So much sewing

In spite of my lack of blogging, I’ve actually been sewing a lot lately. In between sewing costumes, I made Linus a Go To Jacket with a hood, but without a chin guard (it was too fiddly when I made Miles’s, so I decided it would be okay to go without. And it was.) He loves it, even though it’s inexplicably too big. I think because the fabric I got (a 97/3 cotton/lycra blend) was a lot stretchier. Miles’s was made of ponte and lined with a knit, so it definitely didn’t stretch as much. But I’m sure it’ll shrink and/or he will grow into it. 😀

Oh. And I have no idea where I went wrong with the pockets. This version had inseam pockets, but as far as I could tell, there was only one pocket piece, but I couldn’t find instructions on how to close the top. So I top stitched it to the front piece, which looks weird and I may re-do later. 🤔

Oh and I messed up one of the front pattern pieces but didn’t have enough fabric to cut it again so I re-cut the messed up bottom half, and then cut the other side in the same place to make it look “blocked” and on purpose instead of an accident.

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Anyway, it’s super cozy and he’s happy so win!

The other fun sewing project was making a dress out of the sequined fabric I bought a year and a half ago. This fabric is so dreamy that I couldn’t bear to cut into it. And also I was terrified of sewing with sequins. And also I wanted a pattern that would have relatively few seams and nothing fiddly. At first I was going to make a skirt but the thought of putting a zipper in made me back off. Then I remembered the pattern I’d bought for me and Kiki’s Arsenal dresses this summer – the 100 Acts of Sewing Dress #1. It’s basically a shapeless trapeze tank dress but only one pattern piece so perfect! Who’d be looking at me with that fabric anyway?

I decided to line it with pale pink satin, and basically I just made the dress twice. I attached the lining at the neck, where I used bias tape to finish the seams. And I finished the arm holes of the sequined dress with bias tape (but the satin dress was just serged in matching thread.)

It was a bit big, (obviously this was before I made my Ellis skirt) but it worked well enough. I don’t have any great pictures, but I got a lot of compliments on it and it was comfortable and easy.

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Pre-event, when I was still wearing heels
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Oh look, there I am. Looks like I should have paid more attention to the side seam. Oops.

So what’s coming up?

Well, I need to make my own Halloween costume, but it should be fairly easy. And I’d like to make another Blackwood Cardigan, and another York Pinafore, and maybe some joggers, and this jacket looks intriguing but I haven’t had a ton of luck with Seamwork patterns. I really want to make the Tillery skirt out of denim, maybe? Or corduroy? Possibly the canvas I got at IKEA? But then I saw the new skirt pattern from Grainline yesterday and I’m a bit starry eyed over that. But maybe I’ll save that for the spring. Maybe they’ll finally expand the sizing on the Farrow dress that I’ve been dying over. And I’ll reward them by purchasing two patterns.

Oh shoot! And I just forgot I got the new Tobin Sweater pattern from Cashmerette, and they threw in the Appleton for free! That said, I’m not really into the idea of a wrap dress for myself, but I might try making it as a top instead. So yeah, I’m gonna be busy. 😀

(Speaking of Cashmerette, the most exciting thing happened this morning – I opened an email newsletter AND THERE WAS MY BUTT! Normally, I wouldn’t be excited about seeing my butt anywhere, but I was very honored that the designer chose to feature my version of her skirt! YAY!)

I’ll finish off this post with a photo of my (very tiny) closet. I took everything out of it that I didn’t make. So yeah, this is all me-made. (Not all of it, either, by a long shot!)

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Sewing the Ellis skirt, take 2

Back in March, I made a test version of the Ellis skirt by Cashmerette. I had bought a kit from the designer with nice denim and all the accoutrements (rivets, button, topstitching thread, etc.) but I only got around to using that kit last week or so.

The problem is, I gained a bit of weight since March so I wanted to size up a tad. But long story short, I sized up too much. Why do I always do this? Plus, I didn’t seem to learn anything from the mistakes I made the first time. If I decide to make this skirt again, though, I know exactly what to do.

  1. SIZE DOWN.
  2. Sew the ding dang zipper closer to the center front seam! Don’t line up the edge of the zipper with the seam, but line up the zipper teeth.
  3. I realized that when the zipper is lined up the way I did, the waistband ends up being too short. So then I had to take apart the waistband and add more length to it.
  4. And then LATER when the waistband was too big, I had to take it apart and remove that length.

