No, there’s too much. Let me sum up.

Oh, hi, internet! I haven’t been the best sewing blogger as of late, but I think I can be excused since I’ve been busy with, oh, growing another human. I had all of these grand plans to make several patterns to get me through this upcoming summer, since I’ve never really had to do a hot weather third trimester before, buuuuut I’ve managed to sew about three things since that flannel shirt that I posted months ago. I also had grand plans to post actual pattern reviews now that I finally have a Pattern Review account again (I had to sign up all over, since I’ve more or less switched emails and could not get in with the old one), but all I’ve managed are a few phone photos, with my little photobombers in each one. So I’m going with the Princess Bride quote in the title, and just summing up the last several months at once.

20190329_150128First up, I made two pairs of maternity shorts, using the Copenhagen Harbor Board Shorts from Stitch Upon A Time. What I liked about this pattern is that the construction is such that, theoretically, I can just rip the stretchy panel off next summer, sew on a waistband piece, add some back elastic as per the instructions, and have regular old shorts. Whether that will actually happen is TBD. I did cut out the waistband pieces, but I ended up with some weird poofiness in the front crotch area and I suspect that the back rise isn’t high enough for me. I can probably fix the latter, since I have fabric left from both pairs, but I’m not sure about the front without taking a weird tuck out like I had to do with last year’s Lander shorts. Obviously, it’s too early to say, because the bump needs some room, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see next spring.

20190329_145915Fitting issues aside, this was easy to sew, and I was able to knock both pairs out fairly quickly, as I was physically able. Even with adding some extra jeans-like topstitching details. I used lightweight denim for both, with the navy pair having a slight amount of stretch. Now that it’s warm enough to actually wear them, I can say the non-stretch worked a bit better. These pictures were from when I was about 16 weeks in.

 

 

 

20190416_083107The second project was the Chalk & Notch Pony Tank, with the idea being that I can wear it now and later with no alterations. This one was more successful than the shorts, and the fabric makes me happy. If I’m going to feel like I’m carrying a small planet around all summer, I might as well have galactic fun with it! I did have some gathering issues with the neckband, which I think will be solved by not following the markings next time. And this was also the most successful coverstitch project I’ve had to date. (Turns out that I needed to change the needles, who knew?) This photo was from about six weeks ago, and I still have plenty of room left! I have a second one cut out, but haven’t sewed it yet, because I have another project currently in progress that I could use the same serger and coverstitch threads for. I think this will be a TNT pattern, though!

20190316_140530Finally, I did two hand-sewn refashions for the Day & Night dress challenge, hosted by Elizabeth Made This. I couldn’t handle much machine sewing at the time due to sickness, so I chose to turn my old Plantain cardigan hack into a vest with some Alabama Chanin style armhole bindings. I still like the original cardigan, but it had gotten too tight in the armpits since the kids came along, so this was my salvage attempt. (Which I haven’t worn since, but I’ve had maternity styling issues.)

 

 

 

For the night look, I turned a barely worn wrap that I made as one of my earliest knitting projects into a shrug/cropped jacket thing, by stitching up a couple of seams within the rectangle. This was a fun experiment in zero waste design for me, since the original wrap was just a rectangle of fabric and I didn’t want to cut into any fabric I had to make myself out of string! I also accidentally discovered that I can style it two ways, by either positioning the seams under my arms or on top of my shoulders. Even though the latter makes a kind of odd sleeve shape under my arms, I like the faux lapels that result. I’m very seriously considering dyeing it, most likely to teal, as the yarn is too beige for my taste. (It was purchased for an attempt at making a mini-wardrobe years ago, which was largely unsuccessful, but this yarn matched the main print that was the only two pieces that worked. I just have no idea how to style shawls.) As for this dress, it was a slight refashion as well– a RTW maternity dress that I shortened the sleeves on, since they were originally 3/4 length and I’ve realized over the past few years that this length is virtually useless in my climate.

I’m still hoping to get some more sewing in before the end of the summer. I’m currently working on a maternity/nursing dress that will hopefully be maxi (we’ll see, because I had some yardage issues), I have that second Pony tank cut and ready to go, and I’m trying very hard to get the vests for my guys made that I intended to make back in January. Though all I’ve managed so far is tracing the sizes for the boys, I still need to trace Doug’s. Ideally, I’d like to cut out a couple of the nursing-friendly projects that I got supplies for last Christmas as well, on the off chance that I actually manage some time to myself while juggling the newborn/toddler/preschooler combo!

We’ll see what I manage to do, since it’s been a rather rough pregnancy. Ok, so either all of my pregnancies have either been rough, or I’m a total wimp. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t complain, since I know plenty of people that have struggled with infertility or miscarriages. But it’s also hard to keep a happier perspective when I’m one week short of the third trimester and still getting nauseous multiple times a day (just like with my older son, when I didn’t stop being nauseous until the day after he was born), building 2 foot pillow forts and wearing nasal strips every night because I can’t breathe to sleep otherwise, and getting sent back to physical therapy because the hip that got misaligned last time is already going out again. Also, I’ve had to entirely give up tea for months now, due to the nausea. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know how I feel about tea. I’m totally packing some quality stuff in my hospital bag when the time comes!

