December 31, 2022

2023 Goals

 I just a did year in review post and honestly, it was hard to remember what all I did crafty wise.  I got a silhouette vinyl cutter last year for Christmas and I've been using it. I've also been knitting and reading more this year.  

I have gone through most of the fabric shelves, refolding and sorting the fabrics.  I gave 2 boxes of cotton to a neighbor who makes charity quilts and a huge bag of scraps from Jay's shirts to a woman who makes crafts for a local shop in town.  There are 3 shelves of knit fabric still to go through.

1.  Finish refolding and sorting the fabric. Try and get all the fabric into the closet.

2.  Use what I have first - that includes fabric, patterns, notions and yarn.

3.  Make AND Blog one garment for me a month.

4. Easter Outfits for the grands

5. Flannel Pants factory

6. Share my books

7. Share pattern alterations

8. Share the fails.

I think that's a doable list.  I am getting ready to schedule some SewCamps for Carriage Corner and my goal will be 1 special piece of fabric that gets sewn right away.  I don't have space or the life span to just keep collecting.

With the exception of Cashmerette Club, no new patterns in 2023.  I have loads of patterns.  So many in fact, that I've run out of storage and having them printed is expensive.  I'm also going to keep my Ottobre Woman subscription.  While I've only made one dress from any of the issues, they are such wearable clothes and are very inspiring.

Share more on instagram.  Progress, process, etc.

What are you crafting goals for 2023?  

December 29, 2022

Year in Review

While I have been missing in action, I've been sewing too.  I am just really having issues getting photos - not even good photos - just ANY photos!  No photos means no blogging, because, well because.

So let's just do a little recap:

January - I made Eleanor a red wide wale corduroy jumper and the stud buttons (is that what they're called?) pulled out of the bib.  I also made Harris an outfit that was complete overkill.  Same red cord, but flannel lined pants and a matching jean style jacket - complete with bias bound seams.

I also made a quilt for Eleanor's 5th birthday.  Finishing it the night before her birthday and then forgot to take it :(

February - we were invited to our first Amish wedding and I had the honor of being asked to dress in the bride's colors.  For an Amish wedding, the bride doesn't wear a white dress, she picks a color and all the women from both sides of the family wear the same color.  I made a Cashmerette Holyoake skirt in a deep forest green color.  Then I used a beautiful border print to make a vintage shirt (Butterick 3724 from 1989) to wear with the skirt.  Unfortunately, I used the wrong interfacing and while the shirt is wearable it's stiff :(

wearing the shirt at a hair appointment this summer

March & April was about Easter Sewing.  Honestly, I don't know what my problem is but I procrastinate making, horribly.  This year, I used a pink bandana print that I bought a few years ago and made E the cutest dress.  I did have to buy coordinating gingham to make Harris' P4P Lumberjack Shirt.  I'm really enjoying making these sweet long sleeved button up shirt for him. 

May was vacation prep.  I actually finished 3 of the dresses on my to make list, but one was not good and went straight into the donate pile.  The other two were actually photographed & blogged.  Here & Here

After vacation I sewed up 2 more shirts for Jay's shirt collection.  I believe he's up to 45 now!  (no photos) Also, these were part of the coffee collection and I put them away for Christmas.

July was more kiddo sewing - I whipped up 2 huge new library bags to give the grands for Harris' birthday.  I also made Harris a two pair of pjs - one pink rainbows from FabricMart and the other was a darling green camping print cotton knit.  Eleanor got a dress from the leftover camping print and an unsuitable for public wear jumper. The Jumper is the Style Arc Norman and unfortunately it's just too low cut to be appropriate for a little girl to wear in public.  

We also hosted the first SewCamp of the year in July and I bought some more fabric.

In late July/eary August I very quickly sewed up two of those July purchases.  I made 3 versions of McCalls 6559 which is a great dress that my daughter loves!  I have had one cut out for a few years now, so it was nice to get that sewn up.  The other was from a pink print and I strategically folded the fabric to be able to make Eleanor's Hey June Racer Back Tank.  The third fabric was a silky soft mustard knit with white polka dots and I not only got the 2 dresses, I also cut a tee for Harris.

