December 30, 2012

Only Slightly Underwhelming Year-End Review

     After seeing everyone else's inspiring year-end reviews, I really wanted to do my own, and went back to see how many garments I had made.

If you're keeping track at home, that 's a whopping 12 garments.  In comparison to many bloggers, not a whole lot.  However, my life is not the same as most bloggers, and I have to keep that in mind.  In addition, I completed 3 Ph.D. requirements this year, each taking a full 3 weeks out of the lab and working all hours of the day.  Next year, I won't automatically lose a couple months worth of sewing time from those.  Though I was initially a bit disappointed by my output, there are a few garments in there that get worn constantly - namely the first Renfrew I made, the tie-dye skirt, and the loose linen pants.  If I can add a couple favorites to my wardrobe every year, eventually I'll get to the point where every thing is a favorite!  So no moping about it: onto next year's goals!
1: Maintain my current rate of one garment per month.  Anything additional is gravy.
2. Keep up with monthly goals.  I love writing lists, even if I don't get to everything (or anything :/)on them.
3.  Finish one costume for GenCon for ME!  My BF gets so excited about the new costumes he wants every year that somehow mine fall by the wayside.  Not this year!
4.  Sew at least one friggin' dress.  I love seeing all the beautiful dresses everyone else makes, and I know even a super casual one would be a solid step up for my wardrobe

I'm also listing my progress this year on the Craftster 50 Projects in 2013 list as well - I think I've stated before that I love the Craftster community, and seeing all the different projects on there always inspires me to get up and craft something.  This'll be my last post for this year, but hopefully I'll get my January goals up soon!  Hope everyone gets to enjoy these last few days of 2012!

November 28, 2012

Back with a Vengeance: The RP Collection

So remember how I had this post about how I just was so busy and couldn't get anything done?  Don't ever let me use that excuse again, because somehow, in the midst of one of the busiest times at work yet, I managed to crank out a ton of stuff! Granted, a large portion of this was made possible by the fact that I can write papers at home, so even though I was extra busy, I could sew in between writing, something I usually don't have the capability to do.

I think this was mostly a fortuitous combination of panic-induced sleeplessness with motivation to avoid the frustrating parts of my project (as in, "I'll just sew one more seam, then I'll finish that paragraph...")  Most of the things I made were very quick projects, but it moved a lot of fabric from the to-do pile to the closet, as well as getting me back into the swing of sewing, so I'm okay with it.

So the final tally is:
2 Renfrews
3 Sweatervests
1 Workout Tanktop

(Sorry, they had to be dressform pics, otherwise this post would NEVER have gotten finished...) The Renfrew fabric was originally from my "3 in 3 out" challenge....from June. Well, better late than never, right? The V-neck on the pink one was a huge mental workout for me.  The actual band turned out really well after only two tries (with some additional hand basting), but then I went and ruined it with super uneven topstiching around the band, which I'm too scared to rip out because it's a really thin knit.  Oh well, live and learn.  It'll be good enough for lab. 

I almost didn't mention the sweatervests because they are so easy, but the challenge now is to make button-up shirts to go with all of them! This is also all of the old sweaters that I had earmarked for this, so it's a completion thing.

The tanktop is something simple that's been in the back of my mind for a while.  It's cut out of a men's XL long sleeve shirt, and the material is that heavy moisture-wicking sports fabric.  I used Simplicity 9214 for the basic front, with 2 inches added in the torso, and then just freehanded the back piece based on the front piece. It's also my first time using fold over elastic, and I can feel an addiction coming on...

     Coming up...I took some cutting on my Thanksgiving trip back home, as it is approximately a bazillion times easier to cut fabric without two cats and on a large table instead of the floor like I have to do in my apartment.  I made a list and have come up with 11 pieces I can make using fabric I already have, with the small addition of the Thurlow pattern to my collection.  So some serious stashbusting is hopefully on the horizon.  With Christmas shopping and all, I really shouldn't be spending anything on new things when I've got so much already.  As always, we'll see how well that plan works out. ;)  Here's hoping it's less than a month until my next post this time! :p

October 24, 2012

Things I've Been Doing Instead of Sewing

I think the title says it all, doesn't it?

First and foremost, I've been in the process of completing my last two big requirements to become a full Ph.D. candidate!  Then it should be just labwork and smooth sailing until my thesis. (Right?)

