Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black Shorts

Well, I have a finished object... or an FO as we call it in the knitting world. Here are my black shorts. These were made of a stretchy bottom weight fabric that is very satisfying to wear, nice and sturdy. But the stretch made sewing a bit tricky at the waist and the body of the shorts pucker a bit where they join the waistband. I never tuck my shirts, though, so no one will see it.

I COULD have bought a pair of shorts if I really wanted to, and probably spent less money, too! Except, I LIKE to be my own sweatshop! And also, I was still working on fitting those shorts. I think they're as good as my current level of skill and resources will allow.
Here they are styled with my Green Silk Sorbetto.

In other news, I'm NOT participating in Me Made May 2014 (I don't have enough RTW clothes for May, much less clothes made by me! Plus... I don't have a way to take pics of my outfits except in a mirror) OR the new Outfit Along with Lladybird and Untangling Knots (unless I change my mind, which I might).

Pattern: S1430
Price: $25 
Time: 4 hours
Note to Self: Black doesn't photograph well, stop trying! Also, raise the presser foot so that the fabric doesn't pucker as much next time you sew with a stretch fabric.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wardrobe Helps

So, you may have guessed I'm working through the process of building a capsule wardrobe for Spring and Summer (since I've mentioned it!) I wanted to post the blogs that have been particularly helpful in planning and working through the process. First is Putting Me Together by Audrey. She started her blog to learn to shop her closet and buy pieces that she could mix and match to create a more flexible, useful wardrobe. Her closet seems huge... she tries to post unrepeated outfits for her blog, after all. I plan on using her ideas but with a much smaller capsule. I am home most of the time, anyway, and jeans and a t-shirt will do for that. I just plan to make jeans and t-shirt purchases a little more purposefully in the future! 
The Coletterie has a whole wardrobe building series called The Wardrobe Architect on the blog by pattern company Colette Patterns. It's so frustrating to have put so much time, energy, and money into a garment, only to never wear it! I have a grey dress that I love that I never wear because it's a bit too low in the front... something I could fix with a judicious purchase (or construction) of a grey tank. Or I could buy a tiny bit of silk charmeuse and make a modesty panel. Or perhaps a Sorbetto without a pleat?? Then I can wear it with other things, too! Kinda fancy for my lifestyle, though. See, watch me think through the process...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Green Silk Tank

A Sorbetto tank in green silk crepe de chine for your consideration. Boy was this fabric a challenge! It's light as air, and on the bias it flows like water. I lengthened the upper dart on this top, and it lies a little flatter, but I'm not sure I like the way it looks. Still it's a wearable tank! I bought the silk, sight unseen (in person, I saw it online) to make a Sorbetto to go with my orange Legacy skirt, but I do not think it will match.

Here it is styled with my cheetah print cardigan. I think it'll look good paired with jeans or with the black shorts I'll be making soon. Plus a skirt I have planned in the sewing queue.

Pattern: Sorbetto Tank by Colette
Cost: $50 (silk ain't cheap, folks), plus I have some extra to make a scarf with. Maybe as a gift? Though how many people does this color green look good on???
Time: 4 hours, that bias tape making was a killer
Note to Self: Hand baste darts next time to keep them straight while you sew them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aqua Shorts

I made these to go with a mushroom colored wool jersey tee I made a few years ago, and with my Little Birds tank. I used a pants pattern that I want to get fitted correctly, so I thought a few pairs of shorts would make the fitting a little easier before I make the peach corduroy pants. I just shortened the leg and widened the hem area a little bit. Since I'm doing the wardrobe planning, I'm trying to only make garments that go with at least three other items in my wardrobe. These can also be paired with my white short sleeved blouse and my taupe ruffled tank.

The alterations I made on this first wearable muslin... I simply took in the rear seam a bit to make the back side a little less round... my hips are narrow and my rear end could be classified as "flattish". For my second version of these shorts I'll make a small Flat Butt Adjustment (yes, that's really what it's called).

Here's a pic of me styling the shorts with my Little Birds tank.

Pattern: S1430
Cost: Nothing, this was made from an old curtain that had a hole in it.
Time: 4 hours
Note to Self: On the next pair, add a little more fabric to the hem allowance, so the hem doesn't pucker.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Black Tank

This is my first version of the Sorbetto tank, which I modified to remove the center pleat. You can simply move the pattern with the seam line for the pleat to the fold of the fabric. The pattern calls for 1.5 yards, but I think if you just rearrange the folds you can get away with less, especially if you wear a smallish size. I made it of a tissue linen that I bought at JoAnne's which is a bit too thin to wear without something underneath, which sort of defeats the whole point of a tank, but it'll still do. 

