Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Old Singer

So I was working on the blog post for a project finished back in June and decided that none of my photos were lit well enough. So I set that aside to work on this post.

While on vacation to visit my dad's side of the family we stayed in the house he grew up in, and in my room was this.

A Singer Touch & Sew 600.

I'm not going to say a lot because the actual workings of the machine don't interest me enough to research (sorry!). If I had worked with the machine, I'd comment, but I couldn't find a pedal... ;) Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Frocktober! (Back in the Groove)

So it's been three months since I last posted, though I have finished one or two items and have at least one non-project thing to note. We'll get to those later.

So the skinny is that just I finished a new dress! I've been having a hankering for some new garments for a while, so yay!

Photographed after a busy Sunday

Oops, thread

Actual dress color

This is Grosgrain's Simply Shift Dress and I started it last winter, January or so.

Back in November 2014 I was religiously checking Burdastyle every day when Kathleen introduced this pattern. I was seduced by the many pretty and practical iterations and the promise that you could make it out of just one yard of fabric!

So last winter I dug through the stash and found all fabrics that were around and equaled a yard in length. I compared and considered and decided on the green microsuede, a winter fabric if I ever saw one, and one that I would not cry over if this dress did not turn out.

The pattern tops off at size 12, one size smaller than my hip measurement. With a bit too much optimism I cut out the largest size in broadcloth, intended for the lining, as a test run. My suspicions were confirmed when this attempt came out too small. To allow movement I unpicked the back seam a few inches for a vent.

When I got to the microsuede I jacked out the hip measurement an inch or so, as far as the 58" fabric would allow. I decided to nix the zipper and then the dress pieces lay forgotten for a nine month gap...

... and then I waffled on sleeves (because without the seams it had the option to be a slightly cap/ kimono sleeve effect). So I measured my head and sewed a 1.5" seam allowance, trimmed the extra and pow! I could pull it over my head without a closure!

After a few days contemplation I nixed the sleeves, discovered that the naps of the front and back were running in opposite directions, realized that I'd forgotten to take into account that I'd cut the pieces on the fold (thus creating a little fold in the front and back of the neckline), unevenly topstitched the neckline and armholes, and messily hemmed and thus finished the dress at 2am. I wore it to church the next day and here we are today!

So yeah, this is not the best made dress, but it's a new make and a wearable muslin!

Later, while looking through these photos I realized that without the jacket it needs some waist definition, so here's a few more photos. 

Yeah, the he inquisitive dog crashed the photo shoot. He's very cute, though. I forgive him.

Pattern: Grosgrain's Simply Shift Dress
Fabric: green microsuede and blue broadcloth from Joann's
Notions: none!
Alterations: made the neckline larger, graded out for the hips, and nixed the sleeves and zipper

The sewing queue:
1. White Belladonne (mostly completed. Halted due to accidentally snipping a hole in the waistband)
2. Blue plaid(ish) flannel Lane Top
3. ?
4. ?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spring Picnic Belladone

So I actually finished this back in March! (Hence the tights and boots).

This dress has been on the brain for quite a while, maybe a year or two, though then it was just to be a straight blue dress. This is my um, 1...2...3...4... 5th Belladonne iteration.

I started off with about a yard and eight inches and did some creative arranging to fit the pattern pieces in, which led to one of the back pieces being cut off grain.* There was also some repositioning of the skirt pleats to hide a hole that I missed during cutting.

*Maybe that's why I can't get the wrinkles out of the bodice...

I did my normal alterations:
  1. Removed 1" vertically from the bodice
  2. Didn't sew the vertical bodice darts, but also didn't draft them out (I should really make the dress without that inch removed)
  3. No skirt hem facing
  4. Still need to figure out the little notch above the zipper
And several months later I realize that I've been sewing bodices wrong in general. Working on remedying that.

Originally I planned a straight blue dress, but that was a bit boring so decided to add some flavor with the tattersall shirting in the form of bias binding on the neck holes, arm holes, and the back cut out. But then decided that there was too much visual interest up top so played around with which bias binding was visible, and framed the waistband with flat piping.

The construction went nicely, though it was waylaid at times with me trying to make decisions and being otherwise indecisive about where the bias tape was to be attached.

