just dropping in to report…
just dropping in to report…
yeesh, has it already been a year?! soooo much has happened in the past 12 months, i hardly know where to begin!
the very first sewing-related thing i did this year? immortalize my love for sewing by branding it onto my body – forever (an evil cackle seems appropriate right now):
ISN’T SHE DARLING? this was taken immediately after it was finished.
done by jonny lashley at kustom thrills in nashville.
here’s a collage recap of every garment i made for myself this year:
(click on the photo to see the pattern i used!)
did you count them? that’s 27, plus a scarf! damn gina – that’s like sewing a garment every other week! and here i was thinking i barely made anything this year :B
i also made two small collections to sell locally – spring 2011 and summer 2011. the rest of the seasons don’t exist because i’m burnt out on making a bunch of clothes for other people. also i’m selfish and i want to keep everything i make. so there you go.
some non-sewing related points of mention:
- do you see all the changes i made to my hair over the course of the year? lol! i went from red, to orange, to bright red, to faded red, to dark brown, to black brown. bangs, no bangs, long, short, curly, straight. clearly i love playing with my hair, like, a lot.
- my very best friend (like, reaching life-partner status best friend) joined the peace corps & moved to macedonia! i miss her SO much
- best friend was also my roommate, so i had to pack up & move! double bummer! but i like my new house & it gave me a new sewing room to paint & decorate, so all was not lost.
- i met the most amazing guy and he turned my world upside-down. seriously, even my cat likes him – and she hates everyone (except me, obviously. bitch, i buy your food!). we actually just celebrated 6 months last week! blog world, this is my boyfriend, landon:
GAWD he’s such a babe.
- my beloved s10 pickup bit the dust, and forced me to learn how to navigate the public transportation options here in nashville. it wasn’t too bad! i also rode my bike a LOT. i eventually bought a new-to-me red ford ranger (what can i say? i’m a truck girl :)), which is awesome but the process of paying it off has definitely put a screeching hold on buying a plane ticket to macedonia at least for now.
and now for the sewing-related mentions:
- i made my first pair of pants! and then another and then another! i am still having some fitting issues, but i think i’m heading in the right direction as far as fitting the lower half of my body. i have discovered i have a short crotch & a protruding butt. well, okay then!
- speaking of pattern fitting, i have made leaps & bounds as far as my fit is concerned. i now almost always make a muslin before cutting (or at the very least, a quick tissue-fit) and i have learned little tweaks to make the pattern work best for my body.
- this year, i forced myself to slow down & enjoy the actual experience of sewing. to me, sewing is like riding a bicycle – what is the point of rushing through it to finish as fast as you can? if you’re in a hurry, buy something ready-to-wear (or drive!). slow the eff down & enjoy the experience! as a result, i have garments that are as lovely on the outside as they are on the inside. and they wash & wear soo much better!
- i participated in my first pattern testing experience & ended up with a sweet biking jacket. this was my first experience with sewaholic patterns, and i was definitely impressed with the ending result.
- a couple (small)blog changes – i added a new page of my handmade clothes if you just want to lurk the finished projects. i signed up for a pro flickr account so now you can see ALL my photos – including old ones like the apartment i lived in for 4 years (it’s really cute!). i finally changed my banner, since the original was, er, part of a picture from the threads website :X ahem. and i have a lot of new followers! yay! hi everyone!
- not sewing, but i learned how to knit! and then i finished my first scarf! YAY! knitting is something i’ve wanted to learn for yeeears, so i’m thrilled to actually be learning this new skill
now for 2012… i have a few goals!
- i want to make another coat! i already have my pattern & fabric chosen (still debating on a lining). this baby will be fully tailored, wooly, beautiful, etc. can’t wait to start it!
- i want to perfect my pants fitting! pants are sooo easy to sew up, it’s really the fit that causes so much hair-pulling. once i get that down, i can churn those babies out one after the other.
- this is a pretty lofty ambition (and likely not something that can be completed by the end of 2012 – it might take a couple years. well, that is, if the world doesn’t end on 12/21/12, y’know), but i want to start phasing out my shitty rtw clothes & replacing them with handmade or vintage clothes. i have a LOT of clothes, and a giant chunk of them are stuff i have just to “have” – like the suit pants that don’t look very good on me, but i keep because it’s nice to have suit pants. or the tshirts that get increasingly ratty, but they are allowed to stick around because it’s good to have tshirts on hand. i don’t even buy new clothes anymore – everything i accumulated this year was handmade, thrifted, or vintage. i no longer fill gaps in my wardrobe with junky stuff from the mall, so now it’s time to start replacing the junky stuff i already own.
