Thursday, August 30, 2012

30:60 The Remaining Projects and Announcing the Next Challenges!

Friends, it has been a busy few weeks here in Casa Grand.  First off, I've been busy reading all of the fabulous blogs that you have shared with me! I'm excited to have such a wealth of reading material to peruse every day :)  I've also been busy with some things on the home front.  Upon hearing that we were having guests staying at our place this weekend while we are gone (and sleeping in the sewing area!), I started a stash busting routine of waking up at 5 a.m. and going to sleep at 12:00 a.m. and sewing during all the waking/non-work hours. It is truly amazing what three cups of coffee and two diet sodas a day will do to you! So... it's been a bit busy.  I apologize for the complete lack of silence over here :)

I did get to take a few breaks, like hanging out with the AWESOME Liz of Zilredloh - one of my favorite sewing bloggers on the web, and a fabulous conversationalist as well!  We went to the Randolph Street Market last Sunday, but sadly, this is the only picture I got of our adventure!  It started raining a short time later and did not stop until Monday.  We had quite the adventure of getting to the car while leaving the Haymarket Pub - we were a bit damp by the time we got there! I didn't see anything that tickled my fancy at the Market, but Liz got some fabulous goodies for herself.  Can't wait to see what she makes with her new patterns!

 Now onto the projects... in the end, these projects walked the line between scrap busting and stash busting.  I needed to make space in the sewing closet for guests to put things away and it was just about making space as fast as possible.  

This plaid was mainly just selvage pieces, with one tiny section that could be folded to make the front bodice.  I shortened the sleeves and cuffed them to make for a fun camp shirt version, but the truth is that I didn't have enough fabric to cut the entire sleeve. I "made it work" a la Tim Gunn.

 The back is pieced together along the center grey stripe.  It's not exact, but it works.  I love how easily this pattern comes together and how flattering it is, especially the neckline. 

 Project 24: Simplicity 2258 The Denim Bow Skirt.  

I've had this pattern in my stash for a few months now, so when my grandma gave me a large denim remnant, I decided it would be perfect for a skirt.

 The denim is delightfully soft and pliable, but there was not enough for all the pieces. The waistband/elastic casing and back of tie were made with denim that had a similar feel, but is slightly lighter in color. I like the variance of the shades, and the fact that I can throw this skirt on and feel a bit dressier when I go out.

 Project 25: Butterick 5528 The Drapey Cardigan

Ever since seeing this post at Four Square Walls, I KNEW I needed a drapey cardigan.  I began the pattern hunt and eventually settled on this Butterick pattern.  It was a total breeze to make and took approximately 3 hours total.

I've had this green knit in my stash for a long time now, but had no idea how warm it was until I tried this cardi on - wow.  Oh wow.  It's a bit sheer, but it can hold in the heat like nothing else.

It's a little bulky around the sleeves, which is fine, since I'll probably be pairing it with long sleeve tees in the winter.  Right now, it's perfect to pair with work blouses against the chilly office air conditioning.

Project 26: The Perfectly Plaid Pendrell

This was the first Pendrell blouse I made, and I LOVE IT.  I made it out of a long pleated skirt that Mama Grand was getting rid of, and it works perfectly as a blouse.

The length is perfect, the sleeves are so fun, and I definitely love the colors in the plaid.

Plaid matching sorcery right there, y'all.

This is my absolute favorite blouse at the moment - comfortable, colorful, and stylish all wrapped up in one!

Project 27: Simplicity 2475 The Pinstripe Pencil Skirt

I bought this fabric online several months ago because I really loved the description of silver threaded pinstripes on a black background.  I ordered 5 yards so I could get both a pencil skirt and pants out of the fabric, but the fabric has been sitting there ever since.

The fabric has a TON of stretch in it, but has almost a plastic feel to it, so any exposed seams are mighty uncomfortable.  The waistband has a facing to take care of any major scratchiness against my stomach, and the side seams were all zig-zagged to encase the little silver devil threads.

I love the way the pencil skirt turned out because I desperately needed new skirts for work, and this is a great base piece.  From a distance, it looks like leather.  I feel rather like an Human Resources Biker Chick.  

A close up of the fabric - those silver threads are definitely running diagonal; the pinstripes run along the bias, but I decided to cut per usual and see how everything turned out.  I rather like it like this, though I think I might try to make the pants with silver threads running vertically.

Project 28: Simplicity 2659 Night at the Opera Jacket

I made this jacket on a whim.  I've had this fabric in my stash for awhile now, and just decided it was time.  I randomly chose the Simplicity pattern and got to work.  After taking about 5 hours of work, I was stunned by how it turned out and how much I liked it!

I love the colors together and I LOVE the collar.  I used the reverse of the fabric on the collar, so it appears as black swirls on green instead of green on black.  I love this little added detail, and I'm a big fan of how the collar pops out a bit.  I did not expect it to have so much volume, but truly, I feel like it's a very classy jacket and needs to be worn out often.

