A quickfire shirt

Renfrew TopAnother FESA project down! I usually feel like I’m pretty slow at sewing, compared to a lot of bloggers that I follow, but this shirt took me only two days from start to finish–and that includes some single-layer cutting! I had two unexpected days off of work recently, due to some nasty, rainy days. (My garden center job involves sitting at an outdoor register, and it’s already been pretty slow lately, so rain = even more dead. So they told me to just stay home.) The Thurlow pants were already at the point where I just needed to sew the hems by hand, so I figured I’d save that for tv time and make something new instead.

It’s a Renfrew, of course, since I’ve been talking about revisiting this pattern since the first one I’d made. And I think that was actually the best possible choice for this fabric. It’s hard to tell how a fabric will handle as flat yardage sometimes, and I discovered as I was working with it that the edges have a very strong tendency to curl to the outside, and develop little tiny runs in the fabric in the process. So a pattern with bands at the sleeves and hem was the perfect counterbalance, and I’m glad I didn’t try to do one with a more traditional hem! Especially since I’d been going back and forth for quite some time about what this fabric wanted to be.
Renfrew CloseupI did have to fiddle with the print placement a bit, due to the stripes, and I think it worked out well overall. I do wish the stripes were a little more matched up at the seams, though. Despite all of my pins and careful placement, it did shift around a bit during serging. (Which was surprising, since the fabric generally clung to itself quite a bit.) But I like the way the thin stripe looks as the neck binding, and even though I didn’t quite have the yardage to make that stripe line up between the body and the arms, I think it still looks pretty good overall!
I’d originally altered this pattern to make the waist curve in a few sizes smaller, but for this one, I cut it more of a straight size 8. The fabric is sheer enough that I knew from the start I’d have to wear this as a layering piece, and with its clingy tendencies, I wanted to give it a little extra wiggle room to make it easier to pull over my camisoles. I also did a cheater adjustment on the arm length, and just cut that to the largest size with the width of the regular size 8. It worked perfectly, and I’m quite happy to not have my wrists hanging out like they often do with long-sleeved shirts! I’ll be cranking out at least one more of these before the cold weather ends, and this pretty much clinches it as my favorite knit top pattern!
Renfrew, Take 2And hey, look, a different backdrop than usual! We spent the weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, since I was in a friend’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were held at the Landis Valley Museum, in and around this barn. I managed to get my husband to take these pics before the rehearsal started, since we got there about an hour before everyone else and had time to walk around. It matches my shirt pretty well, doesn’t it?


This was my artist friend (the one I made that apron and placemat set for recently), and I have to say, her vision turned out quite lovely! The grapevines with the twinkle lights were already there, but we hung the paper lanterns ourselves. There were a lot of people helping to set up, so even though there was a lot of work, it was still a relaxing, fun time.


I did a little more crafting for this, too! The night before the wedding, the rest of the bridesmaids, the bride and I made our bouquets.None of us had really done floral arranging before, unless you count my trial-and-error artificial centerpieces that I made for my own wedding, but I think they turned out nicely! It just took us a few tries, that’s all.


I also made that little banner hanging up there by the dessert table. I don’t have a decent close-up because there wasn’t time, but I brought it home with me, so I can take one if anyone is interested.

I have one more recently finished project that needs photographing (knitting this time), and I’d better get on it, since the Doctor Who Sewalong is officially on now!

My first Thurlows!

IMG_0803Why, yes, I’m feeling accomplished. I’ve only had this in the queue since the moment I got the announcement email from Sewaholic.

All things considered, I think they turned out pretty well! Even though the welt pockets are a little wonky. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the first one, ended up making it much shorter than it was supposed to be, and stupidly chopped off the excess before I figured it out on the second one. So it was either rip it all out and cut out new pieces and start over–with the welt hole already cut–or just chalk these up to test pants and call it a day. Obviously, I chose the latter.

The one thing I can’t figure out–it seems like the fly sticks out way more than it should, don’t you think? I feel like the line shouldn’t be that visible in a photo. I’m not sure if that is a fit issue or a fabric issue, since this is my mystery content fabric.


Looks pretty good from the back, though, I think. (And don’t mind my pose–this was self-timer on the tripod, and the dogs insisted on photobombing left and right! So I had to keep an eye on them to make sure they didn’t knock my tripod over. Or get into the trash. Again.)


I know there are still some wrinkles in the front. One lesson I’ve learned from attempting all of those pairs of jeans is that it’s really easy for me to over-fit there, since my upper thighs protrude quite a bit. So I have to leave a little breathing room just above them for sitting and things like that, or things get uncomfortable pretty quickly. I’m not too terribly worried about it, since I almost always leave shirts untucked anyway. But Malkin seems to approve, from the way he’s smiling when he looks at them.

I also didn’t bother with the belt loops, because I just wanted to get them done and move on to the next several pairs. Besides, I’m unsure how well this fabric will wear, since it was free and I’m not exactly sure what it is.

I did make one semi-conscious change to the design, by doing a visible button in the waistband instead of a hook and eye. I’ll admit that it was initially because I misread the supplies a bit and bought buttons to go with the pants. And I do have a thing for interesting buttons, so I didn’t want to relegate them all to the inside to be seen by only me. (I had a long-time friend tell me once that she could always tell when I’d made my clothes, because the buttons were more interesting than the average RTW stuff!) I did have a practical reason as well, though–I’ve found that my RTW pants with hook-and-eye waistbands tend to get distorted over time, and then lay funny under my shirts. It drives me nuts!

