Oof, what a rough couple of months. Things are a little more stable now – although not too stable, given the current world situation. When I’m not at the hospital (I could write an entire post about what it’s like to work in healthcare right now), I’m coping by sewing up the stash, reading, and watching nerdy TV. I’d like to be writing, too, but my creativity is a bit fizzled at the moment.
I’ve started sewing some things for a friend’s baby-to-be because small, cute things are… well, small and cute, and fun to sew. Quick, too. First item is this mini Fringe blouse from Chalk & Notch – isn’t the pattern adorable? It’s perfect for scraps, too. I made this one out of less than a yard of cotton I’ve had in the stash for at least five years, maybe more.
I want to make a whole army of them – both the blouse and dress length, and both bodice variations. I’ve already cut two more, one from pink unicorn fabric and one from a blue abstract print, both cottons. I have a panda-print cotton that’s going to be a dress, and I’m sure I’ll have enough left from that to make yet another mini Fringe, too.
Never let it be said that I only make favourite patterns once. I mean, okay, part of that is due to the fact that finances are terrible right now and new fabric and patterns are not in the cards, but the other part is that I really just do love having nice things in all the colours.
A springlike Fringe for a very much non-springlike month. Fabric is seersucker that was given to me; I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the pattern on it but I think it looks decently cute as this dress. I paired it with black leggings and a black cardigan for work – could have worn tights, I suppose, but I have none that aren’t black, so.
Really need to get some coloured tights for winter dress-wearing. Otherwise it’s all black leggings all the time.
This is my… hmm… fifth Fringe? No, wait, sixth. I’ve made the top four times and the dress twice, and I wear them regularly. I’d like to try a long sleeve hack one of these days; might work, might not work, but it would be nice for the colder months.
So I started a Sienna Maker jacket in pink corduroy a few days ago – all that’s left is to attach the second sleeve and hem the bottom, but I’m dragging my feet because I’ve tried it on and, somehow, it’s huge. It looks terrible on me. I think I may pass it on if I can find someone to pass it to. Losing the hours of labour sucks, but at least the fabric was a dollar a metre so I’m not losing much there.
I made a 24 graded to a 26 at the hip as per my body measurements (I’d never made a jacket before so I tried to trust those) but, taking a look at body measurements in comparison to finished size, next attempt will be an 18 graded to a 22. Quite a difference. It’ll be rather slim-fit and I won’t be able to wear a bulky sweater underneath it, but I’m fine with that.
A friend gave me this cotton months ago, expecting that I might make a shower curtain or something similar out of it. But me being, well, me, I made a second Estuary instead.
We had quite a decent heavy snowfall going on, so I chose to stay in on New Year’s Eve and sew, instead. I worked on the skirt for a few hours then left the button-sewing for the morning, because ugh, button-sewing. I’m not a fan of sewing by hand, unfortunately, and my buttons never end up as perfect as I want them to be.
I had a bit of trouble with the skirt this time around but that was absolutely my own fault – somehow ended up sewing the wrong sides of things together more than once. Oops. That’s what happens, I guess, when I sew while distracted.
I went with the inseam pocket option this time, and I like it a lot because it’s attached at both the top and sides so the pockets don’t sag.
The fabric has a bit more body than the cotton I used for the last so it puffs out more around the waist and hem. It’s a big, ridiculous print and I love it to bits, honestly. I’ll probably wear it to work tomorrow.
Estuary skirt! Still having problems with indoor photos, but don’t focus on that, focus on how cute the skirt is. I’m so pleased with it – my body isn’t the easiest to fit skirts to, and often they end up looking just ‘meh’ rather than how I’d like them to. This one, though, is as close to ideal as I’ve ever gotten, and I feel like I’m going to wear it rather than having it sit in my closet like other aborted skirt attempts.
Pleased with the pattern, too. Instructions are clear, and some of the small details help avoid certain small pitfalls that can lead to a garment looking homemade rather than handmade. Like the pockets! The patch pockets are double-layer, and the instructions have you trim 1/8″ from the lining before easing the two layers together, which makes the seam pull slightly to the inside and hides it perfectly when you sew the pockets on.
