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!

Oh, Darling…

Please believe me, I never meant to leave you on my Fall Essentials Sewalong list for three years straight…

Darling Ranges FrontOk, so my rewritten Beatles lyrics don’t quite fit the music. But it’s a small blessing in disguise that the dress did have to wait, because it would otherwise fall into the oh-so-frustrating category of “things I should be able to wear while nursing, but can’t.” Like all but two of the button-down shirts I own. On the other hand, my larger-than-usual measurements did prove challenging at times. I probably should have made a muslin. But since I have to fight for every second of sewing time these days, it’s hard to stomach the thought of not having anything to show for it in the end.

When I originally planned to make the Darling Ranges dress, I was going to make it in a medium. I had to bump that up to a large, but thankfully, I still had enough fabric. Barely. The biggest challenge, and one that took me a couple of naptimes to sort out, was fitting the bust darts. They’re oddly wide on the pattern, which should have been a hint to me that this might need some work, given how much effort it took me to sort that out when attempting to come up with an FBA for the Cambie dress back in the wedding sewing days. Since I didn’t want to waste this gorgeous fabric, I had to resort to lengthening the dart and kind of curving it in on the ends, because the original was leaving me with some very unflattering, saggy points. In this picture, the top diagonal line is the original dart. The lower line is how far out I had to drag it to make it work.

Darling Ranges Back I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this dress, to be honest. On the one hand, I love love love this fabric. And there’s something rather delightfully 90s about it, which is probably the fact that it’s kind of babydoll and in a challis.

But at the same time, I feel like this pattern would need quite a bit of work to get it where I would want it to be. Aside from tweaking the bust darts, it feels like the waist needs to be lowered about an inch or so in order to hit my natural waist. As it is, it’s hitting this odd spot between that and an empire waistline. The ties would need to be longer to accommodate my current embiggened state. I wasn’t happy with the front placket construction, since the lack of interfacing made it so my normally compliant machine gave me hell on the buttonholes, despite using paper underneath to try and compensate. And I do have some odd gapping on just one side of the neckline that I couldn’t quite work out. The one tweak I did make was to the length of the sleeves, cutting them down to just above my elbow instead of the 3/4 that they originally were. With the busyness of the print, I think that was the right move, so thanks to everyone I polled on Instagram/Twitter who helped me make the decision.

So I guess the question is, do I care enough about this pattern to put the work into altering it? I’m not sure yet. I’ve seen one variation that Megan Nielsen made where the waist seam and gathers were eliminated to make it more like a button-down tunic, and that style looks like it would be lovely for a particular piece of fabric that’s been in my stash for quite some time. But I would definitely need to reconcile that dart situation first, and I wonder if I’d be better off waiting until I have some time to play with a few other button-down patterns in my stash.

Action shotAlso, here’s my shot for this month’s installment of the Better Pictures Project, just under the wire. This month’s focus was on action shots. None of my spinning ones turned out well–I just couldn’t seem to get the timing down between when I was moving and when Doug was actually pressing the shutter button. So I went with my daily weightlifting instead. And I know this particular shot would have been better if the flash hadn’t gone off and left me with that shadow. But hey, cute baby accessory.

Since it took me this long to get a day where the light cooperated and I didn’t have to try to juggle Hobbit and the tripod on my own, I actually managed to (mostly) finish my other two FESA projects! So more on those next time.

Better than nothing

It’s hardly worth it to do a September roundup, as this is pretty much all I have to show for the last 3 weeks. It’s a simple sewing job, and I feel like I should be closer to finished. But nap time has been a struggle lately, I’m back to almost my full teaching schedule and that means most afternoons are a no-go, and I’m fighting a cold. All I managed to sew yesterday was serging and pressing the armhole seams. But it’s one step closer than I was.

So at least it’s something.

And all things considered, that’s really good.

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// 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// 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// 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.

FESA report card, and other news

Now that it’s December, and the Fall Essentials Sew-along is over for another year, let’s see how I did…

Well, I didn’t do great. I had seven things on my original list. Very conservative of me, I thought!