Secondly,  I've been having a fabulous time learning about makeup.  My two favorite YouTube channels for this are Beauty Broadcast and Makeup Geek.  This is a very dangerous thing, because remember back to the first time you got interested in makeup.  Then put that enthusiasm with an "adult" budget.  Yeah.  I think I've done all right so far,but I make no guarantees when all the holiday sales start.

Third,  I've joined a LARP! (Live Action Role Playing for all you non-gamers.)  It's my favorite tabletop gaming system, new World of Darkness Changeling, and the people I play with are FABULOUS!  I have to work some pretty long days to make up for taking a large part of Saturday off for it once a month, but so far it has proved worth it.  In sewing terms, it means that once I do get time to sew, I'll have a very good excuse to make some awesome costume pieces. 

I guess I just wanted to say that I am still here, aware that this blog exists and every day it is languishing for lack of sewing projects.  I have a Renfrew with all of one seam sewn that I  occassionally shuffle around on the table, but with my general lack of energy (see reason #1) it's just hard to want to work on anything either by getting up crazy early or after a long day in lab.  It sounds like the general advice when mojo is completely gone is not to force it, and it will come back in its own time.  I'm trying not to be too impatient with myself, and hopefully you all understand.  In the meantime, I will try  to post a little more often, even if it's just more "real life" type stuff rather than just sewing stuff.  Hope everyone's having a fantastic fall so far!

September 21, 2012

The Scraps Are Taking Over

      Does anyone else ever feel like this?  Granted, a large part of this problem stems from the fact that when I first started sewing, I would buy any and all fabric I could get my hands on, which usually took the form of large boxes at random auctions, which would end up being half scraps.  I’ve given away bags on Craigslist, swapped them for things on Craftster, and am always using them for things like facings, but none of this seems to make a dent.  

     Normally, my “collector” (read: hoarder) mentality wouldn’t have a problem with it, but suddenly I do.  I’m in the thick of a very heavy workload for school, and am averaging approximately one sewn seam a day.  I would love to have multiple machines threaded with different colors so that I can sew my one seam on whichever project strikes my fancy that morning.  (Most of my sewing is squeezed in before I leave for school; I’m usually exhausted by the time I get home.)  But the scraps prevent this.  I’m now up to a kitchen trash can plus a large copy paper box that are overflowing, so there’s zero room for the pedals underneath my table. I keep telling myself I need to sew my way out of the mess.  If only I make enough fabric bowls, or patchwork notebook cases, then I can use up all the fabulousness just waiting in there.  The problem is I don’t want to make the crafty things right now; I want to sew garments, and the scraps are in my way.
This is a normal, kitchen sized trash can.  Plus another box this full.
  I could store them all away in our storage unit; but that would just be delaying the problem.  Also, if I can live with them being inaccessible in the storage unit, I can live with them being inaccessible by getting rid of them.  What I really need to do is bag them up and list them on freecycle.  Why is this so difficult?  I do have enough smaller pieces of fabric that if I needed to do a crafty project I could cut into them, and as I said I don’t want to make those right now.  So this is my public pledge.  I will pass on my scraps to someone else.  No saving any of them.  If I want scraps, I’m going to have to make them by cutting out more clothing projects. They have to go NOW.

   As far as actual sewing is concerned, like I said, I'm in the middle of a ton of stuff for work, and lately I've also gotten distracted by other things more than sewing.  I joined a monthly LARP in my area and have spent a lot of time learning about makeup, which is weird.  Mostly because I've never messed with it before, and now I have the enthusiasm of a middle school girl discovering it for the first time, but with an adult budget to buy "the good stuff" right off the bad.  A dangerous combination.  But I do have a Renfrew cut and ready to sew, as well as an upcycling project, so maybe with my cleaner workspace I can get a little more done on those.  Updates soon!

September 6, 2012

Goodwill HAUL!

Total cost: $1.48.  Boom.

P.S.  I know I've been pretty silent lately, but school has been OWNING me lately.  More sewing time should be happening soon, I promise...

August 3, 2012

Vogue 8584 – The Most Comfortable Pants on Earth

     Holy crap, a finished garment!  How long has it been since I posted one of these?  (I probably don’t want to know, actually.)  These pants have actually be done for at least a week, but I wore them so much on my staycation that they needed a good wash before I could take pictures.  Then they needed a good press.  Then I just needed time to take the pictures.  You know how it goes.

