Thursday, July 30, 2015

Another Day, Another Dress

Living where I do on the prairies, where my legs do not see the light of day all winter long (or rarely do anyways), come summer I love spending my days living in skirts and dresses.  That's not to say I don't appreciate a nice pair of shorts or capris because they definitely do have their benefits.  Gardening and yard work in a dress, while do-able, is not always the most ladylike and who wants to get mud and grass stains on their pretty frock?  Not me! Strong prairie winds are also often not a friend to dresses either - some day I will sew weights into the hems of my dresses and there'll be no stopping me.  There is just something about a pretty skirt or dress that makes me feel good.

So to that end, and the fact that we are still in the Sundress Sew-A-Long time frame, I sewed up another dress.  It's the tried and true Sis Boom/Scientific Seamstress Jamie Dress.  This is my third one, and although I've not sewn it in a few years, I still really enjoyed the pattern.   The only change I made to the pattern was to add pockets and a half circle skirt.

I am, apparently, all about the circle skirts this year!  I love how flattering and flowy a circle skirt is!  I've made four new dresses this summer so far and three of them have half circle skirts. The only reason the lone gathered skirt dress didn't get the same treatment was due to a lack of fabric otherwise it too would have been a circle skirt.

There's not much to say about this pattern that I haven't already said when I last made the Jamie dress.  It's a great pattern that sews up quickly.   By the way, you can get this and all the other Sis Boom patterns in their new Etsy shop - and if you use the code WELCOME you can get 50% off right now!!!

My fabric is the cotton sateen from Gertie's collection, available through JoAnn's although I see it's currently out of stock online.  If you happen to have a JoAnn's nearby that you can shop at in person, I highly recommend this fabric.  It's smooth and has a bit of a sheen to it - feeling almost like a rayon, but without the scary washing hazards rayon can possess.  It sewed up like a dream!

Now I'm off outside to enjoy the sunshine and maybe do some knitting while the little guys play in their pool!  See you next time!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Outfit Along and Sundress Sew-a-Long

I'm pretty excited to say I'm finished my 2015 Untangling Knots Outfit Along!!  As an added bonus my dress component fits right in nicely with the Sundress Sew-A-Long hosted by Heather of Handmade by Heather B!

I got Little Man to take some photos for me this morning.  Between the mosquitoes and the heat they're not the greatest to show the outfit maybe, but to be fair, it is 28C / feels like 36C with the humidity and there's a heat warning in effect today.  Great day to pick to take photos of a BLACK sweater, wouldn't you say?  By the time we got a few shots I was pretty much eaten alive and wilting from the heat, so I decided it was good enough and we fled back into the house for a cool glass of lemonade.   Apparently there are limits to what I will endure for the sake of my project pages and blog.  LOL.

As you may recall from my earlier post at the beginning of the month I was taking part in the 2015 Outfit Along hosted by designer Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots and Lauren of

The great thing about the outfit along is that while there is an official cardigan and dress pattern, you don't have to use them to participate.  The goal being to end up with an outfit you love and will wear, you're free to choose any combination of patterns.  One of the participants is doing a sweater and a pair of jeans, so it really is whatever you want so long as it makes a complete outfit that has a sewn and a knit component.  So I chose to do the official cardigan pattern, which is Vianne, but chose Violette Field Thread's Ginger Dress instead of the official McCall's pattern.

The sweater went together well, although very slowly (only because I seemed to lose all knitting mojo).  I did enjoy the pattern when I was knitting it though.  The mesh panel in the back and the lace kept it interesting.  I did my usual mods for Andi's patterns and did fewer decreases in the body, so that while it's still fitted there's not quite as much negative ease across my midsection. Other than that I knit the pattern as written.  I really enjoy Andi's patterns (evidenced by the fact that this is my fifth cardigan pattern I've knit of hers! I've also knit Miette, Hetty, Myrna and Marion) and this was no exception.

