Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - A Year in Review

2013 was a much more productive year than the last two . Not that topping 2011 and 2012 would be hard. I think I sewed only two tops one year, and even less the other.

I'm enjoying reading everyone's Top Fives, but I don't quite have that much to compare, so I will just do a little summary of this better year.

Skirts: I sewed nine this year. I love Sewaholic's Hollyburn skirt. I have made three, pictured here, and here. The shape is lovely, they are quick to sew, and they are highly bikeable -a requirement for any skirt I wear during the spring, summer, and fall. A hit to be sure.
I also sewed two Vogue 1247 skirts with a third cut out. The yellow one was a huge step for me -I haven't sewed anything yellow since I was nine and made an apron for 4-H.
The version below is rust-coloured corduroy and the one-to-be-sewn is black denim.

Vogue 1247
I did Jungle January a few months late, and then went into corduroy with a brown-striped Schnitt Vision pattern, and another straight skirt in rust. The accidental hybrid has been thrifted; I guess you'd call that a miss.

Tops: Not as many as the skirts, but again, I really liked Sewaholic patterns Renfrew top. Issues with the neckband were strictly due to wetware problems. I made two lightweight ones for the summer. One I wear a lot, the other has been thrifted. I also made one from a wonderful Merino wool -but again, the neckband vexed me.
I steamed it to no end, and it still looked crumpled. I exchanged the neckband for the cowl version and now I like it. I have two more cut out in a wool/rayon blend, one orange and one green.
I also made a New Look 6301 top (OOP) from a stretch woven.

It looks better in real life than it does in picture -I hope. I made it at the end of the summer and have only worn it once.

Trousers: Three pair joined the stable; one wool blend, one linen/cotton blend (that has since been made into shorts), and one corduroy pair. I also an OOP Vogue pair in grey denim cut out.

These trousers are a simple straight-legged affair. But because I am now cutting stuff out in the living room again, the Geek asked what I was making. When I told her it was the long vest, her eyes almost popped out of her head. The Geek is a very conservative dresser. I'm always surprised she elected to keep the pair of Fluevog boots I found at the thrift store; I guess they are just quirky enough without being too flamboyant.

Dresses: I made two, I like them both even if one needs major surgery to rescue it from Wadderville byremoving the non-standard-issue pockets and taking in the sides a bit.

I just don't know when. I want to make more dresses -I don't know why I haven't done so before now - and I'm definitely going to make Simplicity 2444 again.

Other stuff: two pairs of mittens, one superhero cape (and a partridge in a pear tree) and some baby stuff for a friend.
I tried the Thurlow shorts, and will do so again. I even have the fabric ready to go. and the Tania culottes (unblogged).

(Good idea, wonky fabric; look how it puckers when you spray water on it. )
The back zipper puckered terribly after the first wash, even tho' I pre-shrunk the fabric. I have no idea if it will steam out.)
Ok, that puckering is not as bad as I remember. Maybe it has to do with the fabric's crazy reaction to water. The zipper looked awful when I hung these culottes up to dry. Maybe they aren't a total right-off after all.

My plans for 2014? I plan to move where the spirit takes me. It seems f I have decided to sew a certain thing, I feel guilty if I abandon it for something else, and then nothing gets done. So? no more (sewing) monogamy.
I also want to finish de-fragging my sewing room. During the two years of non-sewing it became a catch all for all sorts of things. It is much better now, but I still have a couple of odds-and-ends to tie down. I plan to post the before and after shots, if only in the future to keep me on the straight and narrow and prevent it from deteriorating to an un-usable state.

And I want to make N4 a big stuffed animal. His mother actually asked me if I was going to, so full speed ahead.

I made his cousin, N1, an elephant 12 years ago, and N2 a puppy nine years ago. I couldn't find N3's leopard when I was visiting at Christmas and I didn't think it was polite to go rummaging thru' the closets for a photo op. N4's sister, Miss S, has a 10 year old lamb. N4 is getting a puppy too, only with shorter ears.

So, other than finishing the four things I have cut out, not much is planned. There may be tons o' sewing tomorrow. It is brutally cold out right now and I have no reason to go outside. It was -37 this morning with a windchill of -41. That's cold whether you measure in either Celcius or Farenheit and I walked to work today, so I've had my fresh air.

All the best to everyone in 2014. I hope you find it a fulfilling year. I've enjoyed reading all your blogs and learned so much from your wonderful posts. I hope I have the opportunity to meet some of you in person this year. Cheers!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Is It 'Learning' When You Don't Know What You've Done?

I knit this toque last winter to try to add some colour to my world and thought I would wear this hat with my purple jacket, purchased for the same reason.
I don't suffer from SAD, but I swear have CMS*.

