Saturday, January 7, 2017
Oh hey! Happy New Year!
Normally I blog all my makes in order, but today I want to skip ahead to what I made at the tail end of my vacation time. I'm sure you can understand why...
Soooo....when I bought the Jalie pattern to make the red jeans for PR weekend Chicago, the cover picture included floral pants. I am normally a solids and textures kind of gal. Not really into the florals.
My New Years Eve included sewing and sugar.
However, there was something about this combination of slim legged pants and florals on the cover that made me want Crazy. Floral. Pants!!!
I wanted a smaller scale floral in stretch twill or denim, and this fabric from Kashi (Metro Textiles) in Sept fit the bill.
I made them just like the red pants but with functional front pockets, see below. They went together pretty quick, though I basted them together first just in case, as this fabric seems slightly less stretchy than the other fabrics I've used, but they turned out to be fine...though in the calves I used 1/4" SA instead of 3/8" to grant some extra room.
They grew a little in the thigh as I wore them during the day, and maybe a little in the waist too. I'm probably going to leave it as-is. For the first time ever, one of my "Vacuuming the Lawn" labels was scratchy and driving me crazy so I'm probably going to remove it or sew over the scratchy edge with a satin stitch or something....
I added functional front pockets to this version. It is really easy to draft the pieces, though next time I will make them deeper. I already had the basics of front pocket construction down as I had taken Jennifer Stern's professional jeans construction class at the ASE.
I was lucky to have this salmon colored poly blend broadcloth from ~20 years ago in my stash to use as the pocket lining.
I pattern matched the back pockets, which is a super easy thing to do as no seams are involved.
I traced the pocket pattern piece onto Swedish tracing paper, including the fold line for the upper portion of the pocket, aligned the fold line with the pocket placement line on the cut out fabric, then outlined some of the flowers with a pencil (as I was afraid pen might bleed through to the fashion fabric.)
I then found the pattern on the fabric, cut it out, and sewed it on. (yes, the pocket is different in the picture above and below).
There will be a matching backpack...
These were some test shots for outside, pussyhat and all. I needed to move the camera down but it was way too cold so I brought the photo shoot indoors.
I'm probably going to undo the entire top portion of the stretch velveteen pants I made last month. As I was making them, I suddenly felt like the waistband was too tight and I sewed with smaller SA and did not pull the back of the elastic as tight as I did on the red pair. Well guess what, they are too loose in the waistband. If I'm going to take the waistband off, I might as well add real front pockets right? And fix the angle of the CB seam? And remove some of the excess fabric from the CF ? Might as well right???
But for now, I'm back to the Pussyhat Factory. I want to sew 32 hats this weekend.
In other news, my Great Aunt Iris turned 101 on New Year's Day so we took some selfies. When she saw herself on my screen, she said she looked old but that I had good teeth. :)
Saturday, December 31, 2016
It's my usual New Year's Eve rush to write my sewing year in review!
First, let's start with what I've sewn/done during my winter vacation but have not blogged as shown above:
- Finished a Jalie fleece started the weekend before my vacation
- McCall's Echino Kokka French Terry sweatshirt
- Creatively cut apart a large man's cotton thrift shop sweater and used Simplicity 1283 to make it fit me.
- Used S1283 to make this lace sleeved shirt. Fabric was sent to me by goodmombadmom
- Used a hack of S1283 and the remnants from the long sleeved shirt to make a tank
- Made 16 pussyhats (8 in this beetroot tie dye and 8 that aren't pictured in hot pink). I have a crazy goal of making at least 48 of them before the end of next weekend.
- Handstitched this Christmas cactus ornament and hung it on my Christmas cactus
- Went to NYC to buy some supplies and visited Swatch at Mood Fabrics. He was totally conked out.
- Cut out these crazy floral pants. Yes, that's right, me, the solids and texture woman. Yes, me, I am going to make Crazy. Floral. Pants.
