Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A copy of me!

This is my daughter, Jane, in the copy she made of the copy of the cardigan I copied last week. I think she did a great job and I'm happy that she is so happy with the results. I like hers even more than mine. I will be borrowing it!

Can you believe she decreased her stash 25% just by sewing up just one piece of fabric!

The hardest parts for her was squeezing it out of the fabric available (we eliminated the waist seam) and threading the serger and cover stitch (I helped a bit).  


I am very proud of her (in all ways, not just sewing). Love you, Man!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Better than the original

I love drapey cardigans. I have quite a few from the thrift store and even more that I made myself. Jalie 2919 is in my Hall of Fame. I had this bright pink one from thrift store I like a lot, so I decided to copy it. I like copying things. If you haven't done it before, I want you to know its easier than you might think. Especially with a knit: as we already know know forgiving knits are!

I start by laying Carol's exam table paper over the original and tracing the pieces with chalk and marking the grain lines. Then you just have to check and make sure all the adjacent seams that should be the same length are the same length. At this point I will also put the original on the dress form and double check that its' measurements agree with the flat pattern. Then you add your seam allowances. The only tricky part on this one is the shawl collar, but I've sewn enough of them to know what the pattern should look like and how its fits together.

This is the back of the original. Just look at how crooked it is!!

My copy is straight!

When I started this, I only intended the fabric to be a muslin. It had been in my stash a really long time (but not since '74 when it looks like it was made!) Its cotton interlock from the free table. I didn't think it would be stretchy enough but it turned out just fine.

I also made an orange long sleeve t-shirt to go with it from the Textile Studio Santa Monica Tee (a Hall of Fame pattern). I wore it the other day with my groovy orange coat, white cords and brown boots & a chick at Whole Foods complimented me!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mr. Pike

This is the big project I've been working on for the past few months, Mr. Pike. The challenge (from the Designer III Group) was to use a Marimekko fabric or design as an inspiration for a sewing project.  I  love Marimekko, mid-century and Scandinavian design. Some of you may even recall that I made a skirt last summer with some Marimekko fabric.

I knew in an instant which fabric I wanted to use as inspiration: Hauki. My husband and I used to go pike fishing when we first met and one of the first things he ever gave me was a wire leader. (It prevents the pike's sharp teeth from biting through the line.) We were never very successful. Over the years we have come to realize he's not that good a fisherman and I was mostly pretending to like fishing just to be with him!

I sketched out Mr. Pike at the coffee shop before I even got home that day. My Mr. Pike has a goofy smile instead of sharp teeth. Back home and made a larger scale drawing and printed it out. When I was ready to buy the fabric, I went to Joann's thinking they were open until 7 but they were only open 'til 6, so I had to choose the fabric in only 15 minutes!

He sparkles at night!

A whole lot of wonder under came into play at this point. I did a satin stitch around the edges of Mr. Pike and the seaweed. Then the whole thing got moved up to the bead room. All those layers made beading a bit difficult. My little fingers were sore! I put bugle beads on the seaweed and sequins on Mr. Pike. I put a button on his eye which enables him to see you from all angles.

Finally, I bound the edges. As you can see, I'm no quilter! I think all the ripples add to the underwater theme!

Mr. Pike hangs above our bed and he makes both of us happy every time we see him!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wow! Another year. A lot more sewing. More sewing than I've even shared here. Its so hard to get good pictures this time of year in my part of the universe.
Looking back over 2014, what I've made is mostly things I wear everyday-- skirt and t-shirts. I don't purchase a lot of clothing and what I do is usually thrifted, but now I can say my wardrobe is probably 75 percent made by me. I wear at least one handmade garment everyday. I'm proud of that.

I'm also proud that I have used my sewing talents to enhance my home. This is something I have never done much before this year. I even did a little bit of sewing for other people. (I still miss the Selfish Seamstress!)

I also worked on "One Big Project" until my little fingers hurt! More about that soon.

So now the obligatory tally, more or less:

14 Tops
11 Skirts
7 Jackets/Cardigans
1 Dress
7 Pairs of Drapes
14 Dishtowels
2 Crib sheets
2 Pillows
One Big Project

So how did I do with last years resolution (to focus on detail)? I give myself an B+. I did do two projects that took over a month to complete but for the most part, feel like I'm sewing volume not quantity. Maybe what I need to do is lighten my hoard so I don't feel so much like I have to conquer it.