So, don’t look too closely is all I can say.

But in the end, it fits okay, not great, but well enough, and it looks like a denim skirt and I love the topstitching I did on the back pockets. 🇬🇧

Look! A weird picture of my butt! (I lightened it so you can see the stitching.)

Oh and the lining fabric went with my pocket theme…

(Like before, this is view A in the length of view B.)

Coming soon: More sewing posts, because I’ve been sewing a lot!

Sewing clothes for myself again!

I feel like it’s been forever since I made something for myself (not counting the pink satin shorts I made for Mardi Gras, even though they are now in use as the most comfy pajama shorts ever) but I finally finished my first Ellis Skirt by Cashmerette.

The day the pattern came out, I ordered a kit complete with this beautiful dark blue stretch denim and the rivets and topstitching thread and all that good stuff. But there was no way I was going to cut right into it without practicing on a less precious fabric first. So I found some inexpensive gray stretch denim at Joann’s, and set to work.

Well. I mean, it’s an intermediate-level pattern, so it wasn’t easy. But it was fun. I set up two sewing machines (thank goodness I got another one!) as suggested – one with regular thread, and one with topstitching thread. That way, you’re not constantly changing out the thread.

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The pattern comes with two size variations, one for apple shapes, and one for pear shapes. I always assumed I was a pear, but after scrutinizing the measurements, I decided to go with the apple. (In all honestly, I’m more like a slice of bread. Kind of square.) And you can choose between two styles – one is a traditional jeans look with rivets and a jeans button and all that, but is knee-length with a slit up the front. The other has different details on top – it uses a slide fastener, and there’s some topstitching on the pocket area, but it’s short.

I wanted the jeans-style of the first style with the length of the second, so that’s what I made.

I could wait to blog about this after I finish the second skirt, but I learned a lot while making this, and I want to write it all down so I remember.

  1. The zipper. Oops. This is a big one. I somehow misread the instructions and it’s somehow shifted to the side a bit. It’s actually fine, it works, and when the skirt is all closed up, you can’t really tell. I don’t think. Maybe it looks off-center, but it’s not immediately obvious. I’ve since watched tutorials on installing the zipper, so I’m fairly confident I’ll get it right next time.
  2. Topstitching. There are a few things here I need to think about for the next time. First, I need to really figure out what the tension settings should be for each area of the skirt. In some parts, especially around the waistband, you’re sewing down several layers of denim and lining, and the stitches don’t look quite right. But it would probably need to be adjusted for other areas where you’re only sewing through one or two layers (pockets, hem, etc.) And for this skirt, I didn’t think too much about the pattern I stitched onto the pockets, but this is an area where you can really have fun! So I want to think harder about what I put on the pockets. Maybe a different thread color? Some kind of pattern? We’ll see.
  3. The dang button. I bought a pack of five or six jeans buttons from Joann’s and I destroyed three of them trying to hammer them in. What’s up with that? Why can’t they just screw in? Hmmph. I ended up having to repair the hole and just sew on a regular button. I hope rivets aren’t as difficult.

I guess those are the big things – doing a neater job with topstitching will go a long way towards making the next skirt a bit more polished. But if anyone has any tips for the button, please let me know.

Now for the awkward pics! I swear I wasn’t trying to make any particular face in any of these.

Detail shots:

PS This is random, but just a demonstration of what a small world this is…the model wearing the longer skirt is Meg, who is a prolific and awesome sewist I have been following ever since I started sewing. The crazy thing is, she is also good friends with George’s cousin! We were even at the same wedding a couple of years ago (before I started sewing, sadly.) Isn’t that random? So awesome.

Soccer and sewing (again)

Two things taking over my life right now – soccer and sewing.

Let’s start with soccer. I took a lot of pictures at Saturday’s game, but don’t worry, I won’t do this at every game. But it was their first, after all, and they even won! (Can’t say the same about the game on Sunday, though.)

Some of my favorite pics from the game:

Miles usually was playing closest to where I was sitting, so I got more pictures of him, but for the next game I’m borrowing a 300mm lens from a friend (this one only zooms to 105mm) so hopefully I’ll get better pics of all three. (Linus is 90, Miles is 91, and Oliver is 92.) I mean, if someone wants to buy me this, I won’t say no…

In sewing news, you know that Upton dress I made the other day? Well, I wasn’t super thrilled with the fit, so I made some adjustments and was able to squeeze the dress out of less than 3 yards of fabric I had lying around. And this time, it’s much better!

