Thursday, May 29, 2014

Me Made May Day 29: Summer vacation pants

A couple of weeks ago I pinned a cute pair of pants:

At the same time I realized that I was in desperate need of summer pants. I first thought of drafting the pattern from scratch, but then remembered that there was a pair of elastic waist pants in Simple Modern Sewing that would only need pockets drafted. Around that time I had another fruitful visit to Broken Things/the Depot that yielded a couple of yards of rayon linen (and a couple other fabrics, of course). I was set for a muslin, and a wearable one at that.

I'll be upfront and say that I made a key, rookie mistake and forgot that Japanese patterns expect you to put the seam allowance in. The good news is that the pants are baggy enough that the loss of fabric resulted in a slightly slimmer silhouette, but not too tight. That said, next time I make these pants I will add in seam allowance. I think the place that needs it most is north of the waistline. These sit too low and would be less fussy if the waist sat about an inch or so higher. Also, those pockets? Too big. 

The pattern instructions suggest cutting the pattern perpendicular to the selvedge so that you can use the semi-finished selvedge as the hem edge. I have enough brown linen to make another pair with changes and I will try this hem finish. I am also wondering if I could pull off a pair in wax print. Print pants are all the rage, so why not give it a shot? I wore the pants to work today and paired them with my Goodale sweater in Miss Babs Yowza. I LOVE the color of this sweater and the pockets so much that I can overlook that it is a one button sweater.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MMMay Days 24-28: Still in the game!

As May comes to a close, I have lost my drive to blog each day's outfit. While I have continued to wear a MeMade item every day I have also missed photographing a few of those days. Here's the run down since Saturday:

Day 24: Indigo Dyed Wiksten hack

I made this tank dress from the Wiksten pattern. I used my standard mods and added a channel for a drawstring. I used about $2 worth of muslin, then took it to the Possible show at the Berkeley Art Museum for an open Indigo dip. The result looks like a very faded denim. It is shorter than I would normally wear a dress, but I was in Sacramento this day and it was very hot.

Day 25: Rooibos skirt, day 2

This was my first repeat day, but affirmed my love of this skirt. I need to decide if I am going to take the panels apart to make a master pattern or if I am going to try to draft from the finished object. No photo.

Day 26: Art History Wiksten

Another repeat day and also photo-less, as the weather warms up I realized that I could use a number of tank tops. Perhaps it is finally time for a Sorbetto.

Day 27: Taproot One

Penumbra Tee
Yet another repeat without photo documentation--this one is really a favorite. When I made the second version of the Taproot Tunic I extended the length, but ultimately I like this version better. I have made a date with some friends to get them started sewing and this is the pattern I am going to start them on. Even if the style doesn't appeal to everyone (which I actually think it will given the crowd I run with), it is a great way to build confidence because it comes together so quickly.

Day 28: Penumbra Tee

Finally! A unique MeMade! I made this knit top back in 2011-2012. It's a cute pattern from Knitscene, but my execution has some issues. Part of the problem is that the yarn is too stiff for this pattern so the bottom flares out oddly. I also think the neckline is too low. This is one of several sweater project that I am considering ripping out and re-purposing the yarn. I recently saw this sweet tank that I think would get more use than this top.

Tomorrow holds a new MeMade, perhaps the last one of the month. Who knows? I might eek one last project out!

Friday, May 23, 2014

MMMay Days 22/23: Art History Wiksten & a sunny sweater

Two years ago when I started all this sewing business the one of the first things that I made was the famous Wiksten tank. After making the muslin and adjustments I made one out of Jay McCarroll's Drop Cloth fabric to wear to judge the Art History games at the school where I work. It's now become an annual tradition for me to wear it on judging day, which was yesterday. I did not have time to snap a photo, but I will probably wear it again (like tomorrow) so here's the original FO photo for reference:

The fog has rolled back into the Bay so I managed another unique Me Made today by wearing my Aislinn sweater. I am mixed about this sweater. It is definitely more of a statement piece so I can't just throw it on with anything that I am wearing, so when I wear it I have to plan the outfit around the sweater. Don't get me wrong, it is a cute sweater and works with a few items in my wardrobe. It's just that it is limited. Here it was today:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MMMay Day 21: Red Denim Skirt

