Tag Archives: plans

Am I cool enough for R2D2?

A Fabric Confession.

As Stashoholic Confessionals go, this is not a super big one. But it’s been preying on my mind since I bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago—so bear with me. And the patterns. They were not bought at the same time, but I might as well get it all of my chest in one post, right?

First and best, is the Star Wars sheet.

Star Wars Bedsheet of Intense Awesomeness

I don’t feel a huge amount of guilt for this one, frankly. I have been looking for awesome 80s bedsheet material for ages, even before Cation Designs came out with her amazing superhero dresses. And most of what presents itself is either a) all worn out, or b) a modern re-issue in insanely gross poly UGH that I wouldn’t want to make any kid sleep on, never mind actually wear. But finally, after long and patient stalking, I hit upon this most precious of beasts: an original, largely unworn, Star Wars (copyright 1977) fitted single bedsheet. I had to have it.

(C) 1977

The only problem is what to do with it. Let Syo sleep on it as is? Make it into a shirt for my husband? Or be selfish (not to mention completely rip of Cation) and create a Star Wars dress for myself?

However, because I was going to have to wait in line to buy the sheet, it pushed me over the edge on another possibility, two metres of textured, seafoam, probably-polyester coating.

Aqua Coating of Questionable Wisdom

I couldn’t resist. I tried, I really did. I walked away and walked back several times.

See, half of me loves this fabric. It’s the same delicate aqua/blue/seafoam colour range that I quite enjoy (see blog theme).

Texture closeup---Aqua coating

And I love the texture, because while prints don’t usually suck me in, texture does.

But I’m also utterly convinced that made up, it is going to look like a 1970s granny suit.

And I’m not sure quite what there is to be done about it. Because I think done right, it could be great—sweet and formal and old-fashioned without looking like something my grandmother would’ve worn to my parents’ wedding. But I’m not quite sure what that is.

Boxy 60s swing jacket?

Fitted classic jacket?

Add black (or red?) accents to cut the sweetness?

Simplicity 5291

Okay, now I’m picturing it with Simplicity 5291, with black piping, the sleeved jacket and maybe the flippy skirt to match if there’s enough fabric…

… all keeping in mind that I’m on a coat restriction until I finish Osiris’s frock coat, which is cut (except for the lining) and languishing on my ironing board pending a bit more interfacing.

Perplexing burn test

Incidentally, a burn test on the green fabric proved (as usual, at least for me) confusing: The fire sustained itself, but barely; it melted into a hard, black bead and left a yellowish-brown ash. The smell was like wood or paper burning—almost pleasant. I’m guessing maybe a poly-rayon blend, because I’m quite sure it’s not any of the other plant-based fibres, but really I don’t know.

And then there were patterns.

Nothing obscenely amazing, but the pattern-collection creep continues:

Simplicity 3751

Simplicity 3751—a cute, loose blouse pattern. AKA not anything like what I usually wear. And yet—cute. And different enough from most of my other patterns that I thought I could justify it. Also, look at the cool new price! I’m happy to report they appear to have abandoned their bagged-pattern tactic, too.

New Look 6789

New Look 6789—A cute sundress/wardrobe pattern. I am kinda obsessed with summery dresses right now, I fear.

Butterick 5165

Butterick 5165—I know! A housecoat pattern. It’s almost… unjustifiable. In my defense, though, it’s a cute 70s pattern (you know my weakness for those) and it’s not actually a straight rectangle, unlike every housecoat pattern I’ve seen from the last thirty years. And, well, I can fantasize that I might somehow, mysteriously, look good in a housecoat like this. (I don’t. Waist-tie, blousing, etc. are all big Tanit-Isis no-nos.)

Simplicity 8510

Simplicity 8510—Yes, it’s 80s men’s, but it’s a simple tee/pullover with some interesting options in the details, which is always key with men’s patterns. And I figure if I go down a size or two, (which I should be able to as this is an S/M), it would reduce the excessive 80s ease.

Whew! There, I feel a weigh lifted. I have confessed my fabric- and pattern-buying sins.

Now if only I could start sewing faster than buying…

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Comfies

Comfies!

