Oops?

I got so caught up on Instagram with Me Made May that I forgot to blog six (6!!!) new makes. Clockwise from top left: a Cashmerette Springfield, two Love Notions Vivace Dolmans, an airplane-print Sew Liberated Estuary skirt, and two Cashmerette Websters. A couple of those patterns – the Vivace and the Webster – are new to me, and both were easy sews. Er, mostly. Attaching the collar on the Vivace may possibly have given me fits, both times, and it doesn’t lie quite as nicely as it should.

Thoughts on Me Made May: I sometimes get into a rut of wearing the same things over and over, and this challenge allowed me to put some thought into it and reach for the makes that I might not wear as often as I’d like. I don’t have enough handmade bottoms to make it through a month of only handmades, but I did have enough tops and dresses to not have to repeat anything – and I still have a few makes I didn’t wear during May.

I’ll definitely do it again. I’ll try to take better photos next time – my facial expressions on half of the photos were just this side of stormy.

In other news, I adopted a kitten from the rescue I volunteer with. Meet Reynir:

He’s so cute I can hardly stand it.

Pants!

Yes, pants. I’ve never sewn proper pants before, just PJ bottoms and a couple of ill-fated pairs of shorts in 8th grade about a hundred years ago. I’m terrible for not doing muslins, but pants fitting seems like a complicated thing so I decided to do it this time. Pattern is Muna and Broad’s Sculthorpe pants, and I used a medium-weight cotton twill that I’m fairly certain I inherited from someone.

The pattern was surprisingly uncomplicated, and overall I feel like the finished pants aren’t too bad for a first go. The thigh/calf fit is great, the length is great after I chopped off a couple of inches, and the pockets. Oh, the pockets. I love them. The elastic waist is comfortable, if a bit too big. I’ll tighten the elastic next time. The back rise is spot-on, too.

Fit adjustments for next time: a different size, to start. My shirt hides it in the photo but they’re too big around the hips and waist. I made a size 1 as per my hip measurement, so next time I think I’ll start with one size down and then blend back to a 1 for the legs. As far as the front rise goes, well. I have a tilted waist. It’s a couple of inches lower in the front than in the back, and any pants I try to wear higher than that waistline just slide down. I adjust the waist curve in my muslin and will do the same next time.

I really expected to have all kinds of micro-fit problems with these, and I… don’t? There are a few things I need to change, but these are definitely nicely drafted to fit plus-size bodies. The crotch curve alone is so much better-fitting than anything I’ve ever gotten in RTW. I’m kinda excited to see what the next pair looks and feels like; I’m leaning toward a light non-stretch denim for some reason.

But for now, back to a nebula-print Webster. It’s all cut, and waiting to be sewn.

Another Springfield

Still coming right along with Me Made May. Today’s choice is a brand new Springfield top that I sewed just this morning. Cupcake fabric, just because. Nobody will ever accuse me of being mature for my age, and I’m just fine with that.

This time I went down a size in the bust, to a 20 E/F, but graded out to the same size as last time in waist and hips and I’m pleased with the fit. It doesn’t gap under the arms anymore and covers my bra better.

It’s such a fast project – took me about two hours start to finish, with a break in the middle to drive my latest foster cat to her new forever home.

I don’t talk it about it often on here, but I’m involved with animal shelters & rescue and have been for around a decade. I’ve fostered dozens and dozens of cats, from bottle babies right up to senior kitties. I haven’t been able to do it recently because of the pandemic situation, but I’ve spent years taking photos of adoptable cats – and sometimes dogs, too. It’s difficult at times but so, so rewarding.

I wonder if I should start posting some rescue photos here. Hmm. I also wonder what I should sew next – another Webster (looks like I forgot to post the first one here) or the Holyoke I’ve been planning for months.

Me Made May, and a new top

So Me Made May is in full swing and I’m pleased to be participating this year. I’ve actually managed, thus far, to keep up with photographing my daily outfits and putting them on Instagram, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone else’s makes, too.

Most of the things I’m wearing this month have been made over the past year, but of course I’ve got to sneak in a few new ones as well. Like this Springfield that I made a few days ago. Please excuse my “selfie in the rain” face and focus on the top, which turned out cute as hell (in my opinion, of course).

As far as alterations, I had to raise the bust dart by an inch (standard for me with Cashmerette), and I graded from a 22 E/F to a 24 at the waist/hip. I’m contemplating going down to a 20 E/F for the bust – and still grading the same for waist/hip – next time, because I find it sags some under the arms. I like tops to be rather fitted in the bust. Thankfully Cashmerette has great finished measurements charts to make choosing a size easier.

