this bird has flown

I’m back! With multiple projects to catch up on, believe it or not. Taking pictures has proven to be even more of a challenge since Padawan came along, mostly because he spends most of his nap time strapped to me in a carrier. Not very conducive to outfit photos. So this was just grabbing a few quick photos of my latest project after church today, and hoping that I can catch up on the rest later.

IMG_4939The skirt is the Sewaholic Rae, and there’s really nothing to say about the construction by this point since this is my fourth version.  It’s funny that this has become my go-to skirt pattern, since I probably would have avoided it in the pre-kid days. But when you’ve got limited time to sew and 30 pounds to lose, I guess elastic waists that can be easily adjusted are the way to go. Especially when I can hide them with my constantly untucked shirts. (I’m wearing it here with an old Burda top and my Plantain cardigan.)

IMG_4942Let’s talk about the fabric, shall we? Yes, I’m back on the quilter’s cotton, but I couldn’t pass this print up. It’s from a collection called “Hello Love”, all loosely inspired by The Beatles’ music. I grew up regularly listening to The Beatles, and so I fell in love with several of the prints. The one I ended up choosing was inspired by “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. One thing I’ve been attempting to do for awhile is bring some warmer colors into my wardrobe, since I do have a tendency to fall into a rut of ocean colors and black. And the cheerful gold with Elven looking trees seemed to be just the thing. Plus that meant that I actually managed to fit the month’s bird theme at The Monthly Stitch! It was a little challenging making sure that I didn’t end up with hearts centered in iffy places, but I think I managed it. As well as pattern matching as best as I could with angled seams.

So that’s that! And hopefully I’ll get to those other pictures soon.

IMG_4948Ok, one more with this cutie. Can you believe he’s 2 months old already?

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Year-end wrap up

Since it’s time to tie up the loose ends of 2016, here’s a few unblogged projects, my stashbusting update, and some exciting updates to my sewing space!

Unblogged project #1: Hobbit’s Christmas shirt. I had just barely enough of this homespun type plaid that one of my grandma’s friends offloaded onto me, and I did have to supplement a bit with some plain black. Most of it was straightforward sewing, especially since it is a larger size of the same pattern that I used for his first birthday shirt. The one place I did have trouble was the sleeve placket. I don’t know if it was the particular method given in the instructions, or pregnancy brain, or what, but I could not make sense of how this was actually supposed to work! And I know I ended up doing it wrong– the inside of the placket is so wonky, and there is absolutely no way I would have been able to add the button mid-placket that the instructions called for, even if I hadn’t opted to go with the more casual buttonless look. I couldn’t find any pattern help for this part online, so I’m definitely going to have to do a practice run or find another method before I make the long sleeved version of this pattern again!

Unblogged project #2: I made another batch of diapers, using some PUL prints that I was given last Christmas for this purpose. It more or less took me literally all year to sew these, because I just worked them in between all of my other projects. But I’m hoping that this will be the largest I have to go, since Hobbit will be getting to an age where I can attempt toilet training next year. I can’t say I’m entirely done with diaper sewing, because a friend gave me some brand name adjustable size covers that she didn’t need, and I’ll need to make some inserts so I can use them as backups for either boy when I’m behind on laundry. But I’m getting close, and that’s nice. Now I just need to figure out some use for these large scraps that the oddly shaped pieces left behind!

The stash update: I started the year with around 426 yards of fabric, and ended with around 394. It’s finally going down! It looks like I used a total of close to 61 yards this year, and acquired about 30 1/2. Admittedly, about 17 yards of that was Christmas gifts this year, but I already have specific plans for most of those pieces due to the wardrobe holes that my mom knew about. She’s good like that. My stashbusting plan for this year is to donate several pieces that I just don’t think I can use, mostly pieces that other people destashed onto me that aren’t necessarily my taste. And then sew as much as the boys let me. I will have to purchase for a couple of specific projects, namely nursing bras/my coat lining/Halloween costumes, but I do want to focus on using what I have as much as I can.

