Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Never Want To Look At A Bow Clutch Again

No, seriously.  I just made twelve of these (over the course of two days) for my grandmother to give away as Christmas presents.  These were not included in my original "To Make" list.  Eep!

She originally wanted a different purse made to give out to her granddaughters and great-granddaughters, but I managed to dissuade her of that idea and push for the faster (and more familiar to me) bow clutch.

This is my favorite.  I love the waves fabric.

Hopefully all of my cousins like them.  I used up all the fabric my grandmother had purchased for her original idea, and I think these will be appropriate for girls of all ages.  

OK.  I managed to consolidate my "To-Make" list and get it down to 19 items, and two of those were completed yesterday.  Hooray!  17 to go.  Feeling confident and sassy ... and tired.  Need more coffee before I can do more crafting.

Friends, how are you feeling about the holidays?  Anyone else running on coffee?

Have a great day, all!  And try not to sleep at your desks like moi :)


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Holidays Must Be Coming...

...because I have a "To Make" list that is 24 items long.  OMG I MUST BE OUT OF MY MIND.

To ease the pressure of making things for other people, the lovely Michelle of Will Knit for Food joined me for some selfish fabric shopping two weeks ago.

As you can see, I was very selfish.  

I got two fantastic floral cotton prints out of the remnant pile, and while they needed some serious TLC and a good washing, I'm pretty sure I can pull a dress out of the red rose print and a blouse out of the orange and grey.

This STUNNING gold embossed black satin will be sitting on my shelf for awhile, sadly.  I wanted to make into a dress for our work holiday party, but there just isn't time and I am not going to rush when working with this fabric.  It was the last of the bolt and I don't want to risk it!

In the endless remnant boxes of wonder, I came across a  blue sweater knit and a gray green heather knit - both remnants and both destined to be Renfrews.

 Purple wool crepe and black polyester suiting remnants - enough for two pencil skirts.  

Some grey and black suiting... you can never have too many flattering work pants, amiright?

I grabbed a white polyester remnant and 2 1/2 yards of houndstooth suiting (I totally blame Puu's Door of Time for making me obsessed with houndstooth lately).


which will be made into a classier version of this:

Picture found here

Throwback dress?  Yes, please!  Mine will also cause football teams to lose their cool due to the distracting stripes.

Navy wool suiting and some dark green taffeta - all remnants!   Are you noticing a pattern yet?  Michelle and I went CRAZAY over the remnant boxes.  At $2 a pound, how could we resist?

Teal linen and some fabulous suiting with multi-colored stripes.  I will definitely be making that into a jacket once things calm down a bit.  

Black linen remnant (enough to make a pair of pants for Rob to replace the ones that shrank), and a fantastic piece of animal printed goodness.  I haven't tried my hand at the animal prints, but I am ready to dive into that now!

Eggplant satin and royal blue polyester remnants - these will be blouses if I can make the minimal yardage work for my ample bosom.  

A piece of sheer grey silk and some divinely designed black and white poly knit - again, these remnants are destined to be blouses if I can get the yardage to work.  If not, the black will definitely become a handbag of some sort.  I could totally rock that on my arm with an obnoxious plastic handle.

I managed to stumble across some gold fabric that is designed EXACTLY like this, so I will be remaking that dress into a skirt and top once Spring rolls around again!  I also heard this brown and red plaid calling my name from across a crowded room.  I flew to its side, and made it my own, and now my life won't be lived all alone.

OMG.  So sorry.  There was a ton of South Pacific on my Pandora station last night.  

THERE ARE PONIES ON THIS FABRIC, YOU GUYS.  There are some weird color issues happening, so I'll need to be creative, but I couldn't resist.  PONIES.  Below it is a piece of grey fabric - enough for a blouse or short sleeved shirt for Rob - if I ever make him the two shirts that have already been cut out for him.  But hey, that's what the holidays are for, right???

Speaking of holidays, I must get back to my list!  Are any of you making the majority of gifts this year, friends?  Let me know in the comments!

Have a marvelous day, all!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my lovely friends out there in the blogosphere.  I am sending you all hugs and puppies!

Enjoy the holiday if you celebrate, and if not, I will be eating pie and celebrating for you :)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deploying That Fabric

Friends, I've been busy making things for babies recently.  After the success of the doll, I felt ready to tackle a diaper bag and changing pad for another friend who is pregnant.

Because my friend's husband is in the military, it only seemed logical to make things from this book:

She is a total rock star and sent me all the uniform pieces I would need, as well as batting and cotton fabrics to complete the projects with flair.  I decided to tackle the changing pad first because the book said it was a beginner's project.  No sweat, I thought.


So here's where I tell you that I went through about six denim needles making these items because the seams on fatigues are RIDICULOUS.  I wore a pair of free sunglasses while making these because I was worried I was going to lose an eye from a projectile needle.  

