Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of 2019 thoughts...

I had a few more thoughts I wanted to share before the year closed.  

o  A real time update on fabric purchased for 2019. 
o  An update on the sewing cave redo.
o  My sewing plans for 2020
o  An addendum to my Impeachment post

So let's start with Fabric In/Out Update ~
Once I lost my sewjo, I also lost my desire to buy fabric. Which means that while none went out, none came in either. At least that was a good thing. However, as my sewjo came back and I started creating again, of course, I bought a couple of pieces of fabric.  

9.5 yards to be exact:
 - 3 from StyleMaker Fabrics - the cardigan from this fabric is almost done.
 - 6.5 from Fabric Mart

I cut out four more shirts this month besides the StyleMaker Vest for a total of 19 yards of fabric out. 

Which means my year end totals are:
Yards In:   319.5
Yards Out: 259.25
Difference:  60.25 yds

I'm not thrilled by the amount of yardage in...and I know it's here because I've got piles of fabric everywhere.  One of the reasons I want to rework the sewing cave, to redo the storage and add a little more.

Number of garments made for 2019 are: 
37 me-mades (this includes my granddaughters evening wear) and 3 refashions

Update on Sewing Cave Redo ~
Truth time...I overspent on Christmas. I spoiled my grandchildren rotten and bought everything on their lists so I'm pushing the IKEA trip to the end of January. Right now I'm thinking the redo will occur President's Day weekend. I'm also refining my plan a little. So nothing is happening yet...

Sewing Plans for 2020 ~
I have none as of now. I'm not participating in any of the "challenges" that are currently floating around the internet. My plan is to sew what makes me happy. I don't even have plans for fabric buying/tracking. I'm just going to say I'm trying to avoid purchasing a lot due to the London trip. Also because Imma have to move two bookcases of fabric around in the sewing cave. I think once I start touching it my desire to purchase more is going to decrease markedly.

Addendum to the Impeachment Post ~
I posted about 45's impeachment a couple of posts back and of course there were people who thought differently than I do.  Did I expect that...well yes.  I guess what I didn't expect was my reaction to the threats of people never visiting the blog again or telling me what content I should have on my blog or that I would lose followers if I continued to post my views.

I want you to know if you need to go because one percent of my content is political then I understand why you need to part ways with me. I also need you to know that I'm not containing my thoughts to keep followers. I have no products to sell. I'm just a home sewist who likes to sew who believes I have the right to state my opinion on my blog when I want.

If you're a sewist that needs ONLY sewing content and can't deal with my content anymore, I understand why you need to go but please don't "threaten" me with the leaving.  Most times I didn't know you existed because you haven't made yourself known to me...except to tell me you were leaving.  Also, I wonder why you continue to follow me knowing that I wear my political views on my sleeves. There will be more political posts sprinkled in with the sewing during 2020 since it's an election year here in the US.

The sewists that follow me know that I'm passionate about sewing and the sewing community. I'm NOT a quilter. I'm NOT seeking fame. This unfriend, unfollow, threaten/cancel culture that's taking place now only works if we buy into it. Plus to me it's more important that I take a stand. Be a voice against the forces that are presently at work in America than have a "number" of followers who only view me as entertainment. Or who want to follow if I stay within their vision of who I'm supposed to be.

Finally ~
I will be sewing in 2020. I have some new indie patterns I want to explore. I want to expand my skills. Yes, there are things I could learn to do better. A sewing redo is definitely happening. There are sewing journeys I want to take which will be documented here. I hope you'll share them with me...if not that's okay, too.

Welcome to a New Decade and Happy New Year! 

...as always more later!

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Best of a Decade

It hit me a couple of weeks ago that not only was a new year approaching but also a new decade. I know we as sewists look back at the end of the year to see where we've been and what we've done.  However, in the last 10 years, a lot has changed in my life and in my sewing.

So I decided to pick one best garment of each year for the last decade. It was an interesting journey through my sewing life. I'm thrilled that I documented all of those makes because most of the garments made from the first 5-6 years of this decade have been donated due to my life changing.

It also highlights when my sewing changed, when I started on my shirtmaking journey and how I finally figured out my daily outfit. This post is picture heavy with a lot of links, so grab a cup of whatever you're drinking today and read on...

Present day work outfit - cardigan, shirt & jeans

Let's start at the beginning - 2010. I was working for the private investment firm, my really corporate job, and I dressed for work everyday. There were no casual fridays, just corporate dress. I wore heels, stockings, jewelry (mostly pearls) and as I appeared in my pictures, that's what I looked like at work. 

