Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Woven Hemlock Tees #3 and #4 : the loominous and sheeeep versions

Shortly after making my previous two woven hemlock tees, I decided to cut into some more fabric for some more easy sewing time ... what really put me over the edge with this pattern is that I pulled out 1 1/2 yds of brand spanking new drool-worthy fabric (44" wide) and was able to finagle my way into cutting out the hemlock from this amount.  

Hemlock #3 : the "loominous" one ....

I bought this fabric when it first came out, mainly because I was super curious before I invested more in a more time-consuming, larger project.  I purchased only 1 1/2 yards (and, note to self, please start buying 2 yards of fabrics!).  This really set me back as the only projects I know I can reliably make with 1 1/2 yards are sorbetto tops, everyday skirts, and scout tees.  (No wonder I've made so many of those!)  So -- I whipped up a quick woven hemlock tee.

Needless to say -- this fabric is divine.  I love it -- it's soft, lightweight and perfect for summer garments.  There will definitely be more loominous projects in my future!

This fabric, called "Big Love," was really interesting to work with.  There are essentially no repeats (that I could see) so that means that I didn't stress too much about matching.  It made me think of the classic ACT analogies : "this to this is like that to that."  In this case, Noro is to the knitting world like Loominous is to the sewing world.  Unique, dreamy and the base for very unique projects.

Can't wait to dream up my next garment!

Hemlock #4 : the "sheeeep" shirt

I have to admit that I probably love sheep just a little more than the average American, and not just because I am a knitter.  It's the wooly goodness, the varieties of all the sheep out there, how cute the little lambies are ... I could go on and on.  So, I'm generally a goner when it comes to "sheep" stuff.  But this amazing Japanese double gauze fabric, put out by Yuwa, especially got to me with all the little sheeps running around being herded by the border collie sheep dog.  I especially love the title of the fabric itself -- "sheeeeep".  (Try saying that in a sheepy voice and you might understand why I'm off in the search of more colorways of this line.)

It turned out, of course, as an incredible woven hemlock tee. I can't decide if I'd rather make an evening dress so that I feel like I'm wearing pajamas at fancy events (wearing sheep, of course), or just make an entire pajama set and be done with it.

I leave you with sheepy goodness.  Yes, this is me, wearing my sheeeep shirt, hangin' with a bunch of sheep, at the Estes Park Wool Market this past weekend.  Fun was had by all, and yes, there was some stash enhancement.   :)

Pattern : Hemlock Tee, in woven fabrics
Mods : the Loominous shirt was cut about 2-3" shorter to accommodate the limited yardage.  I like the shorter length!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Woven Hemlock Tees #1 and #2 : the lumberjack version and the fiesta version

I know that there are a lot of people with opinions on what type of fabrics clothing should be sewn with.   It's no big secret that I don't sew with knits a lot ... I think that will change one day, but in the meanwhile, as I'm increasing my sewing skills one by one, I feel perfectly at home sewing with quilting cottons and other woven fabrics.

Thus, when I came across a few versions of the Hemlock Tee in woven fabrics (exhibits A and B), I felt compelled to try out this pattern.   I'm beyond pleased with the end results!

I present : Woven Hemlock Tee #1 - the "lumberjack" version ...

I bought this flannel in the clearance section of my local Joann's thinking it would be perfect to wear on Fridays at my school where I teach (school colors are black and gold), as well as to try out a future pattern.  This was the perfect opportunity to whip up a quick shirt, and I love how it turned out!

This is a perfectly cozy shirt, the flannel is perfect, and it's hard for me to want to change anything on this shirt.  It does have the original longer length, but in the flannel it makes it cozy and oversized.  I approve!

I was so excited about the lumberjack shirt that I immediately cut into some fabric that had been hanging around my stash waaaay too long ... and so I present :

Woven Hemlock Tee #2 - the "fiesta" version ...

This project started years ago when I bought this fabric with the full intent to make a "fiesta" skirt.  This was the beginning of lofty aspirations (or, as I call it, stash enabling ...) and I was happy to finally put this fabric to good use as an experimental muslin of this pattern in quilting cotton.

I had the unfortunate experience of getting a Lionel Richie song stuck in my head and all that I could hear while sewing this shirt was "Fiesta ... Forever ...".  Nevertheless, I was happy with how the shirt turned out -- though I think that a heavier quilting cotton is not the BEST choice for this shirt ... a lighter weight cotton, or something like my previous cozy flannel version would be best.

