Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hawthorn in Candyland

In case you hadn't guessed from the title, I think my face here pretty much says it all:

How did this one particular Hawthorn come out so messed up?  Good question.  Let's analyze this logically.  The fabric: the fabric is light weight and definitely made me think of cheesecloth.  It's sheer enough that I thought it would be prudent to underline it.  Except I knew I didn't want to underline the peplum or the sleeves (cuz that's obviously waaay too much work) and somehow I ended up only underlining the front pieces.

See all those wrinkles under the bust?  WTF?  I did add a FBA to the pattern pieces and I noticed a little bit of this on my rayon Hawthorn as well so I'll be retracing the original piece and just dealing with the slight gape-age (no matter how I spell that my computer insists it isn't a word but I'm sure ykwim).  I have no idea even how to fix these without completely taking out the front waist seam and I just don't have the energy for that right now. 

I originally wanted to make a sleeveless dress with this fabric but I'm pretty glad I didn't.  I honestly kind of wonder if a fabric this flimsy will hold up to the wear I put my clothes through.  I run and play and catch shit on door handles and don't hand wash anything so, yeah, I'm pretty rough on my clothes.  Plus the pink, green, and orange in those pastel shades is really pretty obscene as a garment.  Why did I buy this fabric?  I mean, aside from the fact it was sooo cheap.  I really probably should have reserved it for baby girl clothes.  That kid can pull off colors that I cannot.  And I think it's more than fair to point out this shirt is a combination of several colors that just don't suit my coloring.

And that f*@#%ing facing is perpetually popping out!  This one hasn't been tacked down yet but it will be.  I've found that the bar tacks at the shoulder seams on my blue Hawthorn more than do the job of keeping the facing hidden.  I do have to iron the collar every.single.time I wash this thing.  That tiny little collar just doesn't want to sit right.

I know I look like I'm about to mug somebody in this picture, but it's like the only one I have where the collar is ironed down all nice and proper so I included it.  The rest of the pics were taken after a looooong day at the zoo in Tacoma.

The back is a whole 'nother story.  One which I can't even begin to explain.  I assume that the fabric is so flimsy it just kind of stretches and poofs.  You must admit, there's some distinct poofiness about the upper back.  I would assume I had accidentally cut something off grain but, plaid, duh.  I think I would've noticed.

I do love the bias sleeve band on this pattern... if not the fact that the cut pieces are always way too big when I try and sew them on.  I steamed the hell out of the pieces and eased them on for this shirt, I just took in the seam to fit on my blue one.  I'll just take it in from now on I think, it was way easier and doesn't seem to have affected anything.  It's so cute in the plaid, though.

Ahh, yes...  Did I mention I didn't have enough fabric to make a dress and match plaids.  Well, I failed to match the plaids anyway, so, yeah... my bad.  Coulda just made the dress after all, apparently.  Actually the plaids kind of match in some places... but that's about the best I can do.  It's just a totally weird plaid.  See how big the repeat is?  It's like an eight inch repeat or something!  Crazy.

The insides are pretty awful.  The sleeves are bound in pink bias, the waist seam in dark red, and the hem with pastel mint green.  All these colors actually kind of match the fabric, and I think that's what's so awful about it.  Who ever thought to combine these colors in a plaid?  I think it's the green that really ruins it for me.  Why not white?  

Close up of the cute cuff detail.  It's a little wavy from being so aggressively eased.  Even in the solid fabric the bias cut band really looks cool.  I know I've bitched this entire blog post, but let's get real for just a minute: I wear this shirt all the time.  It's really cheerful, casual enough for jeans but can be dressed up for work, too, and I really do love this pattern.  If I can fix the wrinkles up front I'll be completely satisfied, even though I think the color scheme is slightly off for my skin tone.  Since I'm super tan right now, though, I guess it's okay ;-)

Pattern: Hawthorn by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Cotton gauze (idk, seems like a good description) from Goodwill
Notions: random bits of bias tape, also all thrifted and several buttons out of a big mixed bag of pink buttons for crafting
Total cost: Less than $5 (not including the pattern, of course, of which purchase I feel totally justified by now).
Make again: why even ask?
Final thoughts: I think I summed it up pretty well in the paragraph above; not quite a happy ending, but not a hopeless one either.  And other than the buttons this whole thing is, you guessed it, reloved.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: shut the front door

Ohmygoshyouguys!!!!  I found this rotary mat at Goodwill for $3.99

Excited much?  Soooo much.  My old mat was a much smaller size and somebody stepped on it and broke it so I really needed a new one.  I was toying with the idea of buying one, but $60 to $70 is a lot of money... a lot of money that could be spent on fabric!  Oh, the dilemma.  