It's a little too short for my torso, though just the right length for my model here. What do you think of it styled with this polka dot cardigan in coral red. The color works, but is it too much pattern? As you can tell, I really like this faceted bead necklace! I think I should try to make more in other colors... maybe using seam binding as the ribbon... it's hard to find just the right color of ribbon nowadays, but it's easy to find Hug Snug in lots and lots of colors!

Pattern: Sorbetto tank
Cost: $15
Time: 2 hours
Note to self: Start checking finished length of shirts and adjust length accordingly

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring Wardrobe Planning Part III, Neutrals

This is the biggest change I'm making in my wardrobe... for untold years my neutral has been brown, but I'm so tired of that brown green or brown orange color combination come spring and summer. So I've decided to add in lots of grey and a bit of black. First I have some stumpers... a couple of fabrics that I just can't seem to do anything with. I bought this grey stretch "sateen" that ended up being "satin" (the perils of online fabric shopping) for pants. Well... as much as I love the movie Grease, I'm not gonna make myself (or wear, gasp!) a pair of tight satin pants for anything or anybody!

And here's a grey tank I already own... just a Walmart cheapie thing. It's laid on top of this striped jersey... I keep wondering if I can squeeze a tank out of it, but the purchased tank is a ribbed knit (very, very stretchy), and the jersey isn't AS stretchy, so I'm not sure it'll work. The stripe is a remnant from another top I made in my wardrobe revamp from last year.

Now for the new fabrics I purchased just recently... first a black stretch twill (unphotographed... it's black, y'all), a grey twill for shorts, a chevron jersey for a tshirt, and this seersucker for a simple skirt. I bought all these online at and they're all prepped and ready to be sewn now!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Little Birds

Tweet, tweet! This tank is a Sorbetto tank. You will see several of these in the coming few posts, since I need me some woven tanks in my wardrobe ASAP. So you might as well get used to it! This pattern is a good basic garment, though I've not perfected the fit yet... I made one already (will blog that later) and it was too short for my long torso, so I added two whole inches to its length. Now it doesn't bare my belly when I move around! Yay! The bust dart is too high... but I left it in place since I'm not sure how to move it exactly... I did add a second dart, though, because the armholes were doing this gaping thing (there's probably a better way to address this, but I don't know it! Maybe smaller size on top with a Large Bust Adjustment?) I made the tank from some organic quilting cotton I found at a local quilt shop. Since I bought it years ago and have forgotten how much I paid for it, I'm just gonna call it a bargain.

Here it is paired with my aqua cardigan from Lands End. I bought this sweater in an attempt to recreate an outfit worn by Zooey Deschanel I saw. I haven't yet completed the outfit, but I'm getting close to it. I just need some grey shorts... which are coming up in the sewing queue. I cannot post the original picture because I cannot find it, but I'll show you the recreation when it's finished.

Pattern: Sorbetto by Colette
Cost: Maybe $15, I can't remember how much it cost, to be honest.
Time: A few hours, mostly consisting of making and ironing bias binding
Note to Self: Wear with brown or grey, try to make a statement necklace to wear with it in brown!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Petal Easter Frock

Here's a finished project! The second version of this pretty dress, the Sorbet Dress,  that turned out so beautifully and successfully! So... you'd think the second dress would have been just as successful, if not more so. But no, I'm afraid not, my dear reader. This dress has a fatal flaw. It's very pretty, especially on it's lovely recipient:

It fits nicely in the bust and at the waist and it a twirly, whirly dream of a dress for a 12 year old. She needs to wear shorts under it just for that reason... she sure does love her some dress twirling.

The princess seams make it so easy to alter a dress, but make it hard to finish the seams with seam binding or by zigzagging. The dress is lined so I just left them unfinished (for those literary types, this comment is definitely foreshadowing).

