Unpurchased

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How do you shop for fabric?  Do you buy to go with a pattern?  Buy then select a pattern?  Impulse buy?  Shop only sales?  For a while if I liked it and it was on sale, I bought it.  Garment fabric is just too hard to come by locally.  Within hundreds of miles Jo Ann’s is the only option.  In working with different fabrics, you discover what fibers, blends and characteristics you like.  Sometimes fabric is sought for specific projects.  Stashing fabrics for my favorite styles/patterns has solved the I can’t sew anything problem.  Now my fabric needs to be curated along with my closet.  Looking through my inventory on Cora showed me that I had already been purchasing fabrics inline with my tastes, but sometimes I need to recognize that while I like a style and fabric they aren’t necessarily my style.  They can look good and be comfortable, but may not work with anything else in my wardrobe.  This isn’t a major issue for dresses, but still…as I’m beginning to sew separates again this is a great realization to have early on.  It was brought to me by the latest Craftsy sale.

The Craftsy clearance sales are great places to pick up nice fabrics (I got some liberty knit here last year) at much more affordable prices.  My stash is well stocked at the moment and buying is limited until I’ve sewn things up, but I bought some Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen in Charcoal and some Bluebird Foxtracks Poplin from Cotton and Steel.  Two pieces of swallow polka dots lawn had made it into my cart when the Curated Closet came to my rescue.  Tops are the biggest hole in my wardrobe, so while I’d been thinking of these as dresses, which would have been okay, but not great, thinking of them as tops meant spending less by buying less fabric, but they just weren’t tops.  That is when I realized that, to me, tops means: solids, florals, mini polka dots, and maybe narrow stripe shirtings.  Upon review of the dress patterns on my cue, it turned out that this didn’t suit me at all.  Hello, $40 I didn’t spend.

Just a couple more ‘I don’t want to be naked’ projects for summer wearing and then reorganizing my cue seasonally and with items prioritized to fill gaps, and give the greatest impact in as far as achieving the style I want.  My one wish-more examples of dress based wardrobes, particularly minimalist dress based wardrobes.  The CSC offered one example, but my style isn’t Lagenlook and I don’t want my dress based wardrobe comprised of nearly as many skirts and pants as dresses.  7 dresses, 7 cardis/blazers, 7 pairs of shoes.  Could that work?  It would be a lot of outfits (343 or nearly one for each day of the year to be exact). Maybe 14 dresses?  That would be 28 items total for 686 outfits if they are all mix and match.

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Living in Underwear Land

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Still sorting out boxes that I find buried in various places.  Adding 3 pair jeans, 2 tops and 2 pair sueded leather pants to my wardrobe from said boxes.  Adding one skirt to the alterations pile.  One dress will be copied as a pattern then turned into a skirt.  Getting rid of things feels great.  Getting use out of things that have been taking up space even better.  In other news, more underwear.  Two in blue with picot elastic from yet another t-shirt.  More t-shirts are waiting, but having completed 10 pairs of basic cottons, I’m relishing fancy.  I’ve just made my first pair of lace panties, a black stretch lace combined with some black fold over elastic  and a navy liner (still haven’t found the black tissue knit).

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All three pairs of underwear were made using Kwik Sew 3881 again.  This is my first time using fold over elastic.  Peoples complaints about clear elastic, which has never bothered me are starting to become understandable.  Underwear making may go on the back burner for a while now, but I have some black fabric that might combine nicely with more of the stretch lace for something along the lines of the Seamwork Geneva version 3, which has contrasting side panels.  Of course I also have some scalloped Stretch Lace and the Jalie 2568.  It’s probably a good thing that bras should wait until I’m a relatively stable size, because there’s so much creative freedom and so many options and it rocks to be able to make 3 garments in the morning and still do other things.

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MMMay: Filling a Niche

The latest me made shawl with a thrifted dress waiting to be altered

Sometimes being good really does pay off.   Worries about having clothes to wear when we visit my grandparents, or really at all this summer have kept me in the sewing room making simple comfy dresses.  Simple dresses can be very enjoyable, but there are some challenging projects and some long standing wish projects on my list that I’d like to get to.  Given 3 hours of available time, I could sew or I could to try to control some of the mess around here.    Only the mess is really starting to bother me and I have the chance to get in on a great yardsale where I will be able to get rid of some of the kids things and anything else I can manage to round up and organize in the next few weeks without 2 or 4 hours of driving (probably more due as I’d have to make multiple trips).  In what is, for me, a standard confluence of motivational events The Curated Closet has also entered my life, which coinsides with the need for another closet overhaul due to continued weightloss (though this may finally have stabilized-at least until summer when I get moving again).

