Top 5 Hits and Misses

It’s time for my favorite year-end series! Thanks for hosting this yet again, Gillian!

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I have to say, it was a rather mixed bag this year. I wasn’t the most productive in terms of finished projects. And I do have two currently unfinished things that seem to be turning out well, but I don’t want to hold off on this post in case I don’t finish them in time. That, and time to write on the computer instead of my Kindle is rare and must be taken advantage of. Let’s start with the hits, shall we?

nursing bras

1. The award for most worn definitely goes to my nursing bras. I only ever really blogged the ivory one, but I made three. It did get a little better as I went along, and the black one is the best by far. I’m happy to report that they are holding up far better than the RTW ones I used with Hobbit, since those were falling apart by the time he got to the age that Padawan is now (7 months). The fit is decent enough. I’m still thinking through whether bra-making is a field I want to dig further into. On the one hand, I do have a Craftsy class on them that I haven’t gone through yet, and I do get annoyed at continually paying for bras that start falling apart after a month. (Seriously, every non-nursing bra I had for the few months between weaning Hobbit and being too pregnant with Padawan to keep wearing them lost their underwires in that short time, and I’ll have to buy all new ones again when he’s done nursing. Argh.) On the flip side, this was super fiddly, and I really do prefer wearing the smoother foam-cup bras. Either way, this won’t be anything that’s happening next year. Maybe once I finally get my wardrobe in better shape again.

Cake Espresso Leggings

2. The “best wardrobe builder” was my grey Espresso leggings. It’s nice to have a pattern that works equally well for maternity and normal clothes! And since I pretty much exclusively wear leggings as tights instead of pants (except for that one time where I was 9 months pregnant and even my maternity pants weren’t fitting anymore), they’re pretty versatile. I still need to fix the teal ones I made at the same time, since that particular ponte just didn’t have the vertical stretch needed to make it work, but I’m hoping to add to that waistband sometime before the end of the year. We’ll see if I get to it.

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3. The award for “cutest project” definitely goes to the boys’ Halloween costumes. I mean, come on. I’m also gratified that Hobbit still pulls out the scarf sometimes to play with, since that was the most time consuming part of his costume.

Matcha and shorts

4. The “best salvage job” goes to my Wonderland Matcha top. Even though it started out ridiculously huge on me, I’m very happy with the finished result and wore it quite a bit when the weather was warmer. I’m still hoping to get the sizing on this sorted out, because I really do like the style and want this pattern to be a go-to.

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Incidentally, here’s a couple of projects I never got to blogging– I made a quick infinity scarf with the leftovers of this top, and a second one from a fun print I purchased specifically for this purpose. (I mean, tiny horse plaid!) I haven’t gotten to wear these much, since I spend a lot of time with a baby carrier on right now and they would just get soaked in drool, but I’m looking forward to mixing these in more soon.

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5. And the best “just for fun” project goes to my Norwegian Wood Rae skirt. The Sewcialists blog recently did a series on TNT patterns, and while it’s a little embarrassing to admit that my current TNT skirt pattern is an elastic-waist beginner pattern, it’s nice to have one thing that I can just whip out with fun fabric and know it’ll fit.

Now, for the not so good projects…

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1. The “fabric fail” award is a 3 way tie. The first is my nursing-hacked Renfrew. The concept was good. But the rayon jersey just drapes too much for having that kind of opening in the front, and at this point, it’s pretty much unwearable until I sew those nursing openings shut. Which pretty much defeats the entire purpose. I think that the sizing on this was also off– I made the largest size because nursing chest, but it’s just too long and saggy and baggy all over. I would like to do some more work on the Renfrew and figure out my new size, since this used to be one of my TNTs and I miss it.

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2 & 3: My black and ivory nursing camisoles. (Ivory only pictured, because the other is the same pattern. Plus bonus Padawan photobomb.) This was another fabric fail. It was the same rayon jersey as the Renfrew, and the weight of the elastic pulls it down past the opening band. I still wear them under other things, but I have to tuck the elastic under my bra band to hold it up. It’s definitely a fabric fail and not the pattern, though, because I made a grey one from a different remnant, and it has much better recovery, and works great.

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4 & 5. The “bad fit” award goes to both pairs of shorts that I made over the summer. I’m only showing the print pair here, since the solid was in the same picture as the Matcha top. At the time, the issue was that the largest size of the shorts were still too small for my postpartum body. By the time the summer ended, I’d lost enough weight that I could wear both pairs. But since the drafting still left the knit and solid meeting halfway down my butt and it always felt like the shorts were falling off, I really don’t think this is salvageable. The print in particular makes me sad, because I like the fabric for this one.

