Friday, December 30, 2011

A Year in Review...Sewing

I've never done one of these "look back" posts...maybe  to keep myself from the reality of how I have actually spent my time and money!

I was challanged this year, and I was disappointed many times. But I was also surprised at what I am able to do when faced with a fit issue or a pattern problem. So I have selected some of my favorite garments...favorite because they were a knock-off of something ready to wear, or because they represent a fit challenge that I conquered, or because it's something that I made and wore ALOT!

New Look 6007, with heavy modifications to create a knock off of an Anthropologie Cape. I wore this all                   of last winter and I'm wearing it again this year.

Simplicity 2284. Lori and I made a knock-off of a Cabi jacket. I was also able to overcome the FBA and make a perfect fit jacket for me!

Denim Shirt with modifications, made from McCall's 5433. I wear this shirt all of the time. Again,               conquered a full bust fit issue, and also added some fun pockets and tab sleeves.

                                                                             

Vogue1236. Love this dress (even though I look very sad wearing it!) ...and it made                                  the Vogue Facebook page!

My Cabi-inspired Military Jacket! have worn this SO much. I usually put lots of different gold toned bar, tack and stick pins on it.

Simplicity 2182. Oh, the pattern construction. Oh, the confusing FBA. But I did it! 

HotPatterns Kyoto Skirt, with my own modifications. Denim, cargo pockets...what's not to love? And it was featured in the HotPatterns email!

      Butterick 5495. A basic knit dress, which I wear so much.  Featured on the Butterick Facebook page!

                                                 Simplicity 2728. The perfect white jacket.

McCall's 6073. It's a maxi dress which I wore all summer long.

                                                  Vogue 1205. Red. Dress. What's not to love?

 And one more...just for 2012...My first pants! Which I plan to make again and again in the new year! Muslin after muslin until I found the perfect fit.


And that's my top twelve!  And the most awesome thing is, I learned as I made each garment,  I wear them all, and I realized that  I would rather take the time to sew anything for a perfect fit than to shop for hours and hours or spend dollars and dollars to buy something that isn't quite right. As with knitting, sewing bloggers have provided incredible inspiration and encouragement, and I look forward each day to see what you are up to in your world!  Thank you for sharing what you do, and thank you for reading my little blog! 

VOGUE 1257

My Last Finished Garment of 2011!



This is Vogue 1257, which I blogged about HERE.
It was a disturbing pattern in the way that it was designed, but I worked my way around it as follows:


After carefully reading the reviews on Pattern Review, I decided, since I already had the pattern and I already had the fabric, to plunge forward, even though brave seamstresses before me advised against it. But I had the pattern, and I had the fabric.

This dress has a very interesting construction, and had I known that, I probably would have never gotten the pattern.  The bodice/sleeve are all one piece, but only in the front. It’s the wonkiest thing I’ve ever seen, but what this means is that the sleeve, because it’s cut across the grain, ends up being very, very, very tight.

The instructions also clearly state that this is intended for a 2-way knit. I had gray ponte. So there you go. Ponte is NOT a two way knit.

AB Canada decided to cut the bodice/sleeve cross grain, which would give the sleeve more stretch. I tried that, and it was still waaaaaaaay too tight, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to figure out how to add a verysubstantial sleeve gusset like another reviewer did.  I thought about that sleeve all night, and then it hit me…

Duh…just cut the dang thing off and draft a  new, normal sleeve.




So that’s just what I did.  I used another dress pattern which had a similar bodice and a long sleeve option. I lined up that pattern on my existing bodice pieces and cut out a new arm hole,  and then cut a new separate sleeve. Easy peasy.


The dress then becomes a pretty basic piece to construct, and a great basic for my wardrobe!  So, there will be one more project off the list!



And, to top it off, I really, really like this dress! It was worth every bit of modification, and I  loved wearing it to work this week.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How are you going to finish out your Holidays?

The fact of the matter is, as much as I love Christmas, and I could live in a Christmas house year round,  I’m sort of glad all the  intensity of this week is drawing to a close. The last of the gifts have been distributed and we’re ready for a bit of relaxing over this extra long weekend ahead. It will be nice to sit back and enjoy a warm fire and the Christmas-ness of my house and just chill.

