random January reflections

Well, hello there! And happy 2018! I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a post for a few weeks now, but I just can’t seem to get things together to get photos. I’ve actually got a small backlog of projects to write about as a result, but I didn’t want to let the entire month go by in silence. So aside from the multiple finished projects (including a last one for 2017!!), here’s what’s been going on in my little corner of the world.

      • On a whim, and at the last minute, I signed up for the 2018 RTW Fast, hosted by Sarah at Goodbye Valentino. It really wasn’t that much of a stretch for me, given that underthings are acceptable to buy and I’ve already got plans to sew a swimsuit anyway.
      • I’m glad that underthings are still acceptable to buy, since I’m seriously on the fence about whether I want to bother with bramaking again or not. Not this year, for sure. I’m not sure if my current ambivalent feelings towards the whole prospect is just the necessary learning curve, since I found the construction to be rather fiddly, or not wanting to go through the whole fitting process when I really like the smoother foam bras best anyway. Not that it matters at this particular moment, since I’m not done nursing yet.

     

  • Sweater progressHey, look, a knitting update! I’m still ridiculously slow at this, especially given that most of my knitting time is relegated to Sunday mornings on the way to and from church, and the occasional trips to my in-laws’, when I’m not driving. On the plus side, I’ve managed to get one sleeve to about elbow length, and I don’t have to look up how to do the make 1 increases every single time I have to do one anymore. So there’s that.
  • Noooooooo

In which my recently finished Bruyere broke my heart. This is how it came out of one of the first washings. I asked for some ideas on Instagram, and got some good ideas for how to prevent this sort of thing with chambray in the future. But in order to not make the plackets too thick by stitching on another folded over layer or two of fabric, I think I’m going to take the visible mending route and just try to make it look as nice as possible.

  • I’ve actually been doing pretty well so far this year on fitting in sewing time at home. It helped that my most recent project was a batch sewing thing, so I was able to fully complete the first of my #2018makenine projects (several pairs of pajama pants, more on that later) in a decently short amount of time. I’m trying to be smart about my time usage and prioritizing projects. I’ve still got to knock out some tops to go with the pants, but I’m at the point now where I’m trying to figure out whether my next move should be trying to participate in the Sewcialists’ stripe month theme, or seeing if I can actually manage Elizabeth’s Day and Night Dress challenge. I have ideas, but I also have serious doubts about my ability to finish two entire dresses in the allotted time. Even if one would be super basic (assuming I can get the pattern printed, given that my home printer is not on speaking terms with my computer anymore and the last time I took Seamwork to Staples, it didn’t work!), and the other is a dress that I was planning to knock out before Easter anyway. So many projects, so little time…

So what have you been making lately? And are you participating in any community challenges?

slowest knitter EVER

I finished a thing! It only took me about 8-9 months! The sad thing is, it took me that long to finish a sweater for Hobbit. Who is not a super-tall human. And it was with bulky yarn. Isn’t that supposed to be fast to knit?

latte coat frontTechnically, I never actually finished it. There were supposed to be pockets, but I literally ran out of yarn. I didn’t block it (it’s acrylic anyway, so it’s not like that would do much), and I was supposed to sew on some buttons, but figured that pushing buttons through those tiny little eyelet buttonholes while trying to restrain a toddler was probably a lost cause. Anyway.

latte coat backThe yarn was Lion Brand Hometown USA, which I originally got from a cousin who had tried knitting and decided it was too physically hard on her hands. There were two skeins of the cream and one skein of the brown, and I figured it would be good colors for something boy. It looked like there would be enough yardage, based on what I read on Ravelry, so I went for it. And wow, was I wrong on the yardage. I actually had to go back to the store twice to buy more of the cream, and the last time I went back for more, there wasn’t any. The brown stripes on the sleeves were out of necessity, just to get enough length to finish. (And as you can see on the left side, I didn’t have quite enough of that either.) I also discovered that knitting super-bulky yarn isn’t that fun for my hands, either. I guess it’s because I knit pretty tightly, but it hurt. So I had to keep picking it up and putting it down and occasionally knitting another project instead.

