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Professional Scrap Wrangler

May 11, 2015

Now that it’s finished this shirt looks kindof western to me.  I was thinking the black and white color blocking would make it really modern looking, but the curved yoke kindof kills that.  Oh well, I still like it.  Lightweight long sleeve shirts are always needed in an office environment, no matter what season it is outside, so I’m sure this will get plenty of wear.

WesternBlock (5)

Pattern: V1387 by Rebecca Taylor

Fabric: Rayon challis scraps (so little what left that I actually threw away the rest of the black! woohoo stash busting)

Design Likes/Dislikes: There are a lot of cool details in this shirt, some of which might be a little fussy though, like the bias strip between the front yoke and the main front piece.  But I like the split collar a lot and the sleeve cuffs (first time doing sleeve plackets like that and only one was lopsided!).  The pleats on the front are fiddly, and I don’t understand why they can’t be gathers like there are on the back.

WesternBlock (2)

WesternBlock (1)

Sizing and Fit: Overall it feels a little big, for reference I made a size 10 like I always do.  I know I’m short so I’m not talking about the length, but I think the shoulder seams hang maybe 1/2″ off where they should.  This is a very long shirt though, and the curve of the hem is pretty extreme in my opinion.  The front pleats are the only bust shaping so if they don’t lay correctly it can be annoying, and the button placket doesn’t help either because it’s actually cut straight the curve only comes from the other front pieces (and my boobs).

WesternBlock (4)

Changes: I had to the piece the sleeves together, down by the placket, but I don’t think anyone can tell.  I didn’t use snaps, just because I didn’t have any and I’ve never used snaps before.  So the button hole placement might not be completely even, they’re surprisingly hard to place without marks.

WesternBlock (3)

For Next Time: I seriously doubt there will be a next time.  This is a very nice shirt, but it’s pretty fiddly in general.  A great project for anyone who wants a bit of a challenge without too many fit issues to work through.  IF I made it again I would gather the front instead of pleats and change the hem curve.

~Molly

Reorganizing the Stash

May 6, 2015
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I like to organize my stuff, because I’d probably be a hoarder if I didn’t and I think it’s fun.

FabricStorage (7)

Earlier this year I cataloged all the books I own (well, I’m actually not done yet, but text books didn’t sound like much fun so I haven’t done those yet), and now I’ve just finished refolding and cataloging all my fabric!  I’ve always had my fabric in storage tubs by a general category, like woven and knit, and that same system is still basically in place.  I really needed new tubs though, one of my old ones was literally crumbling when you tried to pick it up (the handle snapped off when I was taking it out to the recycling).

FabricStorage (6)

Now my boxes are so pretty to look at!  The giant box with the red lid is all quilting cotton, “someday” I want to make a quilt… don’t hold your breath.

FabricStorage (2)

FabricStorage (1)

Mr. Husband kept coming down to the cave and asking what I was throwing away, my response was empty boxes.  I think he thought I was going to purge.  Ha, no.  I did throw a couple little pieces of fabric that I just couldn’t see a purpose for and were really small scraps, but not much.

FabricStorage (10)

While I was refolding everything I cut off a little corner and stapled it to one of these cards you see above.  I just made them up on my computer and printed them on some business card paper I had.  This is the first time I’ve ever tried real cataloging of my fabric, so we’ll see if I keep up with it or if it helps.  I think it will be nice to have the length listed there.  I still need to hang them on a string or something, maybe tie them to the box they correspond with.

Do you try to tame your stash in anyway?

~Molly

Aspirational Patterns

April 29, 2015
by

For Decoration Only.

M7154

 

Well, not really, but that’s the way it ends up most times.

Yes, I purposefully buy patterns that I know I’m never going to use.  Doesn’t everybody? Well at least where I live in the US, Big 4 patterns are cheap.  Like less than a small cup of coffee cheap.  So why not?  I’m pretty sure M1754 above is going to be an aspirational pattern for most everyone that buys it (although if you switch out the skirt, it could be a really cool everyday dress)… because I’m totally buying it so I can look at the pretty picture.

Some other aspirational patterns have are these:

V1177

V1248

S1755

It’s harder to justify buying independent sewing patterns just for the sake of having because they’re more expensive, but there are plenty I’d love to have (the problem really, is that Big 4 patterns usually have a good substitute for any indi pattern I really like. And practicality tends to win that battle).

Do you buy patterns for inspiration even if you know you’ll never make them?

~Molly

A Spring Wreath

April 25, 2015
by

I made another wreath.

