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Perfect Timing V9026

January 8, 2018
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It is so so so cold in Minnesota right now. The HIGH temp on New Years Eve (when I took these pictures) was a new LOW record of -6F (-21C). It is not the time to be going outside for anything. So this amazingly warm, fluffy sweatshirt is perfect timing. I need more sweaters and super warm things for the office too, I sit next to the window (which is nice to see the sun every day and I have a great view of downtown Minneapolis from the 12th floor but…) and it is so cold. Pretty sure the temp drops a couple degrees just walking from the neighboring cube to my cube.

Pardon the dolls and clutter, I noticed the light was good in my sewing/toy cave and took advantage for pictures!

As a side note, I think my sewing queue has realigned itself with the season. Five years ago I was always sewing winter things in the summer because I’d make my winter list in the winter and it would take 6 months to get to them. Since I’ve slowed down though, the queue seems to have righted itself. I was so cozy and warm just holding this fabric while I was sewing, in the summer I would have been sweltering and wondering what the hell I was thinking!

Pattern: Vogue 9026, view AFabric: Purple sweatshirt fleece from SR Harris. This stuff is amazing, very thick but light weight, one side is smooth and the other is fleecy.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I’m not sure I have any dislikes! At first I thought the v neck was too low but after wearing is all day Sunday, it’s fine. I’ll still wear a tank underneath just in case though. I love the diagonal seams, there are no seams under the arms. And all the pieces fit together really well, granted this fabric is still pretty stretchy for being so thick.

Sizing and Fit: The sizing is in XS, S, M and L, XL, XXL grouping. I made a medium and it is a little big, but with a sweatshirt that’s kindof the point. Especially with this thick fabric, I didn’t want something form fitting. The sleeves are a little long and the shoulders a little too wide, if I was trying to get a perfect fit. It is boxy, but those diagonal seams would be perfect for making it more curvy if a person wanted to.

Changes: None, I made the whole thing on my regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch and walking foot. There were a couple places where seams met up that got really thick, but it worked out because this fabric is spongy.

For Next Time: I still have some of this purple fleece leftover, so I’d like to do some color blocking with another color, like shown on the envelope.

~Molly

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Books of 2017

December 29, 2017

Another year, another list of books I’ve read. Sewing round ups always feel a little repetitive and unnecessary since that’s what most of the post on this blog are already about. I do not, however, talk about what books I’m reading.

So, in chronological order:

  • O Pioneers! – Good story, but had a pretty depressing ending which is pretty typical with Willa Cather.
  • The Austere Academy, The Ersatz Elevator, The Vile Village, The Hostile Hospital, The Carnivorous Carnival, The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto, The Penultimate Peril, The End – The other half of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (I read the first few books last year). These always have lots of action, adventure, and puzzle solving but in the end the story is a bit of a let down. Sure it’s depressing in a dark humor sort of way, as we are constantly warned by the author throughout, but I wish there was a little more resolution for the characters.
  • Heir to the Jedi – This is one of the newer, non-movie, star wars books (all the old books are no longer “cannon” now that Disney owns Star Wars). It’s about Luke’s adventures between episode 4 and 5 and how he starts learning about the force on his own. It was fun but a little predictable, it would be hard not to be predicable because we know what happens in the movies. But it does a nice job building worlds never visited in the movies.
  • Mrs. McGinty’s Dead – This is an Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot mystery that I randomly “acquired” from my mom’s house. It was ok, I guessed the wrong culprit but there were way too many suspects and it all seemed a little silly.
  • Little Women – I’d been reading this off and on for a several years because it’s pretty boring. But it’s a “classic” and I think someone’s making another movie version so now at least I can say I’ve read it.
  • A Man Called Ove – LOVE this book, I read most of it on a couple plane rides and was pretty much crying into my napkin the whole way. It’s basically a grumpy old man story but deep down he’s really a good guy, he’ll just complain about the kids these days the whole way while helping everyone in the neighborhood. It’s so good. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while.
  • Acorna – We used to listen to audio books checked out from the library on our summer vacation road trips when I was little and I vaguely remember listening to this one. But I could never remember the ending, so I randomly googled “science fiction unicorn girl” and the right thing actually popped up right away! Apparently not many people have written about science fiction unicorn girls… Anyways, it’s a pretty short book. Overall I liked it a lot and bought the second one in the series to read eventually, most of the conflicts in the books were resolved to easily in my opinion, just too many convenient things happened. But that’s ok, it was fun.
  • Hidden Figures – I’m about halfway through this one. It’s really really good, I was worried it would be hard to read (i.e. boring text book) but its got a lot of good stories. I almost can’t believe the author was able to dig up that much detail about these women. However, the reason I’m not done with it is there is just soooo much going on. The author tries to touch on so many women’s lives (and some of them have really similar names) there it’s just information overload. I have a hard time keeping track of who is who. Probably why the movie focused in on only 3 women.

