It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, wait, it is a bird.

Fun fact I learned on the honeymoon: apparently, the hummingbird is the national bird of Jamaica!

Another fun fact we learned: marijuana is not actually legal there. But we saw some growing in an herb garden there by the place we went bamboo rafting anyway. No, really. There was a sign and everything. But I won’t post the picture that D took, because I don’t really want to post pics of drugs on here, you know?

A third fun fact I just looked up on Wikipedia is that the plant used for hemp, while part of the same species of plant, is not actually marijuana. Which is good, since that’s what I used to make my Hummingbird skirt.

So, on to the finished products, shall we? Starting with the top.
Hummingbird front
Yes, this is that top I was having a ridiculous amount of difficulty with last week. Thankfully, I’m overall pleased with the results. I got this fabric a few years ago from Mood, and while I was able to use the other piece from that batch fairly quickly (hey, a year is pretty good for me!), this one had me stumped for some time due to the large scale of the print. So this definitely took some thinking, and some tweeting, but I think I managed to handle the print and any potential chest-placement issues as well as I possibly could have!

Changes made to the top:

  • I added a center front and center back seam, to accommodate dealing with the print.
  • I rolled the facing under and stitched it down–it was just not working in this particular fabric. (Case in point, see left–this is literally as good as it would get.)
  • As a result, I serged a rolled hem on the sleeves instead of the facing strip. I did this on the peplum hem as well.
Hummingbird BackChanges that I’ll make next time I make this top, because I would make this again:
  • Use a knit that stretches both ways instead of just one. I think this would have made the neckline work better.
  • Shorten the top at the waist by 1″. I used a 19″ for the shoulder seam, and I think I measured it badly since it was pretty late at night when I did it and I was still tired from the honeymoon.
  • Lengthen the peplum by 1″ + hem allowance, because I do like the finished length of it.

I was pretty satisfied with the print matching on the back, but looking at it in this picture, the big green and black diamond shapes pop out kind of oddly! Overall, this shirt is kind of like a polka-dotted, multicolored Rorschach test, isn’t it? But I kind of like it. I still have about a yard of this to use up, so I’m thinking I might just make some pajama shorts or something like that where it won’t matter if I match the print or not!

    IMG_0604Moving on to the skirt–I just barely managed to squeeze this one out of the hemp, since there was a huge chunk cut out on one side. I have a scrap that’s most likely big enough for a small bag left, and therefore, I’m considering this piece stashbusted!

    The one major change that I made to the skirt, which I need to remember to add to the pattern, is a bit of reshaping towards the top. Which, again, could have easily been bad measurements on my part. Thankfully, I had the foresight to just baste the side seams together before I tried it on, because it was huge! I ended up making the seam allowance at the top of the side seams 1 3/8″ instead of 1/2″, tapering back down to that 1/2″ by close to the bottom of the pockets. I also took in the top of each of the seams surrounding the center panel and the top of the back darts in an additional 1/8″ apiece. Again, those tapered back down to the original seaming. I did go ahead and just leave the side seams wide, since they were all nicely serged and everything. As a result, I also had to reduce the length of the waistband by about 4″.

      Hummingbird front 2Let’s have another look at that skirt, shall we? Along with an introduction to one of my two new sewing buddies! This furry little photobomber is Crosby. (His big brother, Malkin, is the one trying to knock me over in the back view shot. My husband had these two when I met him, and named them after two of his favorite hockey players.)

      I think this picture nicely highlights the other change I would make the next time I make this skirt, which is to add an inch or so to the hem. I’m used to knee- or full-length skirts, so this one feels reeeeeally short to me! And wearing it outside of the house is definitely going to be a bit of a stretch to my comfort level. But hopefully I can work myself up to it, because I bet the hemp is going to be really cool and comfortable for the mid-Atlantic heat and humidity!

      So there you have it, two new finished garments! If there’s one thing I learned from this sewalong, it’s that I’m a much slower sewist than I thought. So it’ll be interesting to see what I can actually get done in 30 minutes a day, because pretty much every step took me nearly twice as long!

