September 1, 2015
Before I get into this post, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented on my last post! It was really interesting and encouraging to hear your thoughts on creativity when interpreting vs. designing/composing.
So, all factors considered, this was actually a pretty productive month for me as far as sewing goes! And I do have a couple of projects that I haven't shown on here yet. I did finish up a second Rae skirt yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet, so I'll save that for a later post. But aside from that, and the first Rae skirt and the flamingo skirt, here's what I've been up to:
My in-laws have been bringing a lot of stuff over lately. They recently came for lunch with three boxes of kids' books and a few toys that they picked up at a yard sale for $1/box. I didn't keep everything--there were a lot of things like coloring books that were already colored, and they ended up taking the girlier stuff for when our niece is over there. But there were some excellent book finds, too. Somehow, several puzzles ended up in the bottom of the basket of things I kept. Since Hobbit is still a few years too young for even these simple ones, I made a bag to keep everything together until he's old enough. It only took one naptime, I recycled a zipper and effectively used up the largest piece left over from the diaper bag, and my label worked. So I'm happy with this spontaneous project.
The other thing I spent a good chunk of the month on was a costume for my best friend, who is going to DragonCon again this year. She gave me permission to post this photo. She wanted to do a Disney princess this year, and chose Merida. We actually started this back in the winter, with a plan that I'd work through it with her so she could learn a little sewing along the way. But life and mostly my pregnancy meant that there was still a good chunk to do with the deadline approaching, so I finished it. The pattern is McCall , and while she bought the main green fabric and trims, I happily donated part of my stash to the cause--the sleeve lining bits and the white brocade was my contribution. (Now if I could just figure out what to do with the other polyester brocades that have been hanging around!) I'm happy that, although I can't go with her this time, and I'm ok with that because the baby needs me here, some of my sewing will still be there.
Stash used: Not counting the skirt I finished yesterday, mostly because it was half a refashion and I have no idea how much I used on top of that, this leaves me with a total of 8 yards used up, and 6 that were straight out of the stash. I counted the flamingos, even though I broke habit and used it almost immediately.
Stash added: I bought 2 1/2 yards of chambray with a gift card that had been sitting around, because I felt that I needed a denim skirt for the fall. Then I made the happy discovery that my TARDIS skirt really is bigger on the inside, and I can squeeze myself into it again! So now I need to figure out what to use it for, since there's a LOT of options. A shirt? A dress? A shirtdress? Augh! And then remember what I said about my in-laws? Someone they knew, I think one of Doug's aunts, was getting rid of fabric, so they brought it here. Again, I didn't keep everything, because I don't have much use for upholstery fabric. But the potentially useable stuff still totaled 18 1/2 yards! Yikes!
The best find in there, hands-down, was this. It's large scale and crazy bright and I must use it. But not until I start next summer's clothes, I'm sure. I have more pressing wardrobe needs. And Sarah is hosting my favorite annual sewalong again, so of course I want in!
Since we're starting the last third of the year, I thought this would be a good time to give an overall stashbusting update. I started off the year with about 375 yards of fabric, and according to my records, I've used close to 79! (Thank you, diapers.) The best news to me, though, is that even with the additions, my current tally runs around 351 yards. So as of now, I have about 24 yards less than I started with. I still feel like I have a ridiculous amount of fabric, especially now that I just ended up with over 20 extra yards in a month. But every project gets me one piece closer to my goal of a manageable-to-store, better-curated stash.
(Quick question-- is anyone else having trouble with Blogger's layout of photos lately? I really hate that it keeps separating the text and photos like this, but I've triple-checked that photo alignment option, so I don't know what else to do!)
August 23, 2015
Sometimes, I feel like I'm not a very creative person.
Sure, I look creative. After all, I have a music degree (two, actually), and I mange my own clothes. I also enjoy cooking, most of the time. But here's the thing: I'm a classically trained musician. Which is basically the equivalent of not being the author who creates the story, but the translator who takes a different language and rewrites it into English. The times I've gotten the most nervous performing have been the times I've been told to just make up a part. And I see this in the other things, too. I can follow a recipe well, but I struggle to take a handful of ingredients and turn them into a tasty meal without one. And I choose the fabrics and tweak the fit, sometimes I mash together two patterns if I'm getting brave, but it's almost always someone else's design that I'm just interpreting.
That being said, this skirt was definitely out of my comfort zone. And it's certainly not perfect. If this was Project Runway and Michael Kors was still a judge, he'd probably pull out that Becky Home-ecky phrase, furthering my dislike of him for making my name synonymous with bad sewing. But I made it, without a pattern, and it did what I wanted it to do. And that's pretty huge for me.
So here's the details: it's two yards of quilt cotton that should be all wrong for me--mint green? Pink? Really? But the flamingos called to me. I cut it to the length I thought would be good, plus seams and gems, then cut that piece into thirds. The back is adjustable, with
August 16, 2015
Just a quick project to share today. This was the only photo that sort of turned out, to be honest, and I'm limited on time while the baby's napping. I tried a couple of side shots, but I'll admit I'm feeling a little self-conscious about how I look in those-- I know I should be kind to myself, since 8 weeks ago I was just going into labor, and lots of people around here have been telling me that I look great. But I think I'm ready to not look like I have a baby bump on here, you know?
