February 24, 2013

Photographic Evidence

The proof!

All cut out and ready to sew!  (So glad to find a use for that 80's-tastic watch fabric)  We'll see how big of a dent I can make tonight.  :)

February 20, 2013

A Little Green Monster...

...is living on my back right now.  Somehow, when I was thinking about how much awesome sewing I would get done in February, I completely neglected the fact that grad student recruiting is this month; therefore, my weekends are trashed (even my precious Sunday) and the weeks are spent working late in lab to make up for the lost weekends.

I feel bursting to the brim with ideas, and have no energy to make them.  It is KILLING me.  I've had "cut just one piece of Thurlow muslin" on my to-do list every day for since the beginning of February, and nada.  Getting to read my blogroll on my lunch break is usually a time of joy for me, but right now it just hurts my poor heart to see all the fabulous things that everyone else is turning out.  Recently, on Craftster, I used the phrase, "I can't not craft" and I truly believe that.  Crafting in some form or another has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember.  The craft has changed, but the need to create hasn't.

So I hereby declare, before God and the Internetz, that I WILL CUT THE THURLOW MUSLIN TONIGHT!  If I have to break my "no coffee after 7 p.m." rule, so be it.  The planned workout is going out the door, and for the sake of my sanity, this must happen.  We are able to leave the cats supervised together now, so I can at least close the bedroom door and cut on the bed instead of the floor.  I know if I can just get rolling, I'm good at doing the 20 minutes here or there to make progress.  So internet friends, I need a kick in the pants.  If there are not pictures of at least flat Thurlow muslin pieces on this blog within the next few days (because let's be honest, it takes longer for me to remember to take pictures than it does to do anything else), I give you full permission to harass me. I'll leave you with a thought...

How does this work when you're the one in your own way? :) 

February 12, 2013

Held Back By Cutting

I must confess, after I saw Elizabeth's post about cutting, I had a moment of, "I'm not alone!"  Cutting has never been my favorite step of the process, but lately it has crept out of the realm of "necessary evil" to "just not gonna do it."  Part of it is situational.  For the last 6 weeks or so, we have had to keep our two cats separated, as one of them had a very traumatic accident that resulted in her having half her tail amputated, and we aren't taking any risks with the (larger, rowdier) cat accidentally reopening the wound by roughhousing.  However, in a one-bedroom apartment, this means I have no room in which there is not a cat.  This means my cutting choices are:

1.  Try to cut with a cat around.  This is nigh impossible, as both of them will jump straight into the middle of any fabric as soon as it's laid out.

2.  Cut on the concrete floor of the storage unit behind our apartment.  While this is the most viable option, I just can't take the hard floor for very long, and no heating means that I really hate it right now.

3.  Sneak into work on Sunday to use big tables in conference rooms.  This one keeps occurring to me, but will most likely never happen.  I'm less worried about someone seeing me than I am not having access to an iron during the process or driving all the way there, only to forget something important.

I would love to come up with a solution that doesn't involve spending money, but at this point I think my best bet is to buy one of these folding tables from JoAnn's.

I've got some gift cards for there left over from Christmas, and I feel like if it keeps me from completely dreading one part of the process, then it's worth it.  The reviews are either "it's total crap" or "it's wobbly but useable."  At this point, I'm willing to take the gamble, as otherwise I may never be able to get any sort of momentum going if cutting every project is like pulling teeth.  I'm aware there are other sturdier tables around, but they all appear to be far out of my price range.  If I still had access to my dad's garage, I would probably attempt some sort of DIY hack first, but at this point, it's not an option. This would be able to stay in the storage unit and not require any help to put up and take down (crucial for those nights when I get home and want to make the most of my 1-2 hours of time before I'm falling asleep but the BF's playing WoW and can't help), and would save my back and knees. 

Any words of wisdom for those of us in small spaces?  All of this just makes me LONG for the day when I can get a house.  I am so not an apartment kind of girl.  I guess if my productivity rockets up in the next week or so, you all will know that I bit the bullet and the table works. Or that I quit my Ph.D. program and have decided to pursue life as a seamstress.  Probably the table, though. ;)

February 6, 2013

The Lucky Shopping Manual

So no GPOYW today because we have a fancy dinner tonight with one of the most important chemists in my field, and I don't sew fancy clothes as a rule because I only use them once in a blue moon.  Instead, I thought I'd talk about one of my favorite wardrobe-related books, which I promise is sewing-related, in its own way.

