May 31, 2012

MMM'12: The final days

Day 27:
Dress: the "Dahlia" dress
Barely-visible jewelry: a very simple chain-and-white-shell-bead set
Shoes: My other pair of silver shoes, leftover from my last couple of times being a bridesmaid. (I forgot to check the brand, but I do remember that the style name was "Hot Date"!)

Wore this to church in the morning. I still need to sew a hook and eye onto the back of this thing...






Day 28:
Tank: The "Indian Summer" recon (premiere wearing, since it's finally warm enough!)
Shorts: Thrifted
Necklace/earrings: me-made silver and turquoise
Sandals that you can't see: Birkenstock

This was from my boyfriend's backyard-- we had a little cookout at his parents' house after I got off work (yes, I still had to work on Memorial Day!), then we hung out at his place and watched a movie.




Day 29:
Dress: The "Sea Flowers" dress
Camisole: Jockey
Bracelet: Kohl's
Earrings: me-made, repeat from day 1
Sandals: the Birkenstocks again










Day 30 
Top: The "Odyssey" tank (yeah, that's right, my Me-Made month knitting debut!)
Skirt: The "Sunflower" skirt
Jewelry: Me-made, from my last bridesmaid gig (though you can really only see it on the bride in the pics)
Sandals: Array

I'm feeling a little silly here.... I guess I was giddy at actually getting to play with some fabric, even if cutting out is generally my least favorite part! (Hint: This is not the jeans. I'm still working on that test muslin, but I have a little side thing going now too. You'll see...later.)



And finally...

Day 31
Top: "Time for Tea(L)"
Capris: a hand-me-down from a friend
Sandals: Softspots
Jewelry...
 Well, my photographer for the day decided that I needed a closeup view of the jewelry. And my freshly henna'd hair, I suppose. (I think he just wanted an excuse to take pictures of me....he does rather enjoy that.)

This was a bit new for me, actually...the embroidery is metallic gold, so I've always gone more tan and gold with this before. So this was partially me experimenting with cooler colors (since you can barely see the gold tone anyway), and partially me being too lazy to change out of the capris that I wore to the retail job today.

So, that's it....I made it through the whole month, wore something me-made every day, and only slacked off on the photos once!

May 27, 2012

The Penultimate MMM Picture Post: Days 22-26

MMM'12, Day 22Day 22:

Blouse: The Pendrell Blouse
Pants:  Apt. 9
Belt: Modcloth
Jewelry: Repeat from day 6
Shoes: Softspots
Thoughts on this outfit: I honestly haven't worn my Pendrell much. And after today, I decided that this particular one isn't a keeper. I haven't worn it very often, since I generally don't do the blouse-tucked-into-skirt look, and the combination of basically sleeveless and polyester fabric means that there's only a particular temperature/humidity range that this would be comfortable in. So as a result, this was basically the second time I wore it. And I discovered that the armholes are too small, and the blouse cuts into my armpits rather painfully after a few hours as a result. I changed into a t-shirt as soon as I got home from teaching. (And then changed into a different, looser t-shirt 5 minutes later because the t-shirt was too fitted and were only hurting more.) This isn't usually a problem for me, because my arms are pretty skinny in proportion to the rest of me, so I'm blaming my attempt at making an FBA rather than Tasia's pattern-drafting skills. But between this and the total fail that I had with this pattern back in January, I'm wondering if I should give this pattern one more shot, with a proper test-fitting muslin and everything, or just admit defeat and lay it to rest? Thoughts?
MMM'12, Day 23Day 23

Dress: The "Green and Grey" dress
Necklace & Earrings: Me-made out of some shell spikes and labradorite beads that I got at a craft fair years ago
Bag: Mom-made!
Shoes: same as yesterday
Thoughts on this outfit: I love this dress. Despite the poly fabric, it's really comfortable to throw on and go. (In this case, for a last-minute date with my boyfriend to get some ice cream at Coldstone before doing some teaching and jeans-muslin sewing.) I really would like to make this pattern again, perhaps a longer-sleeved version for the fall. And I actually do have a couple of potential knits in my stash that might work. So if I can actually find time to start getting some projects done, you may see this pattern revisited later this year....
MMM'12, Day 24Day 24:
Top: Thrifted, the brand is called "Dialogue"
Skirt: I think this one pre-dates the blog, because I can't find it on my sidebar. It's basically just a big piece of subtly ombre-dyed, embroidered cotton that I sewed into a tube and put an elastic waistband on. Super-easy!
Jewelry: The "Water" set from the Elements series
Sandals: the silver gladiator J.Renees
Thoughts: It's suddenly gotten hot and humid around here--I guess typical mid-Atlantic summer decided to show up just in time for Memorial Day weekend! So this was a really comfortable outfit to wear. And I do love me a good maxi-skirt for bumming around the house on a hot day--to me, it's way more comfortable than shorts!