- i want to make some men’s clothes! men’s button-ups & ties are at the top of my list.
- knitting: i only have two knitting goals this year. i want to learn colorwork and make a pair of meow mitts. and i want to knit a cardigan – the agatha is EXACTLY what i want. it’s pretty ambitious, but i want to at least start it in 2012
as far as specific garments i want to sew up for 2012, all i can think about is spring right now! i have lots of pretty warm-weather fabrics hoarded up, visions of shirtdresses & cotton circle skirts & pedal pushers dancing around in my head
so there you go! that’s my year in review – it’s been a crazy one! i can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring!
what about y’all? anything happen in 2011 that totally rocked your world? did you accomplish something (sewing-related or otherwise!) that you are especially proud of? have any burning goals you want to reach in 2012? let’s hear them!
hey friends – i need your input!
isn’t it amazing? it’s a lovely deep teal blue – almost navy – with a wonderful nubby texture that should lend itself well to hand-tailoring. it is 100% wool, with light interfacing already attached to the back so it is very stable. again, LUV.
now i need help picking a lining!
i originally had(and still kinda do) my heart set on a bright celery green for lining. wouldn’t that look amaze with the teal?! unfortunately, the site where i got my swatches from sent me a pretty ugly shade of green. it is very reminiscent of some kind of avocado appliance from the 70s – which, don’t get me wrong, i’m a sucker for ugly retro, but it looks really awful with the teal coating. i stopped by my local fabric store yesterday afternoon because they have a KILLAH selection of linings, but the green was pretty sparse. here’s what i got:
another option is to just buy more of that fabulous teal lining & use that:
i love the idea of a statement coat with contrast-y lining, but maybe this coat is statement enough & can deal with matchy-matchy? what do you think?
i am also open to other color suggestions, although i don’t want anything super neutral – like black or brown or the same shade of blue. i might consider white, although i don’t like how see-through it gets on darker fabrics. i have also tossed around the idea of yellow.
FWIW, i polled all the ladies at the fabric store on the greens & their answers were pretty interesting. the older women all voted for the bright green, saying the light was too “safe” and “predictable.” the younger girls, aka the ones my age, all voted for the light green, saying the bright was too “cartoonish.”
so, now it’s your turn. what do you think?
and while we’re on the subject of picking each other’s brains, what kind of buttons would you put on this coat? self-covered buttons? giant sparkly rhinestone buttons? something understated? chime in!
i have a personal rule that i don’t buy myself gifts right before christmas, but i broke it over the weekend because… well, it’s the flea market! how can i resist the beautiful siren song that calls to me on the 4th weekend of every month (3rd weekend in december)? no. i can’t.
but i can share my goodies with y’all. ooh! let’s talk fabric & patterns!
the first batch of patterns are, sadly, not my size. they’re not terribly off – i usually wear a 32 or 34 bust- and i figure i can use them to learn pattern (down)grading. or maybe save them for a giveaway? what do you think?
this one reminds me so much of new look 6000, no? or maybe it’s just that pretty blue color.
i’m sad the envelope is so torn it was in slightly better condition when i bought it, but i ripped all the way when i pulled it out of my bag. waaaaah!
so that lot was $4. yep! i love this particular guy – he always has patterns for me, and his booth is full of cool antiques & records. speaking of which, in the same general building, there was a guy selling a singer featherweight for $250. my dream machine! i was ready to drop all my cash right then & there (and subsequently spend the rest of the month bicycling to work & eating ramen – seriously!), but i tested it & it was having major stitching issues aaand he wouldn’t go down on price. so we will wait on the featherweight.
my favorite – some class of terrifying plaid polyester fabric! i am seeing another pair of clovers already. of course, my boyfriend took one look at the fabric & said it looked like the kind of shit we used to buy at hot topic 10 years ago (you know, back when they sold velvet gothic dresses & vampire energy drinks lol), but i have decided to ignore him.
a nice sized piece of bandana fabric, which is clearly destined to be some class of skanky halter top, amirite?
there were several yards of this one… i think it’s a linen-blend? kind of 80s.
fun fact: serging the edges for prewashing looks like shaving a mustache lol
hahha so southwestern! i think this fabric is sort of ugly (and, i quote my boyfriend, “that looks like an ugly set of curtains i ripped out of a house i was gutting”), but it also looks very 50s to me & i think it would make a great shirt dress! especially since there is a LOT of it. i didn’t measure, but at least 4-5 yards.
total for all the fabrics: $6.
