Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ahhh Goodbye Long Weekend I Have Loved You So

I can't believe I have to go back to work in the morning. Well, it's a good thing ... past unemployment, etc., but I was really REALLY enjoying the paid time off. Something I haven't had for almost a year. I hope all of my American readers had a great Thanksgiving! It was very low-key here, just Alex and me, but we cooked (and ate) like we were expecting another dozen. I'm really craving a salad so the leftovers will be set aside tonight and maybe only come out one more time tomorrow before they are tossed. (Don't worry ... Alex has already made sure that not much is being tossed.)

I didn't sew a whole lot over the last four days, but I did what us sewistas do when we're not sewing ... BUY FABRIC. Hahaha. I went to Hancock's yesterday for thread on sale, a couple of invisible zips also on sale, and to see if they still had any of the gray pinstripe left at $3.99/yd. Yes, yes, and yes. Although the fabric initially wasn't coming up as on sale, but the clerk did honor the sign above the bolt, so yay. I left the store spending less than $25, which I count as a win. The pinstripes may be pants soon. Or it may be a blatant copy of Carolyn's latest dress.

I wasn't nearly so thrifty online last night where nearly $100 worth of knits fell into my shopping basket.

And I just spent my CSC / Smuggler's Daughter winnings to take advantage of the "notwalmart" discount code before it expires tonight. A cool fabric was calling my name (below left). I have no idea what to make with it, but I want it nonetheless. I may have been channeling my inner Shams. I'm hoping it speaks to me when I have it in my hands. Another piece may have jumped in the cart too.

And this from the woman who never used to wear black. Hmmm. The times they are a changin'.

The sewing I did do this weekend is still embargoed. I've been testing yet again. I promise ... this is not turning into a pattern testing blog. At first, I was only going to look over the pattern itself and the instructions since X and I both thought the pattern wasn't really my style. However, I don't really have a style, per se, since I tend to just buy/make/wear what I like and what I think looks good on me with maybe only one eye toward "fashionable," and the more I looked at the pattern, the more I decided I did want to at least try it. All I can share before it's released (which will be soon I'm told) is a little sneaky peek.

Yeah,that helps a lot, doesn't it? But since I did manage to get outside for some pics today, when I can share them, they won't be of the usual crappy variety. Ahem. Still, I am not a model and I seriously had to delete about 10 for every 1 I kept. I'm much better at the au naturale bathroom mirror shots.

Not sure how much sewing is going to happen during the week, but I hope at least some since my upcoming Saturday afternoon is already booked with a trip to nowhere on my boss' boat. It's called "The Holiday Death Cruise to Nowhere (with boxed wine)" to give you some idea of the warped senses of humor in my work group. I'm proud? to say I fit right in. Alex is invited too but I'm not sure yet if he really wants to go. Might be kind of boring for him. But still, a boat ride around Tampa Bay can't be all bad even if you're 22 stuck with a bunch of oldies. ;-)

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Time for More Crappy Photos

Maybe Santa will bring me a better camera, but for now we're all stuck with a simple Point and Shoot and/or my phone. But at least you get me and not Zillie, right? (cough:cough)

So here's what I wore yesterday, which is the newest Jenna cardigan paired with the Kwik Sew tank and the Butterick "Carolyn" skirt. Love! this skirt. I want two more.

I've been wanting a pinstripe skirt for a while now and I'm so glad it's finally in my closet. I may go back to Hancock's for more of the fabric to make a pair of pants too. It was a steal at only $3.99/yard.

Bought these last night in anticipation of The Big Freeze today. Brrrr! They are very comfy.

I did finish the Hot Patterns Uptown/Downtown Knit Dress last night, motivation rising as the temps kept falling. It was in the THIRTIES people. Good god! This is what I wore today ... Yeah, you can't see the dress very well in these work bathroom cell phone pics, but I like it a lot and it was nice and cozy. New boots, check. Scarf I made last night from scraps of that dress I made and hated, check. And a RTW cardi. Gillian, if you're reading, this is the curved hem RTW cardi I mentioned. Somehow that curve minimizes my hips. I want more of these too. My head looks huge in these pics and I have no chin. Lovely.