Then the thrifting gods smiled upon me and I found this 36x24 inch mat at Goodwill.  It wasn't even in the sewing section, I just randomly spotted it as I was walking through to home wares.  It was seemingly permanently bent into a tube, but I (and my dad, thanks dad!) spent some time flattening it out under furniture, with warm irons, with sock feet (veeery carefully) and it's definitely flat enough to use now.  As a matter of fact it fits perfectly on my sewing/cutting table and has already gotten some use (there may be another quilt brewing in the near future).

So now you know, if you find a rotary mat at the thrift it's probably worth buying, even if it's a little bit bent out of shape.  Those things are so damn expensive new, I'd rather do the work than shell out all that extra cash.

Anybody know what this is supposed to mean though?  It's in the lower left corner.  Did the mat originally come with a magnifying glass?  Or is it just a handy hint?  I can't even begin to guess.  Underneath it just says "Made in Japan" so that's no help.

Anybody else lucked out at the thrift store lately?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP Wednesdays: Anna Karenina

So this blanket is named after the book.  The interminable, never-ending book.  I started it while reading Anna Karenina... almost a year and a half ago (!!)

I finally cheated and finished reading the book on iBooks.  The blanket?  She remains.  Linen stitch takes forever, yo.  I don't really intend to finish this blanket any time soon; maybe next winter or the one after?  As new yarns find their way into the scrap pile it changes the look.  Of course, the look of this blanket will always be a crazy hodpodge of everything but the kitchen sink.  But that's what I love about it.

A very unhappy baby for scale.  You'd probably be unhappy too if somebody interrupted your playing to lay you down on a blanket and take pictures!  This blanket is about 3 feet (yes I measured it which means, basically, baby girl is HUGE!) so it's about halfway done.  I had to set it aside during summer but now that the weather's cooled off there's no better knitting project than a big, heavy half of a blanket you can curl up under while knitting =)

What are you working on now that there's a chill in the air?  Or is summer still going strong where you live?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Falling for indeterminate weather conditions

It hasn't been too long since I walked out the door one morning and smelled it: fall.  I love the transition of seasons.  The scent and feel of change in the air.  Fall means school (not for me anymore, but for the boy), Halloween, leaves changing colors, fires, and pumpkin spice lattes... which I don't personally partake in, but they smell very seasonal.  Plus, you know, Christmas is coming.  Yay Christmas!

Why all this waxing poetic about fall on a post about a seemingly summer dress?  Well, the first day I wore this was the first day I could smell fall in the air.  Since then it's bounced back to 80* so it's not like it didn't get some sunny action this year.  This is the time of year in Seattle where the mornings tend toward the seriously cold and rainy side whereas the afternoons can either continue with the theme or be just the opposite: hot and sunny.  Which can make it impossible difficult to dress appropriately for the weather.

Which is why I would argue that a sleeveless dress under a warm, snuggly wool cardi is perfect fall attire.  Please forgive the mall parking lot pictures.  It's a long story and I shan't bore you with it.  Note that the sun came out mid photo shoot and combined with the overcastedness of it all to turn me whiter than I even am...  I made that cardigan and one day I'll actually blog about it.  Le sigh.

The pattern is the Hawthorn once again.  This time as a dress, obviously.  The more eagle eyed amongst you may note that I switched out the collar for a tie.  I was blatantly trying to rip off very inspired by Cirque du Bebe's Sew Bossy La Sylphide.  Gorgeous.

My collar came out a little more school uniform than effortlessy chic and flowy, but I'm dealing with it.  I didn't see investing in La Sylphide when it's so obviously meant for ladies with longer, lither limbs than my own (that shit is shooooort!), and I felt like it was easier to just stick with a pattern I'd already made up once (or twice, to be honest.  coming soon.)

