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.

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.

pondering knitting

Me and knitting have reached a weird point in our relationship. I have a couple of UFOs that I just don’t feel like working on at the moment, about half of the projects in my Ravelry queue are pullover sweaters (which are obviously out for now), and I’m not really sure what to do next.

So I recently swatched for a cardigan that I already bought yarn for, the Rocky Coast from the Coastal Knits book. Amazingly, the gauge actually worked on the first try! But I wonder if the yarn/needle combination makes it look too loose of a knit. The trials of almost always having to substitute the suggested yarn, I suppose. I may go ahead and start this one anyway, because it has enough cotton in the yarn that washing could tighten it up. And knowing me, by the time I finish knitting this, it’ll be just in time for fall 2016 and my body will probably be at its new normal anyway.

I also had this random single ball of yarn that I bought at the beach shop a couple of years ago, and I figured a bulky yarn would knit up fast and get out of my stash. I wanted to take advantage of the yarn’s ability to change textures–it kind of knits up like a t-shirt yarn, but can open up to more of a lacy mesh. And I haven’t been able to find any patterns I liked for the amount that I had, so I attempted to design my own cowl pattern. The pattern itself worked fine–it’s a combination between a moss stitch, to show the closed texture, and a drop-stitch to hopefully allow part of the yarn to open up. I think I’d have to block this to make that happen. The problem is, I only had enough yarn to do three repeats of the pattern before I had to bind it off, which makes for a very narrow cowl! So I’ve had this sitting on my table for something like a week, trying to decide if I should go ahead and block it and see what happens, or to unravel it and try to come up with a different project. Any thoughts?

Either way, I’m feeling kind of mental blocked on anything yarny until I make decisions about what to do about these two projects. So in the meantime, I’ve been tracing out patterns that I was given for Christmas for geeky baby quiet books instead.

back in the saddle

I’ve long had an issue where if I feel like I failed at something, I have a really hard time overcoming that sense and picking it up again. There was this one time during my college years where I did a week-long music workshop out of state, and one of the people running a masterclass there was the principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I picked a piece to play for that with the help of my flute professor, worked my tail off on it, and got ripped up one side and down the other for my performance of it. It was a solid two years before I could pick the piece up again to do even a very small performance at a nursing home with it. I used to draw and paint all the time when I was a teenager, and since I dropped out of being an art major after one horrible semester, I’ve barely been able to pick up a sketchpad–even though I’d love to get back into that sometime, the inspiration just hasn’t been there. And even though it wasn’t really a failure, ever since that time a couple of years ago where my best friend and I tried selling our wares at a craft fair, and then I set up an Etsy shop to try to get rid of the many, many extra pieces I had afterwards (which sold nothing), I haven’t even really tried to make any jewelry.

But Me-Made-May made me miss it. I honestly got more comments about my jewelry on my Instagram pictures and the Flickr group than I did about my clothes! (Not really sure what that means about my style, but oh well.) So I pulled out a couple of my bead boxes and made some stuff during the course of watching a movie with Doug one night a couple of weeks ago. So even though these may not be anything exciting, they’re important to me, because it represents finally getting past a mental block. (Also, they’re all completely from stash, which is always good!)

IMG_1414I made three necklaces and a bracelet. I haven’t had a chance to wear the bottom necklace or the bracelet yet, but I’m wearing the purple one today and I wore the coral one recently. After all of that palette work for the Wardrobe Architect project, I realized that coral and plummy purple were both things I could use more accessories in!

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Isn’t this pendant cute? My sister-in-law gave it to me for either my birthday or Christmas last year. It’s actually a little locket, and the package said fairy door, but we all know it looks like a hobbit hole door, right?

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I also made a few pairs of earrings. One of my basic black earrings fell out of my ear and got lost a few months ago, so I needed something to replace it. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for bending the teardrop shapes out of the wire myself! They’re also slightly hammered, though you can’t really see the texture in this picture. The other ones were basically just making bead drops and dangling them off the pre-made 8 loops.

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And then I also made a few more basic beaded earrings. The spiral loop 8’s were pre-made like that, but I did the wire wrapping on the purple pair myself.

So that’s it!

The Wardrobe Architect Project, Week 12: Accessories!

First of all, thank you all for the kind comments on my tea dress! I’m a little overwhelmed, in a good way, at how much love it got. This seriously might be one of my most-commented-on projects ever. Including the wedding dress.