You can see how the toque originally looked on my Ravelry page but because it turned out much too big, I didn't wear it much. It was still too big, even after I felted it a few times, and kept falling off if I turned my head too quickly, not optimal in our frigid weather.

I pulled it out again a few weeks ago intending to give it another go, having totally forgotten it is too large. Today I threw it in the wash again with the thought that if it didn't shrink, it was going be donated.
I did not intentionally do anything differently than the last two (or three) times I tried to shrink it, but today, it came out much smaller, almost the size I was hoping for in the first place. The only possible difference? There were many more things with which it rolled around in the dryer. I know friction pays a part in the felting process, but can that be the crucial part?

*CMS is my self-diagnosed disorder and means Colour Missing Syndrome. Here, in the winter, all is dirty snow; snow contaminated with sand and other dirt so it is just an dull, dingy affair. If the sun shines, they sky is blue but that is the only relief from the dun-coloured monotony. At least where I grew up the snow is white. By late January, I crave colour -grass, flowers, -anything but white, grey, and brown!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Pirate's Honeycrisp Mittens -They're Arrrrr-gyle

Yes, a huge groaner. But the mitts are great.

Winter has arrived and it seems even colder this year. Or else I'm becoming a wimp.

I have made mittens before by tracing around my hands, but they were less than stellar in their fit. The Honeycrisp looked very close-fitting around the wrist, the better to keep old cold winter drafts.

I used two thrifted sweaters I felted.

The grey sweater is much heavier than the argyle pair and could have been a size bigger, and they have a funny shape (they look like scuba mitts to me), but they will be fine as liners in leather mitts. The argyle pair, being thinner will go in in a smaller pair of leather mitts.
It may seem odd to have several different mitten combinations, but hands that are too hot and sweaty from too heavy a combination get just as cold as hands in too light a combo.
Yes, I spend far too much time thinking about this.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Look What Followed Me Home

Does anyone else ever feel pangs of guilt when they contemplate the extent of their own good fortune?

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Faux Cowl Top

 I have yet to figure out why it takes me so long to do things. I mean, there is nothing else going on in my life beyond work, the gym (now that rowing is finished for the season), laundry, groceries, cleaning occasionally and the other stuff that makes up our lives. Once I got down to it, this top took less than an hour to sew. This is the first of my fall sewing -New Look 6301.

It is starting to get dark once I get home from work, and I was too lazy to set up my other photographic method, so you get mirror reflection shots. (Excuse the wrinkles. Being rolled up and packed into panniers for my ride to the gym, then worn at work all day has an effect on things.)

The top still fits fairly well even tho' it is designed for a knit and I made it out of a stretch woven. There are gray spots in the flowers to match the gray skirt, but it is hard to pick those out here.

Pilates balls and old kitchen countertops in the background.

 I lengthened the sleeves slightly to slide better inside a sweater.

Old computer and desktop articles.
 I have also made this top with a very stretchy rayon knit. I call this my Europe shirt ("I see London, I see France...") because it is so very drapey when I lean over ("...I can see your underpants.") I wear a very high-necked camisole underneath.
A close-up of my freckles and the Geek's family pictures.
I think it turns out well enough from the woven fabric, but knits are obviously optimal.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

It's Not Part of the Plan but It's Still Fall Sewing

This corduroy skirt, Vogue 1247, was cut out this spring. And since I am very fickle when it come to sewing projects, it jumped the queue.

It went on a bit of a wearing marathon after completion.
I wore it to work on Friday.
Then on a hike in the Pembina River Valley with my family on Saturday and to a fundraiser at a dog park on Sunday (no pictures of that tho').

Saturday was cool and it had just finished raining when we arrived but the walk was just as much fun as last time.

The walk was muddy and I had forgotten all the up and down sections of the trail. I wore the skirt as none of my jeans fit very well. The skirt was fine, except in places where I had to take really long steps to maintain my footing.

I constructed the skirt in manner similar to the yellow one and used seam binding to finish the hem.
I used iron-on interfacing to reinforce under the pocket openings to they wouldn't stretch too badly.
And serged around the pockets and seam allowances instead of using bias tape. I was going to change the serger thread to brown, but decided I liked how the blue looked against the rust-coloured corduroy.
I have totally adoped Tasia's Hollyburn waistband/ zipper method. That is such a neat and tidy way of putting in a zipper. I never thought of attaching the waistband before sewing up the back seam and then inserting the zipper. Everything lines up and you don't necessarily need another waistband closure.
I now need to apply some self-discipline and sew up the top and skirt I cut out and are now waiting on my cutting table.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Fall Sewing Plans

The other day I noticed Sarah is starting the Fall Essentials Sew Along today. I've never participated in a sew-along but, hey, I've got some fall sewing on the adgenda, so why not give it a try.