When I first moved in with my husband, I discovered something that surprised me: one of his favourite things, upon getting home, was to get rid of the day’s clothes (be they casual jeans or the monkey suits he wore to work in those days) and put on his “comfies”. These could be an array of things—mostly flannel pyjama pants and a T-shirt, but really anything would do that was soft, unrestrictive, and, well, comfy.

The idea of wearing particular clothes for lounging around had never really occurred to me.  I mean, my day-to-day stuff isn’t exactly screamingly uncomfortable, for the most part. And the problem, the biggest single problem, for my poor little brain, was this: comfies aren’t sexy.

Hmm, didn’t Peter post about this recently?

Er, yeah. I have a hard time feeling comfortable—relaxed and happy—if I don’t also feel attractive. Feel free to dissect my psychological quirks if you like, but that’s just the way it is. This discomfort is waning a bit as I get older, but the fact is that I still don’t really enjoy “comfy” clothes if I don’t like how they look on me. So aside from the odd pair of yoga pants and a few fitted tanks and tees, I’ve never had much in the way of “comfies.”

But now (perhaps spurred on by the amount of time I’m spending in bed writing these days), I want to try to change that.

Comfy pants!

Step 1 was the arrival of Jalie 2033, the yoga pants*. I’ve been meaning to clone my favourite pair of yoga pants ever since they developed holes in the butt years ago, but since I haven’t gotten around to it yet, Jalie 2033 will be a good substitute, especially since I can barely get the shorts versions off my kids.

Comfy tops!

Step 2 was getting the Renfrew pattern from Sewaholic. It’s just that bit easier-fitting than my knit sloper—perfect for comfies, right?—and what better way to give it a trial run than to make something intended to be worn around the house? I’m thinking V-neck with 3/4 length sleeves.

Comfy Fabric!

Step 3 was the arrival of a package of knit fabric from Lady Katza of Peanut Butter Macrame (doesn’t that name suggest a story?), I believe salvaged from her late (and much missed) mother’s stash. Thank you, Katza! Included was approximately a mile and a half of awesome sturdy knit in a pretty, if slightly twee, peach colour. It’s somewhat sun-damaged as well, although given how much yardage there is that shouldn’t be too hard to work around.

All I need to do now is, y’know, actually do it. 😉

 

*not that I do yoga. I mean, I should, but I don’t.

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Round and round and round she goes…

Brace yourself for a whiny post. I’m resisting, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to come out.

I spent a good three or four hours in the sewing room over the weekend, not sewing a single stitch (actually that’s a lie, but anyway).

I was trying to organize my patterns.

Emphasis on trying.

In the last few months my pattern collection has gotten a bit, um, bloated. Bernie’s gift really put it over the top, but seriously, I was in trouble well before that. In particular, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer keep a reasonable mental catalogue of the patterns I have.

Now, in theory I’m prepared for that. I even have a pricey (if somewhat defective) little app on my iPhone for tracking patterns, stash, projects, etc, and I’ve made a half-ass attempt to enter at least the most important patterns into it. I have photos of most of my patterns, somewhere on the computer and somewhere on the blog, so I could potentially make a spreadsheet or database or *something*

The problem is, handy as all that electronic organization might be (and I do much better with electronic organization than with real-life organization), when I’m considering a project, what I really want to do is sit there and dive—through the fabric, of course, but through the patterns, too. Little pictures on a screen (especially a phone-size screen) just aren’t tactile enough. And since I can no longer think “hmm, I’d like to make a dress,” and bring to mind a reasonable list of the dress patterns I have, that means I need to actually sort my physical patterns.

I had started this back in the summer. I got a tall plastic set of drawers for the sewing room, which holds notions in the three top drawers and patterns in the three big bottom drawers. I sorted out the stash of kids’ patterns, too, into a large shoe-box (boot-box, really) and that worked fairly well since when the kids wanted to plan the next project I should make them (eyeroll). But I never made any pretext of sorting the patterns in those three drawers—two held patterns I’d made up, which I generally give a big manilla envelope and, if I’m really organized, print out a photo of the finished project to stick to. This works well because it gives me somewhere to store printed-out patterns, patterns that don’t come with an envelope (like Jalie’s), and holds whatever excess tracings I have, which don’t always fit in the original envelope. But it does take up a lot of space.

