Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In threes and out to sea

The kind of weird thing about having a blog is that you're not really sure if anyone's reading it - but they *might* be, so you just kind of have to assume they are. Especially when it comes to gifts. I've actually been sewing quite a bit recently, but everything has been gift sewing. I'm not sure the intended recipients actually look at my little ol' blog, but just in case they do, I've got to keep some stuff under wraps, until they have it in their hands. Fortunately last week I was able to go to my parents' house and spend time with my SIL and niece over my niece's birthday. Besides having a great time (especially since my son and niece mainly kept each other occupied), I was finally able to give her the gifts I've been working on:

Isn't this a cute outfit? I was actually only planning on knitting the sweater for her, but I decided she needed a whole outfit.

The pattern for the sweater is In Threes by Kelly Herdrich, which you can find here if you are on Ravelry. I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in the Lotus colorway, because I knew it would need to be washable, and the color is soooo my niece.

This is a wonderful pattern for little girls, I think, just the right amount of detail and I enjoyed knitting it. Kids sweaters go so fast, and I'm nothing if not an impatient knitter. I love the buttons, but I'm afraid they're a little too small and will keep popping out of the buttonholes, but my SIL has the skillz (with a z) to fix it if she needs to.

The dress is the Music Box Jumper pattern from oliver and s, which you can find here. The pattern is one of their easiest ones, ranked one "scissor", but I have to admit I psyched myself out a bit having read a bunch of blog posts with complaints of difficulty. The pattern came together in an afternoon, was easy as pie. I decided to try out a few new techniques since it was going so well, including French seams. I attempted a blind hem, but it didn't really work out because of the special placket used in the pattern. The fabric is Anchors Away in navy from the out to Sea collection by Sarah Jane. The whole line is beautiful and the fabric itself feels especially wonderful, has a nicer drape than typical quilting cotton. I am trying to avoid buying the whole line, but I think I might fail in that.

I bought the buttons on the back at an antique store in town. That is by far the best place to find buttons - they're so cheap! Much better quality than what you could buy in a store. I used the buttonhole and button functions on my new machine - couldn't be easier!

I was able to see the sweater on my niece while we were there and it was adorable - of course, she's pretty adorable too, so that helps! I tried to get a picture of her in it, but you know how 3 year olds can be...

Now I have to find some other girls to make dresses for!

Friday, September 14, 2012


I finally got some sewing done for myself! And now I'm not so sure I can stop...

When I first saw the Washi Dress pattern by Made by Rae, I knew I wanted to give it a try. It looked so cute on Rae, and it had so many options for customization. I bought it right away. Like, the-day-it-came-out right away. At first I couldn't decide if I wanted to make the tunic, to try the pattern out with less fabric commitment, or the dress, but I decided to go all out and do the dress. I picked up 3 1/2 yards of Dear Stella Maasai Mara in gray and was all ready to go. And then it sat while I did some "obligation" sewing. The other day I just couldn't wait any longer and dove right in.

I was nervous from the start about the fit. Looking at the Flickr pool of dresses and tunics other people had done, I noticed that none of the other sewers were quite as, well, ample in the chest area (D) as I am. But I really wanted it to work, so I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl.

This pattern was a dream to sew. It was so fast, I literally sewed it in a day, after I decided on fit. The fit was definitely the hardest part. By chest measurement, I fell in between the XL and XXL. I started out with an XL muslin - definitely not big enough for the ladies. I then decided that I was going to attempt a Full Bust Adjustment (doesn't that sound awesome? It's not.) I looked at the links on Rae's Washi page and gave it a shot, but I don't think I understood exactly what was going on. That muslin did not turn out well. I finally just bit the bullet and made an XXL muslin. The bust fit well, but everything else was just a little big. I decided to go for it anyway, knowing I could belt the waist.


I think it turned out pretty well! I made the XXL with no bust adjusments. I was a little worried that the skirt would be way too full in that size, so I actually followed the tunic line instead to make the skirt a little more narrow. I did the little U collar and the cute little sleeves, though the dress looked just as cute without them. I left the pockets off, as I was worried they would be too bulky with the more narrow skirt, but when I wear the dress, I feel like I want to put my hands in some pockets. I will definitely put them on the next one.

I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the back, I love the shirring! That was the other part I was worried about but it couldn't have been easier. I feel like I want to use elastic thread on everything I make now!

I can't wait to try another version - especially because I am determined to master the FBA. The darts on the bodice make the fit of this so nice, but being able to do the FBA, I think, would make it a perfect fit. It's so hard to find dresses and fitted shirts off the rack that actually fit the girls, I would love to be able to make them. I did buy some fabric with the tunic in mind, so that'll be my next project. Like everyone else who has tried this pattern, I want to make a whole wardrobe of these!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Taking care of business

I was really excited about getting my fabric and sewing up my new curtains. When the ginormous, 26 lb package showed up on my front step last week, I was pretty psyched. I pulled the two rolls with 12 yards each out of the plastic and thought, "Huh. What am I going to do with this?" I mean, 24 yards of 5 foot wide fabric is a lot to deal with! The first thing I wanted to do was make sure that I actually liked the fabric. Since I'm using those clippy ring things to hang the curtains anyway, I just laid the roll at the bottom of the window and pulled the fabric up until I could clip it onto the rod. I l-o-v-e-d the pattern I picked out for the living room, but the dining room? Not so much. Sigh. And I got a swatch and everything! It just goes to show that a little 6" square of fabric is not really a good representation of how the pattern will look on 12 yards. I tried to like it, I really did, but in the end it was just a little too 70s for my taste. Luckily, has a fabulous return policy, so I just called them up and they had UPS email me a free return label. I just have to go drop off the giant package tomorrow. I think for now I'll hold off on the dining room curtains until I get a little more going decor-wise in there.

So I did finally sew up my living room curtains and they look fantastic - except for the fact that they are all different lengths, but at this point I don't really care because they all end behind furniture. Maybe one day when I finally get the furniture I actually want in there I'll fix them, but for now we'll call it good. That much fabric is such a pain to deal with, I just wanted them done. I really had to make myself sit down and finish them, too. I've come to realize that while I love homemade curtains in theory - cheaper, higher quality, and unlikely to find in a friend's house - I really don't actually like to sew them. Well, I probably only have to make 6 more panels for the house. Bleh.

Besides the curtains, I did get some other house related stuff done. The stairs have really been bugging me since we moved in, and while they are still not the wooden stairs of my dreams, I think I spiffed 'em up a bit.

I finally got the stair trim painted white and decided I wanted the balusters to be white as well. The whole thing was actually very pretty stain and it hurt my heart a little to paint over it, but I really like the way it looks now against the gray wall. I sweet-talked hubby into painting the hall up the stairs this past weekend, which was no small feat and required a sort of self-made catwalk to reach the top of the wall. There's that pesky roll of unwanted fabric in the picture there. Just to remind me of my error in judgement. And you may notice the door - remember the dark brown monstrosity of a front door? Several coats later - much brighter! I'm not sure why its practically neon in this picture, but in real life it is a nice mellow bright blue. Is there such a thing? Here are a couple of (possibly blurry) befores:

Not bad, I think! It's coming along and inching closer to what I envision in my head.

I did finish my little baby gift project, but of course in my rush to get it out the door I forgot to take pictures. It was cute, too. I am working on another project that I promise to get pictures of, but since it's a gift, not yet! I am really trying to get some stuff finished so I can start my Washi dress for me!