The good news is, since I knit a larger size, even though it’s spring now and he probably won’t need this sweater, it’ll probably still fit him in the fall. The bad news is, I’m pretty sure he hates it. I tried to get it on him just long enough for a photoshoot, and these were the best pictures I was able to get:

nooooo This one was while yelling “nooooooo” and reaching out so I’d pull this horrendous thing off of him.

 

 

 

 

bye latte coatAnd if he looks happier here, it’s because he was managing to shrug it off himself. Sorry for the blur. I blame toddler physics– the kiddo in motion tends to stay in motion until an outside force acts on him and forces him to take a nap or something.

Oh well… I’ll try again in the fall. And if he still hates it, maybe Padawan will wear it? I hope so, because as long as this took me, it’s sad to think that it might have been a complete waste of time.

 

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.

March in Review

Wow, I didn’t intend to just skip from one monthly summary to the next. But this has been a month where I just didn’t finish anything large enough for individual blog posts. I have a couple of other things in progress, but they’ve been going rather slowly. (Fitting for this blog name, I guess.)

So without further ado, here’s what I did manage to get done. Mostly via instagram pics.

Le Dane HatsThis was actually a pretty good month for knitting. I finished my second hat of the year, this time for Hobbit. And this was actually me planning ahead pretty decently! The hat size for him was 9-24 months, so this will be put aside for next winter. (He just turned 9 months this month, and is currently in a stage where all hats get violently ripped off his head within seconds anyway, so there was really no point in trying to finish it for this winter.) So now he and Doug have matching hats.

The pattern is Le Dane, which is free on Ravelry. Doug picked the colors, and I knitted them out of a soft acrylic. I added extra length to the ribbing on Doug’s at his request, because he wants to make sure he can cover his ears. I knitted Hobbit’s as is, since there’s no guarantee he’ll even leave it on!

Once I finished that, my intent was to do a second gauge swatch for my cardigan. But then I got distracted by pretty variegated yarn at Joann’s, bought two skeins, and immediately started knitting! This is the Garland Cowl, also free on Ravelry, knitted from Lion Brand Landscapes in the Apple Orchard colorway. (I’ve woven in the ends since this picture, but I haven’t tried blocking it yet.) It’s acrylic, so working with it was no problem for me, and I really enjoyed watching the colors change as I worked! I’m trying to simplify my knit accessories, since several of my older scarves are starting to look ratty, and I think this will really pop against my mostly black peacoat! I have about 100 yards left, so I’m thinking I’m going to reknit my Whittier hat. The alpaca in it does make my head itch if I wear it for longer than about 30 minutes, sadly, but I did enjoy the pattern, and it took me less than 100 yards the last time.

I did start that gauge swatch. But going down one needle size wasn’t enough, because it was ending up the exact same size! So I’m trying two sizes down, and hopefully that will be enough.

Also, this happened.

In the world of sewing, I’ve been working on a (hopefully) wearable muslin of the Deer & Doe Bruyere blouse. But I was only working on it at my mom’s sewing machine while she watched Hobbit, so it was slow going. (It’s done now, but in April. More on that later.) I cut out an Appleton dress with the intent of making it for The Monthly Stitch’s “Sew Hot Now” theme, but only got as far as modifying the pattern and cutting it out. I did finish two things, though.

The first was a second pair of the Cake Espresso leggings, from a rayon knit that’s been in the stash for some time. I did lower the waistband from the last time, and it worked much better. The only problem is that it doesn’t seem to go nearly as well with my existing cold weather wardrobe as I thought it would, so I’m having trouble finding things to wear them with! Maybe if we have a cooler day in May, I’ll find an outfit to use it in for Me-Made-May. Which I haven’t pledged yet, but I think I might on a biweekly basis or something. I don’t think I have enough clothes that fit yet to do more than that. Until then, have an instagram pic that at least shows the color. (Man, I look tired.)

I had about 3/4 yard left over, so I made a basic tank top based on McCall’s 5015. The largest size was medium, and I wanted to make sure it will fit, so I did a little FBA and added about 2 inches to the hem. It seems to have worked. I also changed the neckline and armholes to a binding rather than just turn under and hem, because we all know that never, ever works on a regular sewing machine without ripples. It did still ripple, and pressing it out without the fabric going shiny has proved difficult, despite using a press cloth and low heat. But I’m sure it’s still better than the other way would have been! (I’ve pressed it since taking this bathroom selfie, and it does look a little better now. Also, for the record, the leggings picture is closer to the color.)

