May 31, 2012

The “Clouds and Dreams” Cardigan

     Days like today are when I wish the internet was in Sensovision, because I wish all of you out there could feel this fabric.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is the softest, fluffiest, nicest sweater knit basically of all time.  I got it at an estate sale where I came on the third day and there was still an entire basement full.  The woman had clearly achieved SABLE several times over, but I can’t complain, as by the third day they made everything half off just to get it out of there.  So I got two yards of this gorgeous knit for $2.   Usually when I get a really awesome piece of fabric, I hoard it and am afraid to cut into it, but this time I don’t know what came over me; I cut out McCall’s 5978 right away.  Even though it’s a very thin  knit, it wasn’t slippery to cut, and since there are only 5 pieces, it went very quickly.

           This project also allowed me to conquer my fear of buttonholes, but not in the way I originally thought.  The last time I mentioned buttonholes, I was talking about using a vintage Singer buttonholer on one of my vintage machines.   But the buttonholes on this bad boy were done on my Viking Interlude 435.  What Viking, you ask?

        I am ashamed to mention this machine, as I got it for a song at a yard sale, almost peed my pants at my good luck (the woman said she sewed one set of curtains on it and realized she “wasn’t a sewing person.” !!)  Then it sat for almost a month before I got the gumption up to tackle it.  Which is horrible, but when I only have an hour of time, I didn’t want to spend most of it learning to do a new machine when my Brother could do it just fine.  Luckily, two things forced my hand – I was sick of shuffling around a cardigan that was completely done except for buttonholes, and I needed to use the adjustable presser foot pressure on the Viking to sew a knit that was puckering horribly on the Brother.  So I used my morning hour to figure out how to work the beast, and now we are perfectly happy together.   There are still moments of “Why are you blinking that on your display?!?” but for the most part, we’re on good terms.  I’m not quite ready to abandon the Brother altogether, but the way things are going, the Viking will eventually become my main machine.  Since I’ve been banned from bringing any more sewing machines into the house, my next task is going to be to get all of my machines tuned up in turn, and find any missing pieces, etc.  Eventually I’ll have an amazing arsenal of smoothly running machines, ready for any sewing task...... What was I talking about?  Oh yes, the buttonholes.  With a minimum of fiddling, I was able to make all the buttonholes I needed for the cardigan.  Which was important because I am in LOVE with the buttons I found.
 They're half domes with an awesome luster to them; it's not quite mother of pearl, but it's in the same family.  Unfortunately, even with interfacing, the buttonholes are still pretty flimsy, so I think this will end up being a set of functional-but-not-used buttonholes.  I'll just slip it on, leaving them all buttoned all the time.  There (as always) are a few tweaks to the pattern I plan to make on my next go round, and I'd like to use a slightly sturdier sweater knit, but I am absolutely thrilled with this one as is.  It's just perfect for rainy slightly cold days like today when it's not really cold per say, but there's a little bit of chill.  I always love this style of cardigan, but am too cheap to buy it at the preppy stores where they're sold (I'm looking at you, J. Crew!)  I forsee many more of these in the future, but they can probably wait until fall. 

If I can just keep chugging along like this, I'll be pretty happy with my sewing.  It'll be a while until I'm up to the sort of wardrobe I'd like, but I'm on the right track!  Hope everyone's weather is much less dreary than it is here today!

May 30, 2012

MMM #4

    So, yet again, I failed terribly at taking pictures for Me-Made-May.  The problem lies in finding a time where I’m not rushing to get around for work, and my photographer is not off playing RPG’s with our friends on the other side of town.   However, I realized that honestly from day to day I look pretty much the same, and as long as I know that I really did it, then recycling pictures from earlier days is not that big of a deal.   Also, I’m sure everyone is super bored of seeing these same few items, but there it is. 

Tuesday, May 22
 The new Renfrew! 

Thursday, May 24

The paisley KS 3338, worn for just a regular day at work.

Friday, May 25

The tie dye skirt got worn out to celebrate the graduation of one of our favorite undergrad workers, who had been there since the research lab was started.  

And with that, I think I'm tapping out of Me-Made-May.  It's been interesting to try to put things together, but the fact is that I just don't have enough to really do the challenge justice.  If it happens again in a year, maybe, but at this point not quite.  

It's been a very emotionally draining couple of weeks; at work I'm in the process of taking over a project from a colleague who is leaving, but who hasn't labelled anything properly, making every day a hunt for data.  I'm also training a new undergrad researcher, which is an interesting mix of trying to let him be independent while also making sure he doesn't catch anything on fire.  Things should settle more soon, and I do get a random day off next week, so here's hoping more sewing can happen! 

May 22, 2012

“Renfrew? What kind of a pattern name is that?”

   This week’s title is courtesy of the BF, who just really doesn’t get it sometimes.  He did, however, say nice things about the completed shirt, so I suppose I can forgive him. 

     So this garment might be a turnaround record for me.  I cut the fabric out on Saturday and had it completed Tuesday night.  When you consider that most days I literally have an absolute max of an hour of sewing time, that’s pretty dang good.  The fabric I used is literally one of the oldest in my stash.  I mean, I learned to sew pillowcases on one of the other colorways of this, that’s how old it is.  It was just waiting for the perfect project, and I think this was a really good use of it.  The dots are big enough not to be super cutesy, and it’s hard to tell, but the base color is actually more “winter white” than bright white, which I generally like better. (It is a pain to match thread to though!)

