Showing posts from 2017

Top 5 of 2017

I'm participating in Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 again this year, even though I've sorta abandoned my blog a bit in the second half of 2017.

Top 5 Hits

  1. Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet.  By far, the two items of me-made clothing that got the most use since I made them were my blue Blackwood and an orange one that I made out of Sophia double knit in mango that I bought from the Sewing Expo.

  2. My Rainbow Mesa This dress turned out better than I had even hoped.  I loved wearing it out on the streets of Seattle during Pride.  I really should wear it more.  Plus, I won 

  3. Tessuti Lois Dress I think this is the quickest I've ever made a pattern after it's release.  I just loved all the photos I saw of this dress.  I made up a wearable muslin in a rayon challis from my stash.  I love, love, love the style and there are only very minor fit issues to address.  I haven't worn the dress "for real" yet because I think the fabric I used is more of a day time fabric and the style of the dress is more evening.  Once the weather warms up, I'll feel better about wearing it during the day.  But I'm definitely making another one!

  4. My retro inspired Seamwork Arden This dress is so much fun to wear!

  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.

Suki Kimono

I had the great pleasure of getting to pattern test the latest pattern from Helen's Closet, the Suki Kimono.

The official description is as follows: The Suki Kimono is a luxurious and comfortable robe, perfect for everyday use. It wraps around the body for a flattering waist fit and flares out over the hips. Kimono sleeves offer a classic look while still being a practical shape and length for getting ready in the morning. Inner and outer ties keep this robe closed so you can move around freely. The outer ties are anchored to the back of the robe so you will never lose them and inseam pockets ensure your phone is always at hand. Two lengths are provided and you have the option of contrasting front bands, sleeve bands, and ties. The Suki Kimono will surely be your new favorite lounge-wear!

I held off on posting about my Suki because I had hoped to use it as part of an outfit for The Monthly Stitch's last contest for Indie Pattern Month.  But alas, I haven't had a lot of sewjo lately, so I didn't get my "work from home" outfit finished in time.

The fabric I used was a 4 yard pre-cut poly crepe de chine I got from Fabric Mart for $3.20 back in February.  I didn't love the fabric once it arrived, but I decided that made it perfect for this test, in case things didn't work out.  It frayed more than any other fabric I've worked with so far.  Although, to be fair, I have way more experience with knits than wovens.


Not the clearest photos, but yeah, that's fully half of the seam allowance frayed away.  :(  I did french seams on the body and I had to increase the seam allowance to allow for the fact that my seam allowances frayed away.  Helen advised using spray starch next time I'm working with a woven that frays.  I'll definitely need to remember that tip!

Also, the instructions say to put the Rouleau loops in the side seams so the ends are encased in the seam for the belt loops.  However, I was extra frustrated by my fabric fraying and I stupidly started a couple of my french seams the wrong way round, which exacerbated the problem.  So, in all my frustration, I was a bad tester and I forgot to actually check back to the instructions and I missed attaching the belt loops and the hanging loop at the time I was supposed to.  I just left the hanging loop off, but for the side loops, I just attached them flat with the ends folded under.  I might actually prefer it this way, but for my next version I'll try the right way so I can compare.

Even though I didn't like the fabric much at first and I had problems due to my fabric choice that made this a frustrating sew, the finished kimono more than makes up for it all my issues.  I LOVE this robe!  It's very warm in Seattle this summer and this is 100% polyester, so I'm not wearing it right now.  But once it cools off, I'll be living in this thing.  I definitely plan on making more and I already have plans for a summer friendly version and a slightly hacked version that I hope will give off the essence of an old Hollywood dressing gown.

This is the tester version, but the only real difference between what I made and the final release is fixing some minor mistakes to a couple pattern pieces to make construction easier.

I definitely feel very glamorous with this kimono on.  Since I've been working at home for the past 2 months, I find that I usually don't bother getting dressed.  So this kimono just goes on over my lounging clothes for when I need to answer the door for a package or step outside for some reason or another.  And the sleeve length is perfect for not getting in the way of daily activities, like sitting out on the back deck drinking coffee.

If you haven't seen them yet, you really should check out the rest of the versions from the tester roundup on the Helen's Closet blog.  And today (August 1, 2017) is the last day the Suki Kimono is on sale for 20% off!  So get it now!  And while you're there, pick up her other two patterns too, which are both equally as wonderful.

Pride dress 2017 edition

This is my (hopefully) first entry for the Hack It! contest over at The Monthly Stitch.

So, the rainbow dress I made for Pride in 2015 is a little too baggy on me now, so I decided that I needed a new one.  Instead of just repeating what I did before, I decided to try something different.

I sketched out what I was hoping to achieve.

I decided to use the Seamwork Mesa for my starting pattern.  I've made it twice before and I knew it fit pretty well.  I did go down a size from my previous ones and I think it's even a better fit now.  I compared the front and the back of the dress pattern and decided that they were close enough in size/shape that I'd be ok just making two fronts and sewing them together, which made this hack much easier.  So first I printed out the dress front piece twice and taped them together to make a full piece.

You can see above that I sketched in the lines for the rainbow pieces.  I did a combination of eyeballing and measuring to get them to roughly appear even.  I then colored in the stripes to help keep which piece goes with which color fabric once I started cutting out the pieces.

I then cut each piece apart and added seam allowances.  I even added actual notches like a good seamstress!  As you may have noticed in the photo above, I messed up my rainbow coloring.  Luckily, I figured it out while I was still adding the seam allowances and fixed the colors with some permanent markers over my colored pencil.

The fabrics I used all happen to be in my ginormous stash.  I have a bunch of nylon/lycra active wear fabrics that I pick up on sale from Fabric Mart and Fashion Fabrics Club whenever I can so that I am able to make a ballroom gown on a moment's notice, if I were to so choose to do so.

Since I made the decision to just make two front pieces and sew them together, I was able to just cut a double layer of each color.

I then just sewed each half of the main dress together and cut one red and one yellow sleeve and sewed it all together.  I would have liked to split the sleeve into yellow and green like in my sketch, but I was doing this the day before I needed to wear the dress, so I got a little lazy.

And the back is just a mirrored image of the front.

And here we are on the Link light rail, heading down to Seattle Pride.

I didn't take all that many photos of the actual parade, but I did get particularly misty eyed when I saw Wizards of the Coast walking, so I had to grab a photo.  I had just left a couple weeks before and had been in a lot of the planning meetings for their first ever appearance in the parade.  I'm so proud to have been a part of that company.

After the parade, we had dinner downtown with the kids and then the hubby and I went to see Romy and Michele the Musical.  He managed to get a couple not terrible shots of me on the streets of Seattle.

You can see a little of the stripe matching on the side.

In front of the show poster that is cut off and obscured.  haha.

I'm quite proud of this dress and I'll be happy to wear it again next year and I might even decide to just wear it around because it's a pretty awesome dress.  I also plan on reusing the pattern for a striped version, possibly in Seahawks colors.