So that’s my month. I used 1 3/4 yards of fabric up, and bought 1 3/4 to make a gift for a cousin who is expecting a baby this summer. (I also bought 3 yards of silk organza, but it’s for interfacing instead of stash. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Hopefully April will be a little more productive. On a personal note, we finally resorted to letting Hobbit cry it out at night as of last weekend, and it’s actually working much better than every gentler sleep method I’ve tried. So now that I’m finally catching up on some sleep myself, I’m hoping that some of this evening time can start getting used for making things instead of desperately trying to catch what little sleep I can before he wakes up.

January in review

I thought that since I don’t necessarily have a lot to show for this month, it would be good to do a more behind the scenes look! So here’s what’s been going on in my little corner of the world…

1. I reorganized my stuff.

Though I technically started it in December, it was at least a week into January before I felt like things were put back together enough to actually start sewing again. But I’m glad I took the time to do this. My spreadsheet that I track my stash on is all updated now, I know where everything is now, and I actually did get rid of quite a lot of the scrap bin’s contents. I also came up with enough fabric/pattern pairings to keep me busy for quite awhile! Taking it all out and sorting it was a bit of a pain, but it really got the creative juices flowing. Now I just need to find a way to cope with my time constraints and the frustration that it’s been causing.

2. I finished a knitting project. And started some more.

Back when we were dating, I knitted a hat for Doug. It’s getting pretty beat up, since he’s been wearing it every time he leaves the house during the colder days for four or so years now. So I made him a new one. The pattern is called Le Dane, it was free on Ravelry, and I honestly picked it because it has a matching baby hat and I thought that would be adorable! Doug picked the colors, and also requested that I make the ribbing longer on his so he can fold it up around his ears for extra warmth. I’ve started Hobbit’s hat, but the smallest size is 9-24 months, and he has a couple of hand-knitted hats in his current size. Which, of course, he refuses to keep on his head. So I’m planning to just put it and Doug’s hat away to be ready to go for next winter. Look at me, planning ahead! Maybe by then, Hobbit will stop immediately pulling the hats off?

I also started my first ever pair of socks, since Craftsy is hosting a free class for it. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try, but putting off due to fear of tiny, fiddly needles, and how hard it is to find wool-free sock yarn. But I had this bamboo/nylon blend in the stash, so I figured I’ll try it out while I can watch free videos, and if hand-knit socks end up being really irritating to wear, I’m not going to feel obligated to continue like I would be for a paid class. We’ll see how this goes.

3. I’m sewing diapers. Again.

What can I say, Hobbit is a big, growing boy! Same pattern, same process, this time in the large size. My mom is helping again, both with cutting and with giving me hands-free time to work on them at her place. So we’ve gotten as far as cutting out all of the waterproof layer and linings, and putting snaps in the front of all but about 4 or 5. I ran out of snaps at that point, so I’m waiting on an order. In the meantime, I’ve been spending some time this weekend busting through random flannel pieces to make emergency extra diaper inserts. We recently moved him up to the last size of diapers I’d had made up, and for some reason, the soakers aren’t filling them out as well. So this is my desperate attempt to stop him from leaking through every single article of clothing I put on him. Sorry if that’s TMI.

4. State of the stash

I didn’t buy any fabric, patterns or yarn this month! Just thread and zippers and buttons for planned projects. Since I only count fabric as busted when the project is finished, here’s where I ended up:

Fabric out due to my miscalculations– this is due to duplicate or never-updated items in my spreadsheet that I caught after my initial post this year: 4 yards
Fabric tossed: 1 yard. It was an ugly quilt cotton, and a small piece of yardage from my first attempt at the vest I made for Hobbit’s Halloween costume, which was too small to really do anything with.
Fabric sewn: 3.8 yards (2.8 for the pajama pants, 1 yard of flannel)

Total in: 0 yards
Total out: about 12 yards
Total in stash: about 411 yards

I’m very close to finishing another project, because all I have to do is hem it. I just got sidetracked by those diapers.

