Archive for 2016

Invitation to the Zombie Apocalypse

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last day of 2016!  Ermahgerd!!!  I got my fill of my favorite holiday treats: The Sound of Music, cookies, champagne, christmas lights, and plenty of family and friends.  My lovely husband gave me a brand new Bernina 380 for Christmas (smooth sewing -- it is ah-mazing!!).

Looking back at 2016 -- I went through a lot of changes at work so much so that my blogging, reading blogs, and sewing slowed down drastically.  But! Even though I made a fewer garments than the previous year, I can say with certainty that my 2016 garments were made with love and care.  Slow fashion. I did not rush and paid attention to details.  I did not sew a pattern (or buy new ones) for the sake of the latest indie pattern being released.  I sewed for me (and others) at my pace and for my taste.

Here are a few of my favorite things:

Keeping that in mind, my plans for 2017 revolve around sewing more challenging makes.  Sewing more practical garments (you know, the boring ones to blog about).  Out with the old and in with the new because on Tuesday (Yikes!  Tuesday is around the corner!!)  I will step into a new role at work.  This means less time for sewing. Therefore, I intentionally have to plan sewing to balance my new role and my family.  I need to sew because it is stress outlet but I don't want sewing or blogging to become stressful (I know this new job will be stress enough!). I have already cut several patterns and marked fabric so that sewing is the only thing I have left.

So Goodbye 2016 (This is from our 10-year Anniversary pictures!):

To 2017!!  Have a Happy New Year! I hope it is filled with peace, health, and joy.  Lots of love from my family to yours...



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Don't Rock the Pirate Ship: Be Savvy

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Yikes!  The end of my semester is in sight.  I, as a professor, am glad and I know my students are ready for a break.  This week I have been busy giving finals, grading, and fixing all the loose ends that remain.  Tomorrow we are heading to New Orleans for a weekend getaway.  But first I have something to share....

Experiment:
Runway Skirt by Savvy Patterns
Size: 4
Midi Length

Materials:
1 yard Gray Ponte
1 yard of White Geometric Cotton
Black Thread
White Thread
2” elastic

Procedure:
Audrey from Skirt Fixation’s motto is “Changing the World One Skirt at a Time!”.  Love it.  She features so many lovely skirts on her blog but my favorite series of hers is called Living Art.  She and her adorable children recreate famous art pieces that include handmade garments!  When she asked me to participate in her blog tour for her new pattern, The Runway Skirt, I happily obliged.  Although I was given this pattern for free, I really did enjoy the quick sew and I can always use a dramatic skirt in my closet!
The Runway Skirt is a knit skirt (or stretch wovens if you are up for it) that features the oh-la-la godets in the back.  I choose to do a midi-length version to fulfill my midi obsession.  I had a charcoal gray ponte with black brush strokes stashed away.  I knew this had to be the skirt – it was the godets that were giving my nightmares.  Nightmares because I couldn’t choose a fabric or a color. Ultimately, after several trips to a fabric stores and disappointing results, I decided to go with some cotton craps that I had left over from my Kwik Sew project.  It had that geometric feature, it added drama, and it had some gray on it.  Check out my backside!
Did it work? I’ll let you be the judge.  I do love the finished result.  I choose a size 4 based on my waist measurement.  While the waist fit nicely, there was just too much room for my liking around the hip area.  Before finishing the waist, I ended up taking in an inch on either side of my hips.  I also decided to ditch the waist band and casing to follow my favorite NancyZieman technique. I used 2” elastic as that is what I had on hand instead of the recommended 1.5” elastic.  Given that I altered the waistband it worked.
Hands down the most dramatic version of this pattern is the maxi length.  If only I had had more fabric… 
Check out Savvy Patterns and the Runway Skirt.  Audrey is holding a giveaway too!  Link for the Rafflecopter giveaway is below.   
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Post Election Blues

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ermmmm.  Where to begin?  After the shocking US election result (I know now how some Brits felt after the Brexit vote!), I had to abstain from social media, blog reading, websites, TV, and all the sorts.  There was just too much ranting and whining.  It made me sad for my country.  Social media has empowered one to believe that their opinion is worthy of voicing. Sigh.  I just couldn't read all the drivel from either side.  This week is Thanksgiving in the US and with all the negativity and uncertainty I can only reflect on all that I am thankful for.   I am blessed and thankful for so very much including the wonderful sewing community!

