Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Me Made May 2017 Pledge

I haven't posted in a while, mostly because I haven't really made much that I'm super proud of.  Since my last post I made another Blackwood Cardigan just like my blue one but this time in a lovely mango sophia double knit that I picked up from the sewing expo.  I do love that sweater and both of my Blackwoods get heavy rotation in my wardrobe and will likely be seen in my MMM photos this year.  (In fact, I'm wearing my blue one today.)

I also managed to throw together a couple costume pieces that I'm definitely not proud of, but got the job done.  And as it would be I don't have any photos of either costume, but I do have this video of my Ursula dance wearing a dress I put together using the Jalie Bella dress pattern.


I took out a lot of width in the skirt flares and just didn't sew the panels all the way to the bottom to make the panels somewhat resemble tentacles.  I cut two of the center front panel, adding a seam allowance, and hacked it into a sweetheart neckline with a purple netting at the neckline and sleeves.  I hacked this together quickly the day of the event and I didn't finish the edges, so the netting at the neckline has all run.  I also split the center back panel so that I could add a zipper to the back.  This dress uses the leotard from the same pattern so that I don't have to wear separate dance pants.

Now for the main topic of my post today.  Me Made May 2017!  I signed up with a realistic pledge a while ago, and, of course, I hoped (and still do) that I'll be able to make and/or alter some items to fill in where my wardrobe is lacking this month.  But here is the pledge I made:


So that's my pledge.  I'm going to do the best I can.  I have a few dresses that still look ok on me -- my Monetas and my Wrens.  I made my first Wren knowing that I was going to be losing a lot of weight, so I intentionally made it a size smaller than I would have otherwise at the time, so that helped.  And I think the Monetas just were snug enough that they just are a little loose now.

Here's a photo of what I wore yesterday on May 1.  It's the first Kitschy Coo Lady Skater that I made.  A wearable muslin.  I took a relaxation day after my dance competition last weekend, so I was just lazying around the house and running errands, so I didn't mind that it was fairly loose on me.



And this is today.  A Moneta and my blue Blackwood.


I will be back to document more me-made outfits soon.

Are you participating in MMM'17?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Blackwood in Blue


It's been a while since I've posted.  I've not done much sewing lately because I've been moving and getting my new house put together and also getting my old house fixed up and ready to rent out.  I'm still in the middle of both of those tasks, but when Helen from Helen's Closet contacted me about testing out her new pattern, I jumped at the opportunity and made it work, even with my new sewing room still in boxes.


The Blackwood Cardigan is a close fitting sweater that is designed to be worn open in the front.  View A extends to mid-thigh with patch pockets, while view B ends at the hips.  The sleeves are designed to be long and end mid palm, not at the wrist, which I love.


I made view A from a cotton sweatshirt fabric.  When I made the pockets, I thought it would be fun to add a little decorative stitching detail.


The upper sleeves are slightly tight on me, but also, my fabric barely has the required 40% stretch, so another fabric would be better.  However, for my next version I'll be doing a full bicep adjustment.


There are a few wrinkles at the lower back, even after trying to smooth it out, so I'm going to see about doing a sway back adjustment, although I've never attempted it on a pattern that doesn't have a waist seam.


I love this sweater and I have worn it quite a bit.  I really need to make a few more because I'm cold all the time at work now and other than this sweater, I only have hoodies to keep warm.


The Blackwood Cardigan pattern is 20% off for the first week, so go pick it up.  But hurry, because the sale ends March 6th.









Friday, January 6, 2017

Top 5 of 2016


I decided to wait until 2016 was actually over before posting my Top 5 of 2016.  But I've been compiling it for a while.  So, with no further ado, here it is.

