Tuesday, March 26, 2013

simplicity 1696 pants

last year, when we weren't even thinking about Spring just yet,  the runways were full of inspiration for a few seasons ahead. As you know, I fell completely in love with the Michael Kors Spring 2013 Collection, with it's bold colors, retro shapes and fun stripes.

It’s been one delay after another, starting with not being able to find the right sateen locally. After my Denver Fabrics mis-buy, I tried Vogue Fabrics. Placed my order.

A week passed... they called me and told me they were out of stock. Maybe I sounded defeated enough to the customer service rep, because she said she was going to check the warehouse. That was two weeks ago.

Apparently, she felt sorry for me because last week, the most gorgeous sateen arrived in the perfect shade of beige. It was promptly washed and dried and is now transformed with the help of some stash red sateen and a little pop of navy sateen.

Simplicity 1696  is a great pants pattern. Slim leg, simple design. However, it has faux welt pockets. When I make my next pair, I will add actual welted back pockets. I worked a muslin to get the right fit for my straight waist/hips.

My favorite part was piecing that front panel. Easy enough to do..I just drew a line where I wanted my seam,  cut the pattern apart,  and then added seam allowance to each section. 

The fly went in flawlessly.

 I serged all of my seams before sewing them together.  

Now, just think about this. Three different colored fabrics. seams. finishing.
Lots of thread changes on my sewing machine and serger. And where two colors joined at a seam, I would have one color in the bobbin and one color on top. It was time consuming, but I'm glad I did it. 

        Oh, and my navy and red stripe top?  That would be Vogue 8536...a set of basic knit tops. I'll not likely wear this combo without a little jacket over it, but the top is pretty cute, none-the-less.

So, my Michael Kors inspired mini collection is done. Well, almost. I still may do that navy skirt with the zip up the front.

Monday, March 25, 2013

the birds might be singing, but I'm still wearing boots

While Spring may officially be here, it is dang cold in WNY. The birds are starting to sing in the mornings while I'm scraping ice from my car windows, still wearing flannel pajamas and turning up the heat in my office each day.  Those of us that live in Northern climates are itching to wear something light and fresh and new and Spring-y. We want to banish our tights and boots!  It's time to say goodbye to Cuddle-duds and put away our fair-isle mittens.

It's always hard to dress this time of year. It's Spring, but it's Winter. How do we put together an outfit that keeps us warm but hints of the season?

If I have to wear boots and a black blazer, I'm also wearing stripes and a polka dot flower pin.

If I have to wear a warm pleated skirt, it's going to be a bright fun color. 

Nothing new here....my black blazer, a thrifted $2 fuschia pleated skirt and a stripey tee. 
 I'm doing a fresh Spring look with black, white and bright. Works for me and it's warm!

So, you girls from up North, how do you transition to Spring?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

mixed prints and black

Here we go.  Another fun look with black, white and a color. AND mixed prints!

This is the skirt I finished last week. New Look 6128. The fabric is cotton sateen with 3% lycra.
I think New Look has some of the best skirt patterns. And I also think this one will become one of my TNT's.
With a few modifications, I made view A:

I widened the waistband and cut a 12 the rest of the way.  It's funny that even since I've made my muslin, this skirt is just a touch big with all the hard work I've been doing at the gym! I'm very straight through the waist and hips and the pocket and pleat detail add some extra oomph to this area for me.

I also added a full lining of bemberg rayon. I love a skirt with a lining. No slip needed!

One little detail that I added was piping at the pocket edges and the waistband:

I think it adds that extra something that makes it special and more "me!" It's hard to tell with this busy print, but this skirt has two pleats in the front and a back vent. I really do think I could stand to make this a little more fitted.

For work, I paired it with a polka dot RTW top and my black blazer. It's the perfect mix of prints and felt entirely work appropriate.  I can imagine this skirt being worn in SO many different ways.

After I take in the sides a little!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

my thoughts on "Overdressed"

I finished it last week, and to be honest with you, I’m having a hard time moving on to something else. I feel like I just want to hang out with it for awhile. The book, "Overdressed, the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth L. Cline

My entire life, I have loved clothes. Even before I had much say about my own wardrobe, I was dressing Barbies and dreaming up fashionable outfits from paper towels and scraps of fabric for them. When I started babysitting, every penny I earned went toward clothes… and when I learned to sew, for fabric. Then I went on to college. My machine stayed home and I was sucked into the world of having a stuffed closet. More meant better, in my eyes.