So on Saturday, I went through patterns, photographing and adding a whole bunch to my phone app, and beginning the rudiments of sorting. I’m most concerned to sort by type. But I don’t want to lose all my special independent patterns in with the regular ones (currently this is Colette, Sewaholic, and Folkwear. Not sure why I don’t include Jalie in this group…). And then there’s the really old vintage ones (fifties mostly) that I don’t want to get wrecked with too much pawing through. So they need their own place. And I’d really like to keep the jackets and sweaters separate from the other tops. And…

Well, you can see what’s happening. No way are all those categories happening in three drawers (even with dividers), nevermind that the patterns were already overflowing the drawers.

So I co-opted all the shoeboxes I could find, but now I have five shoeboxes kicking around the sewing room floor, which is considerably less than ideal. I can label them, which will help, but they’re still… floating. And in danger of getting stepped on, or buried by fabric.

Which brings me to another issue. The stash is out of control. Or at least, overflowing. I want to sew it down. But the projects in my head keep failing to line up with the fabrics on hand. What is necessary is letting the fabric lead. But how do I pick which fabric? There’s so many luscious and awesome ones to go with. Not to mention all the little bits that I’d like to use up—kids clothes, *something*. I made some of the last remnant of  the Where’s Waldo fabric into another bralette, which was going to be for Tyo but the elastic straps weren’t long enough, so it’s gone to Syo (who’s super happy about it even though I can’t figure out why she would even *want* a bralette), but Tyo still wants one of her own.

And at the crux of it, everything is too messy.

I’m not one of nature’s tidy people. I can generally work just fine surrounded by a complete disaster (and tend to generate such a disaster if one wasn’t present to start with). It’s a constant trial to my husband, whose neat-freak tendencies border on the obsessive. But right now, there isn’t even room to work. Or at least, to work on anything big—hence the bralettes and other mini-projects I’ve been coming out with lately. Add to that the general lack of mental energy to contribute and, well, the situation isn’t quite paralysis, but it’s not far off, either. Can’t clean, too much stuff, it just doesn’t fit in the space. Need to sew it up. Can’t decide what to sew—too much to choose from. Can’t sew anything large—not enough room. Need more room—got to clean up. And round and round I go…

One partial solution would be to buy more organizational stuff—another set of shelves for fabric or drawers for patterns. But with a move on the horizon, I really, really don’t want to add to the furniture in the house, either.

And, just to illustrate the extent of my problem, here’s last week’s thrift store aquisitions (the fabrics and patterns at the local Value Village have recently been reinvigorated after several stagnant months, and I’m relieved to report that the attempt to sell the patterns bagged seems to have lapsed—this last batch were even quite cheap!)

Sweater fabric.

Fabric. I’ve been trying to be good about the thrift store fabrics, only biting when it’s a fabric/colour/quality on “the list”. Both these pieces were. On the left is a very thick sweater-knit with an almost Persian-lamb type texture, in a rich red colour that would be AWESOME… whenever I figure out what kind of a style would work for it.  There’s 2m, so plenty to play with. On the right is a dull purple/grey fleece, also extra-thick. I suspect it will become a housecoat for Syo, although it’s so thick I’m tempted to just get some binding for the edges and call it a blanket.

Patterns

The patterns are rather more whimsical. I couldn’t resist the Kwik Sew men’s dance wear on the left, even though my husband would probably disown me if I actually made him one (I don’t have a plain men’s tee pattern, though, and this one looks fine if you just lengthen it). I also don’t have any little boys to sew suits for, but cmon—a Vogue little boy’s suit, with single and double breasted options? For less than fifty cents—how could I resist?

The 70s tracksuit in the middle falls into that awkward sizing in between Syo and myself. I currently have sweaters, bunnyhugs, and hoodies on the brain, which may explain why I couldn’t just leave it. The late-70s vibe reminds me so much of things I wore as a small child (I was born in 1980, but grew up in hand-me-downs)… which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but, I dunno. I’m feeling nostalgic, I suppose.