According to my photos, I also finished a ditzy print fringe that I was super excited about, but it too is a bust.  I knew that I needed to add length to the fringe's skirt, but I added too much and this dress looks dowdy!  It's still in my closet, even though I won't wear it because I'm still on the fence about taking it apart to shorten the skirt at the waist.

In late August, we hosted a private 4 night sew camp.  Those women were fun and encouraging!  I finally finished my version of M7969 from a silky print from JoAnn Fabrics and I love it so much I have a blue gingham version cut out.

Jay got 2 MORE shirts that actually went into his closet, one from a bicycle print and this fun kitchen print.

In September, I finished my first Wilder Gown with some shared end of bolt fabric from the SewCamp FabricMarch field trip.  I love that dress!  in fact, I bought a pretty rayon to make another (which I did, but I'm not sure I love it).

In October I joined a quilt along and made some really fun quilt blocks.  I'd be happy if they made it into a top before the end of the year.  I also made the Style Arc Naomi this month.  While the fabric was lovely, it was a horrible fabric/pattern pairing.  That curved seam, while a beautiful design element, just made me look like I was expecting.  Into the give away pile (are you keeping track?  That's 4 dresses this year that went from made to donate immediately.)

I finished my birthday dress in November. And while it has potential, it's missing something.  I did a pattern mash up - I overlaid the Southport bodice on the SA Naomi and used the Naomi sleeves.  I also raised the neckline on the Southport an inch and then used the southport's a-line skirt pieces.  It just feels busy, too busy.  Maybe a cardigan or possibly shortening the sleeves would help.

and I finished the year with flannel pants for all!  This year I also made 2 long sleeved tees for the grands and put matching HTV on all of their shirts.

So, while there's not a lot of photos to show for my sewing, I actually did complete a lot this year!  That's for sticking with me.  Let's hope 2023 is the year I get back to blogging regularly.

August 14, 2022

E Gets a New Dress

 Several years ago, I made a couple versions of McCalls 6559 for vacation. Although, I apparently only blogged one.  And at this point, my daughter has most of those dresses.  Recently, I saw her wearing one and asked if she needed a few new versions.

 Last month, while I was at FabricMart with SewCamp, I bought 1 piece of daughter approved fabric and one I knew she would like.  The nice thing about this pattern, is that if you're fabric is wide enough, there's a lot left over.  

 Not one to waste huge pieces of fabric, I went looking for a similar pattern to make Eleanor some summer dresses with.  I asked the Fine Sewing Folks in my Instagram stories.  Ultimately, I chose the Hey June Handmade Racerback Dress.  And then, operating with a deadline as I do most of the time, I set out to make 5 dresses and a tee in a day.

 I got this 1 dress for Eleanor finished.  She, of course, put it right on over her swim suit and loved it!  Because she's a little peanut, I traced the size 5 width with the size 8 length.  It's perfect for this summer, but if she grows any around, it won't fit for long!  And honestly, the length is perfect.  We just happened to be at Sesame Place, so I know at 5 years old she's 46" tall.

 I started with the single blue dress for Krystle that has been cut out for years!  Since 2018 the fabric was left over from a piece that Marjie bought during Fall 2018 Sew Camp. Back in the old days (pre-#lifeofaninnkeeper and being old) I would have stayed up and finished all 6 of the projects and delivered them the next day.  But I got 2 of the 3 fabrics sown and I'm okay with that.  The mustard dots will get made sooner rather than later.

 Do you sew for anyone other than yourself?  I never really used to, but Little Miss E is so excited every time she gets a new dress I can't help myself.

June 20, 2022

Backing Fabric Myosotis

 Sometimes I wish I had Roisin's knack for naming a dress, because mostly mine are called what they are:  they type of fabric combined with the pattern name and there you have it!  And this is no different.

  Earlier this year, I had Bird-in-Hand Fabrics quilt a quilt top that I had made years and years ago.  Why is this important?  Because I fell in love with the backing fabric that I picked out.

Blush Amelia by P&B Textiles

 I could see it as a long, button front myosotis dress!  Only this time, I wanted just a few things different. 

 I started with the bodice from the myosotis take 3 but added a collar and collar stand and ties from the front darts.  I will say, this was a little challenging to make, mostly because I was flying by the seat of my pants.  Since I had cut the neckline slightly deeper in the back and lower in the front, I ended up making the collar twice so that it actually fit.  And now, thinking about it 2 weeks after I made it, I cannot remember which collar fit.  Oh well, I kept all the correct pattern pieces (I hope).

