Friday, June 3, 2011

Sneak Peak

Ignore the lack of pressing and the somewhat awkward hanger, but here's proof that I have been busily sewing my way through the Secretary Dress pattern. All I have left now is to insert the zipper, add bias binding to the armscyes, and hem! Not sure how much else I will do today on it, I am going to let it hang for at least a few hours to let the fabric relax. Expect to see it finished soon, though!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Half-Circle Skirt

 Sewing progress! I couldn't help myself in making it look 50s-tastic. I was fully intending to go outside and take advantage of the beautiful light, but I lack a photographer. Perhaps later, or tomorrow morning before Ben leaves for work.

  I fully intended to make this a full circle skirt, but basic math apparently escapes me, and I ended up cutting out a half circle with my waist measurement. I was pretty frustrated with myself until I held up the offending geometric shape and Ben commented that it actually looked pretty good. I made it up and am  pretty pleased with the result.


I like the way that the stripes behave around the skirt, I was pretty anal about lining up the pieces before I cut out the pattern (with the intent that the halves would match up). The skirt is a single piece, sewn together in the back with a zipper closure. I'd like to say that I did a good deal of hand sewing, but that would be a lie. I hand sewed the waistband facing to the skirt (with stitch-in-the-ditch fantasticness), and got halfway around the hem before admitting defeat and whipping out the Viking.

The shoes are my new splurge, I think that the little bows are adorable. We are going to ignore how many stripe motifs I am wearing at once. I'm hoping to do a real photoshoot with this skirt at some point, when I have my hair all done up and don't look like I just got out of my pajamas (which I just had, by the way) as well as showing some of the construction of the skirt.

The Secretary dress is nearing completion - I have all of the darts sewn, major seams done, all that I need to do is do a good round of pressing and sew the bodice pieces together and then join it to the skirt. It's coming along well, I am glad that I cut a size 6 as opposed to an 8. It fits almost perfectly with no modifications, something that is almost never true of modern patterns.

I have my fingers crossed that the weather stays nice, we had one heck of a storm last night (I had to run home through it, my first step ended up being knee-deep in a puddle in the parking lot). Western Mass got slammed with a tornado - my thoughts are with those who suffered harm (bodily or otherwise) in it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Boston experienced summer-like weather and temperatures today, after what seems like months of rain, gray skies, and general unhappiness. I celebrated by taking a nice long stroll (Chinatown to Fenway) as well as doing a little bit of shopping. I really want to focus more on using what I have (modifying clothes that I seldom wear to get a little more life out of, or fabricating garments from scratch) and haven't really purchased any clothing save for dainties all year, but shoes are another story. I cannot make shoes from scratch, nor do I even own that many pairs, but recently I have begun to embrace the heel. Wedges and modest ~2" heels are my new footwear love. I picked up a pair of ticking-striped espadrilles en route from fabric to lunch that are a bit on the higher side, but very walkable.

I have an somewhat of a wardrobe issue, though, in that my workplace is geared towards the outdoors, so that I wear not much else other than T's, jeans, or shorts with sneakers. I have been known to dare a skirt on occasion, but other than that, I'm pretty boring. It is not that I couldn't wear nicer clothing, just that it'd get ruined by bike grease, dust, and overall rough treatment. Not to mention it would undermine my credibility when talking about gear. Because of this, now that it's getting warmer, I have been taking every opportunity to dress up. I got a haircut, so I have resumed my previous pincurl habits, and have been rocking the skirts and dresses.

In this vein, I picked up a few yards of fabric in bright, summery colors, as well as some notions for my Secretary Dress like matching thread and a zipper. All of the parts are cut out and pinned together, the darts and pleats basted - all I have to do now is to schlep out the beast and get cracking. With the weather so nice, I got a lot less sewing done today than expected, but I am in a good place and probably only have an hour or two of sewing left for this garment.

Now, though, its time for the spoils!

 The fabric above will turn itself into a circle skirt at some point. I'm of a mind to get a whole bunch of clothes cut out and pinned, and do a big batch of sewing when I set up my machine - I already drafted a pattern piece for this. It needs a good wash and iron, but it should make a pretty adorable full skirt.

