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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First, a slightly-hacked Pembroke tunic. I shortened it a lot, then changed the neck binding to a band to match the sleeves; I added a band to the bottom, too, instead of hemming, for a more sweatshirt-y kind of vibe. The fabric is a soft, stretchy french terry from l’oiseau fabrics and it is pajama-level comfortable.
You know, stripe matching is immensely satisfying when it works, but it’s also a right pain in the arse. Especially when said stripes are watercolour-style ‘painted’ ones that vary in width and colour. I managed to match them up really well all things considered… and then I tried on the top to discover that, for some unfathomable reason, it was a bit too snug. So those nicely-coordinated seams got ripped out so I could insert a narrow strip down each side. I cut the stripes vertically on the inserts because a) design element, and b) nope, not matching those things again.
My second top of the day is a Victory tank, and I hacked it a little bit, too, though it doesn’t show. The tank as drafted is fully lined, but because I was short on fabric I cut an all-in-one facing instead. I wasn’t even sure if it was going to work, because I’d never sewn an all-in-one before let alone cut one freehand, but it worked fine and I think the burrito method is my new best friend.
I’ve already finished another one of these and cut out two more. With or without the v-straps it’s definitely going to become a wardrobe staple – it fits well and I love the swingy hem.
I’m on vacation this week – it’s a staycation, of course, but I’m absolutely all right with that. I plan to do a lot of sewing and a lot of writing, and other than that, well, I’ll just see what comes my way.
It’s a windy one today! My shirt was floating around like crazy the whole time I was outside. Rest assured it fits better than it looks, but after countless photo attempts I basically just said “yep, good enough”.
So this is Workhorse Patterns’ Ione shirt. As drafted it’s a boxy high-low hem top with an enclosed yoke and sleeve bands, and I intend to make that version of it at some point. For this one, I used the “hack pack” version that combines the yoke and body into one piece and softens the shoulder sleeve line. I lengthened it by three inches for more of a tunic style and graded up two sizes at the hips because of that. It doesn’t show thanks to the wind but I used the dipped hem piece for both front and back, and I had to shorten the sleeves by two inches and the bands by half an inch because I’m all of 4’11” tall. I also narrowed the square neck because otherwise it would have been falling off my sloping shoulders.
Full disclosure: I have no idea what this fabric is. I’ve had it for yonks. It feels almost like a cotton/poly blend, and it has minimal stretch even on the bias. It worked well for this version of the top, but when I sew it as drafted I’m going to want something lighter with more drape.
Another overcast day and I’m still doing the timer-and-scramble technique with the camera since I’m remote-less at the moment. I’m also still on a Montrose kick, as I’m the type of person who, when she finds a pattern she likes and that fits well, wants to make one in every colour and every print in existence.
Yes, the hems pull up in the front, likely because of my protruding belly. I don’t hate the look of it, on me, so I’m not yet in a hurry to make adjustments to counter it.
It doesn’t show well in the photo but the black-and-orange print has little foxes! I loved both fabrics as soon as I saw them (I’m a sucker for cute/fun prints) but there was just a metre and a half left on the fox bolt so I used a scrap of black cotton for the sleeves. I also used store-bought bias tape for the neckline, which isn’t my favourite as it tends to be stiffer than I’d like.
I’m thinking about my next projects, now, and being super-indecisive. I have no problems grading between sizes – it’s necessary for a good fit, for me – but I often find myself balking at grading up entire patterns when they don’t come in my size. Not because I can’t, but because I’d rather support pattern makers who include me in their measurements. That gets difficult, at times, because I’m often at the upper edge of even so-called plus-size sewing patterns.