I volunteer as tribute!

Did you see that the Sewcialists blog is up and running again? Hurrah! I was happy to see that the first challenge of the reboot was one that I could easily participate in, since I’ve been missing out on The Monthly Stitch left and right. This actually wasn’t my original idea, I had a plan to make a skirt, but it involved some pattern hacking and using uncertain fabric amounts. (I was going to use some leftovers, but I still need to fix a pair of leggings that I made back in January or so first, so I’m not sure how much fabric I actually have left.) But it’s ok, because I accidentally stumbled into another tribute!

I’m sure you all know and love Gillian, from Crafting a Rainbow. She really does have one of the most inspiring blogs out there, IMO, between her talent for getting really good sewing conversations going in her posts, and the fun challenges she’s put out there over the years. Like the sewing dares– I haven’t forgotten about the two that I’d gotten on the last round, by the way– and the Better Pictures Project. And, well, I may have blatantly copied one of her recent pieces, right down to the fabric. But, to be fair, she’s the one who suggested the pattern to me in the first place! And since she’s the one who got the Sewcialists rolling again, it’s only fitting to do the tribute to her.

IMG_5132 That’s right, I made the Jalie Vanessa pants. In the same tencel denim from Cali Fabrics. One of my biggest wardrobe holes right now is pants, since pretty much every pair I’d ever made or bought stopped fitting about five trimesters ago (may you rest in peace, oh pile of Thurlow pants in my refashion bin). And since I don’t want to teach my flute lessons in yoga pants– or, really, be the yoga pants mom at all, unless I’m actually exercising — I definitely needed some options. I was a little skeptical about the jogger pants idea, since I never really liked the look of sweatpants. And the elastic cuffs that were one of the options just remind me of growing up in the 80’s. (This is not a good thing, since I’ve never been a fan of that particular fashion decade. Needless to say, I went for the straight hem.) But I think these actually turned out okay.

IMG_5136 Besides, they have functional pockets, and that’s more than I can say for pretty much every pair of jeans or shorts that I managed to scrounge up at the thrift store.

I’m still not exactly sure what to wear them with, since the more relaxed fit means that looser tops are pretty much out. Ideally, I would have made a top to go with this as part of the outfit challenge, probably something from Cashmerette since that’s one of Gillian’s favorites. But you all know how slow I am at assembling anything these days, so I just pulled out one of my most colorful tops in a palette that seems to most closely fit Gillian’s. (My first Kirsten Kimono tee, even though it’s still overly snug on me.)

IMG_5140The walking out outtake actually was one of the better pictures! So styling questions aside, I will say that these pants are super-comfortable to wear. A big part of this was the fabric, I think. The tencel denim is really soft, and even though it developed an odd fuzzy look after the first wash, I haven’t had issues with the dye bleeding into my other stuff yet. I’m trying to figure out what might be some good options for a potential second pair sometime, since I feel like the challis it calls for would be too lightweight. Linen, maybe?

I was quite happy with this first Cali Fabrics order– I got this and a second piece of fabric that got turned into a scarf pretty quickly. I seriously doubt it will be my last order from them. (Just the last one this year, since Doug and I made a deal– I wouldn’t buy any more fabric this year if he stops buying Coke. The sacrifices one makes for love. )

Anyway, I’m happy to get to take part in this community again, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what the next challenge is!

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New year, new space

I know, I know, it’s well over a month into 2017. But I’m not moving fast these days, both physically and in terms of crafting. For those of you  who are just tuning in, my sewing room is becoming baby #2 (aka Padawan’s) room. We’re finally getting to the point where Hobbit is starting to sleep through the night more consistently, thank God! But that means we also don’t want to have another little guy in the same room waking him up at this point, and vice versa. (Even though he’ll really be spending his first few months in the bassinet in our room, since the less walking I have to do for late night feedings, the better.) Anyway, the point is that I’ve officially gone from a sewing room to a sewing nook in our closet, with my fabrics and less frequently used supplies moving to the basement. And clearing this room out has sucked up a lot of the time in which I would otherwise be making things.

img_4632

Ignore the crappy lighting, since I can’t do anything about it, but here’s the new space! My machines live at the wall that is shared with our actual bedroom, and Doug drilled a hole for a power strip so I could plug everything in. My must-have supplies are in an IKEA cart that tucks nicely under my skirts and dresses. And nearly everything else is in a large downstairs closet that connects to the finished part of the basement.