2015’s final projects

I have a few last-minute additions to this year’s collection of makery.

IMG_3269The first two are both Christmas projects! I only made two things this year, and they were all for Hobbit. The first was this sock monkey ornament. I did it to continue a tradition that my mom started when I was growing up–she would make an ornament each for my brother and I every year, so that we would have a collection to decorate our trees with when we were out on our own. My brother’s got lost somehow, along with a box of ornaments I made myself at one point, and even them moving never turned it up, sadly. But aside from one or two that broke, many of the ornaments on our tree come from that collection. So it’s one I’d like to continue with Hobbit, and any other children that we might have. This year, I kept it simple with a kit, and all I had to do was stuff and stitch. My mom has one too, and I’ll eventually get to making the third and final for our collection. (My mom has taken to calling him Monkey, so we thought it appropriate.) Isaac's ark

 

The second is this toy ark, which ended up being a family affair. The pattern came from one of my grandmothers, who was getting rid of old craft books last Christmas and asked my cousins and I to see if there was anything we wanted to take. Most of the fabrics came from my mom’s stash of quilt cotton, and she helped me a great deal with both sewing the animals and holding Hobbit so I could work on it myself. Doug helped by cutting some thin wood into the shapes for the boat, after I couldn’t find large enough pieces of the  illustration board that it called for at the local arts and crafts stores. And I ended up using my dad’s duct tape to seal the board edges to prevent splinters from working through, so that counts. Right? Aside from the duct tape, the boards are covered in quilt batting and fabric, and I had to hand stitch and hot glue the covered pieces together. Awkward, but it worked. I think it turned out pretty cute, and the adults in the family were impressed. Hobbit’s take on it so far is that the animals are fun to stick in his mouth, just like everything else in life right now. But he did seem somewhat interested when I was showing him how to drop the animals inside, so hopefully he’ll like it when he’s a bit older.

Exhibit B: knitting. As I mentioned in my goals post, it’s been a slooooooow year on the yarn front. But here’s the two things that I did finish.

rock and tideThis cowl. Which I actually posted in January, but it took me this long to weave in the ends and block it. I still wish the drop stitch was working the way I wanted it to and showing the meshier aspect of the yarn, but hey, I made up my own knitting pattern. That’s new. Sebastian's

This scarf. The pattern is called Sebastian’s Scarf. It’s one of the projects in the Improve Your Knitting class on Craftsy, which my mom and I were going through together. I was a little disappointed that the class basically just covered different styles of knitting, and not much else. They do have a class now that’s just on continental style, and I think that would be more helpful, since I’ve been told multiple times that it would be better for my carpal tunnel than the English style. Continental purling is extremely awkward for me so far, though. Especially when switching between knit and purl in the same row. And forget yarnovers! Anyway, they don’t really go over the specific projects in the class at all. I have yarn for the other two– another scarf and an all rib-knit sweater that will no longer be anything resembling flattering with my remaining post-baby squishiness. So I may just see if I can find alternate uses for those yarns. Particularly the sweater– some of my older knitted scarves are starting to get a bit ratty, so it might be time to start replacing them.

To finish off, here’s the nerdy numbers bit!

Projects completed this year: 41. Not too shabby, all things considered.
The breakdown:
Dresses: 4. All from scratch.
Skirts: 6. 4 from scratch, one of which used otherwise difficult scraps, and 2 refashions.
Tops (for me): 4, all from scratch. I’m counting the waterfall cardigan as a top here.
Pants: 2 pairs, both leggings.
Costumes: 2. One to help my bestie, one for Hobbit. Actually, I could probably say 3. I just remembered the Saturday that I spent helping my sis in law to make a Jedi robe.
Accessories for me: 3, all knitted neckwear.
Baby clothes: 8. 2 refashioned onesies, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of pants, a romper and a t-shirt.
Toys/ toy storage: 6. 2 epic quiet books, the play gym, the ark, and then storage bags/hammock for blocks, puzzles and stuffed animals.
Functional baby gear: 4. An entire stash of cloth diapers, a diaper bag, a nursing cover, and a changing mat.
Holiday: 1, the monkey ornament. I also have a Christmas stocking cut out for Hobbit, but cutting it out was as far as I’ve gotten with it.