1. Espresso leggings (Fashionable Foundations): didn’t get to them.

2. Roheline cardigan (Chic Chemises): The knitting part of this one is done– I barely finished in time, as I wove in the rest of the ends and sewed up the underarms on the 30th. I do still need to add buttons, but first I need to find some. The buttonholes ended up being a lot smaller than I expected, and I somehow didn’t buy enough of the original buttons I purchased for this. Either that, or I lost a pack. So I need to find some small enough to fit through those tiny one-stitch buttonholes. Not that I’m likely to button this much, but oh well. Pictures to come.

3. Darling Ranges dress (Fabulous Frocks): My original plan of sewing this for The Monthly Stitch’s Frocktober got scrapped when it became apparent that my peacoat would have to be a higher priority. Maybe next fall?

4. The peacoat (Baby It’s Cold Outside): I did finish this! And since I’ve already talked about why it was such a time-suck, I’ll leave it at that.

5. The Scraptember skirt: I worked on it, but didn’t finish it. In my defense, Julia’s had it in her possession for awhile to figure out what she wanted to do about another tier, so I haven’t actually had access to it.

6. A scarf: I knitted part of this while I was on vacation. And haven’t touched it since, so I could concentrate on my sweater.

7. The Disney sewalong project: Which would fall under Chic Chemises and Fashionable Foundations. You know I already finished the shirt, and I did also finish the skirt last week. I have a little extra time tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some pictures of the outfit then.

So, not my most productive period of sewing. But once again, life happened while I was busy making other plans…the truth is, there is a reason why my sewing mojo has been so low during the past couple of months, and it’s not just all of the tailoring involved in that coat. Some of you whom I chat with on Twitter may remember me mentioning some major jet lag and nausea when I got back from my trip in September. Well, turns out it wasn’t jet lag…I’ve also been busy over the last couple of months with making a tiny human! My “morning sickness” has really been 24-7 nausea for about 6-7 weeks straight now. So most of the time, I’ve felt too crappy after work to do much of anything other than sit in front of the tv, and sometimes knit. It really was pure stubbornness that enabled me to finish that coat!

Thankfully, I’m just about at the second trimester, currently on week 12, and hopefully that means I’ll stop feeling constantly sick soon. (Oh please oh please…) And yes, there is going to be some baby-centric sewing going on here, but I seriously need some more maternity clothes, so I’ll still be making stuff for me as well, I promise! Finding RTW maternity clothes that aren’t in boring colors or fit properly in places that aren’t supposed to change that much–i.e. my shoulders and the length of my arms–is really hard, you guys!

the coat that stubbornness built

peacoatThe coat is finally done! It took a lot longer than I’d planned, mostly due to my sewing mojo being the lowest it’s been since I was in grad school and trying to juggle that, my TA duties, getting a teaching career going outside of the university’s music school, and actually seeing my friends on occasion. But I did the last bit of hand-stitching and sewed on the buttons last night, finishing it just in time for the cold to come. Literally. Yesterday it was in the 60s, and today we might scrape the upper end of the 40s if we’re lucky. Brr.

Since I’ve used this pattern before, there isn’t really a ton to say about it. I did do several things differently this time, mostly involving hand-stitching all of the internal seams down because they weren’t pressing flat enough, and underlining. I used up that silk organza I’d mentioned in a previous post to underline almost everything (I didn’t have quite enough for the sleeves, so I left it out of there), and I also underlined (interlined?) the lining with Thinsulate. Which was way less time-consuming in the long run than my last coat, where I quilted two layers of quilt batting into the lining. This coat is still heavy, though! I think it’s mostly due to the outer fabric, which is pretty thick and heavy compared to the suedecloth I used for the last coat. Oh, and I had to draft the pattern piece for the collar stand, because apparently I also failed to return that to the envelope the last time, along with the first page of directions. Organization fail. Maybe next time I need a coat, I should just get a new pattern!

bound buttonholeOh, and I did bound buttonholes! This was my first attempt at doing it, and they are a little wonky in spots (also probably due to the thickness), but they blend in well enough with the fabric that it isn’t blatantly obvious unless you’re looking up close. I did cheat a little bit–the original coat pattern calls for an additional buttonhole on the part that goes underneath the main buttoned-up part, to attach to a button on the lining. But honestly, I rarely, if ever, buttoned it there when I was wearing the other coat. So I figured I’d save myself some time and skip it! I also stole the buttons from the old coat, since they were still perfectly good.

hemI cheated on the lining a bit, and just shoved the raw edge of the lining underneath the serged edge of the coat and hemmed it on machine. At that point, I just wanted it DONE. But honestly, I think it will hold better in the long run than hand-stitching on this particular fabric, and since the lining pleats over top of the hem, you can’t even really see that serged edge.