And look, new machines! I finally have gotten the Janome coverstitch machine set up and tested, and I think this is the beginning of a much more beautiful friendship with my knit projects. In addition, my mom generously passed one of her extra sewing machines on to me, so I have a newer Bernina to play with! While my old machine has more decorative stitches, this one actually has that lightning bolt stretch stitch, and a machine light that functions. Both of which have been handy already. (Let’s be honest, decorative stitches aren’t something I’ve used much  since my teenage years anyway.)

Along with the rearranging, I’ve also been trying to declutter as much as I can stand to, including being really honest with myself about project leftovers I can’t find a use for after years/free fabric people have dumped on me that isn’t my taste/etc. I’ve still got some work to do on scrapbook and miscellaneous craft supplies, but here’s a sampling of what I’ve managed to let go of. (Understanding that I’m a pack rat by nature, and the thought of doing that Konmari extreme declutter horrifies me.  So this is huge!)

  • 65 yards of fabric, which was well over 10% of my stash. (The Stashbusting Sewalong group is trying to collectively get through that much this year, so yay team!)
  • A stack of scrapbook paper that was around 5″ tall. That’s a lot of paper. (This actually  went to my best friend, who uses it for a particular item she creates for an annual craft fair at her church.)
  • A bunch of stickers, including several unopened packs that were clearly from the 90s. Sandylion, anyone? (Too obviously girly for me to save for the boys, since my one naturally gravitates towards things like trucks and dinosaurs and safari animals all on his own.)
  • Most of my really cheap-feeling acrylic yarn/yarn with alpaca, since my skin has made it very clear that wearing any animal fibers against it for longer than 20 minutes is a no-go. (I did keep some cheap acrylic for kids’ crafts, and one alpaca yarn for some boot toppers, since it’s a versatile color and I’d be wearing those over jeans or leggings.)

And, for the sake of catching up, here’s a quick summary of everything I sewed in January.

Cake Espresso Leggings Since it was the only thing on my #2017makenine list that is actually wearable for me at the moment, I made another pair of Cake Espresso leggings, this time in a grey ponte. Technically, I made two, though I finished the second this month. Unfortunately, the second pair is currently unwearable– while this grey ponte from my Christmas haul had a four way stretch, the teal that I used for the second was more of a two-way stretch. As a result, at the risk of TMI, I can’t get them pulled up enough to fully cover my backside. I do have enough fabric left over than I can add some length there, but I’m going to wait until after the bump to try them on again and make sure that’s not the only issue. But I’ll probably just unpick the folded-over waistband and stitch on a new one to give me the coverage I need to be comfortable wearing them. I did get to play with my new coverstitch for both of these, so that was fun!

The rest of my sewing was rather utilitarian. Part of rearranging the closet to accommodate my sewing machines was needing to figure out what to do with our dirty laundry, since our washer and dryer are two floors down from our bedroom. So I recycled one of my old handmade curtains into two new laundry bags. Having something that closes is definitely a must, since one of our golden retrievers is a total kleptomaniac and our socks will be all over the place if he gets a hold of them.

I also have been playing around with a more old-fashioned paper planner this year, since writing things to do out seems to help me remember better. The particular one I purchased is a print-at-home, and one of the major perks for me was having lots of note pages so I can treat it like a bullet journal, and therefore have all of my lists of projects to work on and books to find and whatnot without having to write out my calendar every month. But my binder was boring, and I needed a way to keep my pens with it, so I used up most of some leftover quilt cotton from an apron that I made several years back to make a cheery cover for it. (The button is part for looks, and part to keep it closed in a way that Hobbit hasn’t figured out how to get past yet! He’s starting to figure zippers out, so that was a no go.)

