Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cardis and Cambies!

Friends, it was a great summer! I turned 30 (WOOO DIRTY THIRTY), got a new job at my current employer (where I'll be working from home full time), and booked an international trip for myself halfway around the globe. Kitty Grand got engaged, so I've been helping with planning, and the next few months will be busy with Maid of Honor duties. I created a beautiful blouse for my dear friend Pippi's wedding, and I'll be sure to post pictures of that masterpiece once I get all of my photos back. Also, I've had great visitors and made some amazing sandals for myself :) These past few months have flown by!

In between all of those fabulous events, I've been spending time with Michelle and Liz. Despite our crazy summer schedules, we still managed to eke out a few nights to knit together, and eventually we stumbled upon the idea of all sewing the same project to cap off the glorious season of warmth. Once they expressed interest in making Cambies (my favorite dress pattern EVER) for the "challenge", we then threw in the added spice of having a coordinating cardigan.

Well, I tossed around the idea of making a shrug for a looooong time because I thought that would be good for summer. I bought yarn for one pattern, and then changed the pattern. And then changed the yarn. And then finally tossed all of that out the window and chose a new yarn (worsted) and a cardigan pattern I've been eyeing from before I could even knit (The Burdock Cardigan from November Knits).

The reason for the final change may or may not have been the release of the Farmer's Almanac predictions for this winter (it's going to be even more awful than last year), so I was inspired to knit more wool sweaters ASAP.

After having knit the Channel Cardigan in grey, I knew I wanted a color. My original shrug was due to be the loveliest sky blue, but once I threw the shrug idea out the window, I decided to either use something from my stash or be very economical in my yarn choices. Helloooo, Wool-Ease!

I chose Paprika because 1) I love orange, 2) orange totally means autumn, and 3) it matched perfectly with this fabric I bought.

While I had bought this yarn to pair with this fabric to make this Cambie, I did not check to see if I actually HAD enough fabric to make a Cambie until the day before this photo shoot. Hahaha whoops!

Thankfully, I had just enough fabric (do not look at the waistband too closely), and every bit was used. I had bought it for $2 at a roadside antique store a year ago, and after asking Michelle and Liz about the uber slick backside, realized it was a curtain. So it slipped around quite a bit while I was sewing. And it wrinkles like a finger in the bathtub.

But I still love it.

I can still move freely in it, and with the cardigan added, it's a perfect outfit for a very classy outing.

Speaking of classy, did you know that Michelle knows all the words to Baby Got Back? It's true, and I know it because I made her sing along with me. New Yorkers, please have a sing a long while she and Liz are there this coming weekend!

Truly, I love hanging out with these ladies. Not only are they fabulous sewists and knitters, but great conversationalists (and friends), too.

Michelle's Cambie will definitely be the inspiration for my next version!

Her wool fabric and straight neckline were perfect. I adored her shoes instantly, and loved the story behind them even more :) The whole outfit is smashing, and so polished. I need a wool Cambie now, you guys, and I need it to be fabulously patterned wool. Let the search begin.

Michelle made a lovely mint cardigan to pair with her dress, and the colors together are wonderful. If you ever get the opportunity to see this color combination up close, I encourage you to do so, as the pictures just don't do it justice. SO PRETTY.

The stitch pattern on Michelle's reminded me of my own stitch pattern. Knitting is the best, isn't it? So many glorious details.

Liz's Cambie is plaid. PLAID. And a colorful plaid! How is it possible that with my extreme love of plaid, I have not yet made a colorful plaid Cambie?! This must be remedied.

Her fabric was on grain with the plaid printed on the bias, so it made for some awesome twirling effects:

Liz is magnificent in purple. The fact that she found the yarn she was looking for, in the color she wanted, was amazing, and it knit up beautifully. She even let me try it on! It was like heaven. A lavender colored heaven. I was tempted to trade my cardigan for hers, even. Maybe I can bribe her with cookies.

Though she had some issues knitting it up, the cardigan came out beautifully. Fingers crossed that the nice weather holds out so she can wear it before winter arrives!

Both Liz and Michelle lined their skirts and took pictures of it, but as you can see here, Liz went the extra mile and threw in some horsehair braid for good measure. It works perfectly with the full skirt!

