Skulls, vajayjays and knitting

One of two for pressies – the closest I’ll get to getting you Alexander McQueen.

I’m about to embark upon my hell week of work but have been sewing up some shopping bags for Christmas presents. I made two skull bags for friends who love Alexander McQueen skulls – cute but out of my price range.  So grocery bags it is, since plastic bags are verboten here in California.  Practical and cute.

Item two, as referenced above is vagina.  Please watch this.  Enough said?  Of course, not enough said.  I simultaneously think “go girl” and “ew”.  Is that the point?

Item three:  I am knitting (in the conventional way) a hat called Kemuri.  It’s a good pattern, well written and I hope that I have enough yarn.  What else is new?

Back to laundry.

Glamour in sweats

Pretty good start on my quest for sweat pant perfection.

Call them what you will “lounge wear”, “casual” or “yoga pants”, they’re all in the sweat pant genus. Here are True Bias Hudson Pants made straight from the pattern with no alterations.  They are narrow legged pants with cuffed bottoms.  Mine are a big larger since I sized up as my fabric didn’t have the required stretch for the pattern.

These sweats are quite fine.  The pattern is very good and properly drafted (not always the case – so kudos due here) and the fabric is from Fabrix (you know I love them).  The fabric is jersey on one side and french terry on the other,  rather soft and comfortable.  The sewing up was very fast and much can be done on the serger.  This pattern has everything I need in sweats – they’re comfortable and have pockets.  The only thing I’d change would be to make them from black fabric, but that’s hardly the fault of the pattern!  I’m on the hunt for appropriate black sweat pant material.

The only things I varied from the (very good) instructions were the addition of twill tape to the pocket edges to try to prevent them from stretching out with use, omitting the drawcord (but made the buttonholes and channel just in case) since I didn’t have a gray cord and making the cuffs wider around because my fabric has very little stretch in that direction and there is no way I’d have been able to ease the cuffs onto the much wider legs.

I’m looking for stretchier black fabric and I shall keep the twill tape addition at the pockets and perhaps add interfacing at the edges to try to stave off the inevitable stretch and make the cuffs the original tightness.  Also, a stretchier fabric may have me make them in my “correct” size to prevent any “diaper booty” action.  All is fabric dependent and I’m still searching.  My current favorite sweats are made from light fleece but don’t have pockets.  If I find the right fabric I may be able to make my perfect sweat pants.  Such lofty aspirations here at the house.

Have a dry and safe day.  The storm’s brewing and will arrive today!

Sewing in French

Boxy, ruffle and rather sheer – I like it though.

Don’t worry, I’ve not learned any French yet despite buying very expensive language software.  Turns out French is chock full of irregular verbs and phantom apostrophes.  Sewing in French is much easier than speaking French.

This blouse is Marthe from Republique du Chiffon.  (sorry I don’t know how to add the accents)  It’s a pdf downloadable pattern and I quite liked the shape.  I think it would be quite cute with straight jeans and a cute jacket over top but alas you see it here paired with my sweats and sports bra.  As per usual.  I matched the pattern with some double georgette I picked up in Los Angeles on a fabric buying “walk around the neighborhood”.  It’s got little bits of silver print on it and reminds me of a fabric an Indian woman would wear, though probably not in polyester.

As you can see the shape is simple with an angled bottom ruffle – shorter in front than in back.  The construction is quite simple and I am exceedingly happy with the thread button loop I made in the back.  I had to watch a YouTube video to remind me how make the loop again, but it was quickly done and just the thing.  The georgette has a good drape so I hope I won’t be accused of pregnancy when wearing it.  It’s super comfy and just a bit sparkly.  Hah!

If you’re interested in any of the Republique du Chiffon patterns, and they are quite cute, you need to know a few things,  The most important is that the seam allowances aren’t included on the pattern so remember to add them on.  The sewing instructions are in French but the illustrations are good, so if you know how to sew you’re fine.  Give it a try if you’re interested.