I have one bonus project that I’m not really sure which side it falls on.

IMG_5136 So, my Jalie Vanessa pants. On the one hand, first successful pair of pants I’ve had since I started having babies! On the other hand, I’ve been kind of stuck on how to style them, particularly since the weight of the fabric and the bagginess mean they really only work for warmer weather. Any suggestions on shirt patterns or silhouettes that might make these more versatile? I mean, I’d hate to toss out a pair of pants that actually fit just because I’m not sure what to wear them with at this point.

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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.

this bird has flown

I’m back! With multiple projects to catch up on, believe it or not. Taking pictures has proven to be even more of a challenge since Padawan came along, mostly because he spends most of his nap time strapped to me in a carrier. Not very conducive to outfit photos. So this was just grabbing a few quick photos of my latest project after church today, and hoping that I can catch up on the rest later.

IMG_4939The skirt is the Sewaholic Rae, and there’s really nothing to say about the construction by this point since this is my fourth version.  It’s funny that this has become my go-to skirt pattern, since I probably would have avoided it in the pre-kid days. But when you’ve got limited time to sew and 30 pounds to lose, I guess elastic waists that can be easily adjusted are the way to go. Especially when I can hide them with my constantly untucked shirts. (I’m wearing it here with an old Burda top and my Plantain cardigan.)

IMG_4942Let’s talk about the fabric, shall we? Yes, I’m back on the quilter’s cotton, but I couldn’t pass this print up. It’s from a collection called “Hello Love”, all loosely inspired by The Beatles’ music. I grew up regularly listening to The Beatles, and so I fell in love with several of the prints. The one I ended up choosing was inspired by “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. One thing I’ve been attempting to do for awhile is bring some warmer colors into my wardrobe, since I do have a tendency to fall into a rut of ocean colors and black. And the cheerful gold with Elven looking trees seemed to be just the thing. Plus that meant that I actually managed to fit the month’s bird theme at The Monthly Stitch! It was a little challenging making sure that I didn’t end up with hearts centered in iffy places, but I think I managed it. As well as pattern matching as best as I could with angled seams.

So that’s that! And hopefully I’ll get to those other pictures soon.

IMG_4948Ok, one more with this cutie. Can you believe he’s 2 months old already?

The best laid plans, and so on

Yeah, my sewing has gotten off to a rather slow start this year! Between the reorganization project taking longer than expected, and the continuing saga of naptime issues (spoiler alert, he still doesn’t want me to put him down, even with that zippy swaddle thing from the last post), I was getting really concerned that I wouldn’t finish what should have been a simple project in time to tie it in with this month’s theme at The Monthly Stitch. I don’t manage to play along every month, but I was really excited about my idea for a garment inspired by a favorite beverage!

Only, it didn’t quite go as planned. I’m a little embarrassed to share this one, honestly. But not every project is going to be a winner, and I think it’s important to learn from the fails, too.

IMG_3340Obviously, my beverage of choice had to be tea. But I already have a dress with teacups on it, so my idea was to start working on this year’s goal of replenishing my pajamas/loungewear wardrobe, with the help of some tea dyeing. I had a piece of what I’m fairly certain was a bedsheet, which got passed on to me when someone destashed it onto my mom. I knew the effect of the dye would be subtle, since there was most likely some polyester content in the fabric, but I hoped that it would be just enough to bring out the tone-on-tone print.

So I got my tea brewed–not a brand I actually care to drink, of course– boiled the fabric in it for as long as we could manage to keep Hobbit happy, washed it…and ended up with exactly what I’d started with. Drat.

I decided to go ahead and start sewing anyway. The pants are the Sewaholic Tofino pattern, which I’ve made before, and will likely make several more times this year, because I like the way they fit me. I didn’t even have to make any sizing changes to accommodate the extra post-baby pounds! I made the piping and ties out of a remnant of solid brown left over from an old dress, thinking the brown might help tie in the tea idea. I realized closer to the end of the sewing process that I still didn’t feel comfortable with the color, and especially the thought of taking blog photos in white, somewhat see-through pants.

So I broke out more dye, this time in chocolate brown. Surely that would tint the cotton to a nice, tea-stained tan, right?

