Friday, May 30, 2014

dress #1

So, dresses. I hear a lot of people love them, but I actually don't end up wearing them that often, especially since since my day often has me crawling on the floor after one child or another. It is a bit unfortunate that a disproportionate number of sewing patterns seem to be dresses, but anyway. I did end up making two dresses recently and this is the first.

It is simplicity 3503 and honestly I only chose that neckline since I could nurse in it, although I do like it. I used a comfy knit I got ages ago and have been saving to make myself something. It was pretty simple to make really and once again, it was nice to have the serger option to finish a lot of it. I also tried out some stretch thread instead of my stretch zig-zag to finish the hems and it worked alright, but I definitely had some bunching on the back. I think if I can perfect the use of it, I will love this stuff! I definitely prefer being able to use the straight stitch.

It is totally comfy and I love having pockets! All in all, a great make, even if it probably won't be the most worn thing in my wardrobe. Next week I will be sure to share my other {less practical} dress and some tops that I've made. There is also a possibility I will get a quilt basted and quilted sometime soon, which would be lovely. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

jammie time!

Hey! Long time no chat! Remember when I was talking about all the clothes I had been making and still had to make, well most of them are done and, get this, I even have some pictures! I still have a couple that I am working on, but I would say most of my handmade summer wardrobe is complete. For now, anyway. I am still not sure how much I love making clothes, but I have to admit that there is something super satisfying about having nice clothes I made myself.

To start with, I made a pair of voile pj pants, and then a pair of shorts in a quilting cotton. I am ashamed to say, the voile pair is a pair I planned to make at sew south last year and didn't have time to do. Plus I was pregnant and fit was kind of an issue. I knew even then that I wanted a flat front waistband, a la noodlehead, but for some reason it wasn't until recently that I finally sat down and figured it out and did it. I started with the kwik sew pattern (K3602) we were given and after chopping 4.5 inches off the top and trimming the sides a bit, I was ready to go. It was actually my first time shirring and how fun! I used all french seams so it would be perfectly finished inside and added cuffs at the bottom. They are amazing and I want to live in them. Which is why I just have a few crappy pictures before I started wearing them haha.

The only thing I wanted to change was to shorten the back elastic a couple of inches, which I did, and it works wonderfully. I shortened these and sewed the tie right on the front instead of making button holes. I also narrowed the legs a lot (possibly a bit too much actually, but still comfy) and used binding to finish the bottom. I have been hording this fabric forever too because I just love it for some reason. I opted to serge all the inside seams for this which was definitely easier and still looks really nice and finished.

Hopefully it won't take me too long to be able to sit down and share the other clothes. I have quite a variety! And as soon as I am done the last couple things, I am going to get down to quilting business and turn my two tops into finishes, which will be really exciting. The baby sweater I have been working on is coming along nicely too. Busy busy busy! How is everyone else doing?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

when life starts to feel overwhelming....

Make a new quilt top, obviously! I know I can't be alone in this. I have been feeling a little bogged down lately, too many things to do and no idea where to start. And most of it happens to be clothes for myself, so I am not even sure what I am doing since I am still just learning at this point. I have at least 7 things on my list to make for myself but between fear of them not fitting/hating them/wasting fabric, and lack of experience, I am hesitant to start. I need to just pick a place and do it, but in the meantime I decided I was just going to do something that I wanted to do just because it made me happy.

Enter the cascade quilt. Designed by my sew south roomie from last year, susannah kate, this pattern is pretty great. I decided a while ago that I wanted to make a scrappy rainbow version, but it just kept getting put off. I woke up the other day and just had to do it though, so I pulled my fabric, 40 different prints in red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, pink, purple, gray, and black. I was a bit short on purple so purple and dark pink got put together, but I think it worked out fine. I had so much fun pulling fabric, it was hard to stop! I stuck with the layout in the pattern to distribute the colors and I really love it.

Anyway, after that things went really quickly and within a matter of a couple days, I had a quilt top. The background is kona snow, just because I had it. I am already plotting a back and figuring out how to quilt it, so I hope it won't be too long before it is a finished quilt. I also got my backing for the pony club so I need to find time and space to tackle that beast. And eventually, there will be a parade of clothes!

Monday, May 12, 2014

the pony club comes together

We've had quite a relationship already, this quilt and I, and I still have a ways to go before it is a finished quilt. First we were desperately in love, and then I ignored her for a long time, and then we got back together and were doing well, until we weren't and then I think we hated each other for a while, but happily, we are back to being blissfully in love. And I sincerely hope that the quilting will not destroy it.

