January 30, 2013

My first GPOYW

I like the idea of these...especially since many of my FO pictures are taken at night or on a dressform.  This gives me a chance to show them in action!  It also doesn't hurt to have a reason to encourage me to wear me-mades on Wednesdays.

This is the Renfrew from the RP Collection, in action in the lab!  Yes, it is slightly crooked, because I snuck into lab before anyone else and just had my camera propped up on some shelves on the other side.

Also bonus pic:  the view from the  lab window today.  Yuck.  It's even worse out now. 

January 29, 2013

Good Thing I Wasn't Actually Destashing

Well...I technically joined the Destash-along on Craftster, but more to make better use of the fabric I already have, not to put a total moratorium on new fabric purchases.  Which is good because this came home with me on Sunday...

So auctions are one of my favorite kinds of secondhand shopping.  When I lived at home, I was at the weekly consignment auction every Tuesday night like clockwork, making a total of one high school girl with about 50 old farmers.  Luckily, they were all sweethearts and made sure I knew what I was bidding, and I got a great start.  Today, I have no problem following even the fastest auctioneer, have no problem hollering to get attention if they don't see me, and it's totally an adrenaline rush.  Unfortunately, I rarely get to go to one because of my work schedule, so when I clicked on the one  Sunday auction this month and saw this...

I knew it had to happen.  So I braved the freezing rain alone (the BF was playing in a Magic: The Gathering tournament that day) and went out to the auction.  They didn't get to the fabric until about 4 hours in, and by that time there was some fierce competition.  Luckily, there was so much stuff that I was able to snag a few groupings (they were selling groups of 3-6 bolts at a time).  At the end of the day, my total was 49.50, and I ended up with over 55 yards of fabric.  And I was the one that purchased the least!  Several women there had bills of about $200, so imagine how much fabric they took home!  All in all, a good day.

When I got it home, there were a few pieces that immediately told me what they wanted to be, and only one bolt that I'm fairly certain I will never use.  Some of my favorites....

This will be used for steampunk costumes, as I've got at least 6 yards of it. It's redder than in this picture, but it shows the design and slubbiness at least.

This is going to become a crazy wrap dress, that will be gaudy as all get out and I will love it.  I'm pretty sure it's a border print all the way, which will be fun to play with.

This is the one bolt that I really haven't got a clue what I'm going to do with.  BF says pillowcases.  I said only if he's sewing them!

Now, to get to sewing all this up before I'm drowning in fabric.  Wish me luck!

January 24, 2013

The Garden at Night Cardigan

     First of all, I love giving my garments ridiculously pretentious names, as if I'm naming a whole SWAP or something.
 Sorry the pictures are so dark, but there's no natural light left by the time I get home in winter!
     Second, this is my second time making McCall's 5978, a very basic cardigan pattern that I'm pretty sure is now OOP.  The first time was this equally pretentiously named cardigan. :) The only change I made to the pattern this time around was stolen from Molly's version:using a band along the front and neck edge instead of the facings and buttons.  This knit was definitely not strong enough to support buttons, even with interfacing, and I really hated the facings on the last one anyway. Of course, my piece of fabric was just barely not long enough so I had to piece one end of the band, but the busy print hides it pretty well.  I ended up doing the construction in a different order than the instructions, mostly by mistake.  Because I'd just sewn a bunch of Renfrews, I put one of the sleeves in flat before I realized they wanted you to do it after sewing the sleeve seam.  Since I sure was not going to rip it out just to do it in a different order, I put them both in flat, and it worked out fine.
A horrible picture of me, but a better picture of the cardigan
     The fabric for this was from the red tag section of JoAnn's, and I love the design on it.  It's floral without screaming old lady, and in my favorite colors.  For something like $2 a yard, I couldn't pass it up, and I knew right away that I wanted to make this cardigan out of it.
 This makes a great layering piece for work, and has already gotten worn a few times, before I had to break out the really really warm sweaters to put thermals under.  I've got some knit that matches the lighter teal flowers, and am planning to make some sort of matching piece, as the tanktop I was wearing in these pictures is some crappy Old Navy one that I've had since about high school and is now just barely wearable.

Overall, I think this will be a solid addition to my wardrobe. It's a classic shape but in a funky enough print to really reflect my style.  Not a bad start to 2013.  Up next, I am actually sort of on track to complete my goals for January; I dug out some old sheets to make my Thurlow muslin, and have got the grey skirt pieces cut out, but am still deciding on embellishments, which I think will make or break this one.  Things are grooving at work, and the most exciting thing at home for me is the start up of a new Scion game on Saturday.  All these things should lead to lots of happy sewing time.  Here's hoping!

January 23, 2013

A Five Minute Recon

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my first love craftwise was actually reconstructing clothes, not sewing from patterns.  I actually remember getting on Craftster and thinking, "Who would ever want to sew from flat fabric? That would be so boring!"  Obviously, I have since seen the error of my ways, but every once in a while I feel the need to recon something.