What's the problem you say? Where's this fatal mistake? Here it is people:

At the waist, at every seam is this pulled fabric. The organza is a poly and delicate, apparently, because at the slightest provocation it has pulled from it's place and made a mess. I had no idea how this had occurred, because it was there before the little lady had even worn the dress. But my friend Teena (an accomplished and experienced seamstress and costumer that I'm so glad to have as a friend) enlightened me. She said that the clipping of the curved seam had weakened the fabric enough to cause it to pull out at the least bit of stress (it must have happened during the hemming process). She suggested that the next time I have to clip delicate fabric I run two rows of stitching to reinforce the fabric or, alternately, that I serge the edge. I think I can go back and resew the seams at the waist, and correct the problem, but this is a terrible thing to happen after all that work! I guess I need to pull out the old serger and make friends with it again. I haven't used it in years and years (like 10 to 12 years). I only ever used it on one occasion and that was to make some contoured diapers for the baby out of flannel. I made probably 15 diapers and I think dulled the cutting blade, so it probably needs servicing before I can put it into action. I'm actually not even sure where it is! It's gone through four moves since I used it!

Pattern: B5872 (It had some weird construction at the shoulders)

Project Cost: $56 with pattern, fabric, lining, zipper, and Hug Snug

Time: 8 hours

Note to self: Reinforce those seams for delicate fabrics and pull out your serger and make nice with it. You could benefit from some ready to wear techniques to round out your vintage sewing repertoire.

Spring Wardrobe Planning, Part II

Here is another color palette I'm working from which is kind of unrelated to the peach/pinks. I decided to work with what was already in my wardrobe, to expand what was there, rather than start from scratch. This seems a more economical idea, after all... I have an aqua cardigan I bought from Lands End (seen here). Another reason this is an idea that's easy on the wallet is that I'm shopping from my stash. This bird print I bought from a quilting shop in town a couple few years ago. It's a cute organic cotton... and I have a quarter of a yard of coordinating stripes, but what can I do with a quarter yard of anything, but maybe some facings for a pair of shorts or pants??? I plan to make Colette's Sorbetto tank (a freebie pattern) from the bird print... using self fabric for the bias bound edge.

The second fabric is actually a twill curtain that I bought, though I forget when and where... but it has a hole in it, making it unusable as a curtain. Perhaps I can squeeze a pair of shorts out of it? It's a good medium weight twill, perfect for shorts. The third fabric is NOT an economical one. It's silk crepe de chine I bought from Mood Fabrics online, hoping to make a Sorbetto tank that would go with my rust colored linen Legacy Skirt. I didn't bother getting swatches (why oh why not??) and it doesn't coordinate with the skirt at all. It's a good foil for the blue, though, and I can see this tank under my leopard print shrug, looking quite nice with my black beads necklace. Pics after I make some garments from these fabrics, of course!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Wardrobe Planning

Hi! I've been inspired by some of my favorite sewing bloggers (Colette and Grainline) to do some Spring Wardrobe Planning, as I needed some Spring togs to get me through this most fitful of seasons and into Summer (I am also lacking something fierce in Summer clothes). I've been wearing the autumn tees and jeans, which is a little depressing at this time of year. So, I decided to add some peach and grey pieces to the wardrobe... I have some peachy pink fabric that I bought two years ago, with the same goal in mind, but never used to make clothes. This corduroy and tshirt knit:

I've decided that the knit has enough to make two tops if I'm very careful, so I'll be making a 3/4 sleeve tshirt for Spring, and a tank for summer. The corduroy is intended for some pants that I may never wear... pants are notoriously hard to fit and I'm not really an experienced fitter, as of yet. But I plan to do some little things like grading sizes and then hope for the best. It can't be any worse than buying RTW pants and I can get a little practice with a peachy pink corduroy that would be pretty daring for me to actually wear in public anyway (what was I thinking??) maybe I can make some lighter pants for spring/summer if I like the fit.

I also bought this floral chiffon at the local Joanne which fits my color palette. I plan on a loose fitting tank that can be worn with a skirt or shorts, or maybe those pinky corduroy pants, if I ever gather the courage to wear them... I plan on altering the Sorbetto top pattern to get a looser, flowy-er feeling for the chiffon. I DO NOT plan on making self fabric binding with this stuff. That sounds like a nightmare... I'll use the binding I made for my failed pink Sorbetto (which maybe wasn't the rayon I was told it was, because I melted it just a little).

I also have this peachy and grey shirting fabric that I was planning on making a shirtdress with, but haven't gotten around to yet... this project may wait till next year, though. My sewing queue is filling up fast, and I don't have a ton of time to set aside for sewing. Unlike knitting which I can do anywhere in odd moments, sewing requires me to almost always be in my room.... sewing or cutting or piecing, etc. and I do have six children to educate and care for.