On a positive note, baby is quite healthy…and we’re having a girl this time! Yes, I’ve already acquired some sewing patterns, and even cut out one little skirt from some of the leftovers from my current project. This is going to be great for my scrapbusting! (Not that I don’t love my boys, but they are admittedly harder to sew for, especially with my love of prints!) Even so, I’m thankful that a cousin passed on all of her summer maternity clothes to me/I have multiple friends who are willing to give us clothes that their daughters outgrew so I don’t have to stress about making or buying as many things right now. And counting down the weeks until this pregnancy is done.

 

Refashion Redemption Project: The nursing tee salvage job

This summer has felt a little weird for sewing to me. It’s not that I’ve lost my sewjo, but I seem to keep running into stretches where I just can’t do anything at either of my sewing locations and it’s taking forever to get anything done. Also, since I do most of my cutting out at my mom’s sewing room due to lack of space/kid-free time around the pointy things, I’ve been also running into situations where I finish a project at home and don’t have another project cut out and ready to start here yet. The good thing about that is that I’m finally getting back into some more refashioning as a result. 20180624_083423

I finished this tee a month or so ago, a self-drafted mashup of the complete fail that was last summer’s Sewaholic Renfrew nursing tee hack, plus the yardish of not-that-stretchy jersey left over from a Cake Hummingbird tee that I had to ditch pretty much immediately post-partum, because my waist will never be that small again.  (I should retrace and sew that one again

sometime, though.)

Making this tee was a pretty quick process. I didn’t really take any pictures while I was doing it, since I was trying to knock it out in one evening where I only had to worry about one kid for the night. (It was Hobbit’s birthday weekend, so he and my husband had a little overnight camping trip at his parents’ house, while I went home with Padawan because we didn’t want him anywhere near campfires or tent entrances in a backyard with a pool.) So the process was more or less the following:

  1. Put on the black tee and hold a tape measure around my chest where I thought the seam should go. (This was after a previous session of goofing around with the fabric and holding it in different places with the tee on to see where it would suit best.)
  2. Chalk the line in the front.
  3. Lay the tee flat on my cutting mat and cut through both layers at the line plus seam allowance. This resulted in a mildly curved cut line.
  4. Lay the fabric out, folded double, and trace that cut line from the tee directly onto the fabric, then trace out a flared sort of shape for the body of the tee.
  5. After I sewed the seams for the bodice and sides, I tried it on and decided a curved hem would be best. So I trimmed that and hemmed it on the coverstitch. And done!

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Overall, I think I like it. This usage definitely showcases the print better than the project it was left over from, I think. And somehow, in the course of my weight shift and subsequent closet purges, everything I owned in this kelly green type color left my closet, even though I still love green. So I’m glad to have some back! I can’t honestly say that I’ve been wearing it a ton this summer, though, because I’m also in this weird wardrobe place where my remaining separates just don’t seem to be going together, and I’ve been struggling to put outfits together all summer as a result. (Thus the two different bottoms in these photos where both are not-quite-solid denim.) That’s something I’m definitely going to have to work on remedying for the next warm season, though I’ve been feeling like it’s a bit too late for this year. (I’m currently wrapping up some needed summer pajamas, and then I’ll have to start thinking fall.) But I am hoping that this tee might see a little more use when jeans season rolls around again.

 

the post-baby wardrobe blues

Warning: slightly ranting, rather candid post ahead. This was originally going to be a post about a shirt that I finished about a month ago, though I just got around to photographing it this past weekend. Though, really, I don’t know what to say about it, because once again, the results just aren’t what I wanted them to be.

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The concept was good. I took my Sewaholic Renfrew pattern, and the concept from a nursing top that Heather kindly sent me back during my first pregnancy, to attempt to make a boring, basic black tee. Because I somehow didn’t have one, and given my love for bold print skirts, this was a serious hole in my wardrobe. So I used the front band and the instructions from my Peekaboo Patterns nursing camisoles as a guideline. As you can see, it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped.

I know exactly why. It was a combination of the pattern size being wrong (measuring for my nursing chest size is failing me at every turn lately) and the rayon knit being too drapey to have what turns out to be the necessary recovery for a shirt with two holes in the front. It’s already sagging to just below the covering band, despite the fold over elastic I put there in an attempt to keep it snug to my body, and I think I may have to sew the front completely closed in order to keep this wearable. Which defeats the entire purpose of a nursing shirt. At least the skirt turned out ok, even though all I did was buy it at the thrift shop and shorten it a few inches. The waistband was up to my ribs before–an odd feeling, since I’m not short!