Here are my favorites:
Favorite item all year: the StyleArc Stacie Jean Jacket
Close up view
Favorite tank, which I wore, with one of my favorite shrugs from last year, for our professional photo day at work (I received permission from the photographer to use this photo across social media)
Or maybe this is my favorite sweatshirt
Contest winning bag
Favorite leather bag
What I've machine sewn this year
- 7 tops (includes tanks, tops, shells, sweaters)
- 2 shrugs
- 2 jackets
- 1 fleece
- 3 sweatshirts
- 1 sweatshirt dress
- 4 dresses
- 2 pants
- 2 skirts
- 8 bags
- 1 pillow
- 16 fleece hats
- some keychains and business card holders
I didn't blog everything. I know of at least one dress and one bag that were not blogged, in addition to everything in the first photo. But, my entire creative life is on Instagram, all of it!.
What I've hand sewn or hand stitched this year
- Sublime Stitching
- Folk Foxes pillow
- Heidi Boyd
- Half of the squirrel softies kit
- One bird softie
- Felt Hoops
- blueberry bears
- Embroidery kits
- 2 chicks
- The 7 ornaments in the Woodland Animals Ornament kit
- Red coat ornament
- Betz White
- Sewing machine ornament
- Christmas cactus ornament
- Mollie Makes
- Love heart hoop
- 2 foxes in a hoop
Dabbling with Quilting.
I'm not a quilter but I tried it a little...
- Mollie Makes potholder and coasters
- Fancy Fox II, just the top of the pillow size.
- I've never been able to draw realistically, but I did enjoy the Creativebug draw a day challenges in January, March and July. They got me to see that drawing is not just about drawing realistically, that there are other styles of drawing too, ones that I can do. Thanks, Craft Space Continuum, for getting me into the drawing!
New sewing skills
- lined skirt with a kickpleat (not that I'd remember how to do that now--I'd have to go back to my blog post)
- leather bag and keychain techniques, including making a tassel keychain (so easy!)
- how to install rivets, purse feet, and bag bling
After entering 10 contests total in my sewing career, I won:
After entering 10 contests total in my sewing career, I won:
- 2nd place PR accessories contest at PR weekend
- 1st place PR handbag contest. Definitely a highlight of my sewing career! I've wanted to win a contest for a while now.
- MPB Winter Frolic, NYC, March
- PR weekend, Chicago, May
- MPB Day, NYC, August
- Lisa from As I Said, Philly, August
- Antoinette, NYC, September
- James from Craft Space Continuum, and Tomasa from Sew Much Fashion, NYC, November
- Antoinette, Austin, December
- Leslie from The Seasoned Homemaker, Austin, December
- I went to NYC 7 times in total, for meetups or on my own
- I put together a calendar of 12 of the bags I made, which was a total hoot for me for the most part, but was also a total and utter bomb at the office white elephant party, ugh.
- Paron, NYC, Sept--I will miss your curated collection, how every bolt was labeled with origin, fiber content, price, the mirrors in your store so I could hold the fabric up to me to see how it looked on me, your amazing collection of sweater knits....
- City Quilter, NYC, Oct (but they are still selling online)--you always felt like a place of inspiration even though I'm not a quilter. The CQ was where I originally discovered the Heidi Boyd kits
- Stitch Lab, Austin, potentially Feb 2017--another place of inspiration, love that little Craftsman style house full of goodness. I said goodbye in Dec but they recently posted on IG that there is hope that it will survive--fingers crossed!
Goals last year/this year
- Last year, and the year before, and the year before that, I said I should make a denim jean jacket, and this year, after 3 years of thinking about it, I finally made it!
- I also said last year that I should make some underwear. I didn't make any UW after all, but I did organize all my lingerie elastic during my sewing room reorg in the summer
- For next year, I'd like to make some more pants, maybe jeans, and another jacket. And sometime I'd like to learn more about fabrics--like being able to identify the different types on sight.
General sewing navel gazing
- I feel like I reached a new level with my sewing this year, especially with the use of leather and the amount of topstitching in my jean jacket. What am I now? Advanced intermediate?
- I am starting to see the benefits of experience (or just flat out getting older, however you want to spin it)--and also appreciate those benefits. I am a better sewist than I was when I was 12, 25 or 35. I am more perfectionistic than ever, but I'm also more patient and I have way better tools than I did at any of those ages (cue that line from Fried Green Tomatoes: "I'm older and I have more insurance"). 10 years ago, my sewing success rate was around 50% or less, and now it's more like 75-80%. It looks way more professional IMHO too.
- Hand stitching continues to be a way for me to feel creative each day without the effort involved in garment or bag making, and if I mess it up, it's easy to fix or start over because the scale is smaller.