MMM'12, Day 25Day 25:
Dress: H&M via the thrift store
Underdress: The "super easy slipdress" reconstruction
Choker: a multi-strand beaded one that I made years ago, back in college or something.
Earrings: Repeat from day 11
Shoes: Those same Naturalizers that I've worn for half the month
Thoughts on this outfit: A bit of a cheat, since really all you can see of the me-made sewing is the pre-made tank top that I used as the top for this. At least in the picture. That underdress sure came in handy for actual wearing purposes, because the front of the wrap dress did NOT want to stay closed as I was walking around! But this was, again, a really comfortable outfit for wearing while walking around outside, and the sleeves made it a little more comfortable for the air conditioning inside Applebees and the movie theater. (The boyfriend and I went to see The Avengers tonight. Technically my pick, not his, since he doesn't generally care for comic book action movies and I do enjoy those. But we both loved it!)

Day 26: No pictures today. I had an open-to-close, nearly 11-hour shift at work for a Memorial Day weekend sale, and by the time I got home and got a shower, it was about 7pm. So between having wet hair and the brainpower of a highly functional zombie, I decided to make it simpler for myself and skip the photos. They would NOT have looked good. For those couple of hours that I was up after work, I wore this tank top that I'd rebeaded a couple of summers ago. And I did wear some shorts to bed that I'd cut down from purchased pj pants. So I'm counting that.


May 23, 2012

And Mr. King made it look so EASY....

The good news: I've managed to scrape together a couple of hours over the last couple of days to cut out and baste together my test "muslin" for the jeans.

The bad news: the fitting is going to be way more complicated than I thought! I'm going to assume it's probably my own fault for tracing the pattern the way I did-- for lack of good paper to use with the tracing wheel (the only option at Joann's is terrible), I had to approximate with a wash-off fabric marker. But somehow, not only were the jeans too small all around my thighs, the rise sits lower to the point where my cut line is probably where my seam should be, and they gap in the back. And I still don't know how to draft the waistband. So no pictures of the progress so far, because it is not going to look good. Or safe for public consumption, for that matter.

On the plus side, the wrinkles in the front that I had so much trouble with on my last jeans-fitting attempt weren't that bad, and when I have a waistband to hold the top up, that problem just might be solved. (I won't know for sure until I have a waistband, because I also need to see what happens when I try to sit down.)

So I've already abandoned the idea of trying to reuse this particular piece of fabric-- I'm going to have to do a lot more marking up than I thought, and possibly re-cut the yoke entirely. If it's bad enough, I may have to just suck it up and make another one with regular muslin, because I don't want to blow another $18 on twill that I'm just going to destroy. I'm a bit bummed that I blew this one. But I guess it's better than ruining the more expensive denim, right?

So far, I've let out both the inner and outer leg seams about 1/8" (for a total of 1/2" per leg) down to about the knee, and that made a big difference already. At least I can put them on without breaking the zipper now! I think I still might let it out a little bit more, because it's still a bit tighter around the thighs than I want to do with non-stretch fabric. I can't continue on it any more tonight, because I have some chores around the house that need to get done, but at least I have something started. And if I can get this figured out, it'll be a great learning experience!

I may need to look into getting some of that better tracing paper from some website or other....I'm already cringing at the thought of transferring this back to the pattern!

May 21, 2012

Of muslins and me-mades and major craft withdrawl

Seriously....with all of that fabric that I have lurking in the basement, taunting me, how is it that I had nothing that would make a good jeans muslin? I mean, sure, I had some khaki twill. But only enough to make a pair of shorts, and I'm going to save that for my actual pants-making tests. And, well, everything else was stuff like the denim I actually want to make the jeans out of. No good. I didn't want to use regular ol' muslin, because it's too thin and I felt like it wouldn't give an accurate idea of what a thicker denim would look like. And of course I didn't want to bust into all of that twill-type fabric that I just bought, because I got those specifically to make pants that I actually want to wear. So it was off to Joann's with me. I considered getting an inexpensive denim, if I could find one with a light enough color that I could mark on it like I'd need to, but all of that had a bit of spandex in it and that's no good for testing before my non-stretch final fabric. But in the end, the least expensive feasible option (after my handy 40% off coupon) ended up being a white twill. Not my first choice of color, but the only other options were brown, black, or paying $3 more per yard for a slightly different twill to get khaki.

Of course, I'm trying to figure out a way that I can actually get something wearable out of this in the end, once I work out the fitting kinks. So I got one of those marking pens that's supposed to wipe off with a damp cloth, since the only ones I have fade after exposure to air and that's no good for this either, in hopes that I can get as many marks off as possible. I'm also thinking that dye will more likely than not be involved at some point, because white twill bootcut pants do not sound like a good option for my actual wardrobe! It'll probably also end up being a pair of shorts or capris or something. But that's ok. It's just that sewing time is a complete luxury right now, and even though I know the fitting is a Really Important Step, I don't want to "waste" that time on sewing things that will just get thrown away, you know? (Especially since I had to buy fabric just to test!)

I've got some MMM to catch up on from the last several days. I spent the weekend hanging out with some friends--I had to practically beg for the Saturday off, but we had a great time, and the friends that met my boyfriend for the first time liked him, so that was a good thing. (I did attempt to do some knitting, but it ended up being negative progress, as I had to frog several inches of it.) I'm definitely paying for it this week, with a 6-day run at the retail job, including what will end up being about 11 hours on Saturday. If I fail any day of this challenge, that will probably be the one. We'll see how I do. In the meantime....
MMM'12, Day 17Day 17:

Shirt: the vaguely Celtic Renfrew top
Jeans: Express, via Goodwill
Sandals: Auditions
Earrings: See below

Worn after work, to help my boyfriend transport his dogs to his parents' for the weekend, and then a quick dinner at Pizza Hut. Someday, I will make at least 5 more of these shirts. They're that comfortable.