Normally, I’d do a monthly roundup here, but to be honest, my crafting has been very slow this month, and the tea dress is my only finished project. I do have two other sewing projects in the works, and am hoping to have a little more to show for them soon. Knitting has ground to a complete halt for now, particularly since I had a whopping 5 rehearsals in the span of a week last week, plus my retail job that is very office work-heavy (read: computer-intensive) for me this time of year, and consciously taking some time off of that was the best thing I could do for my hands. It worked–my carpal tunnel has been surprisingly well-behaved! Though I do hope to get back to that soon as well. In the meantime, since my MMM pledge is built to include handmade accessories, I figured it was high time I dealt with that particular Wardrobe Architect assignment.

Sarai divides them into functional vs. decorative accessories, so I’ll do the same.
Functional Accessories:
Shoes: I have to admit, I’m not much of a shoe girl. Mostly by necessity. I’ve lamented about how hard it is to find shoes in my extra-wide size many times on here before, thanks to a bony protrusion below my big toes that I’ve had my whole life. And when you’re looking at easily spending at least $80-120 a pop just to find functional shoes that fit, it definitely curbs your enthusiasm for buying them! (I get really excited on the rare occasions that I find shoes I like at the thrift store that fit!)

In fact, I can quite easily fit my entire shoe collection into one picture. And that’s including my slippers and my wedding/reception shoes!

I tend to gravitate mostly towards sandals in the summer, except for the garden center job (closed-toe shoes are required, so I just wear my sneakers). During the cold weather, I mostly wear either my boots, or if it’s not too cold and/or wet, a couple pairs of basic flat casual shoes. As you can see, the majority of my shoes are either black or brown, so they can go with as many things as possible. I also have a tendency to wear them to death. Those brown boots are the newest addition, and that was because the brown boots I’ve had since partway through college were finally starting to kick the bucket–we’re talking multiple tears in the shaft lining and an actual hole through the soles on top of the heel. (It was sobering to realize that the boots were over a decade old, but at least I got my money’s worth out of them! Hopefully the new ones will last just as long.)

So in short, my general requirements are neutral, well-made, fairly reasonably priced, and comfortable. (Did I mention my feet are also ridiculously blister-prone?) You have no idea how many times I’ve been tempted to look into shoe-making as a hobby. At least then I could have some shoes in fun colors.

Bags: I tend to just carry one purse around, usually ones that my mom has made from fun print fabrics. I usually switch it up every 6 months or so, and do brighter colors in the spring/summer and more neutral/earthtone in the fall/winter. She’s perfected one particular pattern for me that fits all three of my requirements: cross-body strap, plenty of pockets, and big enough to carry a book or my Kindle. For the retail job, I’ll just stuff the entire purse into a tote bag to keep it from getting dirty/give me extra space for my lunch and drinks. My flute bag is also frequently a factor, though it’s a backpack style one. (Which is why I like the cross-body straps, because then I don’t have to worry about balancing them.) Sometimes I’ll downsize to a smaller purse for day trips to reduce the weight, though I still like them to be large enough for my SLR camera.

Hats: I mostly wear these in the winter to keep my head warm, and my only requirement is not wool, due to the allergy issues. I probably should wear hats more in the summer to keep the sun from burning my face, but I honestly think they make me look pretty dorky.

Gloves/handwarmers: Again, mostly a cold-weather thing, and I’m sure I will continue to knit lots of these, since my hands are generally the first thing to get cold.

Scarves: I rarely leave the house without the functional knitted ones when it’s cold.

Belts: When I wear them for functional reasons, it’s generally to keep my jeans in place.

Sunglasses: I have one pair, which I keep in my purse and mostly use for driving or walking around outside on a sunny summer day.

Decorative Accessories: 
Jewelry: Love me some jewelry. Aside from clothes, this is what I’ve been DIYing the longest. I’ve got 4 jewelry displays in this picture, and that’s not even all of it! I have another full rack on the other side of the mirror, as well as a box for bracelets and such.

I mostly like chunky or beaded necklaces, dangly earrings, Celtic knot designs, stuff like that. Most of my chain-type necklaces are silver, though I do have a few things in a more matte/antique gold or copper. I also almost always wear simple silver studs in my second ear piercing. I used to wear a lot of rings, like almost every finger, but have slowly gotten away from that in the years since college and now just wear my wedding/engagement rings. I’m also getting more into bracelets, though I’ll only wear them on my left arm because I’m right-handed and they’re less in the way there.

Even though I obviously have a lot of jewelry, I’m kind of missing making it now. I really should bust into the bead stash and make some new earrings or something. I might need something to help me get through my pledge this month!

Belts: I have a few that I wear more for waist-cinching looser tops, like those wide elastic-type ones. I’d like to get a few more decorative belts in different widths and colors.