This project may have taken forever, and it was honestly sheer stubbornness combined with my fear of cold that pushed me to finish it. But it was great for stashbusting! All together, I completely used up 3 yards of that tweedy stuff on the outside, 2 yards of Bemberg lining, and about 3 1/3 yards of the organza–it wasn’t full width everywhere since it was leftover from a previous project, so I had to do some creative pattern work. I do have a decent-sized piece of leftover Thinsulate, so I’ll need to figure out what to do with that at some point.

peacoat liningSo, one project of my FESA plan down, finally.  I’m hoping I can still squeeze in my SewDisney project before the end of November, but I’m starting off with a Renfrew hack, so this should theoretically go much faster! And at least I’ll manage to stay warm in the meantime. I hope. Since this is me we’re talking about, after all.

FESA plans!

It’s that time of year again! I do love this sewalong, and this is the 3rd year I’ve participated. You all know how I feel about the cold, and my ironically wool-phobic skin doesn’t help matters. (I say ironic, because since I got married, my last name now starts with Wool! Go figure.) So this is a great way to keep me focused and excited about making things to get me through the winter.

So without further ado, here are my plans for the next couple of months. I’m keeping things rather conservative this time, so maybe I can actually finish everything?

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather: I have some stashed knit to try out the Espresso leggings, and I’d like to knock out a pair or two of them. Since woolly tights are a sad no-go for me, I think this could be a great way to keep my legs warmer for wearing skirts. (I wear boots with skirts a lot, so the no-foot-coverage thing won’t be an issue.) Not to mention it’s a layer I can wear under my jeans while I’m shivering my way through the last bit of October at the outside register at my retail job. (I have some black, too, but it’s a much bigger bolt since I’d also bought this fabric with that aborted attempt at a Red Velvet in mind. Oh well. I can always use black knit somewhere, right?)

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates: The definite is that I’d like to finally finish up the Roheline cardigan that I’ve been knitting since August 2013! (Though I really didn’t get it started until last September, since I had to restart no less than 7 times.) I’m so, so close to finishing the sleeves, which means I only have the yoke and buttons to go, so it’s not unreasonable. Depending on how the time goes, I also wouldn’t mind trying out the Archer blouse, since I didn’t get to that in my summer plans.

Fabulous Frocks: I would like to do a Darling Ranges dress if at all possible, since the colors will be great for taking it into the winter. Also, I meant to make it last year, so it’s time. I’m hoping to knock this one out next month, since The Monthly Stitch’s theme is “Frocktober” anyway. I’ll just need to find a layer to go over it–I have yarn to knit a yellow cardigan that will pair nicely with this, but there’s no way I’ll be able to finish 2 cardigans in this time span.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: My old peacoat that I made in 2007 is starting to fall apart. Replacing that will be first priority! (Even so, 7 years, including the polar vortex of wintry doom that we had this past year, is not bad at all for my first me-made winter coat!) I’m hoping to play around with a few more tailoring techniques, but I’m using the exact same pattern as the first one, so at least fitting won’t be an issue. I actually have started cutting this one out already, but since there’s 4 layers involved, I’m still on the outside. (The black and white tweedy fabric has been cut, but I’m underlining most of the pieces with that greyish silk organza that’s right next to it. And that’s taking a little longer. Especially given that I haven’t been able to touch it since Saturday.)

Other projects: I’m hoping to knock out a skirt before the end of the month, because a long-standing project I’ve been making for my sister-in-law is perfect for Scraptember! I may knit up a scarf, too, since I’m strongly leaning towards a one-skein project to take on my upcoming trip to France. (Next weekend! Eeeeee!) After all, I have a lot of plane/airport time, and at least 6 hours on a bus to get to Normandy and back, and I’m not sure how well my Kindle battery will hold up for a cross-continental flight. Also, I know from experience that I sadly cannot read on the bus without getting sick.  Maybe I’ll have better luck with just keeping my hands busy.