Of course,  I’m already envisioning the Spring Pantone colors and the upcoming season’s “must-haves…” oh good gravy and it’s still only December!

Actually, I am DYING to get into my sewing room again to boost up my winter-dreary wardrobe. I have so many projects piled up and would love to just dig in. Dig in and not come up for a few days. I wonder if I can make that happen?  I made that gray ponte Vogue dress  a few weeks back?  Well she's just been hanging around the dress form waiting for a hem...which I should reasonably be able to do tonight so I can wear her tomorrow.

Well an interesting thing happened a few days ago. My husband and I joined a gym. We are both meeting with a trainer next week…and no, it’s not the “Silver Sneakers” trainer that was offered!  We chose the pregnant trainer instead. This should be very interesting.   We’ve been talking about the fact that we will probably be much more motivated to go together. Not to mention the fact that we can be on the competitive side once this gets rolling….you know, a chart on the fridge and all.
I think I’m excited about it. 
I think we’ll make it work.
And I’m looking forward to the free smoothies that came with our package.


And that's what I'm planning to finish out the Holiday Season. What are you up to the rest of the week?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Friends.













 


                              I hope you found peace and joy and a boatload of Christmas love this day.






Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From Heart to Hands



Every year, the idea of gift cards becomes more and more appealing as the best laid plans to work throughout the year on secret Christmas projects never seems to pan out the way JR and I  wish.

And here we go again,  finding ourselves in the midst of all the bustle and busyness of work and school concerts and knitting classes, and baking and parties and a new baby...scrambling like crazy in our workshops to make Christmas gifts. JR in his wood shop, and me in my sewing room.


I wonder sometimes why we put ourselves through it? Wouldn't shopping be easier? Wouldn't gift cards be so simple?


But I know the answer. There is no gift that  we can buy, no gift card in an envelope, that can ever truly  100% represent the love that we have for the recipient of that gift.


When I make gifts for our family and friends, I want them to know that every moment that I planned for and worked on that special surprise, I was thinking of them. And praying for them. And opening my heart and my spirit and my thoughts and my memories of them.


Even though there are early mornings and late nights,


I wouldn't trade one hour of that time that I spend with my hands and my heart making a gift for a loved one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This New Baby


Henry Soloman.  12/18/2011.  From a small beginnings will come great things.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Can Never have Enough Christmas

When my husband is away, it's time for me to play.

JR made a trip to Chicago for several days, and unfortunately because of some major work projects, I just couldn't go along. While it made me sad that I wasn't able to go on a little road trip, I was content to be able to stay home, put on some holiday tunes,  make baby stuff and more baby stuff, and make more Christmas happen in my home. I have to confess, while I missed blogging these past several days, I did feel like I could put some concentrated effort into all of my projects.

Late nights of sewing, lots of shopping ,and some knitting, too.


JR brought a tree home just before he left for Chicago, so I got to set it up all by myself, including sawing off the end in my pajamas and slippers in 6 inches of snow!  Who needs a man in the house?  I even had to shovel the driveway all by myself, since a lake effect snowstorm decided to wait until he got drove out of WNY to dump several inches on our neighborhood.
Anyway, back to the tree.
Now, I must confess, we decided since we already had two small trees by the fireplace, we were going to do a third table top tree, which only ended up being only about 4 1/2  feet tall. By the time I finished trimming it, and got it in the bucket, and on the table, it showed itself to be a proud Christmas tree, diminuative as it is.

It's all bedazzled in vintage red glass ornaments, with some aqua thrown in here and there. Glass icicles are dripping from the branches,  glittered sprays of red and aqua are tucked in among the branches, and little twinkle lights illuminate the whole she-bang.




This little tree presides over the dining room, where the table is set for dessert


And the holiday bar is ready for guests, or just for ourselves


While we wait for Santa to bring us a new baby any day now.



I'm so excited for a Christmas baby to arrive. 

