07 February 2016

2016 THE MUST Sew List

This year, I want to continue to encourage my stashbusting and "cake" sewing habits. After moving and realizing how much my stash had outgrown my storage as well as donating a lot of my makes, I realized just how important it is to keep this up. I just wish it hadn't taken me 10 years of sewing to figure out that putting some extra effort into making things I'll really wear is worth it. That's right, I've been sewing for 10 years now, and blogging for at least 6 of them. I guess it is just my natural stubbornness.
For once I've got a few things I really need to make! As in, my underwear elastic is so stretched out I'm lucky if they stay up and I ripped a giant hole in my pajamas the other day just putting them on. And not just because I'm secretly a lady hulk! I stocked up on muslin the other day to get going on some of these. First step to success is a good muslin.

1. Underwear for me: Rosy Lady Shorts and a '70s pattern
I've made Rosy Ladies before and the versions people have made from this Sew Lovely pattern have looked really nice. It is just a matter of getting some stretch lace and picot lingerie elastic.

2. Carolyn Pajamas in organic flannel
Finding organic flannel in NOT light colors is proving hard. My pjs have to stand up to things like bacon frying, dog slobber, self-appointed cheering up solo dance parties and still look good enough for the occasional early morning chauffeur when James misses the bus in the morning.

3. Shirtdresses
I love shirtdresses, so why do I only have one at the moment? Especially sleeveless - I can struggle up the hill to the college on my bike and still look put together enough to go to a meeting without stains in the pits. I plan to rectify this with the incredibly popular McCall's 6696 (seriously, I think I'm the only person who hasn't made one) and McCall's 6506 which has a fuller skirt and a glorious huge '70s collar. 

4. Sundresses
 Again - I only have a few and being jersey, they are a bit too hot come July. McCall's 6331, McCall's 6954, Colette Parfait and the Washi Dress are my top candidates.

5. Rey Halloween Costume
Thanks, Star Wars costume designer for designing an outfit that is both kick-ass and pretty straight forward to make AND comfortable. No 10 yards of fabric or tight waists or super stilettos or two hours of makeup prep! Even the hair is super easy!

James is in need of a few things too...

1. A full set of Comox trunks for James.
This pattern is brilliant and makes up in one sitting, which is a miracle for me and my sewing ADD. 1 done, 6 to go!

2. Pajama pants for James
I've been putting this off for awhile. So easy, but you know how it goes.

3. More Negronis for James
 More procrastination. Ive promised both short sleeve, long sleeve flannel and dress shirt versions and have yet to deliver.

06 February 2016

Completed: Grocery Bags from Simplicity 2806

 I've had this pattern for ages, but when our re-usable bags, you know, the kind you actually buy at the grocery store and are made from mystery polyester something or other, started getting holes in the bottom it was finally time to put it to use!

Pattern: Simplicity 2806

Size: N/A - Views C and E

Rating: 3/5  

Fabric, etc.: 100% cotton sateen from JoAnn's, but from my stash from years ago - pocket bag took 2 1/8 yards and plain bag took about 1 1/2 yards. Bias tape was from stash, cotton webbing I purchased from JoAnn's was the only thing I bought specifically for this project.

Cost: Don't remember how much the webbing was, but I'm guessing I paid less than $10.

Time: Three days

  • Bags are self-lined, which explains the otherwise large amount of yardage.
  • This was a great stashbust for me. The only thing I didn't have was webbing. I really wanted to go all out and buy organic canvas (or a fun print), but James kindly reminded me that using something I already had would be better.
  • The cotton sateen wasn't the perfect fabric because it lacks body but it certainly did the job. I do plan to make some from canvas and we'll find out which hold up better.
  • The pattern is fine, except that I don't like how tall/big the bags are - they are bigger than your average grocery bag and I was surprised by this when I finished them. We don't buy much packaged food and vegetables aren't a thing you want to be stacking on top of each other too much.  On the other hand, those big pockets are great for things that come in bottles, like condiments. Or wine.
  • Next time I make a plain bag (view c), I will make the webbing go all the way around the bag like in view e, to give better support.

    Hooray for sustainable sewing! Do you make your own grocery bags?

31 January 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016: Unapologetically 40s and 50s

YES! Vintage Pledge is back, hurrah! It is my favorite sew-along and one of the few that I have ever felt was successful for me. Because I don't have a studio to spread out in this year (yet...), I haven't been able to match up fabrics to patterns like last year. That was really helpful, so I hope it doesn't prevent me from getting lots of sewing done. I've made a little gallery to capture what I've been contemplating sewing from my stash. These are all patterns I already own. I'll be adding to this, as I couldn't find pictures of all my patterns. I am surprised at the lack of 1970s patterns I had interest in this year, maybe because they are much more summery in my mind. I don't have a numerical goal this year, but I'd like to make at least one girly sundress.

The biggest "pattern" I notice in my choices is I have lots of dresses and lots of blouses - skirts, pants and shorts are a bit more scarce. I prefer dresses over separates (too fiddly and for some reason I find them harder to fit) but I have so many great blouse patterns that I really want to make. 

I always need sundresses...this "dress" might be separates, actually...want to make views 1 and 2!