Anyway, the skirt. I'm trying to focus on projects that are relatively quick to make and forgiving on the fit, while I restock my wardrobe with a few basics to help me get into the fall. This is the Sewaholic Rae skirt, which was designed as a beginner skirt, so I figured it would work up fast. Also, elastic waists are my friends right now. I was really happy with how this turned out. It was a fairly instant-gratification project-- I think it only took me 3 or 4 afternoon naptimes to sew up, and those have been quite variable in length so far, so that's not bad. The fabrics are leftover pieces from this skirt and these pants, and I think they pair well together. I'm calling it my Zelda Rae skirt, because I have to admit that black and tan makes me think of German shepherds, and in particular, the very sweet one that my parents had while I was in college and beyond. But I also figured the black and tan combo means that it would go with a lot. Aside from that, there's not much to say about the construction. There's only two pattern pieces. Which also makes it quick to cut out, and since that's not my favorite part of sewing, that's fine by me.
It's a little wrinkly looking, yeah. But the tan is linen, while the black is a linen-type. So let's call this "embracing the nature of the fabric" instead of "I'm too lazy to iron while trying to get us out the door", ok?
All in all, I think this is a great skirt for both the seasonal transition, and my sizing transitions. I'm definitely going to attempt at least one more of these, assuming the refashion I have in mind has enough fabric. I'm also debating about two more. I used a gift card I've been hoarding to buy some chambray, since none of my old skirts that weren't already elastic waist were fitting. But then last week, I made the happy discovery that I've shrunk down enough that my TARDIS skirt fits again, even though it's snug, and this other denim skirt is also right on the verge of fitting (snugly). So now I'm questioning whether that chambray would be more useful as another type of garment. I also splurged on another piece of fabric just before the baby was born, because the Whovian in me demanded it, and I was originally thinking a different Sewaholic skirt pattern, but I think I might go with this instead. After all, the sizing is more versatile. And we know we'd like to have at least one more kid a little ways down the road, assuming we can, so I'd rather use my precious sewing time to make things that aren't just going to fit for a few months before doing this all over again.
August 10, 2015
First off, the maternity clothes that I made hoping they'd also work after. I haven't had a chance to try out the Megan Nielsen top again, because it is way too hot and humid for polyester right now. But the two maxi-dresses (pictured here, and the solid black one), and the tie-dyed maxi skirt are all working out pretty well. There are things I do wish were a little different about each one. The yoga-style waistband on the skirt was a bit too wide even when I was pregnant, and I have to fold it over pretty far now. But it does fit without falling down, which was my main goal. This blue dress still feels a bit wide in the upper back, and I am debating whether to add a faux back seam just to take in some of that extra fullness--I'd hate for a print this lovely to feel frumpy! As for the black dress, the fit is still really good, even minus the bump. But I do need to hem it a little shorter. It was on the verge of too long before, and now I have to be really careful to avoid stepping on it when I walk. I just haven't had the time to do so yet. On the plus side, the zipper nursing access, though not perfect, functions pretty well.
If you have no interest in reading about the more baby-specific makes, here's a good place to stop! Otherwise, moving on to...
...the gender-reveal outfit! Along with Hobbit's very skeptical expression. He's not a small baby by any means--he's only 6 1/2 weeks old, and we've already had to take the newborn insert out of his car seat, and several of his 0-3 month sized clothes are beginning to feel a little tight when snapping them closed. I say that to show just how ridiculously oversized this is on him! I think I may have misread the pattern. I thought it was a 0-3 month size, but I'm looking at the sizing chart on the website, and it looks like this may be more of a 6 month size. Which leaves me wondering if I should go back and add some length to the legs, since these are shorts and that would mean he won't fit into these well until it's cold. The thought of him not being able to wear it at all is mildly heartbreaking, and I do still have some of this denim left. But would that look dumb to have that seam there?
Next up: the diapers.
He's modeling the smallest of the three sizes here. For the most part, they're working out really well so far-- we've been having to do laundry at least every other day because of them, but we haven't had to buy a single diaper yet. (We were given some disposables at the shower, and have been using those occasionally, but for the most part, it's been almost exclusively the sewn ones since I was recovered enough to start taking more stairs around week 3.)
At the risk of being TMI, for the most part, the messes have been contained well. I think we've had maybe 3-4 blowouts the whole time so far--granted, I try to change him pretty quickly as needed, but still. The kid really does eat like a hobbit (i.e. a LOT), so I suspect we'd have had a lot more otherwise. The only issue, other than frequent laundry, has been that the really wet diapers soak through the front where the velcro stitching is. They're not constructed in a way that I can really go back and waterproof those seams, but I think it will probably only be another month or two before he outgrows this size anyway, so it probably isn't worth the effort. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I switch to the next size with the pocket inserts and snaps. The bulk of these has also occasionally made it hard for him to wear certain shorts and pants, but honestly, it's been so hot here that we usually have him in just a onesie or a t-shirt anyway, other than when we're in the icebox that is my church.
I don't have pictures of me using the next three things. I've gotten some good use out of the nursing cover, including one incident where I had to feed him in a restaurant parking lot. Suffice to say, I thought initially that maybe it was too big, but I'm glad it's the size it is. I'm still getting the hang of maneuvering him underneath, but I'll figure it out. The diaper bag is also working out well, though it's usually packed very full due to the bulk of the cloth diapers. The matching changing mat does the job, though the snap stopped working after the first time I washed it. I guess I messed something up when setting it, but I just fold it up and stuff it in the bag. It's easier to maneuver with one hand that way, anyway.
So the last thing I have to review at the moment is the play gym.