SpringWreath (21)

I think they have really awesome crafty potential, although I have trouble narrowing down what I want to make sometimes.  This one mostly turned out the way I planned, but kindof not at the same time.  Originally I had wanted big black letters stuck in with the flowers that said something passive aggressive like “Go Away,” since these things are usually hung on front doors (like mine) as a sort of greeting… but my sarcastic humor isn’t most people’s idea of funny, so I was afraid it would just sound mean (even though it was surrounded by flowers).  Instead I found a cheap little chalkboard and wrote something geeky on it.  The message can be changed too so that’s a plus.

I’m no expert on wreath making, but it’s stayed together so far.  All I did was paint a white styrofoam wreath base to black, then added some green on top of that.  Next, I artfully arranged some fake ivy vine and tied it in place with wire.

SpringWreath (16)

SpringWreath (11)

SpringWreath (9)

Then I just started sticking fake flowers in, some woven through the vines and tied on with the wire, some just hot glued on.  And lots more hot glue to secure stuff in place, but you have to be careful with hot glue and plastic flowers… they can melt.  I had to get out the big giant wire cutters to trim excess off some of the flowers, those things are thick!

SpringWreath (7)

SpringWreath (4)

And the final product:

SpringWreath (19)

SpringWreath (20)

SpringWreath (23)

Maybe in the fall I’ll get the wreath making bug again, I’d love to make one covered in random, discarded toy parts (yes I have a little box full of those because I’m weird) and little plastic toy soldier type things.

~Molly

Inside Molly’s Head – April 2015

April 10, 2015

So I’ve done some link oriented posts before, but I’m never sure if other people care about them.  I like sharing the things I think are interesting because they’re usually offbeat or related to some other interest I have, not the typical sewing themed roundup of favorite projects or new pattern releases (I would get too snarky talking about pattern releases). I also can’t come up with an awesome name for these posts, it’s a problem…

  • How Superhero Costumes Are Made, ‘nuf said.  I am not impressed with the new Supergirl costume, it’s stuck in the 50s
  • Myra Chung won first place in the studend category for Hand & Lock’s embroidery contest. Until maybe last year I’d never heard of Hand & Lock, but it’s pretty awesome that they’re keeping highly skilled embroidery in the public eye.
  • I’m sure you’ve heard about the Mary Kondo tidying kondomania, and at first it sounds great, but the more I learn about it, the less I think it really fits with the ingrained American (and probably other countries) idea of using “all parts of the Buffalo.” This article from NYM’s The Cut sums up my feeling pretty well.  Even still, Pedro bought the book and will be giving it to me when she’d done with it (and her tidying).  I think she’s planning on doing a review in the future too.
  • The Threadcult podcast is not new, but I don’t hear much word-of-mouth about it on the blogosphere which is really a shame.  Personally I really dislike most of the sewing podcasts out there, they’re all just some random lady having a chitchat with another lady that happens to do something sewing related. It’s like gossip almost. And most of the time it feels like the host just wants to shower their guest with compliments, not have a meaningful conversation.  Anyways, Threadcult is more my speed: technical, experts, historical facts, and all about textiles and sewing. There hasn’t been a new episode in a while, but I’m sure it’s not an easy job.
  • This is kindof disturbing, it will definitely make you had main stream advertising even more.
  • And because I don’t have enough books to read as it is*, here is the top novels of the 21st century, so far.

Thoughts?

~Molly

Frozen Fingers and A Bow Tie

March 21, 2015

Hellohello!

I like to jokingly call my sewing space the “sewing cave.” I’ve called it that for a while now, no matter where it actually is in the house/apartment probably since I started dating Mr. Husband.  He likes to tease me that I’m a sewing monster (who later turns into a laundry fairy when he runs out of clean shirts…) only emerging from the cave for chocolate and cartoons.  But the house we live in now, my sewing cave is in the lower basement, fully underground with no windows, so it really is kindof a cave.  And it’s effing freezing in the winter (but dry as a bone thank g-d).

FrozenBows1

So its ironic then that I made the most light weight, breezy, summer dress that I own.  In December (and January and February…).  In the freezing sewing cave.  It took me forever to finish, not because it was hard or anything, because I had to weight the options and consequences of either a) happily sewing, but having frozen penguin toes (forget about trying things on down there) or b) being warm and lazy upstairs, most likely on my bed with a cat on my lap.  Most of the time I choose to stay upstairs and read.

Obviously I finished the dress (before the last one even), and I assumed I wouldn’t be able to wear it up here in the land of frozen lakes until at least June.  But we had a warm snap (60 degrees! in March!), so I actually got to take it out for a test drive.  But I work in an office, and sleeveless dress can never be worn solo no matter what time of year due to artificial climate control.

Pattern: Salme #134 Pussy Bow Dress

 

Sleeveless elastic waist dress featuring a narrow sailor collar with bow detail. Very quick and easy to make, though the collar may require some previous sewing experience. Armholes are finished with bias tape.