My sewing this month has been pretty slow so far, since I wasn’t able to sit down in the closet cave for over a week. But hopefully I’ll at least finish what I’m currently working on before this month is out! I’ve got a few things that I’d really, really like to finish before Padawan makes his appearance, since I have absolutely no idea how much luck I’ll have in getting both boys sleeping at the same time for awhile. Wish me luck!

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.

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.

it’s the time of the season

Happy spring, right? Here in the good old Mid-Atlantic, ours started with winter trying to get in one last sucker punch! I think it’s time for a breakup with cold weather, because I am OVER winter clothes. I know I say that every single year, but with my currently limited wardrobe choices, it’s even worse. I’ve been wearing the same 2 pairs of pants (with the jeans mixed in as I can) and the same 3 cardigans almost every single day. And my one purchased winter maternity top is looking rather dingy and sad. I guess that’s what I get for buying a cream sweatery-looking top.

That being said, with the limited window I have remaining in which making clothes for myself to wear throughout the rest of this pregnancy still has a point, I’m trying to focus on things that will carry me through the spring and into the summer. And, hopefully, still be wearable afterwards.

Tie dye maternity skirt frontEnter my new maxi-skirt! The fabric is a luscious-feeling bamboo-rayon jersey blend, part of the mini-stash of knits that my parents gave me for Christmas. It took me a lot of thinking initially about whether this fabric wanted to be a skirt or a top, but once I realized that I only have 2 pairs of non-jeans maternity pants left that still fit (I’ve outgrown the third, which were a little small on me when I first chopped them into maternity pants), and they’re both reconstructed corduroy pants, a warmer-weather friendly piece of bottomwear won out.

This month’s Stashbusting Sewalong theme is sewing with patterns that you already have. So I based this skirt rather loosely on Simplicity 7229, which I’ve used a few times before for skirts and capri pants. (I’m having to link this to my Pinterest since it’s out of print, so hopefully it’ll work!) The original skirt is pretty basic– the two pieces for the front and back are the same, and it has a wide yoke with a drawstring top. I’d always made it in wovens before, but here’s the changes (aside from knit fabric) that I made to make it more maternity-friendly:

    skirt full panel

  • Added several inches to the length of the front/back pieces. Which I actually did the last time I made this pattern, because the original pattern was this awkward mid-calf length, and I ended up hating that and chopping off the previously made skirts to a shorter length.
  • I did also have to narrow that at the bottom a bit, because my fabric wasn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the extra width. But since it’s stretchy, that’s ok. Especially since I’m starting to get into the waddle phase and my steps aren’t quite as big as they used to be.
  • While I used the yoke/drawstring waistband pieces to get a general idea of how wide to cut it, I replaced that with a slightly skinnier but much longer rectangular piece. The idea is that I can use it to cover up the baby bump for now–the over-bump stuff sits on me way better than under-bump stuff, which just feels awkward and like it’s constantly on the verge of falling down. It’s a little loose at the very top of the band, around the rib area. But I’m not too worried about it.

skirt yoga waistband

    It folds down into a yoga-style waistband, so I’m hoping that it’ll be snug enough that I can wear this skirt once I’m a little smaller around the waist again, too! It’s obviously hard to tell how that will work right now, but a girl can dream, right? 

    Overall, I’m really pleased with how this adaptation worked out, and how fast it was to sew together! I did all of it, including cutting out, in 2 sewing sessions. Which is pretty speedy for me. Depending on how this works out to wear afterwards, this just may be how this skirt pattern ends up getting used from now on. It’s so tempting to find more of this type of knit and whip out a few more! But I have several pieces of knit that I still want to make other clothes out of to wear in the meantime, so I shall try to restrain myself.