they also all smell like a really really old man, so they’ll be getting a proper wash tonight. where? at my boyfriend’s house, of course. he can’t insult my flea market fabrics & get away with it.
i also tried to buy a singer spartan sewing machine for $25 at the last booth i visited, but the woman got all bullhurt at me because i wanted to test the machine (you know, to make sure it sews!) and then yelled at me for pulling off the throat plate to check that the bobbin was intact. she accused me of trying to break her sewing machine and wasting her time because i obviously had no intention of buying it. i will admit, i cried a little after that confrontation. kind of dampened my mood… i just went home. but you know what? at least i only had to deal with her for a few minutes. she has to put up with her bad attitude for the rest of her life.
more patterns! i picked these up at the southern thrift store by my house. they have this terrible policy where they dump a bunch of “like” items in a plastic bag, staple it shut, and make you buy the whole bag. i convinced the cashier to let me open the bags & dig through, but she wouldn’t let me swap out patterns. there was something like 15-20 patterns per bag, and 4 bags of them, so you can imagine how much she hated me by the time i was done haha! i bought 2 of the bags… here are some of my favorites.
is this a maternity pattern? it looks a lot like one of the dresses posted on liz’s blog (~new relaxed silhouettes~, third image).
the bags were priced at $5.99 each, and i bought 2. in addition to the pretties here (and many many more that i haven’t posted), i got some uglies too. not a bunch of really bad ones – most were just stuff that doesn’t look good on me, like 60s A-line dresses – but oooh here are a few of the worst.
there are quite a few more patterns that i didn’t post (48 photos in all!), so if you want to see the rest, check out the set!
or i guess you could call these version 5.0, considering this is the fifth time i’ve made these trousers (the first three being oh-god-you-can’t-wear-that-in-public muslins).
not much to say about these – i’m still picking away at my pants-fitting, still can’t decide if i’m making shit better or worse as i slash & tape. i received a lot of good feedback on my last clover post (i definitely recommend taking a peek if you are still questioning your pants-fitting), and made some more changes to the front of the pattern – added a tiny bit back to the front rise, and scooped out a little more of the front crotch. next time, i will need to add to the sides what i took off the front (i left it off because, well, i don’t know why.), as the whole top was super tight until i reduced the seam allowance to something laughably thin.
these pants have LOTS of wrinkles, but i’m fairly certain that a good chunk of them are due to my fabric choice – that shitty stretch poplin i bought from fabric mart, which btw is on my list of online fabric stores i will not buy from again. it’s a *very* flimsy fabric, so i underlined the pants with more stretch poplin… just serged all the pieces together. there is a little sheen to the fabric so i think that is also making the wrinkles look more pronounced. i have also convinced myself that those smooth pants on the colette website must be photoshopped, and whether or not this is actually true, i still feel quite a bit better about myself.
oh, and these pants would have been ready last week, except that after i finished *everything* and put them on to check the length for hemming… the red zipper broke and i had to cut myself out of my pants. EW. i did not have another red zipper (that one was actually pulled from a pair of wool pants i harvested for the material a couple of years ago), and i didn’t want to go back to the fabric store so i just used an orange zipper in my stash. it doesn’t match, but no care!
i actually bought another piece of fabric that i think will make up a great little pair of clovers – more on that tomorrow!
actually, this is more of a scarflette than a proper scarf – i ran out of yarn, so it’s short! but it’s scarf-like, and it’s my first real knitting project that isn’t a swatch. i know this is a *sewing* blog, but it’s also *my* blog, so we are going to talk about knitting today.
new techniques i got to put to the test: purling, binding off, and button holes! i also learned how to un-knit, which was very helpful since i messed up pretty much every single row in the beginning. at one point, i dropped a stitch in my un-knitting fervor and nearly had to frog the thing to fix my mistake. fortunately, i was able to correct myself and continue, although there is a wonky area near the buttons. don’t look too closely!
the pattern is the scrunchable scarf and it is knitted up on size 7 needles with alpaca wool. obviously, mine is shorter because i didn’t have enough yarn. the buttons were actually intended for my leopard jacket, but ended up being too big for the bound button holes (how the hell did that happen???? ugh.). so they went on the scarf instead!
the buttons & aforementioned Area of Wonk. like i said, don’t look too closely.
i don’t know why these buttons look black; they are actually a deep teal – basically the same color as the lining in the jacket.
so… what do you think? i know it’s laughably simple, but i’m so excited! i already started my next knitting project – and my first knitting pattern (that isn’t just knit knit purl). scary pattern chart & everything! my pal sarah has been a wonderful teacher – very patient with my dumbass. so i’m thankful for that. it’s weird to be a beginner at something. i actually kind of like it, to be honest.
