Sprung forward

You know these are my absolute favorite! Cherry blossoms are soooo early this year. Thanks drought!

Well there’s not much craftiness here.  What there is here is spring.  Massively, obviously SPRING.  Now I know just about everywhere else this is not the case.  Most places I travel, people are trying to hang in there for spring.  So for your pleasure, here spring at my house.

The first tulips of Tulipwatch 2015!

The only crafty bits around here are my sadly neglected peacock shirt parts.  I did sew the back together and managed to cut the peacocks in such a way that they look like mutant Chernobyl peacocks that just happen to be conjoined twins.  Oh well, keep on moving.

Conjoined, mutant peacock twins anyone?

Stay warm friends!

Is that a peacock in your pocket?

Just hanging out with the peacocks.

I thought I’d try Sewaholic’s new pattern, Granville Shirt which is a fitted button front collared shirt.  I rooted around the stash and came up with some beautiful cotton fabric that is rather oddly printed with peacocks. The peacocks are cute but I really don’t remember buying it, or even why I bought 3 yards of it, but there it was begging to used to test out a new pattern.

I was a little careful to place the pattern pieces so that I didn’t end up with a peacock on each boob.  They’re rib level, so that should be fine.  In order not to take forever in sewing this up, I am trying to make a point to sew a little bit every day I’m home.

So today, I took my fifteen minutes and sewed on the pocket.  I made sure I matched the pattern and watched Pam Howard’s “The Classic Tailored Shirt” lesson on pocket sewing while doing it.  Not bad right?  It’s relatively unobtrusive.  The eye just goes to that darn peacock doesn’t it?  But why three yards?

Thirty day shirt

Yay! It’s finally done!  Too bad I’m having an awkward hair-growing-out day.  Life.

No, it really shouldn’t take very long to make this shirt but I managed to make this project last over a month.  That was mostly due to not working on it, so my bad.

This shirt is Bruyere from Deer & Doe Patterns.  It’s essentially a convertible collared shirt with cuffs and waist yoke band.  I bought my pattern copy from Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley (California) but I’ve also purchased patterns from their website in France and they come remarkably quickly through that route also.  The fabric is a very high quality cotton lawn purchased from Stonemountain’s half price section so it was perfect to test out a new pattern with.

Since I’d no idea how this blouse would fit out of the box I opted to just make my size (according to the measurement chart) and see what happened.  Turns out it fits just great with no alterations.  The bust darts are in the right place, I can close it over the boobs, the sleeves are long enough and it goes over my butt.  Yay.I wanted to use the shirtmaking techniques I’d learned in Pam Howard’s “The Classic Tailored Shirt” Craftsy class (which is freaking awesome for those interested in such things).  I flat felled all the seams and tried to sew it up in a similar order to her class technique, but this shirt is not the same animal so I had to stop and think about procedure every now and then.  I may make a few changes on the next version, but that’s going to require a bit of thought.  There are a few more sewing details that I’ll put in my PatternReview for those not as into sewing shirts as I am at the moment.So I made a completely wearable muslin test of a new pattern.  I’d like to make another in dark or dotted chambray, but I fear if I then wear it with jeans I’ll be wearing that old Canadian tuxedo look that I’d find hard to pull off.

So stay tuned for more shirtmaking – as least that’s the plan for today.

Did you know…

(R) Doo-dad from my sewing machine foot box that tightens screws with the black pointy end. (L) Sewing machine bulb that is kaput.

My mind has been blown by something small that I’m sure you all will be like “no shit”.  I had no idea.  Seriously.

Did you know that the grey handle of that doo-dad shoves onto the blown sewing machine light bulb so you can unscrew it?  I had to g**gle “how to change a Bernina bulb” to find out that this tool has two uses.

Now what will take longer is to wait for my bulbs to arrive from their ebay seller, since my local shop is an hour away.

This also prompted me to pull out the machine’s manual and I saw that I had TWO bulbs (which have been burned out for yonks btw).  I got to use my tool twice today (how’s that for mad search hits for a light bulb post?).

I’m sewing and knitting so perhaps I’ll soon have something interesting to share, other than light bulb moments.

Tool with bulb insitu.

Year of the sheep

Terrible picture, but it was the pick of the bunch.

It was comforting to know that this year will be the year of the sheep in the lunar calendar.  I like sheep, they’re cute and provide the wool with which I like to knit.  To that end I finished my sleeves-as-swatch for Grettir.  Because showing off two sleeves, gray sleeves to boot, would be the dullest of all dull posts I’ll have to think of something else.

How about a dress, a gray dress ironically?  I whipped this Lady Skater dress up in no time, using up a piece of jersey that had served it’s time in the garage stash.  There are tons of Lady Skaters all over the web so my dress isn’t that earth shattering.

As you can tell from my poor quality photo, I made a 3/4 sleeve, round neck jersey dress with an A-line skirt.  The only change I made was to shorten the bodice about 1/2 to 3/4″.  I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to look for the pattern now.  But the point is that I wanted the dress to hit above natural waist, but not empire.  Also I know that the weight of the skirt will pull down the bodice a tad, so I raised it up before trouble would be caused.

A better view of the skirt length. Needs at least another inch…

I sewed this up very quickly and skipped all the clear elastic.  Not necessary on my dress and totally uncomfortable to wear at the waist.  Of course I’ve not worn this dress yet so I may live to regret that idea.

If I made this again I’d lengthen it about 1 1/2″ since it’s a tad short, not unwearable but I’ll need leggings/tights to keep things where they should be seen.  I shall have to wear the dress to see if the bodice is comfortable or will need a smidge of adjustment.

So this is a quick make if you’re wanting something easy to work on while you decide what to make next.  Thank goodness for the stretch since I’ve made a candy/cookie eating spectacle of myself all holiday.  A new leaf has been turned over, but I’m still waiting for the love handles to recede.

A hat to end the year

Can’t get a decent shot of it worn, at least you can see the cables here.

I wanted to make a hat for a friend’s Christmas package and did a quick troll trough Ravelry.  I settled on the Kemuri Hat pattern by Olga Buraya-Kefelian because I liked the cables and and it was DK weight yarn so I could actually finish the darn hat in a reasonable time.

I wanted to make this out of some super soft yarn and found some Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK at my LYS.  The yarn is very soft and nice to wear, but perhaps I should have chosen a yarn with a tad more body for cables.  It doesn’t look bad, but the cables don’t pop with such squishy yarn.

The cast on in the pattern is a tubular cast on and doesn’t look too bad on, but looks a bit lumpy unstretched, no?  Perhaps I’m being too hard on this little gift hat.  It’s a good pattern, in super soft yarn and will look nice on the recipient.  That’s a win.

Hope everyone is finding some peace and stillness this hectic season.

See, can’t get a decent shot of it on the old melon. At least you can see the slight slouchy fit here.

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.