    I used up pretty close to a full 2 yards on this. As an added bonus, I had just enough fabric left to make a little something for the Hobbit! We’re actually doing pretty well with collecting baby clothes so far, largely thanks to my mother-in-law, who’s brought over multiple bags of things that neighbors and acquaintances were getting rid of.  At least, we’re doing pretty well with onesies and pajamas. What seems to be largely lacking is pants. Given his nickname, all I can think of is that old Lord of the Rings movie meme where certain words get substituted with “pants”. The most famous being…

    Which never fails to crack me up, but Hobbit is going to need some pants eventually. So I made some.

    tie dye leggingsThe pattern was a freebie that I found on Craftsy, the Go To Baby Leggings. I wasn’t entirely sure about tie-dyed pants for a boy, but a few kind sewcialists on Instagram talked me into it, and I hope these actually end up fitting him because I think they turned out pretty cute! I made these in the 3-6 month size–partially because lightweight jersey pants going into the fall make sense, and partly because I literally did not have enough fabric left to make them any bigger. Doug was pretty impressed, I think–I cut and sewed these in their entirety on Thursday, along with finishing the skirt, and his instant reaction was that they were adorable and I should post them on Facebook. Always a good sign. I wish I knew how they were actually going to fit him, because I had these cut out and sewn together entirely in basically no time! But at least I have the pattern tested, so if it works out, I can always fall back on this as a quick project while he naps or something.

    fabric fail

    Not my best project ever.I was so excited for this project. So to say I’m a little disappointed in the outcome is an understatement. But, since I believe that the fails should be documented along with the victories–mostly so I don’t make the same mistake again later–I’m going to share the sad story of these leggings anyway. Slippers, ridiculously lightened photos since it was the only way I could show the seams, and all.

    (Hey, from this angle, I don’t look pregnant at all! Anyway.)

    The pattern is the Manila leggings, from the current month’s issue of Seamwork magazine. (Doug bought me a year’s pattern subscription for Christmas, which made me very happy since the whole point is quick projects, and I’m going to need those in the coming months!) I had one pair of maternity leggings, which I’ve been wearing instead of tights under the few skirts I have that fit. So I was quite happy to see this pattern and give the leggings-making thing a try, given that I just wasn’t in the mood to play connect-the-dots on my Espresso pattern to try and get a fit when I wasn’t sure what standard to use for the waist/I’d have to modify it anyway. The pattern itself is pretty simple: front piece, back piece, cute petal-like cuffs for the ankles, waistband, done. I knew I’d be altering the top to add a panel for the growing belly, but aside from that, I thought this would be a quick, straightforward make.

    But I made two mistakes right away:

    1. I didn’t realize that my chosen fabric–a cool denim-looking knit that I got on sale at Mood when I was making my last online purchase there–didn’t have enough stretch to work for something like this. Honestly, why would you make a knit that stretches more cross-wise, when basically every single pattern ever made would have you cutting so it stretches horizontally? Especially for something that’s pretty much screaming to be some kind of bottomwear. But still. I should have checked this more closely.
    2. I also didn’t realize that, even though there is a full-length view shown in the pictures, the only view included in the pattern was the cropped version. Leggings that only come down to my upper calves are absolutely useless for anything but exercise wear. Especially this time of year.

    IMG_2310The result? Yeah, not quite so chic as I hoped. It took so much hacking to even get these to the point where I could pull them on all the way! (And sorry for the weird looking-down pictures– I just couldn’t get the seaming to show up well enough in the others.)

    IMG_2311What I probably should have done with the legs was add the extra length around the knees first, and then add the extra width so the stripe would be unbroken. But I did still have hopes that once I managed to get the leggings all the way around my calves, the cuffs would add enough extra length that I could get by with my boots. Didn’t happen. Neither did seam-matching, despite multiple efforts and a lot of seam ripping.  Ugh. It honestly got to the point where I was so fed up with them, that I didn’t even bother with the cute cuffs (which I wasn’t sure would stretch around my legs all the way anyway, given the way things were going) and just cut a strip to give them a sweatpants-like finish.

    I was hoping that this would give me another color option to wear with skirts, though I’m not sure why, since the only skirts I have are black, denim, or that long teal one that would hide them anyway. (I’m generally of the school of thought that leggings are not pants, the fabric on my store-bought pair is way too thin for that, but for the sake of these photos, I’m wearing them as such. The things I do for the blog.) I’m not going to say they’re a wadder yet, since I can wear them on days I don’t have to leave the house, like today, and save my jeans for the days I do, but they’re definitely not a project I’m proud of.