It's ok, I'm still happy with it.  I'm actually thinking of getting some more of this yummy rayon challis in a different print for another Hawthorn... maybe with a regular collar this time?  And pockets.  My God, this pattern needs pockets.  All patterns need pockets.  That's the only thing stopping this pattern from being perfect.

The waist darts somehow don't pull in the underbust and waist area as much as is needed.  Thus the belts in both sets of pics.  It doesn't really fix the problem but I feel like it doesn't look as bad that way.  I think this is an unfortunate side effect of the FBA I made as the first one did not have this problem.  Or it could be because the rayon was a slippery little bitch and my pieces were all slightly, ahem, wrong.  Sigh.  Why must fitting be such a neverending struggle?

See, very swishy.  I haven't bothered to consider a swayback adjustment for this pattern... I know I do often need one but I think this pattern is cut high enough for the waist and full enough for the skirt that one's not really needed. By the way, for those of you who haven't made this pattern yet: the staystitching.  My God.  It's neverending.  There are approximately 8 million pieces to be staystiched.  Blergh.  

I went so far as to copy the idea of self cover buttons.  The buttons are actually mismatched in size/shape a little bit.  They all came from Goodwill at various times.  Even though the fabric is new there's still a little bit of reloving going on here.  I don't think it's terribly obvious that they're mismatched since they're all covered in the same fabric.

On a side note: why must self cover buttons be such a pain in the ass.  It's starting to sound like I didn't enjoy making this dress, which isn't actually true.  I didn't really worry too much about perfection when cutting and the self cover buttons, well, those are always going to be a bit of a struggle but they were much easier this time than the first time.

The insides of the armholes and waist seam are bound in yellow bias tape.  That waist seam; it's thick.  I don't really know what would be the proper way to finish a seam like that.  It's necessarily thick but falls somewhere you really don't want a lot of extra bulk.  I think the bias worked better than the French seams I did on my first one, though, so I suppose I'll stick with that.  The rest of the seams are Frenched.

On a side note: check out my new shoes!!!  Aren't they great?  I got them for $24 marked down from $80.  They aren't particularly green in nature (nor, obviously, color... they're a great mustard with white eyelet trim) but we can't be perfect all the time.  Small steps, guys, small steps...  

Pattern: Collette Patterns Hawthorn
Fabric: Rayon Challis from Pacific Fabrics
Notions: Yellow bias tape, many self cover buttons
Cost: about $30 in total, almost all for the fabric.  The notions were all thrifted
Make again: And again, and again
Final thoughts:  It's not 100$ what I expected but I love it!

I have no idea what is going on in this picture, just that my husband is not good as a photography director.  This picture did make me laugh pretty hard, though, so I'm including it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thrifty Thursdays: a whale of a wale

Nearly three yards of wide (veeerrry wide) wale cord for $5.  Nom.

I love all things late 60's and 70's so I'm pretty excited about this find.  Now I just need to make it into pants and we shall live happily every after.

Thrifty tip: When buying fabrics at thrift shops unfold as much as you can to see if there are any worn spots, holes, stains, or fold lines.  Sometimes when a piece of fabric is folded for a long period of time you will see discoloration on the outer portion or a discolored line where a fold has been.

Til next time!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

wip wednesday: when whales fly

appropriately enough that's probably when i will finish this.  when whales fly, that is.  

but if i do ever finish it?  totally epic

pattern here.  if you ever embroider check this site out.  i'm sure my grandma never could've imagined i'd be embroidering flying whales or calaveras.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

more zombieeees

So I'm really not sure where the fascination with zombies comes from, but if there are zombies on it it's a win in his book.

I was still working on this when he came into my sewing room and got all excited.  "Zombies!  Zombies!  Hey look: zombies!"  I soon realized he had found his new shirt and decided that it was, what else, a zombie.  I would've gone with just skeleton, but I suppose once it starts walking around it's a zombie?  But do zombies skateboard, I think is the big question here.  

In all honestly I was a bit hesitant about making this shirt.  I thought it was pretty cool when I picked it up at Goodwill, but upon further perusal began to wonder if a boarding skeleton holding a bottle of... something... was moderately inappropriate attire for a four year old.  