IMG_5145 My apologies if this is sounding like a downer. But the truth is, I’m frustrated, and I’ve been getting increasingly so for awhile. Looking at these pictures, you can tell that I don’t feel great about what I’m wearing. Honestly, I haven’t felt great about almost everything I’ve made for awhile now. I was thinking about it today, and for the entire past 12ish months, I really only have two projects, that weren’t super-simple basics, where I feel like they look decent on me and really suit my style. I showed a picture on Instagram of one of my currently in-progress projects that’s also turning out to be less than I’d hoped, and a (kindly meant and worded in a constructively critical way) comment that I might be better off just cutting a different shirt entirely out of the fabric and starting over nearly sent me off crying. I feel like I just don’t know how to sew for myself anymore, and given that I’ve been sewing mostly clothes for coming up on 30 years now, that thought is horribly depressing.

It’s a hard place to be, sewing for the in-between. I recall having issues after my first pregnancy, and having a few misses on trying to sew for nursing-friendly and more changeable sizes than I was used to, but I think it’s actually hitting me much harder this second time around. I wasn’t expecting to have two kids less than two years apart. And while I wouldn’t trade Padawan in, he really is a sweet and happy baby most of the time, having two pregnancies this close together has really done a number on my body. I’m actually in physical therapy right now, because my hips got completely out of alignment between the two pregnancies and it was starting to make just normal, everyday walking painful. I also started this pregnancy at a higher weight than my first, since I only had something like a month between finishing up with nursing and getting pregnant again, and didn’t have a chance to drop those last few pounds. Long story short, I feel like I’m sewing for someone else’s body now, and I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. My older clothes are still too small, trying to sew looser/more forgiving silhouettes are resulting in things turning out too big, and I’m not even sure what looks good with all of these extra lumps and bumps that I have now. I just feel frumpy pretty much all the time. And of course I’m complicating things further by breastfeeding.

I can’t give up sewing, it’s too much a part of me. But I am seriously beginning to wonder if I should just step back from clothes for now, and focus on stuff like the boys’ Halloween costumes that I’m working on/all of the boring-but-necessary sewing that I’ve been procrastinating on (oh, hi, bedroom curtains that shrank shorter than your lining two years ago). I’ve never had a sewing slump like this one before, where I consistently have far more misses than hits. It’s demoralizing, especially when it’s been such a struggle to get sewing time to begin with. And until I’m 100% sure that I’m done with having babies and massive weight shifts, I don’t know what to do about it.

a very scrappy sea mammal

Once upon a time, I made a pair of jeans for a Craftsy class. They weren’t perfect, and I stupidly made them from non stretch denim, because the jeans I based the pattern on weren’t stretch either, and my weight didn’t really fluctuate all that often. They were the best-fitting pair of jeans I’d made so far, and I wore them proudly. But after several years, during which I got married, gained a couple of pounds, got pregnant, gained a lot more pounds, and the belt loop in the back irreparably tore off from wear, I had to retire them.

IMG_3496While I was still pregnant with Hobbit, I went to Kohl’s with my mom one day. They occasionally do this thing where they’ll sell picture books and accompanying stuffed animals, and donate the proceeds to charity. Reading was my very first hobby love– I honestly can’t even remember learning to do it, because my parents taught me really young. And children’s literature is something I’ve continued to love. So of course I couldn’t resist buying one of the books. The one that I picked out of the four options available was called If You Want To See A Whale, and it’s a cute little story about how patient and observant you need to be if you want to see a whale. But I couldn’t really justify buying the stuffed whale to go with it, especially since I’d already saved a denim whale tutorial on Pinterest.

IMG_3500I cut this out and embroidered the eyes back in December, but then set it aside in favor of organizing the room, so I’m counting this as a UFO project. That’s not something I usually have lying around, but finishing those is the theme over at The Monthly Stitch this time, so let’s just roll with it, shall we? It was a fairly quick and easy sew, other than getting the front fins turned. There’s still a bit more lumpiness at the tips of those and the tail than I’d prefer, but I clipped and graded the seams as much as I felt I safely could. It’ll just have to do. IMG_3514Since the theme at the Stashbusting Sewalong this month is using up scraps– and because stuffing is expensive– the whale is mostly stuffed with the leftover blue lace from the shirt I made in December, and the yarn left over from my Roheline cardigan. Since that was an unraveled thrift store sweater to begin with, and the yarn is kind of kinky and splitty as a result, I didn’t mind using it up in this way. I did still have to use some stuffing to finish it out, but since I was was able to minimize it, I have enough left to at least start the next toy project, whenever I get to that. I have to admit that even if it’s not necessarily stuff he needs, I’m really enjoying the chance to make stuffed animals and toys! Especially since he’s still at the age where all handmade clothes get outgrown in 3 months. This is (maybe) a better use of my time where I can still make stuff for him, and it did keep some perfectly broken-in denim out of the landfill!

