Checking In

Most of my sewing has been epic fails as of late. It is pretty demotivating. I spent a lot of time on a woven tank top with a cut out on the back, only to have it not fit right at all.

All these set backs encouraged me to purchase another craftsy.com course: 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. I plan to pick up some simpler projects to get my sewing mojo back.

In an unrelated note, I start school again on 3 February, so for the next six months, time will be at a premium.

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MEOW

So, today was the day that I debuted my awesome print fleece hoodie.  I walked strutted into my morning briefing this morning and was met with a lot of snickers and smiles.  Apparently, big cat print is “out of character” for me.  I don’t care though – I love my shirt.  Every time someone made a “nice shirt/jacket” comment, no matter how sarcastic, I followed up with “thank, I made it!”  All the sudden everyone’s tone changed!  

As soon as someone found out that I made the shirt, they had tons of questions about its construction and how long I have been sewing (one month, thank you!).  

I think this is going to be a fun year!

Oh my gosh – I just made something!

Meet my first wearable garment – a leopard, or is it cheetah, fleece hoodie.  Perfect for winter!  It is so warm and cuddly and soft – and I am in love with it!

It is full of small mistakes – a lot of edges not matching and some weird skipped stitches on the hood (those stopped once I switched the ball point needle out for a stretch needle), but nothing that most people will notice.  The edges not matching are a patience thing, I need to learn to slow down – I am not racing anyone!

So, without further ado, here is completed (minus the hem, but that’s for tomorrow night) project number four – on my one month sewing machine ownership anniversary!

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Mental note:  I need a tailor’s ham.

Quick Thoughts While Everyone Else Is Sleeping

  • Invisible zipper gave me a hard time last night because I used a regular zipper foot.
  • I played with my walking foot on some knits tonight, yay – because I live in knits.  This is a big step!
  • My coworker is purging.  He found a “sewing machine” that he’s going to give to me if I can make good on my “no shopping for a year” pledge.  I googled it – it is a serger.  An older one, with no manual, but more of a serger than I have now.  Is it truly meant to be?
  • Ms. Gunn over at http://goodbyevalentino.com is a genius!  The group of women that she has inspired is amazing and I can already tell that it we all will be incredible resources for each other throughout the year.
  • I bit the bullet and finally bought Maria Denmark’s Day to Night Drape Neck top over at Craftsy.  I have been in love since I first saw it, as my favorite shirts in my current RTW wardrobe are the same style.  However, I am between sizes XS and S – and it also doesn’t come with a same allowance.  I have no idea how to add a seam allowance.  I am tempted to cut and sew a S with a 5/8 inch seam allowance and *fingers crossed* it fits.  I was told that this is not the correct way of going about things.  Sad face.
  • I am determined to quietly sneak another truck load of my unwanted/needed/loved belongings out the door of my house…as soon as possible.  Can’t do it too soon or the DH will notice.  Must move slow.  Maybe he won’t see me.  Not sure why he cares, it is not his stuff.  He still thinks I am crazy.
  • During THE PURGE, I have also been working on ridding our home of harsh chemicals, which goes inline with making my own soap, lotions, etc.  (that whole hippie kick I have been on).  I picked up some soap nuts and wool dryer balls.  I already make my own “febreeze” with white vinegar, distilled water, and essential oils.  Now I have no idea what to do with the “bag-o-chemicals” sitting in my garage.  DH thinks that since we already spent the money, we should use them up.  I want them out.  We seem to have come to an impasse.
  • I put two Coach purses on Ebay.  I will miss them (or the money spent on them), but they are really just taking up dust.

Sew With A Plan

S.W.A.P. is a popular mantra in the sewing world.  Just as one needs to be focused on what items to buy when planning out a versatile, functional wardrobe; one needs to do the same when creating a wardrobe.  Otherwise, the same problems might arise – wardrobe orphans.

I have heard the 80/20 or cake and icing rule stated all over the blogosphere.  You should work to create 80% hardworking, versatile basics and 20% icing – or the fun, sparkly stuff.  As much as I want a closet full of fancy cocktail dresses – I really only need one or two – I should focus on creating items that can be worn day in and day out.

So, I have been working with a sewing plan, to keep myself on track, starting from the beginning.  I hope that will prevent me from using valuable time and resources creating things that I will never wear.