But despite many closet and wardrobe overhauls in my adult life, I still always struggled with having a great wardrobe that was representative of me, and therefore would transcend the trends and latest styles and still look awesome. Instead, I find that I end up with a whole bunch of this and that...impulse buys, clearance purchases and bad decisions ( many of which end up donated).

I wonder if it’s because  in more recent years, I also got sucked into the world of fast fashion, a great bargain (or is it really?) and even, to my embarrassment, fast sewing? Always trying to keep up with the trends, and ending up with a good amount of disposable clothes in the process. Of late, I have wondered if I have too many clothes? Or at the very least, not a decent wardrobe of good quality clothes, or clothes that represent my own aesthetic? I’m just pondering out loud here.

I think it’s easy to lose your own personal style when you always have to wear the most current trend. Somehow, the revolving wheel of trends over the past several years has just made us look more alike than individual. Now, don’t misunderstand me…I love a good trend. That’s what defines so much of our fashion world and makes getting dressed fun (you will always find me doing a post on the latest seasonal trends and Pantone colors!) But there seems to be more of them popping up and more frequently. So for some of us, it drives us to the stores more frequently to buy clothing/fabric that has over time, diminished in quality and craftsmanship….just to wear the latest thing two or three times and then we’re done with it and on to the next thing.

I spend a lot of time in stores, often browsing, seeing what I can re-create, and of course, checking the sale racks. While reading this book, I had a heightened awareness of not only the quality of items but the very fast movement of items from new to clearance. I have been shocked at the hanging threads, loose buttons, unfinished sweater seams, poor zipper application and serger thread tails that are found in better department stores! I am shocked at how one week, there is a whole section of new styles and colors, already at 25% off, and the very next week it's moved to a clearance rack!
I loved the idea of slow fashion discussed in this book. I know this is in me….little seeds of desire to make my clothes last and to cultivate a more significant appreciation for what I make and what I wear. I’ve always loved to recycle and re-use, and have always appreciated the aspiration to better detail, fit and technique in my sewing. I’m not saying I’m ready to shift to a total hand sewn wardrobe. That’s not entirely practical for me, given my work schedule and sewing time. Plus, I don't like to box myself into a place where I have to feel guilty about grabbing something off the rack that just plain pleases me.

I guess I'm saying that I would like to begin to think more thoughtfully about my style and my buying habits and the clothes that I make and wear. It may take longer and I may have fewer, but my desire is to just be more counscious of what I have, and make  better use of my ability to create something of far better detail and quality than I can buy. I am inspired by Carolyn, The Refashion Co-op, The Handmaker's Factory and Goodbye Valentino's movement of RTW Fasters. There is also  a new crop of ladies who are accepting the challenge to Sew Your Own Wardrobe for A  Year.  It's no surprise that we are coming full circle to meet up with the pleasures of fashion sewing.

I would encourage you to visit their sites and see what makes these ladies tick. And I would encourage you to read this book. It’s a very interesting overview of the garment industry and how it has changed in the last several decades.  As people who sew, I think reading it will only deepen your passion for taking time to create the most quality wardrobe that you have the ability to create with your own hands.

I'm not prepared to make any kind of a cultural or politial statement about the clothing industry. But I have decided that I'm a bit too old to look good in bad quality clothes.

Have you read "Overdressed?"  What were your impressions?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

weekend wear

I caught my husband right in the middle of a secret birthday mission on Friday. I was at the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Center during lunch. And who was there?  That's right....JR picking up my serger!
I was on cloud nine the rest of the day.

 So yesterday, I had to play around with it.

I grabbed this pattern from my stash:

Vogue Alice and Olivia 1261 
I've made this before and promptly donated it because it had a bad, bad fit.  This time around, I compared the measurements to another asymmetric top that I own by Lori Goldstein.  This pattern has very generous ease. I went down a size this time around.

I did make a few modifications:  Shortened the sleeves,  added an inch to the length ( and I wish I had added a few more inches :/ ) and I made a v neck to replicate the v neck on the LOGO top. This required narrowing that neck opening, too.  But no worries, I'm making another one tonight, I think! This is perfect weekend wear.  It looks adorable under a jacket, too.  I'm in love with my serger!!!!!!