Right now, I’ve been busy going through my jewelry supplies and drastically downsizing. Then I’ll have to tackle fabric, yarn and scrapbook paper. But I’m hoping I can get the room cleared and my new space set up as quickly as I can, because I have all of these pretty new fabrics and patterns, plus new toys to play with! Doug surprised me with a coverstitch machine for Christmas (eeeeeee!), and my mom recently informed me that she’s passing on one of her extra sewing machines to me, since she has multiple of those on hand. So I’m getting a newer model Bernina! My workhorse from the late 80s-early 90s is still running fine, aside from that one incident where the electric went out in the middle of my wedding dress, but I have to admit that it’ll be nice to have an actual stretch stitch that isn’t guessing at zigzags. And, well, a light on my machine that works, since that one has been useless for probably a decade. We’re still trying to sort out how exactly to configure the new space, but the most likely option at this point is to buy a wardrobe to store our clothes in the main part of the room, and then set up my sewing machines in the walk-in closet so that we can close the door and keep Hobbit away from all of the sharp pointy things. (As well as his little brother, who will henceforth be known here as Padawan, once he’s starting to get mobile.)

I move slow and steady…

Man, where did August go? There’s actually been quite a bit of crafting going on in Casa Adagio. But I just couldn’t seem to get it together to, you know, actually finish something this month. But I do have several things in progress, so here’s my monthly update.

So here’s what’s been happening in my little world…

IMG_43751. Knitting project the first. Awhile ago, I started knitting the Latte Baby Coat for Hobbit, after inheriting some bulky acrylic from a cousin who tried knitting and decided it wasn’t for her. I thought this would be a quick project because of the thick yarn. Boy, was I wrong! For one thing, I had to entirely frog and restart it, because I originally started to make the hooded version. Then I realized that I misread something, and was several stitches short. That, and the hood took nearly half of my main color of yarn. So I started again, with the admittedly less cute hoodless version. Hobbit currently hates all things resembling hats anyway, so I guess it’s for the best. And this is how far I’ve gotten. I had to buy another skein of yarn anyway, as this is much more of a yarn hog than I’d anticipated. I’ve discovered that bulky yarn is hard on my hands, too. So I can only do a few rows at a time. I’m glad that I started this as early as I did, since I’m not sure if it would be ready for the cold weather otherwise. You know, if he even lets me put it on him in the first place. He’s in full fledged toddler mode now at 14 months, so you never know!

IMG_43762. Knitting project the second: I decided to mix it up and also start a long-planned project for myself. I’ve been wanting a nice mustard cardigan for awhile, so I finally started it. I still need to acquire one smaller cable needle for it. Amazon sent me the wrong needle size, and trying to wrestle Hobbit into the car seat to drive five minutes to the post office to do a return and hope they send me the right size doesn’t seem worth it. So I’ll just order another one sometime. Like in a year or two when I’m close enough to finishing this cardigan to actually have to think of button bands. Did I mention that I am quite possibly the slowest knitter on the planet?

IMG_43743. Sewing project the first: I finally started the Grainline Archer shirt that I’ve had queued for, oh, two or so years. I think what was holding me back was the fabric. It’s a perfectly serviceable, lovely-feeling Japanese linen…but oh so plain navy blue. I just couldn’t get excited about that, especially since 2 of my 3 pairs of pants that vaguely fit are blue jeans. (I do have some gray denim to fill that particular wardrobe hole, but you see how long it takes me to actually sew things on my list…) But thanks to some inspiration from a fairly recent issue of Seamwork, I’ve gotten past my mental block, and am quite excited about my embellishment! This is the yoke and the collar, with the addition of sashiko embroidery. I’m also going to do this on the cuffs. I won’t go into more details now, since I’m also possibly the last indie pattern user on the planet to make this shirt and I’ll need something to talk about in the finished project post. But I am quite pleased so far. And, surprisingly, enjoying the process quite a bit.

IMG_43724. Sewing project the second: I have fall sewing on the brain, and therefore cut out a shirt from some fabric that’s been in my stash for at least a decade. It’s stuck here for two reasons at the moment. My attempt to tea dye some stark white inexpensive crochet lace trim resulted in barely any color change at all, and I need to give that a second go. As you can see, it’s still too bright. Also, I ran out of thread that was even remotely matching, and couldn’t refill my bobbin until I bought more. But hey, I’m stashbusting!

5. I did the worst closet purge of my life. I had to part with so many me mades this time that still just don’t fit anywhere remotely close to well. A few things that I couldn’t bear to fully let go of, like this jacket and all of my Thurlow pants, are going into the refashion bin. Maybe those pants can at least be revived as kid’s shorts or pants, because I only got about one year’s use out of them and the fabric is still in great condition. Plus then I get to keep the buttons. Still, I’m rather bummed about this whole process.

