the hem before hemming the top (it was covering my entire ass). There are a couple of spots on the body that are too long as well, so I’ll make further adjustments if there’s a “next time.”

I also went for half-length sleeves, hitting at my elbows. I thought long sleeves would be too much of this color on me, and with the low necklines front AND back, it wasn’t ever going to be a “keeping warm” shirt anyway. I also prefer shorter sleeved tops under cardigans and other toppers, so it was an easy choice. Since that length isn’t in the pattern, I just measured my arm to where I wanted the sleeve to hit and added 5/8″ hem allowance to that.

Construction Notes

Make sure you transfer your markings carefully–you’ll want them. The top looks like a bunch of twisted, overlapped fabric strips, but really it’s just clever pieced construction. Orienting your pieces is really the only challenge in this pattern, and even that isn’t difficult if you were careful from the beginning. I did opt to baste all of my pieces in place before serging.

I have mentioned this next bug-bear before (when I made my Jungle January dress last year), but I encountered a very bloated sleeve cap on this pattern: it was just way, way excessive for a pattern designed for knits. On top of that, they expect you to set the sleeve rather than sew it in flat. I’ve found McCall instructions for knit patterns to be old-fashioned; they will get you there in the end, but there is almost always a better way than they recommend. Food for thought…

And last but not least, 2 versions of the True Bias Hudson Pants:

Shirts and Sweats-24

Pair #1! (Photo was lightened somewhat to show the detail–black fabric is hard to photograph!)

Shirts and Sweats-27

Back view

Shirts and Sweats-28

Using those pockets!

Shirts and Sweats-29

Side view

Shirts and Sweats-30

Puppy time!

Shirts and Sweats-31

Blue pair!

Shirts and Sweats-32

Wayyyyyyy stretchier than the first pair!

Having made the men’s version of this pattern before, there isn’t much new to say about the original women’s version. The pattern goes together very easily, though I did deepen the pockets by about 1.5″ and omit the drawstring at the waist. I made the smallest size and cut the elastic to 7″ shorter than my high hip measurement (I made no adjustments to the waistband pattern piece for my size). My only issue is that the black french terry fabric isn’t as stretchy as I need it to be, so the ankle bands make that pair hard to take off!

I didn’t add any length to either pair–both my fabrics stretch on the grain slightly (or in the case of the blue one, about as much as on the cross-grain) and I didn’t really care if they ended up full-length or not because I don’t wear sweatpants except at home. I think I got away with it because of the stretch of my fabrics, because the Hudsons are designed to be dropped in the crotch, and because I have a small butt and short-for-my-height scrawny legs. I also wear these at my high hip, and not at my waist. YMMV, so check the rise and leg length if you aren’t sure!

So there you have it, 4 things! Hopefully I won’t be gone as long before my next post–I have some plans but that’s never a guarantee. 😉 Just in case it takes me a while, here are some cute Mulder photos to hold y’all over!

Shirts and Sweats-14

THAT FACE.

Shirts and Sweats-23

Happy model pup!

 

Top Fives, Part 1: Hits, Misses, and Highlights!

top-5-2016

It’s Top 5 time again! Thanks to Gillian for hosting once again, and to everyone out there who has shared their own thoughts and data under the prompts–I look forward to reading these posts every year!

Since I always enjoy reading other people’s recaps this time of year, I figured I would share my own! I will do two separate Top 5 posts this year: one for hits, misses, and non-sewing highlights, and another for goals and reflections. I’m not a prolific enough sewer (YET.) to justify separating out those first few things, LOL! So without further ado, here we go!

Top 5 Hits

This is a tough one, because I had almost all successful projects this year. For the sake of expediency, all my Sharking is ineligible for the rankings. 😉

  1. Buffalo Check Archer – This shirt has gotten so much wear in its first few months of life! I am also a big fan of the snaps.
  2. Dude Jeans – Bragging rights + workmanship = Definite Top 5 project. I am still really proud of these jeans!
  3. Holiday Outfit – I worked with lace for the first time and powered through some mojo-busting creative challenges to get this project finished. I am very happy with the dress and know it will be worn again!
  4. Penny Raglan Trio – I’m counting these as a cluster; the rose gold and green striped versions get worn the most, but I am really glad to have all three of these tops in my wardrobe.
  5. Moss Mini Skirt – Again, this got worn quite a lot when the weather was warmer. It’s not getting worn as much now because it turns out I don’t have tights that go with navy. :-/
top-5-hits

Archer, Dude Jeans, Holiday Dress, Penny Trio, and Inside-Out Moss

Top Misses

As with last year, I don’t really have 5 misses in my 2016 catalog. But here are things that had issues:

  1. Penny Raglan Take 1 – Utterly unwearable; below is the only known photo of it, actually. The fabric was just too heavy for the pattern IMO and the colors were not a good look for me. I also hate the original neckline: it looks sloppy on me. Recycled.
  2. Dirty Bird Pot Holders – These are here because of Clover’s Chaco Liners, which stained the finished product and resulted in them having to be washed before I could gift them; because the fronts are paper pieced (so grainline doesn’t really matter), they warped out of their painstakingly-squared-up shapes. Fuck you, Clover Chaco Liners.
top-misses

Sad Penny, Dirty (Chalk) Bird

That leaves us with the in-between things; these things are liked (or loved!) but got overshadowed by more versatile things.