Next up (after a few days of work) are sweats.  Seriously.  I love wearing my sweats and have some french terry to sew up into some comfy pants.  Oh the glamour!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My first pecan pie. It’s maple pecan and I have no idea if it’ll be good. Nothing like trying a new recipe on the holiday.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US.  Today I’ll spend the day with friends, eating wonderful food and enjoying the good things.  Today is a day for letting go all the crap that has happened and just being in this moment of love and friendship.  So today I wish you all love and friendship and to enjoy the moment.

Much love and Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.

Happy hat day

It’s a bit darker than my camera would lead you to believe.

One of my friends has a 23 December birthday.  That must kind of suck because of course that’s Christmas and people tend to lump the two occasions together.  When my group of friends celebrate Thanksgiving we celebrate his birthday early since we’re all together.  Usually I just get him a super bottle of wine since he’s a chef and really appreciates yummy things.  This year they’re flying up and wine is out.  So I decided to knit him a hat since he’s probably not got one because he lives in Los Angeles and doesn’t need one.  Need has nothing to do with it, he’s getting a hat.  I justify that he may need one in San Francisco during his visit, or it may one day be “hat cold” in LA.  Hah!  Luckily he has impeccable manners and would never let me know if he’s less than thrilled with a hat.

Nonetheless, here is a lovely blue tweed version of Graham with just a bit of hipster droop.  I quite like this hat and hope he finds some use for it.  It was made with love, so that must count for something.

Pattern is Graham; yarn is Berroco Blackstone Tweed in the Naragansett colorway and used about 1.25 skeins.

Mushrooms and Monsters

Week 1 mushroom identity parade.

I’m not a gardening person and am rather disinterested in my tiny yard.  I keep it within HOA guidelines, hire someone to do the bulk of the upkeep and call it done.  So the other day I noticed a mushroom growing the backyard.  Odd.  We’re having a three year drought and I’ve got shrooms?  We have had a bit of rain and these poor spores were so desperate the must have said “now or never”.  So here are the week 1 and 2 splits of my very own three mushroom crop.  Isn’t that third one odd looking?  And it’s big!  Boy they grow quickly.  Anyone know anything about mushrooms?  Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat them.

Week 2 after several days of rain. Super shrooms!

Other than watching mushrooms grow, I’m on vacation (!) for the rest of the month so I hope to get some crafting done, despite scheduling multiple tasks every darn day like an idiot.  First up is a shopping bag I made in under an hour for a little gift.  The pattern is  Michelle Pattern’s Grocery Bag (it’s on sale and super easy).  I live in a county with a recent plastic bag ban so bringing your own sacks to the shops is a must.  And why can’t those bags be cute?  This monster bag is destined for a pal with two little boys and we all know little kids like monsters of the cute variety.  Perhaps I’ll make more and give them for Christmas?  They sure are easy and useful, so stay tuned for more versions.  Maybe I’ll find some mushroom fabric ;-)

Monsters and gingham shopping bag.

Striped Hemlock

This little striped fabric looks crazy distorted on my monitor, it’s just playing with us.

Because I lead such a glamorous life, I made another tee shirt.

I know!  I do wish I could show you all the swanky things I make and wear to cotillions and soirees, but alas, my days aren’t like that.  Nor are my nights.  Perhaps in the next life.

What I made here is the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee pattern.  It’s actually a free pattern that has been quite well represented on the blogs.  It’s a simple project, which is all I was up for when deciding what to make.  I sewed most of this on the overlocker so it’s also quick in addition to being easy.

This top should be good for knocking around the house, or “lounge wear” if we’re being fancy with the words.  I’ll “pair” it with “lounge pants” (that’s sweat pants to you and me).  It’s a good basic that won’t embarrass me if the neighbors see me taking the trash.  It will be much worn and used a stashed bit of fabric.  That’s a win!

Can you smell it?

I could say this is in here to show detail, but this made me think of Joey from Friends explaining “smell the fart” acting. Seriously funny.