And that brings me to a bit of a gripe, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before. It drives me absolutely bonkers when I cannot access finished measurements for any given pattern. It’s likely because I’m so short and round, but I find clothing with too much ease, while looking great on taller people, makes me look just… sloppy, I guess. I don’t like the way I look or feel when there’s a ton of ease. Finished measurements charts are therefore gold to me, because going by my measurements alone is often not enough.

A good example is Springfield – my measurements technically put me in a 26 waist/hip, but I find that the 24 waist/hip fits with the amount of ease that I like when I’m working with wovens that don’t have a lot of drape. I was exactly in-between the bust measurement for the 22 E/F and 20 E/F – I rounded up, but it turns out I probably should have rounded down.

And I just realised I grouched about this in my very last post. Oops.

Next time, in addition to sizing, I’m likely going to narrow the neckline a bit. I find the straps a little thin when it comes to hiding a bra, and wider straps will also make it a little more work appropriate – less of a tank top vibe.

Back to the sewing machine I go.

Josephine

The sewing streak continues with a 5 out of 4 Josephine sweatshirt in a really nice french terry with jersey cuffs/collar. It only took a couple of hours – I’m always so amazed at how quickly knits come together as compared to wovens.

No issues with the pattern – it was a 2x bust graded to a 3x waist and hip, though the resulting sweatshirt fits slimmer than I would have expected for something labelled ‘relaxed fit’.

And now, a mini-gripe. Why do some designers not put finished measurements anywhere in their patterns? It drives me around the bend. I get that designers put a specific amount of ease into their patterns, but I’d like to know finished measurements to help me choose a size. When you’re super-short and curvy, it’s not always as simple as ‘my measurements say x size’, and it’s a pain in the arse to have to measure the pattern pieces and attempt to figure out final dimensions.

But enough of that. I’m pleased with the sweatshirt. Not sure what’s next in the sewing queue – I finished an airplane-print Estuary skirt yesterday but have yet to take a photo. Or rather, have yet to take a photo that I like. I took a few outside in the shade but they ended up too washed out to see the skirt much at all. Will have to try again this afternoon once there’s a bit of shade. Right now it’s all bright sun, and as much as that’s lovely to lie around in it’s not great for photos.

Note to self: change lenses before you take more photos. Your 85mm f/1.8 is a better portrait lens than your 50mm f/1.8.

More of the same

My parcel of birthday fabric arrived yesterday afternoon! After the requisite several minutes of fabric-petting I bundled part of it right into the wash so I could spend the evening sewing.

And I did! I’d planned to finish a mini Fringe before jumping into a jersey pile, but my sewing machine decided its buttonhole functions weren’t going to behave themselves. Erg. With all the quirks the machine is developing lately I worry that it’s coming to the end of its life.

So instead of finishing in-progress projects I made another I Love the 90s dress – one of the few projects (along with my Estuary skirts) I’m able to make with no alterations. Actually, that’s not quite true – I do always lower the neckline and make a band instead of lining the bodice, but I made pattern pieces for those so it feels just like a cut-and-sew project.

I was expecting the print to be smaller, but it still looks cute so I’m not complaining. I did accidentally manage to put a hot-air balloon on each boob, though. Oops. I don’t think it’s too obvious, is it?

I made another little Going Home raglan, too, with the scraps from the 90s dress. Took under an hour because a) knits; b) tiny. I love projects that let me use up my leftovers, especially since fabric tends to be on the expensive side for me. The only local fabric shop sells exclusively cotton wovens (and a bit of flannel), so if I want anything different I have to order online.

Really wish I had a local source for knits.

Tonight I’m going to start (and, let’s be real, probably finish) a third Page hoodie, this one in red with a contrast hood lining. I’m thinking about colour blocking the sleeves and putting a wide stripe of contrast down them, but I only have half a metre of contrast so I’ll have to see what’s left after I cut out the hood and cuffs.

It’s finally warm enough to take photos outside again! I mean, it was -5 when I took the photo above, but I can manage that for a little while in short sleeves.

Red!

It’s a dull, washed-out kind of day but at least I have a bright red York pinafore to make up for it.

It’s kind of ridiculous how long I’ve waited to make this – I tagged the pattern for future sewing when it first came out, but was convinced that it just wasn’t going to look right on me and waffled back and forth for literal months. Not sure what made me decide, yesterday, to just dive in, but I’m glad I did. I kind of love it. Even the slight cocoon shape works.

Alterations were simple – I shortened the yoke by 1.25″ at each of the two lengthen/shorten points, and I graded from a 22 yoke to a 26 waist/hip. It works well with the thick corduroy, but if I make one in a thinner fabric I may go to a 24 waist/hip instead. I might try the other pockets, too, just for fun.

