February Plans

The month is half over and I’m still working on that motorcycle jacket! I swear I’ll finish this weekend. I’ve said that the last three weekends, but I mean it this time. Of course, we do have other things going on, like making this beautiful Ikea-hacked light fixture!

On to February plans. The February Burda was only okay, unfortunately. The only piece that grabbed me was this beautiful coat! I don’t have much need for a knee length coat in SF, though, and I don’t like the shorter versions. This one is destined for my Someday list. I may try to make the boucle jacket if I can find suitable fabric in my stash. I’ve been enjoying wearing casual zip-up jackets to work quite a bit lately and this has lovely, classic lines. If not, maybe the skirt. Meh.
I also took a look at my Someday list to see if anything grabs me in the moment:
Lots of buttons! I’m leaning most toward the DKNY dress upper right. It’s been on my to-sew list for ages!
Finally, knitting. I’m almost finished with the front of my Stonecutter, and need a break. I’m weary of cables, and am definitely not knitting a complex design in black yarn again, ever. Mark my words. I wanted something easy mindless, but instead cast this on earlier this week:
It is easier, though certainly not mindless, and the bright blue yarn is a welcome change. I love knitting again, which was really the goal!
Happy February!

January Plans

It’s already halfway through January! I’ve been all over the place with work, and holidays, and goodness knows what, but am still slowly working on my December Burda project:

I just need to attach the hood and do the finishing–almost there!
I hope to complete a January Burda project, though nothing really stood out to me in the 1/2017 issue. Nothing except that cropped motorcycle jacket. I want it… but four dots worth of difficulty? Not sure I want to face that right now! I would also have to go to JoAnn for zippers. Horrors. The sweatshirt is an easy, but not very exciting, backup, or I could go back to the 2016 issue for this sloppily-drawn long skirt.

 

Or, maybe it’s time to take a break from Burda and revisit my neglected envelope patterns. It’s been a while since I’ve looked through them, but I know there are some great ones waiting to be remembered!

To Sew Someday

Last July I started keeping a Bullet Journal, and turns out I love it. The system basically has you set up a custom planner, with the added flexibility of keeping any other lists or collections in the same place since there is no pre-made structure. I keep it pretty simple, but if you do a search on Pinterest you’ll see that some people really go all out!

At any rate, over the summer and fall I sketched out a few patterns that I want to make, but not at this very moment. I always have a running list in my head, but designs are forgotten, patterns and magazines are all in different places, and it sometimes my to-sew list feels totally overwhelming. Putting the line drawings on paper was surprisingly liberating! Taking the care and attention to do the sketch also made me give the design thoughtful consideration. I’ve since had to change notebooks, and last week sketched out some more designs. So far they are all burda (❤), but my envelope patterns are coming up next!

Now I’m putting them all together here so I can really see them in one place, with a tag!

 

 

 

 

 

Burda plans for October

I’ve been receiving the Burda magazine for almost two years and it’s been a revelation. I love my Burdas. I’ve found that I make patterns I wouldn’t normally choose, and that I almost always end up loving them. I am relatively confident in the fit, and don’t even mind the tracing process now that I have a roll of medical exam paper.
I’ve been really trying to do the Burda of the Month Challenge — sewing up a pattern from the current issue before the month is up. I actually didn’t for September because nothing in the magazine really grabbed me. There was a nice blazer, but September is so crazy at work that I knew it wasn’t the right time for a big project.
October, however… what a fantastic issue! There are four things I want to make right now:

 

I am thinking the lower right top or skirt might be first. I have fabric for both, just need to decide if on an easy or harder project.
There’s no way I’ll finish all this, but I also have my eye on a dress from last year’s October issue. This is one of those dresses that I would hardly look at if it came out in a Vogue collection, but something about Burda has made me think about it for a solid year!

 

We’ll see if anything comes of these plans.
Happy sewing!

New year, new me

Thank you for all the comments on my flowercat shirt! I may never make such an amazing garment again. I’ve been sewing away in between work responsibilities and holiday obligations, and I have a lot to share. Sharing has been hard, though, for enough different reasons that it became overwhelming and exhausting. Lately, though, I’ve made a few changes that I hope will get me sharing and participating more in the new year.

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First up, I covered my dress form! I love my gifted dress form but the purple/maroon color has always bothered me in life and in photos, especially since I favor navys, purples, and other darker colors that just blend into the unnatural shade. I bought some light beige cotton knit from Mood with the idea of making some Alabama Chanin inspired camisoles, but within an hour it had been sacrificed for my dress form. I love the new form. It fits into the feel of my home, clothes look so much better on it, and I feel like it even improves the clarity and exposure of my photos.

The other improvement is that I bought a new computer! We’ve been limping along with phones and my husband’s aging, overloaded macbook, which is slow and freezes constantly. I can hardly read blogs on it, let alone write my own posts (or work from home, manage photos, watch Netflix, and so on, and so on). Any posts from the last six months have been written entirely on my phone. The new machine is just a little Samsung chromebook. I was a little nervous moving to a cloud based, non-traditional OS, but so far it’s been great. And it’s lightweight, has an anti-glare screen that can be used outside (I can work while Dandelion roams the backyard!), charges fully in about 15 minutes, the battery lasts for 10 hours, and it was about as inexpensive as you can imagine.