I’ve been spoiled for choice about what to make for my next sewing project as I’ve got lots of new and stashed fabrics available to me.  What have I done, not much.  There has been much weirdness in my world of late, but I hope I’ve shaken it off and returned to the land of tranquility and harmony.  To that end I decided to finish a dress I’d already finished during the World Series.

I know, the World Series ended 29 October with our local SF Giants winning.  Yay them!  While watching some of the games (I’m not the hugest of baseball fans but the WS is fun) I cut out and made Vogue 1351.  This is a simple DKNY pattern for a bias cut lined dress with a cowl neck.  I’d seen it on the blogs and it’s really a “good” dress, if that makes sense?

Fits much better now!

I had some black and white ponte knit in the stash that I couldn’t really find a use for and thought it would be fine for this dress since the pattern wouldn’t look cattywompus on the diagonal.  The lining I’d just dig out of the stash and it’s insta-dress.

And really, this was insta-dress since there’s only 5 pattern pieces and that includes the lining.  I even omitted the side zipper since I used a knit, and that worked out perfectly in case you’re thinking of doing the same.

My problem came when I tried the dress on.  It was just too loose through the waist.  Perhaps if I’d used a fluid woven, rather than a stable knit I’d have got more drape.  Or much more likely, I cut the size too big.  Either way, I had to take it in after seeing the pictures I’d taken to blog.  I like loose and and even I thought it was too much.

So it sat.  The Giants had their victory parade.  I flew back and forth across the country a dozen times.  And still it sat.  One day I’d had enough of looking at the forlorn bundle and took it in using my machine basting stitch.  Well that was ugly.  Turns out that making curves on the bias makes big old wobbly bumps.  Not so pretty.  Ripped that out and tried a much more gradual straigh-tish line in to the waist and back down the skirt.  That worked.  Much smoother.  Note to self:  cutting a size down would be the way to go if I made this again with knits.

Why did I buy that crazy abstract ITY? What was in my head? No freaking idea.

So here is the much delayed and altered World Series dress.  I even lined the dress with some orange ITY from the stash to reflect the Giants’ colors (that was luck since I wanted to use this fabric up which I’d purchased in a fit of crazy).  It’s still warm enough to wear around here for a little while longer, but it would look good under a cardie with tights and boots.  Or even tucked up to the Thanksgiving table, where I’ll probably be sad I didn’t leave the extra fabric in.

There’s a draft in my skirt

It looks like a fan cookie they used to put in ice cream sundaes.

I thought I’d have a finished quick knit dress to share, but when I looked at the photos I took of me wearing the thing I realized that not only did it feel loose it was a bit more sack-like than it should be.  Side seams need taking in a bit so today you’ve got this.

What is it?  It’s a draft of a 3/8 circle skirt.  Huh?

Well it started by me reading on a sewing blog that she was going to have a step by step draft of a vintage skirt pattern style she’d come across.  I thought it would be fun to do, and truth be told, pattern drafting was my best skill at design school.  Plus it would be easier to do an along than figure out all the math in my limited off time.

So what you see above is the draft of the simple 3/8 skirt.  Next installment will add the cross over pleats and then perhaps it’s muslin time.  If you want to read more about this (or join in) the link is here to Frabjous Couture.  If you hesitate because you don’t have special tools please know I tape together my 18″ pattern paper and use a push pin and my tape measure as a compass (like we learned at school).  There is a bit of math but it’s super easy and I used the calculator on my iPhone.

So tonight I work a red eye and perhaps pleats will happen early next week!  Happy Sunday.

Happy Halloween

It's like a Davis Sedaris essay where a bunny and a lollipop go out for a walk...

It’s like a Davis Sedaris essay where a bunny and a lollipop go out for a walk…

I couldn’t resist one more nostalgic photo and since its Halloween, that’s the theme. Don’t you just love Claudia in that bunny outfit?! I adore this picture and I’d guess I was in kindergarten and the bunny was in second grade. Could be a year earlier though. No matter, much cuteness was sewn up but our momma. Happy Halloween friends!