I’m also beginning to plot out what I’m going to make for the Disney sewalong that Katie and I are co-hosting in November, but that project is still a secret!

A quickfire shirt

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

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


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


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


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

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

I need a distraction

IMG_0791First off, the good news: While by no means perfect, my welt pocket is looking much, much better than yesterday. (Though is the dart supposed to go crooked like that where it splits?)

IMG_0792The bad news: After struggling with it for a solid half hour, at least, plus at least another 15 minutes of staring vainly at Lauren’s tutorial post, this is what my pocket lining is doing. I just can’t make heads or tails of it, and this is the only way I could figure to get the brown showing through the welt, rather than the print. I don’t think I sewed it backwards or upside down, based on the illustrations, but I’m obviously missing something here and I’ll feel really dumb when I figure out what it is. (Well, more dumb, because I am honestly rather discouraged with this entire thing right now.)

So, to distract myself, here’s my tentative plan for the rest of the FESA sewalong.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
Trousers, skirts, legwarmers and more! Anything that keeps your lower portion fashionably cozy fits perfectly here! The chilly weather necessitates the donning of bifurcated bottoms and sassy skirts!

Obviously, I’ve got this one covered by Pantsapalooza, assuming I can make it past this first pair of pants and actually start working on the other 4!

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
Blouses, tops, vests, cardigans, and sweaters! These wardrobe essentials can carry you from day to night, not to mention provide necessary layering to keep out the chill.  

I’ve got a couple of things planned here:
These two knit prints are tagged for long-sleeved Renfrew tops. The black striped one, which was part of a Christmas haul from my parents a few years ago, will have to be a layering piece out of necessity. It’s pretty thin. The green is a little thicker, with a crinkled texture, and has been in the stash for several years. The nice thing is that I can use black thread for both, so I can assembly-line construct these as well! I’m thinking maybe a scoop-neck for the black and a v-neck for the green, since I’ve only made the cowl neck variation so far.

I also have a new knitting project! Would you believe this one has been in progress for a few weeks now? This cardigan pattern is called Roheline, and it’s proved rather difficult to get going, though it’s completely not the design’s fault. The first time I cast it on, one of the dogs somehow got the yarn out of my nightstand drawer early one morning, and in the ensuing tug-of-war between him and my husband, the yarn broke. So I had to start again. Then I had a couple instances of misreading the chart pattern and having to rip it out. And at least once or twice casting on where I just didn’t have enough of a tail to finish. All together, I think I started this sweater about 7 times! But I’ve made it up through row 7 or 8 as of tonight, so I think I’m good now. I hope.

Fabulous Frocks
Dresses of all styles; mini, short, or long! Keep yourself warm in your modish designs, layering with tights and boots!

IMG_0795I meant to get this one done near the end of the summer, so hopefully putting it on my fall list means that I’ll get it done sometime before the end of next summer, right? Anyway, this is the Darling Ranges dress. And of course I plan to overcomplicate things for myself by attempting to fully line it. That blue bemberg rayon was the closest match I could get without actually using white (which, actually, Mood didn’t have at the time). And it’s a pretty lightweight rayon print, so those white streaks are just a liiiiiittle too transparent for my comfort. The fact that it will add some extra warmth doesn’t hurt either, since elbow-length sleeves in the middle of the summer around here just aren’t happening. Which makes this obviously a fall dress.

Underneath It All
When you’re spending months covered from the neck down, a glamorous underpinning of your choice adds a secret, luxurious touch that chases the cold away!

Tender Tootsies
Let’s not forget your frosty feet! Socks, slippers and the like are the order of the day. Keep those tootsies warm and dry!

Those Cozy Nights
Is there anything better than snuggling up in a cozy pair of pajamas with a hot drink and a book whilst Jack Frost works his magic outside? I think not! Sleepwear of all types are the way to go here!

I don’t currently have any plans for these few categories, but we’ll see if I change my mind. After all, despite my long-term anti-leggings stance, the upcoming Espresso leggings are tempting me to give them a shot.

Baby It’s Cold Outside
Coats, hats, and mittens donned to keep the cold at bay, especially when out enjoying the spectacular fall colours!