As far as I can tell what's going on in a baby's head, he really seems to love it! We've been using it almost daily as a mat for his tummy time, and once he starts getting fussy, I'll flip him over and let him bat at the felt animals. He's gotten pretty good at aiming for the lowest-hanging ones, and has also figured out that he can make them all shake if he hits the hula hoop instead. I've tried him with a few other toys here and there, but so far, this one holds his attention the best. So I'd say it was well worth the effort to make it. Yay for Pinterest wins!
Otherwise, I have been sewing a little, though I'm pretty much limited to when I can get him to nap. I've finished a skirt, but haven't had a chance to photograph it yet. I've been going through my wardrobe and weeding out things that won't work anymore, including several me-mades, and am debating whether to do the same with my sewing patterns. I'm helping my best friend with a DragonCon costume, which is taking all of my sewing time at the moment. I've got multiple other quick projects lined up for myself, mostly of the refashion type, and am hoping that I can get to them soon! I'm also taking part in the #sewphotohop meme on Instagram, which has been fun so far. (I have my account there set to private, since I post a lot of baby pictures there these days, but if you want to follow me on there, just send a request. It hasn't been hard to figure out who sews on there, I'm just trying to block random strangers from getting access to the kiddo! At least, as much as is possible when posting occasional pictures on something as public as a blog.)
August 2, 2015
Of course, it probably also helped that Hobbit was quite comfortable where he was, and I had about a week and a half of end-stage/past-due pregnancy where I had nothing to do except watch tv, work on the book, and see if I'd actually go into labor or not. I did wait until after he was born to do the final assembly, since my sewing machine was needed. But aside from that, I'm pretty sure the kiddo was waiting until I finished his toy!
Anyway, here is the Doctor Who quiet book. Once again, I did not design this pattern, it was from an Etsy seller named BantamBB-- I'm guessing the designer discontinued his/her shop, because I can't find it on the site anymore.
The cover page, which is pretty self-explanatory.
The accessories for this were a little fiddly. Especially the scarf-- I did glue it all together first, but didn't trust the glue to hold long-term. I was having enough trouble getting it to stay short-term! But the Dalek wears a fez now. (Which can be easily removed and swapped out for another hat.) Fezzes are cool.
Also, I guess these are the WWII Daleks, given the colors.
The difficulty with geeky quiet books, which I encountered to a lesser degree, is trying to make some of this stuff a little less creepy for a kid. Which was really hard to do for a Weeping Angel. The toothbrush/toothpaste does make me laugh, though. I'm hoping they aren't too hard to get in and out of the hand "pockets".
The thing about the pattern for this page that didn't make sense to me was that it was a line to follow to get the TARDIS to Earth, but the pocket that holds the TARDIS was located right underneath Earth! So I moved it to the opposite diagonal corner.
I'm not 100% sure this page is going to function the way it's supposed to, because I was having trouble getting the brads loose enough to actually make the limbs move, yet tight enough to hold it all together. I guess only time will tell. (I really don't mean that as a pun, considering the subject matter of this show.)
See, it's educational! And the other quiet book didn't have anything for number recognition, so I like that this one does.
This was another one that I had to try to make a little less creepy. It didn't help that the pattern example had the red-eye version that wants to kill you. So I opted for the less creepy one, since this is supposed to be a friendly Ood. The ball flips over to say "Bye".
The pattern didn't actually specify what K-9 would be hiding. So I did my best felt approximation of the Tenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver. Because, seriously, a Doctor Who book without a sonic screwdriver would be blasphemy.
So that's it! I'm quite happy to take a break from anything too hand-sewing intensive for awhile, though I'm sure this won't be the last toy I make for Hobbit. In the meantime, I'm reacquainting myself with knitting, since I've found I can somewhat awkwardly hold the needles over him and knit for short bursts during his post-feeding food comas. It's been a refreshing change, after 6 months of hand-stitching tiny bits of felt.
July 25, 2015
(And thanks for all of the kind comments! We think he's pretty adorable, but we may be a little biased.)
The other challenge has been getting dressed. I knew that my figure wasn't going to immediately go back to what it was pre-pregnancy, but I was honestly surprised at how very, very few of my clothes actually do fit right now! Including some things that I thought would fit decently enough, like my Tiramisu dresses. It's been very strange for me, since I was fortunate enough to have a pretty steady weight/measurements for most of my adult life, and now all of my shirts are extra-tight and I literally only have about 5 things that I can get over my hips, all elastic-waist. Needless to say, I'm having a bit of a wardrobe crisis. (I'm especially a little freaked out at the thought of cooler weather hitting and having literally no pants or jeans.) So as soon as I could find some spare time without a napping baby on my lap, I made a thing!
This is the Adelaide dress from Seamwork magazine, chosen both for its supposedly fast sewing time and for how forgiving it looked like it would be for my post-partum figure. That, and it looked very nursing-friendly, which is going to have to be the theme of everything I make for my upper half for awhile, I think. I wasn't 100% sure about the fit, since I was never completely satisfied with the Sorbetto on me, so I opted for the wearable muslin route. The fabric is a mystery woven, probably a poly-cotton blend, that was given to me for free when someone else destashed it to my mom--when this happens, she passes on whatever isn't good for quilts to me.
While I like the color well enough, I thought I'd get bored with a solid dress. Also, I don't have the right kind of set-in snaps on hand. So in the interest of stashbusting, I decided to swap those out for these sparkly red buttons that I originally got with a Beignet skirt in mind, before deciding that a red skirt wasn't something that my closet needed after all and giving away the fabric in a swap. I kept the buttons, though, because sparkly, so I'm glad I finally found something to do with them! To tie those in better, I topstitched the placket, neckline and armholes in red. But I stuck with the blue for the belt and belt loops, because I don't want to draw that much attention to my waist while I'm (hopefully) losing the extra weight.