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Nope. It turned pink. Pastel pink, of all things. Which is my third least favorite color on the planet, when not occurring naturally outside. I’ve actually had this problem before with this color, but in the context of dyeing silk. I sure didn’t think a poly/cotton blend would act the same way! So, what to do? Though the half-finished tee from my refashion bin took the tea dye in a subtle way, the pants just didn’t read “tea” to me. And I will take a chocolate milkshake over strawberry every single time, so that wouldn’t make a good inspiration drink for me.

 

 

 

 

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Then I remembered that I had this “four red fruits” tea that I brought home from Paris, which is still around thanks to the cruel pregnancy trick of mostly not being able to stomach tea. It’s a black tea with strawberry, raspberry, Problem solved!

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A quick note on the shirt: I don’t really know what pattern it is. It’s one of two identical white tees that my mom started and didn’t finish, because she doesn’t particularly enjoy making clothes anyway and she wasn’t happy about how it was turning out. My original thought was to maybe recut it into a Plantain tee or something, but then I noticed that the side seams had been sewn already, and I was getting anxious to finish it up. So I just zig-zagged the neck binding and hems down as it was, though I did serge the sides and sleeves in a little because I was hoping to cancel out the dropped shoulder a bit. I’d also thought of maybe stenciling a teacup or something on it, because it’s admittedly boring. And maybe someday, I’ll do that.

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For now, I’m calling it good enough for pajamas, and happily moving on to the next project. Even though this looks like hospital clothes. Hopefully the next thing will turn out better. But at least I shouldn’t have any trouble with nursing in these pjs. (Note to self: Next time, take the time to make the Plantain.)

the stashbusting wagon ran me over

Since falling off the wagon was a recent topic of discussion in the Stashbusting Sewalong group on Facebook, this really is the best analogy I was able to come up with! The thing is, I actually have been doing well with not buying fabric overall. I bought only two yards of fabric in November, and both pieces were for immediate Christmas projects for Hobbit. It’s just that people keep destashing onto me! This time, it was a friend of my grandmother’s, and my mom and I ended up splitting this pile based on what we each thought we could use. I haven’t had a chance to tally up the yardage yet. But at least this time, there were pieces that will be good for little boy clothes. Mostly plaid.

lace-layered RenfrewAnother thing it had was a piece of mystery blue knit, which I was actually able to mostly use up right away. The November theme for The Monthly Stitch was a capsule wardrobe. Since I technically finished my black Espresso leggings in November (and they fit SO much better after tweaking), I decided to pair that with my exploding Tardis Rae skirt as my pre-sewn piece, and add a top. The last pile of free stash had this blue mesh lace stuff, and the mystery blue knit from this pile, while not a perfect match, went well enough with the mesh that I decided to layer it.

IMG_3124It’s another Sewaholic Renfrew, of course. The bands in plain knit would be easier to deal with than cleanly hemming the mesh and knit together. Also, I was fairly confident that I could adjust it to work a little better for nursing, since my older Renfrews, while admittedly snug at the moment, can still be pulled up for access as needed. I didn’t make this a full blown nursing top, but I added back to the waist (my old ones were graded down two sizes), and also added an extra inch to just the front.

I couldn’t do a pattern hack, no matter how small, without issues. This time, I forgot that adding to the front did not mean I should also increase the neck binding circumference. I ended up with a baggy, saggy neckline that took me a week to rip out. I’m going to blame sleep deprivation for this one. November was rough with the baby, to the point where we’re having to start solid food earlier than I’d intended just to see if more food in his tummy will keep him sleeping for more than two hours (or often less) at a time. (Day one, which was Tuesday, worked out pretty well. Day two, which was yesterday, saw him still waking up every two hours like clockwork. Ugh. At least it’s less than a month until we were going to start him on solids anyway.)

IMG_3164On the plus side, once I finally got that neckline off and gathered the excess to fix that–and the extra stretching that happened when it was stitched on the first time–it came together really fast. Even though I still had to break it into three sessions, and therefore didn’t finish until December 1st. Oh well.

I had to make it short sleeved, due to the amount of fabric I had–I have just enough for a baby tee shirt left over. I think. But I’m ok with that, because this one will be easy to layer and will also go well with a couple of my older print skirts, assuming they’ll fit again as well. The lace and two toned blue keeps it from feeling boring to me as a solid top, which is usually my big issue with solids. All told, I think I busted about 3 yards on this top, though I didn’t measure the knit before starting. I do have some of the mesh left over, but it’s admittedly kind of cheap fabric–good for an experimental top like this, but not something I necessarily want to bother making another outfit with. So I honestly might just use it as stuffing in a plushie I’m making for Hobbit!