For my lining, I ended up using a table skirt from an old tablecloth. My Mom had given it to me at some point, so I cut off the circular tabletop portion, took out the single side seam, undid the gathers, and had about nine yards of 30 inch fabric to work with. Perfect.

Michelle and I both went the A-line skirt route. I like both skirt versions, but the A-line definitely worked with the amount of fabric I had.

As you can see from the photos above and below, we went down to the wire on this challenge. Michelle was sewing on buttons before brunch, Liz was finishing a bit on her sweater, and I was knitting/seaming until 2:30am, and then had to get up early and fix my Cambie zipper and hem. The slippery fabric was not going to get the best of me! (The only reason there are no photos of me working into the wee hours is that Josh was already sleeping. Lucky him!)

Once we finished our cardigans, we did brunch. We had coffee and laughs, and embarked on shooting some epic photos...because that's what we do best.

What I love most about our "challenges" is that we may make the same thing, but our end results are always so fabulously different. We are different sizes/heights/measurements, and the same dress pattern came out great on all of us. I honestly love all of our versions, and would definitely be open to doing another summer dress challenge in 2015. (Yes, facing the winter of doom and gloom has caused my brain to skip ahead an entire year. This is normal, right?)

We figured out that we covered three of the four seasons with our creations here. 

We also figured out that we still love doing the roller coaster pose.

These ladies are the best, and knitting with them is the highlight of my week :)

Friends, I hope you all had great summers, and I look forward to chatting with you again soon!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014: Oonapalooza!



It means you put on your Steelers pajamas AND GO TO TOWN.

The awesome lady Oona sent me Steelers fabric in a care package some months ago (the same package that included this lovely knit), and I've been itching to proclaim my love for our team all over the place.  Then I got stuck - what pattern to use?! Is a wiggle dress too obnoxious to wear at the office (full of Bears fans)? What about a button down - is that too restricting? No, this fabric needed to be every day, show your colors, bleed black and gold lounging pajamas.

I used the Colette Sorbetto and Mini Bloomers patterns, and added some sleeves to the Sorbetto to use up more fabric. This fabric needed to be used and loved, friends. 

I couldn't be happier with how these lounging pajamas turned out. I'm comfy, full of ra ra team spirit, and I'm honoring a shared love with my dearest Oonakins. 


(and Go Steelers - woo Pittsburgh!)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014: A Colorful, Comfy Pencil Skirt

Friends, working in an office environment can feel rather restricting, especially when it comes to clothes. In a business casual atmosphere, I understand what to wear (and what not to wear) on a day to day basis, and I try to sew accordingly. I always keep a lookout for knit fabric patterns that could pass for office wear because, for me, there is nothing better than avoiding a waistband digging into your stomach while you sit in the same place for 7 hours.

The darling lady Oona sent me the most delicious knit floral fabric months and months ago, and I've waited and hunted for the perfect knit pencil skirt pattern.  I knew there had to be one printed somewhere, and I really didn't want to use an online tutorial - I didn't want something to go wrong as the fabric became so precious to me.

Finally, I found what I was looking for in New Look 6228, View A. 

Now, I respected that New Look included an elastic waistband, but I was looking for something that had a zipper and could be worn with a blouse tucked in. Elastic waistbands really don't give me a look a like, and so I removed it altogether.

I put a zipper in the left side seam, a hook and eye at the top of it, and tapered the waistband in a bit to take out some of the ease that was left for the elastic.  The panels are all curved at the top to hug my curves in turn. This skirt is wiggle-tastic, you guys.

I'm not even going to lie: I LOVE how my butt looks in this. LOVE. 

I love having a little Oona-flair to rock at the office - it makes the cubicles so cheery :)

XOXO and many thanks, lovely Oona!!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014: Lime Lounge Pants!

Friends, I love being comfortable when I'm home and have nowhere to go. It can be really great to have those completely unplanned lazy days pop up in my schedule every once in a while, and to celebrate these days, I wanted some brighter than bright lime lounge pants.

(I don't know why precisely I wanted lime lounge pants, but I've been aching for a pair for months now, so I thought it was high time to do something about it.)