I’m looking forward to 2015 for all sorts of reasons, and these small but significant improvements have been more inspiring than I expected. Many thanks to all of you who follow this modest space and my corner of Instagram. Interacting with the sewing community has been such a blessing to me in a challenging year. Happy holidays to all of you!

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Plans and action!

my sidekick
I’ve been doing a lot of sewing, and it sure does feel good! I’ve only actually finished one thing though: Cation Design’s free dolman top pattern, which is AMAZING! I’ve already worn it so much it needs a wash before taking blog photos…
Right now I have unfinished on or around my table:
  • A Vogue designer dress I started before the gown thing happened
  • A “quick” silk blouse that gave me trouble with the hem before being cast aside in favor of the Cation top
  • An Archer that needs snaps and cuffs stitched down from the spring
  • A black double-knit dress started last Sunday

If I focus I could finish all of these projects easily this weekend. However, I really want to make another Cation top and I just got a stack of Sewaholic patterns in the mail, including the Renfrew. My small office is dressing up as one of our coworkers for Halloween next week, and I need a black and white striped tee. I’m just going to see what type of stripes JoAnn has when running errands this morning… I have a feeling a Renfrew is meant to be this weekend!

***The following is no longer relevant. I stopped by Ross when running errands, just too check, and I found a gown! I’m free! It’s black, boring, and made out of some horrible polyester knit that will never, ever wrinkle. It’s perfect! In other news, I did not find a single black and white striped knit, except for a few zebra prints. Why is that classic combination so elusive??

I’m feeling pretty great about all the sewing going on, but there is a cloud on my horizon. I found out last week that our Holiday Event is black tie this year and I need another gown. I just can’t face that again yet! I may buy something, and the thought of David’s Bridal actually crossed my mind a couple times. I’m also thinking about this dress, which is just a summer jersey maxi dress. What do you think? Does black make it formal enough? I could make a beaded belt or and add some beading at the neckline. Again, I’m working not attending, so no one’s really going to be looking at me and comfort is first priority.
 
Any ideas or advice on this one? I want the next gown I sew to be black and simple. Something that could be worn for any formal event that pops up like this.

Bay Area Generosity

Last weekend I attended a Bay Area meet up hosted at Vanessa’s lovely home. She doesn’t have a blog, but if she did it would be a great one – she’s SO creative and makes fabulous clothes and all sorts of other things. I had such a great time listening to everyone’s updates and seeing some really fantastic creations. The variety, creativity, and skill in this group of women is staggering.

I hadn’t been feeling very well and almost didn’t go, but I had been having a lot of trouble deciding on what to do about that gown and I knew that just being around these women would be inspiring in itself, and they might also be able to give me some guidance and reassurance about picking a pattern and moving forward. I wasn’t wrong! The consensus was that I should stick with the plan, which was to make Simplicity 2444, extending the skirt pieces to the floor. I’ve made this dress before, it turned out well, and it meets all my opera ball criteria (big skirt to hide comfy shoes, pockets, ability to wear normal undergarments). I’m so thankful for all of you, you really helped push me across a self-imposed, but real hurdle.

Image from Pattern Review

When I got home, I had a message from Vanessa asking if I was interested in a dress form she wasn’t using anymore, as it might help with my gown-making. How sweet is that? So, now I have a dress form! I’m so excited! 

Well, after all that I’m not sticking to the plan. Part of it is actually the renewed self-confidence I got from the meet up and having a dress form to do some basic fitting on, but an even bigger part is that I’m just not excited about that dress. Despite the protestations of the group, I still worry that it’s going to look homemade and young in a sea of designer gowns, and when I whined about this to my coworkers at lunch last week, one of them wrinkled her nose and told me flat-out to not do it. It hit me that she’s right. Even if my worries are unfounded and the dress would look fine, I just don’t feel good about it.

I decided to use the bodice of Vogue 1176, without the bow, and pair it with the skirt of Simplicity 2444, gathering the skirt instead of pleating it, and cutting it on the fold if possible. I feel good about this decision, and have the bodice pieces cut out and ready to start sewing. One of the most helpful pieces of advice from the meet up came from Beth, who said to just make the bodice first, and then worry about the skirt, which will come together in no time. It’s simple advice, but it really helped me think of this project in a more manageable way. I’m just going to construct the bodice today, and if it fails I know I can whip up the Simplicity bodice in a couple hours.

Image from Pattern Review

So, a huge THANK YOU to the sewing bloggers of the Bay Area who helped make this gown project happen! You all are wonderful!

And one more thank you has to go out to Meg, another Bay Area sewing blogger, who hosted a giveaway for Thread Theory Jedediah Pants that I won! As soon as this gown project is over I’m going to start planning a pair of pants for Eric. We’re both excited for this pattern!