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.

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.

A Montrose, and Sewing Plans

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?

A Feathery Fringe

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.

One More!

And one more project coming in just under the wire before I head back to work tomorrow. Vacations are always too short, aren’t they? It’s another Ione top, and the few mods I made turned it into the easiest project ever to round out the week. I overlapped the yoke and body pieces and omitted the sleeve bands, which meant I ended up with two pattern pieces, four seams (shoulders and sides), three hems (sleeves and body), and a neck binding. That’s it.

For mods, I overlapped the yoke and body pieces by the amount of the seam allowance and taped them together to end up with a single piece for each of the back and front. I omitted the sleeve cuffs, and bound the neckband with bias tape I cut from the fabric leftovers. I also made it a couple of inches longer since I felt the front was too short and fell to a weird length on me last time.

Fabric is cotton from the stash. I have so much cotton, people. It’s the only thing I can buy locally – the fabric shop in town is mostly for quilters – and I inherited a bunch from my mother, too. Most of my fabric shopping has to be done online, although right now there is zero of that going on because I have to save for a new computer.

… Every time I look at the photos I take of my makes, I think the same thing: FFS, self, please learn to properly smile for a photo. I always think I’m smiling, and then I get inside and check the photos and even if I took 50 of them I’m making pretty much the same face in all of them. Sigh.

I’m tempted to spend the rest of the evening curled up on the sofa in the sun with a book – our local library has expanded its hours so it’s open a few evenings a week plus Saturdays, so now I don’t have to depend on Overdrive and can wander the stacks once in a while. I’m fine with ebooks, but sometimes it’s nice to just poke through shelves and see what I find.

The one thing that gets me about Overdrive is that, in Canada, you can’t read library books on your Kindle. It works for Kobo, but for some reason Kindle isn’t supported yet, and from what I understand that’s entirely on Amazon’s end, not the libraries’. I have a Kindle Paperwhite that I adore and nearly always carry with me, but I can’t pretend that I’m not tempted to pick up a Kobo next time they go on sale just to be able to read library books on it – I find reading on my phone less than ideal.

I wish I’d known about Goodreads in 2006 when it launched; I’d love to have a history of all the books I’ve read in the past thirteen years (and before that, but that’s beside the point). I go through phases where I read like crazy and then phases where I read less, but I’ve pretty much always got a book on the go, regardless of whether it takes me a day or two weeks to read.

There’s a used bookshop here in town that relies on donations; all the proceeds go to the local animal shelter and the staff are all volunteers. The books I buy from there tend to go back as donations to be sold again after I’ve read them, unless they end up new favourites or ones I want to read multiple times.

I used to buy a lot of books and keep them all – I had over a thousand at one point – but over time I’ve come to a point where I don’t want to have a ton of stuff cluttering up my living space. I do still have some bookshelves and that’s never going to change, but when I finish physical books, now, I try to think about whether or not I’m likely to re-read (or whether the book is otherwise special to me and/or rare) and pass the book on to someone else, or to the used bookstore, if I’m not. Plus I make much more use of the library than I used to.

Blue, Blue, and Blue.

It was rainy, windy, and 9 degrees this afternoon, but that didn’t stop me from standing outside under the trees getting cold and damp with my camera remote in hand. Believe me, though, I stayed outside just long enough to half-ass the photos.

Not sure what I’m going to do about photographing my sewing in a couple of months. Winters here are frigid and snowy and I don’t have a patio or front porch to scuttle out to for a few minutes to grab some shots. Not keen on taking indoor shots, either, as I live in an apartment that doesn’t really lend itself to satisfactory backdrops.

Anyhow.

Isn’t this cotton fabulous? I managed to get a hold of a remnant that was just enough for this Victory tank. Like the last one I made an all-in-one facing instead of a lining – I think I’ll have to tack it down at the underarms, though, because it seems to want to flip even with careful pressing. It’s a bit of a mashup of view A and B – I didn’t put the v-straps on the front, but I did put the cut-out and tiny strap on the back because it’s an adorable detail.

And two more! First, another Victory, this time from rayon I cut from a dress that doesn’t fit anymore. It’s super-light and is really comfortable to wear. The second is an Ione top; this time around the only mods I made were to shorten the sleeves and leave off the bands in favour of narrow hems. I love the colours and shape with this but next time I’ll make it just a couple of inches longer, as I think it ends in an awkward spot on my belly. If I had any more of the tie-dye fabric I’d make a band for the bottom, but it was another remnant that I had just enough of to cut the colour-blocked pieces.

I have a bunch of fabric set out on my cutting table… but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to choose a project, because bed is calling my name.

And Today…

I’m starting to get the feeling that this vacation is turning into a sewcation – I mean, I’m on day two of seven and I’ve already finished 3 projects with just the hem left on a fourth.

Today’s make is a Fringe top in mystery stash tartan. It was kind of a pain in the arse to sew because it frayed every time I looked at it, but I like the result. I think it’ll be a good top for autumn, because the fabric is more substantial than a summer cotton but without being too thick or heavy.

I didn’t make too many alterations to this one – just raised the waist due to both my height and my preference for a higher waistline, and then shortened the sleeves a bit so they didn’t end at an awkward length. My waist and hips are technically a couple of inches outside the size chart on Chalk and Notch patterns but there was enough ease (and in the Victory tank) for it to fit anyhow.

I found Starry Night (the Van Gogh painting) inspired fabric! Just a remnant, but enough for another Victory tank. That’s the project that just needs the hem, and the only reason it’s not finished is that I ran out of the right colour of thread. I picked up another spool this afternoon, though, so that’ll be first on the list this evening.