The changing pad should have been easy, but the outside leg seam runs down the center of the main cargo pocket.  The main cargo pocket is about four inches from the hip pocket and about four inches from the mini cargo calf pocket.  I could tell this was going to be problematic.  The diagram in the book outlines that the main cargo pocket should be near the top of the changing pad and the whole piece should be 17" long.  With the other pockets positioned as they are, and wanting to avoid sewing over as many seams as possible, I placed the main cargo pocket in the center of the changing pad.

The main cargo pocket, mocking me with its centeredness.

So the pocket ends up in the middle of the changing pad, which makes it difficult if my friend wants to put something in and then roll it up.  Difficult, but not impossible, so it's still functional.  I had issues quilting along side the pocket and attaching the handles, but eventually, it was finished.

The handles are only attached for three inches on each side, so they can fold up as well.  They are quilted around a slender piece of backing.

It's one big sandwich of cotton fabric, two layers of incredibly soft batting (because babies need cushions), and then the fatigues.  

The cotton fabric is adorable, though, and I think the quilting makes it a bit stronger.  I pre-washed everything so it should last through many washings!

Let's talk about the "Military Monster Tote" now.

First off, it's larger than my sewing machine once completed.

It has military belts made out of webbing for the handles.  This was surprisingly easy to sew through, though the stitches are a bit crooked in places (mostly due to wearing sunglasses while making it and not being able to see everything clearly, but still wanting to see when it was finished, youknowwhatI'msayin?)

The bag has eleven pockets of various sizes.  I managed to include two of the breast pockets on the outside panels.  Now she'll have two pockets with closures to go with the larger padded pockets in the centers of each panel.

A close up of the webbed belts (from an Army Surplus store here in Chicago) and awesome Hawaiian fabric she sent me.  You can see the large center pocket here.

Peeking inside.  I loved combining the heavy black cotton with the tan/pink/black linen - I thought they looked marvelous together.

I had to make a hard bottom insert for the bag, so I used some plastic canvas and covered it in the black cotton.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

It snuggles right in that open spot between all the pockets.  Seven pockets on the inside, including a shallow zipper pocket in the lining.  BOOM!  Storage queen!

Besides learning how to put zippered pockets in linings, I also learned how to do bag shaping darts.  These turned out exceptionally well, considering the bulk of the fabric plus the batting between the fatigues and lining.

It's an incredibly sturdy bag, but wow, did my machine hate sewing it.  The thickness of all the layers, plus the zippers and seams ... I didn't know if it was going to happen.   I hope she likes it - I think the design is really lovely with all of the colors, and if for some reason she wants to go out without the camouflage  or have an accessory to match the diaper bag:

I made her a wristlet with some delicious peacock fabric for the lining.

Total time for all three items: 13 hours.  Eight hours spent on the diaper bag alone.  

I was glad for the experience of learning how to sew with fatigues, as well as learning zipper pockets in linings and bag shaping darts, but would I make this again?  No.  I don't think my machine could handle it.  I oiled her and talked sweet to her but I think she is FURIOUS with me now.  This project also gave me great perspective on sewing with denim ...

and that I should possibly invest in clear goggles instead of sunglasses.

Friends, have you ever made a diaper bag?  Or do you have another gift that you love making for friends and family who are expecting?


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Thoughts on Style

Hello, Friends!  The lovely Erin over at Seamstress Erin asked me to come over for a little chat about style.  Erin is incredibly patient, and I owe her one because it took me four days and three re-writes to get my answers correct.  I really didn't know how to define my style, and honestly, I was scared at first.  My past is not a fashionable one, but rather, it is filled with practical shoes and plaid skirts and natural hair colors.  I took the fantastic opportunity Erin gave me to analyze myself, my style choices, and where my sewing will go from here.  After that bit of soul-searching, I decided to look at some of my makes and re-examine how I feel about them:

I wore this dress twice in public and hated it each time.  It felt too short, cut too low, and I hated the lining shining through.  I had even dyed the lining orange, but it made no difference in the end.  Stylewise, I felt cheap when I wore it.  Cheap, clingy fabric + lining shining through + too much leg exposed when I walk with static cling = throw it away.

This top really wasn't going to go far in my closet.  I don't go to clubs, and I HATE STRAPLESS BRAS.  Seriously - why do I always end up with a line on my stomach at the and of the night?  I've yet to find one that works, so I tend to hate pieces that require their assistance.

 This poor t-shirt.  I've worn it around the house and it seems to be disintegrating.  I want my style to be polished, not really wearing rags.  Ok - sweatpants aren't polished, but they have no holes and the drawstring is still intact.

I love this jersey knit bow top so much.  I wear it at least once a week.  I've found that I am really drawn to interesting necklines with bows or ruffles, and I am looking to incorporate these into more of my makes.  I am also really into being comfortable, so knit fabrics will be appearing more frequently.

Again, more jersey appearing with my absolute favorite t-shirt.  This fabric is magical.  It's warm when it is cold outside, it's cool in the hot weather.  I wear it regularly.