I wore it on Cinco de Mayo this year, though I don't do a huge celebration in my Spanish class.  (There are so many lesser-known fiesta days to celebrate!)  There are sure to be more fiesta occasions in my class when I will make use of this shirt in the future!

I'd say I'm well on my way to becoming the Frizz ... which is exactly what I want. :)

Pattern: Hemlock Tee by Grainline
Mods: no big mods to either shirt, though I might experiment with the length in the future.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finished top! : Wiksten #2 : the sugar skull version

I made another Wiksten top! I'm embarrassed to say that I made it ... a while ago.  (Last fall?) However, it hasn't been blogged, so I might as well get around to it, right?   This one was made from an awesome Alexander Henry print of sugar skulls, which translates to "calaveras" (which, not coincidentally, is the name of this print).  The skulls have gold glitter on them and I always get a ton of compliments when I wear this top. 

I may have mentioned before that, as a Spanish teacher, I love to wear Spanish-themed clothing in my classroom.  It may or may not be a secret that I really wish I were The Frizz.  I even wore this tank top during Me Made May, on the celebratory last day of the school year ... 

I made this one a smaller size than the first version.  While roomy and comfy, my husband complained that the first version looks like "a tent" on me and is not flattering.  I take his criticism very constructively (that is his intent, after all), and I sized down for this.    While I absolutely adore this top for summer wear, the slightly low neckline is a little too hubba-hubba for a high school teacher, which translates to being able to wear this to professional development days before school starts, or in the classroom - but with a scarf. ;)    Lesson learned!  Watch that pesky neckline in the future.  Meanwhile, I do enjoy wearing this top!

Project notes :
Pattern : Wiksten - Tank Top
Fabric : Alexander Henry "Calaveras"
Mods : Size medium - no mods

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

it's a wrap ! me made may 2015 round up days 25-30 & reflections

All good things come to an end, and Me Made May has come and gone!

To recap, here are Days 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-24 and ...

Days 25-30 :

day 25 : patchwork tee + banner days everyday skirt + noro scarf
day 26 : (unblogged) anna maria horner woven hemlock tee + noro scarf
day 27 : scout tee + arroway shawl
day 28 : day of the dead sorbetto tank + denim everyday skirt
day 29 : day of the dead wiksten tank + denim everyday skirt + charlotte's web shawl
day 30 : t twist tee + charlotte web shawl

Last, but not least, I ended with Day 31 :

... a sewing machine scout tee & a noro scarf :

I first came across Me Made May a few years ago and felt very inspired by all of the great outfits that I saw ... when I began sewing for myself more last summer, I decided to take on the MMM challenge this year.  I'm so glad I did!

What I learned while playing along this month ...

--> that Instagram really is fun!  I've been on IG for years but have never quite felt like I had the time to engage on any level there.  My participation in MMM this month was a game-changer for me ... and I think I'll make the move to have more of an IG presence now.  I came across so many inspiring outfits and ideas -- this was really fun!  I even posted a "flipagram" of the entire month's outfits on instagram.

--> that despite the fact that I have made many many handknit items -- I only wear a small portion of them!  It's probably time to sort them out and let them go.

--> Speaking of handknit scarves ... I have found that there is a specific kind that I LOVE to wear.  Namely, large, comfy scarves in fingering weight yarns.  My favorites were my Charlotte's Web shawl (which I wasn't even slightly surprised about), and my Stephen West shawls (which I was actually quite surprised at!).   But, I really need to make more shawls in this variety in the future.

--> I have definite items I need to add to my handmade wardrobe ... mostly just basic items in the black, white and denim variety.  But, I am also inspired to make even more fun, colorful items, as I just love wearing them!  I'm currently curating a list of items that I hope to have made by MMM 2016.

So, I was quite pleased with myself that in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year for me (for both family and professional reasons) I managed to pull off the MMM challenge!

Friday, May 29, 2015

me made may 2015 round up days 19-24

We're nearing the end of Me Made May 2015, and I'll be both relieved to finish, and sad to see it come to an end!

So, before I finish off the month, let me recap days 19-24 for you ...

Day 19 : tea leaves cardigan + (favorite) charlotte's web shawl 
Day 20 : catnap bess tunic + sharktooth shawl 
Day 21 : hourglass sweater + radiant orchid streak cowl 
Day 22 : hand-dyed, handknit socks (+ mystery scarf that day)
Day 23 : flannel hemlock tee + scrollwork hat + wintertime bandit scarf
Day 24 : sheep hemlock tee + clapotis scarf

I'll be updating those hemlock tees soon ... ;)

My next MMM check-in will be the last of this month, and I'll have a lot to say at the end of this experience of all handmade wearables in the month of May!  See you then --

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Staple Dress #1 : bikes !