These pants are made from Vogue 8584, inspired by Elizabeth’s version, and made from olive green  linen from Hancock’s. Since they are wide legged pants, I didn’t bother with any real alterations, and instead just cut one size up to accommodate my thighs and rear. I was really worried about if wide-legged pants would make me look huge, but I actually really like them!  They are also boyfriend-approved, which is a pretty rare honor.  
Not sure why I was standing with one foot so far in front of the other...

   My biggest gripe with them is how high the waist is.  I'm beginning to wonder if I just have a really short crotch rise or what.  I'm not someone who's all about low-rise anything, but it seems like all the pants I've made are like at my ribcage high.  Eventually I might make the effort to lower the casing, but for now they're just fine.  I do hate the lack of pockets, but I think these will end up being weekend pants rather than work pants anyway.   

    I'm heading into a particularly busy period at work (when am I not, it seems?) but finally completing something reminds me how good it feels, and helps me keep going.  I am, however, going to skip the goal-setting for August and just consider anything completed a victory.  I also have a couple of other random posts swirling around in my mind, so look out for those coming up soon!

July 24, 2012

Meet The Reason for My Lack of Sewing…

This is Gimli.

Gimli is the cat bought with the credit we received after the first dog we adopted didn’t get along with the cat, and a volunteer mistakenly told us the credit only lasted a month, when it really lasted a year, and I decided there’d be no way I could find a dog in one month that I really loved, where the BF had plenty of cats to choose from.  Whew.  That’s the sum-up of a solid month of stress.  No fault of the animals involved, but lots of roller coaster emotions.  The point we’re at now is in the slow introduction stage, where we have to keep the two animals separated, which is quite the trick in a one-bedroom apartment.  It slows everything down because you don’t want to go in the room with the lonely cat unless you plan to stay for some solid petting time, but at least the visits to the county shelter and the vet are basically over now.

I’m not anti-cat, but I like dogs better.  Gimli is a big social boy who likes having his belly rubbed, through, so I'm inclined to forgive him. :)  

I actually do have on completed garment to show, and hope to have at least one more before the end of my "staycation" in a couple of days.   More to come!

July 13, 2012

Random Thoughts Today...

I want to make sure I get back into blogging regularly, but the amount of sewing I've done on my Vogue 8584 pants isn't really blog-worthy progress yet. Luckily, I love reading other people’s “flypaper thoughts” posts, so I thought I’d do that today.

  • Pressing linen is really up there as one of those things that just makes everything seem okay in the world.   
  • I think no matter how many small crafty items I make, my scrap bin is never ever going to get emptier.
  • I really enjoy the fact that I get into work several hours before everyone else, and it is always my most productive time.  Finally embracing the fact that simply am a morning person has made such a difference.
  • I’ll finally get to go to the farmer’s market this morning (first time this season!) and get some super fabulous summer produce. 
  • I mentioned once doing some sort of “stash feature” to get myself thinking about what to do with some of the random pieces of fabric I own (and possibly solicit advice from some  other lovely seamstresses.  However, I’m going to cheat and start with a piece that I already know what I’m going to do with.
This lovely floral knit was a chance find at JoAnn’s on clearance, so I snagged 2 yards to make another cardigan.  I’m seriously planning to have a cardi for every occasion. Since I work in air conditioning and am ALWAYS cold, there is basically no work situation in which I am not wearing long sleeves. Take that, J. Crew!  (I've never actually shopped at J. Crew, but in my mind they are evil purveyors of lovely cashmere cardigans that I will never be able to afford.)

That's all for today, next post will hopefully be some completed pants!

July 4, 2012

“You Turn Around and a Month’s Gone By…”

    At least that’s how it seems.  A variety of real life events, some good, some bad, have conspired to keep me almost completely out of the sewing room for the entire month of June.  I’ve done a few crafty items for Craftster swaps (Highly recommend Craftster, btw.) but otherwise nada.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that.  Sometimes a significant absence from something gives you a chance to step back, not feel like you’re thinking about one thing all the time.  I’ve got some new obligations to work around, but I’m ready to get back into the fray.  With the heat wave we’ve got going on, linen pants are first on the list. 

   I think I’m just going to keep my monthly goals from June and pretend that June just never happened. This month I’ll have a full week of “staycation”, so there should be some serious sewing going on.  Now to catch up on reading my blogroll…