The Ginger Dress was the first pattern I've ever sewn from Violette Field Threads.  It was fairly straight forward and the sizing pretty good for the most part - I did have to make some adjustments, but that's not unusual.  I did make a few changes besides the ones for fit.  I swapped out the centre back exposed zipper for a side seam zipper, so as not to be dependent on anyone zipping up my dress for me.  (How does the rest of the world manage with back zippers?!?)  I also swapped out the halter straps in favour of shoulder straps.  I felt that the dress would be more comfortable that way without the constant need for adjusting and tugging at straps, or tying it so tight I gave myself a sore neck.  The third modification was to add a bit of elastic along the top of the back bodice.  I do wish I'd modified the pockets.  The pockets sewn as drafted are seriously tiny.  Too bad I didn't notice their petite size before finishing the dress.  I much prefer large, fit everything but the kitchen sink, pockets. Oh well.  C'est la vie.  I'm not about to start undoing seams at this point!!

Wrapping up, once again this year the Outfit Along was a really great experience.  I've got another outfit that I think will get lots of wear and I had lots of fun along the way.

I'm not 100% sure what my next project will be.  The knitting mojo is still lagging although I've been working on a pair of socks and I picked up some gorgeous yarn (thank you Mom for the birthday money that I used to purchase it with!) to knit an Antrorse in the upcoming Summer Sweater Knit Along in the Very Shannon group on Ravelry.

I've got quite a few sewing projects lined up that I want to get done so I'll probably try to focus on those for the next while, probably starting with a Sis Boom Jamie Dress using my Gertie Tropical sateen that I ordered from JoAnn's earlier this summer.  It'll be another pattern that fits perfectly into Heather's Sundress Sew-A-Long.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Catching Up and a Birthday Party

I can't believe we are more than three weeks into July already!  The summer is flying by at break neck speed.  So much has been going on since I last posted here.  I'm still working on my outfit along and I've done a few other small sewing projects, but there's not been a lot of time for craftiness

(BF)G was on vacation from work for two weeks and we jammed packed them full of things to do.  Every thing from camping and a first time fishing for the little boys to berry picking, to museums, to park visits to lots of playing in the little pool we bought to replace the baby paddling pool.  It was busy, but loads of fun!  We even had a birthday in there! Well two, of course, since Little Man and I share a birthday, but his is more interesting than mine, given that he is six and I'm in my forties.

The boys helped make the lightsaber party invitations
for Little Man's friends
Little Man is crazy about Star Wars.  He's talked about having a Star Wars party pretty much since the day after his Superhero party last year.  He was also super excited that he got to have a "school friend" party as well as a family party this year.   We actually had the school friend party in June before school let out for the holidays so more of his friends would be around to attend.

Now let me warn you, dear readers, that you should, under no circumstances, ever let your child look at Pinterest over your shoulder as you peruse it for ideas for a birthday party.

If you do not heed this warning, you will likely find yourself up to your elbows in papier mache, angsting over just how the heck you're going to make dipped pretzel sticks look like light sabers when you can't find pretzel sticks in any store, agonizing over whether or not your Chewbacca cupcakes looks like Chewie or a friendly little beaver, and painstakingly cutting out and sewing eleventy-billion little pieces of felt to make little freezie holders that look like light saber handles.  Do not say that I did not warn you!!!

It was a bit mad, but all in all Little Man's assessment was that both his friend party and family party were "AWESOME!!!!!!!!", so definitely worth the effort and insanity.  But I'll stop nattering on here and just leave you with some pictures of the two events!

The Annual Birthday Crown!

There was also a  freezer stencilled Birthday Shirt this year!

My interpretation of the Death Star in Piñata form.
(I've never made a piñata before... OH MY WORD.
They are a whole lot of effort to just get smashed up.)

Eleventy-Billion pieces of felt...

All combined to make almost two dozen of these freezie holders!
The kids played a balloon game with pool noodle lightsabers
that (BF)G made by decorating them with duct tape and electrical tape
Marshmallow tie fighter oreos, dipped breadstick lightsabers and Storm Trooper
and lightsaber cupcakes for the friend party
And cupcakes for the family party!
Darth Vaders, Chewbaccas (seriously what happened there?), Yodas,
Luke Skywalkers , Leias and Storm Troopers OH MY!

Friday, July 03, 2015

2015 Outfit Along in Progress

We're at the halfway mark of the 2015 Untangling Knots Outfit Along and I thought I'd post a bit of an update on how things are progressing for me.