I finished a dress in Me Made May -- a Staple Dress, in fact!

I am so excited to add this dress to my repertoire. I bought the pattern ages ago ... like, at least a year ago, but maybe two?? ... and it was one of the motivations that I had to start making my own things.  I am embarrassed that it took this long to make the dress -- because it's quick, and awesome!  I can see why there are so many of them out there in the blogosphere.

I used an inexpensive quilting cotton to try this pattern out.  I'm glad I did, though I don't think I'll make many serious changes next time I made this.  I do think that I'd like to try the hi-low hem in a different fabric, but I'm also pretty happy with the straight hem in a quilting cotton.  I see the possibilities ahead of me ...

This is the dress equivalent of the scout tee, or the everyday skirt ... which means I'll end up making somewhere between three and a dozen of them.   Expect more to appear here!

Pattern: Staple Dress in cheapo quilting cotton
Mods: none! Next time I'll do more rows of shirring, and lower down

Monday, May 25, 2015

me made may 2015 round up days 13-18

I'm pretty excited to be able to keep up with my goal of wearing two handmade items per day.  I'm sharing here the photos from my instagram, recording days 13-18 of Me Made May ...

The me-mades :
#13 : catnap scout tee + noro striped scarf
#14 : bikes staple dress + (another) noro scarf
#15 : day of the dead scout tee + denim everyday skirt + (yet another) noro scarf (in Matsuri, project not on ravelry)
#16 : refashioned sorbetto top + mara shawlette
#17 : bikes everyday skirt + color affection shawl
#18 : portfolio shirt + charlotte's web shawl 

This has been an interesting challenge and I've had a few ah-ha! moments about my wardrobe, what I wear, what I have in my closet, and what goals I will set for myself upon finishing this month.  I'll have a lot to share at the end of this challenge!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

me made may 2015 round up days 7-12

This year's Me Made May is continuing ... I'm holding strong in managing to snap a photo a day, though I will admit it's becoming more of a chore to accomplish this, especially in this busy time of the year.  However, trends are emerging in my wardrobe and I am starting to have some big ah-ha! moments in terms of what my wardrobe is, and what I want it to be.  At the end of the month I think I'll be ready to articulate it all.

Here are my days 7 - 12, as recorded on my instagram ...

How about you?  Are you participating this year?  What knowledge has creating a handmade wardrobe sparked for you?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Scout Tee #7 -- surprise, a catnap version!

So, yes, I have a Scout Woven Tee problem.  I was feeling pretty bad about my lack of diversity until I came across the blog One Million Dresses and the amazing Sarah who has made over one hundred Emery Dresses, and blogs them all.  I decided that my Scout Tee addiction isn't so bad after all, and that other seamstresses like to make and re-make easy and favorite patterns just like me.  (I wouldn't mind moving on to the Emery Dress one day and making a million cute frocks like Sarah's ...)

Having said that, I am actually venturing out into some other patterns, but had already cut out these two Scout Tees and felt like I needed to finish them up.

Presenting Scout Tee #7 : yet another miáucoles tee shirt, a.k.a. another catnap top.

I had cut this out before I made my recent double-catnap bess top ... and actually, for the record, I don't see anything wrong with owning an entire wardrobe of catnap clothing.  (Lizzy House might have told me that she's considering a Catnap 2 line ...)

I so love this cute print, called "Cattitude."  It's perfect for miáucoles (my version of Spanish-Wednesday-meets-cats), right?

It made an appearance in my instagram Me Made May wardrobe before I had a chance to blog it here.  I'm also wearing a hitchhiker scarf and a really really old Koigu hat (unfortunately, so old it was never recorded in ravelry!).  If I look grumpy, it's because I was standing in the rain, though you might catch a glimpse at the amazing rainbow that was *right* behind me.  (I almost ran away to look for the gold!)  It's been raining straight for the past week here in Colorado, which is highly unusual -- and we're expecting up to 10" of snow for Mother's Day this weekend!

(Waiting for summertime ...)

Notes :
Pattern : Scout Woven Tee
Fabric : Catnap by Lizzy House
Mods : slightly longer hemline

Thursday, May 7, 2015

me made may 2015 round up days 1-6

I've been having a lot of fun participating in this year's Me Made May ...  I had set the goal to participate some time last year after having sat out on the sidelines for the last few years.  I'm really glad that I jumped on the bandwagon this year!  If you are so inclined, feel free to visit me on my Instagram account -- though I joined years and years ago, it hasn't seen a lot of action until now.

