Knitting Again

I’ve picked up my knitting needles again after a long break. The last thing I knitted was a pair of socks. I got a Craftsy class (of course) called Knit Original Cuff Down Socks. I kept mine very simple, just a basic knitting around, nothing fancy. I got a self-striping yarn which kept it from being boring. The yarn is bamboo and wool so it’s a luxury on my feet. I finished these aloooong time ago (last year sometime) but haven’t blogged them and honestly, haven’t worn them. Not because they don’t fit or I don’t like them, but because I don’t want to put stinky sweaty feet into something I spent so much time and effort on! I know…. I’m working on getting over it…,. 🙂

My First Socks

My First Socks

The next project I’m going to see if I can finish in time to wear this fall. Considering I knit at a snails pace, maybe I should have set my sights on next fall…

This is a simple lace-y scarf pattern that was a free download from Interweave (sorry, not sure where that link is). I’m using a very special yarn for this one. During a business trip to Dallas, there was a yarn shop within walking distance of my hotel. I ate cheap, saved up per-diem money and bought a gorgeous, hand painted, deep purple wool skein. Since this was more of a memento than a true project, I just bought one skein. The pattern calls for 1.5 – 2 skeins, but it’s also expecting a smaller yarn size. I’m hoping that with the larger yarn and slightly larger needles, this scarf will still turn out a respectable size.

Whatever size it is, I will love it, mostly because it’s super comfy and a beautiful purple 🙂

Purple Scarf

Purple Scarf

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Self-Drafted Pencil Skirt

One type of skirt that I didn’t often wear was a pencil skirt. It’s not because I didn’t like them; I love the look of them. But mass-produced pencil skirts that fit me through the hips require a smaller waist than I have. The only skirts I’ve had that even sort of had this shape were stretch fabrics of some kind.

But now I have no limitations on the pencil skirt! This is a self-drafted pattern and I love how it looks!

Completed pencil skirt

Completed pencil skirt

I did have to fiddle with the fit a little bit because I didn’t draft enough ease into it. I ended up having to let out both side seams, but take in a little bit at the center back for shaping. In the end it works, but it still tight enough that getting in and out of the car is a trick in lady-like maneuvering 🙂

The back has an invisible zipper in the center back seam and a button closure on the waistband. I’m proud of myself for learning how to do the overlapping waistband and a button and buttonhole, but I didn’t do the best quality work on it (hence: no close up pictures…). There’s also a walking vent on the back seam, which I learned to do from this tutorial on A Fashionable Stitch.

Back of skirt

Back of skirt

Next skirt in my head to draft and make: a denim skirt with piping and pockets.

Dramatic Butterfly Sling Purse

Before I got pregnant last year (or maybe even longer, eek!), I promised a friend of mine that I’d made her a bag. She wanted black and red alligator (faux) skin for the outside and leopard print for the inside. This isn’t something I’d pick to make for myself, but that’s why it’s fun to sew for other people, sometimes. This purse was a bit challenging, but I think it turned out fantastic.

Butterfly Sling Purse - Black and Red Drama

Butterfly Sling Purse – Black and Red Drama

I love this pattern and am going to definitely (eventually) make one for myself. The design is clever and at the same time, not over done. It was pretty straight forward to sew. The pattern comes from Emmaline Bags as a part of Sew Sweetness’ Bag of the Month that just wrapped up (and is now available on her site, here). I showed my friend a couple of patterns from that and she chose the Butterfly Sling Purse. I thought the directions were great, easy to understand without being overdone. I love the result and hope my friend does too! Making one for myself is now on my list 🙂

One thing I learned during this process is that none of the stores around me sell turn locks or metal sliders anymore. 😦 I guess my purse hardware will have to come from online now. I try to support local stores, especially smaller specialty shops, but I guess this is one chase where online is the only real option. Anybody have favorite places to buy?

 

 

Me Made May Week 4: Summing it all up

Well, I did it! My first Me Made May! I hit my main goal and came close to my bonus goal. I do admit that I fudged on when my week started and ended. In the end, I wore four different me-made pieces approximately a week apart. Good enough for me! 🙂

Week 1: Batik Maxi Skirt
Week 2: Shirt Fail
Week 3: Funky Skirt
Week 4: Yellow and Black Skirt (no pics since I already blogged this one)

For my bonus goal for carrying accessories, I used the ring sling I made and I carried the purse I made, once I went back to work. So, I had a couple accessories for the month, but not as many as I’d hoped.