Really, that's a debate in and of itself.  What is and isn't appropriate to dress your kids in?  Is dressing them up like a gangster just asking for trouble?  I feel like this shirt is pretty cool looking and innocent enough, but would some say that it's too adult for him?  I don't know.  Well, probably some people would... but some people believe vaccines and electricity are evil so, well, there ya go.

I finally realized why I keep getting puckers along the neckline when I use this pattern.  (Obviously I used the raw edge raglan from Sewing for Boys, as usual.  If it ain't broke don't fix it right?)  The seam allowances included in the pattern are probably 3/8 or 5/8 of an inch and I always sew knits with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Next time I'll cut the neckband accordingly.  Obviously it's too late to help this one but he doesn't seem to care much.

And just for fun some rolling around in the grass pics =)  On Labor Day we went to the Tacoma zoo and saw the sharks and generally a great time was had by all.  Although the grown ups were pretty exhausted by the time we got home!

I did not make baby girl's clothes, but isn't she precious with those little pigtails (squee!!!)  They play together so well.  I'm really impressed at how well the boy protects and plays with his little sister.  It pretty much melts my heart the way he takes care of her.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hawthorn, the first

Sometimes bandwagons are a good thing.  If you haven't heard about Colette patterns Hawthorn, then do you live under a rock or something? consider yourself informed.  I kind of hate how sewing blogs tend to be trendy in the sense that, when a new pattern comes out, pretty much everyone makes it right off.  At the same time, if it's a design like this, who can blame them?  This pattern can be made up either as a top with a peplum or a full skirted dress, sleeveless, short sleeves, or long(ish) sleeves.  This is my first version and obviously I opted for the short sleeved peplum top.

I didn't make any changes to the pattern so this is how it fit straight out of the envelope.  I made a FBA for my second two versions but they have some underbust sagging (somehow I must have added some room there?) so I may have to just retrace the original piece and stick with it.  It pulls a bit across the bust, but otherwise is a great fit.

From behind.  I think I prefer the peplum on the back to the front, so I'm thinking about trying to modify the front pieces to be less full with the full peplum in the back.  I was actually completely opposed to peplums up until this pattern came out... now I just feel like a jerk.  Peplums are awesome.  End of story.

This top really wants a straight or tapered silhouette on the bottom.  Unfortunately I'm pretty well lacking in those.  Don't worry, I'm working to rectify that.  It feels like I'm trying to build a whole new wardrobe around this top, though, which might be a bad sign.  Will I still love this style next year when peplums are a thing of the distant past?  Only time will tell.  Fortunately there's still the dress view, and shirt dresses are always in style (I'm sure I read that somewhere... I would never make up such a crucial rule of fashion, but then again these things have to start somewhere).

Now for the bad.  Nothing related to the pattern, just my incompetence.  First of all, how do you sew on a hook and eye?  I feel like this needs research.  It seems so obvious, and yet... well, you can see for yourself.  Then I wanted to use some of the many thrifted hem laces I have lying around.  Unfortunately I could not find most of them.  I thought I had enough of the green, but obviously I was wrong.  I'm not too worried about it, though, since it's on the inside.  It'll have to be my secret shame whenever I wear this shirt (so broken up about this,can't you tell?)

A better shot of the cacophony going on inside this blouse.  The bias tape (also thrifted) almost matches the fabric (also thrifted) but I think the hem lace pretty much kills any hopes I'd had for "haute couture" seam finishing on this make.  I would've ripped off the green lace and opted for regular bias tape, but this fabric unravels at an alarming rate.  I wouldn't want to pick any stitches out without a stiff drink first!

When I first saw the pattern I hated the collar.  I wasn't even going to buy it just because, look!  It's so tiny!  But I've come around now.  It's not disproportionately small; it's delicate.  It was a bear to get it to lay down, though.  I have to iron it down pretty much every time I put it on.  Le sigh.  I do hate ironing.  I didn't hand stitch down the facing so the morning I took these pics I just stitched a couple of bar tacks (out of whatever random thread that was in my machine, by the way) to tack it down at the shoulders where it's wont to meander.