 Here I was trying to show more of the dress not hang myself. Not sure it worked out as planned. :-)

And now I'm off to brave the cold again with some dinner out. And tomorrow night is our firm's holiday party for clients, at which I'm "working" (hello overtime!). Everyone says it's lots of fun. I believe them ... the caterers were in all day today setting up bars and food stations all over both of the floors we inhabit in the building. Nice! Staff gets its own party next month.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The mini SWAP continues

Lots of sewing has been going on but you'll have to settle for Zillie doing the modeling for now. And crappy nighttime indoor photography, which is doing horrible things to the colors.

I finished the next Jenna cardi. You saw a sneak peek of this one last post.

While I didn't use the gathered front version, I did use the shoulder yoke pieces for a contrast and applied them over top. Also contrasting is the neck, button, and sleeve bands. I have used what seems like a TON of this gray sweater knit in the last 10 days, as you'll see. It's been in my stash for so many years I've lost count. And I still have at least 2 yards left. Holy cow ... it must have been a really good deal whenever/wherever I bought it.

I also made another KS tank so the cardi becomes a twinset.

But I made this one with a little "twist." It's party in the front, business in the back. A un-mullet. Ha.

This way I get a plain gray-fronted tank to layer under the cardi and other things when the mood strikes. I'm a little proud of myself for thinking of this. I know it will come in handy.

Next in the queue was this Simplicity gored skirt. Trust me, it's purple, not red/maroon, and matches the new cardi. This pattern is made for a woven but I used a knit. I omitted the back zip and inserted some elastic into the sides of the waistband to snug it in when worn. I have no idea what this knit fabric is. It looks like a double-knit or golf/pique knit but it's really stretchy and drapey. It's also been in my stash for a long time. A. Really. Long. Time. As you can tell, I'm on a flippy skirt jag at the moment.

The skirt ... again, really purple, not red ... also coordinates with the other Jenna. Looks like Zillie is leaning like the Tower of Pisa. Weird.

I'm now in the process of making this HP Uptown/Downtown knit dress, with yet more of the gray sweater knit. It's my plan to have it finished tomorrow night so I can wear it Wednesday, when it's supposed to be quite FRIGID here. What the heck northerners ... keep that stuff up your way, OK? It's not even Thanksgiving and we're dropping into the 30s?? Yikes. Good thing I've been sewing (and buying) cardigans.

I still have to add the waist elastic and sleeve bands, plus decide on either a hem or hem band for the bottom. I wore the heck out of my summer version of this dress and decided I definitely needed a winter one. The plain gray is going to be a great blank canvas for layering. Obviously the new Jenna matches perfectly. I kept the neckline lowered per the last make and didn't add length to the neckband even though this knit is a lot less stretchy ... which made for a bit of gathering which I actually quite like. Happy accident.

Here are the patterns, for anyone interested.

Muse Jenna for the cardigans.

Kwik Sew 2759 for the tank underlayer.

Simplicity 1697 for the purple-not-red skirt.

Hot Patterns 1090 Uptown//Downtown Knit Dress.

The new job is going well. Thanks again for all the good wishes. I'm working with a really great and fun group of people in a really great firm. I'm so thrilled that a permanent position opened up at just the right time. And I really, REALLY hope this is the last job I have to get for a good long time. It's going to take a little while to get my finances caught up but it's so nice to finally know it will happen. I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and your virtual support is truly one of the things on the list.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The start of a mini SWAP with my Carolyn Skirt

After the wadder from last weekend's sewing, I went in a different direction for the pinstripe skirt after finding this inspiration photo on Pinterest. I'm calling mine the Carolyn Skirt because (1) pinstripes are very corporate and Carolyn is all about sewing a corporate wardrobe and (2) she's also all about finding inspirational fashion pieces and interpreting them for herself.