Two-toned printing

It’s also uncut and comes in two sizes, each printed in a different colour. Nifty!

Yup, that was whiny. Sorry. Have a great week!

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Some presents for myself…

New Pretties

I know, but if I don’t buy them, who will? (Osiris is not noted for his adherence to any Christmas list but the one inside his own head.)

So I splurged a bit in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Although not enough ahead of time to have anything arrive in time to stuff in my stocking…

Anyway, I am now the proud owner of:

The Colette Sewing Handbook, the Negroni men’s shirt pattern, and the Clover pants.

AND,

Vintage Patterns

McCall 6288, a kimono-sleeve blouse pattern from 1945, and “Progressive Farmer” 2953, a 1950s dress from a mail-order pattern company. Both of these were ordered on a whim from New Vintage Lady‘s etsy shop. Both are a size 12; unfortunately it’s the “old sizing” size 12, which is the one where I’m a 14 or 16. These are made for a 30″ bust. My ribcage (underbust) is 29″. Happy grading fun.

McCall 6288 could be the Colette Sencha’s grandmother. It’s a cute, simple blouse pattern with an optional keyhole cutout and tucks at the waist, buttoning up the back. It’s also designed to be tucked in, which is an iffy look for me. We’ll see how that goes. I have a feeling I’ll be dropping the waist tucks… that also strikes me as an iffy look for me. Nothing like pushing your comfort barrier ;). Sherry of Pattern Scissors Cloth recently posted about finding “your decade” style-wise. And let’s face it, pretty as it is, 50s isn’t mine.

The mail-order pattern is a dress, with a neat front yoke/sleeve thingy going on and a yoke below the waist that creates a nice dropped-waist line. There is a waist-seam, but seeing as I’m going to be grading to make any use out of these, I can try to eliminate it at the same time. Depends on what the darts are doing (and how much I need to reduce them), anyway.

Wasteful? Possibly. Whimsical? Definitely. The only thing I’m in any real danger of making up in the near future is the Clover pants, for which I already have some fabric picked out. There are plans for the Negroni, too, of course, but not until I’ve recovered from the Hubs’ Jacket. Which I finally have the pattern all done. Yup, that’s right, it’s not even cut out. (In my defense, the pattern work—I’m following Sherry’s RTW Tailoring sewalong posts from last spring—is fairly substantial, as was the fitting.). But I think I’ll try to jump on the Clovers first. I was going through my projects the other day and realized the only things I’ve made for myself all fall are knit tops. Quick, satisfying, practical, and useful? Absolutely. But it’s definitely time for something a little more… more. Y’know.

Now, I must hunt down posts about the Clovers for those of us with a more rectangular shape…

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Baby Steps

Vogue 7448

The other day I stole a few minutes to sort through Vogue 7884 and extracted the bodice front, back, and sleeve pieces. This is not as easy at it sounds, as there are separate, and confusing, interfacing and and lining pieces. I had to actually read the writing on each piece!

As is this my first take on a Vogue pattern, I had some thinking to do.

It’s a size 12 pattern, which is pretty much my standard size, aside from that whole waist issue. Which shouldn’t be a problem in a coat, really.

The back length Vogue lists for the size 12 is 16 1/4 inches. My back length is an even 15″, so that’s the first issue. The coat is drafted to have a “slightly raised waist”, which is a look I love, but I still want the waist to be raised on ME. So I figured I would need to take out at least an inch in height. The question was, where? Typically I’ll take height out through the armscye, as I like a high armscye anyway, but I thought losing a whole inch in that region on a coat might be a bit much.

Armscye comparison (back) (remember the white pieces have no seam allowances)

For comparison, I dug out my tweaked Fitted Jacket block, from Built by Wendy: Jackets & Coats, the base pattern for my wonderful run of little jackets last spring: the cowl-shoulder jacket, the cropped jean-jacket, and the springy coat. Interestingly, while there is indeed a full inch difference in the armscye length (height?) on the back piece, there was considerably less difference on the front.