Yarn and fabric choices!
Slower than molasses in January would be one way of summing it up.  I feel like I'm usually a whole lot quicker with knitting Andi's cardigan patterns, but to be honest, I've just not had much energy or time for knitting.  By the time the boys have gone to sleep for the night after a rousing round of jumping in and out of bed six billion times each, I've found that I'm scrambling around doing everything I need to get done and by the time that's taken care of I'm at the point of sitting and staring at the wall rather than relaxing and knitting.  But I am chugging along, slowly but surely.  Yesterday I took the boys to the splash park and was able to work on it while they played.  I was making some good progress on the sleeve cap, but I like to do sleeves two at a time once I'm past the cap (that way I know they are going to end up the same length and all decreases occur at the same spot), and once I finished the cap on the sleeve I was working on I realized I'd forgotten to bring a second ball of yarn to start the second sleeve cap.

Splash park knitting - making slow progress!
I think I am going to love my outfit once it's done, which is keeping me plugging away bit by bit.  I chose to do the "official" knit pattern, Vianne, which like a lot of Andi's patterns, is a sweet, retro vibe cardigan with lace detail on the front and a mesh panel and more lace on the back.  I'm not in love with the yarn I'm using, but it was in my stash, so it'll do.  I was having a bit of a hard time justifying yarn and then fabric for a dress all in one fell swoop so, black Sirdar Silky DK it is.

My pattern choices!
For my sewn component I've chosen to do Violette Field Thread's Ginger Dress, which is another pattern from the Women's Bundle Up Sale I snagged back in May.  I scoured all locally available fabric sources as well as a few online Canadian shops in search of the perfect black with red cherry print fabric.  I'm not sure how I got fixated on the idea, but I did and there it stuck.  I knew nothing else was going to do once I had the vision in my head.  Unfortunately my search was in vain. One shop in Alberta did carry a cute cherry print, and the price per metre wasn't bad, but then shipping killed it.  Why Canada Post?  WHY?!?!?!  So then I started perusing online shops from the US.  I found the perfect print on JoAnn's website and then bid my time until I could use a 60% off coupon.  I was able to buy four metres for less than I could 3.5m here even with shipping and exchange factored in so  was pretty happy about that! (of course now I'm frighteningly addicted to JoAnn's and their coupons... my second order - Gertie's tropical sateen - just arrived in the post today.    I'm justifying that one, by the fact it was on sale for 60% off and then JoAnn's kindly had sent me a 20% off coupon for creating an account for my first order. I'm so easily persuaded...)

Anyways.  I'm getting off track here.

I've not done anything but the muslin of the bodice for my Ginger Dress, but I'm hoping after the weekend to find some time to get it done. (it's birthday weekend here - both Little Man and I - and Little Man's "family" party is on Saturday so no hope of sewing a new dress before then with cakes to bake, a house to clean and a birthday crown to make yet).  I think it's going to be a fairly easy sew which shouldn't take a lot of time once I get going on it.  

So that's what's been happening with my 2015 OAL so far!  Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be back to show you a final outfit. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Shorts on the Line 2015

I had all sorts of plans for Imaginegnats Shorts on the Line this month.  The first one being that I was actually going to participate.  I need new shorts so it seemed like a perfect idea to sew them all during the month of June.   I was going to try out a few different patterns I have - Winter Wear's Real Deal Jeans, a short version of Closet Case Files' Ginger, the Purl Bee's City Gym Shorts.  Oh the ideas I had...

What ended up reality is that today, a mere two days before the end of the month, I finished up my first (and likely to be only) pair of shorts for Shorts on the Line 2015.  And it's not even a new pattern.  Or even a new twist on a pattern.  I made another denim pair of Filles A Maman Clemence Shorts.  Ok.  There is a slight difference.  I used gold jeans topstitching thread and did the rectangular front flap detail instead of blue topstitching and a scallop.  Ooooh Boy! I know!  I'm livin' on the edge!