It did not originally call for a button, but because the fabric has so much give, I decided to close the front rather than leave it flap around.  I like the controlled look much better, and I'll keep this in mind if I ever return to this pattern in the future.

Project 29:  Simplicity 2475 The "Go Bears" Skirt

Ok.  I am Steelers fan to the core, but part of me has to root for the Bears now that I live in Chicago.   That part of me works in an office environment that is a bit hostile to Steelers fans - apparently other people wish their team had six Super Bowl rings as well and don't like me wearing my team colors to celebrate on Mondays.  Here is my appeasement garment:

I have no idea where this fabric came from, but it is a delightful, non itchy knit and I love how the fit turned out.

The only problem with this skirt is that the box pleat is completely uneven.  I was distraught when I saw this, but since the length issue is happening on both sides of the box pleat, it almost looks like I did it on purpose. We're just going to pretend it was a design choice.

I matched up all the stripes, and I love how it works with my navy blouses (including my Jasmine above).  I have an orange blouse in the works and it's going to be fabulous (I hope)!

Project 30: No Pattern ... Another Pencil Skirt

This skirt was originally a strange remnant that appeared in my stash.  A side and back seam had already been stitched, but it was so large that I would need to rip out and remake completely.  I decided to try and make another Ginger skirt, but without the waistband. 

To put it mildly, it was disastrous.  It was so bad that I gave away the Ginger pattern to a friend and said, "I tried."  I decided to reshape the side seams into a pencil skirt, but no vent was added because I didn't account for it when cutting out for the original Ginger skirt.  It works fine without - I can definitely walk and sit with the best of them.

I love it paired with this green blouse - the colors are so fantastic that I am wondering how I can mix more of these shades into my every day wardrobe!

 The best part was that I didn't need to line it since the fabric backing already acts as a lining.  I did add a waistband facing (made with scrap fabric - yay scrap busting!) and used some bias trim to keep the seams from fraying.  This fabric is incredibly soft and woven, which means it's very warm, but it also wants to shred on itself.

Project 31: Simplicity 2617 The Pants Purse!

As we are heading to down to my parents' house tomorrow for my grandmother's birthday, I thought it was only fitting to make her a scrappy little purse out of the pants she gave me to refashion. It's perfect for holding Bingo money, which is now essential in the nursing home.


I am so excited to finally be able to participate in the Sew Colette challenge!  I was a little nervous about finally tackling this pattern in my stash, but now that I have, I know I need to make more and as soon as possible!

The yellow contrast material was definitely a scrap, and the bottom was the last of a floral remnant that had been sitting on the shelf forever.  I put them together on a whim, and I LOVE the result!  It's so summery and fun!

Close up - there are some serious colors happening here.  I think if I wanted to make it last into the fall, I would definitely pair it with the drapey cardi above.


 Project 33: The Original Knit Top

Friends, I have the pattern for this top somewhere, but I have no idea where it could be.  I loved the fruits and veggies knit at first sight and cut the pattern out then and there ... but that was 2006.  In 2012, I managed to track down all the pieces in separate boxes and put it together. I am calling it a victory that I managed to find all the pieces, even if it is a bit tight since I didn't know how to cut out knits at the time.

It's tunic length, so I've paired it with a grey tank and a pair of black knit tights.  It's an extremely comfortable outfit!

 Friends, after 33 projects in 60 days, I can honestly say that I am very excited with the progress I've made in scrap and stash busting!  In order to keep on this process, I'm outlining the following challenges for myself:


Aside from my final Macaron and the Sew Weekly Gatsby challenge, I am only sewing AND wearing separates for the entire month of September.  I've got huge wardrobe gaps that need to be focused on, so I think this month will definitely flesh out my closet and make it easier to put outfits together.  The separates I wear do not need to be all me made, but I am still keeping to my New Year's resolution of wearing one me made garment a day (only 3 days that I haven't worn something me made so far!)


I am tackling the UFOs in my stash, and my goal is to complete at least 8. It's going to be exciting, I think!


I cannot even begin to tell you how many wrap dresses and wrap blouse patterns I have in my stash, and it's time to address these patterns I keep buying and not making.  Even if the dresses are more summer oriented, they will be made during this month. 

I've found that completing the 30:60 challenge has forced me to be more productive and power through projects instead of leaving them by the wayside.  I'm excited to keep working through my stash in the next three months - come join me if you like! 

Have a great evening all!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do You Write a Blog? Let Me Know!

Hello, my friends!  I was wondering if perhaps you might do me a favor:  would you please reply to this post and let me know how I might be able to find your blogs?  I've noticed recently that I'm having MAJOR Blogger difficulty when I click on your names/profiles and I would like to follow along with your sewing adventures, too! 

Thank you in advance for letting me read about you :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

30:60 Projects 21 & 22: UNDERGOODIES

I really like the word "undergoodies."  I'm pretty sure I just pulled a Shakespeare and made that up.  No matter what you call it, I have been focused on my lower half the last few days.  After seeing so many adventurous sewists create their own knickers, I thought it was high time for me to try it as well.