I have to say, I’m really liking this mini-capsule/complete outfit style of sewing! My love of prints has definitely left me with orphan clothes more than once, and this is an easy way for me to get more cohesion in my wardrobe without resorting to sewing all neutral basics. I still don’t feel like I’m at a point where I can really justify picking out my own fabrics to add to my stash, given what I’ve acquired lately. (Even though I did buy two things yesterday to use as wearable muslins for some recently acquired patterns, because I just didn’t have the yardage required. I think I’m going to have to up my default “I don’t know what I’m going to do with this but I like it” buys from 2 yards to 3.) But I think I’d like to continue this way of adding to my closet as I can.

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!

transitional sewing

Sewaholic RaeJust a quick project to share today. This was the only photo that sort of turned out, to be honest, and I’m limited on time while the baby’s napping. I tried a couple of side shots, but I’ll admit I’m feeling a little self-conscious about how I look in those– I know I should be kind to myself, since 8 weeks ago I was just going into labor, and lots of people around here have been telling me that I look great. But I think I’m ready to not look like I have a baby bump on here, you know?

Anyway, the skirt. I’m trying to focus on projects that are relatively quick to make and forgiving on the fit, while I restock my wardrobe with a few basics to help me get into the fall. This is the Sewaholic Rae skirt, which was designed as a beginner skirt, so I figured it would work up fast. Also, elastic waists are my friends right now. I was really happy with how this turned out. It was a fairly instant-gratification project– I think it only took me 3 or 4 afternoon naptimes to sew up, and those have been quite variable in length so far, so that’s not bad. The fabrics are leftover pieces from this skirt and these pants, and I think they pair well together. I’m calling it my Zelda Rae skirt, because I have to admit that black and tan makes me think of German shepherds, and in particular, the very sweet one that my parents had while I was in college and beyond. But I also figured the black and tan combo means that it would go with a lot. Aside from that, there’s not much to say about the construction. There’s only two pattern pieces. Which also makes it quick to cut out, and since that’s not my favorite part of sewing, that’s fine by me.

It’s a little wrinkly looking, yeah. But the tan is linen, while the black is a linen-type. So let’s call this “embracing the nature of the fabric” instead of “I’m too lazy to iron while trying to get us out the door”, ok?

All in all, I think this is a great skirt for both the seasonal transition, and my sizing transitions. I’m definitely going to attempt at least one more of these, assuming the refashion I have in mind has enough fabric. I’m also debating about two more. I used a gift card I’ve been hoarding to buy some chambray, since none of my old skirts that weren’t already elastic waist were fitting. But then last week, I made the happy discovery that I’ve shrunk down enough that my TARDIS skirt fits again, even though it’s snug, and this other denim skirt is also right on the verge of fitting (snugly).  So now I’m questioning whether that chambray would be more useful as another type of garment. I also splurged on another piece of fabric just before the baby was born, because the Whovian in me demanded it, and I was originally thinking a different Sewaholic skirt pattern, but I think I might go with this instead. After all, the sizing is more versatile. And we know we’d like to have at least one more kid a little ways down the road, assuming we can, so I’d rather use my precious sewing time to make things that aren’t just going to fit for a few months before doing this all over again.

2014’s top 5 hits and misses

Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5
Time for the Top 5 lists, as hosted by the fabulous Gillian! I’m going to start off with hits and misses today.

Top 5 Hits
Looking back over my posts this year, I guess this was the year of pants, coats and dresses.

Grey Thurlows 21. The Thurlow Trousers– all 4 pairs of them I made this year. I’m just showing the grey pair here, since they show up in photos the best. Along with the brown test pair I made in 2013, these got a ton of wear during the cooler months this year. And unlike most of my jeans, I was able to wear these pretty much all the way through the first trimester–it was just last week that I had to resort to safety-pinning them closed rather than buttoning them. So I’m feeling hopeful that, even though I’ll have to retire them for the remainder of this winter, maybe I can pull them out again next fall.

Robson Coat

2. The Robson coat. I love the color, and I’m quite happy with the inside finishing. I will confess I need to do a tiny bit of repair on one of the pocket flaps where the stitching has come out, but aside from that, everything’s holding up nicely. I actually took this with me to Paris and ended up wearing it pretty much constantly, and it was the perfect added layer. Also, dragon buttons!

