Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bess top #1 : the catnap tunic

You may already know that I have a problem with cat-themed clothing (being the calico lover), but I couldn't help but to make a double-catnap top.   But, what top?  I went back and forth for a while then decided to forge into a new-to-me pattern -- the Bess Top, tunic version.  (I may or may not have been subconsciously influenced by Rachel's Catnap Bess, which I had evidently pinned to my pinterest board previously.)  So, I topped off the back of the top with the contrasting fabric and came up with a cat-version color-blocked Bess tunic.

I'm mostly happy overall with how this turned out ... there were a few bumps along the way including my first-ever knit fabric bias trim.  I'm not sure if I love this new technique or not -- it felt both easier and more difficult than the previous bias bindings I've used on my Scout tees and other tops.

One problem I had was that I cut out the pockets, but in my excitement to sew up the top, I forgot to include them!  It's okay, because after I try out the Cabin tunic pattern, I might opt to add in some faux-placket pockets like the Cabin has.  I put on my tunic and headed out for the day (with my husband graciously grabbing a quick iPhone photo in the sunlight) ...

 ... and I wore it to a class at Fancy Tiger Crafts with Lizzy House!  The class that she taught was about the Meadow Quilt -- a very interesting class, where I learned a new technique called the "six-minute-circle."  I couldn't tell if I was the coolest person in the class, wearing a double-catnap top in front of Lizzy House, or maybe the strangest person in the class, wearing a double-catnap top in front of Lizzy House.  Given that I am used to being strange on a regular basis (hello, high school teacher), I prefer to think of myself as the former, not the latter.

There are some things I'll change next time around in this pattern -- downsizing, pockets, different fabrics, better control of my knit bias facing ... but for now, I'm pretty pleased with my end result.  (Oh, and my Meadow Quilt?  Not so sure when that will get done ...)

Notes :
Pattern : Bess Top by imagine gnats
Fabric : Catnap by Lizzy House
Mods : none, but size 12 made - next time I'll definitely size down -- though I still intend to add pockets à la Cabin Tunic
{{on kollabora here}}

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Scouts #5 (the February one) and #6 (another miaucoles tee)

Despite the fact that I am actually sewing other things, I need to blog a few recent Scout Woven Tees that I completed ...

Scout #5 : the February Scout

My handmade wardrobe plan for the month of February was to insert as many red- and pink-colored garments into my wardrobe as possible.  As such, I grabbed this Jennifer Paganelli design from Joann to try out the roomier swing back version of the Scout Tee.

It's funny that I had my son snap this picture on our way out to school in the morning (trying to catch the sunlight while I could get it!) -- I took off my jacket, snapped a quick photo, and realized later that my go-to hat this winter (Rikke in malabrigo worsted) has a strange pooling action going on.  I knew this already, but seeing it in a photo made it really stand out to me.  In addition, I'd never quite noticed how the tips of my color affection shawl sort of pop out grey!  This is an added benefit to blogging what I wear, I suppose.

Project notes :
Pattern : Scout Tee #5 
Fabric : Floral Stripe by Jennifer Paganelli
Mods :  - Size 6 made, with full back adjustment
{{On Kollabora here}}

That brings us to Scout #6 : another miáucoles tee

I can't get enough cat-themed clothing into my wardrobe.  Before you think that it's just about being another crazy cat lady (which, being the calico lover, I of course am), you need to remember that I'm a Spanish teacher and that each Wednesday in my class is celebrated as "miáucoles," or the cat version of the regular (and more boring IMHO) miércoles.  (I may or may not insert random cat memes in Spanish throughout my powerpoints on Wednesdays ... while wearing cat-themed clothes, of course.)

I added a bit more oomph in the back, or more swing à la slash-and-spread of clothing design, inspired by Jen's Madewell Scout.

Of note in this tee was my failure at creating a slit in the neck, as Jen did in her Madewell Scout Tee version.  It turned out ... okay.  By okay, I mean wearable, but I'm not sure pleased with it.  I'm not giving up on this technique quite yet.  I'm pretty sure my inability to pull off this slit came from the store-purchased binding that I used.