IMG_3517Hobbit’s opinion, so far: it’s interesting, and he seems to like the floppy tail. He loses interest in it pretty quickly, especially if there’s blocks to knock over or a doorway he can try to escape from, but maybe he’ll like it better when he’s older, and the ability to crawl isn’t such a novelty. Especially, I hope, for cuddling up with for a story.

return to refashioning

It took a lot longer than I felt like it should have, for such a simple change. That’s the story with all of my sewing projects these days, to be honest. But once again, I’m quite happy with how much more use I’ll be able to get out of this garment now.

skirt 1Meet my new maxi-skirt. I finished this one a couple of weeks ago– before the blue shirt from the last post– but I had to wait for a chance to take some photos.

 

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The before: This is actually the dress that my mom wore to my wedding! (My mom doesn’t like pictures of herself on the internet, so I hope this is acceptable if you’re reading it, Mom– I swear I took a before picture on my mannequin, but I can’t find it on my hard drive!) She gave me the dress after the wedding to chop up, because she said she’d never have occasion to wear it again. We’re a very casual family as a whole, so cocktail parties and holiday dresses aren’t really our thing. (We’re more the jeans, sweaters and homemade pizza for Christmas type.)

My initial plan was to shorten the dress and maybe wear it for a fancy date with Doug or something. But we don’t often go on fancy dates– again, casual family– and post-Hobbit, I honestly wasn’t sure if the top of this would fit my embiggened figure anytime soon. But a maxi-skirt is always useful, and the dress was a jersey-type fabric, so I decided to go more of the everyday wearing route. The dress had a slit up the center front that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving in, knowing I’d have a little boy tugging on my skirts in an effort to stand up before I know it. So I unpicked that, sewed it shut, and made that the new side seam. (There was only one other seam, conveniently in the center back.) Aside from that, it was pretty simple– just cutting some excess length off the top, and gathering it to an exposed elastic waistband.

This was my first attempt at such a waistband, and it’s a bit messy. (Thus the lack of picture.) The stitching got kind of jagged when I had to release the elastic to stretch to match the next section of fabric. But the gathering is mostly even, at least. And the insides are nice and tidy, thanks to this tutorial. I do have plans to make at least one more exposed elastic skirt, hopefully for next spring/summer, so hopefully that will go smoother.

skirt 2Overall, I’m happy with the results. The skirt is very full, so I have no trouble walking in it with my usual longish stride. The color makes it great for all seasons, possibly with the exception of the muggiest summer days due to the fiber content. It’s basically secret pajamas! I’m wearing it with boots and leggings here, which is probably what I’ll do all winter for warmth, but I know I have at least one warmer-weather top that it will look great with. I’m still hoping I can come up with something for that beaded waistband section of the original dress, too!

So that catches me up on finished projects, for now. I’m currently in Christmas mode, trying to finish up a toy for Hobbit. I’m also hoping to get his stocking made before we pack up the decorations this year. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m excited that Gillian posted the categories for the Top 5 year-end review today! That’s always fun. Are you going to be participating this year?

 

 

 

baby’s first cosplay

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen the big reveal photo. But of course I still have to share it here, because the first costume is a big milestone in the life of any kid raised by a geek, right?

Anyway, we didn’t really bother with Halloween this year, since taking an only child who can’t eat solid food yet is just an obvious parental fabric grab. (He ended up being asleep when the kids in our neighborhood were out anyway, so it’s just as well.) But I still wanted to make him a costume. I’d figured maybe I could just run an errand somewhere to show it off, but then one of my good friends told me about a local Halloween parade the Sunday before. She has a toddler and a boy that’s 3 days younger than my own, and we’ve already decided that the boys are going to be friends (at least as far as we can encourage it), so we took them out for their first Halloween event together. So, without further ado…

Hobbit baby!Hobbit as a hobbit. Bet you never saw that coming, right? The catalyst was the booties, which my mom knitted and gave us last Christmas. So I decided then that a hobbit lad or lass had to be the first costume. It was a pretty easy costume to put together, minus the struggle of finding hands-free time to do it. I ended up resorting to going to my parents’ house early on several teaching days, and sewing while my mom held him. (Naptime crafting…the struggle is real.) The shirt and vest are the components that I made. He already had brown knit pants in his current size, so I just folded the hems up to shorten them. hobbit shirt

I didn’t have patterns for either piece, so I had to trace off some of his clothes and draft my own. I used a button down shirt as the basis for the shirt, but decided that I didn’t want to bother buttoning up a shirt that the front would be mostly hidden on. Hobbit is very squirmy when one tries to dress him now! Besides, my fabric source was a white t-shirt in my refashion bin. So I used Velcro in the back to close it up easily, and seamed the front to facilitate the faux button down look. I based the look off of Frodo in the movies, since my little Hobbit’s hair color is closest to his, and his look is less of a choking hazard than Pippin’s scarf. That shirt has a Mandarin-style collar, so I just used the collar stand by itself, finished the edges down to the center front seam to make a sort of v-neck, and left it at that. I altered the sleeves to add some gathering.

