Monday, September 1, 2014

Self-Stitched September

Has Self-Stitched September lost it's appeal or usefulness?

(Image taken from So Zo)

In a quick Google search I found that SSS was last mass observed in 2011, back when I was new to sewing and pledging to wear all self-made clothes every day was a daunting task. Well my stash is now mountainous (it may have collapsed one of the shelves on my bookcase) and I can fairly confidently pledge to wear handmade a few days every week, so here goes:

For September 2014 I, Laura of Creating Distractions, pledge to wear at least one Me Made, altered, or refashioned garment at least four days a week.

Housekeeping details:
1. I will post weekly round ups.
2. Mirror photos are entirely acceptable.
3. I am allowed to repeat items, but only after I've worn all my handmades (ugh).
4. I'm going to try something, mostly as an experiment because I haven't figured out all the details and because it appeals to me for some reason. I'm assigning points for wearing my handmade garments: 1 for every garment worn this month, 2 for newly finished items worn. I was thinking of allowing myself some sort of prize at the end of the month if a certain number of points is met (22), but am indecisive. Instead I might use the points as some sort of statistic.

We'll see how all of this goes.

Oh! And I found evidence that at least one other soul plans to participate in in SSS '14: Jennifer at Sorting Buttons. Blessings and good sewing to her this September!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Linen, Light, and Bright

 With this photo shoot I have learned something about myself:
I don't like taking photos by myself.

 Before I realized that I needed to move myself.

Or taking photos in general.
But I digress.

I present my first Cambie. A wearable muslin (because I'm refuse to spend sewing time on something that I'm not going to use... although I haven't yet started fussing with button holes...) 
squeezed out of 1.33 yards of light blue linen...

(I suddenly remembered to smile...)

...and having been abandoned for the better part of ten months-- 
after completing half of the construction. 
I think I got distracted:
 1) because I was deciding whether to change the construction of the waistband, 
and 2) Fall weather came. 

I picked her back up because:
1) I wanted to have one finished garment after having two three months of UFOS and little sewing,
 and 2) The color matched the April stashbusting theme of "vibrant color." 

The construction was simple and lovely, even though I goofed 
by cutting the lining a size smaller than the shell fabric.

Don't think you can really tell, though.

Now for a little photo dump 'cause I'm not sure what else to say.

I've got to remember to stand straight next time.

Been waiting for the weather to warm up so that I can wear this to church.

(Photos, when cropped, in Pixlr).

Basic Facts:
Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie
Shell Fabric: light blue linen
Lining Fabric: a white poly-cotton sheet
Notions: 24" zipper

Fabric History:
Acquired the linen back when the only fabric I bought was from the remnant section, so at least two years ago. Chances are that was during my obsession to only make solid colored dresses. 
I was fortunate that Hancock's decided to call it a remnant even thought it was over a yard, 
otherwise I'm not sure it could have become a Cambie. 

The lining was part of a garage sale haul.

Stashbusting Piece Count: 2 of 10 (I won't count it because it was a UFO from last year)
Garment Count: 2 of 12.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Plantain Muslin... Ivory Knit and Cornstalk Suede

Here it is! My first attempt at Deer and Doe's Plantain.
 (Yes, the bookshelf to my left is mostly full of stash fabric. Heh heh... uh oh).

I am not much of an elbow patch person, but as I unexpectedly loved the pleats in the Belladone skirt 
I was quite willing to see if my opinion could change (still deciding)... 
...and it didn't hurt that the pattern is free... Thanks so much, Eleonore!


The main fabric is an ivory rib knit.
The elbow patches are a polyester suede.
(Yes, a woven on a knit.)

I spent a bit of time stressing over this. I really wanted to use suede for the patches (my traditional conception of elbow patches) and I really wanted to use all stash fabrics, so I decided to 
blast possibly good sense and give it a whirl. 

It also helped that this is my wearable muslin of the pattern.

(Accidental photo of elbow patch. Sew them patches on lower next time...)

Oh, and in other bits of happy news, I used a sewing machine for the first time in one of my projects!
I know that sewing machines are old hats for most people,  but I started without a
machine, started with needles and pincushions and some vague ideas of how this all works.
I enjoyed (still do) the simple and mostly mindlessness of handstitch after handstich
while listening to a nice lecture or audio book.
It is relaxing, I don't have to worry about a machine stitching through my hand,
and I have such control over the stitching.

