Little bit of scarf

Pretty purples. Next up is black, I hope it works!


I don’t have much craftiness to share, it’s been one of those weeks.  I’ve been trying to make a lovely dress that’s all cut out with the machines threaded with appropriate colored thread, but time just slips away.

Anyway, so today all I’ve got is the beginning of Color Affection by Veera Välimäki. I’m using Marion Foale 3Ply Wool and am almost at the end of the first section. Big excitement.  It’s my third striped scarf by Veera so I know it will turn out.  It’s kind of like a tested recipe.  Plus it’s easy to pick up and put down without making huge boo boos.

Other than that I’ve made some yummy Key Lime Bars for a friend and a hat that got gifted before photos were taken.  I now need to survive the next 48 hours with 65 allergen patches stuck to my back to try to figure out what I’m allergic to.  I hope they’re not testing for chocolate and wine.

Noir inspiration

I love noir, be it movies or books.  So today when I was watching Dark Passage (1947) while deadheading (non working crew) in my middle seat I thought I’d take some screen shots of Lauren Bacall’s outfits to give me some inspirations for future project ideas.  BTW Lauren Bacall is about 22 here and just gorgeous.

This is her casual painting in the boonies outfit. Clearly.

Here is the outfit I think would be most interesting to interpret into 2014 pieces.  This is the outfit her character is wearing while oil painting in Marin just coincidentally when Humphrey Bogart is escaping from San Quentin in a BARREL.  Srsly.  I overlook the crazypants plots because it’s so fun to see San Francisco in 1947.

So back to the outfit.  Her tweed skirt is below knee length, A line shaped with 3 release pleats in front, plain back (just darts) and a center back zipper.  It’s a black and white movie so I can only guess at the color.  Beige or tan would be my guess.

The blouse is plaid with crazy huge shoulders.  There are flange pleats at the shoulders, a wide (3″ or so) collar with squared off ends.  The most interesting part of this blouse to me are the sleeves.  They’ve cut them on the bias!  Nuts!  I like it but that is all kinds of fabric hog.  The good part is that you don’t need to worry about matching the plaid at the sleeve tops, which is a total pain.

This is her ROBE! Fun fact – my robe is plaid too. Resemblance ends there.

The other outfit that amuses me in this movie is her robe, as in robe over pajamas “robe”.  It’s floor length plaid wool (must be wool right?) robe with kimono/dolman sleeves.  Those sleeves aren’t separate from the top and set in, they’re cut in one with the front and back pieces and you can see the overarm seam in the photos.  The front has an asymmetrical opening that comes into a band at the waist.  That band seems to only be on the right front.  There is another tab band at the back waist that controls the fullness and another band at the front under the collar to keep the robe closed.  The bands are cut on the bias and are adorable and the skirt is super full.  I’d guess 3/4 circle skirt there.  This is another fabric hog so clearly no expense was spared.  No post war rationing here.

There are some other fun clothes in the movie, mostly the lounge items.  You know like I wear sweats, the gals here wear silk jackets with sequin trim and silk satin flowing pants.  Of course I know this is make believe (reference back to Humphrey escaping San Quentin in a barrel) so I know that average folks aren’t wearing silk outfits to hang out and listen to records at the house, but still.  I’d like to think that I can get some ideas from a more glamorous time and see what comes out in the era of sweats, jeans and tees.  Stay tuned!

Jim Jams!

Jammies for which to hang around.

In my continuing attempt to make things will actually get worn, I’ve made pj bottoms.  I’ve got a standard go to pattern copied from a pair of Old Navy pj bottoms from like, prehistoric times that have been made for years.  All my friends have a pair, they’re so one size fits all that they’re crazy comfy.  The most attractive pants, maybe not but super comfy jammies.

I decided to try to up my game a bit by making a pair of jammies from an actual pattern, not just a tracing from bald flannel cast offs.  I know, fancy all of a sudden, right?!  This pattern is Sewaholic’s Tofino pants.  I used cotton flannel as I always do but added the coordinating piping.  The bow, no.  I’m not a bow girl.  They turned out quite cute.  They fit  better than my personal pattern, but my personal pattern is more akin to hammer pants so that’s probably not too surprising.  The legs are more flared so I’ll have to see if I can sleep in them without tying them up in knots with my tossing and turning.  But they are cute for bumming around in. Please note:  I DO NOT EVER wear pajamas out of the house.  That is what sweats are for.

This pattern was super easy and the only change I made was to shorten the legs 2″ since they’re drafted for the taller Canadians (not really, they are long though so look at that inseam measurement on the envelope that is handily provided).

Happy “spring has sprung in my pants”!

Gray matter

The wrinkles aren’t bad in real life when I’m not standing funny plus a bonus sneaky peaky of the flowery pocket lining.