Top 5 Hits

  1. Sweater dress from the Fabricista Fashion Challenge  I love how this dress turned out.  I'm a bit heartbroken that it won't fit for much longer and because of the design, I don't think taking it in will work very well.
  2. Named Olivia Jersey Wrap Dress I love wearing this dress!  It's pretty much my go-to dress for comfort and looking nice.  What I love best about it is that even now that I'm 26 lbs lighter than when I made it, still looks great on me and not baggy like a lot of my other me-made clothes.  I really need to make several more of these!
  3. My purple Rhythm dress  I'm quite happy with how easy this dress was to put together.  Technically I didn't make the actual dress, since I used a dress I purchased from a thrift store, but the dress was the same style that I'll make when I use the Jalie Fit and Flare dress pattern and that won't be much additional work than what I put into this one.
    I love the movement of that fringe!
  4. The Bohemian Maxi I just love the flowy movement of this dress.  I feel so good when I wear it.
  5. Colette Wren When I made this dress, I knew I was on my way to losing weight and most likely having weight loss surgery, so I intentionally made it a size smaller than I normally would.  The fabric doesn't have a great amount of stretch, so it was very hard to wiggle into when I took the initial photos, but now I love how it fits and looks.  I love my Wren enough that I made another for my birthday dress with the gathered skirt (that I apparently never blogged...) 
    March 31, 2016 Dec. 20, 2016
    Birthday Dress! Dec. 7, 2016

Top 5 Misses

  1. The black satin top for the Fabricista Fashion Challenge I really do think this top looks better in person, but I have literally never worn it, so it totally is a very large miss.
    This blouse just didn't turn out great and it photographed even worse!
  2. Seamwork Osaka  The skirt isn't terrible and I'd be willing make this pattern again.  But the gray fabric was not suited for this garment and I just think it always looks messy.  I haven't worn it once.  It's a shame too, because that plaid was one of my favorites in my stash.  Maybe I can salvage it somehow...
    The gray fabric just looked terrible.
  3. Floral Georgette Winslow Culottes Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this pattern from Helen's Closet. And my second pair I made out of a linen/rayon blend that I did a full tummy adjustment on are perfect and I wore them a lot before the weather turned cold.  But the combination of the fit across my big tummy and the lightweight, clingy fabric made that first pair just do a lot riding up in the crotch, which made me uncomfortable.  So I never actually wore them other than for the photo shoot.  I haven't tried them on since I lost weight.  My waist measurement hasn't changed much, so they should still fit and maybe the fact that my tummy isn't so large will make up for the lack of the FTA.
    Terrible things are happening in the crotch area..
  4. 70s Style SisBoom Meghan This dress is cute, but it's really too short for my comfort and the colors just aren't me.  And the sleeves don't really behave right and they flip to the wrong side.  I like the pattern and I will likely make a version of it again, but longer and doing the sleeves differently.  I wish I'd used a facing for the sleeves so that you'd see something nice when seeing the inside and also to add a little weight to make them hang better.
  5. McCall's 6801 I made a couple dresses that were more body con and I just didn't have the body confidence to rock them.  I think I might have worn this dress once, but I can't even remember for sure at this point.  This is yet another one that I should try on now that I'm quite a bit lighter.  I've lost several inches in my bust and my hips/butt/tummy area, but none in my waist at all, so I've been trying things on to see how they fit differently, but I ended up packing up a lot of me-made clothes without trying them on and this was one of them.


Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights

  1. My weight loss journey.  In December of 2015, I was almost back up to my highest weight ever after losing over 100 lbs TWICE then gaining it back.  So I made the decision to go to an informational session with a local bariatric clinic to find out about weight loss surgery.  I was uncertain if it was something I should do, but after speaking to the surgeon after his presentation and asking a zillion questions and then doing more research and thinking on it for about another month, I decided to start the process.  My first appointment with the clinic was at the end of January.  My insurance required me to do 6 months of medically monitored weight loss, so I started that on Feb. 1.  I hit a stumbling block right before I was scheduled for surgery when my insurance wouldn't preapprove my surgery because they required it to be done with one of a couple particular clinics.  But after I pouted and pleaded to no avail for about a month, I decided to just suck it up and go to another clinic.  I ultimately had my vertical sleeve gastrectomy on Nov. 2, 2016 and I was back on my feet in only a few days and I feel better than I have every felt in my entire life.  The number one thing I'm most surprised about is that I have SO MUCH ENERGY.  I literally bounce around and drive my family crazy, especially when we are out doing things together.  As of today, I'm down 77 lbs from my highest weight ever, 61 lbs from that first appointment last January and 26 lbs since my surgery.  And the best thing is that I'm off my blood pressure meds that I've been on since my twenties!  Going through the process leading up to my weight loss surgery was a highly emotional experience, and I recommend if you or anyone you know is considering it, to be sure to have a very supportive group of friends and family to lean on.  I have to admit that a part of me is sad that I will no longer be a "curvy chick" right after I finally got to the point of body acceptance after all these years of hating the size of my body.  But I have no doubt in my mind that this was the best choice for me.
    Dec. 31, 2015
    Jan. 5, 2017
  2. I finally participated in The Big Climb.  This has been one of those events I've known about forever and was interested in participating in, but never seemed to get my act together to sign up before it sold out.  My Weight Watchers at Work leader runs a team for the event and she asked in our meeting if anyone wanted to participate and I jumped on the chance.  I was very worried about it, because even though I signed on for it 5 months ahead of time, I didn't really do any kind of training and 69 flights of stairs is A LOT OF STAIRS!  But I went slow and rested a bit on the landings every few floors when I got winded or weak legged and I finished just fine in 38:20, which is an average of 34 seconds per flight.  I'm signed up again for this year, so I have a baseline time to beat!  If you are so inclined to donate money to a worthy cause and would like to support me in my fundraising efforts, you can visit my fundraising page for The Big Climb 31.
    View from the top of the Columbia Tower after walking up 69 flights of stairs!
  3. I conquered the Warrior Dash without skipping a single obstacle!  Though I really struggled with a couple, having to retry one of them about a dozen times before success.  This event was my husband's idea because some of his co-workers were doing it.  I was really afraid of it and I ended up hurting myself enough when I sorta fell off one of the obstacles that I was starting to wonder if I'd cracked a rib a few days later.  But the feeling of accomplishment after I'd finished was amazing!  And we've already signed up in time to get the early bird registration discount for this year!
    Jumping over fire!

    A nice, relaxing swim through very thick mud.

    My husband and I straight out of the mud pit.

    My husband and I after we cleaned up a bit with our cool souvenir hats on.
  4. New House!  After months of searching, we found a new house and it's better than I could have even imagined!  We won't close on it until mid January, but the search is over and I'm very excited to get to have my very own sewing space!!!  The new house is well over twice the size of our current house, but one of my daughter's friends will be moving in with us and has been at our current house pretty often, so 4 adults were a little cramped in the small space.  And because our current house is in a very hot Seattle location and the new one isn't, the much bigger house on a WAAAY bigger piece of land is actually valued less than our current house.  Location, location, location!  But we do still have an actual Seattle address, so I don't mind.  
    Our New house! (not purple yet...)

    My future sewing room!
  5. Birthday Haircut. I chopped off all of my hair!  I've had long hair pretty much my entire life, except for a bad couple of years when I decided to rebel in middle school.  But with the knowledge of (and past experience with) rapid weight loss causing hair loss, I decided to do what I can to make my already thin hair look as thick as possible.  So, I went to the magician who does my hair for my dance competitions and gave her some photos of asymmetrical bobs and then let her have her way with me.  I love it so much.  It's the shortest it's been in the back for as long as I can ever remember, but the front is still long enough and the same style that I still look like myself when I look in the mirror.



Top 5 Reflections

  1. I've discovered the fun and joy (and stress) of sewing competition and I want more!  I'm making a goal to enter a couple contests this year.  Of course, I'll have to wait until I've gotten all moved and settled into the new house since everything is such a huge disarray right now.

  2. I've learned that sewing deadlines help get me motivated and started, but I have a hard time actually meeting those deadlines.  