I'm feeling ambivalent about this shirting, though... I thought it would be a good wardrobe basic, but now I'm thinking a flesh tone dress might not be just the thing... 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Beach Glass Aidez

I finished it! Aidez was a really fun pattern to knit because of the easy cables and textured stitches knit in a bulky yarn. This bulky yarn meant lots of bang for your buck, so to speak! I heard that the yarn tended to grow, and my swatch did a little, after blocking, but I wasn't prepared for the 6-7 inch increase in length! I'm glad it did grow, though, because the easy fit is perfect for my figure. The sleeves are a little bit on the tight side for my taste, but they don't bind, so I'll take it! I ADORE the color... of course. Any one who knows me can attest to the fact that I can't get enough turquoise in my life.

I love the cables in the back... even if they're not really crossed correctly. Good enough is perfect, in my world. The high collar back makes me happy, too... it's a cozy detail. The design is a triumph, as far as I'm concerned.

Here, styled with an ivory lace top and my necklace that I assembled from a For the Makers kit. Dark jeans maybe would have been a better color choice? Or khaki?

Pattern: Aidez
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Beach Glass, I bought 15 and have 7 left, so what will I do with the rest of it???
Cost: $40
Time: Approximately 18 hours
Note to Self: Pair with brown corduroy skirt, dark jeans, or grey(?). Remember it takes a big sink to wash and two days or more to dry, so don't get it dirty, ha!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Here's the finished dress, worn by the recipient, a lovely little lady that I just happened to make, too. The linen is a nice heavy weight, soft and drapey, not a crisp linen. It does wrinkle, though. She loves it, and I think it's a perfect summer dress. 

Pattern: See n Sew B5872
Cost: $60
Time: 6 hours
Note to Self: Maybe a preteen doesn't need a $60 dress??? I have one more to make anyway!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Progress on the Girl

So, some progress... these socks are quickly coming along. They're some plain vanilla socks to let the variegated yarn shine. Though plain vanilla socks CAN be boring, they're good for knitting while you're doing something else like listening to a lecture, or reading out loud, or driving (just kidding!). But seriously, I CAN read aloud and knit if I have something to hold the book open for me. Also, I think the little silver fibers are so fun! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Progress on Aidez

Blocking... can't wait to wear it. Maybe to Maryland Sheep and Wool? I sort of messed up the trellis on the back, but not many would notice, and I left it there. Feel free to look and see if you can spot the mistake... I dare ya!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Glamour Girl

What's that?! Why it's some Yarn Love with little silver fibers in it! Yay! It's called Glamor Girl and OHHHHHH, it's pretty. I've had it for a while now, sitting in my yarn bin, and I thought it was time to get it out and make something for MY glamour girls!

The pink is some Knit Picks Bare fingering that I used to exhaust the dye pot when I overdyed orange Shadow yarn to make the cinnabar colored yarn for my Cloisters wrap. I think it'll be a good contrast, if I need one. I'm not sure what else to do with it... it's not superwash so it's no good for socks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Look how pretty! These socks are so beautiful... I don't know if I can wear them. I may have to give them away.  Look at the mirroring of the patterns, the way it moves diagonally, the way the ribbing flows into the pointelle lace pattern!

Pattern: Pointelle by Cookie A.
Yarn: Claudia Handpaints Addiction Lipstick
Cost: $30
Time: I really should start timing myself so that I can tell you guys how much time it took!
Note to Self: Why bother with shoes when your socks are so fabulous?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An Easter Dress

Hello! I decided to post some pics of my project in progress... it's an Easter dress for one of my daughters. It's in a burnout poly/cotton print that I picked up at JoAnne's recently. It's semi transparent, so some of the "guts" of the dress will be visible from the outside. Read "this might be a disaster". It's the same pattern as The Sorbet Dress, so I've dealt with the difficulties already and should be prepared for them... hopefully!

Cutting out the pattern using the muslin... I fitted this dress to my daughter, and narrowed the waist by three inches. She's a stringbean. A cute one.

And finally, a pic of the hem of the dress, using Hug Snug, just like the Sorbet Dress.

The Sorbet Dress

Here are some little details from the Sorbet Dress. I used Hug Snug as hem tape. Hug Snug is a rayon ribbon that is used to finish seams or as a hem tape like I used it. Here is a tutorial on how to finish seams with Hug Snug. It's a really pretty and couture way to finish seams. On this dress I didn't finish the seams since it'll be gently worn, lined, and handwashed.

Here is a detail I am very proud of. I used a hand stitch called a pickstitch as an understitching for the lining of the dress, since understitching by machine was well nigh impossible and one doesn't want the lining popping out of the dress! Here is a tutorial on how to pickstitch.

More pics later!