I don’t know where I originally picked this book up, but what I do know is that it got purged in one of my many moves during college, and I regretted giving it up.  Luckily I found a different copy at Half Price Books last year, and fell in love all over again.  This time around, I realized that it is perfectly suited to guide sewing wardrobe decisions in place of shopping wardrobe decisions.  

The whole point of the book is to give you tools to build a complete wardrobe.  The book is split up by garment type, and at the end of each section has a “you’re completely covered if you have…” with a list of the classic basics for each type.  Granted, they assume a bit more glamorous lifestyle than I will ever live, but the bones are good. I also LOVE that they don't give brands or prices; they truly want them to be example pieces to expand on.

This book is so useful to me because I am not the sort of person that will ever have the mental endurance to do a SWAP.  I generally only sew whatever is intriguing me at the moment, partially because I often have so little sewing time that I refuse to waste it on things I'm not loving.  But at pretty much any point in my sewing adventure here, I can check back with this book and instantly spot some holes in my wardrobe that could be filled.  It's like one giant SWAP all organized for me!  But one that I can do at my own pace, with no pressure.  There are also some style and fit tips, which are not as useful for sewing, but nice to have nonetheless.  Does anyone else have or use this book?

In other news, sewing is going slower than I'd like, as usual.  Last weekend was spent mostly cleaning up and serging all the loose pieces (i.e. not on bolts) of fabric that I got from the auction so that they can be prewashed.  The amount in that box makes me boost my estimate of total fabric from that auction closer to 75 yards, which would mean I paid an average of 66 cents per yard.  Looking at all of it, I almost want to make some crazy declaration about not buying anymore fabric this year, but I know if I do that I will only think about all the fabric I can't have.  I'm trying to save money this month anyway, so hopefully no crazy fabric shopping will occur. I am trying to put all the pieces that have spoken to me into the "To-Do Queue" and then any time I get the itch to start a new project I can look there and have plenty of projects where at least the main fabric will be from stash.  If only I could borrow a few days of free time off of someone, I'd be completely set.  :)  Well, I'll just keep trucking and see if I can get anything meaningful done this weekend!  Happy Wednesday everyone!

February 4, 2013

Liebster Award!

So Seraphinalina oh-so-kindly awarded me the Liebster blog award the other day, which is for little blogs with <200 followers (holding strong at 8 right now, so I definitely qualify.)

Not gonna lie, I was pretty pumped about this.  It's like I'm a real member of the sewing blog community now.  Or something.

Anyway, onto the requirements!  First, eleven facts about me:

1.  I played in the athletic bands (marching and basketball) in college and many of my fondest memories are from those performances and the people involved.

2.  I absolutely HATE being late to anything, and would always rather show up ridiculously early  than be a minute late.

3.  I only started wearing makeup last year, at age 24.  Bit of a late bloomer there, but I'm having lots of fun with it now!

4.  I am an avid reader, and most of my favorites fall into the fantasy category.  However, I appreciate any book that has an interesting universe or setting; it's almost more important than the characters to me.

5. I love lists, and absolutely cannot survive without my hard copy (aka not electronic) planner.  I will keep doing that until they pry my notebook from my cold, dead hands.

6.  I  LOVE trivia. Scholastic Bowl in high school was my absolute favorite thing ever. If there was any way I could make a living doing something like that, I would do it without a second thought.

7.  My biggest pet peeve (with people, anyway) is arrogance. To my mind, there is nothing that anyone can do that makes them intrinsically better than anyone else.

8. I have always required a lot of sleep.  Even in college, I was never a night owl because I get super cranky when I'm tired.

9.  My nickname for years in school was “Fishsticks” which I decided to spell "Fishstix" because then it was cooler, and then it became my screen name for everything.

10.   Before I found sewing, I burned through a ton of different hobbies. I could never stay with one thing long enough to learn to do it really well because something else would draw my interest away.

11.  I am not one of those people that agonizes about haircuts.  I'll randomly see something that makes me want to get it cut, then go do it that day.  If it looks bad, it'll grow back.  Whatevs.
Now, to Seraphinalina's questions:

1.  Where is the farthest you have travelled? My junior year of college, I studied in Galway, Ireland for a semester.  Before that, I had never even been on a plane.  Scary stuff, but it turned out to be one of my best life experiences so far.

2. Do you seek out salty or sweet foods? Sweets, all the way.  I have a horrible sweet tooth, which I come by honestly, as my mom is the same way.  I appreciate salty snacks as well, but if I could only have one, it has to be sweet.