IMG_43776. I did buy some fabric. Mostly for Hobbit’s Halloween costume this year, which I’ve gotten as far as tracing some pieces and sketching out for some hand-painting that needs to happen with it. But I also did some selfish shopping for a sewing dare. Gillian dared me to make myself an everyday outfit based on Lord of the Rings costumes! So I bought a piece for my main component. (I needed something for free shipping on Fabric.com anyway.) More on that later, since the Halloween project has to take higher priority.

7. On top of all of this, I’ve sloooooowly been making a fourth and hopefully final batch of cloth diapers, which will hopefully last through any growth spurts that may come before Hobbit is ready for us to start the dreaded toilet training process. I’ve got the covers done as of this month, but need some time to do the inserts. It’s just serging around rectangles and adding some stitching for fold lines, but I still have to cut about half of them out in the first place, too.

I think that’s all of it! So I’ll have something finished to show. Eventually.

a stripey dress and the July summary

IMG_4294My third and final big project for July was a maxidress, made from a stripey/zigzagged knit that I picked up about 2 summers ago from this hole in the wall fabric store that I didn’t know existed near my house. Most of the fabric they had wasn’t all that exciting to me, being largely quilting cottons and weird polyesters. But the two older ladies who were running the shop chatted with me and Doug for awhile, since we were the only people there at the time, so I felt sort of obligated to buy something. This knit was pretty much the only thing that jumped out to me.

The pattern is McCall’s 6559, which I’ve made once before. I knew the dress still fits me fine, so I didn’t make any adjustments. But maybe I should have– this fabric is almost too lightweight to not see through, and it still pulls down in front quite a bit!

The first time I wore it out in public (to church, which was a mistake), I spent the whole service tugging the thing up, debating whether shortening the straps would tighten up the armholes too much or trying to insert a scrap of fabric into the neckline to act as a fake camisole would be the better move. My husband was adamantly against that idea. But I think I have a working solution now…

IMG_4270…turning it backwards!

(And hey, check out that stripe matching. The zig zags aren’t perfect, but I think I did pretty darn good on the straight lines. I did have to rip out a partial seam to fix, but it was worth it.)

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Yeah, I think I’m going to like it much better like this.

Another thing that makes me happy about this project is that I was able to have it do double-duty for challenges again– the Stashbusting Sewalong theme for July was dresses, and The Monthly Stitch’s was spots and stripes. It’s nice to still feel like I’m involved in the more social aspect of this!

So, my quick stashbusting update for July:

I used up a total of about 5 yards. I bought 6.5, which have not arrived in the mail yet. Most of that is small pieces for Hobbit’s Halloween costume this year, and one piece is for the sewing dare that I got from Gillian, because I didn’t have anything on hand that would quite work. (Plus I needed $50 worth of stuff to get free shipping.) The bad news is that this purchase puts me back up to about 400 yards total, but the good news is that I’ve used up about 42 1/2 yards for the year so far. Which is really not bad, considering how ridiculously hard it has been to get sewing time in this year!

My other exciting news is that I am finally making progress on getting Hobbit to take his morning nap in the crib! I haven’t made it into the sewing room every day, because I still have to do some stuff like get dinner thrown in the crockpot or occasionally clean something. But I did get enough time in last week to trace out the pattern for the Halloween costume, order the fabric, do some much-needed tidying in my sewing room, and cut out a project for myself. Which will not be the next thing I sew, since I intend to do some embellishing on the fabric first, but still– sewing time! During the day! How exciting is that?!

 

flower power

20160501_152644One of my sewing goals for this year was to think more about mini-capsule outfits, in an effort to avoid closet orphans. Since a lot of my old clothes still aren’t fitting well, this is so important right now. So I was excited to see that The Monthly Stitch’s theme for April was to do two or more coordinating pieces, one of which was a floral. It just so happened that I had the perfect combination in my stash. Especially to line up with a couple of other sewing challenges– I love when I can multitask this way!

Both of these pieces were from Seamwork Magazine– the same issue, in fact. I made the Astoria top first, because I needed a solid pastel top for my flute choir’s spring concert, and this piece of fabric was literally the only thing I owned that fit the criteria! It’s a lightweight acrylic sweater knit that I’ve been dithering over for a couple of years now, due to the sheerness. (Incidentally, the theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong this month was “feared fabrics”, and sweater knits do make me a tad nervous. Especially since it’s hard to find them in not-wool, and the unraveling factor!) This one came together pretty quickly, and fit nicely straight off of the pattern. The length threw me for a loop, since I’m not used to cropped tops, so I might add some length if I make it again– unless I find more good sweater knits for layering over some dresses!