Front comparison

For a compromise, I decided to remove 1.5 cm through the armscye, and 1 cm at the lengthen/shorten bodice here line. We’ll see how that works out. I also did my usual swayback alteration (1 cm above waist, to be matched by 1 cm below when I get to the bottom pieces), and lengthened the sleeves by 2.5 cm. (It’s my blog and I’ll hop randomly between measuring systems if I want to)

Erm, all these alterations were done as part of the tracing process. Hacking and tucking a vintage pattern (even 70s vintage) horrifies me at a visceral level.

There is a substantial bust dart. It terrifies me.

I am torn between trying to muslin the bodice out of some cream sweatshirt knit I have on hand in the hopes that I’ll be able to wear the result as a sweater, or using some of the awful 80s sweatshirt knit from my aunt and turning that into underlining for the final version (should it work.) I like the idea of a semi-tailored jacket topper made out of a stable knit, but I’m a little worried this outerwear pattern will have too much ease built in for that. On the other hand, Tyo and Syo both adore the godawful 80s knit, and far be it from me to deny my children the opportunity to repeat the fashion disasters of my youth.

I’m also torn on what to aim for for the final project. Me being me, I am powerfully drawn to view A, the crazy long length (which the pattern envelope assures me has a finished length of 57″!), although probably beltless as in view E because me and cinching don’t get along so well. Though it might require a back vent, as the skirt doesn’t seem overly full. However, I only have one or two pieces of coating fabric in stash that would be long enough, and neither are particularly wintry—I feel like a shorter length would be appropriate for a spring-weight jacket. Speaking of which, winter has arrived here, although we’re still a bit scant in the snow department. Last weekend temperatures dipped below -20C and the windchill hit -30C, which to me is legitimate winter weather. It’s warmed up a bit since, but my psyche has officially been switched to Winter Mode. Which means my desire to make a light, springy jacket I won’t be able to wear for months is limited right now. And if I’m going to try to outdo my Great Winter Coat of last year (which is great, but not quite as warm as I’d really like) it will require a significant investment of materials and thought that I don’t really have the resources for right now.

It’s enough to make a girl want to just go sew quick projects for her kids.

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[cue Imperial March]

Hubby's Coat

Or other similarly foreboding music.

Last night I started, edging slowly, timidly, towards working on my hubby’s coat. This is the one I’ve been promising him, oh, at least since the spring. And he’s even whined about it, albeit intermittently.

In my defense, given the frustrations of my last project for him (WHICH HE DOESN”T WEAR!!!), I think a bit of heel-dragging on my part is understandable.

So, years and years ago, he bought a “trench coat*” from le chateau, the once-fabulous purveyor of all your goth gear needs.

Goth no longer being cool, apparently, they don’t sell that stuff anymore, but back in the day, man, that was the place to go.

The photo I just took has to be the single most unappealing I could have come up with—let me just say, it looks better on. And it was a staple of his leisure wardrobe for years. Sadly, aside from the stains which could probably be laundered out, at this point the fabric is full of snags, not to mention some melted holes from cigarette ash, and the whole thing is just not quite as smart-looking as it used to be. Which just isn’t acceptable.

Anyway, back in the spring I scored some great black coating at the thrift store, and my hubby pounced. He does this sometimes, gets a fabric stuck in his head. It HAD to be a replica of his coat. Regardless of the fact that this was a thick woolly coating, while the original was made of a thin, drapey suiting.

I wasn’t sure I would have enough (there were only 2m from the thrift-store find) so when Fabricland had a good sale, I picked up two more metres of  black “Kashmir Jacketing” (which, as far as I can tell, has absolutely no cashmere in it, but anyway). I was pretty sure this was the same fabric as the thrift-store find.

Why do I even try to photograph black fabric? Suiting on the left, kashmir jacketing in the middle, "melton" on the right

I was wrong. I think the thrift-store find may actually be melton, the stuff Fabricland sells for $33/m and is unforgivably bad about marking down, at least until after all the good colours are gone.

Concerned that my blacks didn’t match, I went back and found a nice cheap poly twill suiting, similar in weight to the original jacket. Cheering myself, I bought three metres. It would be perfect, a much better match to the original. I proudly showed it to my husband.