// do have a pair of handwarmers in progress that I’m frantically knitting for work, but I keep that at my parents’ house as a project to do while I wait for flute students. So this Twitter shot is the only pic I have of them for now. A matching hat may follow. And I do hope to knit the beginner scarf for my Craftsy class soon, too.

So, I know this is a hugely ambitious list, and last year I was crafting for FESA well into the winter. But that’s ok. Especially because there is one more pile…

Just as a sneak preview, these are the three things I have tagged for the Doctor Who sewalong. But I’m not going to tell yet what I have in mind, or what categories they fall into. Because, as River Song would say, spoilers!

One last Licorice post, and a FESA roundup

Here we go…Licorice in real life! This was the only picture I ended up with from the party where you can actually see most of the dress, including the belt. In every other picture, my arm was conveniently hiding the belt.

The verdict: Overall, I’m happy with how it wore, although it needs a little tweaking. Since I had to take in the darts more than what the pattern originally specified after my fitting muslin, the fabric was straining a bit at the center of each dart by the time I took it off. So I’m going to have to round those out a bit before I wear it again, and hope that the fabric isn’t already obviously damaged. I also need to add another eyelet to the belt, because despite having measured, it’s too big! Fortunately, extras came with the kit, so I can do that easily enough. I think I’d also like to add some kind of loop to the belt to hold the end in.

Anyway, I got a lot of compliments on the dress, and people were surprised when Nicole told them I’d made it!

The next day, along with some Anthropologie window-shopping, Nicole and I went to Gaffney Fabrics, which is pretty close to her apartment.
And, well, after months of not buying anything without a specific purpose, I couldn’t resist picking up a few things. It’s the corduroy’s fault–the lovely shade of blue, and the velvety feel of the thin wales were screaming, “You think I’m gorgeous, you want to buy me, you want to make a cute jacket out of me….” (If you’ve ever seen Miss Congeniality, just picture Sandra Bullock doing her little routine in there at the end and you’ll get the general tone.) Anyway, the corduroy was already cut into a 2 5/8 yard piece, which I figured would be plenty for a cute little jacket. Maybe something like this? Or this? Or maybe go all Sgt. Pepper’s and make that Hikaru jacket that I’ve had saved on my hard drive since back when BurdaStyle patterns were free? The floral print is to be the lining of whatever I settle on–we found a roll of this satiny stuff in the basement, and the blue matched perfectly! I didn’t have to feel guilty about splurging, either, because they were having a post-Thanksgiving sale still going on and this stuff was rather inexpensive– only $2.99/yd for the lining, and only $1.99/yd for the corduroy itself!

I’m not going to get to this one right away, of course– I’m in the middle of a reconstruction and I want to fix those darts while I still have the machine threaded with the right color, I’ve got a little Christmas present I need to make once the rest of my supplies arrive, and then the next priority is going to be starting the tracing and fitting process for my winter raincoat. It’s actually been fairly unseasonably warm around here for most of the fall, but the cold is finally starting to dig its claws in, and I’ve already missed having this on a couple of the colder rainy days so far this season.

I’m looking at my initial Fall Essentials Sew-Along list, and I think that overall, I did pretty well! I didn’t get to the jeans yet, of course, and I still have the two coats on my list that are high priority.  My Cadence is still in the works, too. But I did finish the teal skirt from the “Fashionable Foundations” category, the knit top from the “Chic Chemises” (and I’d say I’m at least a third of the way done the Cadence), my one “Fashionable Frock” is in the bag (and the Licorice gave me an extra one to boot), the slippers from the “Tender Tootsies”, and the knitted hat from the “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, as well as a nice dent in a matching scarf. Plus Jolene’ bag, and finishing Shantelle’s scarf, and making a nice dent on my mending pile. Not bad for three months– especially since I had to re-knit the Cadence thrice!

So, aside from the Christmas present, I think I’ll do the raincoat first, then the jeans, then the brown corduroy jacket that I’ve been meaning to do since last year. Though I’ll probably break these up with some reconstructing, since these are all pretty involved sewing projects. It’ll probably take me until February to finish all of these, but that’s ok. This new blue jacket idea that’s percolating will be better for an early spring jacket, I think, since the corduroy is definitely on the lightweight side. I’m hearing rumors of a spring sew-along, and I’m hoping it’s in the same spirit as the summer and fall essentials one, so we’ll see…