I'll be honest--I don't love this dress. It does serve its intended purpose, and it did knock an entire piece of yardage out of my stash--2 3/5 yards, for the record. I guess I just don't feel like it's entirely me. I'm not sure how much of that feeling is a commentary on the solids, or that my body is a stranger that I'm having to get to know all over again. It might be worth giving the pattern another shot sometime, because I do feel that it's more of a fabric issue than a stylistic one. I wonder if I'd feel better about it if it was in a print, or a fabric that draped a little better so I wouldn't have that bit of gaping in the neckline. Or maybe just a different shade of blue?
But at this point, I'm also feeling like this beggar can't be too choosy. And there are plusses to the utilitarian stashbusting--I don't really have to iron this one after washing, and I don't particularly care if he spits up on it.
I do have a couple of other projects in mind that will hopefully carry me through the warmer portion of the fall. And once I get cleared to be more active again, hopefully in 2 weeks, I figure I can start taking Hobbit for walks. Maybe, if all goes well, I'll at least be able to fit into my collection of Thurlow pants again by the time it gets cold. After all, they worked until the end of my first trimester, where all of my other pants failed, so a girl can hope. Right?
Have you ever had to rebuild your wardrobe almost from scratch? How did you deal with it? Or, for those of you who have had kids, how long did you hold on to your old clothes (especially me-mades) to see if they would fit again or not?
July 2, 2015
So this month, I...
- Finished all of the hand-sewing on the second quiet book, thanks to a week where I literally had nothing left to do except hang out at my parents' while Doug was at work and wait to see if I'd go into labor. All that needs to be done is to sew the finished pages back-to-back with the machine, and assemble the book.
- Finished knitting a scarf from a Craftsy class that I started last year sometime. And I have quite a bit of the second ball of yarn left, but I do have an idea for a project to use it on. Just need the time.
- Did not use up any of my fabric stash. But I did order 7 yards, because Fabric.com suckered me in with geeky novelty prints.
- Got the scrapbook that I've been working on almost completely done, minus a few pictures that just got ordered. (Since I got married, I've been doing one per year, running from June to May in order to coincide with our anniversary. I seriously love the pocket-style scrapbooking, it makes it so much easier to keep up!) I even managed to finish up some older unfinished album pages, too!
Of course, when I do feed him, then he looks more like this:
June 4, 2015
Not the most exciting make ever, but it was necessary. The co-hosts of the Small Human Being Sewalong put together a lovely Pinterest board that had all sorts of useful items on it. Among them was this baby changing mat pattern/tutorial. Which I basically just used to get the curve of the top, and then completely winged it instead, haha. I basically just wanted something I could throw into the diaper bag that I could use when I'm having to change him at other people's houses/those public restroom changing tables, fold up to contain potential messes, and then throw in the wash. I also thought that using up a little more of the leftover fabric from the bag would be nice! Though, sadly, I didn't manage to finish the suedecloth off. The snap setter I bought for the diapers came in handy for coming up with a hidden closure, though.
I decided to make the dimensions wider/longer than the original, and leave off the two pocket wings on the side. I didn't think they'd be very useful with the extra bulk of cloth diapers, especially once he's in the larger sizes. It's not like I won't have the bag with me at these times anyway. The inside is a double layer of polyurethane laminate, since I'd had to buy an extra piece at Joann's to finish off the diapers and had leftovers, and I know it's washable. Even though it makes the inside look a little more boring than vinyl-covered cotton prints would have been, which is what the original pattern called for.
I'm glad that I had to get a little distance on this one to get the full shot--the binding really isn't all that great, because I forgot how to do the corners. But this one's more of a function over form project, anyway. At least, that's how I'm justifying my less-than-stellar work to myself.
I've been racking my brains for months, trying to figure out what to do with these adorable felt ornaments that my mom made:
She made a whole bunch of these as favors for my baby shower, which had a children's book theme. That's also mostly what
As for the dogs...they're little felt versions of our Malkin and Crosby!
Anyway, I was originally thinking of making a mobile, but was having trouble figuring out how best to make them to accommodate the ribbon loops, and not create a potential safety hazard on the crib. Then I saw this Pinterest tutorial for a homemade play gym that's lightweight, easy to deconstruct for storage, and had felt ornaments. And I knew it would be super-cheap, because I already had everything to make it except for hula hoops! I wasn't originally planning on having a play gym, since they're so overpriced, but it was too cute of an idea to pass up. Hopefully the dogs won't be all over the baby with this...
geeky bibs, and more of those snaps. I managed to use up about half of each piece, so once again, I need to figure out what to do with leftovers. Oh well.
I had to kind of wing it on the tabs--I did manage to sew them into the hula hoop cover tubes, but then discovered that the original length would leave the ornaments hanging way too low. So I wrapped them around the tubes a couple of times and hand-tacked them down, then added the snaps in the appropriate places. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, though!
The dogs were less impressed.
Aside from following a Pinterest tutorial for making a couple of old camisoles a little more nursing layering-friendly, hacking the Ikea curtains and the blackout curtains that we got for the nursery together, and starting work on another felt quiet book (Doctor Who this time), these two things are pretty much all I have to show for the month. Which leaves my stashbusting total at somewhere around 3 yards. Not my best month, but I didn't buy any fabric, so that has to count for something!