 Also, at some point during construction, I freaked out and thought I was going to have to buy more fabric.  Not really sure why.  Oh, wait, because I thought I would use one width for the back of the skirt and one for the front.  Umm, the fabric is 108" wide - there was plenty!  

  I knew from measuring my blue floral dress that I needed 40" of finished length on the skirt.  I wanted this dress to have a deep hem, so I cut the fabric for the skirt portion at 44" and then I cut 1/4 of the width from each selvedge, so that there was one large piece 52" wide for the back of the skirt.  Selvedges to the center front and I added my favorite side seam pockets to the skirt front pieces.

 Once the skirt was constructed, I pressed up for the hem, but did that last.  Then I made the two ties.  They were cut from 'scraps of fabric' 3" wide and folded in half, turned, pressed and then topstitched.  I then carefully tucked the ties into the front waist darts before sewing them up.  

  I also sewed the collar and topstitched it before adding the collar stand.  And because I used all the facing pieces, I literally just sandwiched the collar between the bodice and the facing.  Is it the right way to do it?  Maybe no.  Did it work?  Absolutely!  Would I do it this way again? In a heartbeat! 

 When I gather the skirt onto the bodice, I try to the leave the center front flat.  So, for this pattern that means the gathers don't start until the front waist dart and then gather around to the other waist dart.  It seems to work for me. 

 And that added waist tie?  It's just tied loosely in the back.  Not really pulling anything in, just adding a little something extra!

  This extra wide backing fabric is so soft and so pretty - I can't wait to wear this dress all the time.  And buy some more fabric from this line.  I bought 2 1/2 yards and could have gotten away with 2.  I have only tiny scraps left over. 

June 13, 2022

Kersoe Hack

We recently went on vacation.  Like the good dressmaker that I am, that sent me into a frantic "I have nothing to wear!"  Seems like the only time I prioritize sewing for myself lately is pre-vacation.

Also, I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas and I wanted to try and make some fun family tees for vacation.  That's a post for another day, but important to this story.  See, I stopped into Old Navy to purchase some plain tee shirts.  While I was there, I noticed All.The.Gingham they had in stock.  Darling dress and flirty tops.

This boring beige gingham dress totally caught my eye.  I think I was planning how to make it myself before I was really even out of the store.  I sent Carolyn photos from the car and then started thinking about where I would start.

I tested the Kersoe top for Jenny way back when.  yep - it's in blogging back-log and on the side of my closet with clothes that still need photos.  But when I got home, I tried that puppy on again, just to make sure it fit like I thought it did.

It did!  And the wide straps would be so much better for being in the kitchen in the morning cooking.  The lining felt like the right place to cut for adding a gathered skirt.

So, this is what I did:
  • Retraced the Kersoe top a size smaller than what I had originally tested; 
  • Took an additional 3/4" out of the back for a swayback adjustment;
  • Forgot to take a smidge out of the center front;
  • Cut both the front and the back on the fold;
  • Shortened the bodice pieces another inch and half at the sides, curving to an inch at the center front (will add that half back at center front, if I do this again);
  • Remembered to add my label to the back lining;
  • Sewed the bodice and lining together at the neckline;
  • basted the armholes together, trimmed away the seam allowance and then added bias binding;
  • left the bias binding visible on the public side of the dress.

 After adding pockets to the skirt front, I then gathered two widths of the fabric to the bodice, hemmed it and then went on vacation.

While on vacation, the dress was gushed over because it has pockets

And then on the very last day of vacation, even though I tried a few times before then, I made my daughter take the camera when we went to Mukilteo for lunch before coming home. 

This dress made from orange gingham from the fabric closet might be a little too sheer with the sun behind me. But that's not going to stop me from wearing it!

What I will do next time is:
  • narrow the center front just a smidge - like 1/4" just to keep the straps from wanting to slip off my shoulders
  • Use 3 or more widths of fabric for the skirt.  While there is plenty of room, this dress doesn't feel as floating as some of the others I have made where the skirt is just 2 widths of fabric.