I'm excited there already was a Christmas Baby.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Red and Green for Christmas

                                   Christmas Spirit has come home to the bungalow. Finally.



This weekend was spent hauling the boxes, and devising a plan, only to have it be poo-poo-ed by Mr. Claus, who determined that he likes color for Christmas, not all that silver and gold crap (I actually found him browsing pinterest for mantle ideas).  So, I  detoured from the standby d├ęcor of Christmas’ past and pulled out some red and green for the living room, entry and kitchen. And you know what? It was time for a change, and if the change meant JR actually helped shop for fat chunky candles and new Christmas stockings, I was all for it. 




( oh, my gosh, I actually first wrote “fat chunky cankles and new Christmas stockings!)  


We decided on three $9 stockings from Marshalls, and I shall knit two more stripey ones to go with.








I will just have to concede that my husband was R.I.G.H.T.  

I bought two new Christmas CD’s on iTunes (James Taylor and the soundtrack from Elf…not new, but new to my collection) and got busy making the magic happen.


I think I will decorate three trees this year…the two small ones flanking the fireplace and we’ll get a bigger one… a bigger real tree to plunk in a garden urn and perch upon a table a la Nell Hill’s Mary Carol Garrity, my Christmas Decorating Guru.


There will be loads of vintage glass ornaments, heavy on the red and green for the fireplace trees...including my collection of Shiny Brites, of course. And for the tabletop tree in the dining room?  I'm thinking vintage faded red, blue and aqua blown glass from my collection.  By the way, today at lunchtime, I scored three boxes of vintage ornaments at the Salvation Army...99 cents a box!


     But for now, the mantle is decorated ...


          
    there are to-do lists a mile long, 






and there is Christmas Cheer in the house at last.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

Okay, I did do some Black Friday shopping. I'm so excited that my very own Collette patterns will be arriving in the mail any day now! Super excited!

AND I took advantage of Fabric.com, of course, and I am the proud owner of the goods to make an Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag.



Charlotte, a long time and most observant reader, left a comment about my last Anthro-inspired top…the fact that  it’s about the third one that I’ve made this year so far of the same style.
Charlotte,you are correct! Indeed it is! And why?
I think I’m drawn to this type of sillouette because of the v-neck and the way it can fit, but not be too fitted.  

And here we go again…a dress with a v neck and defined empire waist:  The Vogue DKNY knit dress 1257.

And here we go again, I have to make some crazy modifications with this pattern.

After carefully reading the reviews on Pattern Review, I decided, since I already had the pattern and I already had the fabric, to plunge forward, even though brave seamstresses before me advised against it. But I had the pattern, and I had the fabric.

This dress has a very interesting construction, and had I known that, I probably would have never gotten the pattern.  The bodice/sleeve are all one piece, but only in the front. It’s the wonkiest thing I’ve ever seen, but what this means is that the sleeve, because it’s cut across the grain, ends up being very, very, very tight.

The instructions also clearly state that this is intended for a 2-way knit. I had gray ponte. So there you go. Ponte is NOT a two way knit.

AB Canada decided to cut the bodice/sleeve cross grain, which would give the sleeve more stretch. I tried that, and it was still waaaaaaaay too tight, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to figure out how to add a very substantial sleeve gusset like another reviewer did.  I thought about that sleeve all night, and then it hit me…

Duh…just cut the dang thing off and draft a  new, normal sleeve.




So that’s just what I did.  I used another dress pattern which had a similar bodice and a long sleeve option. I lined up that pattern on my existing bodice pieces and cut out a new arm hole,  and then cut a new separate sleeve. Easy peasy.


The dress then becomes a pretty basic piece to construct, and a great basic for my wardrobe!  So, there will be one more project off the list!

I really need to do some Christmas decorating, and I’m just not feeling in the groove. I need some Christmas Spirit, and I need it in a hurry! Yesterday, I picked up some paper mache' letters to do a faux zinc treatment that I saw on one of my favorite home inspiration blogs, From Gardeners to Bergers.


Perhaps this  will turn out to be the spark that I need to haul all those boxes up the stairs!