in non-knitting news, yesterday i was surprised with a gift certificate to mood fabrics from an incredibly generous reader – words cannot even express how much i am thankful for this. and how excited i am about more fabric! i would love to make that vogue another tailored coat – and a bombshell dress! i ordered a bunch of swatches today, so we’ll see!
this was one of those “i am going to make this but i don’t actually want to start it” projects – i dragged it out into FOREVER. i bought this fabric in… july? took my sweet time making a muslin, cutting the pieces out, making bound button holes. part of the reason why i dragged my feet so hardcore with this pattern is that i couldn’t decide how i was going to attempt construction. i wanted to fully tailor the whole thing – even bought matching silk thread & drafted a back stay – until i realized that linen doesn’t exactly lend itself well to tailoring. and my muslin was giving me the side eye so i wasn’t feel too confident about the overall fit.
those high-waisted jeans i made last week are basically what pushed me into completing this. and you know what? i ended up not doing a damn bit of tailoring on this jacket (minus the bound button holes). i basically had the whole thing pieced together & ready for slip-stitching in an afternoon. fastest jacket ever. and it feels good. it feels real good.
this is what i used – mccall’s 5936, which is sadly out of print (sorry!). my leopard fabric is a nice sturdy linen. and check out that lining! the woman at the fabric store talked me into it – i started to pick up the red, and she told me i wasn’t boring enough for that. that woman is totally onto me. anyway, i am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this teal bemberg lining & when said fabric store has it’s biannual 50% everything sale next month (u jealous?), i may end up just buying the entire bolt & wrapping myself in it for the rest of my life. it is that fabulous.
in retrospect, this jacket could have benefited from some light tailoring – the lapels don’t quite lay right, i may need to steam them more. my button holes are not in the right place, sadly, and i can’t do anything about it sooo i decided that i don’t care. also, i need to redo the lining slip-stitching at the waistline, because i definitely pulled it too tight so there are some odd wrinkles on the outside fabric. but i finished it! and it is a jacket and it is leopard and it has a peplum and i am about to eat the lining, seriously.
recognize my jeans?
as a sidenote – they have stretched quite nicely (thanks to that pure denim – i forgot what jeans were like before the introduction of stretch!) and fit beautifully. i want to wear them forever!
so fun! i think everyone needs a leopard print jacket
also, i think i’m gonna need some red clovers next
ahhh i’ve been looking for a pair of trousers like this – high-waisted, wide-legged denim trousers. you’d think this would be an easy thing to source at the thrift store – i recall many years of pushing past racks of high-waisted jeans – but i guess they’re back in style now, so they are getting snatched up at a rapid pace. meh.
anyway, i mentioned that i won a giveaway on molly‘s blog a couple of weeks ago… i got vogue 2925 and a really sweet vintage slip pattern. seriously, i made out like a bandit here. i mostly just wanted to make up that fabulous coat, but i didn’t realize until i received the pattern that there was also a pants pattern involved here. just the kind of pants i want, too!
i did have to make a few alterations to get the pattern to work for me – i folded out about 1″ of the crotch length (i am okay with my short crotch, and you should be too! huh, that came out all wrong) and eliminated the cuffs. the waist was a little too big, so i pulled that in on the sides (although, in retrospect, i may have pulled it in a little too much. they are kind of tight up there!). i ended up cutting quite a bit of the leg flare off the sides – something like 2″. they were dwarfing my poor little legs & making me look like a stump in 2 leg skirts.
i can’t really call these “jeans” because there’s not much about them that is like a traditional pair of jeans. there is minimal topstitching – and i went with denim colored thread because i wanted these to still be sleek – and no pockets. the seams are mock-flat felled. i did use a ~real~ jeans button & fly zipper (see my fly zipper tutorial if you’re like me & need hand-holding with this process!). the denim is… interesting. i picked it up at a yardsale over the summer… something insane like 4 yards for $2. and this is serious workman denim – it is very heavy and has no stretch. honestly, it’s probably as old as the pattern i used lol. this pants would probably benefit from a slight amount of stretch, especially considering how tight i made them. ah, live and learn!
the original pattern called for a folded over waistband… i felt like that was too much bulk with this denim, so i shaved an inch off the width & faced it with a bit of interfaced cotton. much more comfortable!
so, i feel pretty good about my trousers. there are definitely some fitting issues, but i approached these as a “wearable muslin” (hence the mock flat-felled seams), and i think i can get a better fit with the next pair. they are definitely wearable – and definitely perfect for those little boy’s sweaters i keep picking up that are too short to wear with regular-rise pants.