During my mini-social media hiatus, I sewed more.  Probably because I had more free time at night.  Most importantly  because it makes me happy.   Behold: 

Experiment:
View B
Size: XS

Materials:
 ~4 Yards of White and gray cotton
Cotton Interfacing
22" White invisible zipper

Procedure:
This is my second Kwik Sew pattern following K4068.  Much like K4068, I loved the pattern cover and scooped this one up at the same time.  I decided on View B for the neckline and the length....giving into my midi-length mini-obsession of late. I had a white cotton with a gray triangles in my stash that was just the right amount of yardage -- oh -- and it was prewashed and ironed, making cutting a cinch.  
Since this was my second Kwik Sew, I knew a few adjustments that I would have to make.  I had to take about an inch on the side seams.  The midi-length on the pattern was drafted for someone who was so much taller than me.  Here is the ridiculousness: I am 5'4" and the skirt pattern for view B was maxi length on me.  I ended up removing 4 inches from the skirt! And I did a seriously wide hem, 1.5 inches double fold. Crikey!
I like the above picture because of my swinging hair!  The shot gives you an idea of the back of the dress.  I know it is hard to tell in the picture but trust me it's there: my zipper and waist line up.  Woot-woot! I mean there was some unpicking involved.  Worth every stitch unpicked.
On my second go-round with a Kwik Sew pattern, it was much more satisfying.  The result makes me  feel very classy.  I don't believe in the rule of no white white after Labor day. Psshh. This dress is going to look killer in the winter with a cardigan. Yep, I am thankful that I have a new dress and that this week I get to visit family and share a big meal (Maybe I need to make time to sew a roomy dress for the gluttony that is bound to happen!).  What are you thankful for? 

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Absolutely Nutter Butter

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Early this year I went to a local quilt show to find that there was a sale of fabric from the quilters stash to benefit the guild.  Ummmm, score.  I found 4 yards of this delicious peach fabric that was light and drapey.  I planned to make a spring button-up dress.  Disaster struck after a wash and dry cycle and during ironing I discovered a dark stain.  I held on to it waiting for the right pattern in which I could cut around it.  But that stain was pesky and in a perfect spot to ruin the fabric.
Experiment:
Size: Extra Small

Materials:
3 yards dyed mystery fabric
Black Thread

Procedure:
I had an epiphany while driving to work– dye it a darker color.  Cover the blasted stain.  That is just what I did.  One sunny Saturday morning I made a crazy amount of boiling water and threw all 4 yards of the fabric in a big bin to dye.  It worked like a charm.  I intended the fabric to be black but I took it out early to get this eerie effect.  Once dried, Jules threw the fabric over his head and went to Spotify to play the Harry Potter theme song – “I am a dementor here to suck your soul!” he cried.  Henceforth it became the dementor fabric.  I rather liked the creepy drapey vibe and knew it would make a lovely dress version of the Sudley pattern from Megan Nielsen.
Of course I had to deviate from the pattern directions.  The pattern has separate lining pieces.  I did not have enough fabric to do a full line.  Instead, I split the bodice in back and self lined with the fabric.  As a result there is a seam in the back bodice - I don't mind at all.
I also opted not to put a tie on the keyhole feature. Instead, I under stitched the lining around the keyhole to help it lay flat.  
This is a roomy dress.  Very roomy. Nuff' said. But I absolutely love it.  It is very different from he dresses I would normally gravitate towards but I am thrilled to have given it a try.  

 Absolutely nutter butter!  A stinkin' cute dress that was perfectly creepy for Halloween. Apologies for such a short post but I have been swamped at work and reckoned it was better for a short post rather than nothing at all!  Hope your Halloween was creepy and candy-filled!

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On the Ranges

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It was a whirlwind weekend. Last Friday, Mr. Chemist and I celebrated our anniversary.  We had a lovely dinner. I busted out the dress that I wore in our engagement photos and the Jimmy Choo’s I wore to our wedding.  Eek!  We are planning to do a special anniversary photo shoot.  This post would have been out earlier but I am traveling this week.  Jetting to Boulder, Colorado for a meeting.  Mid-week travel meant mad chores over the weekend and frantic packing Sunday evening.  

