What I didn’t buy

When you see the button sculpture you know you’re in the right place! Love that!

I was good.  Very good.  I was sent to NYC (for work) on Monday on my reserve days for an overnight.  Without boring you too much, 3 days a month I’m “on call” and the notice to go can be minimal (two hours).  So I was sent to NYC and had a long enough layover that we stay in town (rather than the airport hotels for short nights – which is much more usual!).

When faced with a bit of time in NY I like to go down to the garment district and buy fabric.  Who wouldn’t?  But this past week I’ve been reorganizing my fabric stash and ended up donating a great many bits and pieces I’d never realistically use.  In the face of that, buying more fabric that didn’t have a specific project in mind was a bad idea, not to mention a waste of money.

Going forward I’d like to keep the stash of fabric and yarn to a minimum because I find that when I buy fabric/yarn with no specific pattern or use, it ends up languishing in the big plastic bins in the garage.  If I buy a fabric with a pattern in mind, it gets used.  So it only makes sense to buy fabric when I’ve selected a pattern I’d like to make up.  Get me, how mature am I?!

Since my next project will probably be a Hollyburn skirt in some wool crepe that I’ve preshrunk using this method, I ended up buying 14 zippers.  That may seem like a bunch but they’re much cheaper and better quality than the C&C crap at Joann’s.  So 14 invisible zippers of various sizes was my haul!  Not too sexy or exciting, but I did paw the gorgeous Liberty cotton lawn prints at B&J Fabrics before deciding that I wasn’t ready to pull that particular trigger.  Plus I love all the prints and choosing would have been agonizing.  Plus-plus it’s $37/yard so it’s good to be sure.  I shall certainly buy some Liberty as my shirt skills have come along nicely, but in time.

So I shall sew from the stash for a few more projects and the warm, sunny weather is putting me in the mood for cotton dresses.  Luckily I’ve got fabric for that.  Quite a bit.  Now to find a pattern and time!

Still looking for my aloha

Burda Style #124 from 7/2014 magazine.

I had high hopes for this bodice.  This is Burda Style #124 from 7/2014 magazine.  In the magazine it’s a cute beach-y empire style with a full skirt.  I lengthened the bodice 2″ to make it less empire and more grown up and nixed the sweetheart bit.  I thought this style would be it.

Then I tried on the muslin.

The shoulders fell off my shoulders (and I’ve got pretty broad shoulders) and there was too much fabric at the center back.  I pinched out the shoulder and back excess and it fit ok, but somehow I knew it just wasn’t it.

I was pretty frustrated since I’d put a fair bit of work into altering the pattern, but sometimes you just have to call it like you see it.  Not good enough was the initial verdict, so better just admit it and move on.

And moving on.

See, fits much better than the one up there.

The last bodice that fit me pretty darn well was Simplicity 1419 of my “galaxy fabric” dress.  Why not go back to that one and make some changes there.  I photocopied the front and back bodice pattern tissue and taped them together like a ransom note.  I drew in a rounded neckline and thought I’d try a muslin of this version.

As you can see it fits pretty darn well, as did the original dress so that’s not a big surprise.  It’s just nice to finally make something that works.  I will redraw the neckline curve so it’s a bit more open and I’m going to go forward with this version for my Aloha dress.  Well after I go to work tomorrow.

Seriously, this dress has been hard!

Turns out I’m still a Madonna wannabe

Imagine this a non shiny day dress. No trim, no nothin’

I have some Hawaiian fabric I got in Honolulu over the 4th of July and want to sew up and enjoy it.  It’s not a particularly precious fabric, it’s a poly/cotton blend with a floral border print.  Pretty darn inexpensive (about $5/yard) in fact.  I just like it and don’t want to make a hash out of making a dress with it.  I was attracted to McCall’s 6833 because it had that nice pleated skirt I’ll need for the border print skirt, and the bodice looks pretty cute too.  I decided to make the view C bodice because I wanted to get a lot of wear out of it and my need for a strappy, un-bra-wearable dress isn’t too greatl.

maddonaSo bodice muslin commenced and my first reaction was: Madonna cone bra.  Check it out, I snapped a boob picture in profile so you could see the pointy darts.  I’ve made my muslin from a gorgeous remnant of Japanese

So pointy and wrong.

cotton, much more gorgeous than my poly Polynesian print fabric and it still looks like ass.  That doesn’t bode well, does it?