I used my end of year posts to determine what was my favorite for each year.  I did this because I was closer to those makes in those years. For several of the years I had a tie so both garments are featured. Also for the first five years, it was ALL about the dress! 

Finally, I hope you will take time to read the blog posts associated with the garments. There's a lot of helpful information in those posts and while some of the patterns are now out-of-print, I'm sure they can be found on eBay, etsy or one of the other vintage online pattern sites, if they're not already in your own pattern stash.

I had started knocking off designer and RTW dresses at this point. I was working in an upscale place and most of my female coworkers wore a lot of designer gear. So I sewed designer and RTW knock-offs. My favorite dress for 2010 is The Macy's Dress.

Ponte fabric was a favorite fabric of mine that year and while I could have purchased this dress in Macy's, I loved the challenge of making my own version.

Seriously that year was all about creating my version of Designer Inspired Dresses. I made 27 dresses and I also used quite a few border prints. Border prints have always been in my fabric collection!

Favorite dress for 2011 - The Versace Inspired Dress

This is a grainy picture taken on my old point & shoot

I was on a roll with the Designer Inspired Dresses and made 25 dresses that year from inspiration and new patterns. Both of the dresses that I loved this year were made from my TNT dress pattern. It was the base that I used to take flights of fancy.  So the two dresses are ~

The Chanel Dress

...and the Trendy Lace Dress

When I scrolled my makes for 2013, I was struck by how creative and productive I was during that time. Right out the gate in January, I started sewing bangers! Fantastic and wonderful dresses from all types of fabrics, using TNT and new patterns. So I ended up with a three way tie.  It was also the year that I made my niece's prom dress! Tell me if I'm wrong or if you like one more than the other because I just couldn't decide!

Black Wool Crepe & Pleather Lafayette 148 Knockoff ~

Vogue 1370 Dress ~

Oscar de la Renta Knockoff Lace Dress ~

My choice for 2014 has two of my sewing loves in the dress - linen and piping. It's also a dress made from a current at the time pattern and not my TNT pattern. I didn't know it at the time but it was my last summer of sewing corporate work clothing and I'm thrilled I got to make this dress.

Vogue 8995 ~

I was fired from the corporate job in early February of 2015. I sat home for about four months before I went back to work. Where I took a job that was TOTALLY different from the one I'd worked for the previous 9 years. I also lost 40 lbs from a new medication the Dr. put me on and the stress of being out of work. So new job, new wardrobe conditions, a little smaller body it was a year where I had to redefine my sewing.

Again, I used a new pattern - McCalls 6559. I used this pattern ALOT that year! It was the thrill of being able to wear a maxidress and the freedom to wear any print, pattern or color I wanted.

This was another year of figuring out what I wanted to look like every day. Spring/Summer and Early Fall were easy - more maxidresses. So the pick for 2016 is another maxidress pattern - McCalls 7385.  Interesting thing about this dress is that it's made from Joann's fabric...gift card purchase! LOL!  My non-sewing friends thought it was a great gift...didn't want to disappoint them.

In 2017 I finally started to figure out what I wanted to wear. It was the year I started my shirtmaking journey. I was also using and buying a lot of denim. Buying a lot because I only had a few pieces in the collection due to my corporate lifestyle. I sewed through those pieces really quickly and the freedom I felt drove me to sew more garments in denim.

Simplicity 8303 - the denim trenchcoat was my garment of the year...

...and the runner-up outfit was a Cashmerette Rivermont top.

Shirts were the stars of 2018. I love the process of shirtmaking. I love the creativity and freedom. I'm now using a TNT pattern that's been altered from two out of print patterns - Butterick 5678 and Vogue 7700. 

Also there were Myosotis...lots of Myosotis dresses!

Now we get to the last year of the decade - 2019. My best dresses of 2019 would be the formal ball gowns I made for my granddaughters to wear to my niece's debutante ball. The dresses were made from McCalls 7858 and were a journey of love. The girls loved them and I was thrilled with their reaction.

Conclusion ~
If you made it this far, thank you for taking this walk down memory lane with me! Honestly I can't believe the amount of sewing I've done in the last decade...some years as many as 75 pieces. So much has changed in this decade yet my love of sewing has remained as strong as ever!