They went together well this time, since I wasn't trying to confuse the heck out of myself on the lapped zipper.  I also went ahead and immediately did an elastic reinforcement of the back waistband.    I even added jeans buttons on the flap just for kicks (and only broke one in the process of hammering them in!) What didn't go well was that I somehow broke more than six needles - I stopped counting -in top stitching and finishing the damn things.  WHY?!?!?!  It's not as though I was using "The Goodtime Gal" Singer (sometimes also known as the #@*%$ Singer).  I was using my new to me 40-something year old work horse Pfaff that can normally sew through about six layers of denim like butter.  So, so frustrating.  I likely should have just stopped and given up, but you know.  Shorts on the Line only goes until June 30th.  I had a deadline.  (and I'm just crazy like that)

Anyways, so at least I got one teeny tiny goal accomplished - well two I guess if you count the fact I actually participated and finished one pair of shorts.  I've been pretty much living in my first pair of Clemence since I added the stabilizing elastic to the waistband, so it'll be nice to have a second pair of go to shorts in my wardrobe.  I'd say that I'd make the other shorts I had planned to do soon, but I don't know if it'll actually happen without the motivation of the sew along.  I've got so many other projects to do that they may just slip on by into the wayside for the time being.  I've got to get cracking on a bunch of sewing and alterations to do for G on her highland dance costumes before she heads east to ScotDance Canada Championship Series and Canadian Championships in a little over a week and then of course there's my Outfit Along cardi and dress to do as well as a test sew I'm working on.  In between all that of course there's things like gardening, yard work and well, the rest of life to get done.  Busy, busy times.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Still Lovin' My Dress

Actually, I think I may love my second version of my Love Your Dress Modcloth knock off more than my first one!  I made the first one when the Scientific Seamstress Lab Group on Facebook hosted the "Just for Me January" challenge this winter.  The fourth week was called "Knock it Off" and we were to create a knock off outfit at least partially using a Sis Boom/Scientific Seamstress pattern.

I really fell in love with the Modcloth dress, but really could never have justified the price for basically a t-shirt dress.  Especially when you factor in the exchange and shipping. So I mashed up a Simplicity pattern that I'd used for a prior Modcloth knock off dress a few years ago and Sis Boom's Jamie dress.  I adore my "Love My Dress" - it's one of those comfy like pj outfits that I can throw on and feel great in.

Shortly after making my dress I started coveting the cherry blossom cotton jersey on the Girl Charlee site.  I kept envisioning it as a perfect fabric for another Love My Dress and finally a few weeks ago I succumbed to it's siren call and ordered a couple of yards.  I fixed up the few fit issues I had with my first one, tweaking the back neckline, the armscye and the waistband and I LA LA LOVE the result!

I also am pretty tickled with the wavy orange plaid I chose for the neckline facing, armhole bias and hem facing  Ok. I didn't actually have a hem facing in mind when I bought the cotton but apparently cutting a rectangle is beyond my capabilities for some reason and I ended up cutting one side of my skirt a whole freaking 1 3/4" shorter than the other.  Once I evened it out the length was exactly the way I wanted it, with no room for a hem.  Granted I could have left the hem raw given it's a knit, but, GAH, raw edges! YIKES!!!!! I can't handle a raw edge.  They make me a bit crazy.  So, hem facing it is.  With an added bonus it gives a wee bit of weight to the skirt and maybe the next time a gust of wind comes out of nowhere while I'm buckling Baby Boy into his seat in the truck I won't flash the entire town.  (apologies to whoever had to witness that unfortunate wardrobe malfunction last week...)

I'm squeaking this one in just under the wire for a final entry into the Dress Up Party that Sara is hosting over at Sew Sweetness.  I had hoped to get a few more entries in, but as per usual the minute I decide to take part in any sort of sew along or challenge like this I suddenly have no time to actually sew.  (Hello, Kids Clothing Week Challenge. I'm looking at you!).  I did get four entries in between my Jenny Dress, my Gathered Raglan Tee, my Clemence Shorts (which by the way I fixed and they fit like a dream now! Whoot!!!) and now my Love my Dress.  So I think I did pretty well after all.

Next up is finishing up work on a test sew, then charging full steam ahead into the Outfit Along, which I'm really lagging behind in this year having barely made a dent in my knitting and a just finally deciding on a dress.  First things first though, I've got a billion little things to get done before the weekend for Little Man's school friend birthday party.

