Linden and Coco, black ponte duo

Hi there! It’s been over two months! For some reason I’ve dropped off the internet for a while, both with posting my own makes and commenting on others. Part of me is bothered – I love reading and commenting on blogs! – but I’m also trying to accept it. I’m just not into the internet world right now. I’m sure it will pass.

I am amassing a backlog of projects, though, and I spent some time this morning taking and editing photos. Of course, lighting is bad in the morning and the fabric and fit of the clothes emphasize my dress form’s body irregularities. Oh well, this spring is just not a high point in the life of my blog.

Coco

First up is the semi-fail of the post: the Coco dress from the Little Black Dress book. I actually loved this dress at first, it was fun and easy to put together, I love the pockets, and it looked great on, but it’s not long for this world. The super soft ponte started pilling before I was even finished with the dress, and to make matters worse cat hair sticks to it like crazy. Even my heavy-duty pet lint roller doesn’t do much. The death knoll, though, is that it shrunk a bit more in the second wash, so now the waist and hem are a little high and I feel like a kid in it. I think I’m going to turn it into a skirt.

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Next up is a huge win out of the same fabric, plus a remnant of my beloved blue print sweater knit from JoAnn. It’s still piling and I don’t even try to get rid of the cat hair, but it’s just a casual sweatshirt so it doesn’t much matter.

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The pattern is the Grainline Linden sweatshirt, and I just love it. It’s simple, casual, and a little shapeless, but I wear it every single weekend without fail. I see more of these for the upcoming chilly San Francisco summer. If I color block with this pattern again I’m going to raise the seam a little, the seam goes right over the bustline and doesn’t lie perfectly flat, but I don’t even care with this one!

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Finally, I leave you with a douglas iris that has somehow survived in this sea of ice plant. I love most plants and flowers, but the awful, invasive ice plant is not one of them…

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Archer #2: the rumply version

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This shirt came after the success of my first floral Archer and prior to the ultimate success of my flowercat Archer. While not quite as exciting as either of those, this casual shirt is beloved too!

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I made this shirt in my original size 2 (I sized up to 4 for my flowercat shirt), but since this fabric is very stretchy the fit is comfortable. The fabric was a super cheap chambray from Fabric Mart that I bought ages ago to make a shirt. It was only a couple dollars a yard and my expectations weren’t high, but I loved the fabric when it arrived. It has a crinkly, gauzy texture that resulted in a significant amount of stretch even when rigorously pressed prior to cutting, and also caused uneven stripy dyeing that I really like.

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I feel like this fabric was meant to be an Archer, and that this Archer is meant to be worn outside on warm days. It makes me want to garden, hike, camp, visit my parents in their high desert home in summer, or just sit outside with a book, all of which I hope to do in 2015.

I leave you with the family photo we grudgingly took for my in-laws christmas card. Cat was NOT happy to be rudely interrupted from his fantasy hunting.

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Flowercat shirt

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I tend to totally fail at social sewing projects, but when Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon – a special cat is part of my identity after all! There’s a ton of great cat fabric out there, but not so much that I would wear, being the quiet, subtle, deeply inhibited person I am. Searching for Japanese fabric on Etsy saved me, though, and when I saw these little cats peeking out from fields of flowers I just had to have it. I wanted an Archer, but thought the print would be too loud by itself. Luckily, Rochelle’s western yoke modification came at just the right time and the whole project came together just like that. It’s got an extra special cat lady connection too, since Jen and Rochelle both have their own beloved cats!

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The cat fabric was made by Cocoland in Japan, and is heftier than quilting cotton but a bit lighter than canvas. It would have made a stiff shirt by itself, but it was perfect for the yokes. The rest of the shirt is a Robert Kaufman chambray that was dreamy to work with. Maybe it’s the experience or maybe it’s the well-behaved fabric, but this is the best shirt execution I’ve done yet.

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Most of the cats are smooth, but the one closest to the collar is all fuzzy with closed eyes! Eric thinks he’s probably getting stung by a bee, as Dandelion did a couple weeks ago…

I’ve been loving following everyone’s cat-themed projects on Instagram and am really looking forward to Erin’s round up. Thanks for hosting, it’s been really fun!

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Watercolor floral Archer

I finally made an Archer! I’ve attempted a button-down shirt several times in the past but have always gotten stuck somewhere. I love wearing them, though, and a few weeks ago sat down determined to do it, once and for all.