I'm not sure what the fabric above will become - it is only 2 yards, I got it for pretty cheap - but the pattern screamed "fun! cute!" at me. I'm trying to pump some colors other than white and shades of blue into my wardrobe this summer. I probably have enough fabric to make an A-line skirt and top with an open back (a la Coffee Date Dress), or maybe even some sort of a romper. We shall see. I couldn't pass it up.

I'm hoping to get some sewing done on Thursday and maybe even some more tonight (I poured myself a glass of Sangria, so I doubt I'll be doing anything by machine, but I might well just set up the beast - all 40 lbs of it - and leave it out so that I can get an hour or so in later or in the morning. Go go, summer sewing! I hope the sun keeps peeking out this week. I'm tired of gray and drizzle.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm alive, I swear!

After a not-so great fall, winter, and early spring, I have finally returned to sewing (and blogging). Between work, school, and family life, I had no time nor energy to be creative. This fall started off well: I won a give away, learned how to make bread (see pic), and got a scone pan from my family and became a scone maven.

In early October, though, I got some crushing news from my parents and then grandparents. Thus started a particularly depressing school year. My father announced that he wanted a divorce from my mother and my grandfather went into hospice after a 17 year battle with cancer. Fortunately, my parents worked through their differences (my mom didn't want to give up 28 year marriage without a fight - she's an amazing woman) but the entire thing came out of left field for all of us and it still hurts a little bit. My grandfather hung on until early Valentines day morning - I still miss him every day, but time makes it easier.

I had a very very low March but pulled out of it more or less intact. B's been a blessing (he gives great hugs and I'm working on his back-rub skills) and stuck with me through it. I'm not usually a fan of over-sharing - this is a sewing blog, after all! - but it sort of explains where my mind is and has been at these past months.

Now, for the happy:
* I graduated from college this past week.
* I still work at REI and am overlord of the front half of the store (phase 1 of evil takeover complete, buahaha!)
* I broke out the ironing board and scissors, hemmed some of B's pants (royal blue cords, don't ask), and cut into the giveaway fabric.

 I meant to make a post about the giveaway package, thank goodness I took pictures! Sunni wrapped it up all pretty and even included a cute little thank you card!

Included was Simplicity 2724, out of which she made her Naughty Secretary Dress, and a few yards of some gorgeous fabric. I ironed it again and cut out all the pattern pieces, lining them up on the fabric and getting B's approval before I started cutting (he isn't a sewist, but has an eye for pattern placement).

I cut out a size 6 (since when am I a size 6? sheesh) - there is about 2-3 inches of ease in the pattern and I was just between the 6 and 8, so I went down. No muslin, I'm going rogue (and can always make a smaller seam allowance if needed). I'm tired of having to bring in all my patterns by inches each time, so hopefully I didn't just cut everything a size too small.

Below you can see my super awesome workspace and the in-progress pinning: I miss the huge counters at home, but I'm making do with the floor when needed

Because of the way the pattern was spaced, I opted for an asymmetrical placement, with the flowers along one side of the front bodice and the green leaf motif along the other side. I had fears of ending up with big red rosettes over my chest drawing attention where they oughtn't. I need to run down to the one fabric store in Boston and grab a zipper, some interfacing, and matching thread. I'm hoping to get the darts basted and the seams pinned in the meantime, though. The weather hasn't been cooperating this past week and I'm not feeling a 45 minute ride in the rain for some notions. I hope to have the dress finished by or on next Tuesday! I'll do another post sometime soon when I have things pinned and talk about the pattern option I chose.

It's so nice to be sewing again, I can't explain how happy it is making me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Best Giveaway in the World!

So imagine my surprise when I log onto blogger to check out my feed and see my name in the title of someone's post. I won Sunni's giveaway! I immediately began bouncing up and down in my chair and nearly spilled my chai (I didn't though, so don't worry). I'm sure that all of you have had moments like this when you enter a giveaway: you put down your name/URL, write something heartfelt and/or witty and expect never to win. There were a bunch of people who entered and there was a pretty low statistical probability of my winning, so I kind of wrote it off and was planning on being happy for whoever won.

Well, girls (and boys), that was me! Sunni's fabric choices are outside of what I usually consider when I look at fabrics for myself, but this is a good thing. I am all for branching out of my color comfort zone: there are only so many navy, white, and green pieces one can own. Yellow is a color I'm not afraid of wearing, I've just never had an excuse to do so. Now I do!

