Thursday, March 12, 2015

new dress!

Let me start by saying I am hopeful that I will wear more dresses this summer than in the past. I feel like I have to say that because I keep making dresses but so rarely do I wear them. Actually this awesome fabric was initally bought to make some sweet leggings....which I wear less frequently than I wear dresses and since I could think of absolutely no tops I have that I could wear with said leggings, I switched gears and went with a dress instead.

I'll be honest, I really wanted it to be maxi length, but I didn't have enough fabric so I had to settle for a shorter dress. In the end, I think it worked out great! I actually used a simplicity pattern for this (2219), against my better judgement, but I managed to make it work. It was pretty straightforward, although like every simplicity pattern I make, I feel like it looks a little weird. I had to shorten the elastic quite a bit to get it to do anything and I still have some underarm wings or something, where it never lays right in these patterns, but it is still cute and totally wearable. I also cut quite a few inches off the hem because for some reason, the length was odd on me.  On the plus side though, that pattern matching in the front there is nothing short of a miracle!

Anyway, point is, cute dress. One more thing off the list! Speaking of the list, I am now making the lists for the spring/summer clothes for the littles, but I can't bring myself to get started on that or to work on the scrapbook I need to be doing because all I want to do is work on my double wedding ring quilt! For now I am just going to run with it and work on the quilt I think since I have the motivation. I had a breakthrough the other day on the corner pieces for the quilt and now I am all excited again. This is actually #1 on my finish-it list, so hopefully I'll make some good progress before I get sucked in to more urgent sewing.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Basic beauties

Look at this, back again! As promised, I have some more basic clothes that I have made for myself recently. These two things are sure to be staples in my wardrobe considering I don't want to take them off.

First up, I made another lane raglan shirt. I went down a size and made it long sleeved this time. I have been hoarding this butterfly knit for a while. I think it was a joanns clearance purchase and it is so.soft! Since I just used it for the center of the shirt, I might even have enough to make something for one of the children. This shirt is so stinking soft. As in, every time my husband hugs me while I am wearing it he comments on it ha! I think I want to make another one now, maybe with the sleeves and body the same fabric.

The other make that I am absolutely living in is a pair of hudson pants. Only not exactly since I took the pattern and made it work for a non-stretchy sweatshirt fleece. I used the same size as my test pair since that came out big and just cut some extra on the sides and made a nice long straight leg. I used knit for the waistband and the pocket detail. They are pretty perfect. They are the right length (no easy feat for a pretty tall girl) and so soft and comfy and man do I love having pockets. I think I added 6.5" to the length from the edge before the cuff. I skipped the button holes and the string in front, mostly because I am lazy. I just....really all I have to say is that I love them. I wish I had altered the pattern for them so I could make another pair just like them, but oh well, I'll figure it out again when the time comes. 

A couple of more springy makes to share next. I am still not sure if I am done making myself things, but for now I guess I should start focusing on some clothes for the small people as the weather gets ready to warm up. A certain tiny someone has only 1 short sleeved shirt I think, so I should probably get on that, or else I'll get stuck buying them *gasp* and we just couldn't have that. At least not while she's so small and uses so little fabric.

Friday, March 6, 2015

You'll never guess what I made!!!

Alright, I debated what to share first as far as the clothing I made for myself recently and in the end, I just had to start with the most exciting thing. So things may seem a bit boring after this, but I can't help myself, I am practically bursting. What could be so exciting I would be bursting, you ask? My friends, I have made a leather jacket!

Just take a minute and let that sink in. If you are thinking I must be crazy, you are probably right. It started when my mom thrifted me a leather jacket that I had intended to use for bag accents, something I have wanted to try for quite a while. The jacket was hanging around and waiting for me to get it cut up and usable, and as I kept walking by and looking at it and thinking about how nice the leather was and how much I would like to wear it. Keep in mind I had never sewn with leather at all at this point. Yep, I'm nuts! For reference, here is the jacket, a men's XL.

My main problem was a pattern but as I was perusing my pin boards (I knew I collected all that stuff for a reason!) I came across the perfect pattern! The cookie zipper blouson by waffle patterns. I was a bit concerned about whether I could get all the pieced I needed out of the jacket but in the end, I bought it to see since it was on my wish list anyway and let's be honest, I was going to buy it eventually. I figured out that I could {just barely} get all that I needed out of it, with only a few odd seams and such to work around. For the knit I used an old shirt I haven't worn in ages, and I decided to use their tutorial to add a lining which is made from an old sheet. I didn't have enough leather for the facing inside but I did have some old brown corduroy pants of the husbands that were perfect. What I am saying is, I made it work.

