Sunday, June 28, 2015

Shorts on the Line 2015

I had all sorts of plans for Imaginegnats Shorts on the Line this month.  The first one being that I was actually going to participate.  I need new shorts so it seemed like a perfect idea to sew them all during the month of June.   I was going to try out a few different patterns I have - Winter Wear's Real Deal Jeans, a short version of Closet Case Files' Ginger, the Purl Bee's City Gym Shorts.  Oh the ideas I had...

What ended up reality is that today, a mere two days before the end of the month, I finished up my first (and likely to be only) pair of shorts for Shorts on the Line 2015.  And it's not even a new pattern.  Or even a new twist on a pattern.  I made another denim pair of Filles A Maman Clemence Shorts.  Ok.  There is a slight difference.  I used gold jeans topstitching thread and did the rectangular front flap detail instead of blue topstitching and a scallop.  Ooooh Boy! I know!  I'm livin' on the edge!

They went together well this time, since I wasn't trying to confuse the heck out of myself on the lapped zipper.  I also went ahead and immediately did an elastic reinforcement of the back waistband.    I even added jeans buttons on the flap just for kicks (and only broke one in the process of hammering them in!) What didn't go well was that I somehow broke more than six needles - I stopped counting -in top stitching and finishing the damn things.  WHY?!?!?!  It's not as though I was using "The Goodtime Gal" Singer (sometimes also known as the #@*%$ Singer).  I was using my new to me 40-something year old work horse Pfaff that can normally sew through about six layers of denim like butter.  So, so frustrating.  I likely should have just stopped and given up, but you know.  Shorts on the Line only goes until June 30th.  I had a deadline.  (and I'm just crazy like that)

Anyways, so at least I got one teeny tiny goal accomplished - well two I guess if you count the fact I actually participated and finished one pair of shorts.  I've been pretty much living in my first pair of Clemence since I added the stabilizing elastic to the waistband, so it'll be nice to have a second pair of go to shorts in my wardrobe.  I'd say that I'd make the other shorts I had planned to do soon, but I don't know if it'll actually happen without the motivation of the sew along.  I've got so many other projects to do that they may just slip on by into the wayside for the time being.  I've got to get cracking on a bunch of sewing and alterations to do for G on her highland dance costumes before she heads east to ScotDance Canada Championship Series and Canadian Championships in a little over a week and then of course there's my Outfit Along cardi and dress to do as well as a test sew I'm working on.  In between all that of course there's things like gardening, yard work and well, the rest of life to get done.  Busy, busy times.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Still Lovin' My Dress

Actually, I think I may love my second version of my Love Your Dress Modcloth knock off more than my first one!  I made the first one when the Scientific Seamstress Lab Group on Facebook hosted the "Just for Me January" challenge this winter.  The fourth week was called "Knock it Off" and we were to create a knock off outfit at least partially using a Sis Boom/Scientific Seamstress pattern.

I really fell in love with the Modcloth dress, but really could never have justified the price for basically a t-shirt dress.  Especially when you factor in the exchange and shipping. So I mashed up a Simplicity pattern that I'd used for a prior Modcloth knock off dress a few years ago and Sis Boom's Jamie dress.  I adore my "Love My Dress" - it's one of those comfy like pj outfits that I can throw on and feel great in.

Shortly after making my dress I started coveting the cherry blossom cotton jersey on the Girl Charlee site.  I kept envisioning it as a perfect fabric for another Love My Dress and finally a few weeks ago I succumbed to it's siren call and ordered a couple of yards.  I fixed up the few fit issues I had with my first one, tweaking the back neckline, the armscye and the waistband and I LA LA LOVE the result!

I also am pretty tickled with the wavy orange plaid I chose for the neckline facing, armhole bias and hem facing  Ok. I didn't actually have a hem facing in mind when I bought the cotton but apparently cutting a rectangle is beyond my capabilities for some reason and I ended up cutting one side of my skirt a whole freaking 1 3/4" shorter than the other.  Once I evened it out the length was exactly the way I wanted it, with no room for a hem.  Granted I could have left the hem raw given it's a knit, but, GAH, raw edges! YIKES!!!!! I can't handle a raw edge.  They make me a bit crazy.  So, hem facing it is.  With an added bonus it gives a wee bit of weight to the skirt and maybe the next time a gust of wind comes out of nowhere while I'm buckling Baby Boy into his seat in the truck I won't flash the entire town.  (apologies to whoever had to witness that unfortunate wardrobe malfunction last week...)