      A little taste of Pavlova

      It took some serious pondering, but I decided to go ahead and post what I could of my ill-fated Pavlova cardi. After all, I did sew it. I did wear it twice before it got destroyed. And it was a stashbusting project, which means it did fit that particular sewalong.
      Pavlova cardiAs you can see, this was during the wedding planning stage, since I’ve got all of those little paper sunflowers there! I took some pics on Donna so that I could capture a few of the details, figuring I could just get a pic of me actually wearing it on the honeymoon when I wasn’t so crunched for time. I ended up not actually wearing it at all while I was in Jamaica, because the nights were warm enough that even cold-blooded me didn’t need an extra layer! But I did wear it on both the first and last days for the airplane, and was glad for it– I just didn’t get a pic because I was in grungy travel mode (and wearing glasses, and tired).

      Pavlova sleeve detail
      I was really proud of how nicely the edges of these sleeves were finished! I had to think about it, with the somewhat bias cut to it, and the crinkled, lightweight nature of the fabric. But they were both serged and topstitched a bit so the seam would stay where I wanted it to. This was one of the details that survived, so I guess I did a good job there!

      Pavlova hem detail
      The hem wasn’t so lucky. I serged this to keep it from fraying, and then double-rolled it to enclose the serging and stitched it down. I kid you not when I say that the washing maching managed to entirely undo this hem, back down to the serging!

      I would have been able to fix that, though it would have been annoying. The real problem is that it also ripped the neck facing apart, leaving a big, gaping, ragged-edged hole. And the fabric is so lightweight to begin with, that I don’t think it will hold up.

      It’s a shame, really, because I’m still adapting to the temperatures that my new husband likes to keep the house at, and a lightweight layer would really come in handy here! But this really was an experimental top, and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Also, the fabric was free, so aside from the time investment, it wasn’t much of a loss. I guess I can chalk this one up as a muslin. Of course, this means I’m also afraid to wash my new Hummingbird top until I have a chance to photograph it, just in case!

      Murphy’s Law of Sewing

      I guess everyone has these projects from time to time. You manage to finish something super-complicated, everything comes together beautifully….and then you try to make something that’s supposed to be easy and everything goes wrong.

      This project, for me, has been the top from the Hummingbird separates, which I’m making as part of Steph’s 30-minutes-a-day sewalong. (There won’t be pictures for most of this post, because my desktop is also not speaking to me at the moment and refuses to turn on. It’s probably just as well, given how things are going.)

      This is how it’s supposed to go:
      Day 1: Determine your size, gather your supplies, and trace the pattern.
      Day 2: Cut your fabric.
      Day 3: Test the knit stitches, sew together one shoulder seam and the neck binding.
      Day 4 (today): Sew the second shoulder seam, the sleeve bindings, and the side seams.

      This is how my shirt is going:

      Day 1: Determine my size, gather my supplies, discover that I have no invisible zippers that are the right color to go with my skirt fabric, or even remotely close. Also, I’m completely out of hooks and eyes, as of the wedding dress. Get together the rest of my supplies anyway, make a mental note to try to get to Joann’s soon, and trace the pattern.

      (Pic from Twitter)

      Day 2: Spend about an hour turning my fabric every which way, consulting the sewcialists on Twitter, pinning and unpinning and repinning to figure out how on earth I should configure this knit print, and finally throw in the towel and go get ready for bed.

      Day 3: Finally decide to seam both the front and back down the middle, add seam allowances, spend about another hour pinning and unpinning to try and get the motifs to match up as much as I can, cut the remaining pieces, sew the front and back halves together to get caught up, go to press the neck and sleeve bindings only to realize that they won’t work because the knit is only a 2-way stretch and I cut it the wrong way to try and make the pattern look nice, recut those pieces, press them in half as much as the fabric will allow me to, decide that I should actually practice my flute while my husband orders pizza for dinner, call it a day.