Scarves: It’s really only been in the last year or so that I’ve started playing around with the more fashionable ones. My go-to was always necklaces, and I was worried about them getting caught on my flute. Which they sometimes do, tbh. But I’m also starting to like the extra warmth on my neck, and I’ve learned a way or two to tie them that makes them shorter and less prone to snagging on my instrument. Plus I’m kind of loving that infinity scarf I made from the Plantain leftovers.

Honestly, I’d like to try out some of those little knitted shawl/scarf things, too. The small ones that don’t look granny. But I need to finish a few knitting projects first.

So I guess that pretty much sums things up for now! As far as things to add go, I know I could use a few more pairs of earrings in my palette colors–black and the warmer tones in particular–and a few more scarves and decorative belts. I’d also like to dye my wedding shoes, since it’s my one shot to have a fun color! Though I wonder if the crystal embellishment bit makes them too fancy regardless…

Everybody else was doing it…

In typical fashion, I’m one of the last ones on the bandwagon. Usually it’s either that, or I miss it altogether. But, since I’d already mentioned that I needed a mental break from pants, I made a Deer & Doe Plantain tee!

Plantain FrontThis was super-quick to make up, even with me modifying the pattern. I used Heather’s tutorial for making a contrast yoke, because the busyness of the print made me think that it could use some more solid to tie in the neck binding and elbow patches better. I’d already printed out and taped the PDF together, but I like re-tracing PDF patterns onto thinner paper to make laying out and cutting easier. I was able to get this traced, cut out, and sewn together in the span of one afternoon! It definitely helped that I did the bulk of the construction on my serger, so I didn’t have to worry about seam finishes. But it was still nice to knock a project out so quickly.

I’m pleasantly surprised by this pattern, to be honest. The website describes the fit as “loose but elegant”, and I don’t usually care for a looser fit in my tops. But I figured I’d give it a shot, because the pattern was free, and I figured that as a worst-case scenario, I could just wear this as a bum around the house shirt. But this doesn’t hang off me like a sack, like I half-expected it to–it’s actually a lot more flattering than I thought it would be. If the knit wasn’t as drapey as it is, I don’t think it would have worked as well, so I’ll have to keep that in mind for any future versions.
Plantain BackA shot of the back, modeled with the charcoal version of the latest Thurlows. It makes me look really curvy!

Aside from the modifications to make the yoke, including a little extra topstitching to make the pieces lie flatter, I made this a straight-up size 40. The only other sizing modification that I made was to add an inch to the sleeves, in what I call my “monkey arm adjustment”. It worked perfectly, and I was able to go ahead and use the 3/4″ hem allowance that the pattern called for and still cover my wrists in their entirety. I was also surprised that the elbow patches ended up actually hitting at my elbows without any adjustments.

Plantain closeup

One more shot on Donna, for a closeup of the fabrics!  I love this stylized floral knit–it feels somewhat Asian to me. I’ve been hoarding both of these for awhile, and had been thinking for a long time about using them together, since the teals are so close in color. My long-term thought had been to make some kind of knit dress out of it, but I’ve been putting it off for a long time because the print is on the thinner side, and I figured I’d have to try and line it somehow to keep my underwear from showing through. While working through all of the Wardrobe Architect stuff so far, though, I realized that I’d probably get a lot more use out of this as a top. I’m pretty good on summery dresses (even though I do have definite plans to make more), and this fabric is too thin to make a good colder-weather dress. So I guess this process is helping me make smart sewing decisions!

Infinity scarfI still have enough of the solid teal left to make a short-sleeved or sleeveless top, since I really only used a tiny segment to cut all three pieces. As for the print, I had less than 3/4 yard left of the full width. So I basically cut the ragged ends off, sewed it into a tube, sewed the ends together–instant infinity scarf! Which will be great for adding interest to more solid outfits, and nice to wear. This knit is super-soft. And since all I have left is scraps that are maybe just large enough to make undies out of (I really need to learn to do that), I shall consider this piece of stash officially busted.

Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain tee – third pattern used this year.

Amount of time it took to make: A couple of hours from start to finish, plus about 30 minutes for the scarf

Fabric used: Two pieces of rayon knit (one used up, for a total of 5 pieces so far this year.)

Amount of fabric used: 2.25 yards of the print, plus a tiny bit more of the solid

Stashed since: Print was from Christmas 2010, not entirely sure about the solid except that it’s been there longer than that.

Current stash total: Approx. 333.25 yards.

Red Velvet, Green Velvet

I’m still plugging away at my first project for the Doctor Who Sewalong, and am hoping to have it finished and ready to show by this weekend. But I took a break on Tuesday to whip this little bag up.