But now that I've tried a machine. It is not as intimidating as it once was, and it stitches far faster
than I ever could.
There will be more machine stitching in my future.

The majority of the seams are sewn via machine, a few by hand (and with a stay tape), and I didn't
finish the sleeves and hem because I liked the raw edges.

A new garment to celebrate a good pattern, a fun challenge, and stashbusting!

Basic Facts:
Pattern: Deer and Doe's Plantain
Fabric: ivory cotton rib knit and cornstalk polyester suede
Notions: stay tape

Fabric History:
2 pieces of rib kit under a yard in length, acquired at different times at least a year ago.
Probably intended for a sweater.
Polyester suede acquired perhaps two years ago, intended for gloves.

Stashbusting Piece Count: 2 of 10 
Garment Count: 1 of 12

Monday, January 20, 2014


Stashbusting 2013


(Sorry for the uneven arrangement. I am still learning formatting capabilities).

So let's see if I can't make some sewing (related) goals for the year:

1. Finish one garment, alteration, refashion, or UFO per month. Try for to make a dent in at least 10 stash pieces (up from 6).
2. Blog each item, even if there are more photos than words (sometimes the best posts!).
3. Participate in at least one challenge for the year, other than Stashbusting 2014.
4. Participate in a Me-Made or Self-Stitched month! Which means I need to buffer my wardrobe with more shirts or just start wearing more skirts.

I have no major observations from the year, although...

1. The reason I was able to meet my goal was that I had (and still have) 
a lot of fabric pieces shorter than a yard.
2. I did make more of an effort not to buy new fabric.
(I thought more about what I bought, but still bought a decent length of fabric.
Maybe next year I'll be brave enough to refuse buying any more fabric.)
3. I was often digging through my stash, looking for fabric that I was not afraid of cutting into. 
Try to be more fearless this year!
4. I like making my muslin with a new pattern and then moving on to another pattern so that I 
have time to digest the alterations to make on the next iteration. 
Thus my me-making plods along.
5. There were many things I intended to make in order to fill holes in my wardrobe.
Never got to any of them.
This is a year for at least two of them!

Okay, there's some thoughts for the past year. Not very interesting, but helpful in 
thinking about what to watch out for in the next eleven and a half months.

And the pledge for this coming year (rather unambitious compared to others, but
as I am yet to learn how to use a machine I am very slow sewer. 
I am also in a period of transition, so sewing time might be hard-found).

"I, Laura of Creating Distractions, commit to: finish one garment, alteration, refashion, or UFO per month. Try to make a dent in at least 10 stash pieces (up from 6)."

Contrary to this bumper sticker:

Onward! Happy sewing!

Partial Circle Skirt, Take 1

One of my last projects finished this past Summer (2013).  (Yeah, I'm posting this realllly late...)

It's my first attempt at a partial circle skirt. The fabric is a cotton batik of pink, turquoise, 
white, mud-green, blue, and purple on brown backing.

Should try ironing moleskin...

Lined with grey moleskin for warmth in Fall/ Winter and a general desire for opacity.
Yes, the lining is asymmetrical because it was also made from a remnant 
(and in order to stay with the partial circle skirt theme).  

The waistband is a simple straight strip with polyester ribbon used as a very stiff "interfacing."
I have not worn or washed this skirt a lot yet, so I'll still have to test whether this was a good move.
Waistband is shut with a skirt hook and eye. 

This fabric was a bit of an impulse buy. Now that I've made it I am hard pressed to find a lot of pieces in my wardrobe that go well with it. I have some ideas (black top obviously, denim jacket?...) and am wondering if I'll have to make some garments to wear with it. But I can still dig through my closet and see if there's anything I've missed or need to reconsider...

Basic Facts:
Pattern: partial circle
Shell fabric: cotton batik
Lining Fabric: polyester moleskin (JoAnn Fabrics)
Notions: skirt/ pants hook and eye, polyester ribbon for interfacing (experiment!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Projects Dump and Some Trajectory

I have some previous projects to post, one from February or so, and others from this Summer (I am in the Northern hemisphere so it is Fall/ Winter where I am). I also want to officially note the purpose of this blog. To a certain degree we wonder if there is a reason to put another blog out there, when there are so many excellent ones out there put out by far more talented people than ourselves (special order or any attribution of a particular word to a specific blogger). So I'll note a little justification for my taking up a little space out here on the internet.

