Monday, March 25, 2013

A Washi Tunic

The past few weeks I've been on a selfish sewing bender. I think it's kind of a backlash from the (little bit of) Christmas sewing I did and the fact that I no longer feel like laying on the couch 24 hours a day and puking my brains out (thank you, second trimester!) Also, I've finally hit the point in pregnancy when I can no longer deny the fact that my belly hangs out just a little bit from the bottom of most of my non-pregnancy shirts.

Maternity clothes are expensive and they never go on sale, because stores don't need to put them on sale - we pretty much have to buy them. You also only wear them for about 6 months, times however many kids you have. Unless you're a Duggar, that's a pretty high cost per wear. With my son, I didn't go crazy with the maternity clothes - I worked through most of my pregnancy and scrubs are comfy and fairly forgiving. I did buy several pairs of maternity pants (jeans, cords, khakis), a few tees and tanks, which I am happily using this time around. But coming off of a long, cold winter, I decided I wanted, no, needed some cute, springy, comfy clothes. So I've been slowly building my "maternity" wardrobe. I put maternity in quotes, because I am trying to make things that will look just as cute without a bun in the oven - trying to drive down that cost per wear...

Last year, when I made my Washi dress, I immediately knew I wanted to make a tunic version. In fact, I bought fabric to make 2 tunics. But I also knew I needed to do a Full Bust Adjustment, or FBA, and I was daunted. All of the blog posts and tutorials I read seemed really involved and confusing. A couple months later, I did work up the courage to attempt it and managed to come up with a pretty well-fitting Washi bodice muslin. And then it got shifted to the bottom of the pile again to make way for Christmas sewing. I've always thought the Washi would work well for maternity as well as non-maternity, so I pulled out my yardage and got to work.

The main fabric is Native Foliage in cocoa from Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House. I love this collection for its bright Spring-y colors, but this fabric in particular because the beautiful colors pop right off the dark background. That's kind of my thing.

I added a band of Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Clementine to the bottom, kind of as an afterthought. I tried it on before I hemmed it and decided that, while it was long enough now, I might want a little extra length in the home stretch, when my belly goes from this:

to this:

I was pretty amazed I had something in the stash that matched. I love how the shot cotton picks up the little coral and pink strawberries in the fabric. I had tossed around using an emerald tonal print I have, but I am so glad I went with the shot cotton. I love the stuff!

I also did the simple U neckline this time, instead of the U-shaped cutout. I can't decide which I like more. The cut-out definitely gives it a little more interest, but this way was easier. I stitched down the facing as well, so that the stitching is visible. I'm not sure it added enough to the top, especially considering it seems to highlight some facing issues I had. The fabric is dark enough to hide it for the most part.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Now I need to knit a cute Spring cardigan to go over it! I have some voile fabric earmarked for another Washi, but I think I'm going to try out a new knit pattern first...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chirp Chirp...

Sorry about the sound of crickets around here - seems like Christmas came and went and turned right into March! And as the 2 people who actually read this blog pointed out to me, I haven't posted in about 3 months. Yikes.

Well, I made lots of wonderful things for Christmas, some of them so last minute I was actually casting off as the plane was touching down on my way to see the intended recipient. And there was one gift I was working on into January. However, everything managed to come off mostly without a hitch.


That was months ago. In the interested of moving on to better and brighter (and warmer) things, I'll just post a few pictures in this post with a little description and we'll move on. By the way, this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I forgot to take pictures of a lot of my handmade gifts. Nope, nothing at all.

This is the pillow I made for my friend in New Mexico. It was super last minute, considering it had to be done in time to mail it without paying to overnight it. I didn't follow a pattern or tutorial, just kind of came up with it on my own with some visual inspiration from Pinterest. This Christmas I made a huge effort to use what I already had - this started as a charm pack of V & Co's Simply Color I had been hoarding. I loved the rainbow of colors. I had a bit of trouble with the back, and the pieces that make up the envelope are not as long as I like, but it works. I used an amazing down pillow form I got at for WAAAYYY cheap. I bought several for future pillow endeavors.

Excuse the wrinkles :) This is the Little Red Riding Hood cape I made for my niece. I used the pattern from the oliver and s book Little Things to Sew. I gussied it up a little by making it with red wool coating - I wanted it to be both something she could play dress up in and something nice to wear out. I lined it with some pretty navy and white dots and added a wooden button. I also top stitched around the whole thing, even though that wasn't in the pattern. I think it made a huge difference in the polish. I added a beautifully illustrated version of Little Red Riding Hood to the package - I had no idea how, um, graphic the original story is! Don't worry, I read it to my own son first to make sure it wasn't too scary...

This lonely fella is half of a pair of boot cuffs I knitted for my SIL. Yes, I did make 2, I just didn't get around to taking a picture of both! I used the Boot Candy Boot Toppers pattern by Sara Gresbach, found here on Ravelry. I used stash yarn and I thought they turned out pretty cute, though I did have an issue trying to decided on a bind-off.

And finally, the sort-of finished product I had been working on in this post. This is the gift I finished on the plane. Well, I bound off on the plane. I hadn't finished the crocheted edge on the button band you see above, sewn on the buttons, or blocked. But I wrapped it up and gave it to my mom and - hold your breath - she seemed to like it! She really seemed to like it! I told her she could pick the buttons and she surprised me by picking these red ones we found at the little fiber shop in Southport, NC. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it on her yet, since that blocking picture above was taken on the day we left to come home. She did email me the first time she wore it to work to tell me everyone loved it and thought it was store-bought, which is apparently one of the highest compliments you can get as a sweater knitter. With this cardigan, I now feel that I have finally knit my first real sweater, and though this one was a bear, I am working on another for myself right now, so I guess it didn't scar me for life.

So, that's it for Christmas. I suppose if my (many) neighbors can leave their lights up into March, I can blog about it in March, right? Next time, some more current stuff, promise.