I’ll have to do the stashbusting review later, since my focus this week has been mostly on washing and nicely folding all of the more recent additions to the collection, and I’m still tallying the yardage. Let’s just say that I epically failed on my one challenge goal this year (to end with less than I started with), and save the gory details for next year, shall we?

Hope you all have a happy new year!

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!

espresso and wine (FESA, part 2)

As promised, my other two Fall Essentials Sew-Along projects for this year! Both named after beverages that I don’t drink– when it comes to coffee, I’m Team Tea forever. And while I will drink the occasional glass of wine, I’m the type who would rather play it safe and abstain while I’m nursing. So I haven’t had a drop of that since the France vacation last year. But that’s a good way to end it, no?

Wine Country Cowl longLet’s talk about the knitting first, shall we? This is the Wine Country Cowl, which was a free pattern that I found via Ravelry. The great thing about this pattern was that it was super-easy to memorize, which meant that it was a great pattern to ease me back into knitting while totally sleep-deprived.

The yarn I used is the now-discontinued Ella Rae Latte, which I bought for the top part of a sweater that I abandoned because I could not figure it out for the life of me. I thought it would be a bulky enough yarn that I could burn through all four skeins by making some slight modifications to the pattern–mostly knitting it on smaller needles than it called for (size 11 vs the original size 16) and adding 10 more stitches to every row. But I’ll admit that math is not my strong point– I often joke that, as a musician, my math skills extend to counting to four repeatedly– and so I ended up using just over two skeins. Doh. I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet, but I’m guessing a hat shouldn’t be it. I was ok knitting it, but the yarn is admittedly a bit itchy to wear on my neck due to the 30% alpaca content. Maybe I should avoid alpaca in my future yarn purchases, along with all of the other wool. Sigh.

Wine Country Cowl short The cowl itself isn’t quite the big, long, chunky thing that I wanted it to be. But it should be warm enough. And the color goes pretty well with my Darling Ranges dress!

The final component of this outfit is the leggings. I used the Cake Espresso pattern this time, and it went sooo much better than the Manila leggings that I tried earlier this year. Mainly because I wasn’t surprised by the length being cropped. And my fabric actually stretched the right way. Imagine that.

Darling Ranges Back I’m recycling one of the photos from the last post, because it really does show the leggings the best. At least, as much of them as I’m willing to reveal. I’m sorry, but the internet doesn’t need to see my postpartum pudge, ok? Plus the fabric ended up being a little too sheer for me to be comfortable showing the upper portion.

As you can see, they’re not perfect– there is a little extra fabric around the knee. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: they weren’t 100% done when these pictures were taken. Hobbit didn’t quite nap long enough for me to hem the legs, but I figured they were done enough for these photos, since I’ll most likely end up always wearing them as tights with boots anyway. I’ll have to check the length again before hemming it, because I’ve already made some alterations!

It somehow ended up very high-waisted when I connected the dots. Like maternity high waisted. I cut off an inch before even sewing the waistband, and after wearing these for much of the day on Sunday (still unhemmed), I decided to take off even more. The waist elastic also ended up being too loose, so I just cut the whole thing off, tightened up the elastic, and sewed it again. Though I haven’t tested it in the real world yet, since I still need to hem it (hopefully today) it’s already much more comfortable. It’s probably something like 3 to 3.5″ lower than where it started. Hopefully I’ll remember to do these adjustments to the actual pattern the next time I make these. I do have fabric that could make a second pair, and I can see how these could be addicting to make. Once I got the pattern drafted, it was so fast and easy, and that’s just what I need for layering pieces right now.

I do need to figure out what to do with the rest of this knit. I bought extra with the thought of making up the skirt of a second Cake pattern (the Red Velvet dress), but the fabric I had in mind for the top wasn’t wide enough. I have about 3 yards of it left, since the leggings ended up taking less length than I anticipated, so the obvious choice is some kind of black dress. After all, a musician can never have too many of those, and I don’t know when or if my old performance dress will fit again. But it’s kind of slinky and drapes heavily, so I’ll have to be very careful with my choice of pattern. I haven’t had a chance to look through my own pattern stash for possibilities yet, but any suggestions?

