Monday, May 25, 2015

Big Bad Ladybug


Hello! Hope you're doing great! I finally got around to trying another Colette Aberdeen tunic and am here to share my thoughts.


In my last post, I was unhappy with how my Aberdeen turned out - mostly down to the drab color of my fabric and to the large fit in the neck and shoulders. So to remedy this I sized down from an extra large to a large and, a super bright (perhaps one might even say loud or garish?) color/pattern. I purchased this super soft cotton/rayon blend jersey from Wanderlust a while back. I think it was around $6 per yard. It's soft and has a nice drape and was called Ladybug. I thought it looked cute, but now that I've made something and worn it I'm thinking the fabric pattern might be a bit much for my short frame. I think I prefer smaller polka dots. However, I do like this version much better than my first one. Since it's a tunic it has a lot of ease built in, so sizing down was good. 


My favorite part, which isn't rendered in my sketch, are the 3/4, fitted cuffs. My least favorite part is the v-neck neckband. Even though I did a better job this time than my awful gray one, it's still not great. There's a weird dimple at the point followed by a little puffing out. Next time I want to try a mitered V-neck following this great Cake tutorial

For the hem, I used fusible bias tape and my twin needle. I didn't bother with serging the edge, but now I think it would look a little better if I had.


Overall, I think this is a nice, basic pattern and will continue to tweak it. But now I'm ready to move on to other projects. I'd like to replenish my Plantain collection - my most reached for tee-shirts of all time. I also promised to make my husband another linen Negroni, and I want to make a black Mabel to have as a basic, and... so much more! There are just so many fun things to make. Thanks so much for reading and have a fantastic week!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Aberdeen, Thread, and Feeling Like Myself Again


Hello! Oh Man did I miss blogging! For the last two months I've been focusing ALL my energy on work, putting in extra hours on the weekends, working late, and generally feeling like a zombie. For the most part, it was a joyless, anxiety-ridden time, but I learned a lot- both about the job and about myself. Of course, now that I'm through the hard part, I can look back with appreciation. I had an opportunity to get paid to learn AND experienced revelations every day. How awesome is that?

I missed making things so much, though. It doesn't matter whether it's sewing, or ceramics. or painting, or making jewelry, I've come to realize that this an important part of my life that helps me maintain a sense of well being and is therefore just as important as the other parts of my life.

Alas, after that somewhat grandiose statement, I have a bit of a whimper of a make to show you. Behold the Colette/Seamwork Aberden:


First off, the color. Why I purchased a slubby knit the precise color of wet newspapers is a mystery.  I  think I was originally thinking about making a bottom with this fabric - some sweats or leggings - so wanted something low key.  When I saw the Aberdeen, a front and back V-tunic, I knew I wanted to make it, and since I'd abandoned whatever sweatpant plans I had for this fabric a long time ago, I thought I'd make a test version. I haven't had the best of luck with Colette patterns, so I'm glad I used this bland fabric up for my test version. The fit is not good.


I made an extra large. Clearly, it's way too big in the shoulders. I would be showing my bra straps all day. I could try a large to see how that fits. However,  I like the extra room everywhere else, so I'm wondering how one would go about doing an FBA on a knit batwing sleeve top.

I will definitely play around and try this pattern again. I think it just needs some tweaking. On the bright side, in an effort to perk up this drab fabric I explored the embroidery options on my sewing machine and played around with an embroidered hem. Check it out.



I didn't stabilize the fabric or anything. Because it's slubby, it's not super stretchy, so it was fine. Now, normally I would make some undies with the scraps, but because I didn't want to make a sad, gray pair of undies, I made an extra fancy little tea towel/wash cloth instead. I took it as an opportunity to explore my various stitches and use up some pretty bobs and bits of thread I've had sitting around.


So there you go. You win some and you lose some. The best part, though, is that I got back to making stuff, to experimenting, to making myself happy.

Thanks so much for reading and have a fabulous and creatively fulfilled week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Thinking about Spring


Hello! Hope you're doing great. This is another in-progress/ruminating post because I just haven't had the time I'd like to make stuff and finish projects. I've spent the last couple of weekends improving my InDesign skills for work. It's actually been great, and I can already see a vast improvement in my work, but, you know, something's gotta give.

Before I start describing my little sketch, which is actually pretty self explanatory given the accompanying notes, I want to say how very nice it was to be featured on Rhonda's Creative Life. How very cool! Being able to connect with people who also like to make things is one of the major reasons I wanted to blog in the first place. Thank you, Rhonda and other fellow creatives, for letting me know that I'm not just shouting into a void.