This is probably the oldest Me Made that I still wear and it is definitely the one that I have worn the most over the years--so much so that I can't believe I haven't made a whole fleet of these skirts. I used Simplicity 5460, but over the years this skirt has been altered a few times. I have shortened it twice from just covering my knee to just at the knee to where it resides now above the knee. Then yesterday in order to be able to wear it today I took it in at the waist. Given the age of this skirt I did a quick job and drew in a quarter inch pinch at each side seam. I curved the line to nothing at the hip and widened it a smidge so the waist facing would fit inside. I still love it. Time to make another!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MMMay Day 20: Vogue 8815

After a muslin, pattern redrafting, and changes to this version I was able to wear my Vogue 8815 today. I like it, but I am not in love with it. I made so many changes to the pattern in the two versions that I am starting to thinking I should have made a different size. Instead of a 12 with a graded waistline, perhaps I should have made a 10 with a graded waistline. After getting to a waistline that didn't feel too tight I still had a lot of fabric to remove from the torso. Even in this version you can see some buckling at the sides (though that wrinkle above my bust line is more a fabric issue than a fit issue). The second round of changes looked like this:
  1. Redraw side seams
  2. Make armhole 1" deeper
  3. Move dart apex down 1"
  4. Take neckline & back neck down 1/2-1"

What I didn't realized was that by taking the shoulders up as I did meant I should have made the bodice another 5/8th of an inch longer! So if I make this pattern again I will need to:

  1. Make the bodice longer
  2. Make the skirt shorter (this photo makes it look too long, which it might be)
  3. Move the dart apex up a 1/2"
  4. Fix gaping at the neckline (though that might be poor tape application)
That said, I might just make the size 10, but change the waistline size and location, the armholes, and shoulders before the muslin. Alternately, I have a couple of other peplum tops to try. There's the loose-fitting Simplicity 1362, which could make a nice, easy sundress, and then there's the princess seamed Simplicity 1425, which might be easier to alter.

In the meantime I need to go dig out an old skirt to wear for tomorrow's Me Made!

Monday, May 19, 2014

MMMay Day 19: Pink Paisley PJs

Today I was a luxurious day. My sister-in-law was here, which means my kiddo is otherwise occupied with one of his favorite people in the world. I took advantage of the opportunity by spending the first half of the day in some me-made PJ pants. I made these out of a cotton lawn scarf I got as a hand-me-down from my grandma. I used the the PJ shorts pattern from the first One Yard Wonders book, drew the leg down to full length and added in-seam pockets. The result is on the dramatic side for PJs, but good:
I love that bird painting, even when it's crooked!
I spent a lot of time at the sewing machine and ironing board today. I cut out the fabric for the cropped pants and finally finished a wearable version of Vogue 8815, which will debut tomorrow!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

MMMay Day 18: Pink!

Back when I made my Rooibos skirt I also made a top to go with it. I wanted to make a loose fitting cotton jersey top and had the perfect top to base it off of. Unfortunately, my knock-off version made it look like I was a wall of pink:

It's just so much unrelenting pink and it kind of looks like a man's t-shirt. Recently I went to either wear it or toss and decided to take a pair of scissors to it to see if I could improve it. I opened up the neckline (I should have restrained myself there since I am now forever yanking up the neck), shortened the sleeves, and curved the front hem. I like it much better now, even though it requires me to always wear a camisole.
I missed blogging yesterday and, truthfully, I rested in terms of what I was wearing--wearing only a handknit scarf (I'm giving myself a pass though it is not in the spirit of the challenge). However, I did lots of sewing and altering and prepping. I'm hoping that I am only an hour or so away from finishing Vogue 8815. Then last night I traced and cut out the crop pant pattern from Simple Modern Sewing and the top of the boat-neck jumper from the same to make into a dress. I would love to get at least the pants done tomorrow.