Tea Cambie3.  The teacup Cambie. I loooove the print on this dress, and I have to admit that this is probably the dress that I’m most nervous won’t fit again post-pregnancy. Here’s hoping, because I really feel like this dress deserves more wearing than I was able to give it in one season!

IMG_13884. The Tiramisu maxi-dress. This one did get quite a bit of wear over the summer, since it’s a little more casual of a dress than the Cambie, and that makes it easy to wear for teaching and such. This one did adapt very nicely to the longer skirt, and I’m glad I got a chance to try this hack out!

peacoat5. Even though it did take forever to make, I’m going to have to say the peacoat. The time I spent on the tailoring seems to have been well worth it so far, as was the investment in the Thinsulate. It’s much less stiff to wear than the old one, and so far, it seems to be keeping me warm.

Top 5 Misses: 
Not all of these are necessarily sewing projects, or even entire sewing projects. But still…
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1. The daisy Sorbetto. It’s not so much that this project was a fail, as that I just haven’t worn it much. I pretty much have this one skirt that it works with and that’s it. Plus it got cold pretty quickly after I made it, and, well…you know, all my clothes starting to not fit. I’ll probably pull it out again sometime, though I doubt I’ll get much wear from it next summer, as it’s not the most nursing-friendly top.

2. My jeans hardware installation skills. I think I would have gotten a lot more use out of the skinny jeans earlier in the fall, if the button hadn’t started to get loose after one wash. My dad used some of his epoxy-type stuff to ensure that it wasn’t going anywhere, and that’s worked. But it’s also made the inside waistband really scratchy right behind the button. I managed a quick fix for awhile by just sticking a band-aid behind the button, but I need to stitch a patch over it for a more permanent solution. I just never got to it, and now that those jeans won’t fit me for awhile anyway, my motivation to do so has been quite low.

Irish cables hat
3. This hat. I think it would have been better for me if it had been about an inch longer. It barely covered my ears at all, and that bugged me to no end. I ended up giving it to my mom, since it fit her much better. I guess I have a big head or something?

IMG_13224. The Tauriel costume, which I attempted to make for the Sewcialists’ “March of the Shieldmaidens” sewalong. A combination of bad choice of fabric and less-than-stellar pattern alterations left this looking pretty awful. And though I love making costumes, I wasn’t having much fun with it, and was just getting stressed at how many more things I’d need to make for DragonCon vs. how long this was taking. So I ended up throwing it out and wearing my old Eowyn costume instead. Which was probably for the best.

5. Honestly, I think the biggest miss for me this year, or at least the last couple of months, has just been sewing time. It’s not that I didn’t want to, or even that I didn’t have any free time in which to do so. It’s just that my “morning” sickness ended up being so bloody awful and I just didn’t have the physical stamina to do it as much as I would have liked.

So what’s your favorite thing(s) that you’ve made this year? Anything you wish had gone better?

one day I’ll be part of your world

First off, thanks for all the kind words on my last post, both on here and Twitter! It’s been hard to keep things quiet, and while quite a few of my friends and family have known already, it’s nice to have the support of my sewing friends as well. 🙂 Of course, the baby is also the reason I could only show a preview of my Sew Disney project, and why the Gabriola skirt I’d originally planned wasn’t going to work! It’s a shame, because I did have enough fabric to do so, but non-stretchy waistbands don’t make sense right now since I have no idea how my sizing will end up when this is all over. Or if it would even fit now, tbh.

Ariel-inspired outfit
So here’s my whole outfit, with a little help from Malkin–and my hair even looks slightly red here! I wasn’t sure if it would, since it’s very cloudy here today. As I said before, the top is a Renfrew, though I did make a few additional modifications that I hadn’t mentioned before. I added a little extra width to the front (about 1/2″ total, I think), and I added some length–more in the front than the back, so I could do a little ruching on the side. I also left the bottom band off, simply because I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it, even if it had been pieced together! The length looks all right for now, but since I’m sure I’m going to use this pattern to make a couple more tops, I think next time I’m going to add even more length to the front and put the band on anyway, just to accommodate any expansion and hold things in place. I’d definitely like to avoid that baby belly hanging out from underneath my clothes look if I can!

