Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fabrics From Seattle

Finally, the post you've been waiting for -- pictures of the fabrics and patterns I bought in Seattle. I didn't buy a ton of stuff or anything... mostly some novelty prints and a few indie patterns.

I got two Colette patterns, Jasmine and Crepe, as well as the Made by Rae Washi dress and the Green Bee Scoop Tote.

The Made by Rae and Green Bee patterns were impulse purchases -- they had the tote made up in the store and I thought it was really cute. And the saleslady recommended the Washi Dress -- one of the recommended fabrics for which is, get this, quilting cotton. I have never seen that recommended before and I've frequently seen people deride those who sew clothes with quilting cotton. So you can color me intrigued. If I ever start feeling less sick, I'll probably make that up next with the grey-and-white pitcher pattern shown in the bottom center of that picture.

 I was really bummed that no one had a Collete Ginger. The second store even had a Ginger made up from a recent class they had, but they were sold out. What a tease! I suppose I'll have to order it. I don't know why I haven't ordered it... oh well. I'll get around to it soon.

In addition to the patterns, I got some super super cute fabrics.

Um, hello, mice on bikes! Mice sitting on spools! I swoon. The second I saw this fabric I knew I had to have some. I bought a yard and I plan to make a cute little pillow or two.

Yes! Nancy Drew fabric! This is a small selection of the swatch pack I bought. Maybe a small throw blanket? I've got 42 4-inch squares. Isn't it precious? I love Nancy Drew when I was a kid (you could buy six Nancy Drew books for like $10 at Costco, so I had a million of them.)  I especially love the book spine pattern. Any ideas for what I could do with book spine quilting cotton? Something cute?

This is a canvas-y fabric and was in the remnant pile. I love coral, so I thought maybe I'd make the scoop tote with this on the outside? Yes/yes?

I also got a yard of grey with small white anchors, the aforementioned grey with white pitchers and a set of fat quarters with nautical-themed fabric (center right of the first picture).

Overall, the fact that I got to spend a day of my vacation shopping for fabric and indie patterns made the trip even sweeter. I had the best time that day and I love the souvenirs I came home with.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Things I've Sewn Lately: Amerson Undie

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to try my hand at making underwear.

I won't lie, it feels kind of weird to be talking about my underwear on the Internet, but I wanted to share these.

The pattern requires a quarter yard of fabric, a truly tiny amount of cotton jersey and some elastic. For this first pair, I picked up some cute black and white gingham and black elastic.

I will say, that just because of the nature of these underwear, they do not photograph well flat. Or at least mine didn't.

Luckily, they're very cute on and I highly recommend this pattern! I can definitely see myself wearing these under a nice flowy sundress or maybe under jeans. I will say, though, that they're more like bloomers than traditional underpants. And they're a little... cheeky. But they don't ride up, so in general, I think I'm a fan.

Don't be scared off by the fact that the largest measurement on the pattern is tiny. The measurement is for what it will be before the elastic is stretched out by your waist. So to find which size would be right for me, I took my normal underwear size, medium, which called for a 25-inch elastic waistband. My waist is not 25 inches, but 25 inches of elastic stretches perfectly to fit me. Easy!

I did French seams on all the seams instead of using the serger or using the suggested method. I will say that the pattern is not super well marked. It took my sickeness-addled brain a while to figure out how to put the PDF pieces together and then, since the center front (CF) and center back (CB) are not marked, I, of course, sewed the wrong thing together the first time. Luckily, I was able to unpick and solve the problem, but that was kind of a pain.

And I think I'm over my fear of PDF patterns, so maybe a Mathilde blouse will be happening sometime soon.

Altogether, these took me two episodes of "Lost" to complete, so not bad. The included cutting out the pattern, sewing the wrong seams and lots of head-scratching.

I do think I will add a little bow to the front (I need to go buy some ribbon before I can do that) because it's difficult to tell the front from the back -- a problem I have with several of my home-sewn garments.

But I will definitely make these again. The pattern suggests eyelet. I do love me some eyelet, so I will probably do an eyelet version next.

You can download the free pattern here. Have fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Few Tidbits From the Land of the Sick

Several short things to share today:

1. I've decided to make a pair of panties and attempt to banish my fear of sewing from PDF patterns (i.e. ones you print online instead of ones you buy.) The Amerson Undie, shown below, is a new free pattern from Madalynne, a blog I enjoy very much.

I fully realize I've probably crossed further into crazy territory by attempting to sew my own underwear, but there you go. I like to live dangerously.

2. I'm sick again for the second time this winter and I wish my immune system would get its act together. Greg's getting over being sick and I'm getting worse by the hour. We went out to get takeout pho and bubble tea today, which had me feeling better for all of thirty minutes -- hey, I'll take what I can get! Pho is the absolute best food when you're sick. And, as a bonus, you don't have to make it yourself. Don't tell, but I may have it for dinner again tomorrow if I still feel crappy. It's just that good.

3. Greg and I are in the process of applying to a rescue organization for a dog of our very own -- yay! I'd been lobbying for a dog for months. I'm trying really hard not to fall in love with this dog just in case we don't get her. We dragged our sick selves out to the adoption fair for an interview today. I'm sure we were absolutely charming. We both grew up with dogs, but my experience is mostly limited to picking a puppy from a litter and we want to adopt a grown dog. It's so difficult to choose just one. They're all so different! I want to take them all home, but Greg says I can only have one. Killjoy.

4. I've just had a panicked realization that I should have bought seeds for my garden already. It's almost time to start the seeds! I've got a huge list of things I want to grow. I better get on that.

5. I'm going to a sewing blogger meetup in two weeks! Yay! Lauren from Lladybird posted a few weeks ago that she was headed out there. I've been just dying to get to Mood and I can't wait! I just need to get healthy before then -- and then make sure I don't get sick again.