Must hold onto it to simulate the weight of the skirt. Good news, that makes the neckline even more low cut.

So my options are to redraft the front cups and raise that neckline while I’m there.  Heck, I’m not breast feeding so that’s too much cleavage for a day dress.  Which is a fair bit of work.  Then remuslin.


Pick a different darn pattern!  Maybe take the bodice from my super fabulous, much worn Simplicity 1419 dress from May (! where’s the time gone!) and frankenpattern it to the McCall’s skirt?  I’d redraft the Simplicity neckline to a simple round neck, leave off the collar, sleeves and slit and that should work, I think.

Why is this dress so hard to bring to fruition?  I may just think all that over and make something else while I mull it over.  A palate cleanser so to speak.    I’m tired thinking of it.  No wonder I’m obsessed with jam.  Hull fruit, squish and cook!

Nothing but some berries

These blackberry bushes grow wild everywhere around these parts. I vow to pick some this year and make some jam.

I’ve got nothing crafty to share. I’ve not even cooked much lately. So today look at the pretty wild blackberry bushes that are common around here. I will do my best to pick some this year and make a jar of wild blackberry jam. Now that I’m a one jar jam girl.

Sewingwise, I’ve made a bodice for a dress that was just too huge to even think about fitting.  Next.  I’m going to toile a bodice for McCalls 6833 that I plan on making out of some of my fabric purchased on my recent Hawaii trip.  I hope this one fits better than the last pattern I tried.  And don’t worry if you click through and wonder why I’m making a lady princess dress.  I’m not, trust me on that one.

Someone stop me

What’s that Britney song? Oops I did it again.

I’m at work today in the middle of a trip and today we ended up in Los Angeles. This particular trip is one of early get ups. Very early indeed. I’ve gotten up at 2am (my time) every day so despite it being super early in LA, it’s really my late afternoon.

Does that mean I don’t walk over to the fabric district (1.5 miles each way mind you) to “just look”. No sir, it does not.

I confined my limited energy to one store (Michael Levine) which admittedly is super huge. I managed to buy 10 yards of fabric for an average of $5/yard including tax. Pretty freaking sweet. I wanted to buy some denim since LA is the home of jean manufacturing companies and the selection is amazing (and very cheap). I pawed through but couldn’t decide so I left it for another day.

After buying my prints and dots I procured a chicken torta with jalapenos at a neighborhood eatery and called it a day (after walking back 1.5 miles with 10 yards of fabric).

My plan for all this fabric is somewhat vague but I would like to make the April Rhodes Staple dress with one of these.  It’s an easy, travel friendly dress if done with the right fabric and two of these fabrics fit that bill (upper left and lower right).

Now it’s nap time!  Hope you’re out in the sun.

Why don’t they pay me to stay home and knit?

Every year at work I look forward to the autumn because my schedule goes back to normal and I can take some time off after summer unpleasantness.  This year, there has been no slackening of the frenetic work pace.  I’m still (over)working and suspect this will not ease unless I transfer to another base.  I am considering it, believe you me but a 6 hour plane ride before and after every trip isn’t fabulous.

This is a long explanation as to why I don’t have time to make all the things, or even some of the things, I’d like to make.  This is also why a pair of socks for a friend’s birthday is two weeks late.  ARGH!  This doesn’t stop me from having ideas, whims and fancies.  Maybe if I share I’ll actually remember I had such fancies.

Shibui Knits Peak Hat by Susan Lawrence and I love it!

Shibui Knits Peak Hat by Susan Lawrence and I love it!

On the knitting front I’m working on birthday socks (belated) and a cardigan for me.  The socks are 70% done and the cardigan consists of 3/4 of a sleeve that’s been completely ripped out twice.  Why would I be looking at knitting patterns on ravelry with projects in progress.  Clearly I’m ambitious, or just deluded.  Whatevs.  I really like Susan Lawrence’s pattern Peak Hat.  It’s cute, clever and very wearable.  It’s two strands of fingering held together which is about sport weight, isn’t it?  I’d love the Shibui Pebble yarn but that would be a bit more dosh than I’d spend on a hat.