Okay, here's another UFO from several weeks back...


I'm SO close to being finished with this project. It's the Deer and Doe Bruyere bodice combined with a Deer and Doe Sureau skirt. Put those two together and what do you have? A shirt dress, that's what! I can't take credit for the idea, though. I saw a beautiful version on the lovely blog - La Couture Rose.
BTW, do you ever look at blogs in foreign languages? I may not speak or understand French, but that doesn't stop me from admiring all the pretty things this lady makes.

I added in-seam pockets and lined the skirt. Still need to hem the bottom and sleeves, add buttons/holes, etc. The dress is already a perfect length, so I'd like to create bias binding for the hem with my scraps.

I really should hurry up and finish it before it's completely out of season. The only thing I don't like about this so far is the shade of grey. I love warm greys and charcoals, but there's something about this shade that I have negative associations with - like pollution or ashes or something. I'm trying to think of a color for tights or a cardigan to brighten it up; so far I can only imagine aubergine.

Speaking of colors I love, here's something else I'm dreaming about:


I really want to make a triangle quilt in these colors. Right now Beej and I are constantly fighting over the couch throw that's not quite big enough for both of us. So right now I'm collecting scraps in these colors and hopefully soon I'll have some time to piece them together. So much to make, so many interesting things to learn and do.

Finally, I'm sharing a before/after DIY project that I completed a while back but never blogged about. I've got spring/decorating/decluttering on the brain and am trying to work out ways to freshen up my apartment. The first pic is a chair that Beej found on the sidewalk - AKA street treat.



I took off that yucky old fabric and pulled out about a million staples and cleaned it up as best I could. Then I covered it with a bit of pretty upholstery fabric from Britex. I can't remember a lot of details about the fabric. It was a bit pricey, but I didn't need much. I have enough of it leftover to do something with.

Well that was kind of a long and scattered post, wasn't it? Anyone else out there shifting over to decor inspiration lately? Must be a spring thing.

Have a lovely week and thank you very much for reading!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Sutton


Hello There! Happy Hump Day. Since the weather's been so lovely (sorry, east coasters, not trying to be obnoxious), I took another break from my Pavot  for some instant gratification. This is my third True Bias Sutton blouse. You can see my other two here and here.


Obviously, I'm a fan of the pattern, and since I've made two already this will probably be a short post as there's nothing new to note about the construction. I feel like I was getting to be a bit of a pattern junkie, which I'm totally okay with cuz, you know, it's way less harmful than being a real junkie, but lately I've really been enjoying playing around with the patterns I already have. What about you? Do you have any patterns that you keep going back to?


The Sutton ticks a lot of boxes for me. V-neck, kimono sleeves, hi-lo hem, and no closures means no-stress sewing. I also think the back yoke/pleat and subtle shaping make it a little less boxy, and the focus on finishing in the instructions (french seams, lots of trimming, understitching) forces me to slow down and then I'm more likely to end up with a garment I'm proud of.

The fabric is a rayon blend from Fabric Outlet in the Mission. I don't remember how much I paid, but I do remember that it was 50% off, so probably somewhere around 5 or 6 dollars per yard for a two-yard project. I wore it all day and didn't notice any heavy wrinkling, which is why I suspect it's some sort of blend. We'll see how it behaves after I wash it.

So that's it for me. Enjoy the rest of your week and thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pavot Progress


Hello Hello! Hope you're having a fantastic weekend. It's been a busy week for me with a number of different chores and projects, plus the whole earning-a-living thing. But I still feel like blogging, so since I don't have a finished project to share here's the process on something I've been working on for a while now.

Despite my two unfinished Colette Anise jackets (Oh the shame!) I still went ahead and purchased the Deer and Doe Pavot pattern back in November. I totally ignored the fact that I'm just not that big of a fan of peter pan collars and bought it anyway cuz I'm a middle-aged Deer and Doe fangirl. I kept envisioning a cool little trench - olive green with a leather collar. Sometimes when I get an idea in my head I'm like a dog with a bone. I just had to see it through

Pavot Progress

I redid the collar and like it much better now. I didn't like the rounded peter pan shape, plus it made the leather pucker in a way that made it look ill-fitting and cheap.  You can compare the two side by side. Although there are still other fitting issues to tweak (and, of course,  finishing, hemming, buttons, etc.) I think I'm almost there. 