The collar hides them when it's down, though, so not too bad.  From the outside I'll go so far as to say It looks pretty damn good.  I like it anyway.  I just need a few new skirts to go with.  The fabric is a really soft, slightly textured blue blend of some sort.  I think it's probably cotton and rayon "linen look."  It definitely has that linen look to it but doesn't wrinkle too horribly.  For all I know it could be linen/cotton.  It doesn't really press as well as 100% cotton, though, nor does it smell like polyester under a hot iron (or melt!) so I'm sticking with the cotton/rayon theory.  You can't really tell in these pictures but the buttons are semi-matching white buttons from the big bag o' buttons I picked up at Goodwill a year or so ago.  I'm getting down to mostly mismatched buttons, so expect to see a lot more of that happening.

If I look haggard in these pictures it's because I absolutely am.  On the bright side, this is what I looked like at 6pm so yay for non-wrinkly outfits!  

The skirt is a refashion that doesn't really deserve much said about it.  It was a button up maxi skirt that I cut the bottom off of.  The top part I cut up and pieced together to make the ties and the hem and front plackets stayed the same.  It's all right.  It's a wrap skirt.  Not the sexiest thing I own, but very comfy.  That's about all there is to be said for it.

Oh yes, and it's twirly.  And definitely not windy day approved.

Total cost: about $3 (the fabric was $2.50 and everything else probably doesn't really amount to .50 but whatever)
Make again: done and done with more versions planned
Sustainability: Totally reloved.  All materials were thrifted, pattern was purchased from a small local store.  Plus we're only a few hours from Portland so I'll call it practically local as well.
Final thoughts: This is kind of a basic pattern with a vintage feel and great details.  This is my first Colette pattern and I love it.

What do you guys think?  Do you love or hate the Hawthorn pattern?  Made or making any yourself?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

thrifty thursdays

sorry for the crappy night photos... but i just had to share.

the thrifing gods were smiling upon me.  in addition to some great fabric i found a set of brand new size 5 addi turbos: originally $14.95 (in case you can't read that)

that's right: $1.99  


thrifty tip: if a piece of clothing has seen better days and is destined for the scrap bin, pull anything usable off before tossing it.  are there buttons?  a pants hook and eye?  a non-broken zipper?  an embellishment that you can re-use on a new item?  you'd be surprised just how much can be salvaged even when the fabric is beyond saving.  (most of you probably already do this if you sew, but in case you don't, there's your thrifty tip of the week)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday: whatever happened to knitting?

i've been in a terrible knitting and blogging incaseyoudidn'tnotice rut recently.  there are some reasons, or excuses if you will, for both of these egregious oversights.

let's cover knitting real quick as i think it'll be more entertaining.  after all who doesn't like to gloat over hear about others' failures?  i know i do.

first there was the ill fated black recycled lace sweater.  there was so much wrong there it's actually hard to know where to start.  first, i did not make a game plan.  i had some notes on gauge and how many stitches to cast on, which would have been enough, but i lost them.  into the ether apparently cuz they never turned up.  then i started seriously doubting  whether or not it would even be a flattering style for me and i didn't think there'd be enough yarn.  and then came the kettle corn.  my god... the kettle corn.  i don't think i'll ever get all the kettle corn out of the knitting, much less the yarn cake.  fail.

then there were the socks.  ships that passed in the night, as it were.  halfway through the second sock i started looking for the mate (cuz, you know, socks get lonely without their sole mates... and yes you can expect to hear that pun many more times on this blog).  gone.  undoubtedly absconded with the sweater notes.  (sensing a theme here?  i really need to get organized =P)  double fail.  that pretty much killed my willtolive knitting mojo for awhile.  now that the weather is turning and fall is decidedly creeping up my thoughts have turned to woolly sweaters so i've finally cast on a new knitting project.

finally, my swift is and has been broken  my dad made it and insists he will fix it... but i may have to go buy a new one.  when all your yarn is in hanks it becomes a paramount task (not to mention team effort) to cast on a new project.  damn the evil spider that broke my swift.

as for the blog i can only blame myself (blaming the kids would be too easy) for my broken camera, sticky laptop keys (note the lack of capital letters and spaces... now you know why), and sporadic internet connection.  so the last one isn't really kid-related but it definitely puts a cramp in my style iykwim.  so all i can say is that i'll try and be better.  i've certainly been sewing quite a bit and reading about all the great sewing/costume making so now i feel ready to get back to it!

now that i'm done whining, anybody else started thinking about fall makings yet?