CloseupI’m going to leave this one with one of the outtakes from the cowl pictures, just because I like it.

And that wraps up my FESA for this year! For once, I picked a perfectly reasonable number of projects. And I’m quite happy that I actually finished my list, and ended up with three versatile pieces that make one cute outfit. Bonus: since I’m technically finishing these in November, I may be able to actually participate in this month’s theme at The Monthly Stitch (capsule wardrobe), if I choose my next project wisely. I should plan all of my future seasonal sewalongs like this!

it’s that time of year again!

Woohoo! I just wanted to take a few minutes and talk about my FESA plans for this year. Due to my current time constraints, I’m keeping it simple this year, and only committing to a handful of projects– after all, I also have a little Halloween costume that I’ve been mentally planning since, oh, last Christmas. So here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish…

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather 
IMG_2813//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsI have fabric that I think will work to finally try out the Cake Espresso leggings in two different colors, though after the disaster that was my last attempt at sewing leggings, I’m definitely double checking the stretch first this time! Assuming all is well, I plan to sew the black pair, because that will go with nearly all of the skirts I own that currently fit.  I’m most likely to wear them as tights with boots. (Honestly, based on my initial fiddling to check the stretch, I think this fabric will be too see-through to use them as anything else!)

Fabulous Frocks
IMG_2811//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsFor the third year in a row, I am putting the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress, in this very fall-appropriate rayon challis print, on my list. And I am determined that this is the year I’ll actually make it, dangit!!! After all, it looks like the perfect style for postpartum and nursing. I have managed to get the pattern traced, the fabric cut out, and the darts sewn so far. So third time is the charm, right?


Baby It’s Cold Outside
IMG_2812//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThis may be cheating, since I’ve been working on this particular project for over a month already. But I’ve been knitting a cowl (the Wine Country Cowl) out of some bulky yarn that I originally bought as the top part of a sweater that I’ve since abandoned the plan to knit. I could not figure out the very first steps of the pattern at all, and decided I didn’t like how the two yarns coordinated after all. “I can’t wear wool” substitution problems strike again. Anyway, I’m over halfway done this cowl, I think–it’s been one of my methods for coping with Hobbit’s penchant for napping best when on my lap and leaving me chair-bound for long stretches of time. Sadly, I think that my plan to use up the entire stash of this yarn isn’t going to work out, given its current length. Any suggestions for what else I can do with one or two balls of this stuff?

The nice thing is that if I finish all three of these projects, I’ll have one complete outfit! If I can get those and the costume done and still have time left, I have a fairly substantial mental list of additional projects that I could add in. But since I am unsure at this point what the greatest needs in my wardrobe will be, or what I’ll be most motivated to work on (SO important right now), I’ll just see how this goes first.

9 months in the making

Believe it or not, I can actually do a small June round-up. Although I haven’t had a chance to take pictures yet, for the most part.

So this month, I…

  • Finished all of the hand-sewing on the second quiet book, thanks to a week where I literally had nothing left to do except hang out at my parents’ while Doug was at work and wait to see if I’d go into labor. All that needs to be done is to sew the finished pages back-to-back with the machine, and assemble the book.
  • Finished knitting a scarf from a Craftsy class that I started last year sometime. And I have quite a bit of the second ball of yarn left, but I do have an idea for a project to use it on. Just need the time.
  • Did not use up any of my fabric stash. But I did order 7 yards, because Fabric.com suckered me in with geeky novelty prints.
  • Got the scrapbook that I’ve been working on almost completely done, minus a few pictures that just got ordered. (Since I got married, I’ve been doing one per year, running from June to May in order to coincide with our anniversary. I seriously love the pocket-style scrapbooking, it makes it so much easier to keep up!) I even managed to finish up some older unfinished album pages, too!

Oh yeah…and I finished this project.

He was born on June 22 (a week and a day past his due date), 20 3/4″ long and 8 pounds 10 ounces. He’s 10 days old now, and though it’s been pretty exhausting, it’s been fun getting to know this little guy, too. He’s usually pretty happy, except when he has to get a bath or I take too long in getting ready to feed him.

Of course, when I do feed him, then he looks more like this:

Speaking of feeding, he’s ready for that again. Hobbit was a very accurate nickname.
Back later…