Aside from that, Doug and I have been working hard on finishing up this project:
We both did the wall decals, but he pretty much took care of the extra bathroom otherwise. And he helped with organizing the closet, but I took care of dealing with the rest of the laundry and hanging things up otherwise. (And that laundry was not an easy task, because we had the baby shower on Saturday. Between a giant clothesline full of baby clothes that Doug's mom/sister/aunt put together, outfits that other people bought us, and some extras we hadn't had before like hooded towels and crib sheets, I seriously had a pile as big as our larger dog!)
Now that that's all taken care of, and my music teaching work is more or less wrapped up for the next couple of months, I just need to figure out how to occupy myself for the next week and a half or so while I wait for the kiddo to make his debut. I do still have hand-sewing, but finding comfortable places to sit long enough to get anything done on that, or read, is a bit of a challenge right now! I may spend some time playing with my scrapbooks again, though, since the chair at that workstation seems to work better for me for some reason.
So I guess this is my last post for a little while, until I am physically able to/can start sneaking in some time to make things again! In the meantime, wishing you all lots of summer sewing fun!
May 27, 2015
(Honestly, I've managed to stay within the recommended range for pregnancy weight gain, even though it sounds like Hobbit is going to be a bigger baby than I'd expected--not a 9-10 pounder, thank God, but still bigger than either of us or our siblings. I guess all that nausea has been good for something after all! So I'm hoping that means that maybe all of those Thurlow pants will fit again this fall, since I didn't have to give them up until almost the second trimester. That would help sooo much.)
Anyway, here's some of the potential ideas I've been bouncing around:
1. Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress. This one is at the top of the list, honestly. I've had this pattern/fabric combo bagged up with notions for about 2 years now, with the intention of sewing it for the summer-to-fall transition. But other projects kept getting in the way. I still really like this rayon challis print, though, and I'd like to see it become something. The bonus is that there's so many colors to pick from in the print that it'll be easy to adapt to fall layering with boots and leggings. Plus, it'll go great with the next cardigan I plan to make for myself, whenever I finish the quiet book and can get back to knitting instead of hand-stitching! The gathered/tie back waist should make it forgiving for whatever's going on with my waistline, and the button front means it'll be great for nursing. I am thinking that maybe I should wearable-muslin this first, since I do have some bedsheets in the muslin bin with a similar drape to this fabric, and my bust measurement is already a whopping 5" bigger than it used to be! (Good thing I hadn't traced this one out yet, right?)
2. Sewaholic Rae skirt. I bought this one kind of on a whim during one of her past sales, since it looked like it would be a more flattering fast skirt to sew than some of the older patterns that I had. I've never made it, but elastic waists are sounding pretty good right now, since they'll be a little more adjustable as I lose some of these pounds I've put on. Also, I could use some bottomwear, since I have basically zero shorts that will fit me this summer, other than a couple of elastic-waisted pairs I picked up at the thrift store recently that I'm just hoping will fit--not like I could try them on to see. I'm also not sure how many of my skirts I'll be able to squeeze into, or how quickly. That's what I get for generally preferring the fitted waist aesthetic, right? I probably won't do quite this many, but here's a couple of things I found in the stash that might work. (If I combine the black linen-looking stuff and the camel linen, at least-- I don't really have enough of either to make anything, since they're both leftover pieces, but have been thinking for awhile that they might pair nicely.)
3. Seamwork Adelaide dress. I was really excited to see this one in the current issue, because it looks like it'll be a really forgiving make as far as sizing goes, though still a little more flattering because of the belt. And, again, it's a really nursing-friendly option. I do have a pattern subscription at the moment, so the pattern is safely downloaded and awaiting printing. I'm thinking maybe this twill for it--it was given to me for free and I have quite a bit of it, so it's not a huge loss if the pattern doesn't work for me. My one debate is whether to hunt down those snaps, or to just use buttons, since I do have a lot of buttons. Particularly, I have these sparkly red ones that I got to make a Beignet skirt that never happened--I later ended up deciding that a red skirt isn't really something I'd use much, and swapped the fabric--and I think that and maybe some red topstitching could provide some much-needed interest to this otherwise rather boring fabric. Thoughts?
4. Grainline Archer blouse. I've had this pattern, and this Japanese linen fabric that I specifically bought for it, for about a year and a half now. And since this is a looser shirt by nature, I probably won't have to size it up quite as much as I would other patterns. Which will make it more forgiving for (hopeful) weight loss, too! The pattern is printed, but I do need to assemble it.
5. Colette Mabel skirt. Another pattern I own/have printed, but haven't tried yet. It's not like I haven't gotten plenty of practice sewing knits lately, but I do have a couple of interlock jerseys from Joann's that are a little on the thick side for tops (I know, because I've used them for a couple of tops), so this could be a good candidate for fast, easy bottomwear. This color is the only one I have that's large enough by itself, but I do have some brown as well that might work if I pair it with something else. Or just buy a little more fabric. I bet Joann's still has it.
6. A nursing top or two. I think I could make one pretty quickly from Simplicity 1469, since I've already used that one and I have some knits that would work well together for a sleeveless version. (I just might want to reduce the width of the back a little, since I won't have to make it quite so maternity.) I've been advised by a couple of helpful sewcialists that the smaller nursing openings will probably work better than I thought, so thank you for that tip! Another option is to play around with altering one of my more basic knit top patterns. I'm thinking maybe the Deer & Doe Plantain to start, since I won't have to worry about the waist sizing, given that it fit me as it was until probably month 6! Also, Heather was kind enough to pull out some of her old nursing tops awhile back and Instagram a few pictures for me so I could get some ideas, and the Plantain looked like a very good candidate for some similar hacking. (Thanks, Heather!)