The cuffs were a tricky decision. I could have finished them more cleanly, but that would require sewing tiny cuffs and sleeves in the round. So I opted for the simpler route and finished them flat. I probably should have sewed the bottom of the cuff seam first and then stitched in the ditch to attach the lining to the sleeve, rather than fold the seam allowance under and topstitch like I did. But I didn’t think of that till halfway through the first one. I blame sleep deprivation.

vestAs for the vest, I traced off a fleece zipped one and modified the front. I did have it cut out of a stashed piece of brown fabric that was too little yardage to make anything adult-sized, but ended up ditching that in favor of craft felt, because I was running out of time and felt doesn’t need edge finishing or lining. So four seams + snaps hidden under buttons = done. The bonus is that it looks kind of like wool, without me having to touch it. It burnssss ussss, we hatessssss it, Preciousssssssssss! Goll….ahem. 2015-11-11_09-54-20

He seemed comfortable enough, and he was definitely cute! I’m already pondering what costume to make him for next year–he’ll probably be old enough to go out, but not old enough to go up to houses alone. Obviously, this means I need to dress up with him, right? Oh, darn. I did try this year– I didn’t have time to sew anything new, so I cobbled together a vaguely Elf-ish outfit out of my olive green Hummingbird skirt (which is snug, but zips up now, yay!), a funky-sleeved shirt that I made back in college and still love, and my costume cloak that I sewed up years ago. And boots. Always the boots.

A quick note about October totals: 4 yards out, plus the t-shirt from the bin, no yards in. I think that leaves me with around 347 left. I will need to buy fabric before the end of the year–all signs point to me needing to make a fourth size of diapers, because he’s already on the largest snap size for the small and so there’s no way medium will last me till he’s potty training age–but I’m in good shape to hit my goal of ending the year with less fabric than I started with.

Rae, a drop of golden sun…

Yeah, I made two more of the Sewaholic Rae skirts, in two very different fabrics. Since I already briefly talked about the construction before, this is more to show how they ended up– and also my monthly post for Gillian’s #betterpicturesproject!

IMG_2736This month’s assignment was to find a new spot to take photos, ideally 5 minutes or less from your house. Admittedly, the thought of setting up a tripod somewhere while lugging around Hobbit’s car seat (and quite probably listening to him scream the whole time, since the car seat is one of his least favorite things EVER so far) was not very appealing to me. So my big brave move was out to the back yard! I’ve avoided it so far, because we’re in a central townhouse, and pretty much all we ever do with the yard is mow it and let the dogs out to do their business. That, and that tan strip behind the trees just happens to be one of the busiest highways in the state. But the lighting really is better out here than in my sewing room, and Doug was kind enough to take some pictures for me. Which is much easier than running back and forth between me and the tripod. I just may have to reserve my outfit photos for weekends for awhile, that’s all.
Recycled Rae 2I also experimented with setting the camera to portrait mode. I think it turned out well, and the bonus was that keeping it on a more automatic setting made it really simple for Doug! So I’ll save the more manual settings for when I’m the one behind the lens, I think. (Mastering that really is something I’d like to do sometime, but I think that will be better for trying to get artsy with the kid photos and landscapes while traveling.)

I guess I should say something about the actual sewing, right? This particular skirt is half a refashion. Several years ago, I made a dress for my brother’s wedding that was a complete and utter disaster from start to finish. Once the wedding was over, I promptly threw the dress into my refashion bin, along with an extra yard and a half or so of the same fabric that I purchased later, with the intention of turning it into something else. I was originally thinking maybe some kind of longer, fitted, belted vest. But that never came to fruition. I’ve finally redeemed it with this skirt, though. The fabric itself is a polyester shantung, and I was able to cut half of the skirt out of the original dress. I didn’t have the extra piece on my original stash list, since it was out of sight in the bin and I’d honestly forgotten it was there. But I have about 2/3 yard left, so I’m estimating I used half a yard for the other half of the skirt.

recycled RaePardon the slightly derpy face here– I’m including this one because it’s one of the best for showing the skirt detail. I had forgotten how absolutely awful this fabric frays, so I French seamed the whole thing. And since it’s polyester, of course it didn’t really press all that great, so I also ended up topstitching over all of the seams to give it more of a flat-fell look. Honestly, the effect makes me think of nylon parachutes. But since I’m coming to terms with the fact that my generally casual lifestyle doesn’t necessarily fit the shiny fabrics that I often adore, I think it’s for the best here, because it definitely helps the skirt look a lot less formal than I originally intended the dress to be.