  3. I own WAAAAY too much fabric.  I already knew this, but this move we're packing for right now has put into perspective exactly how much I had squirreled away.  So, I'm going to avoid looking at all my favorite online fabric stores, which is where I do 98% of my fabric shopping from.  I expect I might end up buying a couple cuts from the Sewing and Stitchery Expo this year, because when I actually see pretty fabric, it's hard to resist.  But I already don't really go into physical fabric stores unless I'm traveling.  

  4. I want to sew all the things, but I don't have the time.  I have some projects that I've been planning to do for well over a year.  I even already have sketches and fabric pre-washed and PDF patterns assembled, but I just haven't had the time to finish items that are already cut and on my sewing table.  I think the move will help a lot with this for a couple reasons.  Not only will my commute be reduced from 45 mins to 9, giving me over an hour extra on each day I don't have a dance lesson, but I'll also have a dedicated cutting table in my new sewing room, so it'll be easier to get things cut and ready to sew.

  5. Sometimes I just don't want to sew because I feel lonely.  I usually stream some TV show (currently working through Grey's Anatomy) on my tablet while I sew.  But because of the noise of my machine, I couldn't sew and watch TV with my husband, even if I had a nice television in my sewing room.  So sometimes I just don't sew because I'd rather be spending time with him.  That's ok, but I need to find the right balance that works best for me.

Top 5 Goals (What would you like to sew in 2017, or what skills/attitudes would you like to learn?)

For this one, I went back and looked at my Top 5 for 2016 post to see what I put for my goals for 2016 and found that there were a couple of things I didn't accomplish, so those go first on the list for 2017.
  1. Pants.  I now own the Closet Case Files Ginger Skinny Jeans in a paper pattern because of my week 1 win in the Fabricista Fashion Challenge.  So I absolutely have no excuse not to try to make them this year!  I already own a couple cuts of denim that will work for these jeans.  I even took a pants fitting class at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo last year to prepare myself, but I still didn't even attempt this goal.

  2. Sew more new-to-me patterns.  I think last year's goal was way too ambitious.  But I would like to try to make at least 1 new to me pattern each month in 2017.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to start with January since we are currently in the middle of packing up the house we've lived in for 12 years and will be unpacking into the new house starting on Jan. 17th, but I'd like to try to squeeze out one quick Seamwork pattern before the month ends.  I've been wanting to make Winona, Arden, Lynn, Elmira, Kenedy (with the flutter sleeves add-on,) Camden, Wembly and Oslo since I first laid eyes on them and just haven't done so yet.  I even have all of them printed and a couple of them assembled.

  3. Be a better blogger. This one will probably always be on my new year goals.  I think I was better in 2016 than I was in 2015, but I still was pretty slow in getting posts written and up and I could learn to do more photo editing.  Although once I start editing a photo, I'm not sure I know when to stop, so maybe it's best to give them to you as unaltered as possible.  :)

  4. Sew sweaters and jackets! I find that I'm cold all the time these days.  I've been wearing hoodies because I have a ton that I've gotten free from work or my husband brings me from his work or as a gift.  That helps me stay warm, but I don't look as pulled together as I would if I had something that fit better and was more coordinated with my outfit.  So that's something I'd like to focus on this year.

  5. Enter at least 2 contests/competitions this year.  I really enjoyed the challenge of both the Fabric Mart Pinterest Contest and the Fabric Mart Fabricista Fashion Challenge that I participated in last year.  I would like to do more.  I don't follow Pattern Review as much as I should, but they run some contests and I need to be better about keeping an eye out for them.  It might also be fun to enter something at The Washington State Fair this year.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A lovely Butterick 5243

I cut this lovely dress out over a year ago, and I had finally started sewing it in August, but I had to put it on hold because I was missing a couple pieces and then I was chosen to participate in the Fabricista Fashion Challenge 4.  This is as far as I got before I put it on the back burner.


The pattern is (OOP) Butterick 5243 and I picked view A with the lovely flutter sleeves.

The fabric is a Mustard/Brown/Teal/Multi Abstract Floral Jersey Knit that I bought from Fabric Mart in May of 2015.  The back of the fabric is soft and flannel like and I just love the way it feels, as well as how it looks.