MMM'12, Day 17 earrings









And look-- turtle earrings!




MMM'12, Day 18










Day 18:
Shirt: "Shakespeare on the Green" top
Skirt: "Cha-Cha" skirt
Sandals: Same as yesterday. (And since these were the only shoes I brought with me, you get to see them for the next two days as well!
Earrings: I forgot to get a close-up, but they're me-made with dragonflies.

The greens don't quite match up between my shirt and the skirt, but I don't care. It looked fine, and the green in the skirt is only a stitching line anyway so it's not like it was a big block of clashiness. I wore this for teaching, and then to drive up to my friends' house. I ended up changing into jeans once we got there and had eaten dinner, but the skirt's pretty comfortable so it was fine for driving. I was just getting cold.


MMM, Day 19
Day 19:
Shirt: Reconstructed T made from a self-drafted pattern--pre-blog, but I did talk about it a bit in the last Self-Stitched September that I did.
Jeans: A different pair of Express jeans, also from Goodwill
Sandals: Can't see them, but they're the same as the last two days.
Earrings: A repeat from Day 4. (And the one day I wore this for SSS, apparently. How uncreative....but then, I don't have much red jewelry, so I guess it's understandable.)

This was our bum around/play hours' long board games/watch a movie/picnic by a little lake day, so jeans and a t-shirt was definitely the thing. Thus the reason I need more Renfrews. Also, this one is a little too short....I guess that's what I get for making it while I was in college.
MMM'12, Day 20
Day 21
Dress: The "Convertible" dress
Bracelet & earrings: me-made, but again, I forgot a pic
Sandals: What do you think?

Today was this dress's public debut, and it ended up working really well--nice enough to wear for church, but comfortable enough for an afternoon involving more board games. If you look at my blog post on it, I kind of ended up morphing between the 2nd and 4th options from the left in the top row--more shoulder coverage for Mass and a little cooler for later. I think this dress is going to see a lot of use this summer!




And last, but not least, today's outfit:
MMM'23, Day 21 Day 21:
Top: the "Frankenblouse"
Camisole: purchased
Skirt: The quickie batik skirt reconstruction that I may or may not have originally made. (It was either me or my mom.... I honestly can't remember which.)
Sandals: Montego Bay Club
Necklace: Repeat from day 2
Earrings: Me-made with butterflies

This outfit was a bit of an experiment for me. Ever since I found her blog, I've had a great admiration for Oona and her crazy print mixing. As much as I love prints, I've tended to be a bit boring in that it's usually a print with a solid. (See basically every outfit with a print I've ever posted on this blog.) So this was a pretty subtle way to ease myself in--stripes with a floral, but the stripes are thin and metallic and practically a neutral. I'll be honest and say this shirt only stayed on for a few hours-- I ended up changing into a t-shirt once I got done teaching because I wanted to get that twill washed up in case I have some time to trace the pattern onto it tomorrow evening, and my light-colored laundry tends to get put off for awhile (since nearly everything I wear is medium-to-dark colors) so I had to take advantage of having some things to wash it with.

So that's 2/3 of the month down! Like I said, I think this week is going to be the biggest challenge, seeing as how I'm practically full-time at a job that I can't wear anything fun or me-made at this week. Also, I miss sewing. So I'll just keep chanting my mantra that I'm thankful I have a job....and hope it slows down a bit once June hits.

May 16, 2012

adventures in pattern drafting

I finally had a chance to go through the next portion of the Jean-ius class, so I thought I'd post a couple of pics of what I spent the evening doing.
PhotobucketOoh, sparkly. Part of the drafting process involves tracing onto organza. I had some silk organza left over from the LBD, and originally started on that since that's what the class called for, but my organza got so wrinkled and distorted in the dryer that it was basically impossible to work with. (Mental note to self: I probably should not throw silk organza in the dryer ever again.) I couldn't even get a straight grainline drawn on there, because it kept shifting to some wavy thing on me. So I used some black polyester organza instead. I have a rather large piece of this--it used to be the curtains to my brother's rather dungeon-like bedroom, and when he got married a few years ago he passed it on to me so I could use the fabric for things. I was still able to see the thread tracings pretty easily through the black, it just took a little longer on occasion because I'd have to retrace the colored pencil lines. But I thought the somewhat neon effect was kind of fun to play with!

I rather enjoyed the process, actually. The Craftsy videos make it really easy to follow, and it's a technique that I could most certainly use again (assuming I have something RTW that I like the fit of enough! And, well, I'm not sure how well the process would work with knits. But it's still a good technique to know.)
PhotobucketAnd so I have a preliminary pattern now! No seam allowances added as of yet, So here's the front....

Photobucket
















And a closeup view of the back.Getting the pocket placement was a little tricky to transfer, and I'm still not 100% sure it's right. But I guess that's an easy enough change to make.