I can also say that this skirt was for the Monthly Stitch’s August theme of twos, since this was my second Rae skirt that month. (I finished it on August 31!)

exploding TARDIS RaeThe third skirt sewed up a lot faster, since I made it out of quilt cotton and could just serge all the seam edges to finish it off! I kind of like this artsy black top that I bought for our Paris trip last fall with this particular print, and will definitely use this combo again when it gets its out-of-house debut. (I was waiting until I got pictures, mostly because I didn’t want to have to iron it again first.)

exploding TARDIS!A closer-up view of the print. Why, yes, that is a print designed around Van Gogh’s lesser-known “Exploding TARDIS”. And this little Whovian is rather psyched that the colors just happen to fall into the realm of the palette that I’m overall attempting to work with for my future wardrobe cultivation. (Especially because yellow/gold is one of the ones I’ve been meaning to add more of.)

dog photobombFinally, even though this is an attempt at better pictures, and I’m fully aware that the flash went off and left a weird shadow behind me, it seemed fitting to continue the tradition of golden retriever photobombing!

April month-in-review

This really does look like a super-productive month, since I tend to count stash on the months I finish the project vs. when I cut it! So let’s just jump right to the fun stuff, shall we?

Projects Finished This Month: 
8 total. Unless I count the diapers individually. Then it’s closer to 80. But that’s cheating, isn’t it? First up, the unblogged things.
https://igcdn-photos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t51.2885-15/10513794_843631739037678_835703916_n.jpgAs seen on Instagram: I did take another cute-but-stained PJ set that I was given for free, plus a boring snap-front newborn tee, and did this. The applique was hand-stitched on, just like the frog one I did last month, and as a bonus, this reads completely gender-neutral to me. Which means it’s definitely something I can recycle for any future siblings. I also had a decent-sized piece of unstained fabric, so I used this tutorial/pattern to whip out a quick hat. I did have to cut one piece with a seam in the back,  but it still worked up really fast. (The snail was the other part of the original applique. It was there, so why not use it?)

Next up: Several weeks back, I was looking for maternity/baby clothes at the thrift store, and stumbled across a bin of K’Nex for a really great price. Since then, Doug and I have gotten in the habit of checking every few weekends for any more good toy finds. One week, I found a bag of wooden blocks, which just seems like one of those staple toys that every kid should have. But they needed containment. So I took a piece of stash cotton and made a bag for them. I think this was one of my mom’s dyeing-for-quilts experiments that she wasn’t totally happy with, and I just wanted to use a piece that I didn’t really care what I used it for. Honestly, I made this more complicated than I needed to–I realized about halfway through inserting the drawstring that oh, wait, I have to think about choking hazards now! So then I had to completely wing it with a zipper in my stash that wasn’t quite the right color, but oh well. I know this bag is kind of huge for the amount of blocks that we have, but I figured that it would make it easy to add any more that we might acquire. (I mean, I don’t even have the whole alphabet here!)

nursing coverMy most recent sewing project was a nursing cover. Not to say that women shouldn’t have the right to breastfeed when and where they need to or anything–I just know that I’ll personally be more comfortable if I’m able to stay covered up when I have to feed him outside of the house. Besides, I’ve had this particular quilt cotton for years, and I’m happy that I finally found a way to use some of it. I actually had this in the stash and wanted to use it for the leaf quilt I made several years ago, but it was just a little too busy of a print to really work. I still have about half of the piece left, so I’ll just need to figure out what to do with it. But this was a really fast/easy project to make– just a rectangle with a casing for a piece of boning, another two rectangles for the strap, a couple d-rings, hemming, and done. Ideally, I would have used d-rings that were a little thinner/lighter, but this is what I had in the stash, so I went with it. If it really bugs me in the long run, I can always perform a little seam ripper magic later and replace them.

I also finished off a stack of cloth wipes to use with the diapers. But I can’t really count that as stashbusting, since my mom cut up a bunch of flannel that she had and all I had to do was serge the edges. Honestly, this isn’t even exciting enough to take a picture of, but at least it’s done.

Stashbusting totals for the month:

Stash out, not counting the 3 reconstructed projects:

  • For the diapers: 31.25 yards total of PUL, athletic mesh, and cotton fleece (!)
  • Maternity/nursing maxi-dress: 3 yards of knit
  • Storage bag for blocks: .5 yard of hand-dyed cotton
  • Nursing cover: 1 yard of quilt cotton

Total:  35.75 yards out, plus a few scraps for the Star Wars shirt. Woohoo!
Stash in:

  • 2 yards of an Aztec-print knit. I was out running errands with Doug one day, we stumbled across a sewing machine store, and he suggested we head in and see if we could find me some new fabric. Who am I to say no? The selection was pretty small, but since I’ve been burning through all of my print knits in making maternity clothes, I figured I could allow myself this little splurge.
  • My parents moved into a new house this month, and my mom handed off a couple of pieces of fabric that she thought might be more useful for me in making future boy clothes than her for quilting. So I got a little over 1 yard of a reversible blue fleece (brighter blue on one side, more royal on the other), and 8 yards of a plain black twill (but only 19.5″ wide!) that she had left over from a couple of non-quilt projects.  The twill will probably have to get used up for pants and shorts, but at least kid clothes are small and skinny. At least at first.