      Today: Sew one shoulder seam. Pause when looper thread breaks on my serger in order to rethread. Realize that was actually only half of the shoulder seam and I didn’t interface it entirely. Fuse interfacing gook to my iron in attempt to fix this. Start to sew shoulder seam again. Realize interfacing is sticking to my presser foot, and restart the seam on my serger. Go to sew on neck binding. Realize that there is absolutely no way on earth that this length of neck binding will stretch to fit this diameter of neckline. Recut it for the third time, this time with one end on fold. Start to stitch. Decide seam allowance won’t leave me with a usable binding, since the edges are curling and in danger of developing runs in the fabric. Make that more narrow. Try to press it under. Stick more bits of shirt to other interfaced shoulder seam and have to peel off. Decide I really need a pressing ham. Decide to just press the neckline under entirely wherever this super-thin knit wants to fold and topstitch. Do so, then remember that I won’t get it looking right if I don’t sew the other shoulder and finish it in the round. Wrangle that into place, with a very messy edge at that one shoulder where I had to pick it out. Remember belatedly that I meant to reinforce that stitching, end up catching the shoulder seam in multiple places and have to rip all of that out. I hope I didn’t make holes. Husband calls to let me know he’s finally on his way home, giving me an excuse to throw in the towel. Even though I’m only done through day 3.

      After all of this, the shirt had better look good.

      Also, I’m not blaming Steph at all for this, because her pattern is well-thought out and the directions are explained well. It’s probably just a combination of rushing into a project before my sewing room is even entirely unpacked, recovering from wedding/honeymoon travel, waking up early every morning because the bedroom is in dire need of blackout curtains (which I have fabric for, but I’m afraid to wash it in that washer that already ate my shirt with that much yardage, so I have to wash it at my parents’ house), and just trying to settle into the routine of newlywed life.

      The skirt will go better, right?

      I’m baaaaack!

      First of all, thanks for the lovely well-wishes for the wedding and honeymoon! The wedding day was great, I wasn’t stressed out at all. And we had a very fun, relaxing time on our honeymoon, which we just arrived home from late last night.

      Sadly, there can be no finished project post for my Pavlova cardi after all. It was the one casualty of the trip–I didn’t get any pics with it on because it was so warm in Jamaica, even at night, that I never wore it except for both airplane flights. I figured I’d get one at home when it was sunny and I wasn’t in grungy travel clothes. But then I was trying to get caught up on some laundry today, and threw it in the washer. I’m used to front-loaders. The one at my new house is a top-loader. Not only did all of my careful rolled hems get entirely ripped out, the neck facing pulled away entirely, leaving a gaping, ragged hole that renders the entire thing unsalvageable.

      I was going to give you a picture of a TARDIS on a beach instead. But my desktop refuses to turn on, and my laptop keeps flipping the picture upside down. Meh.

      So, sewing, right? I’d been planning on jumping in on this particular sewalong anyway, since I’ve been out of the social sewing loop for months now. I learned recently that the hummingbird is the national bird of Jamaica, so it’s quite appropriate to do a sewalong for this pattern, too! So here goes…


      That’s right, I’m in the pink house. My Hummingbird will not be pink, though….and seeing as how it’s 9 pm here, and I have to go back to work tomorrow, I’d better get started!

      Of personal palettes and mini-wardrobes

      I’m sure that many of you have seen Gillian’s Me-Made-May posts in which she aimed to wear clothes that fit into her own personal color palette that she’s created. Which led to a discussion on Twitter in which she generously created palettes for a few other bloggers, myself included, based on the colors she found a lot of in our own me-made creations. So this is what she came up with for me:
      Owly Images

      Figures that mine is loaded with blue and green, right? Even the wall behind me in this picture fits! The coral caused some discussion–it’s not that I don’t have any coral in my closet, because I do, and with all of these cool, oceany colors, I need some warmth in there! But when I first clicked on it, my computer monitor was reading this as a pinkish mauvish rusty color, which did not look pretty at all.

      I’ve also been plotting out and packing my honeymoon wardrobe, as you know. So, just for fun, I figured I’d show what I’m taking and see how closely it matches with this! Prepare for a rather picture-heavy post…(with really crappy photos. Sorry. I had to have my bed model for sake of time, and I promise I’ll try to start doing better with the photos after the wedding!)