I wasn't sure what pattern to use until the lovely Lisette left Simplicity 2224 in my care. I decided to make view C, the long version, as some nights it can get chilly around here.

The pattern has these fabulous wrap around pockets which go over the center front seam and get sewn into the side seam. I love how they look, and they are large enough to hold my phone and possibly a cup of tea (but that could get messy). 

The waist is 100% encased elastic - do not be fooled by the bow! The pattern calls for two button holes and a small bit of ribbon to give the idea of drawstring waistline, but it's all an illusion.  I don't mind the elastic waist, as these are purely indoor pants.

I like the fabric - a poly/cotton blend that feels more like linen than poly/cotton. I also love the color. I've been attracted to more and more greens lately, so more of those might be pulled out of the stash sooner rather than later. 

(The Jasmine blouse I made with the leftover fabric can be seen here)

This last photo is especially dear to me.  Last week at work, a woman poked me in the stomach when I was talking about working out. I came home and cried, because WHO DOES THAT. I'm over it now, and as you can see from the above, no more f*cks will be given.

Friends, have a fabulous week, and may you always have amazing lounge clothes in your closet :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014: Sleeveless Jasmine Blouses!

Friends, summer in Chicago can be brutal. It can be extremely hot and humid during the day, only to get steamier at night from evening thunderstorms. While on my quest to make more separates for my closet, I decided to combine my love for bow blouses with my desire to keep as cool as possible.  Voila!  Sleeveless Jasmine blouses:

I busted 1 1/2 yards of butter yellow cotton and lime green poly cotton blend (each) for these blouses, and I've loved every minute of wearing them!  I bound the arm openings with bias tape, so they look lovely inside.  Also, I've been using the serger to finish the insides, which speeds up the process considerably! 

The lime green was leftover from a pair of lounge pants that I had made as part of the stashbusting challenge, but alas, I have not had time to photograph them!  

I have more sleeveless blouses in the works, and even more skirts to pair them with :) 

Stay cool where you are, friends!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014: A Men's Shirt Refashion

Friends, my sewing mojo has returned with a vengeance. I think I must be sewing every day, and it feels pretty glorious to be cleaning out the bags of fabric, bias tape, zippers, and other random notions.  While cleaning out a box in my fabric closet, I stumbled across a shirt of Papa Grand's that he had passed on to me:

I would normally avoid pale pink like the plague, but the soft cotton of the shirt appealed to my idea that I could use more cotton blouses in my closet.  The humidity can get quite intense here, after all.

I looked up men's shirts refashions on Google, and found one that had been made into a peasant blouse. I tried following links, but alas, there was no credit for the photo and no tutorial. I decided to try my hand at using Butterick 4685.

I am quite pleased with how it came out! I tend to avoid flowy blouses because I think they do nothing for my figure, but I've come to realize that this is exactly the type of blouse I need to combat the heat. The air flow is MAGNIFICENT.

I didn't stitch the placket down, so technically the buttons are functional, but since the top is hemmed at the top and the bottom, it's not coming fully off that way. I left the pocket on so I didn't have to deal with the possibility of holes from the pocket stitching.

I used elastic from my stash, which wasn't the width the pattern called for, but I don't mind - it works perfectly the way it is.  I've worn it several times, and the comfort level is definitely a ten out of a ten.  I found myself wishing I had more men's shirts in my stash!

Now that the refashion is out of the way, I've got lots more blouses (from scratch) to come. I've developed quite a love for sleeveless Jasmine blouses in summery colors :)

Happy Stashbusting, all!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014!

Friends, my stash is out of control. I have an entire closet dedicated to my sewing, and yet, everything still ends up on the floor and draped over random pieces of furniture in the apartment. I find that I can't part with many pieces - I have a specific idea for almost every piece in my stash.  The only problem is that I cannot seem to find enough time to make everything!  This is a common issue among us sewists, I think. So, in an effort to effectively use my time and to whittle down my stash, I am joining the lovely Sally (of Quirky Peach fame) in her fabulous Summer Stashbust 2014 adventure!

I decided that this challenge would be a great way to get over my fear of serging once and for all.  While I have a lovely, brand new serger (Brother 1034-D), I had developed a fear towards it. I think it was the idea of threading it. I used one way back in the day when I worked in a costume shop, but I also new how to fix copiers when I was the print girl at an office supply store, and I don't remember much of that skill either.  