I want to develop some “tried and true” patterns for pieces that will get the most wear in my life.  I prefer to layer, so my outfits are usually jeans/shorts/skirt/capris, a shell or t-shirt, and a cardigan, pullover, light jacket or hoodie.  My list looks like this, so far:

1.  A shell pattern.  I like the drape neck on myself, and have been eyeballing the day to night drape neck (http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/sewing/clothing/103—day-to-night-drape-top/39468) and Vogue 8669.  I also like Style Arc’s Diana top (http://www.stylearc.com.au/stylearc/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=38&category_id=22&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=47).

2.  A basic, fitted t-shirt pattern with neck line and sleeve variations.  I hope the patterns included with the Craftsy Sewing with Knits class will fill this category.

3.  Basic Sheath Dress that has neck and sleeve variations, for a wide assortment of fabrics (seasonal).  McCall’s 2401 looks like a good candidate.  I also like M6699, but it doesn’t have any variations.  I love how Megan Kelly’s (Fox News anchor) dresses look and fit.  Always a solid color, perfect fit, and minimal accessories.  It looks so chic and can be very versatile!

4.  A pencil skirt pattern – which I am working on with Sew Everything Workshop (reminds me, I need poster board and a glue stick).  I would like Simplicity 2451, view B for a bit fuller skirt.  I don’t really dig A-line skirts on myself, and that one is a bit fitted through the hips and then widens out.

5.  A sundress pattern for woven fabrics.  I would like to find a good summer sundress that fits like a glove and can be made in different prints.  I think I would like to pick up New Look 6557.

6.  I would like to find a jacket pattern – I am really looking to recreate a jacket I used to have and lost that was a heavy gauge linen/canvas type fabric, unlined, in a khaki color, but was cut like a blazer, so it was casual but had really good structure.  I think that would make a versatile top and could be made in nicer fabrics as the need arises.

7.  The perfect fit button up shirt, with sleeve variations – I have been dreaming about you!

8.  A pajama set – I have been working on McCall’s 5248.  I think it will be very versatile in the future.  I just need to get the fit right and transfer that patterns to something heavier duty.

9.  Trousers

10.  Tailored Shorts

11.  Jeans

11.  A cardigan.  I need to learn to knit.  This will probably never happen.

I see a lot of fitting classes on Craftsy in my future.  My local ASG group is working on creating a sloper for the bodice all year.  I think I lucked out on this one!  I did just miss the full year of creating the perfect trouser sloper. 😦

Zipper Woes

I hate zippers.  Granted, I have only been sewing for less than a month, but they are something that I feel like I will always be fighting with!

I have worked on two different skirts, one Simplicity 2314 in an online class with Mimi G over at http://www.mimigstyle.com and a pencil skirt pattern from the Sew Everything Workshop, with Diana Rupp in a Craftsy class.  Which both classes are pretty awesome – I have learned a lot from the two women.  Anyways, each lady has a different way of installing an invisible zipper – I happen to prefer Mimi G’s explanation and way of doing things over Ms. Rupp’s, but I still can’t make it pretty.

I have all but abandoned Simplicity 2314, as the waist band notches aren’t matching the notches on the skirt body.  I don’t know if it has something to do with the interfacing preventing stretching – as that cotton seems to have a fair bit of stretch to it.

I finished the pencil skirt muslin last night, fulling suspecting I would have to make some changes, especially around the waist and the hips, but the Holidays must have snuck up on me and the muslin fit perfect.  The zipper, using Ms. Rupp’s method, still looked like poo, but it was my muslin, so I didn’t care to much.  I laid out the pattern on my fashion fabric and started cutting and assembling last night.  The material is a dream to work with and super cute!  It is an olive green, bottom weight with a subtle cheetah/leopard print on it.  I am just starting to get into prints, especially animal prints, but still prefer subtle prints and solids.  Its a perfect match to work with.  I also have a couple yards of a teal zebra print bottom weight and have been eyeballing a dark brown print (maybe giraffe – can’t remember right now).

I do have to say, the darts were WAY easier the second time around!

Anyways, the skirt is waiting on a waistband, lining, and a hem, but here is a picture of my progress and ugly zipper!

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When one is learning, there are bound to be mistakes.

When one is learning, there are bound to be mistakes.

I have been working on McCall’s 5248, a multi-piece pajama set with some SUPER cute flannel I got on sale. Well, the whole project has turned into a nightmare. First, I pretreated the fabric, but it shrunk SO much, that my pants had to be turned into shorts, but I didn’t figure that out until I already cut the first pant leg (it is 44″ fabric). Then I placed that pattern on the fabric and cut away! After doing the basic construction on the pajama shorts, I held them up and noticed that my birds are upside down! So…do I make the shirt match, with upside down birds – for continuity’s sake, or do I cut the pattern correct? However, that is one mistake that I am pretty sure I won’t do again!