I'm squeaking this one in just under the wire for a final entry into the Dress Up Party that Sara is hosting over at Sew Sweetness.  I had hoped to get a few more entries in, but as per usual the minute I decide to take part in any sort of sew along or challenge like this I suddenly have no time to actually sew.  (Hello, Kids Clothing Week Challenge. I'm looking at you!).  I did get four entries in between my Jenny Dress, my Gathered Raglan Tee, my Clemence Shorts (which by the way I fixed and they fit like a dream now! Whoot!!!) and now my Love my Dress.  So I think I did pretty well after all.

Next up is finishing up work on a test sew, then charging full steam ahead into the Outfit Along, which I'm really lagging behind in this year having barely made a dent in my knitting and a just finally deciding on a dress.  First things first though, I've got a billion little things to get done before the weekend for Little Man's school friend birthday party.

If you don't hear from me for a while, maybe send someone out to check on me.  I might be buried under paste and newspaper trying to finish up a piƱata for the party.  I've never made one before and I think I now know why...

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Plum Blossom Tee

Well, it only took me one year and two Tops, Tanks and Tees Knit Alongs to do it, but I'm finally finished my linen Plum Blossom Tee!

I'm absolutely thrilled with how this turned out and so very glad I didn't give up and rip it all out like I briefly thought I should do figuring I'd never finish, it wouldn't fit anyways and I'd be wasting my time.  I LOVE this top!

I had started with great gusto last year during the Very Shannon Kal, but quickly lost steam when I realized I'd made a terrible mistake in gauge. (Oh gauge.  How many times you vex me.)  I don't know how or why it happened, but I had got about 10 inches or so in when I realized my error.  My top was huge (like fit two of me in it huge) and upon careful investigation of gauge swatch, which at that point I thought was bang on, and the pattern I noticed I had only seen the gauge listed for one needle instead of both and had smartly achieved the larger needle's gauge on the smaller needles.  What is it about following simple directions that gives me such trouble???

The gauge issue had also come on the heels of a yarn winding mishap that led to a four hour linen rat's nest untangling marathon.  Linen is a slippery little devil to contend with.  It doesn't like to be wound on a ball winder, oh no, it prefers special treatment and likes to be wound by hand.  For me, who can tangle a skein of yarn just by looking at it, the fact I was using Euroflax Linen at all was some sort of miracle.  In the end a well worth it miracle, but at the time I wasn't as enthusiastic, that's for sure.  Euroflax Linen really is a gorgeous yarn to work with (once it's wound that is!). It was a bit hard on my hands at times, but the fabric it creates is wonderful!

Between the wasted knitting time spent untangling and the gauge disaster requiring me to restart, I was about ready to throw in the towel on the project.  However, Plum Blossom had been in my queue for quite some time and I had the yarn and since I knew what I was doing I figured I might as well try, try again.  The fabric was definitely looking better at the right gauge and my short rows had vastly improved, but I was frustrated though for being so behind in the KAL and in the end I gave up around November, having not worked on the top in ages and threw it in the back of the closet in my knitting bag and ignored it.  Come spring I thought I'd try again to see if I could get some motivation going, but I'd knit a row or two here or there and give it up again feeling like no matter how much I knit the darn thing didn't get any longer.  2 3/4mm needles and sport weight yarn will do that to a girl used to knitting sweaters and tops in worsted weight.

Then Shannon announced the TTTKAL and I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, pulled out my top, found some determination and got going again.  I was going to finish it this time round come hell or high water.  And oh my goodness there was a lot of hell going on once I got to the lace.  Nothing to do with the pattern, I assure you.  It was all on me.  I couldn't keep straight what row I was doing, or what stitch I was on for love or money.  It was knit three rows, rip two back, knit a row, rip it back halfway.  On and on.  But I plugged away at it and finally finished the front lace yoke.  Thank goodness I had knit the top in the round up to the armholes, because if I'd had to start an entire back of the top at that point I really would have given up.  With the lace done I was able to try it on and really get a good idea of fit and how I liked it.  Motivation sky rocketed.  I immediately dove into doing the back.  Then had to rip it out.  Then started again.  GAH!!!! But I finished the lace on the weekend, tried it on again and set to work doing the applied i-cord edging.  The neckline went beautifully.  Can't say the same for the first armhole edging.  It was a Goldilocks moment getting that sucker to fit.  The first time was too small.  The second time too big.  Third time was the charm though and was just right!  Phew.