I’m planning on reading more star wars and finishing Hidden Figures soon, and I borrowed Bable-17 from my parents house, so it’ll be another sci-fi packed year in 2018.

~Molly

New Look and New Look (NL6481 and NL6808)

December 10, 2017

I have been sewing, though not as much as in the past, but mostly blogging has been lagging behind. So I’m covering extra ground today by showing three newly sewn items. The jacket has been finished for a while but I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what to wear with it, mainly because of the shape. You’d think a black jacket would go with everything! The tops are a repeat pattern with some minor fit adjustments, I always seem to need more of these shell tops for work.

Winter in Minnesota means bad indoor pictures… so you really can’t see much of my jacket 😦

Pattern: NL6481 Jacket, NL6808 Sleeveless Top (not out of print anymore? it looks like you can order from Simplicity’s website anyways)

Fabric: Textured black cotton for the jacket, shark print quilting cotton for the first top, and a textured dragon print cotton for the last top. My sister “Pedro” bought the dragon fabric for me in Japan when she was traveling 2 years ago. Needless to say, I had to make something I’d love with it and I only had 1 meter.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I’m mostly going to talk about the jacket because I’ve reviewed this top pattern many times. I really like the general shape and lines of this jacket, but there are some small details that don’t quite work. The pattern is unlined, but I added a lining, and I think I should have done more tailoring with interfacing or something because it’s generally more floppy than expected. Definitely needed a little padding for the shoulders that I’m pretty sure isn’t called for in the pattern. But look at the pattern photo above, it definitely looks like it has shoulder pads to me. I’m unlikely to go back inside my lining to add pads though. The fabric I used is also very lint and wrinkle prone… not that you can see any of that in my pictures.

Sizing and Fit: This is meant to be a boxy jacket, but the bust darts are not good. They’re completely horizontal and very pointy. I also think the shoulders are a little narrow, but would still be helped by padding.

I love this print so much

I also made some fit updates to my beloved 6808. I’ve gained a little bit of weight, or my weight is shifting around, either way I noticed some of my older 6808s were a little tight. Since I previously cut a size 10 from the pattern tissue, I couldn’t just cut a new size 12. Instead I traced my size 10 pattern, moved the darts down a smidge and added a tiny bit to the side seams. It fits very nice now I think.

Changes: Mostly listed above, added lining to the jacket and modified the sizing of 6808

For Next Time: I’m not sure I’ll make the jacket again, there are so many others to try (though I’m interested in the pants included with the pattern), but there will definitely be more 6808 tops… I should try messing with the neckline for some variation.

~Molly

Halloween Garden Wreath

October 7, 2017
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You know when you see a picture of someone else’s crafting or sculpture and it triggers another idea that’s related but totally different? This is one of those cases.

I saw this pin on pinterest of 1/12 scale flowers with fang mouths in the middle (I’m not going to repost the image because it’s not mine, please click the link to see it), not even sure if it just showed up randomly or what, but it was instantly “I could make a wreath like that!” (I have a whole pin board of ideas for wreaths)…

I wanted mine to have eyes though and, since Halloween starts in August according to the craft supply stores, I was able to find some styrofoam eye balls and spooky flowers. I feel like I’ve seen flowers with eyes before as a Halloween decoration but I’m not sure where.