20160501_152843_LLS(Baby photobomb, because he was getting fussy.) The accompanying Bristol skirt took me longer than anticipated. That’s mostly my own fault, because the floral print is a little on the sheer side, and so I lined it. Which meant that I had to sew and finish everything twice, aside from the pocket. I’ll admit I was kind of frantically trying to finish this yesterday, both so I’d have it to wear to church this morning and so I could definitely count it for April, and so the hem on the lining is rather wonky. I rushed the pressing a bit more than I should have, and the fabric was all shifty. But I’m just going to roll with it, because no one will see it but me. (And maybe occasionally Doug, when he does the laundry, because he’s great like that.)

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What I like about this skirt:

  • Pocket! I wouldn’t use it for my hands, since it’s kangaroo-style, but it’s perfect for holding my phone.
  • If I hadn’t lined it, it really would have been a super-fast project.
  • The elastic waistband is definitely good for my need of flexible fitting.
  • The print, obviously.

What I didn’t like:

  • I should have read the waistband instructions more closely before sewing, and then done it completely differently. It called for basically basting the elastic into the waistband, and then sewing that whole gathered mess onto the skirt. Which took forever, and was a total mess to finish. (Mostly because I was too lazy to change my serger thread.) I think I’d make this pattern again, as it was a nice switch-up from the Rae skirt, but I’d definitely sew the waistband casing in flat and then insert the elastic.

In other news, I never made my official Me-Made-May pledge for this year. I honestly don’t think I can do every day right now, since I’m highly dependent on my RTW transitional jeans. And I definitely can’t do the me-made jewelry like previous years, because the grabby little Hobbit has me limited to stud earrings and my wedding rings. So for this year, I’m going to just aim for wearing something I made 3-4 days a week, and seeing if I can get a better idea of what clothes might still fit me again after I drop a few more pounds vs. what it’s just time to let go of.

I’m starting off well, at least– besides the two Seamwork pieces, I’m also wearing my latest pair of Espresso leggings and the McCall’s tank top I made last month.

To quickly sum up my stashbusting for April: Besides these two pieces, I have one more finished clothing project that needs to be photographed (yay!), and a gift that I haven’t showed at all yet because the family member that it’s for follows my Instagram. All together, 11.25 yards out, and nothing in. Finally, a decent dent!

UFO sighting

Once upon a time, I used to binge cut fabric for upcoming projects. Cutting out isn’t my favorite part of the process. Something about the permanence of it freaks me out a little, especially if it’s fabric I really like. So I’d cut out two or three things at a time, sew them all up, and then repeat. I don’t do that so much these days, mostly due to not having those big blocks of time. But in this case, that habit resulted in something relatively rare in my sewing world: an unfinished project.

Deer & Doe Plantain Raglan hackIn this case, I never made it past the cutting and marking stage. I realized that I cut part of the front wrong, and set it aside to figure that one out. And then I lost interest in the pattern altogether. So this made it the perfect (and only) clothing candidate for both The Monthly Stitch’s UFO theme, and the Stashbusting Sewalong’s scrapbusting theme. After all, those pieces were mostly pretty small.

The original pattern was something Vogue. I don’t remember the number. It was a fitted enough top that I didn’t think it would fit my post-baby body in the size that was cut out, so I threw it away.  I do still love this print, though. I mean, turquoise, teal and purple? That is right in my ocean colored wheelhouse. The largest pieces were the raglan sleeves, and size-wise, they matched up pretty closely with the Deer & Doe Plantain tee. So I decided to give hacking that pattern into a raglan a go. IMG_3584

Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out! I had a smallish piece of teal rayon jersey (oddly, left over from my other Plantain tee), which I used to fill in the main part of the body. I did decide to break up the front some so I could feature the print more, and trying to accommodate that did make things a little less symmetrical than I’d probably like. But I do think this is definitely one of my most successful pattern hacks yet!

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If I were to further alter this version, just for my future reference, I do think I’d change a few things:

  • The sleeve should probably extend a little more into the back. This was just all I had to work with.
  • A little more width at the bottom probably wouldn’t hurt, if it was long sleeved. Fortunately, my wrists are skinny enough to accommodate the overall lack of give in this cotton jersey.
  • I guess I should probably consider starting to add a swayback adjustment to my knits, yeah?