And now one of my major challenges with the dress will be ironing out the wrinkles!

Fabric: blue twill, blue and white tattersall for pockets and bias tape and flat piping
Notions: 16" zipper, self-made bias tape and flat piping
Alterations: removed vertical 1" from bodice, didn't sew the vertical dart in bodice, no hem facing, shifted the pleats an inch or two outward to hide a hole

The sewing queue:
1. Floral Simplicity 1810
2. Tan/ khaki pleated camera purse
3. Blue gathered Belladonne dress
4. Poodles on pink Sorbetto

Monday, May 16, 2016

Busy Summer!

Yep, I'm late with my Me-Made May posts but I just wanted to quickly note the plethora of sewing  activities for the Summer.

June is Indie Pattern Month on The Monthly Stitch! 30 days of four themed sewing contests:

And there is another Indie Pattern Month week contest in July!

Also starting in June is the Outfit Along hosted by Lauren of Lladybird and Andi of Untangling Knots. This contest/ sew along/ knit along runs from June 1st through July 31st and features the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt and Andi's Zinone top.

Currently there are discounts attached to both sets of events:

  • Indie Pattern Month May Discounts (some of these have already expired, but there will be another round in June)
  • "To celebrate the Zinone's launch, Andi is offering 20% off up until the official OAL start of June 1. Use the code OAL2016 to get you that discount!"(quoted from Lladybird)

And The Monthly Stitch has a pattern swap sign up running until May 20th.

Whew! Summary over!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blossoms on the Bike Path

Yay! Another Monthly Stitch challenge met!

This here is the Shwin Lane Top in "specialty cotton" per Joann's. I had two separate yards (remnants) that were officially 44" wide with the floral design being closer to 40" across. But I obviously had enough for this shirt! 

As per The Monthly Stitch sub-theme, Flower Power, I have two floral fabrics, the 3D floral for the front, back and back yoke, and sleeves, and another white fabric for the inside yoke (so I wouldn't be pressing two bumpy layers at once) and as bias binding for the neckline and hem.

This is actually my second Lane iteration. The first will hopefully be blogged soon. I present this one first so that I could get my Monthly Stitch contribution in before the month's end.

The construction instructions are pretty simple, though there is one step that I could not make heads or tails of just by reading. Both times I made this top I had to play around with the pieces in order to figure out what the instructions were trying to convey.

On another note I need to make this top without bias tape hems because I think that the specialty cotton has more drape than the quilting cotton, which makes the hem flair out more than preferred.

Aand today's photography session is brought to you by the Rookie Photographer! She can't figure out what makes some photos blurry and/ or washed out and she was constantly looking for interlopers because she chose the public bike path for the location. Thankfully the location is on a bridge that offers some privacy, and it was 40 degrees out, so most of the population was indoors. In fact there was one interruption, which caused the Rookie Photographer to ditch the last few shots of the 10 shot burst to try to hide what she was doing. (Chronicled below, which very nicely shows more fabric detail).

Fabric: Specialty floral cotton, (presumably) quilting cotton
Notions: self-made bias tape from quilting cotton
Adjustments:  XS graded to medium in the hips, elastic in lieu of button and button tabs, bias tape for hem and neckline, no pocket

The sewing queue:
1. Simplicity 2154 Pencil skirt (partially sewn)
2. White Belladone  (partially sewn)
3. Blue-green bottom weight Lisette (Butterick) 1419 (cut out)
4. A green microsuede Simply Shift Dress (on the brain)

Oh, and my Me-Made May pledge:

"I, Laura of Creating Distractions, pledge to wear at least three handmade garments a week and to finish making at least two more during the month of May."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Belladone Skirt No. 2

Fabric: Tobacco Twill (possibly the same used for Andrea's pencil skirt) and a black and white cotton batik for the pocket lining that I failed to photograph
Notions: 8" invisible zipper, craft fuse(?) interfacing
Pattern: Deer and Doe Belladone (dress)
Adjustments: Chopped off the top :P

Bad photography abounds. (I suppose I could blame the fact that I haven't done any project photos since September or so, but that's kind of a cop out as I could have prolonged the photo shoot but felt self-conscious).