      Beachwear1. Given that I’m going to a tropical island, I based it all around the swimwear, of course. I did not make either of these swimsuits, I bought them at the end of last summer specifically for this purpose. (Which is why this is the skimpiest swimsuit I have ever owned in my life–I went with two of my cousins and my sis-in-law, and they wouldn’t let me leave the shop without a bikini! I’m usually more of a tankini girl, tbh.) The 1-piece was purchased because we were originally talking about going to a resort with this giant waterslide park, and I didn’t want any wardrobe malfunctions! We’re not staying at that resort, but we are going to one where you can take an outing to swim with dolphins, so avoiding wardrobe malfunctions sounds like a good idea there, too. Anyway, I’m basing the colors for the wardrobe as a whole around this bikini top, just because I can. And I did make the cover-up and the beach bag. The latter has seen better days because I made this years ago, possibly back in late high school/college years, when I was able to get access to my grandmother’s embroidery machine and painstakingly programmed that design into the computer based on the lining fabric. But aside from re-stitching a bit of the lining to the zipper area, no holes yet, so I think I can keep using it for at least one more adventure.

      Convertible2. The convertible dress, which looks way better on me than on my bed, because it’s perfect for the airport–and easy to adjust for air conditioning vs. outside heat and humidity. 


       3. I tried to go a little mix-and-matchy here. So I have my reconstructed jeans skirt, a purchased turquoise tank top, the “Make It Work” Sadie tank, and a long white skirt that I purchased at the beach one time (because if you can’t wear a skirt with real seashells sewn to it on a tropical island, where can you?) I also threw in the green tank that I re-embellished a couple of years ago, and some jeans cutoffs. (Nothing exciting, just some thrifted jeans I’ve been wearing to work that are obnoxiously slightly too short for my legs. I haven’t even hemmed them yet, so I’ll probably just roll them to whatever length I want.) Depending on what I choose to wear with what and how often, I potentially have 6 outfits here!

      Red4. A thrifted strapless red dress, specifically at my fiance’s request. I wore this one back around Christmas with a sweater over top, and he really liked it! And some of the restaurants within the resort area that we have access to are listed as “resort evening” dress codes, so I figure this can be my fancy dinner dress. (I checked, the resort has ironing boards in the room, so I can just give this a quick press and be good to go.)


      5. A second-hand maxi dress that I added straps to somewhere around 2 summers ago, because this is another comfortable dress for summer heat. I thought I’d blogged this one somewhere, but I guess not…I just wasn’t comfortable with the ability of shirred fabric to stay where it was supposed to without help! But this can be another fancier resort dress, I think.


      6. In case I want to cover up some, either from sun or because I will be the one person who can get cold on a tropical island, some thrifted cropped jeans and the latest addition to my me-made wardrobe, the Pavlova cardigan. (Which is still going to get its own dedicated post later.)


      7. Accessories–the turquoise shoes are for the beach because my feet hate flip flops and get nasty blisters between my toes whenever I try to wear them, the silver sandals for a dressier look and the flat black ones for everyday. Also, a big, dorky, floppy sunhat, because my heritage is “all the European people who sunburn the easiest”, and I have rosacea to boot, so my face needs this! I did try to buy the least dorky one I could, but I just don’t seem to have the gift of being able to wear hats and still look cool. Which is sad. There will most likely be some earrings in here somewhere too, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

      So–no teal this time, and I have red instead of coral, but I seem to have hit pretty close to Gillian’s palette! It’ll be interesting to see how close I stick with this as I use up my stash and acquire new fabrics. And I’m strongly tempted to come up with my own new palette for my cold-weather wardrobe, since that’s when I get the most bored with my closet and crave more color!

      So how did I do with my island getaway wardrobe? And one week to go, eeeee! I guess that means this is probably my last post until after the wedding. So congrats to all of you who successfully made it through another Me-Made-May, happy sewing/crafting, and I’ll see you on the other side. 🙂