Friday, May 16, 2014

MMMay Dia 16: Rooibos skirt

After making my original Rooibos dress, I thought that a skirt from the bottom of the pattern would be adorable, allow for crazy fabric mixing, and have the best pockets ever. Shortly before Day of the Dead 2012 I set to work making a skirt using the bottom half of the dress pattern. In my mind it was going to be as easy as cutting it down at the waist and putting in a zipper. You will not be surprised when I say it wasn't that easy. In order to get the pockets in a spot where they'd both look good and be useful I cut the skirt at a place that was wider than my waist. I suppose at that point I could have made it an elastic waist skirt, but I think it would have ruined the lines of the skirt. Instead I set to work shaving off circumference at each of the seams. Eventually, it got to a workable waistline. I have since changed the hemline twice and I really like it. I actually think I could use another skirt like this, although this time I will redraft the pieces and maybe make a muslin. Here it is, photo courtesy of my 4 year-old:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MMMay Day 15: Original Rooibos

Today I wore my original Rooibos dress. I made many modifications on this dress to get the fit right and the end result no longer fits me! I am tempted to alter this dress, but I don't think it is worth it for a couple of reasons. One, altering this dress would most likely mean taking the dress apart (all 14+ pieces of it) and recutting it. Two, the fabric (a quilting cotton) has not fared well as a garment. It hangs poorly and the seams appear strained. This may have been its final outing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MMMay Day 14: Sheet as a Skirt

Back in 2008 I made the Anda dress from BurdaStyle (remember when much on BurdaStyle was free? Crazy!) from a thrifted sheet. I had to mod it and cinch it to like the way it looked:
In the notes on Flickr I even say, "if I tire of it, I can lop off the top and make it into a skirt." Well, that is just what I did a year later! It's not my favorite skirt and I have to wear a slip with it. That said, it's cute and it will do in a pinch especially when I am on a Me Made roll! Here it is today on Day 14:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MMMay Day 13: Denim Rooibos

This is the second Rooibos dress I made. The first required me to do so many alterations that I had to use the pattern again. I finished the dress shortly before I started running so it is now a size or two too big. It's still wearable and I like that I can pull it on over my head. The part that I don't like is the way the skirt hangs. I think this is an issue of fit combined with the material. While not a heavy denim, I think it needs to be more fitted to work. You can probably see that I am pulling at the sides to make it lay flat.

I altered the pattern significantly, mostly to get the bust to fit. If I were to make this again I would definitely just go down a size or two. I also made an adjustment to minimize fabric bunching in the back (what I now think might have been a swayback adjustment). This version has two major modifications. One you can see--I changed the neckline to be rounded. The other you can't see--I raised the back as I didn't feel comfortable with the low back for a work dress.

I didn't get to my wearable version of V8815 today, but I did do some more altering of the tank dress so the rest of my sewing time today will be devote to picking out the old seam and deconstructing a thrifted top. Off to find a seam ripper!

Monday, May 12, 2014

MMMay Day 12: Stylish Dress N

I had this sunny, warm, lovely spring day off and got to wear the only thing I have ever made from a Japanese pattern book (even though I own several). This was the dress I wore two summers ago, Dress N from the first Stylish Dress Book. I always used to wear it with a pair of lightweight pants underneath, but those pants are no longer wearable (stained beyond humility), but I am hoping to replicate those pants this summer. Last year I added side seam pockets to this dress and this year I am going to add shirring to the back, which was always a tad saggy.
Today's making was all about adjusting patterns. I tried to get rid of the excess fabric on the back of my Simplicity 1358 by making a center back dart and moving it out to the side seams. It didn't work, and, in fact, it made it worse. With the side seams changed I tried then to do a swayback adjustment, but the amount I was pinching out (2") made it impossible to bring the lines together and it just did not seem right.I found this amazing post from Patterns Scissors Cloth that said if you are adjusting more than a half inch there is probably more at play than a swayback adjustment can fix. So for the muslin I am going to take out the seams 1/4" (total 1") in hopes that a less snug hip area will alleviate some some of the bunching. I will then translate that alteration and add a diamond shaped dart to the back center seam for a wearable muslin for view E, which has a seam in both the front and back. I also might make a couple of tank tops from this pattern by shortening the pattern to hip length.
All of the alterations from my muslin are now on the pattern pieces for Vogue 8815 and the fabric is cut for what will be a wearable muslin. I have a feeling I might encounter some back bunching since I extended the length of the bodice by 5/8th of an inch. Changing the pattern pieces was fun (like a puzzle) and I inadvertently followed the conventional wisdom in altering patterns by progressing top to bottom. The hardest part was getting all (four) of the pattern pieces to fit on a yard and a quarter piece of fabric, but I did it! I almost blew it by cutting the back pieces with two separate pieces of fabric both face up. Thankfully the pattern piece was symmetrical so it worked both ways. I am hoping to sew it together for a fitting tomorrow!