No Man’s Land

  1. Jungle January Dress – Full disclosure: I love this dress and have worn it a handful of times. It just doesn’t get “go-to dress” status because, you know, Zebra + Electric Cobalt Blue. Although I do have lipstick to match it now… 😀
  2. Kielodoscope – Love. I made it right as the warm weather started to wane though, so it didn’t get more than 2 outings this year.
  3. Sleeveless Striped Archer – Again, I love this one. It’s just highly seasonal until I can knit some baggy sweaters to wear over it in the colder weather!
  4. Dude Sweatpants, Takes 3 and 4 – Total successes, but sweatpants are not that exciting–especially when they’re a repeat! I didn’t even blog them (I did share a pic of one pair in an unrelated post, though).
no-mans-land

Jungle, Kielo, Archer, Sweatpants

I made 19 things this year, including 6 sharks (3 big ones, 1 medium one, and 2 miniature ones). Not bad, although the sharks certainly artificially inflate my count! The shark-adjusted sewing count stands at 13; that accounts for finished items only, and does not include anything that got pitched after completion. Not bad!

In 2015, I made 14 things; 13 of them were garments. So by that metric, I am only 1 garment short of last year’s figure (my 14th thing in 2015 was a shark; my 13th thing this year was the set of potholders). I had certainly hoped to do better than that this year, but things happen!

Speaking of things happening, that brings me to my last thing for this post: Non-Sewing Highlights!

  1. Learning to knit – Life-changing achievement, you guys. I am hooked. So far I still only make socks, but I have plans to move on to cowls and sweaters very soon! ^____^ I am very grateful to my friend Betsy for taking the time to teach me–life (and my stash) will never be the same again!
  2. Bathroom remodel – This is also a big deal, for both time and $$ reasons. Our house is 106 years old and still had the original claw-foot tub in the upstairs bath; those are nice (and highly coveted by some folks), but it just wasn’t right for us. We now have a very modern, very functional (and up-to-code!), very beautiful bathroom upstairs and it was worth every penny, every frustration, and every minute of work. I’ll share a post about it soon! (And don’t worry, the bathtub went to a good home–I would never trash such an iconic piece of our home’s history unless I had absolutely no other choice! I’m pretty sure they could take away my History degree for something like that!! 🙂 )
  3. New lappy – This blog is now brought to you on a new laptop as of May 2016! Mine was from 2006 and had survived moving from England to the US (I bought it in the UK out of necessity during my semester abroad–that currency exchange HURT, man), functioning as my sole source of television and movie entertainment for 2 years, and a metric shit-ton of pet hair/kitty stampedes/wanton dog paws and various other abuses. It even survived a hard drive wipe after being infected with a virus that attacked the core of its Windows operating system! I was used to its quirks, like the British Pound currency symbol where the # sign is (I couldn’t be bothered to change it from its original UK English settings…), but it was time to retire it; while I do miss having Windows XP, it is nice to have a fully-functioning machine again!
  4. Family – Okay, this feels like kind of a cop-out because my family is always in my life regardless of what year it is. But this year lacked the health crises of 2015, and Tom and I are hours away from celebrating both our 8th wedding anniversary and the 10th anniversary of our first date. (Awwwwwwwww.) We’ve got all three of our babes with us, and it feels like we’re in a nice groove right now. Family-wise, it’s been a really good year. 🙂
highlights

New socks, New Bathroom!

fam

Awwwwwwwwwwwww

So that’s it for this portion of my Top 5! I’ll be back with my Reflections and Goals in a separate post. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Will you be sharing your 2016 round-up? Did your sewing live up to your expectations this year? What do you want to change–or keep up!–in 2017?

 

Miscellaneous “Mads”ness

Well hi!

I disappeared for over a month, and here’s what I have accomplished:

-My new machine is HOME and amazing and I am head-over-heels in love with it.

-I bought a serger. A Motherfucking Serger. Holy crap, you guys–who am I?!?!?

-I took a paper piecing class and finished the project, but haven’t done anything useful with it (like turned it into a pillowcase front like I plan to do)

-Bought patterns (duh)

-Bought fabric (even bigger DUH)

-Mostly made a pair of JEANS. JEANSSSSSSSSSSS. Out of real denim and everything. They’re just a fitting mock-up with no waistband, but I am pretty self-satisfied on account of this one.