My journey now includes so many more Indie Patterns as well as the Big4. I still sew with my TNT patterns because I love to be able to take creative journeys with them. I'm embellishing more.  Adding piping, binding and using a lot of border prints in the garments I make.

I will be 61 this year and honestly I don't know if I will still be blogging by 2030. I'm starting to reach that part of my story where there are more years behind me than there are before me. I don't know what the next decade holds for me but as long as I can sew and share, I will blog.

I am sewing during my Christmas break so I will have new makes to share in 2020. Thank you to all who have followed me all these years, especially thank you to those who left comments on my posts. As I reviewed them for this post, the early 2010s had way more comments by followers. Also, thank you to those who continue to follow me because of the sewing even if you don't like my politics...I'm especially grateful to you.

Finally, if you've been following for awhile and are willing to leave a comment - please leave one letting me know when you starting following me. I appreciate you all so much!  Happy New Year!

...as always more later!


Monday, December 23, 2019

Sienna Maker Jacket/Vest

A Little Backstory First ~
I really liked this jacket pattern when it debuted. I was thrilled to see it in expanded sizes but not so thrilled that the expanded sizes were available in PDF Patterns only. Cause y'all know I just can NOT deal with PDF Patterns. So I pouted and whined about it to a friend. A very kind and generous friend who gifted me the pdf pattern printed from PDF Plotting.  Did I mention she's a very kind and generous friend!

Now, I really don't need the expanded sizing because my measurements fit into a size 20 with a minimal amount of alterations for my hips. But it was really nice to have all the sizes AND the bust dart because I love me some bust darts!

My version...

Inspiration ~
As I stated I really like the jacket, however, when Heather posted a couple of vests made from the pattern, my creative nerve endings stood to attention! 

from Closet Case Patterns IG account

This look is what I need in my life! Seriously this worn over a shirt or a cashmere turtleneck will be perfect this winter! Then I found this Jason Wu dress on Net-A-Porter and knew that I needed to sew this up right away.

Well right away took a minute because at the same time my Sewjo decided that it needed a vacation...so it took some time to get this made and into my closet.

The Pattern and Instructions ~
Y'all I love, love, love the pattern instructions. They are full of helpful information in an easy to read format.  I especially loved the full page of finished garment measurements that give you measurements for everything. This was so helpful when picking which size to trace and cut out.

Using those measurements, I went with size 20 shoulders, size 22 bust/waist and size 24 hips. I chose these sizes because I wanted a loosely fitted vest that would let me put a blouse or a lightweight sweater under it.

...a few fit pictures...
Back view - first fitting

Side view - first fitting
(Yes I look a hot mess sewing. Don't you?!)

What I didn't like - was the collar instructions. They are a little difficult to follow. So I went my own way and that's what's different between my collar and the ones in the inspiration pictures.  See comments below in the construction section and my neglect in continuing to read those wonderful pattern instructions!!!

Also, I know Heather said the Sienna is a chic utility jacket inspired by vintage French workwear. However, I never saw anything utilitarian about this pattern so I kinda went for it to make it more upscale...more like me.

Materials Used ~
I bought a border print denim from Chic Fabrics in late September that I thought would make an amazing vest. After prewashing it, it was really stretchy with all of the finishing removed...like 10-12% spandex added. Not what I wanted for this vest.  So I had to ponder where to go next.

I found a black & white reversible rayon/poly print amongst the fabric piles and I went with that.  Why?  Because the finished vest I saw in my head was black & white with my favorite white shirt underneath it.

Other supplies ~
1.5" D-rings from Pacific Trimmings
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
6 yards black piping from Daytona Trimmings

Construction ~
First can I say MARK EVERYTHING! I'm guilty of not marking notches or sometimes eyeballing pocket placement.  This pattern has so much going on that I marked everything. Seriously!

I followed the instructions for applying the pockets and making the slit that the belt goes through. Honestly I wasn't worried at all about cutting a hole in my vest front. I knew it was going to work. That there wouldn't be a problem because everything is properly marked and the instructions are excellent for how to make it work.

Now I will be honest that I did go my own way a few times:
1. When I sewed up the back seam. I read the instructions and ignored them and went with what I knew would work for me.  Which was sewing the seam, topstitching the seam on either side and then adding the bar tack.

2. I ignored the collar instructions totally.  Partly because I'd read some reviews that were critical of the application and when I read them I thought they were making the process unnecessarily difficult. So I used my own method that I've used for years.