Here are some more details:

  • To avoid the leather puckering and a too-thick seam, I cut the leather just short of the seam allowance (on the inside) and just stitched the leather on top of the cloth collar.
  • I just traced over the regular collar and drew a more angular shape. See below for a picture of the pattern piece. 
  • The leather was a scrap from an old skirt that I had already cut up to make an ipad case.
  • The fabric: Organic Cotton Twill from Discount Fabrics at 10.99 per yard. It's a really good weight for this type of coat. 
  • I'll have to take some pictures wearing it once finished as it doesn't look quite so frumpy on.
  • Fitting adjustments include an FBA on the princess bodice and grading out for the waist and bottom skirt. It's actually too big right now, even for outerwear, because the placket added more inches than I expected. I'm not sure how to fix that, though, because of the side seam pockets. 
  • The next time I grade out the waist, I'm using this awesome tutorial on the Curvy Sewing Collective.

Overall, I think it will be cute and, hopefully, wearable, but I think I should keep an eye out for an actual trench coat pattern for next time. Any suggestions?

Have a great week. Stay warm and safe and do something nice for yourself. Cheers, Donna

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nothin' but Love


Hello there! Hope you had a fab weekend.  So as you can see from the above pic (and if you've followed my most recent posts) I have caught the lingerie-making bug. Although making my own bras would require a feat of engineering that I'm not quite ready for, a bralette for sleeping in is a new and intriguing idea to me. This is the Florence bralette from Colette Pattern's Seamwork magazine. Have you tried any of the Seamwork patterns? I really love having a subscription and the surprise each month of two new patterns. So far, I have loved all the patterns and hope to make the Madrid tote and the Oslo sweater as soon as I have the right materials on hand. 


Okay, back to my bralette. This is not something I can wear out of the house as it doesn't provide the necessary support. Sarai suggests that a bralette can work well, even for larger bust sizes, as something to lounge in and as sleepwear. Like I said, I'm intrigued by the concept. Plus, it's so pretty!


I also think it's a great way to test the bra-making waters without getting in too deep with expensive bra- making supplies. The cost of materials was next to nothing. I picked up the stretch lace at Fabric Outlet at 40% off a while back - so, less than two dollars. The burgundy bamboo rayon knit was a scrap that I'm grateful I didn't toss. The straps, including the rings and sliders, were harvested from an old bra that I never wore because it didn't fit correctly. I used foldover elastic from my stash for the side of the cups and the bottom band. It's not the correct type of elastic to use but worked out okay, I think. Even after cutting down the size of the band, it was still too big, which is why the elastic is gathered at the bottom. But I actually like it as a ruffle. Next time I will pay more attention to where the panels of lace are sewn together by the manufacturer. I've got a seamline down the middle of one cup as a result, which is unfortunate.

Overall, a very fun project  - quick and pretty and there's something so lovely about making pretty undergarments for yourself that encourages a healthy body image.


Here's something pretty that I didn't make - one of two beautiful necklaces from my Valentine. Usually we just make each other cards, but this year I got sort of obsessed with looking at pretty pieces on Etsy and sort of sent him a bunch of links thus dropping giant hints. It's a Peruvian opal, by jewelry artist Alexis Russell, and I think it's amazing and looks almost topographical.

So that's the latest with me. Have you caught the lingerie bug yet? Hope you have a fantastic week. Don't forget to do something nice for yourself!

Monday, February 9, 2015

More Plaid, Please


Ever since I made my first Airelle, by Deer and Doe, I knew there would be another one. I love the simplicity and the sweet, Chelsea collar. I used the reversible fabric purchased recently, which seemed like a no-brainer for playing up a contrasting collar. Not too much to tell. I forgot to include the side darts (whoops) and made my front and back (diamond) darts a little deeper. This made the overall top a bit more fitted. I think I'll make sure it hangs a little looser next time. Also, will add a half inch to the cuffs as they ride up a bit when I'm wearing a cardigan and become just a bit too tight.


I love the soft gauzy fabric so much. It's a loose weave that loves to fray, but it's such a quick and easy pattern that you can finish up before it starts fraying all over the place.
Just a few notes:
  • You can sew the sleeves in flat. I love that. 
  • You do need to gather a bit for the cuffs. It doesn't say that in the instructions because, I guess, it's so obvious. I like Deer and Doe's instructions and clear illustrations, but I find it difficult to know sometimes if a step isn't listed because it's so obvious or if I should skip that particular step. I still need a lot of hand-holding, I suppose. 
  • This pattern is not unlike the Mimi blouse from Tilly's Love at First Stitch, which makes me think it would be pretty easy to add a button placket, faux or otherwise, for a bit of extra visual interest.

Of course, I couldn't resist making a pair of matching drawers. :) Have a lovely week!