Knit fabrics aren't always a guaranteed win, though.  I've come to avoid this top and I never want to wear it out.  A long sleeve tee would be welcome in my closet, but this doesn't have enough give, and I don't have a need for a sheer long sleeve tee in my closet.  I'm pretty tame.  Sometimes.  OK, not really, but it still has to go.

THESE.  I NEED TO WEAR THESE MORE OFTEN.  I love sweetheart necklines, and I love the idea of vintage overalls.  Since I spent so much time agonizing over them, I need to find a way to incorporate these into my winter wardrobe.  

 I also really love plaid, and lately I've been wishing for more plaid pants in my wardrobe.  There are two pairs in my queue right now and they are going to be EPIC.

The Coke sweatshirt gets worn often now that the temperature has changed.  I love how warm it is, combined with the 3/4 sleeves.  The quirky fabric is an added bonus in my eyes.

I love this jacket.  I am experimenting with how to work it into my wardrobe, but I've worn it out of the house once or twice.  It makes a marvelous conversation piece, and I love having those in my closet to spice up a boring ensemble.

So.... in looking at these favorites and not-so-favorites, here's what I can add to my findings from my guest post over at Erin's marvelous blog:

I like neck froo-froo.  I cannot get enough neck froo-froo and should really pursue that.

I like conversation pieces.

I would live in knit fabrics every day if I could.  Every. Single. Day.

Sweetheart necklines are definitely fantastic.

I don't like showing a tremendous amount of thigh, so skirts should be right above the knee for me.  Shorts are cool.  I like shorts.

I like plaid, but really should not combine plaid and clubbing outfits.  I am not Snooki.

I don't need to reinvent the t-shirt.  I just need to make some fabulous staple tees and not try to drape to get the same result.

I don't like sheer knit fabrics.  Layering under sheer knits perplexes me deeply and makes things strange and visually uncomfortable.

Strapless bras are the devil.

Many thanks to the marvelous Erin for helping me down this road of discovery!!  I imagine I'll be examining my personal style for many years to come :)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hanging Out With Knitters!

Friends, I am totally late to the game on this, but OMG KNITTERS ARE AWESOME.


Last weekend, the lovely Coppertop Doll and I went out on the town with Chicago Knitters Unite, a Meet-Up group that she had found.  Our destination:  Lorna's Laces.  We had a grand time watching dyeing demos and learning about all of the different kinds of yarns, and of course we didn't walk away empty-handed!

I picked up five skeins of the Shepherd Worsted in Waistcoat.  I had no pattern in mind, but since going through my books and Ravelry, I've settled on DROPS jumper with short sleeves.  I think it'll work for most of the year that way, and I can always add a long sleeve tee underneath for extra coverage if I need.

I also picked up a skein of the Helen's Lace, which really feels like heaven.  I smushed my face in it and knew it needed to be mine.

We saw this shawl made up while on the tour, and it was so breathtaking that I cannot wait to make one of my own.  Should I be worried that it's lace because I'm a complete beginner?  Probably, but with all the other projects I am currently queuing, this will get pushed to the back burner.

Sadly, we were both so engrossed with feeling things and watching the demos that we didn't get any pictures together!  We'll be getting together again soon and will definitely take some knitting photos then :)

On Sunday, I had the fantastic opportunity to run a 5K with the awesomesauce knitter, Liz of Zilredloh.  When we went to pick up our packets on Saturday, she showed me the MOST GORGEOUS color of yarn ever, as well as her new project.  I'm not giving out any more details other than it's going to be wonderful and I'm probably going to steal it from her.  

Back to the 5K (photos by the marvelous Felix, Liz's husband who was our cheering section)  

OK.  So Liz is super awesome, and definitely a perfect running buddy because we run the exact same pace. She also makes me laugh when she puts her foot next to mine because OMG my feet are ridiculous next to hers.  I feel like a giant.  MEG SMASH.

It was cold, friends.  My chest was hurting from breathing the cold air, my butt and toes were frozen solid, and I seriously just wanted to walk the whole thing.   Having another person beside you makes you want to keep going, and so we ran most of the way and Liz is a total rock star.  My doctor doesn't think running long distances is very good for me because I kept hurting myself, but we ran this and I wasn't feeling any normal amounts of pain in my hip.  I can definitely see myself running more 5Ks with Liz (and Felix, too!!!) one of these days ... preferably when it's a little warmer.

The most exciting part of the race is the chocolate at the end.  When I ran this race once before, THEY RAN OUT OF CHOCOLATE BEFORE I FINISHED AND I WAS PISSED.  This time was much better.  I got fondue, fruit, and hot chocolate.  Winning.

Liz, it was great running with you, and we should definitely plan on another race together in the future!

Well friends, I am off to a knit night in the city - always a fabulous time!  I am casting on my first pair of socks - squee!!!

This knitting thing is totally addicting :)