So, how did I do?  I think my dress is better than the Old Navy inspiration dress for a couple reasons: 
  • those spaghetti straps wouldn't be good
  • the color would make me look nekkid

May 19, 2022

All The Fancy Shirts - Finally!

 I am so blessed to have welcomed a grandson back in 2020!  Because now I can make all of my shirt making dreams come true.  I talked about wanting to make shirts with all the fancy details and contrast here:  Shirt Inspo

SewMuchKnitting's Easter Sewing Inspo

 It all started when I got a text from my daughter about 2 weeks before Easter, asking if I was making E's Easter dress that year.  Umm, I hadn't planned on it, but I could.  Thankfully, I had saved the above photo from Patty's Instagram and I knew I wanted to just basically knock these outfits off!

 So off I toddled to Zooks Fabrics with the idea of finding a beautiful floral with a coordinating gingham. Zooks had hidden way in the back this beautiful, lightweight cotton from France with coordinating gingham in several colors.  The best part?  These beauties were $8 a yard! Krystle and I choose orange. And I ended up buying every last piece of that floral.

 I reached out to Patty and asked her what pattern she had used for the boys shirt and just bought the same exact one.  She used the Patterns for Pirates Lumberjack Shirt which goes from a size 3 months to 14 years.  The only change I made was to cut the front facings and add a seam allowance so I could make them up in a different fabric (refer back to my fancy shirts post).

 For the most part, the shirt for Harris was cut from the orange gingham.  I cut the back yoke on the bias.  And then the yoke lining, placket, cuff lining, under collar, collar stand and button bands were cut from the floral.

 While the pattern instructions are very good, I did refer to David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking book for how to do the sleeve plackets.  Also - I did not add a button & buttonhole to the plackets.  Not on a 12 month size! 

 I did learn that while you can turn the accent button band to the front side, when the collar is open the inside of the shirt shows.  For future shirts, I've turned both button bands to the inside of the shirt, so that the contrast shows at the neck when the shirt is opened.

 The Easter Bunny so thoughtfully stopped by and picked up the kids Easter outfits - umm, I mailed them a box and crossed my fingers it would arrive in time ;)  Here you can see that not only did sister get a dress, she got a matching mask.

 And here's the little man on Easter, wearing his fancy new shirt.  I've since made him 2 more shirts from this pattern.  Now to just get better about taking photos because soon I won't be able to post his face.  Might be time to get a kids sized mannequin. 

 Do you sew for your kids and/or grandkids?  Would you make a shirt with this much detail for a 9 month old?  I think he wore this shirt 4 or 5 times until it didn't fit.  I do hope that my daughter passed it on to someone with a tiny baby boy. 

May 16, 2022

Grass Whispers with Foxhill

 While my sew-jo has been lacking, my desire to knit has been blossoming.  So far this year, I've knit 3 pair of socks, a sweater for myself and one for Eleanor and I currently have another sweater and a pair of socks on needles - All from Stash Yarn!

 So, why the resurgence of knitting - I think it has to do with a beautiful pattern catching my eye.  While scrolling Instagram one day I saw a sweater that literally made me catch my breath.  Then the designer had a test knit call.  You can see some of her work on her blog and it's lovely!  So, I volunteered to test knit.

 I have some lopi in my stash, a sweater's worth and it was perfect for this project.  I still have enough for another sweater.

 What I love about this sweater is the loose cowl neck.  I started the neck with a tubular cast on and the size 7.  Why?  Because Lopi is itchy!  And I knew I could decrease the extra stitches out later.

 Another thing that I really love about Teti's designs, is she designs sweaters to be work with dresses.  This particular sweater looks amazing with my black & white gingham ESP dress, as well as the solid violet Foxhill dress that I tested for Cashmerette.  I also have a piece of pink gingham ready to roll as well.

 Anyway, after working the color work section there is more of that twisted cable dividing the yoke from the body.  The original pattern had short rows right in the middle of those cable and had you stop working them half-way through.  Well, I continued the cables through the entire section and into the ribbing at the bottom and sleeve cuffs.  Because consistency.

 Finally - because the size 6 was perfect for my bust, but way too large for my waist, I decreased out another size worth of stitches (12) before starting the ribbing.  Because I'm tall, I added 1 1/2" before starting the waist ribbing and it was the perfect amount for wearing this sweater with a dress, but it's a bit short for wearing with jeans.