3. Which resulted in me making the collar TOTALLY wrong!  I skipped/ignored that part of the instructions and inserted the collar like I normally do. By doing that, I missed a couple of vital pieces of information. I ended up having to rip out what I'd done and remaking the collar as well as reinserting it. Going my own way also ended up with my lapels not meeting correctly. It's not great but I'm going to wear it anyway because of all of the work I put into making this. 

Junky sewing room background

4. I omitted the inside pocket. I think this is wonderful for the jacket but it just seemed too much for a vest. I have 2 huge pockets on the front besides the breast pocket so just didn't see a need for it.

A couple of additions ~
o  My shoulder seams were a little stretchy because my fabric is spongy. So I added some seam tape in the seams to get them stability.

o  I added bias binding to the facing edge to finish it. 

o  I'm beginning to believe that piping is my fall back. I piped the collar, the lapels & vest front, the armholes and the belt. Although it really did give definition to the very busy print I used.

o  Rayon hem tape was added to the vest hemline and I hand stitched it down instead of machine stitching the hem.

Some photos of the finished vest ~

Conclusions ~
This turned out to be a very involved sew. Some because I made some errors and some because I added techniques that lengthened the sewing time. I like the uniqueness of this design. It's what drew me to the pattern. And I like my finished piece. While it has it's imperfections, it still works for me. Since I aim for doing the best I can and not being perfect, I'm good with this. 

One more thing, since I omitted the sleeves, I have no comment on the sleeve/underarm conversation. However, the underarm is quite high on this to me. Again since I chose to make the vest it doesn't affect it's wear.

Finally, I don't think I will be making this again. It's too distinctive. Also it just didn't talk to me when I was sewing it. Usually a pattern has a full on discussion with me during pattern alterations and construction...pointing out fabrics in the collection that it will work with along with trim variations. None of that happened this time. So it's a one and done for now.

I have a pile of shirting fabrics sitting on the cutting table waiting to be cut out. I also have a few cardigan ideas floating around in my head I want to explore. So I will be working on one or two of those during my Holiday Break since I'm off after today and go back to work on Monday, January 6th 2020. 

...as always more later!

Friday, December 20, 2019

In News of the Day...

45 becomes only the third President to be impeached.

I know the other side is saying this is a partisan witch-hunt but ask yourself this question. Would the last man who held this office have been allowed to do what this President has done? Was Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon given a pass? Was the impeachment process and Constitution questioned during their preceedings?  If not, why aren't we holding ALL men to the same standards?

Honestly this day makes me unhappy.  That we've gotten to this point. That a total disregard for what our government stands for and a lack of understanding what the Constitution states, means we're here with players who care more about power than what's right for the citizens of the United States. I'm weary that wrong has become right and everything has been turned upside down.  Sins and misdeeds are overlooked for partisanship.  

Standards of excellence have been thrown out the window as we descend to the basest levels of humanity.  Empathy, what's that? Consideration, don't need it. Respect - yeah only if you respect me...and let's not talk about the unspoken loyalty oaths. You're only good if you're loyal to me and my vision of America.

But more than that, this shit ain't about gun control, or abortion rights, or Supreme Court Justices...these misdeeds assail the bedrock of what our country was founded on. There should be no sides on this...

I saw this on IG the other day and it totally encapsulates how I feel now...

We as Americans can do better...we NEED to do better...this man should NOT be re-elected President since he has no regard for the laws of the land.

I will leave the comments section open but know that my blog, my rules. If comments are incendiary, disrespectful or threatening they will be removed. If it becomes too much I will SHUT them down. I don't mind conversation but we will respect each other's opinions...HERE!

...as always more later!  

Friday, December 13, 2019

My Sewing Misses & Reflections for 2019

I have two misses for 2019 and they were both vests.  Which is interesting because I want to add more vests to my wardrobe.

The first one is McCalls 7912 - it was the Sew Your View pattern for March.

As usual I was doing too much and added some pleather to the vest but that's not what made me not wear it.  It was those flange, off the shoulder armholes.  Now I know I can go in and fix that. It's the only reason why this hasn't hit the donation pile.  Also WHAT was I thinking pairing it with that shirt?  Can we say tooooooo much! In my head it's a miss...

The second one was Simplicity 8265.  I saw this on another sewist and convinced myself it would work for me too.  Ummmmmmm nah no bueno.

I knew it when I finished and tried it on. I even blogged it as a failure.