Observe:

The fit on the right is more like how it should be. I also raised the waistband an inch (well, I lowered it 3″ the first time I made it, but only 2″ the second time) and went down a size in the bodice, but up a cup size (Cashmerette patterns have different bust sizes, which is awesome.)

 

Also, I got a zipper foot for my sewing machine, so I was able to get my invisible zipper slightly less visible:

Couple more pics. Note to self: the waistband pieces should be cut upside down if they’re directional, because I have a little bird peeping down from the waist. Hee!

Next time, I think I might try the box pleated skirt version. Or add sleeves. Who knows?!!?

 

Sewing project: Cashmerette Upton

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 11.17.19 AM.pngI’ve been eyeing this pattern for a while, but I held off for a few reasons. First, it looked too complicated, even though the skill level was supposedly “advanced beginner” (which is what I think I am.) Second, well, I guess I just didn’t think as someone who works from home and rarely dresses up, would need it. But mostly it was because it looked hard.

Well, it really wasn’t. I mean, it had a lot of steps, sure, but they were pretty straightforward, and the instructions were thorough as usual. I had bought the paper pattern because printing out PDFs isn’t my favorite (well, really it’s the taping that I hate) but since I didn’t want to cut into the tissue in case I had fit issues, I traced the pattern onto pattern paper, which took forever. Anyway.

And as far as not needing dresses, I do have an event coming up for the mom’s blog where we’re supposed to wear jewel tones (for photos) and I had this lovely fabric, so I figured this would be the perfect time to make it.

The dress has a few options – a v-neck or scoop neckline, and a box pleated or gored skirt. I decided to go with v-neck and gored, like the photo (of the designer) on the website (above).

Before I even got started, I made the decision to lengthen the bodice, so I added 3″ to it, but once I had the darts sewn into the lining, I realized they were way too high, so I moved the bust darts down for the outer fabric. (Yeah, I said lining. Another reason it was intimidating.)IMG_6695.JPG

By the time I was done, I only had to unpick stitches like five times so I think I’m improving there. 😀 And the hem is totally wonky. At that point I just wanted to be done, so I didn’t take as much care with it as I should have. On the bright side, look how well I matched up the waistband at the zipper!

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Cute sleeve!

In the end, I think it’s a bit too big in the bust so I’m going to try a different size next time, but it’s certainly wearable like this. I’m also going to reduce the amount I lengthen the bodice to 2″ instead of 3″. And heck, I might get the sleeve expansion pack next to add the cute little tie sleeves. We’ll see. I’m not really the “cute sleeve” type of person but maybe I can be, just this once.

I also was thinking of trying horsehair braid along the hemline next time to make it stand out a bit. When I first tried on the dress, I felt very…rectangular. Like, it’s not accentuating my waist enough. So between making the bodice a bit more fitted, and making the skirt flare out a tiny bit with the horsehair, I think I’ll like it even more. I just need to figure out if I can put in horsehair without lining the skirt. Hmm.

Anyway, I wore it to dinner with some friends last night, and got some pics in the French Quarter. Much better backdrop than my living room!

 

 

Version two, coming soon!

Wrapping up Me Made May 2018

I did it! Every day in May, I wore something I made. Now, granted, near the end of the month, I didn’t post to Instagram every day because I was sick of taking pictures of myself in the same clothes I’d already posted 15 times before. (Always clean. I do a lot of laundry.)

So here’s how I rounded out the month:

May 22: The striped P4P shirt:

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Me Made May – week 3!

I’m a few days late with this post, only because the first part of the week was so busy with various anniversaries of births and deaths. (Quite the roller coaster of emotions.)

Anyway, here we go!

May 15: Plaid Cashmerette Springfield

May 16: Went shoe shopping in my Cashmerette Washington.

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May 17: Exhausted in my (wait for it…) Cashmerette Concord (I swear I’m working on another color!) Continue reading

Me Made May 2018 – week 2

I’ve made it through another week of Me Made May, wearing at least one item of clothing every day that I made with my very own two hands. Now, this week won’t be as exciting as last week because there are some repeats in here. SORRY.

May 8: One of the first things I made, a skirt out of a very slinky (but pretty!) knit that almost put me off knits forever. And then I got a rotary cutter and mat and a serger and I’m fine now.