I'll be  wearing this top  today  to my daughter's house, where we're having a St. Patrick's Day Birthday Feast in honor of my birthday today!

Have a Happy, Happy Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday, sponsored by our good friend Carole, at Carole Knits.  This week?
Ten favorite things that are green. I have a love/hate relationship with green. I love green in my house, I love eating green, I love green around me. I don't wear green, I hate Shamrock Shakes and green beer. But I do have a few favorite green things.

1. This little March Angel. Even though she's not entirely green, she represents St. Patrick's Day, and I got her for my birthday when I was just a little girl. She's come a long way...and so have I. No worse for wear, a few broken parts put back together, and a reminder that I was given life for a purpose.

                                                           2. Vintage green kitchen stuff.

     3. Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts. Dinner last night? Shaved Brussels Sprouts sauteed with pancetta.

                 4. My Journal...for when I can't keep all of my thoughts and creativity inside my head.

                                                                5. My Spring garden.

6. I have a collection of dead women's jewelry...gathered here and there over many years. I never wear green, but I always wear these pins in March. The St. Patty's pin was given to me by a lady at a garage sale because I shared the same birthday as her mother!

7. This green recliner, which was given to us. I swore it was not staying in our house until I realized how stinking comfortable it is for watching television and knitting! And, I like the guy in it, who always looks great in green.

9. Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz...They made it! This happens to be one of my favorite movies. I could sing the entire movie!

"You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark, You're out of the night.Step into the sun, Step into the light."

10. I love ellen j goods...our business that represents re-purposing, recycling, re-using..it's a green way of decorating! And it's what JR and I have done for years. We are building this business together, and sharing our passion for upcycling and decorating with others!

Monday, March 11, 2013

my sewing weekend

On Friday, I had prepared a post and then forgot to publish it. So this morning, I had a good chuckle to myself when I re-read it...
(I'm publishing it today as is, with today's edits in italics)

Can we talk? Just as girls, friends, moms, mimi’s…

Don’t we just get ourselves all in a knot with far too many things to do and too little time to do them?

That’s how I’ve felt this week. Other than work, which has been on the stressful side the past few weeks, I’ve started a workout program. And then there’s the other furniture/junktique business. So to be honest with you, I’m just craving some uninterrupted sewing time.

Can I please just have some uninterrupted sewing time?

This weekend, I am proclaiming that I will enjoy my time. I’m making a list. Not a “to do” list, but an “Enjoy My Weekend List”

And it will start Friday night.
I’m sending my husband to auction and I’m going to stay home.
I went to the auction because my husband suggested that he loves it when I go, with a sad pouty face.I’m going to enjoy sewing a brightly colored skirt.
I didn't sew. but I had plans....

I think, I may get up early…just to enjoy morning coffee.
I slept in until after 7:00, and had a warmed up coffee from the day before.
If I feel like it, I’ll sew. If I feel like it, I’ll knit while I watch Project Runway.
Then I watched Project Runway.  I started my skirt project. Then I went for a fitness walk.I’m not going to worry about cleaning the house. Because I also have a massage scheduled. And I’d like to sew.
I did not worry about cleaning the house. I went to my massage. I didn't sew for the rest of the day or night.
There will be some family time for pizza…which means I get to see grandbabies and kids. No worries, no stress…just enjoying.
Which was the best part of the day. Even better than the massage.

Training program at the gym.
I didn't go. I had a headache.
Church at 11:00….no rushing around to try to get there at 9:00.
Went to church. And it felt like we were rushing to get there by 11:00.

If I feel like it, I’ll sew. I’ve also got a pile of magazines and a book that I might want to read.
Our friends asked us to got to the Home Show at the Buffalo Convention Center....where there was a one hour delay in the parking lot because a valet parking attendant backed into the car we were driving. After the Home Show, we devoured Mexican Food at one of our favorite places. I didn't sew.

There could be a nap.
There was no nap.
Maybe I’ll take a walk with my husband. If we feel like it.
There was no walk.
But mostly, I’d like to work out all of the stress of the week in the sewing room.
I do have three projects unfinished on my sewing table, including this skirt:

And that will be my weekend. And I get to proclaim it, and I deserve it.