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This fabric is one of those J. Crew silk-cotton voiles that Fabric Mart had on sale a few months ago. I actually didn’t mean to get this one – I was on the fence and put it in my cart, then decided against it, but when I gleefully opened up the box a week later, there it was. I figured that since I wasn’t supposed to have this fabric anyway I might as well make a muslin-like thing out of it!

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Unfortunately, I totally fell in love with it in the process of making this shirt. That blue! The soft painted flowers! The way the fabric seemed to get softer and more lovely with handling! At first it was so fun to make this discovery, but it sure got stressful when I got to the collar stand, and then the buttonholes. Luckily everything went okay!

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While I absolutely love wearing this shirt, I do have some modifications for next time. I think I need to size up, for one. I’ve been getting more and more serious about yoga and I’ve noticed many of my woven tops being a little snug in the shoulders lately. I hope it’s from the yoga, anyway… this is a little scary to me, as I’ve been the same size my entire sewing life and I have been complacent with fitting, just doing my couple minor standard adjustments. I also want to lengthen them hem by an inch or two, an adjustment I wasn’t expecting since I’m on the short side. Finally, and this should have been totally obvious, if the fabric is sheer one must interface both collar stands!!

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In the end I think it looks slightly homemade, but totally acceptable. Next time I will slip-stitch the inner collarstand down, as I really have trouble with perfect topstitching very close to the edge of something rather thick. I didn’t even try to put a buttonhole on there. It won’t be used anyway, and there was no way I could risk ruining this fabric!

Finally an in-progress shot of my helper. I leave the garment for just a moment, and he’s on it!

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The perfect skirt

Photo May 22, 8 24 26 AM

It’s taken me weeks to post this skirt, in part because it’s so very boring. Just a black skirt, nothing really to say about it… except that it’s one of the most amazing garments I’ve ever made! I’ve worn it at least once a week since it was finished.

Image from Grainline Studio

I used Grainline’s Moss Skirt, which has a shape that I’ve been hunting for years now. I love that the skirt registers as straight, not a-line, but doesn’t require a vent at all. I made the banded version straight from the pattern with a tiny bit added to the side seams since my first version turned out slightly small. The fabric is a cotton/poly bottomweight twill from JoAnn. It was bought to make a workhorse of a skirt, but it actually sewed up and is wearing far better than expected.

Like everyone else out there, I’ve been thinking about personal style and making things that really fit into my life. This skirt is one of those pieces!

Floral scouts forever

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I’ve been sewing a lot of silks, synthetics, and soft knits lately, and despite the common assumption that these fabrics are tricky to sew I really wasn’t having much trouble. But then I made up this Scout tee in a cotton voile… oh goodness. I forgot what it was like to sew cotton! The insides of this top display perfection I forgot I am capable of!

This is my third (floral) Scout and I actually remembered to size down, which resulted in much better fit everywhere but the arms. They are comfortable as is, but I prefer just a bit more ease. I really love this pattern – it’s just right for my life!

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The fabric is from Gather Here, a sweet little store in Cambridge, MA, acquired a couple years ago when my mom and sister visited from California. I wanted to make something special with this fabric, but ended up with the simplest pattern that I already know and love. That’s probably for the best!

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I’m writing this with a warm catball on my lap. Now that he’s a grown cat he only barely fits under the table and doesn’t often join me for breakfast. I am ready to go sew, but it’s just too special!

Finished: Scout in silk chiffon

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This top was inspired by my work friend, Martha. She invited us over for brunch a couple weeks ago, and as we explored some of the shops in her neighborhood she started describing a lightweight chiffon top that would be ideal to wear to her son’s wedding in Chicago this summer, which inspired me to cut into this Anna Sui silk chiffon that afternoon!

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Yes, it’s still a size too big. What’s the point of taking notes if you never look at them??

I chose the Scout tee and just got started, despite being pretty intimidated by the fabric. Really, it went just fine, aside from a bit of trouble with the hems. In general, silk just isn’t as hard to sew as I thought it would be, even of the chiffon variety!

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I used french seams throughout, even on the sleeves, which was terribly exciting until I tried it on and found that I had definitely stitched the underarm seam too tight and couldn’t get the top off. Seriously, I’ve been in tight situations before, but this was by far the tightest. I came very close to cutting myself out before managing to wriggle out and survey the damage. I ended up just cutting off the sleeve and finishing the edges with bias. It’s sloppy, but without sleeves I don’t intend to wear it without a cardigan anyway, as if I even had a choice in this chilly climate.

2014 4 silk scout cardigan