And this brings me to my 2015 Resolution: to only make garments that coordinate with each other and with what's already in my closet & to not waste time and mental energy on things I don't love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bizarre fabric deserves a bizarre pattern

Both this fabric and pattern were inherited from Gwen's stash. I like to think that she intended for the two of them to go together. Some people might think this fabric is ugly. Here's a close up so you can judge for yourself.

I wore this to Starbucks and noticed this gal couldn't keep her eyed off it. I was thinking how stylish I looked and she was thinking damn, that lady's got a lot of cats!!

The pattern is the Sewing Workshop's Deja Vu Wrap

It is cut from one big Moby Dick looking piece with extra parts for the pockets and binding. 

The instructions have mark you the pattern with 5 different colored tailors tacks. You would seriously get lost without them. It seams like it took longer to cut out than to sew it. I made a size small. I took it to a sewing group meeting where a bunch of the ladies tried it on & everyone liked it. At least, they said they did!

I would make this again if the right fabric came along.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Catching Up

I've got a lot of catching up to do, so lets get started...
When I made these next few garments I had decided to try something new: make things that go together!! I know, what a concept!

I still use and love my homemade iPhone app for organizing my fabric and patterns, but once in a while I like to take all my fabric out to look at it and then re-fold it  I made some coordinated piles then tricked my husband into choosing one. Sure enough, he chose my least favorite, but fate is fate and you shouldn't mess with it. I'm not a huge fan of the green, and why I had so much of it I didn't know. Oh wait, I could see they were mostly from the free table or the thrift store. I knew I didn't buy that fabric!

I started with this heavy four way stretch olive green jersey from the Salvation Army. I envisioned something classic like a St. John or Butte Knit suit. I was going to use Simplicity 2154, but some evil demon made me go with McCalls 6708. It was a total wadder!!! Then I did what I always do with patterns that don't work out: I threw it out! Why try to fix it when I've got 300 other patterns I could be spending my time with?

Instead of Jackie Kennedy....

I got Jackie Gleeson.

I din't get my suit but I did make a skirt from my TNT knit skirt pattern Butterick 5539. Because of the weight and stretch of the fabric (which is what was probably behind it making such a horrible cardigan) the skirt gets longer and longer when you wear it, which is okay since it's getting colder and darker everyday.

Next, I revisited the Textile Studio Santa Monica Tee. I thought I didn't like raglan sleeves but I guess I was wrong about that. I really like this pattern. Its quick to sew up and doesn't require the fiddly application of a neckband. (Ditto for The Textile Studio's Monaco Tee.) The first fabric is a cotton interlock from the free table. I think the pattern runs a bit small in the body although the sleeves are too wide for my taste. After a bit of tweaking, I'll be putting this in my Pattern Hall of Fame right next to the Textile Studio's Monaco Tee.

Naturally, I made another one. This one is an ITY knit I got last summer at Haberman Fabrics. I was a bit short on the yardage so I pieced the sleeves by adding cuffs. I like it better than the other one!

My final green garment is is so incredible it deserves its own blog post. Get ready!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Four Week Migraine

I did do some sewing about a month ago, took some photos and wrote a draft blog post . That's as far as I got before I got the headache from hell. Actually, I had been having week long headaches and dizziness all summer and had been working with my doctor for a solution to them. He put me on a medication to prevent migraines but it didn't work. Then I got the worst headache ever. And it just kept getting worse. I was in a lot of pain and very worried. My blood pressure was ridiculous. I went to the ER, then spent a couple days in the hospital. Thankfully the CT scan was clear. I didn't want to see, hear or smell anything and I couldn't think straight. I couldn't tolerate the second medication but the third one seems okay so far. It's to prevent future attacks. I've spent a lot of time on the couch, more and more of it in the upright position everyday. I still have a bit of headache and dizziness and will still need to get an MRI to be on the safe side. I'm determined to not spend the whole day on the couch--I have over one hundred unread blog posts to catch up on!
So what caused this? Our old friend: Mrs. Menopause. Seems that if you had severe migraines in your teens and twenties they can come roaring back when you enter peri-menopause. So as I skipped along all through my 30s and 40s with maybe two migraines a year, counting down the months until my periods would be over, I had no idea what I had in store.