IMG_3566I did finish this on the 25th, just in time to wear it on my birthday. So it still counts towards participating in both themes, I think! And I do still have enough scraps left that I think I can try to squeeze a lingerie experiment out, finally. I even printed some Seamwork patterns off to do so, but then I discovered that it printed too small. So I’ll need to retrace those. Which means I’m probably going to push that off for another month or so while I try to knock out some seasonal transitional clothing… oh, look, another UFO!

And, yeah, I know these aren’t fitting well with my attempts to follow along with the Better Pictures Project. Stupid portrait mode, insisting on flash. But this was the best I could do while leaving Hobbit fenced in on the floor, with a dog who was very insistent on helping, and stuck inside to supervise them both (along with the not-pictured goldie.)

la vie en rose

Appleton DressSo, finishing a red dress around the middle of February– how cliche is that? I don’t even like Valentine’s Day! But I wanted to try this pattern out as a winter dress, and the stashed fabric that was the best fit just happened to fall into this color scheme. So walking stereotype it is.

The pattern is the Appleton dress, from Cashmerette Patterns. Look at me, jumping on a bandwagon before it’s been long gone for once! I’ll admit that super easy nursing access was my main motivation. I’m assuming it will be ok, but I haven’t field-tested that yet. I made the smallest size that the pattern offered, so I’m not sure how well it will work if/when I lose those last 5 or so pounds, but I guess the beauty of a wrap dress is that it’s adjustable, right?

It’s a fairly simple pattern, though making it wasn’t entirely without issues. For one thing, I somehow managed to reverse the direction it was supposed to wrap in. Let’s blame sleep deprivation for that one. But I just reversed everything else and it worked out fine. Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that my sewing machine just absolutely hates ITY knits. You probably shouldn’t look too closely at the stitching around the neckline. And I had to do a lot of experimenting to come up with a stitch combo that had a minimum of skipping and still gave me the needed stretch for the hems. Scraps of pattern tracing paper ended up being the key to success. Saving up for a coverstitch machine is sounding better and better!

IMG_3491The one adjustment I made to this pattern was lengthening the sleeve to match up with the largest size. The resulting length is still a bit shorter than I’d prefer, even with the narrow hem, so I’ll need to add more if I make a long-sleeved version again. I was also a little disappointed with the width of the under wrap. The bodice is fine, but visions of skirt-related wardrobe malfunctions have been dancing in my head since I first tried it on! So, for my own peace of mind, I’m securing it on the inside with a piece of elastic sewn to the inside seam, with a snap on the other end to attach it to the inner skirt piece. Hopefully that will be enough to keep me from flashing anyone when the wind kicks up. (I did take some pictures, but every single one of them turned out blurry. Ugh.)

IMG_3469(Baby boy was getting fussy, so this was the point in the photoshoot where I had to pick him up to calm him down.) I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this fabric pairing with it. The ITY works great, stitching issues aside. It’s really more the print, and specifically how it looks on me. I can’t quite shake the fear that it looks a little matronly, which is certainly not how I want to feel when my birthday is a couple of weeks away! Admittedly, this brick/peachy-coral/grey color scheme is almost the opposite of the blue-green everything that usually catches my eye. And the print is essentially giant roses, which are also not the sort of floral that I usually go for. This was one of the four “coupons” pieces I brought back from Paris about a year and a half ago, and even then, I was questioning what was attracting me to it so strongly. I’d just gone through the whole Wardrobe Architect challenge, and made my color palettes, and this just mostly doesn’t fit with that. Maybe Paris was messing with my head? But it came home with me nonetheless. And at least it didn’t linger too long in my stash, at least by my standards.

I really hope I have a finished project that I feel better about before too long. It really feels like I’ve had more ambivalence than hits lately. It’s a little frustrating.

The best laid plans, and so on

Yeah, my sewing has gotten off to a rather slow start this year! Between the reorganization project taking longer than expected, and the continuing saga of naptime issues (spoiler alert, he still doesn’t want me to put him down, even with that zippy swaddle thing from the last post), I was getting really concerned that I wouldn’t finish what should have been a simple project in time to tie it in with this month’s theme at The Monthly Stitch. I don’t manage to play along every month, but I was really excited about my idea for a garment inspired by a favorite beverage!