If you don't hear from me for a while, maybe send someone out to check on me.  I might be buried under paste and newspaper trying to finish up a piñata for the party.  I've never made one before and I think I now know why...

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Plum Blossom Tee

Well, it only took me one year and two Tops, Tanks and Tees Knit Alongs to do it, but I'm finally finished my linen Plum Blossom Tee!

I'm absolutely thrilled with how this turned out and so very glad I didn't give up and rip it all out like I briefly thought I should do figuring I'd never finish, it wouldn't fit anyways and I'd be wasting my time.  I LOVE this top!

I had started with great gusto last year during the Very Shannon Kal, but quickly lost steam when I realized I'd made a terrible mistake in gauge. (Oh gauge.  How many times you vex me.)  I don't know how or why it happened, but I had got about 10 inches or so in when I realized my error.  My top was huge (like fit two of me in it huge) and upon careful investigation of gauge swatch, which at that point I thought was bang on, and the pattern I noticed I had only seen the gauge listed for one needle instead of both and had smartly achieved the larger needle's gauge on the smaller needles.  What is it about following simple directions that gives me such trouble???

The gauge issue had also come on the heels of a yarn winding mishap that led to a four hour linen rat's nest untangling marathon.  Linen is a slippery little devil to contend with.  It doesn't like to be wound on a ball winder, oh no, it prefers special treatment and likes to be wound by hand.  For me, who can tangle a skein of yarn just by looking at it, the fact I was using Euroflax Linen at all was some sort of miracle.  In the end a well worth it miracle, but at the time I wasn't as enthusiastic, that's for sure.  Euroflax Linen really is a gorgeous yarn to work with (once it's wound that is!). It was a bit hard on my hands at times, but the fabric it creates is wonderful!

Between the wasted knitting time spent untangling and the gauge disaster requiring me to restart, I was about ready to throw in the towel on the project.  However, Plum Blossom had been in my queue for quite some time and I had the yarn and since I knew what I was doing I figured I might as well try, try again.  The fabric was definitely looking better at the right gauge and my short rows had vastly improved, but I was frustrated though for being so behind in the KAL and in the end I gave up around November, having not worked on the top in ages and threw it in the back of the closet in my knitting bag and ignored it.  Come spring I thought I'd try again to see if I could get some motivation going, but I'd knit a row or two here or there and give it up again feeling like no matter how much I knit the darn thing didn't get any longer.  2 3/4mm needles and sport weight yarn will do that to a girl used to knitting sweaters and tops in worsted weight.

Then Shannon announced the TTTKAL and I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, pulled out my top, found some determination and got going again.  I was going to finish it this time round come hell or high water.  And oh my goodness there was a lot of hell going on once I got to the lace.  Nothing to do with the pattern, I assure you.  It was all on me.  I couldn't keep straight what row I was doing, or what stitch I was on for love or money.  It was knit three rows, rip two back, knit a row, rip it back halfway.  On and on.  But I plugged away at it and finally finished the front lace yoke.  Thank goodness I had knit the top in the round up to the armholes, because if I'd had to start an entire back of the top at that point I really would have given up.  With the lace done I was able to try it on and really get a good idea of fit and how I liked it.  Motivation sky rocketed.  I immediately dove into doing the back.  Then had to rip it out.  Then started again.  GAH!!!! But I finished the lace on the weekend, tried it on again and set to work doing the applied i-cord edging.  The neckline went beautifully.  Can't say the same for the first armhole edging.  It was a Goldilocks moment getting that sucker to fit.  The first time was too small.  The second time too big.  Third time was the charm though and was just right!  Phew.

What a crazy ordeal for one little summer tee, but so well worth it and I am so happy I persevered!  I wanted to get some photos quickly today before it starts to rain again so I ran outside with my camera and tromped around the yard until I got a couple shots with the timer that I thought were decent enough.  I will just say it's not easy getting photos of oneself.  I had the camera precariously perched on the slanted roof of the shed behind the barn at one point as I twitched and flailed about smacking mosquitoes while waiting for the timer to go off.  I'm pretty sure my neighbours, who are out planting their garden right now, wonder what on earth crazy and possibly evil antics I am up to, given the odd looks they were shooting at me from across the field.  I'm sure it was a sight to behold.  Ha ha!