MMMay Day 11: Wiksten Wearable Muslin


It was a sunny fiber-filled day in Oakland.  It was so warm that I could bust out one of my Wiksten tanks--the original one I made out of a sheet as a wearable muslin--and wear the one pair of "shorts"--cutoffs that I made in the last brief heatwave we had--that I will leave the house wearing. A took this Mother's Day portrait of me as evidence for today's Me Made.

He and John went off to a birthday party and I spent time working on the tank dress from yesterday and the peplum top. I sewed on the armbands for the tank dress, which did fix the weird gaping. I also pinned out the excess fabric and read a little about moving darts to the seams, which I will do on this dress and then transfer that change to the pattern. I think it will also require me to add some length to this dress, but I haven't quite worked that out yet.

I started adjusting the pattern pieces for the Vogue top starting with the peplums by adding .25" to each piece to compensate for the extra width that will be gained through narrowing the darts. I was able to adjust the upper front piece and trace a second copy of the upper back piece. I am making a ton of modifications on this pattern, but in the scheme of things it hasn't taken that long.

Later I met my family up at Verb for a great workshop on dying silk scarves with natural dyes where you could bring your kid! Since dyeing the fabric for our placemats and our napkins A has been asking to to some more so he was super excited for this class. Kristine showed us a variety of ways to resist dye and we chose to take plants from the dye garden, wrap them in the scarf, tie everything up, and dunk them in the dye vat. It was so amazing when we unfurled our first scarf and saw that some of the plants had not only left their dye, but their actual imprint. I will post close-ups eventually.

The day concluded with the monthly Seam Allowance meeting. We are about to complete our second year of this endeavor and I can say that I have many more Made by Me garments than I did when we started. I got to see at least six version of the Endless Summer Tunic and was excited to hear that paper copies would be in from the printer soon. Given what I am working on at the moment I can probably wait until next month to pick that pattern up.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

MMMay Day 10: Skirt of an awkward length

Last night I learned something dangerous. I learned that Joann's is merely four more BART stops down from my home stop. This weekend was the 99 cent Simplicity patterns sale and there might have been a few patterns that I was willing to pick up for that price. I surprised myself by making something right away from Simplicity 1358, which is also branded under their Easy Summer Sewing line, a simple tank dress out of knit fabric. I decided to go with View C and make the knee length version. Again, I used a piece of fabric that I picked up at the Depot so the most I paid was $2. It was super easy to cut out and the size small fits pretty great, but there are two problem areas: gaping in the armhole area and excess fabric in the back.

I think the armhole problem might fix itself when I add the armhole bands. The back issue is something that I have in my hand knit sweaters, too. In a pattern out of woven fabric I would dart the back. I would do that in this specific fabric because it is a dense knit and the print is busy enough to hide it. However, I would prefer not to do it in a solid color knit or really at all. I think investigating the correction for sway back might help me with this one.

Lest you think I have abandoned Vogue 8815, I also worked on the muslin today. I took up the shoulders and added an armscye dart, which dealt with whole underarm/bust business. I also moved the darts down and inch and narrowed them all around to give me another inch in the waist. I was hoping to avoid putting a zipper in this top, but even with a little more room in the waist I need a zipper to minimize stress on the seams when taking it on and off. Tomorrow I am going to redraw the pattern pieces and cut out fabric for a wearable muslin. Eventually I want to make a peplum top that I can pull over my head, but I think I will use Simplicity 1362 (also branded under the Easy Summer Sewing line) for that.

I did have another non-repeat Me Made today in the form my my Door Skirt. This skirt started it's life as another skirt most likely from the 80s with lots and lots of gathers. I got it at Goodwill, took it apart, washed it, pressed the hizzy heck out of it, and used a pattern to make it into an A-line skirt. Originally I was super lazy and kept the original hemline. The result was a skirt that hit somewhere in the mid to upper shin range. A couple of years ago I was somewhat lazy and re-hemmed it when what I should have done was taken it apart and reshaped at least the bottom half of the skirt. I still wear it, but as the title of the post suggests, it's kind of an awkward length.