The sleeves are a bit shorter than they were supposed to be since the original jacket had snaps on the end of the sleeves that I needed to cut off, and the back yoke has a weird seam, but overall, it worked out better than I could have imagined. The leather was light and smooth and pretty easy to sew with. I used a leather needle and my walking foot and a bunch of clover clips since no pins allowed, and things went really well. I had one place on the shoulder where the seam started to rip and I'm not sure why, but I glued it down and reinforced it and it will hopefully be fine. I will say that gathering the leather was a bit of a beast and I had a heck of a time figuring out that lining tutorial, but it all came together. The only thing my machine didn't like was the top stitching at the end, around the zipper especially since there are so many layers. I definitely have some areas of skipped stitches, but I decided I am okay with it and no one will notice but me.  Also, I was quite happy that I didn't have to make pockets since there were some there already, and while they may not be ideally placed, they are super functional and I was glad to be able to skip that step. I reused the zipper too even though it was a bit shorter than I needed.

I finished it days ago now and I am still amazed that I made a leather jacket. I would guess that eventually I will make this pattern again, maybe out of sweatshirt material and perhaps without a lining. Or maybe out of knit....oh the possibilities! For now though, I am just going to be proud of this :) With that said, next week I'll show of some of the much more boring everyday clothes. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

the yarn related update

Hi friends! How in the world has a month gone by? I wish I knew, but I guess all this getting up and going through the day has got to add up to something at some point. Anyway, here we are, and guess what! I have some awesome things to share!

The first thing is that I have been working right along on my cardigan sweater (the pattern is Grace by Jane Richmond). I am so excited about this one and I can't wait to wear it. It is a bit slower than I'd like since it is not knit in the round and back and forth takes longer for me with the purl rows in there, but I am down past separating the sleeves and I just have to soldier on. After I get the body and sleeves done I have to admit I am a little scared of the neck/button bands that I have to pick up and stitch, but I am really hoping it will be worth it in the end. This plucky yarn I am using (primo fingering in high cotton), it's just dreamy. Soft and light and wonderful.  So far I just have these instagram progress pictures, but oh man I am loving it!

I started it just about a month ago, and I am just a couple inches further now, but still have quite a ways to go. I may have gotten a bit excited and ordered the yarn for my next sweater, which will involved thicker yarn and should therefore be warmer and quicker. That, however, is a story for another day. One thing at a time.

In other knitting news, I wanted to quickly share the bag I made for my dad for his birthday. He taught me how to knit and does some really fantastic knitting himself, so I thought a project bag was quite appropriate. Some stencils and a sharpie and I had this beauty all ready to go!

Aside from knitting and organizing years of digital pictures (not my favorite thing, but I just keep telling myself if I can get it all caught up, it should be fairly easy to maintain), I have been sewing some great clothes for myself. I have revisited a couple favorite patterns and also tried a couple new so I will be sharing those over the coming week, and let me just say, I am very excited.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

a bag for the library

We love the library around here. All fall we went every other week to pick out some new books for the kiddo to read and she loves it! We haven't gone yet this year since we've been reading all the new books she got for the holidays, but we are about to start going again. We had been using a tote bag I made a while back, but once she gets all her books into it, it's a bit small. 

Weeks ago now, the little one was playing around while I was sewing and started making her own pile of fabric. She just kept collecting and asked if we could make another quilt. I told her I wasn't sure we could do another quilt just now, but maybe it would be perfect for a library bag. She was very happy with this idea, so last week when I told her to have at the scrap drawer and finalize her choices, she spend an hour and a half debating fabric and making her final selection. I asked her what she would like to use for the bottom/straps and gave her a couple of choices too, and after I cut everything out, she went to work laying it out just so. It was so cute and I love her sense of color.

The outside is made up of 28 different fabrics, and some leftover black faux suede, made into a 15.5" square with 2" corners cut out for the boxing. She chose the lining too and the pocket fabric, and I kind of love it. I didn't interface the outside at all, but I did use some shapflex on the lining since the polyester has a habit of being shifty and we needed a bit more sturdiness. I am really happy with it and hopefully this weekend it will serve its purpose well.

So that's that. I am still trying to decide what to tackle next. I started my sweater so I will be slowly working on that, and I am torn between clothes and scrapbooks...perhaps I will be jumping back and forth and eventually they will be done. Ultimately, the goal is to clean out all the things in my way so I can work on a couple of quilts. I sure hope I can get it cleared out soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

a quilt for snuggles

Considering the fact that I only made half a dozen quilts last year, I am as surprised as anyone that I am here now to share my first quilt finish of the year before January is even over! I am pretty impressed myself and I am hoping it is the beginning of a good year of makes.

I have had this quilt on my list ever since it was published. I mean, I went over a year ago when it came out and bought the magazine just for this quilt, and it just sat at the bottom of the list. Then weeks ago, as I was sitting down freezing my butt off, I kept thinking how much I needed to make myself a quilt with a nice, warm, snuggly back. This quilt immediately popped into my head and I could not rest until I got to work.