What a crazy ordeal for one little summer tee, but so well worth it and I am so happy I persevered!  I wanted to get some photos quickly today before it starts to rain again so I ran outside with my camera and tromped around the yard until I got a couple shots with the timer that I thought were decent enough.  I will just say it's not easy getting photos of oneself.  I had the camera precariously perched on the slanted roof of the shed behind the barn at one point as I twitched and flailed about smacking mosquitoes while waiting for the timer to go off.  I'm pretty sure my neighbours, who are out planting their garden right now, wonder what on earth crazy and possibly evil antics I am up to, given the odd looks they were shooting at me from across the field.  I'm sure it was a sight to behold.  Ha ha!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Me Made May 2015 - Week Four

Well, it's June 1st which means Me Made May is done and over for another year.  I'm sure that those who follow my Instagram, unless they're Me Made May-ers as well, will be happy to not be subjected to a daily, "Hey, look what I'm wearing today" picture from me.  It's been a fun month though, and I've really enjoyed the challenge.  It's definitely shown me areas that I can work on improving in my wardrobe and really shown me the go to pieces that I've made that I truly love and feel great in.

How did my final week (plus two extra days) go?  Well here's the run down.  I started out figuring I'd go out with a bang and not do any repeats all week long.  I'm pretty sure that lasted until day two of the week.  The weather continued to be at odds - some days sunny and hot, some days really cold.  We even had frost warnings for heaven's sake (but thankfully no more snow! Phew!!!!!)

May 23rd -  I chose my short sleeved, blouse length Patricia tunic top on Saturday as we were headed out to supper and I wanted to be dressed nicely, but comfortably.  I like everything about this version of the Patricia.  Too bad my recent one didn't work out.  (I'm still feeling a bit bitter about last week's sewing fiasco)

May 24th - the sun was shining so I decided to pull out my Washi Tunic that I made a couple of summers ago.  I like the ease and comfort of the shirring along the back and have been thinking it may be time to make another version of this.  


May 25th - Ok.  So I made it until day three of the week before I reached for a repeat.  This is, of course, my Hetty cardi and my "Love My Dress" that I made as a knock off of Modcloth's Love Your Dress for the Scientific Seamstress Just for Me January challenge.

May 26th - This is another Modcloth knock off that I made a couple of summers ago.  I used the same Simplicity pattern bodice for both this and my Love my Dress.  This one has become a smidge tight on me (ahem... too many snacks!) though and felt a bit like a corset.  I'm not sure how much wear it's going to get this summer, which is too bad because other than the corset-y feeling of the bodice, I really loved this polka dot dress.  I've paired it with my Miette cardi, that was my first ever Andi Satterlund pattern that I made.  Sadly, it is also a bit snug.  Sigh...

 May 27th - Hello, again my good friend, Onyx!  I really, really could live in this top.  (I'm actually wearing my Diana Ross version today!).  I've started thinking I need to make another one soon!  You've seen this photo already in my last post, because this was the day I finished my Clemence Shorts.  You remember?  The ones that are too big... sob...  I still haven't decided what to do with them yet.

May 28th - I had a busy day planned of getting things done around the yard and house so didn't put a whole lot of thought into what I was going to wear, but I did grab my new Gathered Raglan tee that I made a week and a half ago.  As much as I was feeling sort of meh about this top when I finished it, it has grown on me and I like it more and more.  I do not like that I have to always iron the sleeve hems though when I pull it out of the drier, because they flip out every single time.  

May 29th - It was another chilly day again.  The sort that you curl up in your favourite sweater and drink cup after cup of tea in hopes that you'll thaw out eventually.  In my case that meant my Laura Aylor Beach in the Winter and Earl Grey Tea.

May 30th - It was still cool out, but nowhere like the day before and at least the sun was shining!  I decided on my Sew Liberated School House Tunic.

May 31st - After puttering about in the garden and yard most of the day, I washed the mud off of me, changed out of my tortolla tank and shorts, and put on my comfy like pjs cotton lawn Jamie dress that I made ages ago!  This dress sees so much wear every summer that it's starting to show that use.  I think it might be time to make a new one for kicking about it!  Little Man was insistent that he take the photo for me and wanted to play around with the different filters on my phone.  I like what he chose for this one.

So that's it for my first ever Me Made May.  I am really happy that I did better than I really had expected.  I was sure at some point I would take the lazy way out and say, "Oh look here, I'm using my handmade bag or wallet" but I really felt that wouldn't be much of a challenge given that I don't actually own a store bought bag or wallet. I was glad that I put more effort in than that.  How about you?  Did you do a Me Made May challenge for yourself?  How did it go?  Do you plan to participate again next year?