Other possibilities already in my stash for maybe a little more down the road, when I have a better idea of sizing...Some, but not all, pictured here: a nursing-hacked Renfrew, the Granville blouse, the Yaletown blouse, the Maria Denmark Edith dress/blouse, the Espresso leggings (because I've decided I like leggings for layering under skirts, and definitely not because I've decided I like leggings as pants!), this random Simplicity shirtdress that I forgot I had, Butterick 5084 looks like it would be fairly easy to hack for nursing based on tutorials I've seen, and I could possibly adapt Butterick 5206 to be a real wrap top instead of a faux wrap top. I've been wanting to revisit that pattern for awhile anyway, and I think one of my Paris fabrics could be perfect for it!
I'm trying to look at this as more of a list of ideas, and not an actual project list. After all, I'm not sure how quickly I'll be able to sew anything, especially if I can only grab 10-15 minutes here and there. It's hard to predict, without knowing how well this baby will nap and things like that. I know I'm prone to overly ambitious lists of what I think I can get done in any given season, and I don't want to put myself in a position where I'm frustrated about how little I'm finishing when I'm already going to be sleep-deprived and trying to learn a whole new skill set to enable tiny human survival. At the same time, Future Zombie Me will probably benefit from having a more narrowed-down list of possibilities for when I do have some time here and there to work on something. It's going to be hard for me to not have a concrete list of plans, but hopefully I'll be able to adapt and go with the flow a little more for now.
Have you ever had a season where you knew sewing time was going to be a rare commodity, or you were going to have some serious measurement changes? How did you deal?
May 12, 2015
So, without further ado, I present the Lord of the Rings quiet book, in all of its thick glory. (Seriously, this thing measures over 3" thick! Though I'm sure it would compact if I put something on top of it.) And I cannot take credit for the design, it's a pattern from the juliebell shop on Etsy. (With a few minor modifications on my part here and there.) One picture-heavy post, coming up!
Page 1: The front cover. In the original pattern, it called for a brown cover, but I used maroon instead-- I'm justifying it by saying it ties in with the Red Book of Westmarch, from the books. But really, it's that I'm cheap. I couldn't quite find that "copper canyon brown" and I had a bunch of the maroon that I was able to get from my mom for free. (All of the felt in this book was either specially purchased for this project, or mooched off my mom, who wanted to get rid of it anyway in preparation for moving. All of the threads, embroidery floss, and miscellaneous notions, however, were part of my stash.)
Page 2: The Shire, with some panels you can lift and peek under. I'll admit I thought long and hard about adding the pipe, because I don't want to encourage smoking, especially given that the smell really makes me sick even when I'm not pregnant (and far, far worse when I am, apparently. Truthfully, frequent exposure to that was one of my major incentives to not go back to my old retail job this spring.). But in both the books and the movies, it's kind of unavoidable that there is pipe smoking, especially in hobbit culture, and I couldn't think of anything else to go there. So I left it.
Page 3: Rivendell, with one of my favorite--and bulkiest--features of the book...the Fellowship of the Finger Puppets! Seriously, how cute is that? I did change up some of the suggested colors for things to coincide a little more closely with the movie costumes, since a lot of the styling seemed to be based on the films anyway.
Page 4: Help Gollum find the Precious. He really is a friendly-looking Gollum here...but hey, this is basically baby's first introduction to my #1 fandom, so why scare him right off? I did end up tweaking the face a bit, because my embroidery floss was so close to the color of the felt that he just looked weird with no nose. All three of the pieces under the water snap on and off, but I only took off the one hiding the Ring for this photo.
Page 5: Try on the Ring. This was the one I changed up the most. The original page had just an embroidered Ring, and I wasn't sure what the action was here. Lay your hand over it and watch the Ring disappear? If I can't figure it out, there's no way a toddler could. So I used some wired gold ribbon in my stash to make a Ring that you can slip your fingers under. (The hand was also originally facing the other way, but that was just me making a mistake and not wanting to unpick the embroidery.)
Page 6: Help Gandalf escape. Technically, this should probably come before the Rivendell page, but this is the order the instructions had it in. And the bulk of the pages meant the eyelets I'd originally planned to use didn't work, and I ended up basically just punching holes with an awl and threading the binder rings through, so they're not the easiest to rearrange. It's just an eagle on elastic, so he can get some distance between him and Orthanc. I also made sure to machine-sew both ends down as securely as possible, in hopes that the boy won't be able to yank it off first try!
Page 7: Help Frodo and Sam through Mordor. Again, a somewhat less bleak and dreary Mordor, given that there's trees and a pond. (I'm guessing this path leads through Ithilien first.) I'm especially proud of the Eye on here--maybe I spent a little more time embroidering on it than necessary, but it didn't look as fiery and evil as I wanted it to after adding the initial embroidery. So I added more color, and I think it helped.
Page 8: Destroy the Ring in Mt. Doom. Again, I was having a little fun with the embroidery on the lava, mostly to make sure the orange showed up well. As for the Ring itself, it actually is a replica of the One Ring-- it fell off of a bookmark I had gotten back when the movies were first out, and I had left it sitting with my jewelry supplies for years. Fortunately, I actually remembered that I had this now that I had the perfect excuse to finally use it--crafty pack rat tendencies for the win! (Again, this is machine stitched on as securely as I possibly could, to try to avoid any choking hazards.)