For Project 21, I whipped out McCall's 5651 (I am totally lame for needing a pattern for basic undies - I admit it - but my first "copied" pairs were a big ol' fail).  I made versions B, C, and D - I was feeling VERY adventurous, apparently!

Versions C and D were made with some scrap t-shirt scraps (same t-shirt that was used for cushioning my insoles) and some scrap lace that I got months and months ago.  You can see view B here as the fabulous Drama Queen knickers - these were pieced together at the side seams; the tank top didn't have the width that was needed to cover my bottom.  Not that I'm complaining - I totally love my bottom, especially when it has "Drama Queen" written across it.

 For Project 22, I was on a roll and looking for more comfortable undergoodies ... so I decided to make myself some more mini bloomers, as I love to wear mine while sleeping.  I made this set out of my trusty grey sheet set that has last me FOREVER.  With only a few scraps of the sheets left, I will make a patchwork seat cushion ... but that's a project for another day.

You can see where I needed to piece these together to cut out the pattern.  I'm glad I attempted to make these with scraps as I am wearing them right now and they are just as comfy as I had hoped!  Yay jersey sheets!

Friends, do you make your own undergoodies?  Do you have multiple sets of mini-bloomers floating around your home as well?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

30:60 Projects 19 & 20: Practical and Not-So-Practical Tees

Friends, I've been making t-shirts with random knit scraps that have been lying around the apartment.  Believe it or not, one of these is not a Renfrew!  I bought Simplicity 5509 from Miss Betty's Attic for two reasons:  it called for one yard of knit fabric and one version had a keyhole neckline.  It was love at first sight! (If you want to buy your own version, here are more for sale on Etsy)

Image found here
I have had this (wretched) black knit in my possession for years.  I attempted to make my first knit fabric project with this fabric six years ago, and it was a disaster.  I didn't know to use a specific needle and I didn't realize how much stretch this heavier fabric had in it.  Those gaucho pants were a DISASTER.  I believe I ended up throwing them away shortly after.

I decided that with my increased knowledge of knits, perhaps I could conquer this fabric.  I grabbed all the pattern pieces for version 3 and got to cutting.  Stitching this up went fine - but when I tried it on, it was at least three sizes too big!!  Oh, black knit fabric, I refuse to be thwarted!  I ended up taking about six inches out of the side seams to finally get a fit I liked.  Because I took so much out of the side seams, there was not enough fabric leftover in the kimono sleeves to gather at the base.  I just folded under and stitched - I like it just as much.

This shirt took about four hours total.  The hand sewing around the neckline and tie took the longest.  I didn't trust my machine with the tie, so I saved myself the headache and got out my needle and thread.

I'm really excited about having more solid color t-shirts in my closet.  These are great for casual Fridays at the office when paired with a suit jacket and jeans.   I feel so boring when I say things like that, but the unfortunate truth is that I wear the majority of my clothing to work.  Having a piece that can be worn both at work and then out in public increases its chances of seeing the light of day.

However, I still do like to make the crazy stuff, like this polka dot long sleeved Renfrew:

Rob and I are cat-sitting this weekend, and Vega was NOT going to be part of these pictures.  She did not care that I was giving her my pouty face at all.  

This shirt is made out of some sheer poly knit scraps I had lying around.  I usually layer it with a grey tank to add some length and to make the shirt a bit more opaque.  I've worn it out twice, and I think I am getting used to the polka dots.  When I first tried it on, I felt the size of the polka dots was a bit overwhelming!

Here kitty kitty kitty...

Nope.  No love whatsoever.  They did love my ball of yarn, though...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, all!

Friday, August 17, 2012

30:60 Projects 17 & 18: Gingham Gone Wild

Friends, I love gingham.  It always reminds me of Wizard of Oz, which I hold in a special little pocket in my heart.  When my grandmother passed on a scrap of gingham to me, I managed to eke out a Sorbetto (#17)...

...but I hated it.  It was entirely too stiff, the darts were all over the place, and it felt so restricting that I pulled it off almost immediately.  I was sad by my reaction to it, especially since I had invested time in adding piping to the neckline and lace seam binding to the hem.

As I was bemoaning the loss of the gingham, I managed to glance over and see my very well worn black flats.  I'm very hard on shoes, and the insoles usually go first.  The brown and blue spots are glue and foam from the original insoles.  It occurred to me that I could probably create my own insoles if I wanted...

...and so I did (#18). Sandwiched between two layers of gingham are two scrap pieces of a t-shirt. The majority of the t-shirt had been turned into yarn a few weeks ago, and the remainder adds a bit more cushion to the insoles - they feel marvelous.  Granted, I'm not gellin', but these will work just fine and will stop scaring the cleaning lady who likes to organize my shoes under my work desk.  (She does that at least once a week. I want to leave her a treat - I'm thinking sachets.)

The insoles took me a total of ten minutes to complete.  They are removable and reversible so I can definitely wash these and keep using them until they fall apart! I want to make a tutorial for this because that would be a great excuse to make more of these delightful insoles :) 

Happy Friday, all!