Total: 11.25(ish) yards in, but that’s still a total of 24.5 yards less than I started the month with.  For the year so far, my spreadsheet is saying that I have just over 336 yards, but I’ve used about 63 1/2 up. Which is really good for the first third of the year, especially since 3 yards is the most I can usually burn on one project!
May Goals:
I did touch on this in last month’s review.  At this point, I’ve reviewed the list, and pared it down based on what I didn’t get done this month and think is most important. So here’s what I’m hoping to do:

  • I’d still like to make that changing mat. I think that will be the next project.
  • I found instructions for how to make a baby gym on Pinterest. This wasn’t something I was originally planning on for baby gear, because those things are ridiculously expensive and bulky. But since this one snaps apart and would be really easy to set up/store, I have a large piece of a certain quilt cotton that would be perfect for this, and I have a ready supply of adorable felt things that would be perfect to hang from it (extras from some shower favors that my mom made–all animals to go along with various books), I’d like to give this one a shot.
  • I have curtains for the nursery, but I need to sew the blackout layer into the colored layer, because they’re way too sheer to keep light out for when he’s napping. The curtains need to be shortened anyway. So this should be a quick project, it’s just a case of doing it.
  • And I still need to do a lot more cooking. Though I’ve actually made a pretty good dent on recipes I’d planned for dinners–I think I have 3 more recipes to make for that, and then what I’d planned for lunches. And breakfast, if there’s still room in the freezer.

Finally, a quick little update on how those sewing lessons are going! The girl is doing very well. We took a little bit of a break around Easter due to her family going on vacation, but since then, she’s finished up the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch. We spent most of that day’s lesson working on invisible zipper insertion, and she did a very nice job for her first try! (Not perfect, and I did have to do a little unpicking for her at the bottom to fix where something got caught, but the end result doesn’t have that annoying bubble that invisible zippers sometimes get at the bottom.) She finished the skirt on her own after her last lesson, and I’m not sure what she wants to work on next–I’m letting her pick the projects after the bag we made first, because of course it’s more fun if you sew things you want to make. Guess I’ll find out on Monday, so here’s hoping I’m sufficiently prepared!

the March round-up, and April/May plans!

I’m really liking these monthly round-ups. Since I’ve been mostly doing finished project posts lately, it’s a good way to keep tabs both on my stashbusting attempts and the longer-term projects/quickies that don’t necessarily need individual posts.

Projects finished this month: 6 total. There was the diaper bag, the skirt and matching baby pants, the top I blogged the other day, and 2 more baby projects.

Project #1, with backstory: The bulk of the clothes I’ve gotten for Hobbit so far have been courtesy of my mother-in-law, who keeps finding people who are getting rid of baby boy stuff and snagging it for us. For the most part, it’s been like-new or very gently worn, so I think we’ll be able to use most of it–though I did send a stack of newborn onesies to the thrift store, because they were specifically labeled 5-8 pounds. Given the weight updates I’ve been getting at my ultrasounds, and the weights that both Doug and I were at when we were born, he’d probably fit those for a week, tops. And I also passed a few things on to one of my best friends, because neither Doug nor I cared about keeping the sports-themed clothes (they never have hockey anything on them and he doesn’t care about any other sport), she and her husband actually like football and stuff, and she’s due to have a boy about a month and a half after me–instant friend for Hobbit! Yay! She had a girl for her first baby, so all she really needs for this one is clothes, and I don’t mind sharing. Anyway. There were also a few things that I thought were generally cute, and mostly in good condition, except for some obvious staining around the necklines. I had a little mental battle between my cheapness thriftiness and not wanting to dress my kid in clothes with mystery stains that he didn’t make. Then I remembered that I can sew, and therefore I can still get some use out of this stuff!

So I took these cute-but-stained pajamas, and this organic cotton onesie that was in excellent condition, but a little boring. And I cut the frog applique off and hand-stitched it onto the onesie–I wasn’t sure how well my machine would navigate those little tiny openings, since the side seams were already closed up! (The only before picture I have was on my phone. Yes, that’s Doug playing with toys in the background–if you follow me on Instagram, you know all about my excellent thrift score on a box of K’Nex over the weekend!)

Ta-da! Much cuter onesie, in about 20 minutes. And I still have other unstained parts of the original pajamas left–maybe I can hack the legs and sleeves into a little hat or something?

Project #2: Since hockey apparently doesn’t count as a sport in the minds of people who design fabric for baby clothes, I’m having to get creative. After all, if I can make geeky stuff for the baby, I should accommodate Doug’s interests too, right? So I used some fabric left over from the one hockey bib that I made a few months ago to make a project that I promised I’d do.