I only have 3 pieces so far--the front, the back, and the yoke. (And the start of pockets as marked on the pattern--my big concern is the waistband, since these jeans have a contoured band, and I hope that gets covered in a later video.) It felt good to finally get something done! And I'm hoping that I can remove the thread tracings soon so I can actually wear my jeans again. I've definitely been missing this pair over the last several weeks!

The next adventure, according to the end of the video, is making a muslin. I'll have to figure out if there's any way I can swing a wearable one--only problem is I may not have any appropriate fabric on hand. And with something that takes more heavy-duty fabric like jeans, I'm not convinced a regular muslin test will cut it. Guess I'll just have to watch and see!

May 15, 2012

The halfway mark!

And to "celebrate", I'm having a Blogger fail where I can apparently no longer upload photos to my account, because it's suddenly saying I've used up my photo storage. Apparently the only solution is to buy monthly storage, which makes me rather unhappy. I guess I shouldn't complain, since I've gotten over 5 years for free, but I don't want to spend money just to upload photos! *shakes fist at Blogger* So hopefully Flickr will cooperate from here on out.

Without further ado, Day 13:
MMM'12, Day 13
Dress:   "Titania" dress, blogged here
Jewelry: necklace/earring set made to match, blogged here
Shoes: Montego Bay Club, via Payless

I couldn't let the month pass without giving this dress a spin, since it's still one of my favorite ones that I've made ever. I do worry about how much longer it will hold up--it's not as nicely finished inside as some things I've made since then, and the tie-dye fabric is fraying. I've also had to do a few hand-stitch repairs since I made it, but hopefully I can at least get another year or two out of it! I ended up wearing this all day instead of changing after church like I normally do, and it was surprisingly comfortable!



MMM'12, Day 14

Day 14:
Cream cami: JCPenney's
Top: "Spiced Chai", blogged here
Sweater: The brand's literally called "Sweater Project". From Goodwill.
Pants: Acxess by Liz Clairborne, from Kohl's
Sandals: Naturalizer
Necklace/earrings: Me-made, predating blog

The sweater was added on a whim--it was just a little bit too cold for a sleeveless outfit, and this added just the right amount of warmth. I think it needed the color, too. I'm rather surprised at how versatile this odd little cardigan has been!



MMM'12, Day 15

Day 15:
Camisole: The same one as yesterday. Hey, I only wore it for a few hours.
Shirt: Studio 1940, from Goodwill
Pants: The "Corset-Laced Pants (of awesomeness)", blogged here
Jewelry: See below

I took my shoes off for this picture, but they were the same as day 13.










Day 15 jewelryA slightly better view of the necklace--my earrings kept falling into my hair, and laying on the bed was more comfortable. It's been a long workday. Anyway, this is--you guessed it--another craft fair leftover. The pendant was an earring belonging to a friend-- I was helping her move, and she couldn't find the other earring, so she told me to take it home and do something creative with it. It only took me about 4-5 years to follow through...

So now that we're more or less at the halfway point, here's my thoughts:
  • I really need more me-made bottoms of the pants variety.
  • I thought that taking the pictures would be awful, but it hasn't been so bad this time. It does help that I have a part-time photographer who is more than willing to take pictures of me every time I ask (aka my boyfriend, on the days that I see him).
  • Warm-weather outfits are the most fun for me to put together. I need to find a way to be this inspired for colder-weather ones. (Those pants will probably help, once I make them.)
  • Layering definitely seems to be the way to go for me! Especially since the temperatures have been rather up and down. With that in mind, investing some time in more lightweight layers might be a good way to go.
  • I really need some sewing time....in fact, I'm going to go see if I can maybe get a half-hour's worth of work in on that next bit of the Craftsy course. Don't think I'll get much more than that done, as today has left me rather oddly tired. That, and my carpal tunnel is acting up like crazy today. So I don't want to push it, but this is definitely the better option for me between that and knitting.
  • I also need to start branching out and occasionally making accessories that are NOT jewelry, I think.

May 13, 2012

Hey, look, I actually finished something! (And some MMM stuff)

I haven't had a chance to write in the last few days, so I'm going to do days 9-12 all at once. But slightly out of order, because day 10 features my latest project, and we all know that's the most interesting thing I have to talk about, right? Right. So now that that's out of the way, here's....
Day 10:
Top: Me-made, blogged below!
Jeans: Express, via thrift store
Shoes: J.Renee
Necklace/earrings: Me-made, blogged below. 

I made this top from the blouse pattern in the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook--the first project I've made from there since the coat I made for the publication. Aside from re-drafting the sleeves and leaving off the ribbon trim, I made this pretty much as is, though I had to taper down the sides an extra 5/8" to where the waist seam split. (I'm mainly writing that so I remember to alter the pattern.) Finishing this off took me more or less literally all day on Wednesday. My plan was to finish this and then watch part 3 of the Jean-ius course so I could move forward on my jeans, but after I tallied it all up, this took me about 7 hours to finish up. I'm not sure how--it's not like I was goofing off! Must have been all that seam finishing. And the sleeve hems took me awhile to figure out, including some unpicking.
 And another gratuitous shot--though I know the sun makes this not the best view of the shirt, or the most flattering view of my face, you can see the necklace a bit better here. And look how red my hair looks! (Ok, I'll admit it, that's my main reasoning for posting this one. I like pictures where my hair looks really, really red!)