We went to the Fremont Troll to take these photos because I thought it would be fun to start adding a little bit more of the Seattle experience to my blog.   Plus, we were headed to Fremont to go to our favorite conveyor belt sushi place for lunch anyway, so it was only a couple blocks out of our way.  Well, I forgot how popular the Troll is, so we took most of our photos in the area next to the troll since it was people free and there was a lovely green background.  We got some with the Troll in the background too, but it was near impossible to not have other people in the photos, so not many of those came out very well.  Oh well, interesting idea, but it didn't pan out like I'd hoped.


The photo above led to my favorite photo.  My daughter was my photographer and I was playing up the pinup girl feeling I have wearing this dress by lifting my skirt to show a little more leg and my daughter said "Oh, those gams!" and that made me laugh, which she captured so well.


I didn't make any alterations to the pattern, but I made one small change to the construction process.  When I went to add the waistband to the bodice, the front cross over was still all open.  So, instead of properly matching the notches to make the crossover, I wanted to make sure the bodice wasn't dangerously low and I could wear it without worry.  So, I tried it on and got the crossover the way I wanted it and basted that together.  Then, as I was attaching the waistband, I just gathered it at the underbust to make it fit.  So, I think I don't have quite as much gathered as the example photos because my front pieces overlap more than they are supposed to, but it fits perfect right now and shows just the right amount of cleavage.


I also hand sewed the neckline facing to the seam allowance of the yoke.  I used to hate hand sewing, but I totally didn't mind doing it the last couple times and I think it made the neckline turn out much nicer than if I'd tried to sew it down by machine.



Overall, I really am very pleased with how this dress turned out.  I do wish I'd gone with the long sleeve version, simply because both times I wore it, I was chilly and ended up wearing a jacket over it, so a lot of the nice details were hidden.


My daughter liked this photo because she said I was making the same face as the Troll.  It was not intentional on my part at all, but I can't help but agree with her!


Monday, November 14, 2016

A Painted Perry


When I made my camouflage Seamwork Perry, I liked it so much that I immediately cut out another one from a cotton Spandex knit from a previous Girl Charlee* knitfix fabric.


I couldn't do pattern matching when cutting the dress out, so I decided to just cut it out however I could then I used some Jacquard Textile Color* to paint colored stripes onto the fabric to try to mask the pattern mismatch.



I started painting the pieces way back in May.  I did some additional painting some time after that, but then I finally just finished it a couple days ago.  After it was all dried, I heat set it with the iron following the directions.


I cut bodice lining pieces from the same black cameo thermal knit fabric I used to line my Fabricista sweater dress.


I liked the elastic loop and button I used for the camo Perry, so I decided to do that again.  Since I planned this before sewing the dress together, I basted a loop of elastic that I'd colored with a blue Sharpie to the back bodice piece before sewing the shell and lining together at the neckline so that the raw ends are enclosed.  Then sewed on a blue button the finish the closure.


Also I couldn't find a couple pieces - the front pocket piece and the sleeve cuffs.  I swear I cut them out, but it's been so long and they aren't with the other pieces, so either I'm remembering wrong or they got lost.  So, I cut the missing pocket piece from that same black cameo knit and instead of replacing the sleeve cuff with a different fabric, I just hemmed the sleeve 1" to create a channel then cut pieces of 1/2" elastic and fed it through the channel.


I also sewed all of the vertical seams with 5/8" seam allowance instead of 3/8" to try to size the dress down a bit.


I'm not super happy with the fit of the waist elastic.  I followed the instructions and cut the elastic to my waist measurement minus 2".  But I must have stretched it out while installing it, because the waist doesn't have as much definition as my camo one.


There are a few spots where I missed fully applying the color.  When I started with the blue, I was trying to go for a hand painted look, so the missed spots were a feature.  But now that it's all put together, those spots are a little distracting to me.  Also, some of the coloring between the pieces don't quite match shades, or the color lines across the seams aren't exact.  So I may end up doing another pass of the painting.  Although, I am pretty happy with how it looks as is.


*affiliate link - I gotta try to help support my sewing habit somehow.