Because I was starting back to work after maternity leave, I figured my sewing time would be cut down too far to make much new. I thought I’d have to wear one of the two things I’d already made more than once. But no, I surprised myself and made three new items (and my husband is awesome and lets me disappear into the sewing room… ). One of the three things I made probably won’t get worn again, sadly, but I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience and move right along!

I’m so glad that I decided to go for this and that I completed my challenge. Most of all though, I’m glad I decided on a reasonable (for me) goal. Now I’m even more motivated to get sewing on a wardrobe. By next year, maybe I’ll be ready to sew with the big girls! 🙂

Me Made May Week 3 – Funky Skirt

Me Made May Week 3 - Gored Skirt Feature

A while back Hot Patterns and Fabric.com were giving a way a free skirt pattern. It’s a funky gored skirt with 8 ruffled panels. I got some cheap knit to make it out of, cut out 2/3 of the pieces, realized that I hadn’t bought enough fabric, so promptly let it languish in the UFO pile.  I finally bought the rest of the fabric I needed, let it sit for a while longer, just for good measure (yes, Sheldon, that’s sarcasm) and this last weekend finally got around to sewing it up.

It was a fairly quick sew once I got going on it. I still have troubles trying to stretch knit pieces to fit as they roll terribly and I get cranky about it. I think the next few projects will be in woven fabric just to help me to not rip any hair out. Any tips on keeping the rolling under control would be appreciated. Am I just doing something wrong?

This skirt isn’t my usual style, but it’s sometimes fun to have something a little different when you need to get out of a “business casual” rut, amiright?

 

Me Made May Week 3 - Gored Skirt

Me Made May Week 3 – Gored Skirt

Me Made Week 2 – Shirt: 1, Me: 0

This post is a little late, as this was actually done and worn (for a short while) last week. I made a mistake with this shirt, which was: I thought I knew what I was doing. I’d seen tutorials around for “quick and easy” kimono sleeve shirts. Don’t believe the hype! Or at least, have better sewing skills than I do going in. Overall, I don’t like this shirt at all. The only piece that came out like I thought it would was the band. Nothing else seemed to work or look like I thought it would.

Enough of the dwelling, here’s the pics. I think this one’s going immediately into the refashion pile for when I’ve maybe lost some weight and I can do something else with it.

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt - Front

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt – Front

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt - Back

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt – Back

Me Made May Week 1

Here’s my first outfit for the Me Made May challenge. I made this maxi skirt on Saturday from some cotton batik that was in my stash. Since I didn’t really have a pattern for it, I just made a guess at what I thought it would be, basted that together and then pinned the sides till I liked it better. I need to go back and add slits as it’s just a bit too small for a good sized step.

Other than the step size issue, I’m absolutely in love with it! This is my first maxi length skirt that I’ve ever worn and I’m a convert. 🙂 There will definitely be more in my future.

I also made the wrap, but that was so long ago I can’t even remember when. It was some where post college and before meeting my husband. That’s a window of 5-8 years. It’s a well worn piece, even though I had no idea what I was doing and the finishing on it isn’t very good. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a double needle to do the edges so there’s some not pretty top stitching (on knit!). Anyway, I still love it and wear it pretty often.

MeMadeMay-Week1-Maxi Skirt and Wrap

MeMadeMay-Week1-Maxi Skirt and Wrap

Baby Wearing in DIY Ring Sling

DIY Ring Sling Baby Wearing

A friend of mine asked a group of us if we wanted to get together and make ring slings. Of course, I said yes! I love sewing and I’ve been wanting to try baby wearing to see if it helps on the fussy/no napping days. We weren’t able to coordinate a time to get together; instead she sent me a link to the tutorial she uses, here. She had the rings already and I bought one from her.