Love the "wing" cuffs and spectator style contrasting...just the skirt I think, no suspenders.

This was on last year's list...the eyelet yoke would be pretty for spring...these girls look like they belong in a hot rod B-film to me!

Meg the Grand and I have wanted to make this for ages...perfect for the circus?...I want the full skirt in pink, it makes me think of Betty Draper.

Another bra top possibility, I worry about those clam diggers looking frumpy on my short frame...must have more shirtdresses in my life.

I do have some projects that didn't get done last year...
 First is fixing this darn skirt and getting it hemmed. Then I'd like to take the leftover yardage and make a 1940s skirt.

 Since I've already made the muslin for Simplicity 1365 and I have the fabric (a delicious 70s brown keyboard print) to make it, I want to forge on ahead.

This repro bra top should be quick to make up...then I'll need some shorts and skirts to wear with them.

 I'll muslin this before cutting into my lovely fabric since it is technically a juniors size.

Hey! A 40s pattern. How surprising...

Since there are no more babies in the making that I know of, I won't get so distracted making gifts this year. It is all about me!!! How about you? Are you psyched for vintage pledge?

24 January 2016

January WIPs

Usually I have a flurry of lists in January and lots of blog posts to accompany them. I still plan on a master sewing wishlist at some point, but I'd also like to do a monthly or quarterly evaluation of it. So far, I've started lots of projects. Finished, not so much.

I went crazy with knitting projects one weekend, because I had to sit out our annual winter backpacking trip. I'm converting my Oak Grove mitts to mittens and I started a Hitchhiker and my Owls sweater. Hitchhiker was fun until the rows started to get really long and I'm still in the first couple of rows of ribbing of Owls.

And before I start my own projects, a Christmas present has been haunting me - my sister's Portside duffle set. Part of it was trying to source the non standardized notions it requires. The other part is my irritation with the less-than-stellar labeling in the pattern instructions.
The duffle needs lining and I'm struggling to ease the sides of the dopp kit on to the body.

In the meantime, I did whip up a pair of Comox trunks for James birthday this month, the only hiccup being when I couldn't find soft waistband or "plush" elastic. JoAnn's sells some but only in neon colors that aren't really his style. I'll be special ordering some black through a Hong Kong based Etsy seller. Does anyone else know where to get this stuff? Anyways, look forward to a proper post when I make him a full set.

The latest project is reusable grocery bags from Simplicity 2806. James kindly curbed my enthusiasm for spending a bunch of money on organic canvas by asking if "I didn't have anything I could use in my stash instead?" I didn't think so, but ended up with two cotton sateens, grey and Cinderella blue from JoAnn's a million years ago. I managed to remember to buy webbing, but not the bias tape.
Did someone put a notions curse on me??? I've found some in my stash, we'll see if it is enough.

06 January 2016

So Long 2015, Don't Come Back!

Everyone I've been talking to lately feels the same way I do about 2015: Hallelujah, it is over! Apparently it was a rough year all round, so while I'm eager to put it behind me, I do want to do a quick reflection post.

Working backwards...starting with successes.
1. My last sewing project of the year was a pinafore from Butterick 5171. Our friends' kid's birthday is right before Christmas, but I didn't manage to get this 12 Days of Christmas pinafore done and gifted until New Year's Eve! Whoops!
 The construction was unnecessarily complicated, in my opinion. Lots of facings and turning things inside out and under. I was so frustrated by the end that I simply opted to put snaps and then sew buttons on top. This was also my final entry for Vintage Pledge. 5 got sewn, but I missed blogging two of them.

2. Edwardian wedding gown 3. Butterick 4049 4. Folkwear 201 and 5./6. Aprons for "Our Town" were some of my favorite projects this year.

7. I sewed a lot for kids this year! This includes the unblogged Simplicity 1990, a sunsuit and bonnet, from the late 1940s.

8. And the pattern that made me swear off Advance patterns for good, Advance 6063.

9. My still unblogged 1960s whale dress will be excellent next summer for hitting the restaurant patios in town.

10. And my retro lady archaeologist culottes! Those get lots of wear.

11./12./13. Were Lolas for friend and sisters. Not sure if they're still getting used?

And the not so successful projects...
1. Advance 7729 awaits a new waistband so I can make it bigger to fit me.

2. Simplicity 2414, my dog walking shorts, ended up in the charity pile.

4. My Grainline Maritime shorts, with the wonky crotch depth and poorly cut waistband.

5. My 1970s halter top never got farther than a muslin, for fear of boob slippage and lack of peplum length. I'd like to return to this pattern though, I've got ideas!

6. The 1969 Mod Dress I tried to finish just wasn't doing it for me and is in the charity pile as well.

7. My own Lola had an unsatisfactory fit in the end and the armbands were too tight. Not sure if I want to bother fixing it.

8. Poor Bee's sweatshirt neck has gotten tighter with every washing. I'm hoping I can save it with a ribbed neckband.

I also did a decent amount of knitting this year, but only completed 3 projects. Most of my knitting time was spent on a stupid tank top that is now three years in the making.

The final tally? 3 knits, 21 sews (with only 8 not-so-great projects).

Folks Serv