- I still wish I had the time to do the same project several times in a row--like making 5 lined skirts with kickpleats, one after the other, to really get the technique down, but with a full time job and so many things I want to make, that's not going to happen
- I am utterly and thoroughly addicted to Instagram. I have met so many seamsters that way!
Post-election navel gazing
- The election did not go as I expected it to go (massive understatement there), but I'm getting involved in ways I haven't before.
- At the gym there is PB and J sandwich making event every Nov. In past years, I donated supplies but this year was the first year I actually made the sandwiches. We made 510 sandwiches and packaged them with snacks and juice into bags for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. My job was slapping peanut butter on bread for 2 hours, and it felt good to actually do something.
- This week I started making pussyhats for the Pussyhat Project, to be worn at the Women's March on Washington. So far I've sewn 16 hats and have a goal of at least 48 hats before the end of next weekend. Thank you to those who commented that you're also going to make hats too! Hurrah! Spread the word!!
- I realize, my contributions above are really, really small, but it is a start.
- I really loved all your comments on my post about Devastation and Doris. I should update the post to note, that while my father originally told me Doris passed the day after I saw her, she actually died the day I saw her, so I saw her in the last 8 or so hours of her life. She was 99. I attended her funeral, and it was amazing. Doris outlived her husband and both of her children, so her grandchildren talked about her life. They talked about her positivity, and how she liked to give the "thumbs up". She was a nurse for 40 years, and she took care of soldiers returning home from WWII. Apparently she made amazing cookies too, and I love it when women are remembered for things like that.
- I highly recommend subscribing to and reading ATP's blog. She has an almost-daily post with tips and recommendations on what to do now going forward post-election. Not all of her articles are on the blog though; for the early ones, you'll need to read the archive (highly recommend).
So, congratulations if you made it this far! Hope to see you in 2017, maybe at PR weekend in mid-May in NYC? Maybe at Sew Expo in Puyallup in March? (I'm seriously considering that one). Maybe on Instagram or on your blog?
Go forth, dear sewing ones, go forth. My best self honors your best self.
And of course, be well!
Thursday, December 29, 2016
The styrofoam head is smaller than a human head, or at least it is smaller than mine!
Anyway, this is a really easy way for seamsters to get involved, highly recommend!
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Merry Christmas! I bought the Woodland Animals Ornament kit by Heidi Boyd Crafts just for the fox, but I wound up stitching them all....all the animals and the fungus (the mushroom) too. :) If you follow me on Instagram, you saw I started the fox right before Thanksgiving and finished the last ornament this week.
The kit came with the felt, twine, beads, pins, a needle, floss, and pre-cut flowers and 2 circles for the owl's eyes (you have to cut out the rest of the felt pieces yourself, using a separate PDF pattern). I did wind up switching up some of the background colors for felt I bought at Stitch Lab in Austin earlier this month. And there's not enough felt with the kit if you want to cut a second background layer to hide your stitching--which the perfectionist in me totally wants.
I got into a rhythm with them--cut out the pieces, arrange and stitch. By the fourth ornament, I decided to stitch directly onto a rough cut piece of felt, and then cut around it, instead of cutting the background out before stitching. That way if my animal shifted, I could cut it to still have a nice border around the animal.
stitch onto rough cut felt
Cut around it with pinking shears (I hadn't used pinking shears in forever!)
Layer it on a second layer of felt.
I used tape to temporarily join the two layers so they wouldn't shift too much as I cut the second layer, trying to get the pinking to be in exactly the same location as the front.
Then I removed the tape and used the running stitch to stitch the two layers together along the perimeter, stitching the twine hanger to the ornament at the appropriate position. This second layer hides the stitching on the first layer (except for the running stitches of course!)
Close-up pic of the 7 ornaments in the kit, but the sewing machine is from a Betz White PDF (stitched/glued this year), a handstitched Mollie Makes "deer head on bauble" from last year, and an A. Paulson red coat ornament, also handstitched this year.
The full effect, after I opened presents this morning...should have taken this long range view before opening presents!
The Betz White Christmas cactus ornament, stitched/glued this weekend, hanging from my Christmas cactus. My note to self is that craft glue only dries clear in the places where it wasn't overly used. If I used a lot of it, it dried white and then I spent a lot of time trying to peel it off, ultimately taking part of the felt with it.
