Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenges: Mothers and Pattern Mixing

Friends, I've been a little lax in posting lately, which I blame 100% on the combination of work and then coming home to sew.  I've been so busy sewing that I haven't had time to write about sewing!  Eep!

I was stumped by the Mother challenge on the Sew Weekly.  Seriously stumped.  I have photos of Mama Grand, but nothing outrageous popped up - though I did see a bow collar dress that I still might tackle.  In the meantime, I took to my fabric and took inventory.  I had pillowcases and hand me down elastic waist pants from my grandmother.  Time to make some magic...

My grandmother had passed down a pair of seersucker capris.  I knew that I wanted to try out some skinny capris (a la Clovers) and thought this might be the perfect opportunity.  After MANY fitting attempts for the rise and waist line, I managed to eek out a pair of capris for me, complete with side zipper.  I just love them so much, and they actually work paired with this top!

This top is made from two pillowcases that Mama Grand was ready to part with.  This sheet set has been washed so many times and yet the colors still remained - it was ideal for a blouse.  I used Simplicity 2501 for the pattern...and cut everything but the back out when I realized that I was missing the back piece.  Ummm ... no.  So, thinking it really didn't matter, I searched through my stash and found another back piece from another pattern and tried to make it work. After many attempts at fitting this (and initially making it so tight that I had to wear a sports bra underneath), I took out the side seams and decided enough was enough.  I used blue bias trim from my stash for the neckline.  It's nice and Springy, and even though it made me want to throw my seam ripper across the room, I love how it turned out!

Close up of the seersucker and zipper - I am working on making a white Sencha blouse to pair with these.  I picture myself on a bicycle with a neck scarf and huge pair of sunglasses - that would be the perfect summer outfit for me.

Close up of the blouse - love all the flowers!

OK.  While I really love the results of the Mother challenge, I am at the opposite end of the emotion spectrum when it comes to pattern mixing...

The great thing about this challenge is it made me realize how much I do not like pattern mixing. I could not get excited about this task, no matter how many times I looked through my fabric closet. Finally, I decided to make separates - I could pattern mix, but walk away with two pieces that I would actually wear.

The blouse has been in my sewing queue for probably a year.  I wanted a breezy peasant top to wear when the Chicago summer hits maximum humidity, and this cotton in my stash was the perfect contender.  I paired the fabric with Butterick 4685 and whipped this up in about three hours.  I tore off the lace that I had originally attached, and I like it much better without the lace and bow that was due to be added. 

The skirt was easy because it's the bottom portion of this nightmare dress. I just cut off enough to make a waistband, cut a waistband facing and boom - skirt. I wasn't crazy about the way the flannel was all over the place, so I ended up quilting the waistband a bit to nail the flannel in place.  The flannel will never escape again.

I hate to say it, but I'm still not crazy about the skirt. Perhaps it carries the bad feelings from my first foray into this fabric, or perhaps I dislike it because it's 80 degrees here and this skirt is flannel and sticking to my skin. We'll revisit it in winter and see how I feel - it may end up in the clothing swap pile after all.

So I love parts of this outfit, but I do not love the outfit as a whole.  I see the skirt paired with a white button down once winter rolls around, and a cute little gray cardigan added. The blouse is currently being worn with some sky blue shorts, but could work with the pants above or a lovely white skirt - maybe a future project?

I was a little concerned when I took the photos for these projects that I am leaning more towards blue lately.  My closet seems to have exploded in blue shades, and I don't know that I like that very much.  While I like blue, I feel it's a very safe shade for me, especially with a corporate work environment (uniform: white, black, grey, blue for most people there) - and perhaps part of me is tired of being safe?  Part of me wants to wear vibrant purples and wicked yellows and not get strange looks from my cube mates, and I think as the summer comes, I might start exploring more colors for work clothes.

OK friends! I'm off because I smell Rob making something amazing and my mouth is watering. Stay tuned for tomorrow's outfit - I made an outfit for our house arrest while the NATO summit is in town - whoopee!

Have a great day all!


  1. Love the peasant blouse and skirt, but I'm with you on pattern matching. :)

  2. I love both tops, but the first is so beautiful and bright. well done.

  3. I love your pattern matching outfit but I'm with you...I don't like pattern matching. Not. One. Bit. But I love how it looks on other people (ms. Oona Balloona for one)!!!

  4. Ooh, love your sassy skinny capris!!

  5. Both your new blouses are lovely! And so cool that the first was made from a sheet! :D Love the capris, too, so summery!

  6. Haha...we totally are kindred spirits! I just made a blouse where I discovered the pattern had no back piece. Mine is the opposite of yours - massive! And I have such trouble with pattern mixing. I actually really love your blouse and skirt together, but if you want to go bright I bet the blouse would look amazing with a bright red pencil skirt. Or kelly green...or yellow...