I was sure I’d have to shorten the skirt, especially since it’s meant to be a midi and I’m so short, but because I wear it above my natural waist I didn’t have to shorten it at all. It ended up a great length all on its own.
I’ll definitely be making this one again. I’d like to make Sew Liberated’s Hinterland dress, too, but it doesn’t have as expanded of a size range as the Estuary skirt so I’d have to grade up. Aaand we all know how I feel about that. I do have their Matcha top pattern, but I don’t anticipate having to grade because it’s a loose, flowy silhouette and my issue is waist/hips where sizing is concerned.
So I may possibly have fallen down the stairs at work and sprained my hip. I spent the first few days in a blanket nest on the sofa, until restlessness took over and I figured out how to adjust my sewing workspace so I can buzz around the room in my desk-chair-on-wheels.
Late last night I sewed this quick-and-simple Montrose top. Please ignore the substandard indoor photos (stil trying to figure out what to do about those for the winter) and the it’s-5-am-and-I-don’t-want-to-be-awake face.
I’ve made a bunch of these but this is the first time I had enough fabric (I used to be a chronic underbuyer) to make the elbow length sleeves – and I love them! I feel like they look better on me than the short sleeves.
I’m always impressed by how well Cashmerette patterns are drafted. The sleeves on the Montrose are the simplest to ease in I’ve ever sewn, even using the full bicep piece instead of the standard sleeve. I’ve made two Pembrokes, and I have the pattern for the Holyoke and Upton – those are both on the list to sew soon. I meant to sew an Upon with some cute fabric I picked up, green with white snowflakes and red cardinals, but I’m likely not going to get it done before Christmas, which is when I planned to wear it. Oops.
I’m a little frustrated with sewing for myself right now, to be honest, because my size has been changing. I’m hesitant to make new things but, also, all I want to do is make new things. I don’t want to use my best fabrics, though, and then end up with something that doesn’t fit in a couple of months. It’s a dilemma. What do you all do when you’re going through a period of size change and still want to sew?
Please ignore the expression on my face. Squinting-into-the-sun selfies are rarely attractive.
So. Hedgehog dress! The print is little hedgehogs with flowers instead of quills, and it’s stinkin’ cute. I’m almost always 300% in favour of cute novelty prints. I had originally planned to make a Pembroke top with this, but when I laid it out I realised I might have enough to make a short-sleeved version of Ellie & Mac’s I Love the 90s dress.
I used every single scrap of fabric, but it worked. I had to put on a neckband rather than lining the bodice for fabric-quantity reasons, and next time if I do that I’ll scoop out the neckline much more because I find it a bit high for my liking. Couldn’t do the pockets, either, which is disappointing because everything should have pockets – but, a hedgehog dress without pockets is better than no hedgehog dress at all.
I made a straight 3x, and like… since when does that happen? I always have to grade up for my waist/hips/butt, but somehow I fit nicely into the 3x measurements. And the fit is so good – the bodice is fitted without being tight, and even the sleeves are perfect without a large bicep adjustment. Sorcery, I tell you. Plus, the dress goes together lightning-fast. It’s literally nine seams and three hems. I’d love one of these in a cozy, stretchy French terry for winter. Maybe that’ll be next on the list.
In other news, I’m now part-time at work. It wasn’t my first choice, but chronic illness sucks. My budget is tight, now, but I’m much more able to have an actual work-life balance. I work Monday & Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. Wednesdays, my mid-week day off, I’ve designated as a creative/brain-recharge day. I can’t do anything too strenuous or I’ll screw the rest of my week, but writing, reading, sewing, knitting, and certain types of photography are all things that please my brain.
I mean, really, it’s about time. I sewed like a nut all summer then when autumn hit my motivation sort of vanished for, oh, a couple of months. It’s definitely back, though, so expect more finished makes showing up here.
I’ve yet to figure out what to do about winter photos. I prefer outdoor photos, but winter in Atlantic Canada is not a time to be fluttering around outside wearing fewer layers of clothing than are required to, you know, not freeze. I’m not pleased with how my indoor photos, look, either, so… I don’t know.