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May 9: The back of my Cashmerette Webster!

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May 10: I got to visit my friend’s new squish, Arlo. (That’s “little fish” from last week‘s post. He’s a perfectly normal sized week-old baby, but MAN he’s tiny. And mine were like half that size? How is that even possible? (I mean okay, half that weight. Not actually half the size.) But he’s the sweetest, and I’m wearing my Cashmerette Washington.

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May 11: My first pair of shorts!!!! Linen Loungers by Patterns for Pirates. Also took it outside for a picture. I’m not always checking the time, btw. Just using my watch as a remote. Okay, not the best pic, but just trying to use a different one than what I post on Instagram, that’s all. Also, OKAY FINE. I like my legs in this one. Heh. I’m so full of myself. (Also wearing my Cashmerette Concord shirt.)

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May 12: I walked the Pink Bra Run 5k with my birthday buddy Ann Frances on Saturday. Love this child so much. We had fun chatting about this and that the whole time. About an hour before the race, I decided I needed MOAR PINK so I (ahem) whipped up a quick circle skirt out of some cheap pink polyester I had. I mean, seriously, it’s made terribly, but it was fine for this, and it counts, right?

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May 13: Happy Mother’s Day to meeee! My Leralynn dress again, and of course I forced the boys to take a picture with me. Oliver (far right) is wearing the shirt I made him too.

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May 14: George’s birthday! I am wearing the Linen Lounger shorts again. SO SUE ME, they’re comfy. Look, it’s the elusive family photo! Plus Ethan. Hence the look on my face. Aren’t three boys enough?!? (Four, if you count George. Five, including Ziggy.) (Not that Ethan’s not a great kid. He is.)

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Other sewing projects from last week include a dress I’m not done with, and these rice-filled neck pillows for the boys’ teachers for Teacher Appreciation week. Super easy to whip up, and I scented them with jasmine essential oil so they smell like springtime in NOLA. (The only good thing about springtime in New Orleans. Well, except for crawfish but I don’t think I’d want a pillow that smells like seafood but you never know.)IMG_1154

Ziggy has been keeping me company while I sew, which is nice.

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He gets a bit lonely when I sew since he’s usually not allowed in the back bedrooms because of the number of stuffed animals that live back there, but I knew he’d be okay if he stayed by me.

Onward to week 3!

Me Made May 2018 – week 1

So there’s this challenge (you know I love a challenge! How many times have I uttered those exact words on this blog? oh, okay, turns out this is the first time.) in the sewing community where you uh well I guess it’s kinda self-explanatory but you wear clothes you made in May. But well, you decide the parameters. Some people wear only clothes they made. Some people wear something different every day. Some people wear something they made three times a week, etc, etc. I decided to say I am going to wear something I made every day. There are going to be repeats, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I could make it through the month without wearing the same thing twice, except that would mean I could only wear, say, my purple Concord top once, and that would be sad because I really like it.

I’ve been posting daily on Instagram, but I’m going to do a weekly recap here on the blog of what I’ve been wearing (and making.)

May 1: Seamwork Akita, one of the first shirts I made.

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May 2: Cashmerette Concord. This was the first time I made it. Is a little more fitted than I wanted, but still wearable.

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May 3: Dork alert! The Leralynn dress by Blank Slate Patterns. You get a gallery for this one because I’m proud of all the details that went into this one. The top-stitching is my favorite. It looks like a little vine or something.

May 4: Cashmerette Washington. I think this one looks better in person. I am definitely making another one of these soon.

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May 5: Getting creative with my photography here. The aforementioned purple Cashmerette Concord.

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May 6: A Cashmerette Webster that I couldn’t get a good picture on. But I like the detail of the straps on the back. It was more complicated to make than you might think! Be impressed!

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May 7: Being a dork in another Seamwork Akita, this time one I screwed up but I don’t really care because it’s comfy and I wasn’t going anywhere.

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I’m also working on a dress for Day 19 (high school reunion) which you’ll of course have to wait and see, and I made this for my friend Aimee’s new baby and her older son Linus (all the heart eyes.) (Pattern by Patterns for Pirates.)

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On to week 2!

Sewing and soccer

I started to make this just about sewing, but there’s more to life than sewing, you know.

There’s soccer, of course.

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Speaking of, my latest post for NOMB came out today.

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Generally tongue in cheek, as I am wont to do. Check it out!