In my continuing effort to make clothes I actually wear (as opposed to fun dresses and skirts that get minimal wear) I made gray pants.  I was a bit ambivalent about them when I finished them since curvy girls are supposed to wear wide pants to hide the assets (per TV advice shows), but I like skinny pants so boo on them.

I bought some fabric online, which I never do since I’m blessed with a few stores here in the San Francisco area and this gray cotton stretch sateen was ONE (cough cough) of the pieces.  It was described as medium weight and it is, especially compared to the other piece of bottom fabric I bought which was described as a heavier weight.  I thought the medium weight with great stretch would be a nice fabric for the 5 pocket skinny jean that Burda Style had in their 3/2014 magazine.

Top arrow is The Great British Sewing Bee that I was watching to sustain my sewing momentum. The bottom arrow is the 1.25″ wedge that needed to be taken out to make the back waist fit.

Based on what I learned in the wonderful pant making classes by Sandra Betzina on Craftsy, I thought my skills were up to all that topstitching.  I measured the pattern vs. body measurements and noted this pattern has zero to negative ease.  Any wearing ease comes from the stretch in the fabric.  Fine, my fabric is quite stretchy.  I left in a bit of positive ease for fit insurance and had at it.

I made the pants basically following the instructions (this is the featured illustrated pattern so the instructions are rather more extensive than the usual Burda brevity).  I should have changed a few things to correspond to what I learned in Sandra’s class.  The fly turned out ok, but if I do it Sandra’s way it comes out perfectly so I’ve made a note to change the pattern the next time I make it.  I’d also change the waistband to a contour band to better fit my waist.  Despite altering the back seam to get rid of a huge gap, the straight cut waistband doesn’t hug my back waist as I’d like.  Easy fix though.

Other than having to unpick the back seam and the topstitching I got a good fit.  In fact my mom thought they were too tight and my friend said they fit fine and maybe they should be tighter (not gonna happen btw).  I did test wear them out to dinner and they didn’t kill me after a hearty meal, so I think they’re fine.  Are they the most flattering pants in the world on me, probably not but I think they’ll get worn.  Imagine them in an outfit instead of a tee yanked up for a picture in my living room and they’re fine.  If I’m crazy let me know before I head out in these in daylight!

The dawn, she has finished

No, my dress and scarf don’t match but I wasn’t about to change to take a picture. Call me slatternly…

A happy by product of a bit of vacation (or staycation in my case) is being able to finish something.  I managed to only procrastinate a bit in weaving in the ends of At Dawn, but the other day I gave myself a stern talking to and just did it.  It never takes as long as one thinks it will and I was done fairly quickly.  After a soak and block the stripes are ready for wear.

This is an easy project.  I used some Isager Strik Alpaca 2 from the stash and dragged this poor scarf along in my fancy ziplock knitting bag on my trips around our fine country.  It’s easily memorized so it’s good for mindless knitting in random hotel rooms while watching stuff.  My version turned out a tad bigger than the pattern dimensions but it’s a scarf so it doesn’t really matter all that much.  My finished measurements are 94″ wide and 23″ long.  The pattern has the dimensions as 80″ by 26″ so close enough.  One more wrap around the neck doesn’t matter that much.

The only problem with making a nice warm alpaca scarf in March is that it’s been 75 degrees everyday so it’s not going to get much wear, but that’s a pretty standard problem around these parts and the knitwear keeps coming.

And those tulips I planted last year that snubbed their little tulip noses at me and pretty much died, a few are coming up this year mocking me yet again.  I thought they didn’t do that, come back I mean?  Are these just spiteful bulbs or am I mistaken?

It’s supposed to be a “black” tulip but clearly it’s purple. I can add false advertising to my list of tulip deceptions.


I had to step over these blossom “drifts” courtesy of half a dozen of these snow making trees.

Thanks for all the birthday love!  I had a great birthday and got my car fixed (I adore my mechanic so it’s all good).

I wore my Sureau dress v.2 in black to dinner on my birthday (and fleece lined leggings discovered by Carolyn from Walgreens!) and am happy to report that you can eat yourself silly and your dress won’t split.  I ate so much my neck was sweating at one point.  Seriously.  I am a classy girl.  (And no, there are no pictures of this debacle.)

Yesterday on NPR I heard that California had the warmest winter EVER. Like since they started keeping track.  It was well over 70 degrees here yesterday so I certainly believed it.  Then when I was out doing my errands I saw blossoms floating in the air like snowflakes and had to laugh.  Clearly this is a “snowstorm” I can get behind.

Hopefully completed crafting will appear here very soon to make my vacation seem worthwhile.


“…you’re gonna make it after all.” Sing it with me now.