Here's my first round-up of my me made outfits :

Day 1 : bicycle skirt + arroway shawl
Day 2 : purple Debbie Bliss Grace cardigan + day of the dead Wiksten tank + Charlotte's Web shawl
Day 3 : galaxy Everyday Skirt + sharktooth shawl 
Day 4 : long-sleeved Nani Iro Scout Tee + Purl Bee Quilted Vest + Esjan shawl 
Day 5 : Piñata Hemlime Tee + shawktooth shawl + Purl Bee Quilted Vest
Day 6 : Catnap Scout Tee + hitchhiker shawl + really old Koigu KPPPM hat

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

my sewing corner {& stash!}

I've been having fun the last couple of weeks participating in Gray All Day's link up of finished projects.   This week Helena decided to do something different -- a "show-your-stash" link up party.  I once showed a part of my craft room (ahem, three years ago?) here on this blog -- but that craft room, which I never got around to completely documenting, is now gone.  It was the fourth bedroom in my house, and when organized and tiny, though it is a small bedroom, it was glorious.  I loved it!  But, when it become untidy it became a place where I shut the door, and did my crafting in other places.  It became a reminder of everything that I *don't* want in my crafting -- obligations (of things I needed to make for others), unfinished objects (that I didn't really want to finish), and languishing piles (which were a result of not having enough time in my craft room!).   You  may or may not know what I'm talking about here. ;)

Enter the decision to turn the guest room back into a guest room, and the random back corner of my basement into my crafting area.  This is, in fact, a much longer story, but let's leave it at the point in Spring 2014 when my basement flooded, and we decided to take everything out and put it all back -- in a more re-organized way.

Now -- I'm left with a craft room I can use, and when it's tidy, I love!  The "tidy" part is ongoing, by the way, so excuse the "in-progress" look of my following photos, which were taken after about 30 seconds of tidying.

First, I have my "yarn wall."  Who doesn't want a yarn wall? (Okay, maybe a non-yarn addict wouldn't, but still ... )  This is the wall that divides my basement from my crafting area and it houses a good portion of my yarn and my crafting books.  Stuffed into cubbies are the "significant" amounts of yarn, and in the boxes are the smaller amounts of yarn (generally 1-3 balls), sorted by weight.  This is of course catalogued in ravelry (my for-sale-stash is located here if you are interested!) and I frequently consult my stash to see what's there before I make an impulse buy (thank you, Dizzy Sheep, for the enabling moments you've given me).

Next, I have the area to the right of my sewing table (in which my sewing machine is a Pfaff from almost 20 years ago -- my first big purchase after getting married!) ... Here, I have my collection of "garment-amount" fabrics.  As I've dived into making a handmade wardrobe this year, this has grown ... a bit.  I'm cutting myself off at the space in which I have to house fabric.

It's getting tight, which means I need to start making stuff again!  (That is good.)

Then, I have my old Apple computer on a dresser that was once in my daughter's room but now houses assorted crafty goodies (wrapping supplies, shipping supplies, zippers & other notions ... ).  And, to the right of that is my "smaller insignificant" fabrics.

These are generally 1/2 yard, or less, and folded as per the ruler fold in order to fit into the cubbies.  I actually just moved these from the spare bedroom into this space recently and was unsure what to do when my ruler folding trick didn't work -- then decided to move some extra books into this space as fillers.  I think it works pretty well.  Here's a close-up of the scrappy goodness ...

To the right of that is the craft room-turned guest room, though I still keep my scraps of fabric on the door to the guest room.  When we have guests, I'll move it, but for now it makes an easy spot to store extra fabric scraps.  If you can't tell, it's overflowing right now ... I need to get on that whole "using-my-scraps-thing" soon!

All of this reminds me of my favorite quote on housing a "stash" of fabric / yarn / what-have-you.  The question is : How much is enough or too much?  The answer : "Enough" that keeps you creative, but "too much" stilts your creativity.  You decide where you are at!  In my current crafting space, I'm just teetering over the edge, which means I need to do some sorting and some making.  (That isn't a bad thing.)

So, thanks for taking a look at my little crafting haven in my basement!

What about you -- do you have a space to create?  Do you have a way to organize your supplies?  And, most importantly, do you have a favorite scrap quilt or scrap project to use fabric scraps in??