Ariel skirtSince the Gabriola was a no-go, I raided my pattern stash for ideas. I picked out an elastic-waist maxi skirt, then realized that the hips were still pretty fitted and that this skirt wouldn’t work for too long as a result, either. So, believe it or not, it was a boxy Burda magazine pattern to the rescue! This is #119 from the June 2010 issue, and it’s literally two rectangles with two drawstrings that tie at the sides. No elastic, even. But I figured that could be a good thing, because then I can tighten and loosen this to fit exactly where needed. I’ll admit the result is a bit bulky around the waistband, but you can’t really tell as much when it’s under the shirt, I think. I did change the pattern slightly by doing a drawstring casing instead of a lining piece at the top, and I also did a French seam finish inside. If this ends up looking like a high-low hem in a few months, I wanted the insides to look good!

Ariel- side view
Here’s the side view–you can sort of see the ruching, but my hand’s in the way. Now that I’m seeing the top on, I kind of wish that I’d started the black a little bit lower so it wasn’t running directly into the sleeve seam. Oh well.

You can also see that I’m not really showing much, if at all, at this point. I’m sure that will change soon, though. It’s been very hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve lost a few pounds overall, due to the nausea and the very limited, bland diet I’ve been eating to try to get through the days, and yet I’m still having trouble with my pants fitting! For the record, my Thurlow pants have fared much better than most of my thrift store jeans, and it’s just been this week that I haven’t been able to button the top anymore. So that does give me hope that they’ll fit again! (I haven’t tried my last pair of jeans, because I need to do a little repair on the waistband before I can wear them. But honestly, I’ve already worn maternity jeans a few times and they stayed up, so I may not bother trying.)

Stashbusting totals:
Top: about 2 yards (1 of the ivory jersey, and 1 of the black interlock left over from the summer’s black tank dress. Both pieces completely used up, hurrah!)
Skirt: 2 1/4 yards of the teal. I have about 2 3/4 yards left, which I’ll need to come up with a use for at some point. (I already bought a similar-colored short-sleeved maternity top on clearance at Target, so that option is out.)

Ariel outtakeAnd I’ll leave you today with an outtake–  I’ve got the standard Disney princess animal companion, and we can just pretend his name is Max for this picture, even if he is the wrong breed. But apparently Ursula’s spell messed up, because this mermaid only has one foot!

Making plans, Disney-style

If you follow the Sewcialists blog, then you’ve probably heard that this month’s theme is all things Disney. And I’m co-hosting! So I’m really glad to be done with the coat so I can actually, you know, make an outfit for this.

Since I already channeled my favorite Disney bookworm earlier this year for DragonCon, I decided to look a little further back into my childhood for this one. I grew up watching Disney cartoons–one of the things that I always looked forward to during family gatherings was that my grandmother would try to get the latest Disney movie on VHS, and my cousins and I would all watch it together. And if there wasn’t anything new, we’d watch older classics like Cinderella or Peter Pan. I enjoyed those, of course, but the first one I really remember latching onto was this one:

I have this vague memory of this being the first movie that I actually saw in a movie theater, though I guess that depends on how accurate my memory is–after all, I would have been around 7 at the time. But I loved this one. Especially the music, and all of the underwater prettiness, though I’m also pretty sure this is where I got the idea that my hair should be red and if it doesn’t agree, then I should just give it a little help! (Now if I could just get her volume…)

I don’t want to go all-out costume for this one, especially since a shell top and tail just isn’t something I want to be seen in out in public! So I’m taking my inspiration more from her going around town/”Kiss The Girl” outfit:

I actually already have the top done, so I’ll give a little sneak preview!

It sits a little wonky on Donna, but here’s what I came up with! I really thought about making the black neckline more of a sweetheart shape, but with some careful basting, managed to get a mostly clean line for the notch.

It’s a Renfrew, of course, with some modifications for the color-blocking and also a raised neckline. Now that I look at the Ariel picture again, I probably could have left it a little more scooped, but I’ll be warmer this way. Since I’m all about the stashbusting, and some of the pictures look more off-white and some more light blue, I used an ivory jersey for the top/sleeves and the leftover black interlock from the dress I made over the summer for the “corset”.  I just barely had enough to squeeze this out–I couldn’t even cut the band for the bottom, so it’s just hemmed. I’m hoping this won’t look too blatantly costumey if I pair it with cardigans or jackets or whatever, but I do like the look of it, and I’m quite happy that my hack turned out the way I wanted it to! There may have to be more color-blocked Renfrews in my future. Because that’s a way more interesting use of plain colored fabrics, IMO.

More pics to come once I figure out what I’m doing about that skirt–I was originally planning to make a Gabriola, but it isn’t going to work at this point. So I’ll have to improvise. Looks like it might be my old Burda magazines to the rescue…