they would also probably look fabulous with a leopard print jacket. DAMMIT. i need to get cracking on that beast!
i love making christmas wishlists – not in a “hey someone buy me this already” way (although, if you want my mailing address ::cough:: i’d be happy to accept gifts ::cough:: lol), but more of a pictorial list of things i would like to eventually buy as my funds free up. don’t pretend like you don’t do it too!
in the spirit of this blog, though, i’ll keep it sewing-related! especially since most everything i ever want is sewing-related anyway oh, and i’m including links for everything so you can buy yourself a prezzie if you find something you fancy – i won’t tell anyone
let’s start with patterns. i need more colette patterns!
colette pattern’s cinnamon slip
have we discussed the cinnamon on this blog yet? DARLING. i recently decided that i have a sudden need for pretty loungewear – silk & flannel slips, matching flannel pajamas, cozy wool socks. no more yoga pants & ratty tshirts. the cinnamon is pretty perfect for this – it even includes how to make a cami instead of a slip.
colette pattern’s chantilly dress
i love the chantilly, but the amount of fabric has always felt a little off-putting to me – i am definitely a lover of fine/expensive fabrics, but yeeesh that’s a lot to buy at once! anyway, i found this gorgeous piece of silk at the thrift store last weekend, and i think it would be perfect for this dress.
colette pattern’s jasmine blouse
i keep seeing everyone else’s versions of these popping up – i want one too!
colette pattern’s oolong dress
as with the jasmine, more and more of these have been appearing on my blog feed & i’m getting more and more jealous that i don’t already have one. hee.
turquiose wool coating from mood – 2.5 yards
i recently won a giveaway on molly‘s blog, and won a wonderful coat/pants pattern (vogue 2925, if you’re curious). I WANT TO MAKE THIS COAT SO BAD. coating fabric is throwing me off, though – not even the expense, just the selection! i thought i wanted a camel-colored wool, but after looking at a bunch of camels & beiges, i’ve decided that tan is boring & i require something more like turquiose. isn’t this turquiose lovely?
dark grey bemberg rayon lining from mood – 3 yards
with coats come lining! i love this dark grey, although a brighter turquoise or teal would be equally swell.
turquiose silk shantung from mood – 3 yards
wrapping up my mood mini-shopping spree, here’s some turquoise silk shantung! this would be perfect for my bombshell dress (that i haven’t started yet because i stalled on fabric choices). gawd, i love turquoise.
pants for real people
i already have the sister book, fit for real people, but they don’t cover pants-fitting at all pants are my new favorite thing to torture myself with sewing, need to fine-tine my fit!
burdastyle sewing book
i actually almost bought this right after it released. then i remembered that it’s christmas and i’m supposed to be spending my money on other people still want it, though! i can’t get enough of these “sewing how-to” books & i love when they include patterns.
clover 1/2″ bias tape maker
well, this is pretty boring. i want a bias tape maker. i already have a 1″ but i want to make baby bias tape, because it sounds totally presh.
gingher 5″ snips
these would be a great addition to my gingher shears collection. 5″ snips for cutting notches & threads.
what are some things you’re hoping to get this holiday season? anything i missed here? indulge with me!
my favorite kind of recon – easy easy!
i’ve been pining for a plaid taffeta party something for a couple of weeks now – didn’t care if it was a skirt or a dress. i actually wanted to make a taffeta peony, so i started lurking plaid taffetas online. well, i scrapped that idea to the back burner when i realized how expensive that stuff is – and i wanted silk!
so imagine my delight when i found a little girl’s plaid taffeta party dress during my saturday shopping trip with lauren. it’s polyester, but whatever – PLAID. and $2.50!
here’s what i started with. it’s pretty small, but that empire waist is exactly my waist measurement. and before anyone gets sad about the death of a little girl’s plaid taffeta party dress, i will point out that it’s a walmart brand. pretty cheap stuff to begin with.
anyway, i removed the skirt from the bodice (and discarded the bodice – not enough fabric to do anything with!) and cut the hem off the bottom to form a waistband. since the hem is on the bias, i stabilized it with horsehair interfacing to give it some structure. i shortened the zipper & stuck it back in there with the skirt lining. the hem is just a simple rolled hem. easy!
this whole project probably took about 2 hours, and now i have a new skirt to wear for christmas parties i already wore it this morning to put up the office christmas tree.
i even had enough taffeta left over to make a matching headband.
i look like a damn christmas present.