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//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.