My new front door! I own this!

I cut off the back half of the eye balls and some of the center petals of the flowers to make them fit better. Then just glued everything in place onto a premade silver twig wreath. The fake flowers all came with leaves on their stems so I stuck some of them into the wreath too. Use all parts of the buffalo, as they say. Actually the spiders aren’t glued in place because they came with clips on the back, so I could potentially move them around more.

I considered trying to add eyelids with clay or something but it sounded more complicated than necessary (and I didn’t want to buy a ton more craft supplies that I’d only use a tiny bit of).

Another successful wreath, if I do say so myself. It’ll probably stay on my front door until Thanksgiving!

~Molly

Pajama Time

September 6, 2017
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Can you believe I didn’t have a plain old pajama sewing pattern before I bought this one? I have a lot of patterns so it seems like something that would just be there for some reason. I was only interested in the pants, but this one seemed to have a lot of good options in case I needed them in the future.

Pattern: M6659, Views F and G. The star wars pair are view F with straight legs, which I made almost immediately after cutting them out last fall (I was in desperate need of more pajama pants) so they have been well worn already. The light blue “winter holiday” pair are view G with tapered legs and are fresh off the sewing machine. I wasn’t sure which view I would like better so I made one of each. I haven’t slept with the holiday pair yet, so my opinion might change, but I think I like the tapered legs better.

Shorts, tapered or straight leg pants have elasticized tie ends.

Click for source

Fabric: Quilting cotton. I LOVE the star wars print, it has ship blue prints on it! The hem band of the star wars pair is white with the star wars logo printed in repeat. The light blue with birds and ornaments will be cute in the winter because it kindof holiday themed.

It started raining as I was taking pictures so some are more grainy than others

Design Likes/Dislikes: There are some nice details included in the pattern like piping around the hem bands if you want it and an elasticated draw string. I actually hate normal and elasticated draw strings though so I just put full elastic in the waist. The height of the waist is also problematic, way too high, landing in an awkward location and being straight across instead of higher in back.

Sizing and Fit: I made the star wars pair first and almost quit when I first tried them on because the waist fit so strange. When the envelope says semi-fitted, they mean it. These are not super baggy, saggy pajama pants. They are meant to be pulled up. Obviously there is lots of ease in them, you can’t just slouch the pants down without the fit feeling really weird. But, it was easy enough to fix by folding the front waist down a few inches more and tapering to nothing extra in the back.

Changes: I folded the waist band down more than called for as described above. The pants were also too long. For the star wars pair I was lazy and instead of adding the full faced hem band on the bottom, I just used one set of the hem pieces as a visible facing basically. So they’re probably an inch too short but who cares they’re pajamas. The holiday pair are tapered so that wouldn’t work, this time I cut 2 inches off the bottom of the hem pieces and they turned out a better length. The holiday pair also have some rick rack in the hem band seam which you can’t really see very well.

For Next Time: I’m not sure I’ll need more pajama pants any time soon but I definitely won’t need a different pattern because these are pretty good.

~Molly

Why Aren’t There More Sewing Patterns with Long Sleeves

August 26, 2017
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I seem to be in constant need of more long sleeved shirts I can wear to work, its chilly in the office year round (and cooler and wetter than normal outside this year too). But once I started searching for long sleeve shirt patterns that aren’t the traditional button up with collar (basically men’s shirts with darts), I realize how few there really are.

Short sleeve shirts are cute but impractical and the ones I’ve made in the past never get worn no matter how much I like them. Sleeveless shirts will always end up paired with a jacket or cardigan so is it really worth sewing them? Sometimes. I do love my shell tops.

I’m also kindof tired of traditional shirts with buttons and collars and sleeve vents. They’re not comfortable to me and you almost always have to tuck them into pants. Collars in general seem pointless unless it’s a coat, they’re literally just decoration. I hate the pleats that are always on shirt sleeves, they look poofy on me (I also dislike sleeves that are meant to be poofy with gathering or ruffles for the most part). I prefer slim looking sleeves, but they’re more difficult to draft and so end up being few and far between. Not to mention that copying men’s wear is just boring most of the time.