Things I learned from this project:
  1. My pattern-altering skills need work. I was going for more of a flutter sleeve and I wanted a non-gathered sleeve, but I think I didn't take enough off the top to smooth the cap out, and I didn't add enough flare to the bottom. Plus it's way too long to have worked as that style. I think the bell kind of works fine, but still not what I'd originally pictured.

  2. When adding seam allowances myself, I should probably read ahead in the directions first to see where I might need to allow more. The waist drawstring casing would have worked so much better if I hadn't had to make it so narrow.
  3. Partially bias-cut peplums are HARD to hem flat! I had to occasionally take a tiny tuck in the hem to get rid of the extra fabric. It was fine since it's polyester, but if I'd made this out of cotton, I'd be worried about it showing through the front after pressing.
  4. Even though I feel like this shirt took me much longer than it should have, I'm really glad I took the time to finish each seam. This fabric frayed like crazy, and it probably would fall apart within a few washes if I hadn't. Actually, I'm still a bit concerned about it, to be honest.
  5. Sewing the sleeves in flat is good. But I still should have hemmed them with the bias strip in the round, because I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and they would have matched up better in the end. (One edge was slightly longer than the other, and I didn't know until the bias strip was already sewed on, aka too late.
  6. I should probably also make the slit a little longer next time. I don't know if I have an exceptionally large head or what, but this was just a liiiiiiiittle bit hard to pull over!  (See above, since I can't get the pictures to cooperate.)
All in all, though there are things that could have gone better, I think this blouse was a great learning experience. And since the entire point of the book is altering and manipulating patterns to make the design really your own, I think it was a successful step in that direction for me. Now I just need to come up with a good name for this, since I'm a dork like that--I'm a bit torn, since the print looks kind of vine-like when close up, but from a distance, it makes me think of a computer matrix. I'm currently leaning towards the latter, since the whole "zeroes and ones" thing makes me think of an Andrew Bird song by that title.

And before I leave day 10 completely, here's a closer-up view of the jewelry:
I think this one also pre-dated the blog. I somehow got my hands on these purpleish freshwater pearl beads, and in playing with those oblong ones, came up with this flower pendant. So I ran with it.

Now for a little skipping back and forth in time!
Day 9:
Top: Me-reconstructed--a thrifted dress that I chopped into a top, along with some altering at the shoulders
Shrug: Me-reconstructed, blogged here
Trouser Jeans: Worthington, I think from JCPenney's
Shoes: Array
Earrings: See below

This was my sewing marathon day, so I wanted a top that was fitted enough that I could easily throw the blouse over top to check the fit. This fit the bill well. Not my best shot expression-wise, but it shows the outfit the best, so let's just pretend this is my model shot, ok? I also discovered that these pants are not too short for me when worn with flats--they just look terrible with my boots.

And the earrings--another craft fair leftover, but with the two-tone effect that makes them not sure if they're blue or green, depending on the lighting (as illustrated here), they worked pretty well with this top!

Day 11:
Top: The "Doolittle" blouse, blogged here
Pants: Apt.9, and the only store-bought pants I have that still fit and flatter like a dream.
Shoes: Hotter
Earrings: See below

I was strongly considering changing into jeans after teaching lessons, but didn't. In retrospect, I probably should have, since my boyfriend and I were hanging out at his place, and these pants didn't fare too well against the fur of two golden retrievers! But the truth is that I really only have two pairs of jeans that are ok for outside-of-work wearing right now, since my best-fitting pair are out of commission until I finish the next step or two of the Jean-ius class and can take all of that hand-basting out. I wore the one pair the day before, and skinny jeans with a top this fitted is not my thing. So I stuck with this again.

The earrings were something a bit different for me. Usually, I try to match my jewelry colors to the colors in my outfit. I decided to play around with contrasting. Once again, these earrings are craft fair leftovers--actually, one of the few things that came back to me after I'd let my mom, my sis-in-law, and several of my friends at the stash. Poor, unloved earrings. And if blue and gold is good enough for my old university, it should work, right? I think this would have worked a bit better if I'd had another yellow accessory to go with it, like a bracelet or a pair of shoes or something, but it was kind of fun to go outside the box.

And finally, yesterday:

Day 12:
Top: The Sorbetto formerly known as Azalea, blogged here
Jeans: The same ratty thrifted Old Navy ones I wore to work
Sandals: J.Renee
Earrings: I forgot to take a close-up pic, but they're me-made with light blue swirly beads.

I didn't have a lot of time to throw an outfit together, since I ended up with a spontaneous family outing shortly after I got home from work, and then spent the evening hanging out with two of my really good friends. I grabbed this one on a whim, since it was warmer today and I hadn't actually worn it in public yet, despite making it months and months ago--I figured I needed to give it a shot! And looking at this picture, I'm warming up a bit to the Sorbetto pattern-- I'd thought it would be horribly unflattering on me, since it's not fitted at the waist like I usually go for, but it doesn't look too bad in this shot. (Still needs to be a little longer on me though, I think. Just enough that I can raise my arms without flashing midriff. And I'll probably ditch the pleat if I make it again.) It was really comfortable to wear, though, which is great for a weekend top!