Remember Mary Tyler Moore?  I remember watching the show on the rerun TV station in the pre-cable world.  I adored Mary and her lovely clothes.  I didn’t really understand the social themes until much later, but still a good show.  Plus who doesn’t adore Betty White as a cougar extraordinaire.

I digress.  This morning while rambling around downtown Minneapolis I came upon Mary, and yes she did make me smile.  Did I mention it was on 20 degrees?  Right outside Macy’s, here’s a lovely statue of the famous Mary hat toss.  I shall have to look for some Mary episodes to watch!  Until then, enjoy my layover eye candy.

We are calling these lounge pants

I will never wear these with a tucked in shirt (that was just for the photo). Promise and pinky swear.

Yet another black sewing project completed!  And indeed, it’s still hard to photograph black.

Seen here is my version of Style Arc Lola Pants.  I saw the pattern and thought they had the potential to fill the gap between sweats and “real” pants.  I’ve been trying to sew things I’ll actually get use out of and one thing I wear A LOT is sweat pants.  Yes, they’re not pretty but if you’re out doing errands before and after the gym, it’s what you wear.  My sweat pants are pretty much all old and loose polyester.  I love them.  I’ve got a few newer pairs that are stretchy lycra but I wear my poly ones first.  Only if all the polys are dirty will I wear the lycra.

That is a long explanation of why I’ve made lounge pants (or whatever we’re going to call them).  These made from a very nice black ponte (which is a poly double knit for those who don’t sew) from Stone Mountain in Berkeley.  Ponte quality varies, but this stuff is soft, warm to the touch and not at all see through – yummy.  The Lola pattern is for wovens but worked just fine with ponte knit.  I didn’t change anything and opted not to put in zippers at the slanted pockets.  That decision may come back to haunt me if those pockets stretch out (though I did stabilize the opening edge).  The only fiddly bit is attaching the waistband to the pant.  It took about three attempts with lots of machine basting and swearing.

This is my first Style Arc pattern and can see why they are well regarded.  The pattern was well drafted and the sizing is as stated – no Big Four ease lottery guesses here.  The pattern is rated as medium in difficulty and that is an accurate assessment.  That waistband is the “hardest” part but heck, I did it.  I am now tempted to get the actual sweat pant pattern from Style Arc and try that out as well.  I may be upping my game at the gym when all is said and done!

Yes, another one

I will now make something else, I promise.

Turns out taking pictures of a black dress on a cloudy afternoon is hard.  Sorry for the pics!

After my first Sureau I wanted to try one in black with a different sleeve.  I also modified the neckline because the first dress didn’t lie flat on my clavicle.  I pinched out the extra fullness, raised the neckline and drafted a little rounded collar.  While I was at it I changed the sleeve to an elbow length with fullness into the cuff.  What I should have done after seeing this pictures is lowered the waistline about an inch since it’s still rather higher than my natural waist. But that mod will have to wait since I don’t really need too many of these dresses in my wardrobe.

Again, this may not be the most fashionable, age appropriate style, but it is super comfy.  With a scarf and sweater/blazer it will be quite useful.

My next project is polyester pull on pants, I kid you not.  Also not age appropriate (in the other direction this time) and they look rather dodgy right now, but if they turn out you will see my version.  If they don’t, forget you read that last sentence.

Deficit situation

Technically the patterns were purchased last week…the yarn is hot off the presses.

I wish I had some lovely finished objects to share.  Alas, there are two items that are “almost” done, one sewn and one knit.  But completed they are not.

Anyone want to guess if that lack of finishing has stopped me from procuring more raw materials for hobby purposes?  If you guessed “hell NO” you would be right on the mark.

Without getting into the convoluted and dull compensation structure of my job, I shall just say that three days a month I’m “on call”.  Since I don’t live in my domicile city I stay in a hotel.  99% of the time I can get a trip and work and go home.  Easy.  Every once in a blue moon there is just nothing to cover.  I had one of those days yesterday.  My duties were fulfilled by noon and I faced two more days of waiting around.  Now mind, I do get paid minimum to sit around but I spend money on hotels and food, so waiting is boring and expensive.

How I passed the time yesterday was to go to the local yarn shop and buy wool for a scarf.  Or sometimes I get online and purchase patterns and fabric.  Then, after all that, I was able to trade away my last two on call days and bugger off home this morning. (We can swap and trade assignments because we are interchangeable like Legos.)  So basically I spent two nights in hotel, bought yarn, food and patterns and went home.  I lost money dudes!  But look at that pretty yarn!  And those cute patterns were on sale!  AND it’s nine days until I turn 29 again so whatevs!!!!

My takeaway here is to enjoy being home today, play with my yarns and worry about picking up a trip to make up for my fiber foibles tomorrow.  Plan B will not be necessary.  Hope you have an awesome day and I will try to finish something before buying anything else.