    It did well in the all day wear test, even surviving a small coffee spill on its first outing.  I especially love how long it is with the hem band on.  A couple things I’ll change on the next version, and yes, there will be a next one: 
  • I need to do a small FBA.  I was between sizes and went for the bigger one, so it’s not too bad, but a little extra room is needed.  I know there’s tutorials for this out on the interwebz.
  • Give myself a teensy bit more room in the sleeve.
  • Fix the neck band weirdness.  On this shirt, the neckband gaps at the back of my neck, which I think means it’s some sort of shoulder fitting issue, but I can’t remember which one.
I wanted this pic to show the neck weirdness, but the glare is in the way. :(
However, overall this pattern gets two thumbs way up!  It went together really easily, and I LOVE not having to try to do fiddly finishes for the neck, sleeves and hem.  A great one for making basics.
One thing that MMM has really done for me already is to really get me thinking about outfits.  As soon as I was done with this shirt, I found myself thinking, “Alright, so I can wear this with jeans or my brown skirt.  What do I do for shoes, and I need to get on making my brown corduroy jacket to wear with it.”  (Side note:  I have a complete lack of lab-appropriate, comfortable, semi dressy brown shoes. Argh.)  This really hasn’t happened to me before, but I like it.  For one thing, it keeps a constant stream of project ideas going, as having one part of an outfit does really makes me want to finish the coordinating pieces so I can see it all together.  Now, we’re not talking SWAP levels of coordination here or anything, but it’s a nice start.

So yay accomplishment! This'll be my first MMM outfit for this week, and as far as last week...we're just going to pretend that didn't happen, mmmkay?  I did actually wear me mades 2 times, but failed utterly on documentation. Back on the wagon for this week, and hopefully keeping the new garments coming! 

May 15, 2012

MMM Week #2

Alright guys, ready for some serious déjà vu?
Tuesday I rocked the paisley KS 3338 again.  And totally failed to get a picture
Thursday I wore the reconned sweater vest, since i had meetings with important people.

Saturday ended up being an unexpected day off, and I got to do my favorite weekend activity – yard sales!  For real, I long for the day when Saturday is no longer a workday almost entirely for this reason. Since it was also nice out, I got out the tie dye skirt again (I said I was going to wear it as often as possible!) 

However, this week should have at least a few new arrivals; the Renfrew needs a neckband re-do but is otherwise ready to go, and I have another project done up to the scary buttonholes!  Lots of mojo still, just a matter of squeezing it in to my small amounts of time.  One seam at a time...:)

May 9, 2012

MMM Week #1 Recap

So I couldn’t decide whether or not to count Week 1 as ending on Sunday, or go Tuesday to Tuesday for Me-Made-May, but either way I hit my goal of 3 times this week.  The first was the tie dye skirt I showed on Monday.

On Thursday, I wore this paisley KS 3338.  I realized while wearing it that I always say I hate orange, but I like this one, which is mostly orange.  Weird.
No, those giant wrinkles on my stomach are not usually there, but my photographer doesn't think to mention things like that. :p

For Dungeons and Dragons on Sunday, I busted out the Butterick 5682 pants, which are basically a fail but work well enough if I’m wearing a long skirt to cover the seriously craptastic front.   Honestly, these are probably going to the Goodwill pile come June 1st, but they work well enough for now.
Yes, that shirt has dinosaurs on it.

At this point, however, I realized that unless I’m going to wear that paisley shirt 3x a week, I’m gonna have to crank something out.  I was really productive with prep work this weekend, but nothing completed yet.  However, I am really excited about a package I got in the mail yesterday…
I couldn’t believe it when I looked on the back and all my measurements were under one size, not separated by three sizes or so.  This is probably going to jump towards the front of the queue, and I’ll be watching like a hawk for the Cambie pattern to come out as well.

End of the semester means I'm busy busy busy, but my mojo's kicking as well, so hopefully soon I'll have some finished garments to show!

May 2, 2012

March/April Recap and May Goals

I expected to be able to get back into sewing after my seminar, but I never expected I could be so productive!  I completed every goal I set for myself this month (and a half), with the exception of finishing a UFO.  Which only means I need to set more ambitious goals for May, right? I think I’ve done that, and we’ll see how these go. 
  • Obviously, stick to my goal for Me-Made-May: wear one handmade garment 3 times a week, blogged at least once a week.
  • Make a dress.  I love seeing all the dresses other bloggers make, and going into summer, this is the perfect time to make at least one dress.  My boss is the queen of throwing on a knit dress and being ready to go, so I know it can be done.  This is likely to be the maxi dress (eternally in the pattern alteration stage), or Simplicity 2145.
  • Make 3 tops.  I think I’m going to need this one just to make it through Me-Made-May.  I’ve got a couple of possible patterns, but no good fabric lined up for them yet.  I’d really like to make some nice woven blouses, but don’t know if I should just knock out some knit tops instead.  Leaving this one pretty open for now…
  • I’m going to leave one refashion and one UFO on here, because I’ve still got several of both sitting around.
That seems like plenty for what will be a busy month, what with the end of the semester and all. So this isn't completely a pictureless post, I'm including a shot of my container herb garden.  I have a record of killing plants, but we'll see how long I can keep this one alive.