I decided I would just go through that one finally box of either fabric or clothes I’d pulled out closet after the initial rearranging phase yesterday and maybe try on a couple of items in my closet to see if they still fit.  It turns out the box was full of some of my favorite pre-baby or even pre-marriage clothes, which had such fabulous cuts or fabrics that I wanted to try to repurpose or recreate them.  I weeded out a dress, two sweaters and 5 blouses.  An old slip will hopefully become tap pants/French knickers.  Two chiffon dresses that still can’t zip over my chest are tagged to be turned into skirts.  Two sweaters will have some waist shaping added by taking in the side seams a little.  I skirt from the closet was mended and another chiffon dress that I’d bought because I loved the fabric, but which turned out to look like pajamas (custom fit and all) got a small alteration of sewing up half of the neck opening creating a medium V-neck rather than a really deep V or a super high collar.

The best part though was adding 2 skirts, 7 sweaters (of exactly the kind I’d been lamenting the lack of a few days earlier), 6 date night dresses, 1 top and 1 flannel shirt to my closet.  No more making do with the fanciest day dress or hoping one of the three semiformal black dresses I’ve acquired for recent office parties will still fit.  I may not keep everything, but options I love are back in rotation and my husband is on notice that  he has to take me out to dinner somewhere that doesn’t serve children.  All of these are from a time when I didn’t sew for myself and I can see the minor fit issues (dresses and top), but they don’t just fill a slot they are lovely, work for me and give me that much more leeway as I try to create a very me closet and freedom to rearrange my sewing cue a bit.  Maybe I’ll finally make that apron that has been in the cue for 3 years to replace my current apron doesn’t fit my chest and still gets worn daily.

This means that my me-mades really do get to be daily wear without having to keep the best just in case I need to dress up and allowing me to downgrade the most worn or ill-fitting to yardwork and painting.  Also if my weight stabilizes it is time to get serious about lingerie and bras, which get to jump ahead in the cue if I’m not constantly sewing with “let’s not be naked or overly frumpy this season” in mind.  It feels like my wardrobe plan is moving forward again, with clearer goals,  a higher skill level, a better pattern and fabric stash and a whole season ahead to work on it. Yay!

In pledge news, underwear have been worn (Bianca, Coral and Cozumel are in heavy rotation with appearances of earlier purple and teal versions of the same pattern), but no new projects were sewn.  Other me mades were worn as well, including Elsbeth, Rosa, Myrtle, my black Julia Cardi, the purple Caliope shawl shown above my Roses and Thorns shawl.  I’m noting a new trend toward separates and a major wardrobe hole with tops.

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Calling All Multicrafters: OAL2017

Calling All Multicrafters! It’s time to prepare for OAL2017, hosted by Lauren Taylor of  Lladybird and Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots.  During the Outfit Along you make one sewn and one knitted (or crocheted) garment to complete an outfit.  OAL2016 encouraged me to try the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, which I’d wanted to sew for a while and to expand my crocheting skills by making an Ada Lacy Shells top by Vicky Chan. Even though I sew a fair bit and very much enjoy wearing me mades, making a mixed craft outfit adds another level when it comes to the sense of accomplishment achieved. I’m still not a knitter so my new crocheting challenge will be my first skirt, the Berry Ripple skirt by Drops .   And since that won’t go with the Kim Dress from By Hand London (which seems similar to many patterns I already own) either a sewn top (I’m considering Simplicty 1692 a rereleased vintage pattern) or maybe one of the many cardigans I’ve been meaning to make since fall.  Come join the challenge!

In the meantime, while hanging out, playing games and eating tasty foods with family on Mother’s Day, I finished frogging my first Calliope shawl.   After using three balls of Lana Grossa Lace Lux (which isn’t made any more) and buying one more (339 yds. x4=1356 yds.) for a shawl that should have needed 1200-1250 yds. it ended up half a row short.  The pattern is such that it can’t easily be shortened in the second half due to the lace segments.  Making changes would require that I frog back most of the way.  Instead I decided to just frog it, which took days.   Finally, it was ready to turn into something new.  Originally that was going to be another of the goddess shawls from Crochet Works, but they are all very wide and a bit short, which isn’t my taste in shawls.  Instead it will become a Calypso shawl.

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Happy Day After Mother’s Day!

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Mother’s Day was a great day spent hanging out with the family.  Today has been day one of Reclaim the House part 2000.  We bought piles of used children’s books at a book sale and the idea was I’d clear away the piles of stuff that have taken over every horizontal surface in the house, clean up the kitchen, do the laundry, bathe and tidy A, mow the lawn, figure out this week’s menu, clean out my closet (again), and then go through a couple of bins of sweaters, dress shirts and other clothes that have been set aside after previous clean outs to use for projects or salvage buttons or findings.  Then I’d pause and take a look around for the next house clean out project.  All of that done, I should be able to commit tomorrow morning to sewing up some of the underwear I’ve cut out or make another knit Myrtle to add to my vacation collection.  What planet do I live on?  It must be one that has more hours in the day than we have in a week.