That's all for now. Off for tea and ibuprofen and sleep. If I can figure out why my camera refuses to focus, I'll be back soon with pictures of my fabric and pattern haul from Seattle.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Things I've Sewn Lately: Butterick B5781

Butterick Patterns are a cruel mistress. This is my second Butterick with major fit issues. You'd think I would have learned from the first dress, but that would be asking too much, I think.

I have now learned that I absolutely MUST look at the finished measurements on the pattern for Butterick patterns. Holy ease. 

Like the grey dress, I had to take this one in a ton.

I think I got too comfortable making all of those New Look tops with their perfect fit right out of the envelope and outsmarted myself.

And of course I didn't make a muslin.

Basically I made every mistake ever and the neckline is still a bit wonky. 

But I find myself not caring overmuch. 

Originally, I intended this dress to wear as a jumper over a button-down blouse. But it looked horrific like that. Really bad. I looked like some sort of schoolmarm from yesteryear. 

Happily, I like it a LOT with my RTW wrap sweater. I think I bought it four years ago at Target -- it was definitely when I was in grad school, anyway. 

Here's a sweater-less version, front and back: 

Instead of darts, the dress has, I think, princess seams? I'm not sure if there are enough of them to be defined as princess seams (my princess-seam leotard back in the day had a seam down the center front as well). The curved seams were a bit of a challenge to sew, but using my mom's new fancy machine, it went fairly well. I started this project on my old machine and it was NOT a fan of my attempts to slowly sew around the curved seam. (It wasn't really a fan of doing anything slowly, let's be honest here.)

I made this out of corduroy with no wales. So basically it's like cotton velvet. The lining is silver-grey bemberg rayon. It's so nice and warm, but it's not super heavy, either. 

The major bonus of this dress, besides the flattering cut for those pear-shaped among us, is pockets! These were my first pockets and I was super excited about them. I adore pockets. My hands are cold 98 percent of the time and I like to carry pens around with me at work. 

Don't you just love my earrings? They're from Etsy. I fell in love with a similar pair on Modcloth, and then found the Etsy ones for half the price. Pretty sweet when that works out, right? They're little molded pink roses. 

Up close of the wonky neckline that I had to unpick several times. This, I think, is as good as it's going to get without me cutting new lining. Um, no. I'm too lazy to make a muslin. You think I'm going to redo the lining? 

Now that I'm a little better versed in sergerland, I think I might remake this wrap top. Do a similar wrap but make it a mock wrap so I don't have that annoying knot in the back.

Overall, I feel pretty smug. I got a compliment from a coworker who doesn't even know I sew. This is my smug look:

If you're interested, you can check out my thoughts on this pattern on Pattern Review.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Skiing in Seattle

Greg and I just got back from an epic eight-day trip to Seattle.

I started the trip out right by staying up alllllll night the night before we left. We were set to leave the house at 5 a.m., and I was working until 1 a.m. Since I need about an hour to get myself together in the morning, I decided against sleeping for three hours. It turned out to be an awesome decision. I slept all the way to Seattle. Total win.

We decided to take a trip out there early in the year so that we could take advantage of good skiing weather and the opportunity to visit Greg's sister, who lives out there. We went Wednesday to Wednesday, and she was able to take off the second set of weekdays, so for the first few days we headed out to Crystal Mountain ski resort about two hours outside of Seattle.

Can I just say it was amazing? We stayed in the cutest little suite/condo with a dollhouse-sized kitchen (we did all of our own cooking for this portion of the trip), sitting room complete with wood stove and a hot tub and heated pool.

And the skiing was awesome the first day. Powdery and fun. Best of all, I hadn't forgotten how to ski. (I was a little worried -- I just learned how last year!) The second day was slightly less awesome -- I fell a lot and the slopes were more crowded because it was a Friday. And there was no new snow.  Ah well. Not every day can be a winner, right? That day we did get to take a nice detour to see Mount Rainier at the top of the gondola:

Friday night we hopped off to Seattle to meet up with Greg's sister and her boyfriend, who are just the nicest people with the cutest house and the silliest little Boston terrier. Greg's sister, happily, was able to act as our tour guide for the remainder of the trip, Tarzan (the Boston) in tow:

Over the weekend, we did all of our sight-seeing. I'd never been to Seattle before, so I was super excited to visit Pike's Place:

It reminded me of a giant version of Baltimore's Cross Street Market, which is a block away from the house I grew up in. Needless to say, I adored it.

We also visited the sculpture garden:

 I made that dress, by the way. More in another post since I made three of them. I don't remember what this sculpture was supposed to be, but it was shaped like a giant geometric donut -- with a bite out of it.

We also visited the locks. Oh. My. Goodness. I'd never seen a lock in action in person before. It's fascinating. I probably would have watched all day if I hadn't been with other, less interested, people. But I did get to watch twice! I took a long cell video of the process (I'll spare you my poor cellphone videography, no need to worry.) Also, that first boat was ADORABLE. All wood detailing... the lady aboard said it was a 1978. So pretty. Seattle is chock full of beautiful boats.

We rounded out the trip with wine-tasting, another day of skiing and visits to several local independent fabric shops (!!). I'll try to have a separate post with my haul from the fabric shops. Too good to be believed. And, of course, nothing like what we have here.

All in all, it was an amazing trip and incredible food, a sweet hostess, good skiing and a ton of fun. It was so sad it all had to end, though I confess that I do think one of the best things about going away is coming home. At least for me, returning home always increases my appreciation for little things: my bed, a glass of my favorite wine, non-travel bottles of toiletries (I hate them!), good milk and general familiarity. Home is, after all, where your sewing machines are. ;)