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Everyday Skirt #4 : the denim version

Thinking ahead to MeMadeMay, and my first time participating in the event, I was wondering what basic items I could add to my wardrobe.  A staple for me are denim skirts that I wear once or twice a week -- so it was a foregone conclusion that I would need to add a me-made denim skirt to my handmade wardrobe.  It was an equally easy decision to use my favorite skirt pattern -- the Everyday Skirt!

Being a heavier denim (8oz?), the skirt is rather full and does not drape terribly well.  Without the elastic gathering in the back, I think this would be a perfect weight for this skirt.  With the fabric gathering, however, the skirt comes off as a little too large.  Not so large that it will keep me from wearing it, of course, but something to consider for this pattern.  

Overall, I still feel very pleased with the fit.  My husband snapped this shot in our garden before we left for work one morning.   (Here I'm wearing it with my color affection scarf, tied as an infinity scarf.)   I still need to figure out how I am going to manage a daily photoshoot of my Me Made outfits, if I decide to even go the daily-photo-route.  (But, why not try?)  I'm not so sure the "early morning photo in the garden" is a strategy I'll be keeping, however.  

I don't have a lot to add about this pattern that I haven't already said, except that in going with the denim-clothing theme, I added a gold thread in a wide zig-zag stitch.  Though my zig-zag is a little uneven, it turned out pretty well and was a fun addition to this skirt.  I think I'll keep the zig-zag topstitching around!

Notes :
Pattern : Everyday skirt by Liesl & Co
Fabric : Heavier denim (I'd like to try this in a chambray!)
Notes : Size small 
{{on kollabora here}}

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Purl Soho Quilted Vest

In all of the things I've knit for myself, I have to admit that there are a few garments I've never made ... I'm talking about things like : 
  • knitted skirts (this one and this one are both high up in my queue, though I should probably just make this pattern first)
  • knitted dresses (not sure I'll ever make this one but I'd like to)
  • knitted underwear (okay, I'm joking, I have no plans there, though I do find this pattern intriguing as a layering piece)
Likewise, in sewing, I'd like to make:
  • a coat (this one has caught my eye!)
  • undergarments (though this simple bralette is high on my list of to-dos)
  • athletic wear (or my favorite new term, athleisure wear) ... and this may change one day.
So, I'm excited to share that I just completed a Purl Bee reversible quilted vest!  You can imagine my overjoyment with my most recent garment, not only a pattern that is totally new to me, but also one that leaves me only two sleeves away from completing an actual coat one day.  
In addition to the place that I anticipate this vest taking in my #MeMadeMay15 wardrobe, it is simply an amazing thing to have made.  I wanted to make this when Purl Bee came out with the first version a year ago ... then when they updated the design this year, I had to cave.  I mixed elements from both vests to come up with my final version.  Here, I'm wearing the vest over a sweater I made ages ago (really!) but still love -- so the warm vest over a handknit sweater is a match made in heaven.  It's only upon blogging this pair that I realize how perfect they are -- the hourglass sweater is a pattern by Joelle Hoverson, owner of Purl Soho, orignator of the quilted vest pattern.  

I used a simple horizontal line quilting across the denim I chose for the outer fabric paired with wool batting for the middle.  How have I never purchased wool batting before?  I'm in love, and am dying to make a winter bed quilt with wool batting now.  I used a fabric I had been coveting for the interior -- a simple geometric print by Carolyn Friedlander from her Doe collection.  I just love her aesthetic!  I could make an entire wardrobe out of her prints and be happy.  (Okay, with some key Catnap, Nani Iro, and just a few others thrown in ...)  I did not quilt the interior to the exterior, but followed the instructions on the second quilted vest so the lining would not be attached.

By far the most time-consuming aspect was hand-stitching the binding on to finish the vest.  Luckily I had been saving the Creativebug series of "How to Design Fabric" for a rainy day, and this was my chance to binge watch three of my favorite fabric designers talk about their process while I slowly slip-stitched the binding.

This was actually my first time to sew in snaps -- such a simple task, and I couldn't believe I'd never done it before!  It's fun to slowly check those things off my list of skills or garments that I hadn't ever accomplished, and then I do accomplish them.   Quilted garment? Check!  Snaps? Check!

In the end, I thought I might like the lining-side out better, but I find the denim-side more wearable. Either way, I just love this vest and can't wait to plan for a second version!

Notes :
Pattern: Purl Soho Quilted Vest version one and two
Fabric: dark denim outer / Carolyn Friedlander Doe "Sharp in Black"
size : medium
Mods: mixture of elements of both vests
{{on kollabora here}}