I'll do today's outfit in another post-- truthfully, I haven't even put on any accessories yet, since catching up on outfit pics was a higher priority for now, so I'll have to get that picture later!

May 8, 2012

MMM, days 7 & 8

Day 7: 
Shirt: The seafoam pintuck top, blogged here
Sweater: Sonoma, from Kohl's
Pants: Thrifted, and me-altered to fit a little better
Shoes: Hotter (a British import that I recently discovered, and amazingly comfortable. It also makes me happy that nearly every shoe comes in wide! I know they're pricey, but that's why I got them in black-- so I can get maximum usage out of them!)
Jewelry: The "Air" set from my elements series, blogged here

 Not the best picture, since it was so grey and dreary out and I had to use my flash in order for things to show up at all. This is a new combination for me-- I always wore this shirt with tan on bottom (with the occasional exception of this), until today. I think the combination looks better without the flash making it look all pastel!


Day 8:
Shirt: Forever 21, via thrift store
Cardigan: The "Sweater Song" reconstruction, blogged here
Jeans: DKNY, also via thrift store ($11!! Hands-down the best find I've ever had at a Goodwill!)
Shoes: Softspots
Belt: ModCloth
Necklace and earrings: Me-made

My boyfriend is being very gracious about taking pictures on the days we see each other, and it's working out very well in that I'm getting some more interesting photo locations! This was taken outside of the place we met for dinner after he got off work and before I did some teaching, since we were in the same area and I would have had to drive up there for just one today otherwise. It was neat--the place was called the Purebread Cafe, and all of the sandwiches were named after dog breeds! I got a "Great Dane", which was a ham-and-brie panini with tomatoes and super-spicy mustard. Yum! Anyway...
 This necklace almost feels like cheating, since all I really did was add a closure and a pendant to this chain. But it still counts. And I like that it added some color to my outfit!


 I don't think I've blogged these earrings before. I originally made them for my mom, to go with a necklace I'd made her. But she stopped wearing earrings a few years ago and gave her entire collection to me. I think the beads have a sort of Van Gogh look to them too!

In other news, I actually did some sewing tonight! All it's been so far is doing some understitching and pressing of the neckline, and the next step involves hand sewing. It's the sort of fabric where I can't really cheat and topstitch over it, because it will look better if I don't. So I'm hoping I can finish that tonight so I can just focus on the machine with my day off tomorrow and knock out as much as possible. Imagine that--I might actually finish a sewing project soon!

May 6, 2012

MMM, Days 5 & 6

I was going to try and go for the daily outfit posts, but it just seems to be working out better to do every other day so far. Any more than that, and I think the prospect of taking that much time to write a post when I could be doing other creative things would be too overwhelming, and increase my chances of dropping out of the challenge. So here's my me-made weekend...

Day 5:
Shirt: "Happy Camper" blouse, blogged here
Cropped jeans: Levi's (rolled up because I need to shorten them)
Bag: Mom-made!
Shoes: Array (can't see them, but they look like this in white) 
Accessories: Me-made green leaf beaded necklace-- pre-blog, but I've featured it before in Self-Stitched September (Day 28)

So here's me and my buddy Sid at the movie theater. I wanted to keep the outfit simple since I had very little time between getting off of work (on a Saturday, I know) and going to rehearsal. So I kept the same jeans I wore to work and threw on the top. After that, my boyfriend and I went out for a quick dinner and then to the movies to see The Raven I like Edgar Allen Poe's stories, so although it was a little unnecessarily grisly in one scene, I enjoyed it overall.

Day 6:

Dress: the famous Little Black Dress, blogged here
Shoes: Array, again
Necklace/earrings: Me-made-- again, pre-blog, but featured on Day 8 of the last challenge month that I did.

Believe it or not, this is what I wore almost all day! I threw a black and white cardigan over top of this for church in the morning, but I had to leave before the service was over for a 1:00 dress rehearsal before a 3:00 concert. I was supposed to wear all black anyway--it's standard for classical concerts--and I figured that since part of my justification for making a semi-couture black dress was to wear it for concerts, why not? I knew about half of the group would be wearing pants, and since I also needed to wear it for church, I did want to dress it down a little . Thus the flats and the funkier jewelry. Actually, this dress was surprisingly comfortable to wear for an extended period of time-- I guess taking all of that time to fine-tune the fit and using the nicer silk/cotton fabrics paid off!

I'm very excited--though I have to work again this Saturday, which I expected since it's a garden center and Mother's Day weekend, they gave me off on Wednesday. And since I only have one student for the entire day, you know what that means-- I have a hot date with my sewing machine! Hurrah, time to sew at last! Also, I'm still taking suggestions for what to do with that red twill if I don't make the Beignet with it as planned, as per my last post. Ginger suggested a pair of capris, and that seems like a good option--I was thinking maybe use it to try out my Clover pattern, but the twill has no stretch and that does concern me a little, given that Colette recommends a fabric with lycra. But I'm also thinking that if I make them a bit shorter, I could maybe do a vent in the side seams to make up for it around my knees. Maybe even with a few of those sparkly red buttons, so I can still use them as planned.

In the meantime, I did do something crafty, at least...I worked a bit on my scrapbooking after the concert tonight.

May 4, 2012

MMM, Days 3 & 4-- To Be(ignet), or not to Be(ignet)?