Page 9: Help Aragorn become King. I was working on this one while having a craft day/My Little Pony marathon with some friends recently, and we all had a good laugh over Aragorn in his undies! Again, I slightly altered the embroidery to do a white tree instead of dots on the king outfit, because Gondor demanded it. I know it's hard to see in this picture, but it's there.
Page 10: The End. Pretty self-explanatory. I wish that E was straighter, but the glue-tacking didn't work so well and it was already falling off by the time I got through sewing on the first two letters. It probably would have worked better if I'd been sewing on a flat surface, but I wasn't, and I was just trying to get it done by this point.
This was definitely a labor of love, and I'm completely amused by it, at least. And even though it took a lot longer this way, I'm not sorry that I took the time to sew everything instead of glue it, because I think it will be much more durable--especially given that on the occasions I did tack things down with glue, it was often peeling off before I even finished sewing the pieces! Even so, I'm thinking I might rely a little more on glue-tacking and especially machine sewing where I can for the Doctor Who one I have cut out next. After all, I'd like to start knitting again sometime this year!
May 2, 2015
Things I think went well:
- Overall, I'm quite pleased with how well various alterations I made to several non-maternity patterns worked. Especially since pattern hacking is not my strongest skill, and one I'd like to keep working to improve. I would further tweak my Renfrew hack, but the dresses and maxi-skirt went quite well. As did the actual maternity alteration to the Manila leggings, even if the rest of it was a fail. So maybe there's hope for me yet!
- I also think I did pretty well at sticking with a cohesive color palette.
- I was able to surprise myself with occasionally being able to pull out non-maternity clothes to fill in some gaps. Namely my Plantain top and a couple of buttondowns worn over tank tops.
- Also, aside from the first trimester, I think I did a pretty good job of sucking it up and plowing through sewing to fulfill needs that I had, even though I've still been nauseous at some point(s) every single day of this pregnancy. So go me.
- More vivid colors! Even though I did stick with the palette pretty well, I felt like things ended up being a lot heavier on the neutrals--the black, navy and grey in particular, just due to what I was able to find in thrift stores or what I had on hand that was working. By the time winter was wrapping up, I was sooooooo bored and wishing for cheerier, brighter things. (Ok, so I do that every year. But it was definitely worse with the much more limited choices I had.)
- More prints! Especially tops. Because even with the things I found/made that were in brighter colors, I just haven't felt quite like myself while wearing so many outfits that were just solids. I've tried livening it up with accessories, but a necklace can only take you so far on that, and I was honestly afraid to wear scarves for the first half of the pregnancy because of all the sickness. (Plus, having things close around my neck during the worst of that was really, really uncomfortable for me.) The couple of print things that I've made near the end are helping. A lot of this was really just me trying to work mostly with the stash that I had, but I think that, once I make some space on the shelves/if I need maternity wear again, I may specifically treat myself to some new fabric to expand this wardrobe.
- More bottomwear. Especially of the pants variety. I refashioned 3 pairs of pants, outgrew one of them by about mid-March (which had been a little small around the waist/hips to begin with anyway, so I could only make it expand so much), and had to pretty much give up wearing the other two by mid-April because they were corduroy and therefore getting uncomfortably hot when spring weather actually arrived. Which has left me with only 2 pairs of jeans to get through the last 2 months, and I will admit that I do feel a little unprofessional when doing music lessons in jeans. I wouldn't mind another knit maxi-skirt or two either, because the tie-dye one is sooooo comfortable. (I've tried wearing some of my older elastic-waist ones over the bump here and there, and they kind of dig into my ribs and gather weirdly under my tops. So it hasn't been helpful.)
- Pajamas. I got through the latter part of the winter with an older pair of PJ pants and an oversized thrifted top--but those got worn so much that the top has several holes in it now. Once things started warming up is when things got really tough--I had to resort to buying a shorts and tank set from Target, because I didn't have anything that fit. (Note to self: Tofino pants do not make good maternity pants. Though I love them as a non-maternity PJs pattern.)
- Another pair of leggings or two wouldn't hurt, if I have another cold-weather pregnancy. Or at least some more stylish knit pants (and casual tops) to wear around the house that aren't fleece sweatpants that I used to wear under other clothes to keep warm on backpacking trips. That's what I ended up resorting to on Saturdays/weekdays when I didn't have to go out to save my jeans for nicer wear, and I felt so frumpy. Which is not the feeling you want when you're already feeling like a nauseated whale.
Honestly, aside from the refashioned corduroys (so useful) I feel like the best things I made were the ones that I'm hoping to continue wearing after this is over-- particularly the black maxi-dress and the tie-dyed skirt. I may need to do a follow-up post later this summer on how well they actually work for post-pregnancy/nursing.
1. The Manila leggings. Though I'm still hopeful that I can successfully revisit this pattern, now that I know that I really need to check the stretch before diving in. And probably add at least 4" to the legs. But I really just didn't feel comfortable wearing them very often--the color meant it didn't work as a tights layer under the two shorter skirts I had (one black and one denim), and I really only wore them twice. One of those was to keep warm under the black dress for a cooler-day music performance at church, and the other was just around the house. And I have to confess that I threw the denim skirt on over it anyway, because even when alone in the house, I just didn't feel fully clothed when wearing leggings as pants! I'll probably keep these as a layering piece, but definitely not as a stand-alone.
(I still have to try out my Cake Espresso pattern sometime, too. If that one works out better, I might just transfer the belly alterations to that pattern if I ever need to sew maternity leggings again.)
On the other hand, I did wear the top quite a bit. Though, as I stated before, I think the pattern hacks would need some tweaking for this to work well in later pregnancy. It fit fine for well over the first half, though.