Enter the lovely Lisette, who, while living with me for a month, sat down with the serger and let me peer over her shoulder while she threaded it. Sure enough, I was able to re-thread it yesterday when the thread snapped unexpectedly. I felt like a champ :)

I decided a great project for practicing my serging skills would be the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi dress. I've made two versions of this pattern before, one for my sister, Kitty, and I wanted another for myself.

I had some fantastic knit from Girl Charlee left in my stash from my Rose Hip Tights:

and I thought this fabric would be perfect for a Tropical Tiki Maxi:

I'm not going to lie, friends: this took me less than two hours to cut and make with the serger.  AMAZING. I am now planning two more maxi dresses, though it's unlikely that they will have both flowers and volcanoes on them.

My face looks a bit unsure, but do not be fooled - I am crazy about the fit of this dress! I am calling this a stashbusting success :)

Friends, are you participating in Sally's stashbust? Check it out and sign up here


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Channel Cardigan

Friends!  Darling friends!  It's been ages since we chatted last.  Forgive me, I've been knitting my heart out.  The past month  has been spent on finishing the Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood.  Every free minute I had went towards completing this eighteen page behemoth pattern. EIGHTEEN PAGES.  

Not to say it wasn't a lovely pattern, because I think the results are quite stunning.  I just wish it had been a bit more ... condensed.

This was my first foray into cardigans, and I got the opportunity to learn buttonholes, raglan sleeve shaping, English Rib, and creating chevrons. I also had a great opportunity to polish my seaming skills.  

The pattern has you knit the two sleeves first, followed by the body, the two collar pieces, the belt, and then the belt loops.  As you can see, I made it as far as the belt.  I was knitting this baby down to the wire - until 2:30am, and we shot these photos 6 hours later.

I won't lie - knitting the first sleeve took me a month. Having to recheck the pattern every single row took up so much time, and I just felt myself falling behind. Also, I have really long arms, and I like even longer sleeves.  The pattern calls for 17 inches before starting the sleeve cap, and I worked until I had 22 inches before starting my sleeve cap.  Eventually, I put the first sleeve on hold after I reached the 22 inch mark and started the body.  Truly, I wish I had started the body first because once I had memorized the pattern, I finished the body in about seven days, and then the second sleeve in two. 

*I just want to pause here and say how much I love this back view photo because the white streak in my hair is totally badass.  I wish it were thicker so I could look more like Rogue from the X-Men, but hopefully the thickness will improve over time.*

I knit this monster up in Cascade 220, as did Liz. Oh, yes, didn't I mention that?  I totally rocked out this pattern with three knitting buddies by my side :)

Liz, Michelle, Mari, and I all knit up the Channel Cardigan together. I love this photo - all of the sweaters turned out beautifully!

Liz had some interesting tension issues happening while she knit hers up, and it was strange, considering I am also (normally) a loose knitter and we used the same yarn.  I was even under gauge at points, meaning my fit was a bit more snug than I would have imagined.  I blame my extreme tension on fiscal year end business at work. #knittingmystressout

After much adjusting, Liz's turned out perfectly, and she even added pockets!  So so smart.  Pockets are next on my list of things to learn, and I definitely think I'll be coming to Liz to learn those :)

The color of Michelle's sweater is divine, and has the most delightful flecks of contrast color in the yarn.  I kept wanting to pet her because her cardigan was so soft.  I didn't, however, because the temperature was climbing steadily and we were all starting to feel a bit hot under the collar.

(Seriously, though - I love this jewel tone on Michelle and think I may need a similar color sweater in my wardrobe soon...)

Mari made hers in a lovely red-orange shade, and made the body of hers a bit shorter.  I like the shorter style very much!  She's able to rock hers perfectly without a belt, and the buttons are a perfect finishing touch.

Well, everyone else posed with the tree ... and then you have me:

After three sweater KALs, I don't know how to take normal pictures anymore...

but apparently I am not the only one (hehe!)

Many thanks to Mike and Felix for taking our photos.  So greatly appreciated, guys!

XOXO and keep cool out there, kids!