It was back in December I made the first block, and had decided to go with a scrappy black background. I went out and got some more black and then holidays and travel happened so it sat. When I came back to it I realized that I definitely did not have enough black for all the blocks (even only doing 12 instead of all 20) and since I didn't feel like buying more, I did what I do best and made it work. Somehow I got it into my head to do sort of a gradient background of black, dark gray, light gray, and white. It was not an exact science and I am not entirely sure it worked right, but I love it anyway. I was happy to be able to use a fair number of scraps for this one, so that was good. These blocks are no joke though. So.many.pieces! I even went with the strip piecing instructions and it was still nuts! I was not sad to finish these blocks, that's for sure. The quilt ended up being roughly 57" x 75" I think although I forgot to measure after quilting/washing and I am certainly not climbing out from under it now to check :)

The back ended up being some perfect fleece that I have been saving for years. I think it was part of one of those tie blanket kits that I got super cheap intending to make something else with it, but there it was and oh so perfect! I had to do a strip of the coordinating teal along the bottom to make it long enough. I decided to go ahead and still put batting in, partly to make it warmer and partly so you couldn't see the black through the lighter fabrics. It is so thick and soft! I quilted it following the chains through the quilt and then went back and did another double set of lines halfway(ish) between those. I love it and it went surprisingly well. After I quilted, trimmed and rounded the corners (I don't know why I was so set on doing that but I am certain it was the right decision), I serged the entire edge to keep it nice and flat for binding and it helped so.much. I went with solid blue for the binding because for some reason that was stuck in my head. Since I am not totally crazy, I did decide to machine bind this time since, let's be real, I had no desire to hand sew through the fleece.

The point is, I love this quilt and it is already hanging out on my bed, keeping me warm while I snuggle and watch movies and read and knit. Good stuff. It really is quite a bit warmer with the fleece, and I am very very pleased. I am also pretty thrilled that I got it done so quickly; it just feels like a good start to the year. Of course, I am not entirely sure what I am going to tackle next.....clothes? another quilt? scrapbooks? any number of other things on the list? Oh the difficult decisions in life haha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hello again!

Well, this has been one heck of a year already. Thankfully there is a lot of time for a comeback :)

I turned 30 this past weekend. It was strange to say goodbye to the decade that made me a college grad, a wife, a mother x2, and brought me to call 3 very different states home. I got to start building my own life with the one I love and knowing myself better. I am looking forward to a somewhat calmer decade ahead of me, although I am sure it will still be crazy. I find myself in a pretty good place though, one where I recognize the importance of focusing on myself and I think that will be reflected in my crafting. I am aiming to work more on things that just make me happy and that I will be proud of, and I am pretty excited about that.

Believe it or not, I have been working on a quilt for a while now, it has just turned out to be a much more ambitious undertaking than I realized. I am making progress though and I think I am past the worst of it! Hopefully it will turn out as nice as it is in my head, and most importantly, will be soft and warm and snuggly (I will be trying out a fleece backing on this one and I am hoping it is awesome). I am also trying to decide whether to suck it up and knit my other fingerless mitt, which I hate making but love the product, or ignore it and start a sweater. Oh the hard decisions in life!

And because posts are sad without pictures, and because I am obviously never going to give these sweet gifts their own post, here is a dark picture of the stuffed animals I made my girlies for the holidays, because that's what you end up with when you snap a picture real quick just to have it before it is wrapped :) I think I like making stuffed animals up until the point where I have to stuff and close them up and add details, so I guess I like making animal skins? weird. and creepy.  Both are purl bee patterns, the cat is a free one, the dog is not, both are adorable. I should really try to steal them away for a photo shoot, but I know myself and it is pretty unlikely I will actually get around to it.

Let's hope that I can get back in this space a bit more now!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goodbye to the old year!

Happy New Year! Better late than never :) 2014 was....unexpectedly hard. I suppose any year where you spend 10 months not sleeping through the night (no matter how cute the cause is) is bound to be a tough one, and it was. I didn't make nearly as much as I might have wanted to, but I crossed a few big things off my list and got finished a bunch of things that has just been waiting around.

I only made a handful of quilts, but I did make a lot of clothes, both for me and the small ones, so I'm pretty proud of that. But really, I think the thing I am most impressed with is the amount of knitting I did and the fact that I finally tackled that first sweater! Also, in case you were wondering (which you obviously were) I have been wearing my shawls so much and I love them! I decided to just round up some of my very favorite makes of the year. Clearly this is not even all my favorites, but it is a good representation.

This year, my only true goal is to stop feeling like I am constantly drowning. We'll see if/how I can make that happen, but I am certainly going to try. To be honest, 2015 is looking to be another tough year, but I think we are moving in the right direction. We have to figure out in the next couple months whether we want to stay where we are or whether we will be moving before the little starts school in the fall, so that makes this year an awfully big question mark right from the beginning. I don't know if I will end up sewing a lot or knitting a lot or what, but one thing is certain: one way or another, things will get made :) I have a bunch of things to share and some other things I need to get back to working on so hopefully I will get back to it next week.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!