This particular recon was one of necessity.  In keeping with constantly trying to pare my wardrobe down to only things that fit and flatter, I was working on purging some things.  One of the reasons I constantly have so many clothes to purge is that my mom and grandma are hard-core yard salers (I would be too if I didn't work on Saturdays) and every time they visit, they bring at least a bag or two of things they've picked up for me.  This shirt was in one of the last bags they brought me, and I knew I wouldn't wear it as is.  It was time for this garment to step up or step aside.  Luckily, when working with yard sale clothes, I'm pretty fearless about attempting recons, as I know no one paid more than a dollar for the thing in the first place. :)

I love the colors, as I'm a sucker for anything rainbow, and the neckline worked pretty well on me.  However, the giant bow-thing had to go, and I couldn't deal with the elastic in the bottom. Luckily the bow was just tacked on and not sewn into any seams, and I had enough extra length at the bottom to just chop off the elastic and hem it with a twin needle.

Et voila! A wearable shirt that will actually make it into the rotation and not just waste space in the closet!  I promise that I repressed this hem after I saw the picture, it is not actually that bubbly. I'm not 100% in love with the cap sleeves, but I've got plenty of jackets I can wear with it, so that's not a problem. (I'll also know not to wear a sports bra with it so you can't see the seam lines!)

Anyway, I think it took longer to write the post than it did to do the actual work, so I'll stop now.  But moments like these are yet another reminder why I'm glad I can sew.

January 12, 2013


No, this is not sewing-related at all, but as of today, I am a dissertator and an official Ph.D. candidate.  Which means the only thing left standing between me and my doctorate is a couple years of labwork and a thesis.  (As compared to this last year, which was filled with stressful qualifying presentations and papers.) This means much more sewing time for me after I finish my first publication, which is due to the journal on Tuesday!  Back to work, but I've got a couple projects ready to post as soon as I get the time!

January 6, 2013


I don't know if I've ever been so excited about a piece of furniture.  As with every new year, I got a wild hair to organize my apartment.  Of course, the messiest part of this involves my sewing area.  I can keep the actual table cleanish, but there's a large space between the table and a bookcase next
 to it that looked like this:

As you can see, it just became a landing pad for anything that I didn't have room for, and just looked so messy no matter what I did.  With Christmas money, I bought myself a new shelf (Closetmaid Cubicals is the brand) and went to town.  It was actually really easy to assemble, and I planned to get it all set up, then really go through all my supplies and get them properly sorted.  Of course, as soon as I did this and dragged everything out, we got a notice that they were showing our apartment the next day!  So some stuff is not terribly organized in the cubes themselves, but I think it still looks a hundred times better.

 Of course, one of the cats instantly decided this was a perch for her, so the pile of fabric on top has since been relocated, to keep it from becoming completely matted with fur.  While I was doing this reorganization stuff, I cleaned off my actual table and finally took my good old Brother machine to the storage unit, which means the training wheels are off, and I have to learn how to use the Viking or not sew at all. I also managed to get all my "in play" fabric put back into the drawers under my table.

 My goal for the year is to get my fabric and pattern stash down to where all of it fits in these drawers and the cubes.  Currently the patterns are in another cabinet with the BF's Dungeons and Dragons miniatures, and there's another large Rubbermaid container of fabric and old clothes in the storage unit that needs to either be used or given away. I think at this point I've maximized my storage capacity in the space I have, and since we're planning on staying in this apartment until I finish my doctorate, I need to condense my stash to fit easily into it.  I'm not 100% satisfied with the setup yet, so I imagine I'll keep tweaking it as time goes on, but our hallway looks so much neater now! 

I have actually been getting some sewing done, and already have a couple of blog posts in progress, so hopefully I can keep posting about once a week or so. 

P.S. I know the title is kind of goofy, but I started writing this post while at work after a 13-hour day in lab on Saturday.  I've been a little sleep-deprived and I thought it was the funniest thing ever at the time. So I kept it.

January 1, 2013

Trading Up and January Goals

   Hi guys!  So normally I'm not a New Year's resolution person at all, but the last few days something's been swirling around in my mind that I wanted to share.  It's not a resolution, so much as....a theme, maybe?  A motto to keep in mind?  Whatever you call it, my goal for the new year is to think about the long game.  Trading in short-term rewards for long-term ones.  In my head, this has morphed into "trading up."  I realized that my strategy pretty much encompasses most common New Year's goals all in one.  Is the short term happiness of an extra cookie worth the extra pounds later?  Sure, working an extra hour sucks now, but it'll keep my boss off my back later.  Does the thrill of buying something new outweigh the thrill of seeing my student loans get paid off?  It's just something I'm going to try to keep in mind in the coming year.  How it pertains to sewing is finishing and quality.  Because I have so little time, I've been very much a slap-something-together kind of seamstress, and that needs to change. Even when I do love what I've made, it won't last very long anyway.  If the long term goal is to make a new wardrobe, I need garments that will last. 

     With that in mind, as well as knowing that during the course of this month I have to do an oral research proposal defense as well as submit a paper for publication, I'm going light on the goals for January.

1. Finish floral cardigan that I have cut out.
2. Make a muslin of the Thurlow pants.
3.  Do something with grey sweatshirt fabric - I have this vision of a Beignet-style skirt with black buttons.  But it's sweatshirt fabric.  So we'll see how that goes.

I'm not anticipating a ton of action in the sewing room coming up; however, I am going to try to post more in between completed projects.  I have an organization one coming up next week some time, and we'll see what else I come up with.  I know it's super cheesy, but I always feel so lifted by the fresh start of a new year.  Here's to 2013!