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It only seems to want to go sideways. Probably what I get for doing a phone photo. But this is the Red Velvet mini-clutch by Cake Patterns, in green velvet! Which kind of makes me laugh.

UntitledThis one’s sitting a little better, at least. It’s hard to see in there, but the inside is a white brocade. I was able to make this entirely from scraps that I had on hand, aside from needing to purchase a zipper. And aside from the hour or so it took me to figure out how on earth those scissor pleats were supposed to work (I could only mark the dots with thread, because I didn’t want to mess up the velvet), it came together very quickly– I had this cut out and stitched up in one evening.

I’m not keeping this bag. A friend from church is fundraising to adopt a little girl from China with a heart condition, and she put a shoutout on her Instagram recently to ask for donations, so I told her I’d make a little something for her. So this is part of the Christmas-themed bundle she’s doing, out of three bundles total. Hopefully the winner will like it! Thanks in particular to Steph, who graciously granted permission for me to make this bag for the giveaway when I asked her about it on Twitter. Now that I know how it works, this won’t be the last one I make. I’m already plotting at least one for a Christmas gift!

Speaking of giveaways, there’s still plenty of time to enter to win a recent issue of KnitScene. There’s already been several entries, so thanks to everyone who’s commented so far! It’s been fun to see what’s caught your eye.

The post you’ve all been waiting for!

I mean, I’m assuming you do want to see that little dress project that took up nearly a year’s worth of planning and postings on here, right?

So, at last: the One Dress to Rule Them All. And other handmade wedding goodness. (These aren’t the professional pics, so I may come back and edit this post to add some of those later. But these are featuring the shots that I was able to get from my family and friends. I’m also making these larger than usual.)

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Full-length dress shot! This is me with my friend/honorary bridesmaid Nicole. I wasn’t able to have her as part of the wedding party, but she did the artwork for my invitations and programs, and also did my hair!

6512_10151653159422980_1480637199_nAnother full-length shot, this time from the first dance. You can see the border sunflowers a little better on this one, I think.

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Ceremony shot- not the best expression on my face, but it’s a good closer view of the bodice. And Doug’s tie. And my bouquet!

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This was as we were all leaving the church–and a great shot of the back!
1044856_576995665679164_1044450457_nMe and two of my bridesmaids/long-time best friends, Cassie and Julie. The headbands turned out ok after all!
1014281_576995975679133_1477030337_nProof that the TARDIS/R2-D2 shoes made an appearance! We all changed into them after we were done with the outdoor bridal party pictures.
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And I’m just including this shot because I think it’s fun, even though I look like I’m posing for one of those old Sure deodorant commercials! The DJ had Doug and I do this game where we each had to sit back to back while holding one of our shoes and one of the other’s shoes, and raise the shoe for the person we were answering for. I’m pretty sure this one was “which person has the crazier friends.” (I love my crazy friends!)

So there you have it–I hope the post was worth the wait!

(In case you’re newer to reading this blog, a few quick project notes: The bodice and waistband are based on Sewaholic’s Cambie dress. I modified it to make the upper back and sleeve caps sheer, and changed the darts to princess seams for fitting reasons. The skirt is from Simplicity 2442, modified to lower the waist. I also used a lengthened version of the Sewing Cake Pavlova skirt for the tulle underlayer. And if you want to see all of the construction posts and notes and multiple muslin attempts, you can click here.) 

just in time for fall…

As promised, two new things to show today! But first, I just wanted to give a quick follow-up to the last post. To all of you who gave me your feedback, thanks so much! Several of you brought up the time issue when it comes to commenting, which I hadn’t mentioned. Truthfully, it hadn’t crossed my mind while I was at work, but that’s an excellent point–I’m not always the best commenter myself, because it’s often hard to just keep up with the blogs I enjoy reading, and commenting often falls by the wayside. So that’s something I’d like to do better about myself–there’s just so many good sewing blogs out there, most of which I didn’t even mention by name, and everyone deserves for their work to be appreciated! And it is good to know that people are reading and enjoying what I make.

And without further ado, on to the good stuff!

Guardian's Tail cowl#1: Near the end of August, I finally finished a knitting project that I’d been picking at on and off for months–not so much for lack of interest, but first I had to focus on the Camille shrug, then spring craziness broke loose, then I got engaged….let’s say I got sidetracked. But mostly thanks to some recent hang-out time at my aunt’s family beach house with several yarn-crafty cousins, I managed to finish this scarf up. (It was fun….we had my crocheting sister-in-law, a crocheter cousin-in-law who was trying to learn to knit, a knitter cousin who was attempting crochet, and another cousin who’d never tried either but was interested, so I taught her the knit stitch. Also, the five of us girls drove the two guys–my brother and the one male cousin who were there at the time–kind of nuts because we were all sitting there in front of the tv doing crafts!)