Both of these patterns have something in common ~ they are new projects.  ALL of my successes are from TNT patterns...well except the girls' dresses and how much fit do you really have to do on little girl patterns?

Reflections ~
There were 39 garments created this year.  So I didn't sew as much this year as I have in past years. At the beginning of the year I was crocheting blankets for the grandkids. Then I lost my Sewjo in October and it's just starting to rear it's head again. 

I've been sewing purposefully for the last four years so I'm not surprised that the need to sew is dissipating. It's just that my sewjo has been my constant companion for so long that I was a little berefit when it left for so long.

I also realized a few things this year: 
1. I don't sew simple anymore.  
2. Everything is embellished or I've used a technique that while it enhances my garment isn't commonly used these days. My sewing age is showing! LOL!  
3. Slow slowing has entered my sewing venacular with a vengence. 
4. I've used ALOT of border prints this year.
5. I bought yards and yards of fabric - 316 yards of it.
6. 243.5 yards went out of the collection through garments made and fabric given away.
7. There were 72 yards of fabric added to the sewing cave and I can see every yard of it!

Goals for 2020 ~
Besides the sewing room redo, I have no path forward. Imma try to go with the flow and sew what I feel like. I also want to limit how much more fabric is added to the collection. While I sewed several pieces from deep stash fabric, I need to use more of it. I'm hoping the sewing cave redo will give me more storage space for the fabric that's presently in the room.

Also since I'm planning on going to London & Paris in the spring, I really don't want to add huge quantities of fabric to the collection. I want to spend my fabric dollars there.

Oh two other things ~ I am making a special occasion dress for a friend who's getting married Fall 2020 that I'm really excited about. And I'd like to sew more for the granddaughters especially since they really enjoyed the experience.

That's my round-up for 2019.  BTW, these are my Top 9 posts from Instagram, so I guess everyone agrees with most of my 2019 Best Top 5 too!

It's been interesting to look at what I've done and think on where I'm going.

...as always more later!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

My Sewing Top 5 Hits for 2019

Gillian and The Sewcialists are hosting the 2019 Top Sewing Hits, Misses and Reflections this year.

I thought I would participate again since this is a good way to review my sewing for the year. I definitely started off strong and made quite a few garments.

Here are my favorite Top 5 Garments ~

1. The Deer & Doe Myosotis Evening Dress
This dress was part of the garments I made when my family attended my niece's Debutante Ball. If you followed along at the time, you know this dress came about because I didn't have enough fabric for what I wanted to make. It's a deep stash make that I'm really proud I was able to pull off.

2. McCalls 7858 - Aleena & Samantha's Dresses for the Ball
Making my granddaughter's dresses in their favorite colors for the ball, was a thrill and an honor. I'm glad that I've gained their confidence at such a young age so I will be allowed to make their special occasion dresses going forward. I documented the entire process on Instagram and in the respective blog posts.

3. Hydrangea Panel Print Shirt
I didn't think I would love shirtmaking as much as I do. The things I love about it are the complexity of sewing a shirt, the diversity of fabric choices and the ability to embellish as I please.  This shirt is made from a quilting fabric panel I purchased from an Amish fabric shop, Zooks, in Lancaster PA. It's the cumulation of all the skills I've learned from sewing shirts in the last 2.5 years.

4. Marrimekko Vogue 9371
This was my second version of this dress. I made a couple of alterations to the pattern to make it exactly what I wanted.  However, the stand out points to me are the fact that it's made from a sheet that I've had on the fabric shelves for over a decade. It's also a compliment getting dress and I love the swishiness of all that fabric at the hemline. 

5. Lemon Myosotis Dress
I'd been wanting a garment made from this fabric so when I was finally able to get my hands on some, it seemed only fitting that it should become my favorite summer maxi. Yes, I hacked the mess out of the Myosotis this summer and in the process ended up with some of the most wearable maxis I've ever made.

...and an Honorable Mention!

The Madison Cardigan by Style Sew Me
One of the things I've been able to explore now that I'm no longer in Corporate America is a little drama.  To me this cardigan with the pleather binding brought the drama. I'd like to add another one to my wardrobe in the spring in a lightweight sweater knit to throw on over my jeans and a top.

Even though I had a slow start at the beginning of the year (all those crocheted blankets) the spring, summer and early fall brought some wonderful garments to my wardrobe. Garments that bought much joy to create and wear.  Next up will be the "Misses of 2019!"

...as always more later!


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