Friday, May 9, 2014

MMMay Day Nine: A guest of the brides

Five years ago my dear, dear friends Mary and Carol got married. John and I were honored to be invited into their extended family to attend their ceremony and reception outside of Baltimore. To celebrate I busted out a pattern I had considered for the dress I made for my brother's wedding--McCalls 4829. This was an era when sewing was a special occasion. Thinking about it now I really have come a long way in terms of my level of ease with sewing, drafting, and hacking patterns. That said, this dress was certainly a HUGE improvement from my earlier efforts and it was only third dress I had ever made.

I made this dress pre-pregnancy and it is a good reminder that I was bigger before and after baby, than I am now. The dress is pretty cute and not egregiously big, so I am not sure it is worth taking in. If I do decide to keep it I will absolutely need to add pockets. Here I am today wearing it, photographed early in the morning in my artificially lit office with a crappy phone app:

The fabric was a thrift score at the Goodwill in Albany, OR. I had enough to make a matching bag. I love that I find so many of my materials in the after market, but it does limit what my wardrobe is made up of. I am not as intentional as someone who sets out to find a specific set of fabrics for a specific set of patterns. As a result my wardrobe is a little more eclectic than put together. Perhaps, though, that is who I am.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

MMMay Day Eight: Sweater weather

Maybe this is my lucky May! It was a bit chilly when I left work yesterday so when choosing my clothes for today I picked out my Papillon sweater. I have only worn it twice before because I had decided the sleeves were an awkward length and needed to be lengthened. My devotion to all that is Me-Made-May let me wear it awkwardly lengthed sleeves and all.

I got to sewing as soon as I got home putting together my muslin for Vogue 8815. A few things were immediately apparent:
  1. I could not live with a neckline that high
  2. The waist was a little snug
  3. The straps were too wide
First, I took the pattern for Wiksten and transferred the front neckline and strap width over to the muslin. This was a little trickier for the back because there are back darts. I ended up not making the back straps wide enough, but will fix that in the pattern re-draft. I sewed a smaller seam allowance at the waist to alleviate the snugness and came up with this:

Not bad, but there are a few more things to correct. Next time I will:
  1. Bring up the straps
  2. Take in the extra fabric at the armhole and shorten the armscye
  3. Lengthen the body about 5/8ths of an inch
  4. Widen the waistline by another .5-1" (although this might have to wait for the redrafting).
Once that is done I will transfer changes to paper and make a wearable muslin. I am wondering if some of that could be achieved by using the size 10 for the upper body and grading out for the waist. I will sleep on it.

I love the new neckline and plan to make my "real" version in Anna Maria Horner voile with a skirt length peplum. Check me out, sewing like a big girl.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MMMay Day Seven: Swimming along

I have made it a week into the challenge and still have items to go! Today is one of my favorites. It's the first skirt I made using the slash and spread method to get a nice, big sweep. The fabric was another find from the East Bay Depot (aka "Broken Things")--$2 for a wide yard of lightweight canvas.

This is one of the skirts I have to take in. The obstacle is that I made well placed slash pockets. You can't see it in the photo above, but one of the pockets has the tiniest bit of fish face visible. I am thinking that I will trim a tiny bit off each side of back panel and gather the waist just a bit only in the back to pull in the waist. At this point anything is better than holding it together with a safety pin.

OK, tonight's task is ironing muslin pieces so that they are ready to sew (possibly in the morning before I leave for work!).

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

MMMay Day Six: One step forward, two steps back

Thanks to the decent muslin that I made for the Scoop Top I was able to pull off a knock around Me Made today and even document it courtesy of my kid.

I had the day off of work so I wasn't too concerned about wearing something where the hem is pretty off and the sleeves are unfinished. I will need to look at the hemming instructions more carefully next time and perhaps go back to Meg McElwee's Sewing with Knits for some tips.