I made 89 of the 90 blocks in the book and substituted one, making this a 9x10 layout. The sashing is interweave chambray in pepper, which I love and find to be a perfect gray and the cornerstones are sketch in mist I believe. I didn't give much thought to how big it would end up, I just knew it would be smaller then the pattern which has much larger borders, but it is still pretty darn big finishing at something like 86x95 or some such nonsense.

At the moment I am hoping for a nice silky voile back and the plan for quilting is straight lines, either just in the sashing or maybe in some sort of plaid arrangement, I don't know, but suggestions are certainly welcome. I am choosing to ignore binding for now, but there is a reasonable chance it might be that lovely chambray. I guess when this gets finished up depends on how quickly my backing decision happens, so who knows. For now I am just going to enjoy the fact that I have a finished quilt top :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

tiny pocket tank

Clothes. I have a weird relationship with them. I actually hate clothes, kind of a lot and for a long time I swore I was not going to be making any for myself, as I can barely stand to buy them. And then I started dabbling, and still I wasn't sold, but it was kind of nice to have some handmade clothes that I was proud of. I still wear my voile tova top when the temperature is right and I love it.

Things are little different now, and I am on a bit of a long-term mission. Earlier this year I read Ovedressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. And while if I had thought about it, none of it came as a surprise, it was eye opening and made me really consider where I am putting my money and what kind of a system I want to support. I have just been buying cheap clothes and dealing with it for a long time. I can't be the only one who sews that looks at a garment in a store and realizes how poorly made it actually is. If I stop and think about it, I know I can make higher quality clothes that will fit better and last longer and really that is what I would prefer. I don't know how far I will get in the journey, but I am taking the first step.

I started with a tank top. My summer uniform and my fall/winter layering piece. I am beginning with a woven tank top and hope to find a good pattern for a knit one too since I wear those a whole lot, and I am even considering trying this pattern in a knit. This was my test run, using a mint dot chambray from joanns. I do love the fabric and so far I have been wearing this tank top a lot, although it wrinkles a bit by the end of the day as you can see. I used the tiny pocket tank pattern from grainline studio, and it fits pretty perfectly I think, I just need to adjust the armhole a bit because it rubs a little, but since it is a tank, that should be pretty easy, at least I hope so. I am looking forward to trying something with a bit more drape, so a voile version might be up next. The only change I made here was to finish the bottom hem with bias tape in the same was as the neck and arm holes, mostly because I dislike trying to keep a curve curvey when hemming, and it worked perfectly and I may just do that for all of them. I also used all french seams to keep it nice and neat inside which just makes me happy.

So I am starting simple. I am not sure where I am planning to go with this, but even the knitting is part of it, and I am really looking forward to having some hand knit sweaters in my wardrobe. I hope to be making things before the things I have wear out but we'll see. Perhaps the saddest part for me was learning that paying more does not increase the quality of the construction or the social/environmental consciousness of the company making it, so I know that I am doing better, even if the things I make are not necessarily cheaper. I am trying to work up the nerve to make myself a pair of shorts, which I desperately need and really really don't want to buy. 

Stay tuned next week for the big pony club top reveal!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

stripes, lots of stripes

That's what I have been knitting. And let me tell you, I find few things as motivating to knit as some good stripes. Somehow, you can always make just one more. It took me about 2 weeks to knit up this awesome rayures cowl. Seriously, once I started I just couldn't stop. Always one more stripe, always wanting to add the next color.

I learned a few new things too, such as a provisional cast on (not so bad) and grafting the ends together (terrible). Other then that it was just straight knitting, round and round and round. The yarn I used is a wool from Quince & Co called finch and I love it so much. I am trying to figure out what I can use the rest for actually (mittens perhaps?). The final join gave me a lot of trouble though and looks pretty terrible. Which is okay since I will just wear that as the back, but it still bothers me a bit. That was my only complaint with the pattern actually, there was no guidance at all for that part, not even a website to reference so it was just me a google. And while I would have sworn I was following the directions exactly, it is not a smooth, seamless join at all. 

Otherwise, it is a pretty perfect cowl. It is just the right length I think and is nice and snug when wrapped twice, without being suffocating and I am just in love with the colors. I am choosing to ignore the fact that it will be many months before I can actually wear it, but at least I'll be ready, right?? I've already started working on a little sweater for the babe that I want her to wear for thanksgiving or something, so hopefully that will be done by the end of the month and then I have a cross stitch pattern to try, and with any luck, I will start my first sweater this summer! I can't wait and I really want to be able to wear it this fall/winter if I can make it that fast. I am a little scared, but I already have the {super amazing} yarn and everything, so it needs to happen.

Does all this knitting talk bore you? Fear not, I am still doing a bunch of sewing and have even more to catch up on. In fact I am over halfway done my pony club top so I have hope that I really will finish that up this week along with a few smaller things. Soon though, I will be back with some clothes I've been making that I {finally} have some pictures of.