And I finally found the time to gush about my newest make.  In fact, listening to Spotify, I am writing this post at 30,000 ft flying across the middle of the United States.
Experiment:
Version 1
Size: Extra Small

Materials:
3 yards green printed cotton
White Thread
9 white buttons (1/2”)

Procedure:
Lesson one: Choose fabric wisely.  This is my second version of the Darling Ranges dress.  My first version graced the rubbish bin after my sewing machine decided to eat the slinky fabric I had chosen.  That first version left my sewing table over a year ago!!  Yep, that experience soured me. Thus, the pattern lay quietly at the bottom of a stack. For the second round, I choose a green cotton print from my stash. The print has little white cotton leaves -- here is hoping it transcends the seasons.
Lesson two: Try again. Whilst cleaning up my sewing area, I unearthed this Megan Nielsen pattern. It should be obvious but I love me some MN patterns. That love encouraged me to give the Darling Ranges dress another go.  Lately, during the same binge cleaning session, it occurred to me that the dresses that I have made with short sleeves do not get worn as much as the sleeveless or long-sleeve counterparts.  Duh! Short sleeves bunch up under a jacket or cardigan.  Long sleeves perform well with just a scarf or pashmina. Sorry for the babble – I am getting to my point.  For that enlightened reason, I opted for a sleeveless version.
Lesson three: MN patterns include lovely details.  I needed that reminder.  It wasn’t the pattern.  It was me (Sounds like a tacky teenage breakup!). I love that the button placket is built into the pattern -- no interfacing to mess with.  I don’t mind interfacing but it was one less step.  I dig short cuts. I skipped out on the tie in the back since I had it in my mind that the Darling Ranges dress demands a sweet belt. Pockets -- need I say more?!
Lesson four: Be adventurous.  Making a pattern the second time is much easier than the first.  Keep your seam ripper close!  I still had to use my seam ripper on several silly mistakes in my second version of the Darling Ranges.   It was less stressful and I could focus on details to make the dress perfect (Hello! the button placket and aligning that seam!). I feel like the darts need to be shortened slightly.  It will have to wait for another time.....

It was worth the wait for this pattern. I have worn this dress with sandals and can't wait to pair it with a cardigan and booties.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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Butter Beans in a Clutter

Friday, September 30, 2016

I love fall.  It is my favorite time of the year.  The changing colors, the cooler temperatures, the soccer games, Jack-o-lanterns, apple cider…Halloween and Thanksgiving! Fall is when you can layer with scarfs, cardigans, and tights!  I made an apple pie over the weekend. Just because it was fall.  Just because it would fill the house with that fall scent. And even though it was 100 degrees F.

Voila!  I’m excited to share with you a new fall staple (I can already feel it!).

Experiment:
M6844
Size: Small
View: C

Materials:
2 yards of Mustard Ponte from lafinchfabrics.com
Vintage (or should I just say old?) Gold thread (It was picked up from an estate sale) 


Procedure:

The other fabric that I was sent from Finch Fabrics was a rich mustard ponte knit.  The fabric is very soft with plenty of drape.  I requested this fabric because of the color.  My day job is at a university with maroon and gold colors.  I had a tiny bit of remorse and panic after I received the fabric – would I even look good in mustard!?  Two yards of 58” mustard fabric => that is a pool of yellow. 

I have seen so many lovely cardigans using McCall’s M6844.  I am shameless.  And the sewing community oozes with inspiration. That mustard yellow was destined for a fall peplum version (I envision wearing this cardigan to football games). I wanted something to wear to work that is fashionable but not overtly covered in the university’s emblem.  Selfishly it gives me more style options.  I traced size small based on initial and final measurements.  Another remorse... I should have gone with my instinct: extra small.   While the small is perfectly acceptable, it is a tad roomy.  This yields a better garment for layering.

I did not interface the collar as many other bloggers that forged the way said it was not necessary especially with a stable thick knit such as ponte.  I sewed the entire piece with my sewing machine and as a result this took a couple of evenings.  The serger would have been quicker however I nixed the idea because I did not have any yellow/mustard/or gold serger thread. (Woe is me with no fabric store close!) 
Peplum, IMHO, embodies fun.  Yellow is the perfect color for fun.  To sum up, this cardigan ROCKS!!!!!!!!  My son came up with the title of this post -- he said it looks like butter beans.

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