Only, it didn’t quite go as planned. I’m a little embarrassed to share this one, honestly. But not every project is going to be a winner, and I think it’s important to learn from the fails, too.

IMG_3340Obviously, my beverage of choice had to be tea. But I already have a dress with teacups on it, so my idea was to start working on this year’s goal of replenishing my pajamas/loungewear wardrobe, with the help of some tea dyeing. I had a piece of what I’m fairly certain was a bedsheet, which got passed on to me when someone destashed it onto my mom. I knew the effect of the dye would be subtle, since there was most likely some polyester content in the fabric, but I hoped that it would be just enough to bring out the tone-on-tone print.

So I got my tea brewed–not a brand I actually care to drink, of course– boiled the fabric in it for as long as we could manage to keep Hobbit happy, washed it…and ended up with exactly what I’d started with. Drat.

I decided to go ahead and start sewing anyway. The pants are the Sewaholic Tofino pattern, which I’ve made before, and will likely make several more times this year, because I like the way they fit me. I didn’t even have to make any sizing changes to accommodate the extra post-baby pounds! I made the piping and ties out of a remnant of solid brown left over from an old dress, thinking the brown might help tie in the tea idea. I realized closer to the end of the sewing process that I still didn’t feel comfortable with the color, and especially the thought of taking blog photos in white, somewhat see-through pants.

So I broke out more dye, this time in chocolate brown. Surely that would tint the cotton to a nice, tea-stained tan, right?

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Nope. It turned pink. Pastel pink, of all things. Which is my third least favorite color on the planet, when not occurring naturally outside. I’ve actually had this problem before with this color, but in the context of dyeing silk. I sure didn’t think a poly/cotton blend would act the same way! So, what to do? Though the half-finished tee from my refashion bin took the tea dye in a subtle way, the pants just didn’t read “tea” to me. And I will take a chocolate milkshake over strawberry every single time, so that wouldn’t make a good inspiration drink for me.

 

 

 

 

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Then I remembered that I had this “four red fruits” tea that I brought home from Paris, which is still around thanks to the cruel pregnancy trick of mostly not being able to stomach tea. It’s a black tea with strawberry, raspberry, Problem solved!

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A quick note on the shirt: I don’t really know what pattern it is. It’s one of two identical white tees that my mom started and didn’t finish, because she doesn’t particularly enjoy making clothes anyway and she wasn’t happy about how it was turning out. My original thought was to maybe recut it into a Plantain tee or something, but then I noticed that the side seams had been sewn already, and I was getting anxious to finish it up. So I just zig-zagged the neck binding and hems down as it was, though I did serge the sides and sleeves in a little because I was hoping to cancel out the dropped shoulder a bit. I’d also thought of maybe stenciling a teacup or something on it, because it’s admittedly boring. And maybe someday, I’ll do that.

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For now, I’m calling it good enough for pajamas, and happily moving on to the next project. Even though this looks like hospital clothes. Hopefully the next thing will turn out better. But at least I shouldn’t have any trouble with nursing in these pjs. (Note to self: Next time, take the time to make the Plantain.)

State of the Stash Address

I’ve been working pretty hard over the last week or so to get all of my more recent fabric acquisitions washed, folded, and tallied up. I like to start the new year with a clean slate, and see where things really stand. It also ties in with the current theme in the Stashbusting Sewalong, which is stash organization. And, well…my one Stashbusting Sewalong goal for 2015 was to end with less fabric than I started with. In this, I failed. Epically so.

To be fair to myself, I did have two destashings land on me, from my in-laws and from a friend of my grandmother’s. I was certainly not planning on that. And as I was going through things, I did find about 19 yards’ worth of older fabrics that I just hadn’t added in, or leftovers that I didn’t think were big enough to be worth measuring. So my numbers at the beginning of the year weren’t entirely accurate.

But I did buy a few pieces near the end of the year that were specifically to test a few newer patterns, after checking my stash and seeing that I didn’t have anything appropriate. (Or, in the case of the Ginger jeans pattern that I finally just bought, I didn’t want to sacrifice the stashed stretch denim until I’d tested it. Because I bought that denim in Paris, and I may never be able to fabric shop there again.) And I got a lot of fabric for Christmas this year. As in, nearly 30 yards of it!

Oh, you want to see the pretties? Twist my arm, why don’t you?