Project notes :
Pattern : Scout Tee #6
Fabric : Catnap by Lizzy House in Finn Pink
Mods :  - Size 6 made, neck slit added, swingy back adjustment
{{On Kollabora here}}

Monday, March 9, 2015

Portfolio tunic #1 : the crazy calacas + marionetas version

I'm back today to share something I made recently that I'm super pleased with : my (first) Lisette Portfolio tunic.

Though I finished my first Lisette Portfolio top as practice for this tunic, I dove straight into my "nice fabric" to make this as quickly as possible.  Officially, this was supposed to be one of my February sews -- my colors of the month to add into my handmade wardrobe were pink + red -- but I just finished this up this week.  Actually, I think I would have made my self-imposed February deadline but I unfortunately dropped my Rowenta iron in exactly the wrong way and it exploded.  (Or, it at least broke into too many pieces to fix.)  This left me agonizing over what kind of iron to replace it with for several days, and then waiting for Amazon Prime to deliver it.  Needless to say, I was able to finish it finally.   I made it out of a Day of the Dead Alexander Henry fabric that only a crazy Spanish teacher would wear. (Enter me ...) :)

There's not much to say about this amazing tunic that I will love for years on end -- except, did I mention how much I love it??  The fit is perfect -- thanks to the experimental top I was able to size down confidently and I think my smaller size fits well.

The pockets are sublime.  They are perfect for my days spent running around as a teacher with euros stuffed in the pockets (my classroom equivalent of participation points), white board markers, and remote control powerpoint clickers.

I think my little front detail turned out great - I used a gold top stitching and I managed to sew it all rather straight so it looks pretty even all the way around the neckline.

And, I love the button detail on the back, once again.   I see myself making many more of these tunics ... though I'll perhaps vary the fabric choice (dark linen would be nice?) or sleeve length (longer sleeves for the winter, perhaps?).  We'll see ...

Notes :
Pattern : Lisette Portfolio (unavailable but the updated Cappuccino dress is here)
Fabric : Alexander Henry Marionetas in Pink
Mods : none - size 14 made.
{{on Kollabora here.}}

Monday, March 2, 2015

Portfolio shirt #1 : the steampunk mardi gras version

I've found a new pattern to obsess over : the Lisette Portfolio shirt (Simplicity 2245 View C).  I'd been eyeing the Cappuccino Dress (which is the updated, available version of the Portfolio dress) when I remembered I'd purchased this Lisette pattern a while back before I had my sewing mojo going.  I figured I'd give this pattern a go with some fairly inexpensive fabric I had sitting around in my stash.  

I was glad I gave it a first shot in this fabric because it turned out a little large and there were definitely some tricks I had to figure out before I attempt this in a more cherished fabric.  

However, I am definitely pleased with the shirt overall, though the fabric admittedly is quite strange ... it's like a steampunk version of mardi gras : fleur-de-lis + spectacles with floating eyebrows + pocketwatches-cum-moths ... in a mardi gras colorway.  I don't know what I was thinking when I purchased this fabric, but I will admit that the busy pattern totally hides my learning curve mistakes.  This was officially my first version of a self facing neckband, which was tricky for me to figure out but it seems to have come together!

The little button tab detail in the back was brilliant -- also a first -- and if I continue to make a gazillion Scout Tees then I will definitely consider this as a modification.  

In these pictures I'm wearing the shirt (on two different occasions) with my 2014 Pantone scarf, my so-called "radiant orchid streak."  If you're a knitter, I totally recommend this quick infinity scarf pattern, the Blue Streak.  

Now ... the Portfolio Tunic is definitely an upcoming project !

Notes :
Pattern : Lisette Portfolio shirt, view C
Fabric : random fabric purchased at Hobby Lobby
Mods : none, size 16. Turned out large so next time I'll make a 14. 
{{on kollabora here.}}