Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Emerging from the land of separates

I forgot that I love to sew dresses! I started sewing because I wanted to wear dresses all the time, and though I did make a few of them, somewhere along the line I got stuck making separates. I haven't made a dress in over a year! Well, I am going to a fancy cocktail party for work tomorrow and I spent the weekend stitching up a new dress. It still needs a zipper, a hem, a final pressing, and some hand stitching on the inside, but I think it will come together in time. More details to come!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Big, Bright Flowers

Hooray for a finished item that definitely works! I've been perfecting a slim pants pattern, and I needed to renew my enthusiasm with a quick and easy project almost certain to turn out well.

Image from Pattern Review

I used Simplicity 1693, and it turned out beautifully with no fitting issues at all, not that the fit is super important for this style. The collar turned out nicely and the back opening is a pretty detail, but it's totally unnecessary because the top goes over my head easily. My only disappointment with the pattern is that it doesn't include guides to cut bias to the appropriate length for the neck and arm holes, instead instructing sewists to use purchased bias tape. All other Simplicity patterns I've used have included a bias facing piece, and though I know I can figure out the length and cut my own bias, it's an extra step that I got used to not doing. I do appreciate that Simplicity tends to favor a bias finish instead of facing either way, though, especially since this is a good pattern for beginners. When I started sewing it was all facings all the time, and ugh, I was disgusted that facings were the method for finishing homemade clothes instead of the clean RTW finish. Thank goodness for the sewing blogs that soon introduced me to bias tape!

Thread loop made from pearl cotton

The fabric is a rayon challis purchased around New Year's for $2/yd during a Fabric Mart sale. It's a beautiful fabric - easy to sew and press, lovely to wear, perfect drape. The only thing is that it's a little too bright and wild for me. I knew that before buying it, but it was such a good price! I figured I could use it to test out a new pattern at least, and at best it would help me feel a bit more comfortable in bigger, brighter prints. We'll see how much it gets worn, but at least it's a bit more toned down under a cardigan!

Have you ever bought a piece fabric you knew didn't match your personality or style because it was good quality and a good price? Did you end up wearing the resulting garment much?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Me-Made-May Week Four

I had an easier time with MMM this week, and then I attended a blogger meetup on Wednesday that really renewed my inspiration just in time for the last stretch. Only one more week!

  • 5/18 - MM shirt; worn at home. This photo shows why I don't get any sewing done.
  • 5/19 & 5/20 - Nothing MM before nightfall. I did wear my MM pajamas, but we don't need more pictures of that!
  • 5/21 - MM skirt; worn while biking home from work up a 500 ft hill with a 35 mph headwind, which explains why I had to recreate the outfit on the floor later...
  • 5/22 - MM shirt, soon to be blogged; worn to a blogger/sewist meetup! There was a Bay Area meetup on Wednesday evening to say good-bye to Amy, and it was such a fun night! It's a real treat to talk in person to people who know about garment sewing, and all the women who attended are so kind, interesting, and creative. I came away feeling so refreshed and excited about both sewing and blogging, and I can't wait to see everyone again!
  • 5/23 - MM skirt; worn to work. 
  • 5/24 - MM shirt; worn fabric shopping! I went to Joann to pick up a couple Simplicity patterns during their Memorial Day sale, and I found a fancy fabric in the clearance pile that I suspect is one of those rare Joann gems. I have a cocktail party to attend for work next week, so I'm going to try to make it into a dress this weekend. Perfect timing!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Me-Made-May Week 3

Phew, what a week! It was a fun one, though, filled with vacations, the greatest mountains, biking, and new sewing projects.