 You can find all the important details about the sweater on my ravelry page.  

 I would like to say one thing about test knitting before I move onto talking about the dress.  It's a little disappointing to me that while testing for sewing pattern designers has moved into a paid position in some cases, or providing fabric in many others, knitting has not.  If I had not had the yarn in my stash to knit this, I could not have afforded to purchase enough yarn for this project.  And my final payment was the pattern for free and a DISCOUNT (!!) for another pattern.  And yes, I did volunteer, and I'm still happy I did because my joy of knitting has returned.

 Next, I'll tell you very briefly about the Foxhill dress from Jenny's book Ahead of the Curve.  This is 3rd pattern I tested for the book.  First, if you know me at all, you know that I don't really wear solid colors - I feel like a giant target in solids - it's just me.  But when I made this dress back in 2020, I decided to add a "Kangaroo" pocket which I ultimately put too low and it droops and sags.  And when I finished it, honestly, it was too tight and very unflattering.

 You may be asking why I made a solid color dress when I don't wear solids?  Well, I had this pretty violet ponte on the fabric shelves.  I also pulled a print and then I had a video call with a certain little lady who has definite opinions about things.  She didn't have a purple dress!  I'm guessing by now, she has a purple tunic.  Anyway, we both got purple dresses and no fabric went back into the closet!

 2 years later, this dress fits much better.  I just need to figure out how to 'shore up' the pocket on the inside of the dress and I'll be that much happier with it.  

My daughter was here over Mother's Day weekend and we took the kids to the park on Sunday.  She snapped these photos on my phone.  Again, they are better than what I was getting. Now - I have questions:
 1.  How do you feel about testing?  Sewing and/or knitting?  Do you do it?  
 2.  Where do you stand on solids?  With very few exceptions, I'm a straight up print gal.  

May 12, 2022

When Your Hobby Feels Heavy

 I don't even know how to start this post.  I'm not really whining about being able to afford a fabric collection. Nor am I whining about owning my own business which is finally doing really well. I guess what I am doing is mourning the loss of days of uninterrupted sewing time.

 As we all know, 2020 was a weird year.  It was the year that the world changed and we're still reeling from it.  I became a mask maker and used up a lot of small cotton scraps and some larger pieces too.  I mailed fabric to friends who couldn't find any.  And I bought fabric that I didn't have time to sew.

 I've gotten in the habit of taking fabric straight to the laundry room and washing it before it heads to the fabric closet.

 This is the stack of washed fabric sitting on my dryer because there's no room for it elsewhere in my house.  Most of it is cotton, although there's a couple of linens in there and with the exception of 3 pieces - they are all florals!!  At least I'm true to myself.

 With very few exceptions, each piece of fabric was bought with a specific garment in mind.  Because, honestly, that's how I've always bought fabric.  That doesn't mean that garment always gets made, in fact, that often isn't the case.  But I do try to start with a plan.

 On top of the fabric in the laundry room, there's a basket under my ironing board filled with shirts cut and ready to go for JB.  The interfacing is cut and the buttons are folded with the pattern pieces.  So there's no reason they aren't getting made - except time.

And then there's the washed fabric that I found stacked on top of the sewing machine cover.  I piece mostly cut, and several others matched to patterns with the notions already gathered. 

McCalls 7969 with a pretty floral from JoAnn Fabrics.  Top cut, hesitating to sew because shapeless sack.  Also predominately white.

Vogue 9299 Inspired by Carolyn in lightweight polka dot chambray

SBCC Stinger Dress - Green on the left is from deep stash (what is deep stash? How old?) for a wearable muslin and then the purple floral is for the final dress

Cute cotton ditzy print Fringe dress with snap closure.  Might have to get snap pliers to put the snaps closer together than I can get them with the snap source setter.

 So - all of that to say that this all feels heavy lately.  Like the dreams of new garments are mocking me and I'm feeling a bit guilty for not sewing up it fast enough.

 And in the next moment, I'm looking at FabricMart for a piece of fabric to make another Hope Woven Dress or the Vali.

 How do you handle having an excess?  Does it feel heavy?  Does it block your creativity?  
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