I finished my Esma top and I love it! The tie detail is super-cute, and I’m always a fan of grown-on sleeves. I had to make zero alterations to this pattern. Next time I may make it an inch longer because I’m finding that as the day goes on it tends to creep up a little and show my bellybutton through the tie cut-out.
Great pattern, though. Recommended. I like the version with the tie best but there’s a plain version, too. The front detail is easier to sew than I thought it would be, so that makes the whole thing a super-simple project with a cute result.
This seems like it might be a good one for knits, too. Knits with structure, anyway – and then you’d probably end up with a nice athletic-style top. I might have to try that at some point. Either way there are more of these in my future.
It’s 6:23 am and I’ve been awake for an hour, so I think it’s probably time to start the small army of pajama pants I’m sewing for holiday gifts this year.
For a number of reasons, mostly health-related, I’ve decided that playing by the rules – i.e. writing at least 50,000 words in November – is out of my reach this particular year. Instead, I’ve set a goal that should be enough of a challenge without being unattainable. I won’t end up with a novella, but I will, if it works out as planned, be able to continue a series of short stories.
Lots of sewing plans in November, too, so I’m going to have to manage my time well (and that includes time for adequate rest and self-care). I have some red corduroy that wants to be a Sienna Maker jacket. I don’t have the replacement buttonhole foot for my machine yet – the one that was included with it seems to have been lost when I moved – but given that buttonholes will be one of the last steps I can certainly get started.
There’s also an Esma top that’s lingering with only a couple of seams left to sew. I want to make another Pembroke, too, out of purple hedgehog-print jersey from l’oiseau fabrics (awesome shop – highly recommended). And I’ve also had an Everyday dress cut out for literal months and still haven’t sewn it – it keeps getting pushed to the side in favour of other projects.
But right now, I need sleep. And tea. Possibly not in that order.
I have several new patterns waiting to be assembled and cut and sewn, and what do I do? I make another Fringe blouse. It’s been staring at me half-done for… well, a while, but this week I managed to get it finished a few minutes at a time. It’s not my best work, but it’s cute and wearable. I love the feathers, but I’m not sure about the scale of the print now that I see it sewn up – I think something a bit bigger and a little more random would have been best.
Excuse the substandard indoor headless photo, but I’m low on spoons today so it’s the best I could manage. This week has been rough, but I said enough about that last entry.
I have a cut of pink-and-grey floral cotton that’s going to become the Esma top I mentioned yesterday, but I’m not sure yet whether I have the energy to both assemble the pattern and cut the fabric tonight. I’ll get it started, at least, and go from there.
So this happened a few days ago. On my machine, there’s a metal ring that keeps the connector for the foot pedal secured to the back of the machine; last week it fell off, and the connector dropped back inside the machine where I couldn’t reach it or plug the foot pedal into it. We do have a local (so-called) repair shop, but they’re also a dealer and only service machines bought from them.
So that left me on my own. Opening up the machine was super nerve-wracking – what if I budged something out of place that screwed the tension or something? – and the parts I needed to get at were behind the whole computer assembly thing so I had to unscrew a lot of components and move them aside. It worked, though! I got things connected, put the machine back together, and it’s been purring along like I never touched it.
I’m not eager to do it again, but at least now I know I can if I need to.
I haven’t been particularly productive, lately, in the sewing or writing or reading departments, but then, this time of year is always difficult for me. The past three winters have each resulted in a health crash and several months off work, and I don’t want this year to be number four. In the past I’ve been very guilty of pushing myself along while ignoring warning signs and symptoms, but I’m doing my best to avoid that now and in the future.
Case in point: things have been heading downhill the past few weeks, so I went to my doctor and am off work this week while we adjust some medications and try to get things back on the right track. I’d rather it be a week now than months later, so. To be honest I probably need more than a week – two would be ideal – but my financial situation won’t allow for that so I’m doing the best I can with what I’m able to take.
Tomorrow I’m hoping to finish one of my in-progress projects: a feather-print Fringe blouse. I think I might hack the pattern into an a-line swing top, but first, I think next in line will be an Esma top from Blank Slate Patterns. The version with the hem band tie, because I’ve been looking for a top like that but all the RTW ones I can find don’t fit properly.