  • 5/10 - MM shirt and shorts; worn at my parents' house. We just hung around petting dogs, and I finally finished the buttonholes on my Archer shirt! Now I just need to muster the enthusiasm to sew buttons on...
  • 5/11 - MM tee; worn on a hike in the High Sierra. It's my one and only me-made workout shirt again! This photo was taken in the sunny Alabama Hills while my dad did some climbing, and I just had to sacrifice a nicer photo of my face for the snowy Sierras in the background (unfortunately, Mt. Whitney is just out of view). This is my favorite place in the world.
  • 5/12 - MM shorts; worn on a very hot drive up the Central Valley with no air conditioning while recovering from altitude sickness. It actually wasn't as bad as it sounds.
  • 5/13 - MM pajamas; worn sitting on the bedroom floor planning sewing projects. I felt kind of bad after getting home from work and realizing I hadn't even thought about MMM all day and wore absolutely nothing handmade, but then I looked down and saw my beloved pajama pants. Those count too!
  • 5/14 - MM dress; worn to a board meeting. The greatest dress ever makes another appearance. I felt good and put together in this outfit, which is pretty amazing considering there are some seriously stylish women on the board. I always feel like a frumpy teacher around them!
  • 5/15 - MM pants; worn to work. I've been trying to bike to BART instead of taking the bus to save money and be healthy. It's been fun, but it would a lot more fun if there weren't a 500 ft. hill to get up. Anyway, this was the second wear for these pants, and I must sadly announce that this pair is officially a wadder. I am a frumpy teacher in these.
  • 5/16 - ????? I think I wore a hand knit scarf over my coat, but somehow I can't say for sure. It's kind of like Thursday didn't happen. Weird.
  • 5/17 - MM tee; worn on a beautiful evening of sewing. Like fly zippers, I'm oddly psyched out by knits, and this top is proof to myself that I (and my machine) am actually capable of making something acceptable out of a knit fabric. This outfit photo kind of misrepresents real life - as soon as the photo was taken I pulled on one of my husband's old sweaters and the scarf came off soon after. How do people not get annoyed by a head scarf?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Me-Made-May Week Two

Prepare yourselves for a series of uninspired outfits and awful self-portraits. I feel like this week represents the worst of Me-Made-May. I had a short but super intense work week, and I just didn't have the time or energy to plan outfits beyond trying to fit something handmade in. Instead of being an exciting challenge MMM became an uncomfortable chore, and this post is the result.

Anyway, by the time you read this I'll be on vacation! I'm heading down to the California desert to visit my family for two and a half days of hiking, dogs, coffee, and perhaps some sewing or knitting. I'll at least try get the Archer buttonholes finished!

  • 5/4 - MM running shirt; worn on a hike on San Bruno Mountain. I think this is swimsuit fabric, but it works really well as a running/hiking shirt. Please pardon the hat hair and squinting.
  • 5/5 - MM hat and mitts, Mom-Made scarf; worn to Flora Grubb for coffee and plant viewing with a friend. I had planned to wear my new scout tee today, but the weather turned chilly and I knew I wouldn't be taking my coat off at all, so it was a good day for handmade knits.
  • 5/6 - MM pants; worn to work. I just finished these pants but haven't blogged them. They are okay. They're actually perfect when fresh out of the wash, but get all baggy with a little wear. Unfortunately if I take them in any more I won't be able to step up on a bus. :/
  • 5/7 - MM top; worn to work. This top is another recent unblogged garment. It's also okay. Actually, it would be pretty good if it didn't feel like I am actually wearing a plastic bag when it's at all warm. It was entirely inappropriate for day one of a huge mailing for my department, but what can you do when it's MMM and you need something to wear with pants? 
  • 5/8 - MM top; worn to work. This outfit worked way better in my head than in real life. It was comfortable for the mailing activities though! I still love my floral scout tee, but omg this fabric wrinkles like crazy.
  • 5/9 - MM nothing. I did hem the jeans, though, which was actually some of the hardest sewing I've done in a while! Anyway, I could have worn something me made today but I don't want to. I've got a seven hour drive ahead of me, and, well, basically I just don't want to. I know this totally goes against the point of the challenge, but clothes can affect my mood and this outfit is making me happy. MMM can wait until tomorrow. I don't know how the rules work though - should I not have taken a photo today, just left it out? I included it to document my personal experience with the challenge, which includes a conscious decision to "fail," but I don't want to be misleading or anything.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Me-Made-May Begins!

Happy May! I'm really loving seeing everyone's MMM progress. So far so good for me, but I did stare at the closet a bit last night and ended up not totally happy with today's outfit in part because of the MM limitations. This will be interesting.

  • 5/1 - MM shirt and skirt; worn to the office. It was almost hot in SF this week, and I regretted the sweater choice as soon as I left the house!
  • 5/2 - MM dress; worn to the office. This is the greatest dress ever, and I predict you will see it at least another four times this May.
  • 5/3 - MM dress; worn to the office, and then a school site. This cardigan usually makes an appearance when it's hot out, but I felt way too bright having the sweater paired with the dress, which is actually much darker in real life. What can I say - like Leslie, boring is my middle name.

As a side note, clearly these aren't the greatest photos in the world. Sorry. Eric works evenings, I work days, I don't have a good set up for timed photos, and the light in our house is strong but sometimes severe. I could at least try to make the floor boards straight to avoid vertigo, though. Here's hoping I learn some photography tricks this month as a side effect of MMM!