IMG_3304These 6 pieces are actually more for Hobbit, but I get the fun of sewing them up! The ones on the right are for another batch of diapers. I’d mentioned before that I made newborn, small and medium sizes. And I knew there was the possibility that I’d have to do the large size as well. Well, at 6 months old and well over double his birth weight, he’s pretty much at the largest setting that the small diapers will go at. I really doubt that he’ll stay in the mediums long enough to get to a good potty training age. So to be on the safe side, I’m going to make a batch of larges. The two fabrics on the left are knits, so I can finally try out some of the cute stuff in the two Ottobre magazines that I picked up over last year. Between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the hockey sticks in the Canada print, my mom was definitely working to keep my husband happy!

IMG_3305And then there’s these 10 (!) pieces for me. There’s a plaid flannel with an Archer shirt in mind, and two more flannels for some much-needed pajama pants. There’s several knits, which is great, because my stash of print knits was almost non-existent by this point. And you all know how I love my prints. There’s a couple of pieces of denim, and a Cotton & Steel voile that I just want to wrap around myself like a blanket. It’s like a silky hug.

I think that I have the totals pretty accurate now. I’m only counting it as yardage if it’s full selvage-to-selvage width, and more than 1/4 yard. So without further ado, here’s the (scary) totals:

Stash at the beginning of 2015: I’d originally said 375. My adjusted number is 394.

Stash at the end of 2015:  Just over 426.

Yards used up: about 91.5. Considering everything that was going on in my life last year, I think that’s pretty good!

The difference: A net addition of 34 yards. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself, because that means that even with the Christmas haul, I would have done really well if it hadn’t been for those two destashings!

I think my focus/goal for 2016 is to really buckle down on using what I have on hand. So with that in mind, I’m going to see just how long I can go without buying any new fabric or patterns. I bought a few more at the end of December that will hopefully fill some gaps on staples (namely, the Ginger jeans, which I’ve been wanting to try since before the pregnancy). I will make exceptions on things like zippers and buttons, if I don’t have those things on hand, especially since button-downs are a major goal of mine this year. And I’ll make an exception for Halloween, because I’m very excited about my plan for this year, and I have almost literally nothing on hand that will work. But I’m hoping that if I really buckle down and get creative with the patterns and fabric that I have, I can make a serious dent in this ridiculous pile this year.

You know, assuming that I can get the baby to learn to take naps or something.

 

 

 

Top 5 of 2015: Goals

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
I like to use this category to see how I did with the goals I set for the current year, as well as to set some goals for the next. So let’s pull out the scorecard!

1. Finish a capsule wardrobe that will get me through the first half of the year.
This was specifically related to my maternity wardrobe. Overall, I think this was a success. The only thing I really wished I had at the end was shorts, since I was past due and it suddenly got hot (as is typical around here) and rolling up the bottom of my jeans just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Mental note to self if I’m ever pregnant during the summer again, I guess.

2. On a related note, I need to work on my pattern hacking skills…If I can figure out how to do a couple of other things that will be good for both pregnancy and nursing, great.

Hacked projects include both of my maxi dresses, the tie dyed skirt, and the Manila leggings fail. I definitely have a long way to go in successfully altering my patterns, but these mostly did what they were supposed to. (At least for the maternity/nursing part.) So I’ll count it as a win.

3. Get as much sewing for “Hobbit” (what I’ve been calling the baby while we don’t know the gender) done as possible, before June.

I think I did pretty well with this one! I do have to make a fourth batch of diapers soon in size L, because he’s pretty big for his age and there is absolutely no way I’ll make it to potty training age with medium diapers like the pattern suggested. He’s still in S, but on the largest snap setting. So I’m almost positive he’ll be in M before the winter is over. Aside from that, I think I’m good on practical baby gear and can just mostly focus on clothes and toys when making stuff for him next year. Yay!

4. I might as well work on things like finishing techniques and getting my serger tension right.

Thanks to a conversation on Instagram, and mostly thanks to Brooke, I learned that my tension is actually fine! I guess I’m comparing it to my RTW, and their machines are fancier. I do plan to continue trying to work on hems and other visible stitching, since my older machine doesn’t have a stretch stitch other than zig zag. It’s usually a lot of trial and error to get a line that looks fairly straight and still has the give that I need.