He was not amused. His heart was set on melton.

Argh. Anyway, I suspect I can make it work, although it’s possible I’ll end up cutting the facings and maybe side-body pieces out of the other fabric.

M-Sewing/Lekala pattern 6066

So, next requirement was, of course, a pattern. I considered trying to draft one (I’m masochistic that way, or at least like to pretend I am) but some noodling around the interwebs turned up this pattern. Which is actually a Lekala pattern, if you should for some reason want the custom sizing. But the M-Sewing site had multiple sizes for download.

Anyway, although you probably can’t see it due to my crappy photography, this pattern has all the right details, aside from length. I had even printed it out and taped it together months ago, back in July.

Pattern work

Last night, I went and began the rest of the pattern alterations. Sleeve—lengthened. Waist—narrowed. Vent moved from side-back seam to centre back seam. Now all I need to do is lengthen the crap out of the pieces, and I’ll be ready for the muslin.

And then I need to start re-reading Sherry’s RTW Coat Sewalong. Cuz I am not going all-out couture for this thing.

Having looked at the construction of the original, though, I have to say I’m not impressed. “Lightly tailored” does not even begin to describe it. I’ve made dresses with more structure than this thing. Ok, I haven’t, but someone out there has. Light, thin shoulder pads and a bit of interfacing on the front facing and collar. That’s IT.

There is one issue with the original that worries me a tad—the facing tends to roll out. Hubs has expressed a STRONG DESIRE that the new version not do this. I will definitely read over Sherry’s tips on drafting the front facing, but if any of you have any thoughts on what causes this problem I’d love to hear them. (Is it just natural? it kind of “rolls” out where a lapel would, except of course this jacket doesn’t have a rolled lapel. Hmm.)

I’m thinking maybe I should bust out a blazer pattern for myself while I’m at it… it’s not as if I don’t have at least five pieces of fabric that want to become blazers (and at least as many patterns in the running). But we’ll maybe leave that for a future post…

*My husband often has a bit of his own language; I blame it on the ADHD that makes sure he never pays too much attention to anything, least of all words. For years he would de-thaw food for supper. And as far as he’s concerned any long black coat is a trench coat. I have been arguing that this particular garment, completely lacking in the authentic trench-coat details (gun-flap, epaulettes, belt), is more of a frock-coat, but not with any kind of measurable success. He also considers the little coats I made my nieces trench-coats as well.

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So Close I Can Taste It…

Almost done!

The zipper is in. I’ve tried it on. All that remains is trimming and binding the back seam and then hemming. I hate to lose any length in the hemming so I will probably do a bias hem facing.

And there’s just no time…

I don’t think Self-Stitched September is going to happen herabouts, either. Two days in and while I’ve dressed self-stitched, no photos have been taken. It’s hard when my main camera is sans battery charger (and a call to my mother-in-law has determined that the charger is NOT where I thought I left it in her basement… 😦 ), not to mention the complete lack of time.

I am liking the piped waistband...

Fall Sewing I would like to get to:

  • Grecian Sundress pattern/new piece: since this seems to be the winner of the poll, it will be the pattern I put up for my birthday next week. The flutter-sleeved tunic was not far behind, though, so I’ll try and get that one done and up some time this fall.
  • jeans for me: some of the early pairs, not to mention all of my RTW, are getting ratty, and I have some “heavy duty” stretch denim just waiting to be stitched up…
  • frock coat for my husband: based on this pattern, sans pockets and lengthened to knee length. I am pretty excited for this one, and now that the weather has turned, I’m feeling more inclined to actually work on a jacket.
  • sweaters and shrug for me: I’ve been meaning to make another version of my shrug, as I wore the cream one to death over the summer. And I really, really, really  need a new hooded sweatshirt to wear this winter.
  • jeans for my husband. I am totally stoked to try out this semi-vintage men’s jeans pattern ElleC sent me! And I have that denim in stash, too…
And even that modest list seems incredibly ambitious right now, when I haven’t managed much more than a seam a night all week…

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