My skirt didn't need much interpretation since I already had this Butterick 4877 pattern stashed and my skirt is pretty much a straight copy. But I did have to do a bit of pattern hacking, first for the size and then for design details. The pattern is from my bigger days and the size range I bought is too big for me now. I graded it down two sizes, using the pattern's actual grading upward as my guide downward. That sounds a lot more complicated than it actually was. Essentially all I did was to chop off  1-1/2" from each side seam and shorten the waist facings to match.

I had previously made this skirt 2-3 times in the larger size range in a couple of the different views and loved the fit of them all so I had high hopes for a new smaller version. I wish it wasn't OOP because it's an awesome draft for women with curves. If you're curvy, I definitely recommend picking it up should you come across it. 

So, anyway ... my Carolyn Skirt. I started with View A (the white skirt), shortened the flounce by 5 inches, and then traced it and spit it so I could make the chevrons at the seams per the inspiration photo. I had to cut the flounce pieces (there's 6 of them total after the splitting) single layer so I could be sure my seams would create actual chevrons and not almost-chevrons.

I think I did very well with the stripe matching and the skirt copying. I added topstitching which the inspiration didn't have, but I wanted to really set off the seams. My skirt sits at my knee instead of above it, which is more flattering on me. And I'm as happy with the fit of my smaller version as I was with the original makes.

I debated a machined blind hem but decided for the faster method of just topstitching a narrow hem, figuring it blends with the other topstitching and, really, NO ONE is going to be looking at my hem. I'm not aiming for couture here. ;-)

I did think to take a pic of the serged/overlocked edge for anyone that's new to sewing a curved hem where the outside edge is larger than the turn-up. The trick is to turn up the differential on the serger so it very slightly gathers the edge and then to softly turn the hem under without straightening out the gathers. You can see in the photo below that the edge is already cupping inward. Work with that cupping so you can pin a hem that turns smoothly without actual gathers/ripples. Then press (up and down motion) it in place and sew it right side up so the feed dogs help in easing the longer edge too.

Next up is another Jenna cardi (in progress below), which will go with this skirt and another skirt already cut and waiting.

I'm hoping to finish the cardi in the morning, and that will probably be it for sewing this weekend as I have a bunch of errands to run and then dinner with a friend. Plus I'm hoping to do a little housecleaning too. But that's last on the list because ... well, it's housework. No pics on me until next week at the earliest since it's supposed to be still raining tomorrow. And one of my errands is to hopefully get a hair cut.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Some Random Thoughts

1. I sewed a pinstripe skirt last weekend.
2. It's a wadder.
3. I may blog about it later.
4. Even though the photos are incredibly UNflattering.
5. Or I may not.
6. I reached into my BWOF (yes, still WOF) archives.
7. Traced through the roadmap.
8. Even graded it up two sizes, since this was a "regular" size.
9. Sewed it all together.
10. Even installed a me-shortened invisible zipper perfectly.
11. And it's horrible if one has a belly.
12. Which I do. Hah.
13. Oh well.
14. Onward and upward.
15. I also cut out another non-Burda skirt and another Jenna cardi last weekend.
16. I was on a roll.
17. Until that Burda made me lose my mind.
18. I'll start on the other two projects first thing Saturday.
19. Unless I'm distracted by the HotPatterns order that arrived after work tonight.
20. I forgot what else I ordered beside the new HP cardi.
21. The package is taunting me.
22. I think I ordered at least one skirt.
23. And I still have more of the pinstripe fabric.
24. Will I allow myself to go off the rails again?
25. Time will tell.
26. Tune in to the Curvy Sewing Collective blog tomorrow for Wrapalong results.
27. Even with a wadder, it's been a good week.
28. Because, yay, fabric prizes! :-)
29. And, I found out today that I am now a permanent employee.
30. Woot!