-Broke my first needle sewing said jeans; having never used a zipper foot before (LOLOL I KNOW RIGHT?), I forgot to change the needle position and it smashed into the zipper foot, which escaped with a battle scar but no other damage. Luckily, no eyeballs or sewing machines were injured in order to bring you this moment of schadenfreude.

-Embarked on the 2015 Handmade Xmas Gift saga, which includes CRAFT ITEMS this year. (Lest you all think I have gone completely mad, the crafts are a stuffed shark for a friend’s child and some Sewaholic Stanley Trees for my siblings and parents, and not even out of xmas-themed fabric. And no, those aren’t their only gifts from yours truly.)

-Made about a thousand other plans for my sewing adventures to round out this year and begin the next, as one does…

-Decided to host Thanksgiving for friends, which requires the tearing down of most of my sewing area in addition to planning a meal for 5.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of progress on the sewing front up there^^^^. Things have been weird. Mostly, my lack of execution has been the result of a bit of very troublesome family news that came through a few weeks ago; I won’t go into detail out of respect for my family member(s), but suffice it to say that the lot of us are struggling to come to terms with what we’ve been told and figure things out as we try to keep plugging along and be supportive. I am trying to push myself past the motivational brick wall (not least of all because as stunned as we all are, things could have been much worse) and keep my mind busy by planning sewing projects, doing pattern work, or reading. It helps that I am committed to a once-a-week gathering with some friends for sewing and drafting stuff, and we’re all trying to psych each other up about jeans. So that’s mostly why I’ve disappeared since the last post; I’m not sorry, but I have missed blogging! I am sure that those of you who have had similarly difficult things going on can agree that it can be very hard to focus on anything else, and that’s about where I am at the moment. But I am trying.

I have nothing fun to share today, guys. I just wanted to check in–I haven’t been commenting around too much, but I’m here, reading your blogs and hoping I will have something good to post very soon. Fingers crossed! ❤

 

March Miscellany

Hello!

It has been a busy couple of weeks here at the “Mads” house, although no sewing has been accomplished.

Truthfully, I had begun drafting a much different post a few days ago, but am relieved that I do not have to post it. Our senior cat, Tycho, somehow managed to eat quite a lot of foam flooring bits around 10-14 days ago (we think). Had his amazing, heroic, compassionate, best-vet-that-ever-vetted vet not swooped to his (and our) rescue, we would have lost him. Bullet of devastation, dodged. Presently, our majestic first fur baby is in the hospital recuperating from his operation; we are hoping he will make a full recovery and come home soon. Good vibes, positive thoughts, and general sentiments of goodwill are welcome and very much needed as we wait for tomorrow’s post-op update from the vet. Saoirse, a physical stresser like her crazy momma (yo), has given herself a UTI from the anxiety of him being gone. Mulder is still totally healthy and cute and oblivious, just like a good dog should be.

Such innocent, very ginger. Wow.

Such innocent, very ginger. Wow.

It’s not all dark here, though: I GOT MY BRACES OFF TODAY!!!

Minus braces, plus retainer...I'll take it!

Minus braces, plus retainer…I’ll take it!

(Sorry, but I’ve got to shout about that.) I am so relieved. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since they went on 13 months ago, and I’ve purposely hidden my teeth in all my photos since then. (Braces are not shameful, of course; it’s just been hard for me to go from hating my teeth to loving them, and back to hating them again. Self-confidence at the “Mads” house was at an all-time low, so you all got “stuck up, closed-mouth half-smile” photos until morale could be improved.) The bad news is that some of the braces may have to go back on, since the roots of my front teeth are out of position. >=(

On the plus side, I now know quite a lot about what my skull looks like:

Inside "Mads": Cranial version

Inside “Mads”: Cranial version

Seriously, though: I can see my brain!!! I love it.

My final and most surprising bit of news is that this little blog was mentioned by none other than Rhonda Buss over at her site, “Rhonda’s Creative Life.” I am flattered, honored, shocked, giddy, and shocked again! I cannot be sure why Rhonda felt that my unintelligible ramblings were worthy of being mentioned and linked (although I suspect Mulder and his adorableness have something to do with it!), but seeing her post completely made my day. And if anyone is reading this as a result of Rhonda’s act of internet signal-boosting kindness, welcome to my lair! (And apologies for the lack of sewing activity…I’ll be sure to have a harsh word with myself later! :-D)

So all in all, things are looking up around here. I start my next Nina class in 2 weeks, and will be commencing work on a Cooper bag for myself sometime this weekend. And there’s still the matter of muslining my pants. So much to do, so little time!