I didn't have time to post yesterday, so I'll have to make up for it today.
Day 3:
T-shirt:
From Woot.com
Jacket: "Floral Fantasy" jacket, blogged here
Jeans: The Gap, via Goodwill
Sandals: Birkenstocks, via Amazon.com
Headband: Me-made from scraps of a reconstruction, blogged here
Earrings: Me-made, see below
Wristband: courtesy of Union Transfer
My big exciting thing yesterday was that I headed up to Philadelphia with two of my friends for a concert! So this was taken at the Union Transfer, which was a new venue for us. We got there early enough that the seats in the balcony were vacated, which gave me just enough time to hand the camera over to my best friend so she could kindly oblige me on the outfit shot. This was the first time I've actually worn this jacket as a jacket-- until yesterday, I've worn it as a shirt a couple of times. I wasn't sure how it would go with the neckline, but one thing I'm trying to do with this month is wear things in new ways, and I think the jacket looked pretty good with this particular t-shirt! It's an owl with headphones and a wooden record player in a tree, and totally cute. And very appropriate, since we were going to see Andrew Bird!

So this is what I got to enjoy last night. If you've never checked out his music, you really should--the man is a genius, and can do amazing things with a violin and whistling. Yes, whistling. This is "Orpheus Looks Back", which is one of my favorites so far off of his latest album, Break It Yourself.  (If I can get Blogger to cooperate in loading it...)


 



 And here's a closer-up view of the earrings-- pretty simple, just some bits of goldstone and jasper.








 And here's today:
Day 4: 
Blouse: "Puzzle Pieces", blogged here
Dress: Wet Seal, via Goodwill
Belt: Sash from said dress
Shoes: Softspots, I think from Maryland Square
Earrings: Me-made, see below

It's gotten warmer again here today, and I was thinking at work today that this would be a good blouse to pull out. I was originally thinking of going simple with my black capri pants, but I guess they're still under the bed or something because I haven't found them in the pile of things to put in the closet. (With this yo-yo spring, switching out my wardrobe is being quite the drawn-out process!) So I decided more color might be good, and on a whim, I pulled out this strapless red dress that I picked up on my last thrift store run. I didn't want to wear the dress as is, because a) I didn't make it and b) I'd like to add some kind of strap, just for my own personal comfort--although this particular dress is fitted enough at the top that I might just safety pin them in to cover bra straps, because it's not going to fall down! In fact, it might be too fitted. I hope this won't be a problem for breathing at rehearsal for flute choir tonight... Anyway, I think this dress works amazingly well as a skirt. So much so, that I'm wondering if I really need to make the red Beignet skirt that I have pulled out for the Palette Challenge. I know it's a slightly different silhouette, but do I really need two red skirts? On the other hand, I'm not sure what else I would do with two yards of red twill. And I did buy some really awesome buttons to go with it. They're red, and they're sparkly. And my machine actually makes decent buttonholes now, since the shop discovered that it was actually the original replacement buttonhole foot that was defective and not my machine. Decisions, decisions....

What do you think? Should I stick with the challenge and make the skirt? Or try to come up with another use for the fabric?

Oh, I almost forgot--today's earrings!




May 2, 2012

MMM, Day 2: The holes in my wardrobe

To be perfectly honest, this isn't my favorite outfit. (Nor my best expression-- my boyfriend was kind enough to take pics on our way out to grab some dinner and spend an hour or two together, and I guess I was in the middle of blinking. But this one does show the whole outfit the best.) 

Shirt: "Flowery Explosion" top, blogged here
Cardigan: Old Navy
Pants:Lee, from JC Penney's
Shoes: Naturalizer, from Maryland Square (I think)
Necklace: Me-made
Earrings, which you can't really see here anyway: Lia Sophia



Here's how it went down: I had my outfit all picked out and ready to go for after work at the garden center today. But when I picked it, it was supposed to get up to around 70 degrees. In actuality, it didn't even crack 60. (And yesterday, it was around 80! The weather in my little corner of the mid-Atlantic is pretty whacked out this year.) So I had to improvise, and fast. And I mean fast--the cashier who was taking over for me got there late, which meant I got out late, and I had the span of about an hour to refuel my rental car, take it back to the repair shop where my little Honda was getting its reconstructive surgery after its fender bender, drive home, change my clothes, grab the vacuum cleaner to give the floor a quick once-over before teaching, and then immediately have to put it away before cleaning, because my first student arrived earlier than planned. It happens sometimes when they stop by on their way home from school.

I knew I wanted a colorful top, because this day has been very dreary--either rain, thunderstorms or clouds all day. I wasn't in the greatest mood, either, because work was pretty craptastic today. Bright clothes with cheery prints just make me feel better! It was way too cold for sleeveless, though, at least for me. I originally had cuter shoes on (my silver gladiator sandals), but by the time I got through my couple of hours' worth of teaching in the basement, my feet were cold! So I changed to the more practical shoes before going out for dinner. I think the concept of the outfit is ok....it's just that it's too pale overall. I'm going to blame the pants--for what is supposed to be a neutral pair of pants, these are so hard to fit into my wardrobe! I think it would have worked better with my camel linen pants, color-wise, but I haven't ironed them since I last washed them and certainly did not have time to do so today.