Overall, despite my welt pocket mental block, these pants were very much what I’d hoped they’d be–pants that look good and were relatively painless to fit! I did have to take in quite a bit on the back waistband, and change up the crotch curve and things like that. And I did have to let out the side seams just a bit at the top to accommodate my thighs. But I didn’t have to worry at all about adding hem length, which I’ve often had to do with pants, and I didn’t have to start over to add darts in weird places for a muslin fitting!

I think I’ve managed to make all of the changes to my paper pattern, minus one length adjustment I need to make to the waistband, so I’m almost good to go on cutting out my other 4 pairs and really make this a pantsapalooza! Though I’ve decided that I’m actually going to assembly-line these in groups of two instead of all four at once, mainly because that will minimize thread changes on my serger for seam finishing. (That, and it increases the chance I might be able to squeeze them in soon, in between working on stuff for the Doctor Who sewalong. Since that starts on Monday and all.)

A Stash Confessional, part 2

Or, in which I try to figure out some options for some of the more difficult fabrics that I’ve had laying around for awhile! And update on another.

Some time ago, I posted a picture of this silky print that I’ve had for ages, in hopes that some other sewists could offer some good ideas for what to do with it. And I did get some great ideas–several people mentioned sheath or maxi dresses, one person mentioned a kimono wrap top, and someone else mentioned a flowing cardigan or vest. I personally love the maxi dress idea, but I don’t think 2 yards of fabric is quite enough! And since I bought this ages ago, I obviously can’t get more. Of course, one project got in the way of another and I never got to it, but the good thing is that letting it sit longer means that I actually now have two options of what to do with it! I’m thinking either McCall’s 6510, since it wouldn’t break up the print much at all, or using it as a jacket lining for one of the pieces in the last stash confessional post.
View image on Twitter I’m looking at this blue-striped brown on the right, because the brown is darker than what this picture shows, and with the touch of blue, it might be a perfect match! Then it’s just a case of deciding which jacket–one from a Burda magazine, maybe? Or perhaps I should be the last sewcialist to jump on the Victoria Blazer bandwagon? I mean, I’m so late that the train has probably left the station and is halfway to Dublin by now, but still. I’m usually not into the slouchy boxy jackets, but that looks like it could be a great casual layering piece for t-shirts. And I do love my geeky t-shirts.

Yeah, this might take a little more thought. Good thing I have such a long list of things to sew already, right?

Anyway, here’s a few other things I’ve had hiding in the stash for awhile that haven’t told me what they want to be yet. And I’m not mentally ready to just dump them on Freecycle, so I figure I’ll give them a little more time in the stash. After all, several of the things I picked for FESA, and the brown fabric for my Thurlows, have been sitting around for awhile, too. I’ve learned that sometimes it just needs a little time (and sewalong inspiration!)

IMG_04691. A crinkle poly paisley something or other, probably from late college. I bought it because I like paisley and swirly things, and I was thinking I should try to branch out from my usual tendency to wear all the blues and greens. Color-wise, this actually isn’t too far out of the box for me after all, especially since this time of year I want to wear more browns and earthtones. (And yes, still green. Olive is totally a fall neutral.) So even though this was a potential swap-ee, I think I’d still wear this one. I’m thinking it might make a good Sewaholic Alma. Perhaps of the notched-neckline and definitely of the long-sleeved variety. (Yes, this is one of the pieces from the Swap My Stash earlier this year, but there weren’t any takers. But I’m willing to keep it around a bit longer.)

2. A red organic cotton twill that I bought somewhere in the 2007-2008 vicinity, from Mood. For some reason, when I bought it, I was thinking I needed a red skirt in my life. I don’t know why, because I hardly ever wear red, or even prints with red in it, despite the paisley I just posted. But I still had that idea in mind for some time. I even went ahead and bought a bunch of cute sparkly red buttons, thinking to make it into a Beignet

MMM '12, Day 4
And then I found this red strapless dress at a thrift store, which makes a pretty decent skirt when worn as a layering piece (as seen from the last time I did Me-Made-May). And it also makes a pretty decent dress for knocking my husband’s socks off–I brought it on the honeymoon, and he reeeeeeally liked it! So as long as this thing fits, I don’t really need a red skirt in my life after all. But it’s still a really nice quality fabric, and I’d hate to waste it. I’ve been toying with the idea of dyeing it and still making it into the Beignet, but I’m not sure what colors would work well when overdyeing red. Should I take it darker and see if I can get it to a navy/deep purple or black (as if I need another black skirt)? Can I nudge it more towards a coral or a rust, both of which I’d probably be more likely to wear? Would putting dye on this completely ruin it? Should I just make the Beignet in red anyway, since I already have the buttons? What to do?

And I think I’m going to stop there, since I still have a bunch more fabric on my list and this post would be huge! I think this will have to be an ongoing series.

As for actual sewing….it’s getting there. I have basically the waistband, buttonholes, and hem to go, and then I will have my first completed Thurlows! But progress has been slow this week, since I’ve had very little sewing time. I’m sincerely hoping that I will have these pants done by the end of the weekend, but I guess only time will tell. So much sewing I want to do, so little free time…