He mostly gets flak for being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, since we live in Flyers country, but his other favorite team is the Colorado Avalanche, and it’s a lot harder to find pre-made anything for that team for some reason. Even on the internet. But I did find some quilt cotton. So now our kid has Avalanche pants. The pattern is Simplicity 1330, slightly adapted because I didn’t have the right size elastic and partially because I didn’t want to bother putting the elastic in the bottom of the legs. The waistband came out huge with the length they said to cut, too, and the casings weren’t cooperating well with my wider elastic, so I also cut a few inches off. Hopefully they’ll fit him ok–these are supposed to be 6-12 month. Otherwise, super-easy–I had these cut and completely sewn in an afternoon.

Stashbusting totals for the month: About 6 1/2 yards used up. I still need to figure out what to do with the rest of that Avalanche fabric, since I have maybe 1/4 yard left. I also bought 1 yard of quilt cotton from Jo-Ann’s, because it was another hockey-themed print, and I don’t see those often. Still, used more than I bought. So yay! Total for the year so far: 27.75 yards down, just under 360 still here.

The in-progress stuff: The good news is that the newborn and small-sized diapers are completely done! I just need to finish up with the mediums, and my mom got a good chunk of that done. So I just need to finish with leg elastic and snaps. It’s definitely easier (and less boring) doing that sort of assembly-line sewing with someone else. As for my Lord of the Rings-themed quiet book, I haven’t made as much progress on that, since a nice chunk of the time I’d normally be spending on that was spent on diaper snap installation. But I have finished up to page 5 of (I think) 11, aside from machine-sewing the backing page on two of them, and am working on the 6th. So I’m about halfway there.

How I did with March’s goals: Well, the diaper bag is done, and I managed to make 2 pieces of clothing for myself instead of one, so I did well! I haven’t actually started that massive cooking project yet, save making a massive grocery list and at least figuring out which recipes to start with. But that is definitely on the agenda for this month, since I decided that it would be better to wait until closer to the time that we would actually be eating this food. Less freezer burn that way.

April’s plans (and beyond): 
SHBsewalongbadge2 

I mentioned this sewalong in my last post, and since everything I’m sewing right now fits one of the three categories, the timing is perfect! I’m not entirely certain what order I’ll end up making things in, so I’m just going to list all of the sewing that I’m hoping to get done before June by category, and see what actually happens.

1) Baby Clothing
Not 100% sure of my plans here yet, though I do have some things set aside and some ideas.

  • I have a few knit scraps pulled out that should be just enough to make a baby t-shirt. I’m also planning on freezer paper stenciling it since both fabrics are plain–with a geeky reference, of course! 
  • I do have two more partially useable free baby clothes that could also get the refashion treatment. 
  • I also have a couple of patterns lying around that would be fun to try out. Including one for adorable soft-sole baby shoes, and a button-down shirt one that I recently acquired. I even have an old work shirt of Doug’s hiding in my refashion bin that I can use for fabric, and I think it would be cute (and free!) to cut down Daddy’s old shirts for little boy clothes!
  • And I guess finishing up those diapers can count as clothes, right? I mean, he has to wear them…

 
 2) Baby Accessories and Other Items, such as quilts, toys, burp cloths, bibs, etc.
I should be solid on bibs and burp cloths, mostly thanks to my mom!

  • But I do want to make a portable changing mat to go in the diaper bag, since I have fabric left over from that. 
  • I have a scrap quilt in-progress, which I’m planning on just using as a throw-on-the-floor play mat, but that’s probably lowest on my priority list right now. (A, he won’t be able to sit up for awhile, and B, that might be an ideal project to work in 5 minutes of sewing here and there shortly after he’s born, since it’s all stitching strips onto blocks.) 
  • The quiet book definitely counts as a toy, and I did get some suggestions about maybe turning the rest of that Avalanche fabric into a stuffed toy, via the Stashbusting Sewalong group on Facebook.
  • I also have leftover towel fabric from when I made a baby gift (for the same friend mentioned earlier) a couple of years ago, so I’d like to see if I can squeeze a hooded towel out of it. 

3) For Parents

  • I have one more nursing/maternity maxi I want to make, as mentioned in my last post. I think that, for ease/speed of assembly, I’m going to just mash up the Tiramisu bodice, which I’ve already made twice and I know has some room for expansion, and the already-altered Simplicity skirt pattern from the black dress.  Which means that I’ll probably do the invisible zipper nursing alteration trick again, so maybe a tutorial post will happen?
  • As mentioned in my last post, I may give that Megan Nielsen pattern another go, with a few tweaks, since I’ll need something sleeveless for the hot days too. 
  • Given the colors of either project, I can also use the scraps to alter a not-quite-nursing bra that I picked up recently. The straps are the type that can snap closed in the front, so it just needs a little tweaking. 
  • I also need to make myself a nursing cover. I’m pretty sure I know which stashed quilting cotton will be sacrificed for this cause, I just need to do it. 

Hopefully this isn’t too overly ambitious. But I’m determined to cram in as much time with my sewing machine as I can now, because I suspect it’ll be hard to do for awhile!

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!