My fall and winter wardrobe is rich in separates but a bit sparse in the dress department so I am going to attempt more dresses. And more colours. Fall is colourful, but winter can be very bleak, especially
when the sand turns the snow a drab brown colour.

First up - a Simplicity Project Runway in a rayon knit. It is at least one size too small (I bought the pattern at a thrift store), but this is a very forgiving knit so it should work.

These two prints work with both of the solids (so much for my dress resolution) tho' the grey is photographing more as navy. I have already made up the grey into a skirt.

I'm going to try this McCalls pattern for the first time on this print. I'm not as keen on it as I was when I bought it two years ago, so it will do as a wearable muslin. I have enough fabric for the 3/4 sleeve version.

The print on the left has a bit of stretch to it so I will attempt to use it in a knit pattern. I have made the top before with a very stable knit so I think it will work. If not, I will add a zipper to aid in donning said garment.
The skirt is my TNT skirt pattern and is already cut out and ready to go.

I have three meters of the green so I should be able to make Simplicity 2444 again (posted about yesterday) with the 3/4 sleeves and the upright collar.

I know I said more dresses, but I am trying to use up scraps. Here is Vogue 1247 with small pieces of
corduroy and upholstery fabric. I made a skirt out of the upholstery fabric but I screwed up the pattern, so it is now sitting in the naughty corner while I figure out my next step.

These next two aren't dresses either, but they are both colourful. For the orange I plan to use the ImageWear skirt and the flowers will hopefully sprout into a Hollyburn.

I'll have to see how far I get before I need to start my winter sewing.

How is everone else doing?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Two Muslins; One Wearable, One Needs...Work

I've had a couple of projects finished for a few weeks but I haven't been able to blog about them. First my camera went on vacation with my parents -they were over 20 kilometers from home when they realized they didn't have it, so I loaned them mine. Then it wasn't convenient for The Geek take pictures of the finished items. Just because she would be late for work, or silly things like that! I mean, really, where are her priorities?!?
I finally pinned her the other afternoon while the sun was still out.

This dress I cut out Labour Day weekend. It went together quickly, but it is a trifle to big. (I have to decide if I am going to sew for the size I am right now or hope that I regain the muscle I lost and I return to my former glory, and sew for that size. Decisions, decisions!)

It is a pattern from the late '60s, early '70s that I picked up at the MCC in a major haul earlier this year. Judging by the envelope and the tape on the pattern pieces, it has been well used. I like that in a pattern. The fabric is a quilting cotton in a swirly pattern I felt was very '70s-ish.

I thought adding pockets was a grand idea, but they pull the dress down in strange ways; I set them a little too high.

The back pulls a little strangely too. Those pockets may have to go.

I took in the dress another 1.5 cm at the top part of the bodice but stopped where those dratted pockets are. The more I look at these pictures, the more I realize adding pockets was an ill-conceived idea. I think I'll take them out and run the narrowing seam down the entire side. Later. Summer is pretty much done now so this dress can hang in the contemplation corner for the winter.

This second dress is Simplicity 2444, another MCC score. I bought it in spite of the ghastly green satin number on the outside of the envelope. I have seen this made up in several different ways all over the blogosphere and was glad I glanced at the line drawings before discarding it as ugly.

I had several garden-type parties to attend this summer and felt a garden style dress would be appropriate.

The fabric is from a garage sale for $2 including a spool of thread -we Winnipegger's do like our bargains.

It has pockets. They are in the correct place. Enough said.

This was a quick and easy make and I really like how it looks.

I wanted to have some morning glories in the pictures as they won't be around much longer, but I ended up squinting into the bright sun. A small price to pay I suppose.

I wanted to add details about the construction, but I transferred all the photos from the card when I loaned the camera to parents, and now I can't remember into which file or onto which computer (first world problems), so you'll just have to take my word that the lined bodice made the armholes so much easier to finish.
I've received many compliments on this dress even tho' The Geek (self-appointed Chief Constable of the Fashion Police) does not like it. She thinks the flowers are much too big. I think that just means she won't try to borrow it any time. Win!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Oh! The Possibilities

Waterproof fabric called Urban Zooslicker. 
I had no idea I could find such interesting stuff here in Winnipeg. 
The last time I went to Mook they had just a small selection of fanrics with unknown fibre content. I was quite disappointed and saw no reason to go back.
 Today I happened to be in the same mall so we walked over to have a look. They now have a much larger selection, mostly of quilting cottons, cotton flannel, and some shirtings, and most of it is labelled. I'll have to keep them in mind.