This project was started late last year (November of so) and then it languished out in the open for months. (It was folded in a stack of papers that would fall over every so often).

'Course November is in the thick of the holiday season, coupled with procedures on the hand digits led to minimal sewing until late January when I really needed a new pair of pajama bottoms (waiting to be photographed and blogged).

Then comes The Monthly Stitch theme: UFO Showdown. Perfect motivation!

Not much to say about the construction, other than the interfacing was a test in hand strength. That stuff is thick but super strong. I'm still debating whether to keep using it for waistbands.

As you might be able to tell from this small range of photos, I had trouble getting decent shots. I've been trying to find better backgrounds than the bedraggled and weedy backyard (with its assurances of greater privacy) and tried the front of one of my church's buildings. I waited till after services and the concurrent classes and took advantage of this nice outdoor seating area, complete with metal lawn chairs and a brick wall.

Getting the exact color of the skirt was tricky, as was getting any shots that didn't chop off my head, wash me out, or were just taken from too far away. Couldn't win on that score, it was was always two out of three.

But it was kind of fun. I've got a few ideas of things to try for the next photo shoot and I finished another garment!

(This last photo makes me happy. Reminds me of old hobbies.) 


On the sewing queue:
1. Blue Belladonne
2. Pencil skirt?
3. ?

Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Creative Plans

I stated one major goal for this year is balancing crafting with intellectual pursuits. Now let's set some more goals for the year.
  1. Stashbusting will happen as it happens, as inspiration strikes and fizzles, or strikes and storms through to a new make. There will be no quantitative goal in order to allow leeway in balancing life pursuits.
  2. Blogging was always sporadic and mostly dependent on makes (and a working camera!). This year it shall be much the same. We will see if this is a productive a year.
  3. Have fun! Create with no regard to contests or themes.
Currently on the sewing queue:

1. A Belladone skirt partially sewn
2. A pair of Simplicity 8022* pajama bottoms partially sewn
3. A blue Belladonne dress cut out
4. A Simple Skirt on the brain, the fashion fabric chosen

Hopefully they will make blog appearances soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The 2015 Sewing Assessment

Well, checking in with at last year's recap tells me I was minimally successful.

So, what changed from last year?

A. The camera woes were remedied by buying a new picture-taker: a Canon PowerShot SX400 IS affectionally named Elsa (not because of Frozen. I just like the name, watching the movie makes me restless with boredom). She's not a fancy machine, but she serves my very basic purposes of being a working camera with the burst setting and not breaking the ole bank account.

B. There are only seven blog posts in 2015, versus the eight of 2014. That comes to an average of one post per fifty-two days, with only two being actual project posts!

C. I failed the Stashbusting goal by one piece of fabric (though I'm not fully sure why I count it as pieces of fabric when everyone else measures in yards or meters. Oh, that's because of how making partial circle skirts affect what is leftover). I also added approximately ten yards to the stash, mostly with pretty strong ideas of the intended projects.

D. Projects-wise I finished two UFOs,

Homespun half circle skirt
Simplicity 2314 in khaki twill.
Oh the learning experiences!

a top to wear at The Brother's graduation,

the Sorbetto in bird printed shirting from Jo-Ann's*

the Blue Porcelain Belladonne,

and a linen skirt that will hopefully make a great summer option.

*Oh, and the dress form is a Simple Fit from Dritz (can't find it on the website or I'm just that dense). Belle came into the CD creative house from the 60% off sale at Jo-Ann's Black Friday weekend sale.

It was a slow year for creativity, mostly due to personal events and the nagging question of life direction.

Of late there have been constant reminders of my finitude as a crafter, as a thinker, as a reader, as a worker, as a person.  I have grown up in a pretty intellectual family and consider myself to be the dumb one. This is not to say that I am a dummy or I have no self-worth, but that I'm probably the least intellectual while also being the most DIY craft-minded.

I recognize that I have the potential to be more intellectual, but that means more time away from the craft projects.

On the other hand to be at my peak of happiness and production I need to be working on those craft projects.

So comes that struggle between disparate desires: crafting and intellectual pursuits.

One of my plans for the coming year is to try to find that balance.