Guardian's Tail closeupThe pattern is the Guardian’s Tail scarf that I started way back in last October, to use up the leftover yarn from my Counterpoint hat. The pattern was simple enough that I didn’t really have any difficulty in following it, except the repeat was long enough that I never did manage to memorize the pattern. I’m sure that setting it aside for several months probably didn’t help there. I was kind of surprised that I finished it up at the beach that weekend, actually, because I didn’t realize I was that close to finishing up with the skein of yarn! So it ended up being a rather short scarf. The pattern had said it would make a short scarf with the yarn/amount listed, and suggested pinning the scarf. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, because I am not going to take the time to pin and unpin a scarf when I can just grab a longer one and wrap it around my neck and go. So, logically, the only thing to do so that I’d actually wear the thing was to make it into a cowl. So that’s what I did. Warmth-wise, it would probably be better if it was still even longer so I could double it around my neck without choking myself, but I think it looks pretty good. And hurrah for stashbusting!

#2: I feel like I need a drumroll for this one! Because guess what…. I HAVE JEANS!!!

Jeans 1If you haven’t taken it yet, I would very highly recommend Kenneth King’s Jean-ius class on Craftsy. It was so amazingly helpful to actually see how he did certain steps, and his method for sewing in the fly zipper alone made the price worth it. (Even though I got it on sale so it really wasn’t that expensive. Believe me, it’s worth the full price!) I am so unbelievably excited to have jeans that actually fit me! And I love that the class videos never expire, so I can go back and reference those tips again and again.

Jeans 2And here’s a side view–pardon the silly poses, Doug was having fun playing photoshoot director and telling me exactly how to stand/what to do with the scarf! I wore these jeans all day today, and I’m very happy with the fit. The gapping is quite minimal, they were comfortable to wear, and they look pretty darn good, if I may say so myself!

For my future reference, since it’ll be awhile before I get around to making a second pair, I will need to make several tweaks to the pattern itself:

a) Fortunately, I had the foresight to baste the legs together and try them on to see how it would fit in actual denim vs. the somewhat lighter twill that I’d used as my muslin. As a result, I ended up tapering the seam allowances to 1/2″ in the upper inner thigh, and from just below the zipper to about 2/3 of the way up the back crotch seam. (At the risk of TMI, the crotch area had felt a little uncomfortably snug. I don’t know if that’s because it actually was, or my “strong thighs”, as Tasia words it, generally makes it so that I have this unflattering pooch of excess fabric right above my thighs in the front of my RTW jeans, and therefore I’m used to a looser fit.) I also ended up taking in the very top in the back seam more than the 5/8″ seam to remove a bit of gapping….rats, I can’t remember the number. I’m going to guess a 7/8″.

b) Speaking of seam allowances, I learned early in the construction process that if I want to do the flat-felled inner thigh and crotch seams like in “real” jeans, I’m going to need to allow more fabric in those particular seam allowances. I would have only had enough to do a super-skinny, very-awkward-to-sew one. So I serged it and went for the faux look.

c) I need to make the pockets deeper. I can barely get my hand in. Of course, this might also have to do with the curve of the actual pocket cutout itself….or perhaps that I’m not used to my jeans actually fitting in the front, as previously mentioned. So probably a combination of a deeper pocket and a somewhat deeper cutout curvature.

d) Waistband seamed in the back to aid in avoiding the dreaded gaposis = good. But next time, I need to shift that seam over so it lines up with the topstitching, not the actual back seam. I didn’t realize until I went to put the belt loops on that lining up the belt loop with the topstitching means that seam is still completely showing. (Good thing I’m not one who usually tucks my shirts in.)

e) A little extra length in the hem could be useful. They were a great length for the flat sandals I wore today. But after serging, pressing, and turning up, I just barely had enough fabric to make that. work with the 1-1.5″ (I think) heeled sandals I was wearing at the time. I’ll have to check this against my two pairs of boots to make sure this will work. I usually favor lower heels anyway (and Doug isn’t a whole lot taller than me, so I’ll probably stick to that), but I’m not entirely sure they won’t be too short for my favored brown boots that have miraculously held up since my college days.

One more note to myself: I’m happy to report that my serger (which still needs a name) worked like a dream on the denim! Which was a pleasant surprise, because I did something wonky on the Engagement Shirt and parts of it are coming unstitched already from threads breaking because of too-tight tension, Oops. But the denim was flawless. I’m very glad I got it serviced a few months ago. The really smart thing to do would be to write down these particular tension numbers for future reference!