I haven't really sewed all that much lately - I got bogged down on progress for the Butterick vintage dress. I lost about 7 lbs from the time when I drafted/muslined/altered the pattern and at the last fitting I got fed up with it. At some point, I will probably separate the skirt and the top and make some sort of coordinating jacked and pencil skirt combination (adding pockets to the skirt, of course, which I meant to do beforehand...), but I just don't have it in me right now. Weight loss coupled with a full time job, moving, and transitioning back into my (final) school year left me a no-sew masshole. (Oh, and I took up bread making. More on that later, though.)

This is all about to change.

My work week just dropped from 22 hrs/wk to about 12 (on top of taking 5 classes, eep...), leaving me with free weekends and some weeknights for sewing! I really can't wait to get that fabric/pattern in my little hands and cut cut cut, sew sew sew, and end up with a marvelous little dress for my classes. I think that I need to go and buy some more muslin, but fortunately there are a few fabric stores in the Boston area within biking distance of my new home. Next up, within the week or so, I will put up a more detailed post about my plan of action and whatever else I feel like writing. Time to go think up lining colors!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I won't blather on and list a bunch of reasons as to why my sewing has languished in my UFO pile (well, bin, under my sewing table, nicely pressed...) but will be taking a brief break from sewing for the foreseeable future. Between getting a brand spankin' new job, for which training begins tomorrow, and a serious family health issue, I don't know if I will have the time nor be in the mindset to sew anything terribly adventurous.

I'm afraid of buttons and it's holding me back - I really like the way the Butterick dress is coming along and I really don't want to mess it up. It's a late summer/fall dress anyways, so I guess there's no real issue there. There are some other things on my to do list (summer blouse, open back dress before the summer gets away from me...) but, like I said - time!

It is entirely possible that on Wednesday or Thursday the urge to create will once more overwhelm me and I will resume my sewing projects, but I would hate for it not to and I disappear from this site without so much as a heads up. I am sorry enough as it is to have not updated in several weeks!

I hope that no one else is caught in a sewing rut like mine - keep calm, sew on!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is it Wednesday?

I think it is - not having a job has really made my grasp of the calendar pretty lax. I know when the weekends are (generally) but other than that, I'm useless! This is not to say that I haven't been doing anything with my time, au contraire, I have been sewing and selling this/that on craigslist for my family...running...eating...sewing some more...

Yep, my life is pretty exciting.

I haven't said much about me the last few weeks, having mostly been focusing on my sewing projects (as promised!) and not forgetting the fact that not much is going on with me. I joined PatternReview a few weeks ago, and I am glad that I did. I do enjoy the community at BurdaStyle, but there is something just so friendly about PR that seems to be lacking at Burda. It is not that I have ever received any mean comments, but that none of them are as nice and encouraging as the comments I have gotten at PR. Those ladies (and men!) are so sweet, it really makes one feel good about their projects! I am considering asking them for some help soon - making use of the hive mind that is PR - posting on the message board about a buttonhole conundrum. That's another thing I like about PR: there's a message board! And it is organized and on topic! And useful! Something that cannot be said about Burda (while I do like the interface and the patterns).

I have been steadily working on my vintage Butterick pattern (9536): the dress is pretty much put together now, with the exception of the buttons and the facing (and the hem of course). The pattern calls for 5 bound buttonholes, and I have been considering making triangular buttonholes instead of the normal. I'm afraid that might make the dress too busy, though. We'll see. When I get around to pinning the sucker onto me and taking a picture, I'll post a picture and my query to PR and see what they all think. I am really excited about how this dress is coming along, it fits really well (as it'd better, given how much time it took me to figure out how to resize it for myself) and the fabric is really comfortable and soft. I can't wait until the fall or late summer to roll around so that I can wear it!

Pictures will be later this week, probably Friday, I took some in-progress photos today. I'm not expecting this dress to be finished by this week, though, being as afraid of bound buttonholes as I am (I have never done them before!) but there is a time for firsts. I have been considering cutting out a blouse for myself, or rather a muslin for a blouse for myself. The pattern I have is a bit strange - calling for 2 zippers, one underarm and one neck. I might just change it to either a front or back buttoning blouse. We shall see! I will show you when I get it figured out!

Until later...