5. I think probably the biggest goal for after Hobbit comes will be finding time to make things!

This one has admittedly been a challenge, since Hobbit naps best/longest when someone is holding him, and crib naps often don’t last very long at all. There’s been several days where I’ve resorted to heading to my parents’ early to drop him off for babysitting while I teach my music lessons, and having my mom hold him while I cut something out or sew a few seams. Recently, he has started to sometimes take better naps in his crib, so we’re making progress. And I just counted up, and it looks like I’ve finished about 12 projects since. So that’s not too shabby! (I haven’t showed the last one yet, since it’s one of his Christmas presents.)

Moving on… here’s my top 5 goals for 2016.

Button-downs1. Shirtmaking. I have 4 buttondown patterns I’ve been itching to try, but didn’t quite get to this year. Since my overall plan for now is to focus on clothes with a more forgiving fit, at least until we’re done having kids, nursing-friendly is still a bonus! I do like buttondown shirts, and have missed most of the ones I have. (They don’t fit my nursing-sized bust. Ahem.) I’m not scared of buttonholes or anything, I’ve been making those since I was a kid. But I would like to focus on finishing these nicely, and especially learning to do a proper full bust adjustment. I’ve never had a truly successful one yet. For the record, the patterns are the Grainline Archer, the Sewaholic Granville (not pictured, because my room is a disaster and I’m not entirely sure where it is right now), the Deer & Doe Bruyere, and Butterick 5826. I also have some things that would make adorable little boy buttondowns, and another Butterick pattern to try out for that. Deep stash2. Use up some deep stash. I definitely have things that have been sitting around for a decade or more, like these three pieces here. So it’s time to start chopping, dyeing, wearable muslining, whatever I need to do to get these fabrics out of the stash and into my closet. I want to be able to occasionally select a new piece of fabric without the guilt!

3. Try something completely new. There aren’t many types of garments I haven’t tried to sew by now, so I’m leaning towards bramaking and/or lingerie. Some pretty new underthings would be a nice treat after I’m done nursing. Especially because my few nursing bras are already in awful shape, and I still have 6 months to go with them! Ugh!

4. Loungewear. I could use some new pjs, especially for the warmer months. And I do have a tested pattern I can use, since my Sewaholic Tofinos actually fit pretty well again already. Aside from pj pants, though, I could use some comfy clothes to wear around the house that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to run an errand in. Aside from one pair of pre-pregnancy jeans that never fit great, the only pants I have that currently fit are the one black pair and two pairs of jeans that I bought a couple months into the post-partum stage. And ok, they’re already big enough that functional belts are necessary, but all of the Thurlows and other jeans are still too small. (Waaaaah.)

The point is, I need to keep those three pairs of jeans for teaching days and social events, and therefore need loungewear for the other days. I just don’t know what, since I’m not comfortable in leggings paired with anything shorter than a dress, and sweatpants make me feel sloppy in a bad way. Any suggestions, other than the True Bias Hudson pants? (Nothing against them. They just remind me too much of sweatpants I wore in the 80s, and that’s my least favorite fashion decade ever.) Or should I just make some tunic-length tops in hopes that I’ll feel ok in leggings?

Mini-capsule possibility5. More mini-capsules! Either sewing more complete outfits, or new pieces to style with things already in my closet. This combination may be the first one I tackle. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice sooner that they go great together, but I do have an idea for this pairing. Assuming the kind of loose sweater knit works with the top I have in mind.

I have two bonus goals that are relevant, but not sewing.

The first is that I’d like to do a bit more knitting this time. I only finished three small projects this year, and haven’t even woven in the ends on two of those yet! (Probably due to spending most of my couch-bound pregnant time sewing quiet books!) Ideally, I’d like to make a new cardigan, but I have other small projects I’d like to do as well, including one that’s already on the needles. I have a few things on the needles, actually. So I need to finish or frog them. Or in one case, probably restart, because it’s been so long that I have no idea where in the pattern I left off!

The second is a closet purge. I did one shortly after Hobbit was born, in which I got rid of all of my woven dresses except for one, any shirts that were too short now, and all of the shorts and jeans that I used to wear at my garden center job. I’m probably going to wait until closer to the fall, after I’m done nursing and my measurements most likely stabilize. I’m hoping that by then, I’ll really have a better idea of what will actually fit again/what still fits my newish lifestyle, and can make informed choices about what to keep and what gaps need filling.

I’m going to try to do one more post before the end of the year, mostly for an update on how I did with the Stashbusting Sewalong. I can’t do that yet, since I still need to measure out the recently acquired yardage, and odds are pretty good I’ll get more fabric for Christmas. Until then, merry Christmas to all!