    IMG_2309On the plus side, the maternity panel alteration seemed to work great. Especially once I went back and cut a new panel on the cross-grain so it would actually stretch. (Yes, I know it’s not really a cross grain for knits.) It does make me feel a little better to know that, at least in this, my pattern hacking skills are beginning to improve.

    I do have a decent-sized remnant of this left, which I think is probably just enough for some kind of babywear or undies, though I wouldn’t even try the latter until things are back to more of a normal state. I.e. I’m not being told to put on a pound a week. But essentially, this takes 2 yards out of the stash, for a total of 6.25 yards out so far this year.

    Speaking of kid stuff– we had our ultrasound on Monday, and I know the gender now! So I cut out a simple baby outfit last night, am hoping to get it all sewn up today, and my next post should be me telling you all what we’re having. Just warning you now, because this very well could be a double-post day.

    One last, unrelated, administrative-type detail– I’ve turned my Instagram into a private account, since it’s at the point where more kid-type stuff will be going up and I don’t want just anyone on the internet to be able to find it. I have still been posting a lot of crafty stuff on there, so if you are a friendly sewcialist (seriously, what other kind is there?) and want to follow, don’t be afraid to send a request! My screenname there is different than my blog/Twitter handle, but I do have a link to the profile on the sidebar.

    The last little unblogged bits of 2014

    The good news is, I think I’m finally starting to get better. The constant nausea is going away, at least, but it’s kind of hard to tell–just when that started letting up, I got slammed with a virus 2 days before Christmas! The doctor at the clinic called it “flu-like”, and while I wasn’t actually having stomach issues from it, I did have to spend the next 3 or so days fighting off fevers. Since then, it’s just felt like a nasty cold. And hopefully without going TMI, when I’m really stuffed up, I easily get nauseous anyway. So I still haven’t had a nausea-free day, but I’m hopeful that it’s coming soon. At least I’m slowly able to start expanding my diet again–I can actually drink water and a little tea now, and I’ve been eating fruit in the form of smoothies. I may even be able to start cooking dinner again soon, and while I know that takes up time, when you’ve been living off of chicken noodle soup and cheerios for a few months, that’s pretty exciting!

    All that to say, I wasn’t able to do much sewing for those first couple of days after I finished up at my retail job. Because that ended the day before I got sick, and I was feeling so progressively lousy that day that I couldn’t even finish cutting out one of the projects I do have to show. But I did get that done on Monday, and then sewn up yesterday.

    I’m going to start with some knitting today, since I recently finished this fairly quick project. The pattern is called “Magic Hat”, and it’s supposed to be so stretchy that it can fit a variety of sizes. I used some leftover bamboo-blend yarn that I already had, and knit this up in the 4-12 month size, since Hobbit will probably be about 5-6 months old when he or she will need a winter hat. I also didn’t quite use up all of the yarn, and I’m rather tempted to see if I have enough left to add some Yoda ears! But the yarn is so drapey, I’m kind of afraid it wouldn’t work.

    hat front

    The hat looks a little cone-head on the table, so I had to improvise on a model. My parents gave us a few Christmas presents for the baby, including this little stuffed German shepherd. So its ears seemed to be enough to make the approximate shape. Cute, right?

    maternified pants

    I do have a little sewing to show. I stitched up this first one back at Thanksgiving, but never posted it here. Just a quick refashion–my mom was getting rid of some unwanted pants, so I picked the zipper out of these corduroys, scooped out the front and stitched up what was left of the fly, and then added this stretchy panel. I know it looks kind of distressed brown in the picture, but these pants are actually black. I have another pair all cut up and ready to sew, save the panel, in navy blue. Hopefully I can knock that out soon, because I literally have two pairs of “work” pants (both black), and two pairs of jeans right now. And that’s it. I swear I bought 3 pairs of jeans, but the one pair seems to have vanished without a trace!

    hockey burp clothsAnd then yesterday’s sewing project was these burp cloths. I promised Doug I’d make some hockey-related things, so I found this flannel print that has the logo and colors of one of his two favorite teams. I managed to use up about 2 yards of flannel on this, between the one yard of Penguins fabric I bought, and the solid black that I partially got for this and partially to back one of the geeky bibs I made earlier in the month. There’s a total of 9 burp cloths here, and I know my mom has a stack of others for us, too.