Merry Christmas y'all!
And a reminder, if you'd like to win a Vacuuming the Lawn 2017 bag calendar, enter here. You have until Tuesday morning at 7am EST to enter.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Introducing the Vacuuming the Lawn 2017 Bag Calendar
Would you like to win this 5" x 10" desk calendar? Every month features a different bag that I've stitched.
The quality of my photos degrades as the year goes on, but it's still fun!
So if you want to win this calendar, please leave a comment on this post by 7am EST on 12/27/16 that:
- Makes me laugh
- -or- makes me smile
- -or- describes why you need this calendar in your life
Sometime after 7am EST on 12/27/16, I will select 5 winners from the comments on this blog post and 5 different winners from the comments on the related post on Instagram. I will announce the winners here on my blog and on IG by 11:59pm EST that day. If you win on the blog, you'll have til 7am EST on 12/30/16 to email me your mailing address, otherwise another winner will be selected. Calendars will be shipped by USPS First Class mail. This giveaway is open world-wide, though please note the weeks on these calendars start on Sunday, not Monday.
Thank you for all of your support and kind comments over the years!!
Good luck and be well!
Saturday, December 17, 2016
I made the Jalie 3461 Eleonores (stretch pull on jeans with faux front pockets and faux fly) back in May, in red. Now that the temps have dropped, I wanted to make a pair in stretch velveteen. I went into the stash last weekend, and emerged with this dark midnight blue fabric. Purchased during that brief period of time when I actually labeled my fabric, it's 3 yards from Chic Fabrics, circa Nov 2013, for $3 a yard. This fabric was more on the order of 45" wide, so unlike my Jalies in May, 1.5 yards would not be enough. 3 yards was plenty. I had 3 other velveteen pieces in stash, but two pieces were not stretch and the other piece that was stretch was not long enough to make pants.
I wrote extensively about making the red Jalies in May. All the gory details are in this post. If you are a pear shape and want to make these pants, I highly recommend reading that post (I have a 10" difference between my waist and hips). If you are a rectangle, don't bother. The pants will most likely fit you right out of the envelope with little tweaking.
This shot makes me laugh but there you go--functional back pockets!
Since I already had the curved yoke that I made last time, I forged right ahead. I had to make the waistband 3x to get it just right. My advice to myself for next time is when I try on the pants before putting the waistband on, make sure the fabric of the top of the pants is against my body, all the way around my body...ultimately I did take out a 3/4" pinch from the top at the CB seam grading to nothing where the yoke meets the rest of the pants. When I tried pinching out some of the excess at the side seam, it created a really ugly lumpy effect.
I really should fix the pattern to add more width to the fabric below the knee on the front and subtract an equal amt from the back...but I didn't!
It is really hard to photograph dark fabric. Some of these photos have a filter applied, and some do not.
This fabric does relax a bit during wearing, but it's not overly relaxed.
Back pockets during construction
Faux front pocket during construction.
Above I'm wearing them with my "Muppets" shirt--a Sewaholic Renfrew from a few years back.
So, they were comfy enough that I wore them twice this week and I will enjoy wearing them all winter. It is really nice to wear "complete" me-made outfits and by making pants I have expanded my winter options. I still have a hankering to make the Eleonores in stretch floral, but that is kind of a tall order, especially when I am really picky about florals--I want a small scale floral. (ETA: I want to make them in teal stretch velveteen with excellent recovery too--if I can ever find it).
I really wanted to get a picture of me and my Eleonores in front of this holly bush on campus but I didn't have my tripod and there was no one around to take pix...
The full moon after the gym on Tuesday night.
This was on Thursday. After last winter's freezy bits, I decided to buy a "real" cold weather coat for when it's under 40F, and this totally fit the bill. I look like I'm wearing a comforter, but it is warm and has features that make a difference, like cuffs inside the sleeves to keep the cold air from creeping in and a ginormous hood.
Last night there was snow and ice...which formed these mini-icicles outside.
I brought my hibiscus in a few months back to see if I can coax it to live through the winter. It is dropping its leaves pretty fast, but decided to bloom today, awesome!
One more week til I'm on vacation for 11 days--I can't wait!
I'm going to have a special giveaway starting on Tuesday--please check back then!