Other things I won't be keeping/need to rework:
1. This isn't one I made, but I bought this cream-colored maternity sweater at Target. I'm blaming this on poor fabric choice on their part--the structure itself is fine, but before the winter even ended, the color of the sweater just looked dingy and sad. I may just try to overdye it to extend the life.
This top. Though it wasn't a maternity top, it actually worked well to get me through the winter, since it was roomier in the waist than a lot of my usual tops. And it's not a complaint about the pattern, since I used the same one to make my sparkly knit top from earlier this year. It's just that since this one was already several years old, the fabric was starting to pill to begin with. And with all the extra wears and washes it got this winter, given that I was pulling it out at least once a week (if not more), it's just unsalvageable now. I do hate to just throw clothes away, even the worn-out ones, so I'm thinking I might just cut this one up and use it to stuff a toy or something. Stuffing is expensive, anyway.
April 29, 2015
Projects Finished This Month:
8 total. Unless I count the diapers individually. Then it's closer to 80. But that's cheating, isn't it? First up, the unblogged things.
As seen on Instagram: I did take another cute-but-stained PJ set that I was given for free, plus a boring snap-front newborn tee, and did this. The applique was hand-stitched on, just like the frog one I did last month, and as a bonus, this reads completely gender-neutral to me. Which means it's definitely something I can recycle for any future siblings. I also had a decent-sized piece of unstained fabric, so I used this tutorial/pattern to whip out a quick hat. I did have to cut one piece with a seam in the back, but it still worked up really fast. (The snail was the other part of the original applique. It was there, so why not use it?)
My most recent sewing project was a nursing cover. Not to say that women shouldn't have the right to breastfeed when and where they need to or anything--I just know that I'll personally be more comfortable if I'm able to stay covered up when I have to feed him outside of the house. Besides, I've had this particular quilt cotton for years, and I'm happy that I finally found a way to use some of it. I actually had this in the stash and wanted to use it for the leaf quilt I made several years ago, but it was just a little too busy of a print to really work. I still have about half of the piece left, so I'll just need to figure out what to do with it. But this was a really fast/easy project to make-- just a rectangle with a casing for a piece of boning, another two rectangles for the strap, a couple d-rings, hemming, and done. Ideally, I would have used d-rings that were a little thinner/lighter, but this is what I had in the stash, so I went with it. If it really bugs me in the long run, I can always perform a little seam ripper magic later and replace them.
I also finished off a stack of cloth wipes to use with the diapers. But I can't really count that as stashbusting, since my mom cut up a bunch of flannel that she had and all I had to do was serge the edges. Honestly, this isn't even exciting enough to take a picture of, but at least it's done.
Stashbusting totals for the month:
Stash out, not counting the 3 reconstructed projects:
- For the diapers: 31.25 yards total of PUL, athletic mesh, and cotton fleece (!)
- Maternity/nursing maxi-dress: 3 yards of knit
- Storage bag for blocks: .5 yard of hand-dyed cotton
- Nursing cover: 1 yard of quilt cotton
- 2 yards of an Aztec-print knit. I was out running errands with Doug one day, we stumbled across a sewing machine store, and he suggested we head in and see if we could find me some new fabric. Who am I to say no? The selection was pretty small, but since I've been burning through all of my print knits in making maternity clothes, I figured I could allow myself this little splurge.
- My parents moved into a new house this month, and my mom handed off a couple of pieces of fabric that she thought might be more useful for me in making future boy clothes than her for quilting. So I got a little over 1 yard of a reversible blue fleece (brighter blue on one side, more royal on the other), and 8 yards of a plain black twill (but only 19.5" wide!) that she had left over from a couple of non-quilt projects. The twill will probably have to get used up for pants and shorts, but at least kid clothes are small and skinny. At least at first.
I did touch on this in last month's review. At this point, I've reviewed the list, and pared it down based on what I didn't get done this month and think is most important. So here's what I'm hoping to do:
- I'd still like to make that changing mat. I think that will be the next project.
- I found instructions for how to make a baby gym on Pinterest. This wasn't something I was originally planning on for baby gear, because those things are ridiculously expensive and bulky. But since this one snaps apart and would be really easy to set up/store, I have a large piece of a certain quilt cotton that would be perfect for this, and I have a ready supply of adorable felt things that would be perfect to hang from it (extras from some shower favors that my mom made--all animals to go along with various books), I'd like to give this one a shot.
- I have curtains for the nursery, but I need to sew the blackout layer into the colored layer, because they're way too sheer to keep light out for when he's napping. The curtains need to be shortened anyway. So this should be a quick project, it's just a case of doing it.
- And I still need to do a lot more cooking. Though I've actually made a pretty good dent on recipes I'd planned for dinners--I think I have 3 more recipes to make for that, and then what I'd planned for lunches. And breakfast, if there's still room in the freezer.
Finally, a quick little update on how those sewing lessons are going! The girl is doing very well. We took a little bit of a break around Easter due to her family going on vacation, but since then, she's finished up the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch. We spent most of that day's lesson working on invisible zipper insertion, and she did a very nice job for her first try! (Not perfect, and I did have to do a little unpicking for her at the bottom to fix where something got caught, but the end result doesn't have that annoying bubble that invisible zippers sometimes get at the bottom.) She finished the skirt on her own after her last lesson, and I'm not sure what she wants to work on next--I'm letting her pick the projects after the bag we made first, because of course it's more fun if you sew things you want to make. Guess I'll find out on Monday, so here's hoping I'm sufficiently prepared!