So here is the first collarless, buttonless, long sleeve blouse I searched out and made, and it’s definitely a winner.

Pattern: V9151, View B

Loose-fitting, pullover tunic has stand-up collar and front bands, V-neckline, back pleated into yoke, and narrow hem. A: Short sleeves and stitched hem on sleeves. B, C: Long sleeves. B: Contrast.

Click for source

Fabric: Geometric polyester from Hancock (pre-demise), and some leftover black crinkle cotton. A contrast fabric with more similar characteristics to the poly print would probably have been ideal, but I wanted solid black and I didn’t really feel like buying anything. This crinkle cotton was on hand (and a large enough scrap). It works and the texture difference is nice.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I don’t have any major dislikes with this shirt, which is good because I spent a long time searching out the right type of pattern. I was worried while I was putting the collar together because it didn’t look like the pieces would fit together but they did in the end. The sleeves are just the right amount of looseness, but might be a little long on me, I will consider doing 3/4 sleeves next time.

Sizing and Fit: I made a size S which is supposed to represent sizes 8-10 and I think it fits well. I almost always make a size 10 even though I’m not sure if it has ever corresponded with my measurements on paper. It’s suppose to be loose fitting and there are no closures so you need it to be somewhat loose to get on and off. One major thing to remember is there are no darts, just a tiny bit of ease gathering near the bust, so this shirt might not work well straight out of the envelope for larger chests.

Changes: I shortened the hem by about 2 inches.

For Next Time: Possibly 3/4 sleeves, but I definitely want to make this again

~Molly

Plain Black, Not Boring

August 9, 2017

Some updates: I passed the Professional Engineer Exam!!! I can’t express how much of a relief is it, I can move on with my life now! And related to moving on with life, we bought a house! Which of course meant packing up and moving my sewing room, hence not posting about any sewing for the last month.

Last year my work place relaxed it’s dress code so we could wear jeans any day of the week (being in a regional office, we usually fudged the rules and wore jeans on Fridays but even that didn’t at the corporate headquarters in KC). That was supposed to be the only change, as in you’re still supposed to look business casual with polos or equivalent, but a lot of the guys have lowered the bar drastically wearing tennis shoes and even “nice” t-shirts. I’m not impressed by that development, but it is nice to wear jeans.

This will be the last time you see this backdrop in my blog pictures!

I tend to wear a ton of sweaters, even in the summer, because the office is usually cold. But I wanted more “dressy” t-shirt options. Something with a nice twist (not literally), but also not too weird or shapeless or casual.

Pattern: V1389, which is unfortunately not for sale except on the resale market because it’s a Donna Karen license

Pullover top has neck and sleeve bands, front extending to side back and stitched hem.

Fabric: Black cotton-lycra jersey (which is my favorite for t-shirts – lots of recovery but not too clingy)

Design Likes/Dislikes: The neck binding needed to be stretched a lot to fit, but this top is meant for super stretchy fabric so it works. Still a little wonky though. I love the side seams, it really makes this top more interesting than a standard t-shirt… even if you can’t really see the seams on this black fabric. Now that I’m looking at the pictures I think the neckline makes it look like I’m slouching… or maybe I’m slouching, hard to tell.

This is the best picture of the side seam I ended up with, ignore the nose itch

Sizing and Fit: I made my usual size 10. This shirt is very fitted and the sleeves seem to have negative ease. The arm holes might be too high also. But it feels pretty great anyways due to the raglan sleeves and awesome fabric. It doesn’t feel tight at all but it’s obviously riding up so maybe I should have gone a size up. I have gained a bit of weight over the stressful winter, not much but just enough that my favorite pants don’t fit anymore 😦

Changes: None that I can remember.

For Next Time: ALL THE COLORS

Skirt from 2015

~Molly