On my way back home I visited my kryptonite, the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I really intended to only look at patterns and get out, but there was some nice looking fabric there that I couldn't pass up at $2/yard. I came home with this:
Clockwise from top left:
  • 1.25 yards of a cotton/poly blend. I am thinking about finally making a Sorbetto with this.
  • 1 yard of vibrant knit that will be perfect for another Scoop Top.
  • 3 yards wax print cloth. Call me crazy, but I am tempted to make this with the oil cloth. I have my doubts that it will work for me, but I think the garment would be amazing.
  • Kids PJ pattern for some fabric I have had for a while for this exact purpose.
  • Vintage 1960s minidress for knits pattern
  • Vintage 1970s tunic pattern
Total cost: $11.72 

I got some sewing done. I am making matching dresses for a pair of sisters who are having their joint birthday party on Saturday. It's my second round of Playday Frocks (link to the individual PDF download) from the second One Yard Wonders. It's a great, quick, and cute pattern. While the sewing was not for me, it used stash and made room for some of the loot I came home with.

MMM Day Five: Almost nothing to see here

I am getting this post in under the wire. I did wear another Me Made today--my first Emma Tunic. I snapped a few photos today, but they are on my camera and I don't think any of them are that good. So take a look at the linked photo and imagine that I am wearing blue tights intead of pink and you will understand today's MMM outfit.

I did get some sewing, cutting, and marking in tonight. The Wiksten dress now has a channel and a drawstring. I like the look! I have to work on the shape/length of the front and the back. I will also probably finish the edges and hem it before dyeing it. I also cut out the back pieces for Simplicity 6296:

Simplicity 6296 1980s Misses Pullover  Dress Pattern Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size 10 Bust 32 1/2 UNCUT
My plan is to muslin the top and figure out what I want on the bottom. I also need to figure out the neckline and I want to adjust the pattern pieces to incorporate color blocking. I also marked the muslin pieces for both the Simplicity pattern above and Vogue 8815.

Tomorrow?! Sewing together the muslins. Must sleep now. Do Me Made sleep shorts count for anything?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MMM Day Four: The Possible

We spent most of today at The Possible exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum. The museum has turned several galleries into working studios for sculptors, printmakers, dyers, weavers, musicians, performance artists. A curator told me today that Clark Kerr's original intention for the space was as an art center. The Possible has realized this intention. While we were there today I wove a little on a handmade loom, we drew on a tshirt, molded clay, danced on the rag rug, and played music. If you can, you should see it. I wish it would carry on until the museum closes later this year in anticipation of its move to a new space in 2016.

In MMM2014 news: Inspired by the visit to the museum I came home and worked on my Wiksten variation. I decided against the shirring after all and made a channel and a drawstring. At the show there was a ton of stuff that had been indigo dyed and it got me thinking about indigo dyeing this dress instead of acid dyeing. We shall see!

I wore my original Taproot Tunic today and my one of my unexpectedly favorite knit items the Lunatic Fringe scarf. It is one of the rare knits where not only did I knit it in the called-for yarn, but I had that yarn in my stash in the right amount. Sorry for the blurry, bus selfie:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

MMM Day Three: Blank Slate

Last night I serged the raw edges and sewed together the muslin Wiksten. My plan is to use shirring at the sides to bring in the waist, but as I look at the blank slate of this dress I have so many ideas of what I could do. I could create a channel at the waist and have a drawstring to bring it in or leave it loose depending on the look I want. I could add pockets--either in seam or on the outside. This is chronically my problem whether it is new fabric or yarn, I am often paralyzed by the possibilities.

Today, the muslin went through the wash and came out shorter than I would have liked, but otherwise the fit is fine. This afternoon was Seam Allowance studio time at A Verb for Keeping Warm, which is a great time and space for me to trace and cut since there is a nice tall table there. I traced pieces for view A and C of Vogue 8815 and the top of Vintage Simplicity 6296. I also cut the pieces for a muslin for view A of the Vogue pattern, but ran out of fabric before I could cut the back pieces of the Simplicity pattern. All in all I made good progress today!

I wore two different Me-Made shirts today. One is a hack of the Taproot Tunic (from Issue 8 of Taproot Magazine). I made it longer and am surprised that I like it less than the original cropped version. I am not crazy about this version. I can't quite put my finger on the root of the problem, but it is probably all the little things: I am not crazy about the color, the fabric is not a great weight for clothing, and it slips off my shoulder (my first one does not do that). The other shirt I will save for another post, suffice it to say I like it better but it also slips off my shoulder.

