March 28, 2012

All Too Easy and The Kindness of Strangers

      Completion of Kwik Sew 3302, crazy as it was, combined with a very fruitful round of thrift store shopping this weekend really got my sewing juices flowing, enough so that I was able to knock out two goals with one stone here.  

    The fabric here is a lovely short-pile velvety knit from JoAnn’s.  I’d originally wanted to do some sort of awesome costume from this, but buying 6 yards of it at full price was not in the cards.  By the next time I went to look for it, it was in the clearance aisle and there was only 1 ¼ yds left, which I promptly bought.  My original idea was to do a flowy tunic top, but there wasn’t enough fabric.  I got fixated on it as a top, until this weekend when I realized it would be very cool as a skirt too!  Though I thought it might look good as a long hippie skirt, I realized with the texture and print it was just a bit much.  So I just ended up doing a simple elastic waist using the full width of the fabric (50”) and got this! 

     Why I look so angry here, I have no idea.  I would probably style it a bit more casually, but the green in this shirt matched to well not to make an outfit.  And just like that, I’ve got my elastic waist skirt and a “random piece of stash” checked off my list!  Why didn’t I start doing goals earlier? 

    In other news, I also managed to score a free box of patterns off Freecycle, from a lady cleaning out her stash.  Check out the size of this box!   

From it I got about 12 or so usable patterns in my size (which is pretty good for the price), and the rest will be going to Goodwill for someone else to enjoy them after me!  I had to mention this after seeing Victoria’s blog post about what to do with old patterns.  Passing them on, even if they’re not particularly stylish, could make someone like me very happy!  Share the recycling/reusing love! 
Coming up soon, I’ve already busted out one of my new-to-me patterns from the thrift store to make the shorts to accompany the crazy Star Wars shirt. 

March 25, 2012

May The Force Be With You...

        This is how the story goes: I come home after a 12-hour day in lab, all hyped up about my new sewing goals.  Looking through my stash, I realize every single piece of cotton I own is all for craft stuff and therefore always just not quite big enough to make my KS 3302 shirt out of.  I remember that deep in my stash there’s these Star Wars sheets that I got for a quarter at a yard sale, with the intent of making a hoodie.  Somehow I convince myself that it could look okay.  I open the pattern and realized that it has been hacked up with the finesse of a 4-year-old.   I correct the damage as best I can, somehow justifying things like two different sizes in the armscye working out, as well as making none of my usual pattern alterations.  I check the sheet, which already had “hoodie” pieces cut out (this was well before I actually knew anything about sewing), and just barely manage to make the pieces fit.  I decided for some reason that it would be better to have a seam down center front than center back.  I cut the pieces, blissfully oblivious, and go to bed.

        The next morning, I wake up to the pieces, without enough sheet to recut anything.  I decide the world will not end if I make a weird shirt, and proceed with the assembly.  And here is the result.

Before you start laughing, let me state that this will obviously not be a worn-in-public shirt (though I’ll post it on the Internet?).  I like the neckline, and the sleeve shape.  If I’d made my normal length addition and FBA, that would relieve a lot of the problems.  I also need to take in the shoulders, and going back to the pattern I realize this is because the person who owned it before me cut a medium below the sleeve and a large above.  Maybe she had broad shoulders, but I don’t.   

          The verdict?  I think it will actually be a good starting point to a basic cotton shirt pattern after some tweaking.  I’ve got an awesome new pajama shirt, which will have matching shorts if there’s enough fabric left, just to complete the ridiculousness.  I hopefully made a few people with laugh with my crazy test garment, and I can check off one of my goals for this month.  Not too shabby, though the lesson here is not to cut while tired. 

March 20, 2012

Getting Back on Track

          So as I mentioned, for essentially the last month I had been working around the clock on a seminar I had to give for grad school.  This left no time for sewing, unfortunately.  Now that I’m back on my still crazy, but at least regular schedule, I need ways to stay on task and get things done.  I’ve got crazy half done UFO’s everywhere, and I want some results.  I’m going to try to get back to waking up early to sew, but whether or not that works, I decided I need some measurable goals.  Public humiliation if I don’t complete them is a pretty good motivator, and I’ve seen some other blogs that do monthly goals, so I’m  going to try that for a while.