And so, the best laid schemes, as they say...oft go awry.
But it was a good weekend, even without sewing.

These photos are via Instagram. By the way, you can follow me on Instagram, too.
@LTBrundage...join the fun!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

how to turn around a gray day

Yesterday was one of those days. I don't know why...but work was long, all of my muscles hurt, the skies were gray and I couldn't wait to get home. In fact, I called JR as I was leaving and declared I was changing into my pajamas as soon as I walked through the door.  And I would be making dinner in my pajamas.

So that's just what I did...I made a big batch of chicken taco soup and a small batch of warm chocolate pudding. Then I watched television while knitting a fat red cozy pair of socks.

Oh, and I finished this project...proceeds go into my Serger Fund.

This is McCall's 6065. Yup, commissioned by a friend for her granddaughter's birthday.

I used two complementary quilting cottons. The floral reminds me of sheets from the 70's.
It has the cutest details. Gathered patch pockets:

an underskirt with a flouncy ruffle:

and my own extra somethin' somethin' just to be sure it tipped the scales toward adorable cuteness:

And, of course, there had to be a matching dress for her doll.

There.  Now, how in the world can a Monday get any better than this? If that little set of dresses just doesn't bring out the happy.

Tomorrow, I make a fun colored skirt for myself!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday ramblings

A little of this, A little of that... some random thoughts and goings on:

JR just got back from a ski trip. I hate when he's away...while it's a nice idea to have the house to myself and be able to make my own schedule, somehow, I seem to go into hibernation when he's away. Not much in the way of sewing or painting or knitting or anything. But he's back, our home/furniture restyle business  is growing, and now I have more than enough to occupy my time.

Now I'm  like, go away again, dear! I need some productive time! You know how it is:  you can't live with him, you can't live without him!

I got accepted to do a special fitness program sponsored by my insurance company and the YMCA.  It's called FitStart. I am committed to  a three month session, which involves meeting with a small group and working out with personal trainers once a week...Please!  Twist my arm!  So far, so good.  Let's hope I'm on my way to developing some good habits and that they stick.

For the past few months, I've been teaching a knitting class at the Lee-Whedon Library. I LOVE teaching women to knit, sew, or anything. I'm so thankful that they have given me the opportunity to share this with a whole new batch of eager learners every month. And?  Preparing for the class keeps my hands out of the popcorn while television watching!

Guess what? I'm getting a new serger! Yesterday I put a deposit on a Husqvarna Viking machine. I can barely stand the wait! JR gave his complete thumbs up after he heard the name...they make good chainsaws, which in his mind, sealed the deal.

Have you read (or heard of) "Overdressed?"  It's been the talk of fashion/sewing blogs for awhile now, and I'm smack in the middle of reading it.   It's been rather shocking and revealing to me personally, and there's that bit of me that is beginning to reconcile the fact that  I've been caught in the fast fashion trap, which has even translated to my sewing. My goal and desire would be to continue to sew, and even improve the quality of my work so that my clothes are even more special. I may have more to say on this later....

On a somewhat related topic....The Michael Kors knock off trousers? Still in progress. Muslin complete.

 I've totally missed my deadline of February 28th, but that's okay. I can't get any votes on the Pattern Review RTW Contest, anyway since I have won a contest within the last four months. But DO go vote. There are some amazing entries in the gallery. Back to those pants...  I had a fabric online order mishap, and when it arrived, it was totally the wrong type of fabric for these pants. Not to worry, there's enough for me to do a pair of Clovers in this nice stretchy sateen from Denver Fabrics. So, this morning I ordered fabric AGAIN to complete these pants.  One of the many frustrations of having only Joann's fabrics from which to actually touch and select fashion fabrics locally.  Curious...do you always order swatches of fabric before you buy on line?

My pile of projects is growing, with some really pretty garments coming up.
But who's in a hurry, right?
I finally got the Lisette Simplicity 1666 and some fabric for that:

I've been helping my mom to makeover her guest room. That project started a few weeks ago with a bold new paint color for the walls based on a set of bedding that she chose. I'm working on painting some of the furniture pieces and doing some fabric treatments. The reveal will be coming soon!

But for today I'm getting my hair cut and then I'm spending the day with my husband, doing one of our favorite things : going to some estate sales and auctions. It's a happy day!