Here we go.

First: Here follows a small stream trickle of projects that I have completed this year, but not blogged about. In fact, I'll say little about them because the constructions were not overly fraught with frustration or anything particularly new or probably helpful for the sewing community to know about.

Two Sorbettos: one is a poppy patterned linen, and the other is a blue cotton batik. Both are so sheer that I wear a tank underneath (a tank for which I raised the backs of the neckline on the patterns. I also added two inches to the batik version because the linen version was too short for my taste). The Sorbetto is also the pattern for which I met bias tape finishes, which I now love!

*shudder* The wrinkles.

Cotton batik... so pretty.


Both Sorbettos are from remnants (there was a time that I was all I would buy, so there is a lot of remnants for me to sift through). These projects were finished ages ago.

Gathered Jersey Skirt: two remnants gathered on a loop of elastic that I should not have repurposed because the elastic seems stretched out and the skirt droops around my hips. Either that or the fabric is too heavy for it. We'll see if I find the inclination to fix it. As I entirely handstitch I get very annoyed at having to unpick my work. Actually, everyone is that way.... so I'm just like everyone else...
Back when I was experimenting with using mirrors outdoors to get project photos.

Items three, four, and five/six of my stashbusting. Mission accomplished. Let's see if I can use up (or make dents into) six more pieces before the year is out.

Second: trajectory.

Because many bloggers do I shall state my intended purpose for this blog:

To document sewing progress (maybe one day I'll work my way to using a sewing machine?), and how the handmade garments fare (I've seen so many beautiful creations and only occasionally hear that those creations met unhappy ends because of poor fabric choices or construction or an incident with the washing machine), and perhaps some general crafting (outside of fabric, perhaps with other mediums, words, and/ or possibly pictures). I would also like to write some musing posts about crafting and blogging.

I'm trying to set a trajectory for this blog, but as I am one of those people who learns as I try to do it, it'll change and grow as I grow. In a sense this is a throwaway post because I have pictures for another project that I need to put up, but this is also an important post in that it is part of my education as a blogger.

Keep crafting!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Skirt and a UFO Blouse

Number Two (and a half? I never made any commitments to UFOs. Hmm, commitments to inanimate objects... or alien spaceships) of Six.

My wondrous friend, Grace, took all of these photos. She is about to leave to work abroad and we spent a lovely few hours together taking photos, exploring, talking, eating, being together. And just today I realized that I was a bit of a dunce and she might not see this post before she leaves! (Grace, if you're reading this, so sorry that I took so long!)

The construction for both garments is fairly negligible for talking about if you have some experience sewing. For those who want to analyze every detail (such as myself when I'm trying to figure out the mechanics of actually making the project) and those that want to hear less technically and want the basic story...

The blouse was started a year ago, from a length of ivory colored cotton eyelet with embroidery about the border and in/ on the actual fabric. I eyeballed the lengths of the bodice and sleeves by laying the fabric over my front, I eyeballed and gauged the length of elastic for the neck hole, and finished sewing everything save the sleeves when I decided that there was too much gathering about the neckline and the torso was puffier than I liked. Frustrated because I hand sew everything (one of these days I'll learn to use a machine) and there is a certain demoralization to have to unpick EVERY stitch, I hung up the then UFO (UnFinished Object) in the closet and largely ignored it. When the month's Stashbusting Challenge came I tried on the blouse, came up with the startlingly ingenious idea* to try a belt to cut down on the puffiness (success!), and decided to take some volume out of the sleeves.

* Just for clarification, I am being sarcastic 

The skirt is a length of rayon challis that I tapered from a tube, edged on both ends to prevent raveling (although trimmed and hemmed last), and one end sewn to a waist-length of 1.5" tall elastic.

So there is project Number Two finished. (Although chronologically it is Number Four, I have two Sorbettos that I must blog about).

Much thanks to dear Grace! Safe travels, my friend.

Happy sewing everyone! (Or happy plotting. But if you plot, do sew! Or knit, or whatever you do...)