Taproot Tunic 2 & Finn the Human

Friday, May 2, 2014

MMM Day Two: The Possibilities List

After ten years of trying various Alongs (Knit Along, Gift Along, etc.) I have learned that I do best in those with the least amount of structure. If I commit to a specific project or make a list of what I am going to do I am certain to stray from that immediately. Instead, I present a list of possibilities for this month so I don't lose track of the things I am meaning to do, but don't necessarily have to do.

Vogue 8815
  1. The Shirred Wiksten dyed tank dress (see yesterday's post)
  2. The brown corduroy skirt. This is a skirt that I cut out a long, long time ago. The pieces have been serged, but it has yet to be assembled. I am not at all confident that this skirt will fit. I think my best bet is to sew it together as is and then see if I can take it in. If not, I will give it away.
  3. Vogue 8815 was a Pattern Review Best Pattern 2012. There are dozens of positive reviews and endless ways of hacking this one. I can see it in woven and knit. I'd love a dress length one. First, though, I will fit the bodice, lower the neckline, and move the zipper (if it is even necessary once that neckline gets lowered.)
  4. Skirt adjustments. I have many skirts where I put so much work into them and/or I love the fabric that need to be taken in. There is my original A-line muslin, this one from the fish fabric I got at the East Bay Depot, and my beloved re-purposed vintage fabric skirt.
After this my eyes start to get too big for my, um, presser foot? For now I will keep these projects in mind. 

OH! And before I forget, I am wearing something I made (and . . . don't tell anyone . . . is currently safety pinned in place). It's my self-drafted skirt from a re-purposed vintage skirt. I love this fabric and held onto it for over a decade before using it. I will probably reuse again and again it until it literally falls apart. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Me-Made-May Making: Day One

It seems beyond foolish to start blogging again, but without a real home for sewing the way that my knitting has Ravelry this blog seems like the place to go to report on my life in sewn stitches. Since I last posted here, I have continued to make clothes for myself. Some skirts, another Rooibos dress, a couple of Emma tunics, two Taproot tunics, and even a pair of underwear. As summer approaches I am ready to fire up the machine more often and once again I have great expectations for myself over the coming months.

Today marks the start of Me-Made-May and I am not confident the number of handmade items in my closet will carry me through the month. I think if I can wear one or more items most days of the month with regular repeats I will come close to the basic concept of the concept. While today's dress wouldn't count, I did wear my dress from A Field Day with an unfortunate stain at nipple level that I rescued by using fabric from the pocket lining to create a breast pocket. I am sure to wear it again soon and will post a photo.

Instead of, or perhaps in addition to, wearing daily homegrown outfits I think I will pledge to work on sewing for myself in May. I can call it Making-for-Me-for-Next-Me-Made-May. My pledge is to devote 30 minutes a day for 31 days to working on making items for my wardrobe that come from items currently in my stash.

I have quite a few things in the works, all in various states of unfinished--half sewn, partially serged, cut out. Then there is the pile of alterations. Since my last burst of sewing I have lost weight so that pretty well-fitting skirt I made last summer is now safety pinned on until I screw up the courage to take off the waist band and alter the panels to fit better. I have been having a whack at cleaning up my sewing space, tossing things I will never use, and getting all my patterns in one place as well as creating a Pinterest board of what I have in my drawer of patterns in anticipation.

Today while daydreaming during my commute on this particularly warm Bay Area spring day I conjured up a Wiksten Tank Dress with shirring at the side waists and pockets. I dug up the adjusted pattern pieces and cut them out of muslin tonight (easily 30 minutes of clothes making, in addition to the Finn the Human hat that I sewed for my kid this evening). My plan:
  1. Serge pieces.
  2. Sew the pieces together.
  3. Wash muslin (seems backward, but the Linda Maynard Craftsy class said not to wash muslin beforehand. However, I suspect she isn't expecting the muslin to turn into a wearable garment but I was too impatient to wash the fabric. If this strategy fails I will have lost about $2 worth of muslin).
  4. Determine where the shirring goes. Shirr.
  5. Dye the dress.