There’s not much left of March, so these will be my March/April  goals:

  • Make up KS 3302.  I got this pattern at the thrift store for 10 cents and it’s just what I need right now: an easy project that will both give me a sense of accomplishment and fill a wardrobe gap. EXTRA CREDIT GOAL: If I like it the first time, I should make 2 more versions in different colors. I need solid color shirts pretty badly, so this would be a good chance to match some orphan bottoms. 

  • Finish McCall’s 5538.  Cutting fleece when it’s 80°F outside is not something I’m really looking forward to, but most of the pieces are cut out and I may still need it this year if it ever cools back down. 
  •   Finish one UFO and one refashioning project.  Not even going to mention how many of these I have sitting around.  Yikes.
  • Make 1 easy elastic waist skirt.  The recent hot spell has made me realize (yet again) how pathetic my hot weather wardrobe is, and seeing things like Shannon's Skirty Dozen makes me realize how quickly these could help close the wardrobe gap.
  • Use one piece of stash not already allocated for something.  I’ve been pretty good about getting rid of some pieces of fabric I know I’ll never use, but I’m still drowning in what seems like the most random pieces of fabric that are pretty, but I have not a clue what to use them for.   I might have to do a “What Can I Make With This?” post and solicit some input.
That seems like a good start.  Nothing too taxing, but definitely progress to be made.  Hopefully more regular posting will go along with this, and having multiple goals will allow me to indulge my project ADD while still making some sort of progress.  Just having them written down makes me excited to get started!  Hopefully I’ll have some results to show shortly!

March 16, 2012

Finding my colors

     So, we have these lovely things in Madison called Little Free Libraries.  They look like oversized birdhouses, and the idea is that you put a book in, take a book out.  I’m a big reader and love the idea of anything like this that encourages literacy, so I generally end up just putting books in and never taking any out.  But the other day, I spotted “Color Me Beautiful” and decided to pick it up on a whim.  I know that now it sort of seems like a joke, but when I looked through it, the colors they show for my season and the quiz they have you take on what you wear now were sort of eerily accurate.  So I’m going to try to take it into consideration, at least.  Not in a belligerent “thou shalt not wear colors outside your season” sort of way, but just try some of the colors that are supposed to be good that I don’t wear now and see what I think.  

          Has anyone else tried finding “your” colors, either when it was a big thing, or since?  Is there a whole contigent of ladies secretly hiding their Summer swatches when they go out to shop?  

          In real life news, on Thursday I gave a seminar I’d been writing for the last three weeks of the do-well-or-you're-kicked-out-of-the-program variety, and I feel like such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders!  So more sewing should be coming soon (because doing more than nothing should be easy…)  Hopefully everyone’s enjoying the spring weather, or in our case the freakishly hot weather.  Seriously, last year it was still snowing at this time, and now it’s 80°F?  Ah, well.  I do love the longer days after Daylight Savings Time kicks in.  Happy sewing!

March 1, 2012

"One lousy skirt?"...

…is what I thought when I looked at Blogger and saw how long it’s been since I posted.  All I have to show for it is one skirt?  But it’s a good one, that I have already worn out and about, so that’s a start, right?  Also, I have to cut myself a little slack.  I am slap-bang in the middle of one of my Ph.D. program requirements; one of the ones where if you fail, they can kick you out of the program.  Yeah. 

      So this little green skirt served several purposes for me.  One, it was something to practice sewing with corduroy before I tackle the corduroy jacket I have in the “To-Do Queue” (I’m too clever for my own good sometimes ;) ) Two, it cleaned out a random piece of stash that would be too small for anything else. Three, it gave a warm(er) winter skirt, as opposed to all the cute summery skirts I’ve made that have no place in Wisconsin in February.  It fulfilled all three tasks admirably.  What it did not do was photograph well.  Ah well, nothing’s perfect.
Trust me; even with the blurry arm this was the best of the bunch...
     It’s made from the basic Built By Wendy skirt pattern from the first book, with a total of two inches added to accommodate my gigantor hips (The day when I break down and buy a Sewaholic pattern is not far away…).  Of course, I forgot to add said inches to my facings, so we will not be seeing any pretty pictures of the inside this go-round because it looks a bit of a mess, to say the least.  I am pretty proud of my nearly-invisible zip in corduroy(which I apparently have no picture of); now I just have to hope it holds up.  

    This time, I'm not going to mention what I'm working on now, in hopes that it will work some magic reverse psychology and mean it gets finished quickly.  Hope everyone's getting excited for some spring sewing!