I used much less bias tape than the pattern called for – I’m guessing the estimate was generous. I made my own out of a scrap of red/green/white tartan and it’s super-cute on the inside. I always seem to convince myself that I don’t like the process of sewing a bias facing, but every time I do it I conclude that it’s not at all the pain in the butt I told myself it would be. Good thing, too, because the neck, open sides, and pocket openings are all entirely finished with bias tape.

I’m not sure how much time I spent on this but it seemed like a fairly quick sew. It’s not a dress but I’m tagging it as one anyhow, because I’m not likely to need a ‘pinafore’ tag anytime soon.

Seals and Pandas!

Just when I thought I might see spring sometime this century, Friday brought 25 cm of snow and near 100 km/h winds. I didn’t budge from my sewing room most of the afternoon – I had new patterns to tape together, plus a few projects on the go.

A couple of weeks ago I acquired some seal-print cotton/spandex jersey, and it took about 24 hours for it to become this I Love the 90s dress. It’s a cute pattern – empire-waist dresses will never not be my jam – and the fabric is gorgeous quality. It’s very soft with great recovery, and has a nice weight and thickness to it, too. Plus, seals. I am a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body and I’m absolutely fine with that.

The only alterations I made were to have a single-layer bodice, which necessitates adding a band to the neckline for finishing, and to drop the neckline, too, because otherwise the band makes it a little too high for my liking. This is my second dress from the pattern, and it won’t be the last.

I haven’t worn the first one much, but that’s not the fault of the pattern. It was only my second project with jersey, and I managed to muck up the hems just enough so that they flipped after washing, and even the iron couldn’t get them to lie right. This morning I finally got around to unpicking the sleeve and skirt hems; I redid them with my twin needle and I think they’ll be fine now.

… Back to being a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body, though, because I also made this Claiborne top from panda-print cotton. First time using a DIBY pattern, and it worked all right, but some of the pattern pieces didn’t quite line up. I’m not sure whether that’s exclusive to this pattern or a more widespread issue, but it was a little frustrating.

I didn’t actually pay attention to any of the instructions. I mean. Basic top, gathered empire waist, gathered sleeve ruffles, neckline facing. Not complex. Sometimes I like to just do my own thing. I did end up cutting two inches off the sleeve ruffles because I found them too long and puffy, but other than that it’s sewn as drafted.

I have a parcel of birthday-gift fabric arriving in a few days and I’m super-excited. I ordered enough for four projects – a third Page hoodie, a Josephine sweatshirt, another I Love the 90s dress and a Fuller cardigan. Eee. Have I mentioned before how much I love L’Oiseau Fabrics? Because I do, especially when it comes to jersey and french terry.

And now, back to the sewing machine.

A hoodie, and some complaining about photos…

I have a bunch of finished objects to share, but the photos are such a mess that I’m going to wait a while until it’s warm enough to take some shots outside. My speedlight died a couple of weeks ago, the quick-release plate for my tripod has disappeared, and I can’t find my remote shutter release, either, so my camera situation is not great, right now.

I still haven’t figured out how to process indoor shots so they they look even half as decent as outdoor ones, and I don’t have a stoop or patio I can duck out to for a few minutes in the winter. Sometimes it’s just too danged cold and windy to get outside, regardless – I’m not going to be standing outside in minus thirty-something in a single layer.

At least spring is coming. That makes it easier for photos, though I really do need to at least get a replacement remote – the other option is running back and forth to the camera after every shot instead of being able to take a bunch at once and likely getting a decent one somewhere amongst them.

I scuttled outside to take a quick shot (literally one – please excuse the face I’m making) of my second Page hoodie, and it’s not hard to tell that it was pretty cold when I did it!

The pattern’s sizing chart put me in a 20 bust graded to a 24 waist and hips, but due to the 10 inches of ease built into the Page I sized down to a straight 14 (?!) to get this slim-fit version. My first, roomier version was a straight 18 – being 4’11” means that a lot of ease doesn’t work as well on my frame as it does on taller people.

As drafted, the hoodie is a crop length, but I used the longer length of the drawstring version then added a band and I think the finished length is perfect. Actually, everything is just about perfect. I love this hoodie to bits.

Like Chalk & Notch’s Fringe blouse/dress and Victory tank, this hoodie pattern I think is going to become a staple for me. Their patterns just work for me – I always seem to end up making them multiple times. I’m working on another mini Fringe at the moment, and have another Victory cut out and waiting in the queue.

Still here. Still sewing.

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.