My plan is to finish the BELATED birthday socks and then run to the yarn shop to find a bit of yummy to make this hat with.  Look!  A little charted moutain section and a handle at the top!  I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done.  I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done. I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done.

Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen

Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen

Sewingwise, I’d love to make a skirt from some dotted rayon that I bought for something else and changed my mind on (what’s new there?)  The skirt I want to make is this one.  It’s Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt and it’s super cute.  So what’s the hold up?  The skirt pattern is only available as a pdf which means printing, cutting, taping and ideally tracing off.  I just hate doing all that.  I really try to avoid pdf patterns and let’s face it – I could draft this pattern myself.  I have a degree in this after all.  It just takes forever.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to g**gle around to try to find a copy of the paper pattern.  Or maybe I’ll get off my arse and draft a skirt along these lines and see what happens.

Okay, back to browsing a bread baking book from the library.  Wait, that’s not on the to do list?!  Umm, just look away people.

Just chocolate

Despite flying round trip to Europe this past week I didn’t knit more than a row.  I must have been to busy doing I don’t know what.  No knitting progress shots, sorry.

Family stuff took up most of the day but I did find time to peruse the magazines in the shops and found two magazines I needed to take home.  One is Bernina Inspiration magazine.  It has what to my mind is a shar pei coat on the cover.  The center front has “waves” between the buttons.  The bottom part of the coat zips off and you can zip on an asymmetric skirt of just leave it off for a cropped coat.

Another garment in that magazine that I’ve become totally obsessed with is a wraparound vest.  I just adore the aesthetic of this simple garment, it’s almost like a Japanese design in it’s simplicity.  Check out the pattern, it’s two rounded off rectangles.  I think a steely gray knit fabric would be amazing.

The other magazine I bought is Sabrina Woman and I can honestly say I’d make every garment in this issue.  The tag line on the cover kind of translates to “cute separates – quick and easy sewing” and the contents are as advertised.  These are nice basics with cute details.  I have a crappy picture of the line drawings so you can see the bones of the magazine.  I hope I’ve got time to make a top before I have to head out to work.

What else did I bring back?  How about a crazy amount of chocolate?  Yup, that’s a lot and it’s all stuff you can’t buy here so I justified it rather easily.

Now I’m fighting jetlag but the sunshine helps immensely and westbound jetlag is easier to shake than eastbound.  I’ve also got lots of sugar fixes available should that become necessary.

Sewing plans or pie in the sky

After being gone for seven days last week I came home with every intention to collapse into a dampish heap.  But what do I spy when I get home?  Another fabulous edition of Burda Style Magazine.  The past three editions have been great – which is good because some of those summer ones sucked hard.  The past three are all gearing up for fall, and I love fall.  Yes, where I live fall is still very warm but that doesn’t mean I can’t peruse the half price wools at Stonemountain and dream of tweed things.

So I see all these things I need to make NOW!  I decided to compile a not at all comprehensive display so I can remember what the heck I was thinking a bit further down the timeline.  So far I’m kind of top heavy but I did sign up for the Jeanius class at Craftsy that I can’t wait to start, plus I’ve got the new Thurlow Pants pattern from Sewaholic.  Clearly I need to not work in order to get my personal sewing sweatshop up and running.

In addition to wanting to make everything in the whole world (apparently) there is also a most amazing coat pattern in the October Burda Style (can’t link since they’ve not got the October issue patterns up).  It’s a double breasted A-line short coat and I love it.  I made my first coat last year and it was fun.  A lot of work, but fun.  I may just succumb to temptation again if I find some nice coating in the half price room at Stonemountain.  There are dozens and dozens of amazing wools there at half price so don’t bet against seeing this project sometime.  When? I don’t know, but sometime.

So those some of my grand plans.  If I get any portion of these garments done I shall be a happy person.  Which one to start with?  I’ll go check my stash and decide.