I do think the necklace was a good pick, though. This was a fun one to make-- basically, I took all of the white/clear/light tan glass beads I had that didn't go with anything else, made 3 strands of bead links, and then stuck it on some decorative chain to make this necklace. Since this top verges on too low-cut for my taste, it fills in the space nicely! I also think the half-buttoned cardigan looks a little odd/unflattering in the pic, but it looked weirder to have the minty green band halfway up from the tieback sash. Oh well. It's honestly not my favorite cardigan, either, and I also have found this surprisingly hard to fit into my wardrobe!

Over the last few months, I've been taking a close look at my clothes to see if I can identify the holes in my wardrobe, and I think this outfit illustrates a couple of them. For both the pants and the cardigan, these wouldn't have been my first pick of things to buy--they were both cases of I needed something fast (a pair of khakis, a cream-colored cardigan to wear over that Modcloth dress that I just shortened, when I was wearing it as a dress to a friend's wedding), and this was the best option I could find at the time. And even though the khakis don't seem to really go with the rest of my clothes for some reason (and are a little too short even with my flats), and I just don't like the way the cardigan's looked with anything so far (too preppy, I guess), I've kept them because I don't really have anything else to fill those holes yet. Especially for the pants-- I have a list of 6 things I've often wished for in my winter wardrobe, and half of them are different colors of pants to replace ill-fitting or just worn out ones that I have now.

I'm on my way to remedying that-- I looked through my stash notebook and found two pieces that would make good pants, in addition to the charcoal lightweight denim that I specifically got for that purpose for Christmas-- a more camel-ly khaki corduroy, and a chocolatey-brown twill. I had also recently been debating buying some fabric, and ended up getting twill in grey and olive, and a lightweight denim to replace the too-short trouser jeans that I have now. So once I get through my palette challenge and have the jeans-fitting technique down, I'll find a good pair of pants, make some test shorts like I did for those linen pants that I mentioned earlier in this post, try it on one pair of pants once I get the fit, and then go assembly-line style and just knock them all out. I have it in the back of my mind to knit a new cream cardigan at some point too--something a little more interesting, like maybe this, or this, or perhaps this. Though I don't think it will happen any time soon, since I have two other bigger knitting projects in the works, I need to find some nice non-wooly yarn that will work, and I already have yarn that I can use to make a grey cardigan, which I also need. (Hopefully as this. I've been eyeing it for awhile!)

So, yeah....in the question of frosting vs. cake, I think I'll be ok with sewing more cake from here on out. Especially if I can get a nice tried-and-true pants pattern to work from, or maybe two, since jeans fit differently than the average pants. I've been finding lately that store-bought clothes just don't work for me long-term!

May 1, 2012

MMM, Day 1

And away we go! Kicking it off with an almost entirely homemade day.

Top: "Lizzie" blouse, skirt-to-top refashion, blogged here
Skirt: Quasi-me-made...I'll explain below.
Bracelet/earrings: Me-made, blogged below
Shoes: Payless, I think?

Going from top to bottom here. One of the things I'm hoping to do this time, since I have plenty of warmer-weather me-made stuff, is to focus on putting together some better outfits. I used this shirt during my last challenge month, on Day 16 of Self-Stitched-September '10. And that ended up being one of my least favorite outfits days, so I'm trying to redeem the top here. The major problem with it was the crossover bit--it always sagged and was just generally unflattering. So as part of my mending binge that's been going on and off for the last several months, I hand-stitched that crossover bit in place, and I think it works so much better now!

I'm still proud of that hand-beaded detail. I was sorting through my bead stash (with a LOT of help from my boyfriend, who actually enjoys organizing things) to try and consolidate it on Sunday. And I was thinking to myself that I should use beads on clothes more often. It's not like I don't have a bajillion of them.

The earrings and bracelet are both from the December before last when I was making a ton of jewelry for that craft fair. And these were among the many items that didn't sell.  Since then, I took the things I liked for myself, and then let my mom, my sister-in-law, and a couple of my friends go through the rest-- I was at the point where I would rather give it away than store it, and at least I know that the people who got those things are using and enjoying them. I have to admit that I'm not too sorry the bracelet didn't go, since I was pretty happy with how this turned out!

The story behind the skirt: My mom was teaching a sewing class for awhile for the homeschool co-op that my church hosts. This skirt was a project that came out of that. Though I can't remember if she'd just cut the pieces and I sewed it together, or if she mostly sewed it and I just hemmed it, or what. I'm pretty sure it was a McCall's pattern, and I'm guessing it pre-dates the blog, since I'm pretty sure I never wrote about it....thus the quasi-me-made. Apparently, being a "cake" project, this one didn't really stand out too much in my head!

To improve the chances of successfully navigating this month, I'm going back to my teenage habit of choosing my outfits the night before. It worked well for today...by the time I got home from my retail job, I basically had an hour to change out of my rather unfashionable jeans and work t-shirt combo, take these pics, eat a snack, and write this post. I have a couple of lessons to teach this afternoon, which I'll need to drive around to, and then I'll get home around 7:30 to eat dinner, actually get some practicing in today, and shower. I'm hoping that maybe I'll have enough brainpower left after that to maybe knit a little. Welcome to my Tuesdays.