Okay, this is probably really, really wrong of me. But I was videoing some of the soccer game because I knew the boys would want to watch it, and I just happened to get a video of this kid on the other team getting knocked over by a ball. He was FINE. But the video is VERY FUNNY. SO I can’t decide if I should share it or not. Hmm. How about I won’t embed it, but I’ll put a link here so you can click on it if you want to be as evil as me and watch a little kid get conked in the head with a soccer ball? Fair enough. (And yes. I slowed it down so you could see it even better.)

Last weekend, some long-lost (not really) cousins were in town and we had lunch with them. I wish I had some pictures. We were half an hour late because the French Quarter was packed so it took us forever to park so I was too frazzled to take pictures. Except of my barbecue oyster poboy. Mmmmmm.

Oh, and my Uncle Lee was here and he showed me a photo of my Aunt Nancy from when she was younger. She was my dad’s big sister, and of course I only knew her when she was older so it was lovely to see this.

Oh, look at these adorable sailors in the FQ for Navy Week!

Sewing-wise, I made this dress and this dress and both were fails (one was WAY too big, and I don’t feel like going back and reprinting and taping the pattern in a smaller size, the other was just…meh) and then I decided I needed to try the Cashmerette Springfield top again because by golly I wasn’t going to give up on it, and I was much more successful the second time. Except the bust darts were too high and the arm holes a smidge tight.

Try three was a winner! My friend Jessica sews kid’s clothes for a living and had two full boxes of adorable fabrics that she gave me and I am in HEAVEN. I made both of those Springfield tops out of fabric she gave me. I love the plaid!

And then last night I decided to try the Cashmerette Washington dress and as seems to be the case with these patterns, they don’t fit right the first time so I am going to re-make the bodice in a different fabric tonight and see if it works better. I hope so!

I also am excited about trying out this dress pattern and this skirt pattern. This weekend, I hope I can get to at least one of them!

Oh, but my nieces’ birthdays are coming up and I want to make them things too. So much to sew, so little time!

Ooh, and look at my cute shoes!

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Also I’ve been to Orangetheory five times in a row now because I want to get this stupid t-shirt that you have to earn by completing “a marathon” in April. Which normally, fine, 26.2 miles over the course of a month’s worth of workouts wouldn’t be so difficult except that I was out for about 10 days of the month because of travel and a funeral last week. So I might fall apart by the end of the month but BY GOD I WILL HAVE A SHIRT THAT IS PROBABLY TOO SMALL.

I’m in Singapore!

After 28 hours of travel (which included maybe 20 minutes of sleep) I finally made it to Singapore late Tuesday/early Wednesday (I left New Orleans Monday at 7am for context.) And then we only had about 5 hours to sleep before we had to get up to work Wednesday morning. Thank goodness the hotel has a magic coffee machine in the restaurant so all you have to do is press a button and caffeine comes out.

We haven’t been anywhere except the hotel and the coworking place so far (and they’re only about 500 meters apart) so I don’t have much of an impression of Singapore yet but tomorrow we’re going to do fun stuff.

Some photos so far, mostly from airports.

Tokyo airport!

After the one hour flight to Houston, I had a 13-hour flight to Tokyo. I watched lots of movies on that flight. Then I had a four-hour layover where I met up with Karen and Deborah, and we walked around the terminal pretty much the entire time. We had some delicious ramen, I bought the boys some manga in Japanese (obvs more for funsies than anything) and I got my Starbucks mug. But I was so, so, so tired. Deborah and I got on the flight to Singapore (Karen was on a different one) where I slept a little, watched a couple more movies (it was a seven hour flight) and ate a little bit of a real Japanese meal (this leg was on All Nippon Airlines.)  The airplane also had the fancy bidet toilet seat too. (I keep wanting to say “I was tickled that the airplane had the fancy bidet toilet seat” or similar, but it just comes out all wrong so I’ll leave that out.)

Anyway, we got to Singapore after midnight, met up with Karen again, got an Uber to the hotel, passed out in our rooms, and basically worked all day yesterday, passed out last night, and are finally feeling a bit rested today. Oh, and so you don’t think I’ve completely forgotten about sewing, I wore a Cashmerette Concord shirt I made last week that I’m really happy with, and I made Karen take a picture of me wearing it.

My new shirt!

 

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Look how cute we are!!

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Hopefully my next post will have more actual photos of, you know, Singapore.