3.  What is your favourite movie? My favorite movie isn't exactly a movie - it was a made-for-TV miniseries in the early 2000s called The Tenth Kingdom.  I literally wore the VHS tape out on my first copy.

4. Tell us about a time in your life where there was a shift - in attitude, work, home, relationships, - something that changed going forward.  When I was in school, I was terribly terribly shy.  I had a very small group of friends who I still keep in touch with today, but otherwise, there were some kids at my school that never heard me talk unless it was to answer questions in class.  Then, when I was a sophomore in high school, I was drafted up to the varsity volleyball team, where everyone was at least a year older than me.  Because I was forced out of my shell, I finally started to open up and lose a bit of the shyness, though that process wasn't complete until sometime in college.  But looking back, I can point to that season and say that it was the turning point for me.  And now, you can't get me to shut up!  ;)

5. What is it about fabric that catches your eye? Like many other sewists, I'm drawn to bright colors and loud prints all the way.  Luckily, I enjoy dressing that way too, so usually I don't pick out anything I absolutely won't wear.

6.  What is your favourite season?  Gonna have to go with spring on this one.  I hate cold weather, and plan on moving somewhere warmer as soon as I graduate, so spring is always so exciting because I know it means the end of winter.  Plus flowers, rain, etc.  But mostly that winter is over.

7. What sewing gadget could you not live without?  I'm not sure if it really counts as a "gadget", but my serger.  I am the laziest seam finisher ever, so 99% of my seams are serged to finish them.  The only exception is if there's a particular reason not to.

8. What is your favourite thing in your closet?  Currently, I'd have to go with the tie-dye skirt I made during the summer.  I've been trying to find a winter way to wear it, but unfortunately I don't have any boots that are comfortable enough to be on my feet for 12 hours in, so it hasn't happened yet.  

Finally, the nominations! Except that every single blog I thought might qualify on my reader had already been awarded this.   So I'm totally taking the cop-out route here: anyone who is reading this, qualifies, and hasn't had it yet is nominated!  The only caveat is that you have to come out of lurkerdom and say hi!  If anyone chooses to do this, I'll come up with my questions at that point.

Thank you again Seraphinalina, and I hope everyone enjoyed learning random stuff about me.  I know I like these types of things because they give you a perspective on the person outside of sewing.  Speaking of sewing, the grey skirt is being put on indefinite hold until I can figure out a way to fix it that hopefully doesn't involve seam ripping every single seam I've put in so far.  Theoretically the next thing is the Thurlow muslin, but I always procrastinate at the cutting stage because it's such a hassle at my house.  Hopefully I can get my butt in gear!

February 1, 2013

January Wrap-Up and February Goals

In keeping with my year-long goal to keep up with monthly lists, it's time to assess my January goals and set new ones for February!

First, the January goals:
1. Finish floral cardigan that I have cut out - COMPLETED.  This one really needed to happen, as I had it all cut out over Christmas, and it's a really easy sew.  It's done, and I really like it.  Full info here.
2. Make a muslin of the Thurlow pants. - STARTED. The progress made here was to locate the sheets I wanted to use for the muslin and cut the pattern out.  Which is better than nothing, I suppose.
3.  Do something with grey sweatshirt fabric. - DARN CLOSE.  The skirt I'm making from this is actually completely assembled, but with some serious fitting issues.  There will be some dart insertion on the fly going on, I'm pretty sure.  But it should be done soon, which is the important bit.

For this month, in which I should have substantially more free time:
1. Thurlows.  Make some progress.  For realsies.
2.  Make a wearable muslin of the Vogue 8379 dress out of black knit and make any needed pattern adjustments for the next version

I actually think those two will be sufficient, because if I get the Thurlow muslin done, I can move on to the two pairs I currently have fabric for, and if I get the dress done, I also have fabric for two more versions.  As you can tell, I'm really embracing the concept of a TNT pattern here.  I'm coming to realize that pattern manipulation is really not my favorite part of sewing, so if I can get something to fit and flatter, I'm going to make it in a bunch of different colors.  Maybe one day I'll have enough "good" clothes where I can enjoy drafting and working with lots of new patterns, but that day is not today. 

All in all, kind of a slow start, but I also had a research proposal defense and a journal publication to finish in January, so February should be a little more open timewise.  A parting picture of what happens if I try to cut fabric in my actual apartment (as opposed to on the floor of the storage unit, which is what I usually do):