Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some (Belated) Resoultions

Having missed both New Years and my "blogiversary" I have decided that January 19 is the perfect time to set myself some sewing goals for 2012.  I have two major projects that I want to tackle...

First and foremost, I desperately need to complete my closet of outstanding UFOs.  I probably have 20 projects or more that have been abandoned in various states of incompleteness ranging from "partially cut out" to "everything is done but the hem or other handstitching."  It's really sort of ridiculous. 

No, not this kind of UFO...
My other major goal is to create a capsule wardrobe in shades of camel, navy, and ivory.  I have started gathering fabrics and patterns and have an inspiration board going.  Some major pieces that are already planned:
  • Navy dress (almost complete... see UFOs above)
  • Navy cashmere coat with vintage fur collar
  • Camel cape (on the cutting table for this evening)
  • Ivory silk blouse
  • Navy wool suit (started last year and abandoned during the move)
  • Ivory wool shift dress
  • Camel pencil skirt
I also have some other minor goals.  I'd really like to actually finish some contests.  I have started wearable muslin for the jeans contest running now and I'm really looking forward to having some custom jeans.  I also would like to tackle menswear.  My gentleman friend has wondered when exactly he is going to get a bespoke suit, although I think I may have to start with a dress shirt and then a blazer before tackling that most ambitious of projects given that I've never made menswear completely on my own and from scratch.  I have altered menswear.  I have designed costumes for men.  I have assisted in suit construction.  But I have never yet attempted menswear from conception through completion... so we shall see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Knit Gifts

One of my lovely, crafty Christmas gifts was a variety of knitting supplies from  I was gifted with a variety of yarns in beautiful colors, and even better, a ball winder which makes perfect balls of yarn in minutes. 

It's my new favorite toy! 

You start by threading one end of your yarn through the metal guide arm and notches along the top end.

Then you simply turn the handle to create a perfect compact ball.

As I do not have an assistant to hold my yarn as I wind, I let the skein bounce around on the floor.  Ophelia found this process to be just fascinating.

Once the skien is completely wound you simply pull it gently off the winder... 

and impress your loved one's with the finished product!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Years Outfit - B5523

New Years Eve is of course the perfect time to's also cold here in Northeast Ohio so I decided the perfect New Years ensemble for a low key party at a friends house was Butterick 5523 in a soft black sweaterknit with more than a hint of shimmer.

I originally tried to sew this entire project on the serger.  However, I couldn't find quite the right tension for this soft, spongy knit so I finished the edges on the serger but sewed the seams with a zigzag stitch on a standard machine. 

I did make some alterations to the pattern.  I did not add the buttoned tab to the back and due to the drapiness of my fabric choice, the pleats in the skirt did not lay crisp and flat so I eventually gave up and simply made the casing for the elastic.  Unfortunately, this resulted in making me look ever so slightly pregnant... not exactly what I was going for.  So I styled the finished product with a wide elastic and patent leather belt which helped to smooth the silhouette and define a waistline in what was starting to look rather tent-like. 

That said, I think I will make this one again.  It's fantastically comfortable and could be a great winter staple.  I currently have a cranberry ponte knit in the stash that I think will give those pleats the crisp-ness they deserve.   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Newest Love... Crafting Handbags!

Who knew I would enjoy making purses so much?  I tackled Butterick 5475 to make a Zebra print tote and coin purse for my cousin Joy which I think was a great success. 

I started with the small coin purse, which is primarily cut from remnants of the larger bag.  I used a zebra print found in the apparel section of my local JoAnns.  I wanted to find something with a little more heft and body but in this particular case the print was primary.  I used a heavy interfacing but I still think I 'll search the home dec department if I try this bag again.  And I will be trying this bag again because I want one for myself! 

I used a teal silky lining and heavy duty silver zippers.  The first step for creating the main bag was crafting the outside pocket.  Oddly this pocket doesn't attach fully, but rather hangs loosely from the upper edge.  I was unsure at first whether I made a mistake or if it was just a strange design detail, but ultimately I decided I liked it and decided to keep this feaure as is.

I cut the contrast band from a black pleather.  One lesson learned? Use a leather needle and change it frequently!  Also, there is no room for error when you are using fabrics that retain visible needle puncture holes. 

The wrong side of my very interfaced bag in process. 

I attached the handle to the bag before inserting the facing and lining. 

And finally, the finished product.  I think the recipient liked it quite a bit as the rest of her gifts were stashed away in her new tote by the end of the evening!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Christmas, EVERYONE gets pajama pants!

So my personal forays into creating PJs ala Simplicy 5314 were so successful that I made versions for Grandma, Mom and Dad.  A certain sister's boyfriend who loves Batman may also be getting a pair, although since we are not doing full Christmas until Epiphany, I can neither confirm nor deny this rumor.  In my rush to get Christmas gifts completed timely I did not remember to take photos along the way but here are a few pics of Grandma's new pajamas... Dad's were Marvel superheros in a lightweight cotton and Mom's were in Muppet fleece.  Of course I only managed to get snaps of the one pair of classy/non-tacky pair.  Ah well.

Christmas Exploded in My House

Yes, Yes... I know it was two weeks ago.  That said, my house is too pretty with Christmas-y goodness not to document it for all the interwebz to see for the rest of eternity.

Trust me... it's even prettier in person! 

Last week Grandma showed me how to cut out 3D paper snowflakes and gave me a German book all about creating gnome-based Christmas crafts.  So next year I'm thinking that my decorations will be a winter wonderland... populated by adorable gnomes (or possibly adapted to be jul nissen as we are Danes)!