FrozenBows2

Barely warm enough to go outside sleeveless, but as you can see, the pond is still frozen.

Fabric: Cotton voile bought at Drygoods Design in Seattle.  This must be a record short about of time from vacation purchase to finished product, only one year!  Less than a year actually!  And to make sure this dress doesn’t bite the dust, I even used french seams throughout (it was hard to remember to do that though, since it’s not muscle memory, so I ended up ripping seams out a lot.  Totally worth it though).

Design Likes/Dislikes: I always like the look of tie bows on blouses and dresses, but they always seem way too big for my small chest so this one is really nice that the tie is pretty thin but still gets the job done.  I didn’t like making the split in front and it’s probably not necessary other than to make the tie work better.  I didn’t try very hard to follow the directions for the split, but they were a little confusing.

FrozenBows3

Sizing and Fit: I probably should have gone down a size, I think Salme patterns might be drafted for someone much taller than me.  I ended up cutting the 1 1/2″ off the bottom of the bodice (after redoing the elastic twice to try and get it tight enough to just billow up at the waist), because it just looked sad and saggy.  The bust darts are definitely too low on me.  Other than the length, its hard to tell much about Salme’s sizing since this dress is very loose fitting.

I need to figure out a better jacket or cardigan option though, this one made the collar bunch up in the back all day and bug me

I need to figure out a better jacket or cardigan option though, this one made the collar bunch up in the back all day and bug me

For Next Time: It’s a nice dress, but I’m not sure if/when I’ll make this again.  Too many fish in the sea as they say… or lake if you’re landlocked like me.

~Molly

Rhythm and Wrap

March 1, 2015

Hello! Look I’ve sewn something!

Actually, I’ve finished a whole other dress before this one, but it is so completely inappropriate for the current sub-freezing weather that I’m holding off on posting about it (hearsay!).

This dress took no time at all to sew, but I also have no adult obligations on the weekends besides cleaning up after myself, so it’s pretty easy to spend hours at a time in the sewing cave.  I bought the fabric during my last trip to Seattle at Nancy’s Sewing Basket with this exact project in mind.  Most of the time when I buy fabric I have a general idea of what I want to make with it (“oh this will be a skirt of some sort”), but this fabric was set to be V8379 from the very beginning.  I even bought yardage according to the envelope recommendations so now I only have about a 1 ft square scrap left!

RhythmWrap (1)

Mid hair flip, also the light is making my legs look really weird!

 

I’ve made this dress before and it’s pretty much my favorite dress ever because it’s comfortable but looks super good (if I do say so myself, and I do), plus so few dress patterns come with long sleeves and it’s freakin cold right now.  The first dress is pilling, but I still wear it because I doubt the dudes I work with will notice/care, but it’s great to have a second one, someday there may even be a third.

Pattern: V8379

Wrap front dress has soft pleats, side tie, and sleeve variations. Dress B has collar.

Fabric: Geometric, double layered poly knit.  The top layer feels more like a cotton poly blend, but the bottom layer is more slick feeling like swimsuit fabric so I think it is all poly (and made my machine skip some stitches on it’s slick surface).  I’m hoping that slick surface keeps it from sticking to tights ’cause you know I didn’t line this thing #lazy.  I love the awesome print though, and it’s black and white so I can wear colorful necklaces and tank tops with it.

RhythmWrap (2)

Design Likes/Dislikes: The half circle skirt is very flattering and I love that it has sleeve variations.  The pleats I could take or leave, being small busted it doesn’t matter too much on me.  I don’t particularly like the facings around the neckline, but that can be fixed (I already had them cut out though and was too lazy to make a binding, they do stay in place well though).

Sizing and Fit: Fits me perfectly right out of the envelope, but like I said, I have a small bust and frame.  But it’s a wrap dress so you can always pull it tighter or loser, and knits are more forgiving of course.

RhythmWrap (4)

Changes: I left off the weird collar and cuffs.  To hem the sleeves I made a quick binding that was a little shorter than the sleeve width, then stretched to fit.

For Next Time: If I’m not too lazy, I’ll do the same binding style for the neckline too.

RhythmWrap (3)

MORE WRAP DRESSES FOR EVERYONE! Seriously though, I’m convinced there is a wrap dress for everyone.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Coincidentally, McCall’s is doing a wrap dress sew-along (and seriously missed a great opportunity to call it a Wrap Along.  “What are you wrapping?” “Oh, you know, just myself in an awesome dress of awesomeness.”), and the Curvy Sewing Collective finished another sew-along last year (oh looks like the CSC sew-along was called a Wrap Along.  Good naming job, I like those women.  What else could you call a wrap dress sew-along? Wrap Til You Drop, Wrap-a-polooza, Wrap Up It’s Cold Outside?  Tangent, sorry).

~Molly

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