    I do have one more bib to sew up, since Doug also really wanted to help make one! So he cut one out yesterday and I’ll be sewing it. I also need to fix a pair of pants for him ASAP, but then I’m hoping I can start sewing some clothes again! 

    I did some quick looking over my spreadsheet to see what my final tally was for stashbusting this year! It looks like I started 2014 with about 340 yards in…and ended with 375. Oops. Granted, I did just buy about 20 yards of stuff to make diapers with, which will get used up in the next several months and accounts for the bulk of the overage. On the plus side, it looks like I sewed up close to 72 yards this year. And I did manage to use up about 27 pieces of fabric altogether. I think that’s pretty good, considering that I spent the entire last third of the year unable to do much at all, between traveling and pregnancy sickness!

    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!

    once more with feeling

    Grey Thurlows 2There really isn’t too much for me to say about Thurlow pants by this time. But I finished one more pair yesterday.

    This is pretty much the same fabric as the olive pair, aside from the color. For the inside, I used the same lining fabric that I used for the navy denim pair. I do have to say that after sewing two pairs at the same time, only doing one made it feel like it went so quickly! This one only took 4 days total, and I finished half of the sewing in one day. It went a little slower when it came to finishing details like the waistband and hand-stitching the hem.

    I decided to play around with my color palette when choosing what to wear for these photos. Plus, I always desperately crave color this time of year anyway. The sun is actually out today, so that helps! The blouse and sweater are both thrifted– I found them on the same trip, and I couldn’t help but notice how well they went together.  I kind of love how in your face orange the cardigan is, even though I’m never really sure what to wear with it aside from this blouse and one other top that happens to have orange in the print! I haven’t worn it in a few months, though, because black pants with this always felt a little too Halloween. But I think the grey works with it pretty nicely!

    Grey ThurlowsDecided to play around with poses here, too. Mostly to hide the shoes, which are less than ideal, but I didn’t have many options since I know I’m going to have to trample my way through some snow later. Yeah, I look like I’m listening to “Twist and Shout”. Anyway.

    With this fifth pair, this brings my “pantsapalooza” to an end. I’m sure it won’t be the last pair I make ever– I’m in need of some more jeans, the pair of plain black pants that I’ve had since college has chosen recently to start dying (the fabric-piercing hook fell off). And I’m a little concerned about the longevity of the charcoal denim pair, since the fabric has already started pulling at certain seams! It’s not that it doesn’t fit–I think it’s more the fabric, almost like it’s a slightly looser denim weave. I’ve reinforced with extra stitching, and did a little thread-weaving on the back seam last night to try and strengthen that particular area. I will most definitely be keeping an eye on it. But for now, I am quite happy to move on to another type of project. Even though the two things I have planned next are also more on the involved side… stay tuned!

    Pattern: Sewaholic Thurlow trousers

    Amount of time it took to make: 4 days

    Fabric used:Grey cotton twill from Fabric.com

    Amount of fabric used: about 1.25 yds twill, plus .5 yards lining- 1.75 yards total

    Stashed since: 2012

    Current stash total: 336.5

    It actually went up about 3 yards, because I made a couple of purchases last week– 3 yards of something for my March of the Shieldmaidens project, to be revealed at a later time, and half a yard each of some cotton and some flannel for a baby shower gift that I’ll need to make before sometime this spring. For Stash Diet purposes, the costume fabric is my “use 4 buy 1”, since I used my travel exception for NYC, and the shower gift falls under gift exception, because guess how much baby-appropriate fabric I have? Pretty much none. Besides, I needed about $2 more of stuff to get free shipping.