I’m still getting used to it, and Baby isn’t sure how she likes it either. I’m still practicing with it and I like it a lot so far. Once Baby can hold her head up better, I think she’ll like it a little more, too. In this picture, she’s actually screaming her head off. 🙂

DIY Ring Sling Baby Wearing

DIY Ring Sling Baby Wearing

 

Becuase Baby Girl had gotten her shots on Friday, she was extra fussy. My mom’s birthday was Saturday and we were going out to eat as a family. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to try to get this sling finished and use it to keep baby content at a restaurant and hopefully keep the loud baby from annoying others. Since DH had class in the morning and I had errands to run when he got back, I ended up with about 3 hrs to sew this. Fortunately, it only ended up taking me about 2 to 2.5 hrs. For me, that’s a quick sew! Here’s a couple things I did that I thought worked well that were specifically said to do in the tutorial.

Because the fabric was two different widths, I laid them down folds lined up, wider fabric on the bottom. Then, because I was in a hurry and preciseness was what suffered, I simply lined my 6.5″ wide quilting ruler on the smaller fabric’s edge and cut along it.

Cutting fabric for Ring Sling

Cutting fabric for Ring Sling

Next time saver was to pin the right sides together as I was cutting. Before I scooted the fabric down to cut the next section, I lifted the top layer out of the way and pinned the two right sides together, leaving the bottom layer out. When I was all done cutting and I’d squared up the two ends, I simply shook out the fabric, holding the right sides together and pinned the other side. Quick and easy.

Pinning right sides of fabric together while cutting

Pinning right sides of fabric together while cutting

I also finished the ends differently than the tutorial says. This wasn’t any easier or quicker, I just think it gave it a better finish. After turning the whole thing inside out, I did a quick iron on the seams and then top stitched around the entire piece (not just three sides like the tutorial says). That gave it a really sharp, clean edge on all sides. Then, instead of folding down the raw edge 1/2″, I simply folded the 5″ down and pressed, then continued with the instructions, lining up the finished edge with the pressed line. That was probably as clear as mud, so let me know if you have any questions.

My friend recommended that I make it only 28″ wide instead of the tutorial’s 33″ instructions. I’m glad I did (well, as close to 28″ as possible with my quick cut method) as I can barely move all the fabric through the ring as it is. That might be something to keep in mind if you’re making one yourself.

Yellow And Black Easter Skirt

I’m adding a new life first to my list of new things this year, albeit a much smaller one than others of this year. This Easter was the first time I sewed something intentionally as an Easter outfit. My mom sewed one or two for me in my life, but this was my first Easter sewing. I highly enjoyed it! Baby Girl is wearing a RTW outfit that I had to buy as soon as I saw it. Mom and Baby coordinating outfits was too cute to pass up for her first Easter. 🙂

Mom and Baby Easter Dresses

Mom and Baby Easter Dresses

Skirt Details

I made this skirt from Craftsy’s class Design and Sew an A-line skirt. This was my first pattern drafting adventure, as well, so there were several firsts here. To get the fit right, I had to do a couple muslins (post-baby belly makes for some challenges), but it was worth it! The outer fabric is a linen fabric and it’s fully lined on the inside. The closure is a side invisible zipper. Since this was my first invisible zipper in a fully lined garment, I also referenced the Craftsy class Mastering the Zipper.

Easter Skirt Back

Easter Skirt Back

Inside Zip

Inside Zip

Open Zipper

Open Zipper

Invvvisible Zipper Closed

Invvvisible Zipper Closed

 

January Lucky Stars block finished

January Block - Abstract Orbit

January Block – Alternative Orbit

I have finally completed the January block for the Lucky Stars BOM. In January I knew I wouldn’t have time to sew the block, so I decided to use Photoshop and color it in, just for fun. I posted all the ones I did here. From those, I made the Alternative Orbit block. My favorite was Illusion but I forgot to write down fabric requirements, etc, before I went to the store, so I just got the colors for the only one I could remember. I’m glad I did, because I love this one! I’ve got a layout in mind for all the blocks that I think will set off the abstractness of the blocks nicely. (Assuming I ever make it that far, which is a pretty big assumption…)

This went together fairly easily except the final center seam. You can kind of see in the picture where it’s a bit weird. I don’t think I’m going to redo this as of now. It’s a pretty tiny issue and I think it will disappear in a full quilt with quilting on top of it. If it still bothers me when the other blocks are done, maybe I’ll fix it then.

Now, on to February! Dare I hope I acutally catch up?!

Don’t Call Me Betsy - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club