I did clear out the two bins and try on a couple of tops from my closet.  Mowing and laundry are each half way finished.   The dishes and A are cleaned and tidied.  I’m very much debating spending tomorrow cataloging the piles of fabric that are piled in the craft room for intended projects.  It would be amazing to get the room back to a really functional state and there is now an empty trunk where it could go, but….sewing…vacation (which won’t be spent sewing).

Underwear have been worn and as mentioned cut out.  They didn’t get farther because the bin where the lining fabric should be doesn’t seem to contain the lining fabric. Though I did discover a pile of 1 yard knit cuts that may join the underwear effort.   Instead a new skirt, Elsbeth, happened. The pattern I worked up for Comic Skirt came out again in an attempt to preserve the crosshatching on this stretch denim from Joann’s.   Flat piping along the sides, waistline and patch pocket made from seersucker bias tape, leftover from Lady Engineer  gives it just a touch of a vintage feel.  The piping really only shows off to best effect if the waist shows, making me wish for crop tops.  Two more differences between Comic Skirt and Elsbeth are the waistband and zipper.  I drafted a curved waistband and added back pleats and used an invisible zipper, which I do not recommend with a side zip and flat piping on the side seams.  Finally, I cut Elsbeth on the crosswise grain and with a straight hem so that I could use the lovely frayed selvedge as the hem.

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Finally, the one selfie I took during this period of mmmay.  One quick snap as we were leaving the the children’s museum, taken in front of a funhouse style mirror that makes me look 6 feet tall.

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Waiting for Dragons

Hobbit Quote

A while back Emma Congdon’s “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” got started.  Now it’s is finally finished-almost.  My EGA chapter has a box of charms that you may select from when you finish a project and at some point the compass joined my collection and finally found a perfect spot.  Unfortunately, while both dragonflies and butterflies are among the many options, no dragons were so I ordered what will hopefully be an appropriately sized dragon charm from fire mountain gems to replace the hot air balloon, which just doesn’t fit with the origins of the quote.  It comes as part of a 4 pack and should be here…eventually.  For now we are waiting for dragons.

In other news I finished my second “How Does Your Garden Grow?”  From Crabapple Hill.  Perhaps it will even be framed before summer is over.  Rather than completing one of my current projects I started the Gilmore House Tray which I purchased from the boutique at Little Stitches.  Again the internet is not friendly when it comes to choosing fabric.  Seeking to combine purchases from a single vendor to the extent I could I subbed out a pecan butter 40 ct linen for the hand dyed Ale colored linen called for.  Bad choice as it is yellower than I’d like and doesn’t contrast as well with the khaki WDW.  Still I really want to stitch it so I’m going to stitch along and if I hate it, I can redo it later on a different color linen.  The tray is pretty small, but hopefully it will hold a pair of embroidery scissors, a needlebook and maybe a skein of floss or two near my recliner allowing me to quickly clear the area and making me less likely to lose these things.

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Myrtle and Her Underthings

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Despite the day 2 fail, Me-Made-May is feeling like a success already.  Day 4 started with rtw undies, but ended with three new pairs of underwear (Kwik Sew 3881) and more waiting to be cut and sewn. Only two are shown here, as I put the first pair on to try the fit and never took them off.  They are very comfortable and fit perfectly.  Yay!  All three are upcycled from a pair of tourist’s tees.  I’ll have one more from the second shirt-provided I can convince myself I don’t mind having a fish on the front of my underwear.  Then maybe it’s time to move on to stretch lace.

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This woven Myrtle was sewn up at the end of April.  I’ve a trip to warmer climes coming and need a spring/summer wardrobe.  Everything is the same as Cora only with the cowl lowered a bit.   I chose not to line the skirt in favor of keeping it light and maintaining the lovely drape of the rayon challis.  The wind doesn’t allow the dress to show to its best, but that can’t be helped this time of year.  It is a tad tight across the shoulders and at the armscythe, but still very comfy and wearable.  The fabric was a sale item from Fabricmart, which is disappointing only in that it had little spots all throughout the yardage.  They are fairly faint and seem like they are a printing error with the brown dye rubbing off elsewhere on the fabric.  There was also this issue with the weave in one spot.  These small issues don’t trouble me as this is just a day dress that will likely be covered in little fingerprints and who knows what.  The butterflies will be just as pretty.

Day 5: I wore Autumn Sky and purple picot panties, which aren’t pictured on my blog.

Day 6: I wore Coral (my new coral colored panties), another custom dress I didn’t sew and a purple shawl that I haven’t posted about yet.  It was being blocked during my last round of pictures.

Day 7:  I’ve put on clean underwear (Bianca, the white panties shown above) and will get dressed eventually, but it’s time for dance party while building a spider web.

 Is anyone else having trouble with Kollabora?  Any attempts to post a new project just get a page error message.  It’s been this way for days.

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