Saturday, May 17, 2014

Third MMM14 roundup

Next up in this month's reevaluation of some of the clothes I've made:

The tank top is Simplicity 5970. And really, it couldn't be any simpler. I've made several versions, but this houndstooth is my favorite.

This skirt and top, Vogue 1247, were really fun to make. The seams of the top are unusual, and the pockets of the skirt are constructed in a way I hadn't come across before. These pieces don't see much wear, as the top is very loose fitting and the skirt is very short, but I'll keep them just because I like them.

Cotton sweater from a free Ravelry pattern called Sea of Jeans. It's hard to see the detail in this dark photo, but it has some nice texture and cables. A keeper.

The blouse is from a 2006 Burda magazine pattern, and the skirt is refashioned. This blouse, with all its gathering, ruching, and ties, looks a lot better on the hanger than it does on me. Yeah, that's not generally what I aim for.

Butterick 4978. I'm pleased with how this dress came out in general, but whenever I put it on it just doesn't feel right. Too frou-frou and floaty for me, I think. Can't get rid of it just yet, though, as I'm still attached to the idea of it.

The sleeveless scarf blouse from the Japanese pattern book Shape Shape. No problem with this one; in fact, I love it. Maybe it's time to make a couple more versions in fabrics that I have only a small amount of.

A garden note:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Second MMM14 roundup

Here's a little summary of this last week's Me-Made-May 14.

Debbie Bliss's Lara cardigan, in her alpaca silk yarn. I wore this fairly often during our three years in the Midwest, usually pinning it closed with a brooch that I have lost track of. I pulled it out of the sweater drawer on this chilly damp Sunday morning and found that it is still cozy and warm.

This is the tunic top from Vogue 8914. I used a bit of a multicolored silk/wool panel fabric that I had in the stash. This make has always seemed a little off to me, but it got a surprising number of favorable comments on the MMM Flickr page. The fabric feels good against my skin, so as my son says, That would be a good thing to wear around the house, mom.

This skirt is a favorite, from an old Burda magazine pattern. Blogged here.

Doesn't look too bad in this photo, but this top (Vogue 7717) is never going to work for me. The fabric is so lightweight that it catches and rides up on whatever I am wearing underneath. That's okay, I can tell that the pattern is good for other fabrics. The pants (Vogue 2064) in ponte knit are pretty much like yoga pants—again, good for around the house.

This Friday's theme was the color blue. So this was kind of a throw-away day for me.

Still having fun with this project, but getting decent photos every day is tough. 

Nature note:
This is prime time for birds migrating through and showing up for the season in the northeastern United States. Though I don't know much about birding, I have been out and about with my binoculars, and aside from the usual suspects (including the beautiful rose-breasted grosbeaks), I was lucky enough to see a northern goshawk yesterday, doing an elaborate courtship display, shrieking and diving and all, high in the air above the woods next to our house.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Liebster and a little roundup

Back from Japan, and we had such a good time.

While we were gone, Nancy D, of Sewing in Surf City, very kindly nominated me for a Liebster award.

Thank you, Nancy! I grew up outside of Salinas, California, not too far from Nancys town of Santa Cruz, which my friends and I sometimes used to visit for a fun countercultural experience back in the day.

Nancy set a few questions for her nominees:

Do you have a current challenge you are hoping to master to improve your sewing?

Fitting. The method I use now, if it can be called that, is to make a muslin and then haphazardly tweak here and there, without really knowing what Im doing, until the fit seems acceptable. I know there are systematic and effective ways of accomplishing good fit, but I have not yet managed to tap into any of these. My library includes Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty and Pottberg, Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman, and other fitting books, and I have considered getting Kenneth Kings DVD set on fitting. But somehow I get lost amidst what seems like a lot of confusing or even contradictory information. What I think I need to do is choose a class or book and commit to working through it. Id love to hear what has worked for other people.

What is your motivation for sewing?

I love the doing part of sewing. Sometimes I get hung up in the planning stage (overthinking my pattern and fabric choices) and sometimes I dont quite reach the wearing stage (many of the garments Ive made hang in the closet—Im happy to see them there but I dont pull them out and put them on). But I always enjoy the craft of sewing itself: handling the fabric, cutting, stitching, pressing, handsewing . . .

What do you like to sew best?

Mostly tops, skirts, and dresses. I enjoy making patterns that include a little something different—maybe an unusual shape or construction technique.

Do you have a favorite pattern company?

I have had some good successes with patterns from Burda magazine. Vogue patterns work well for me, too, provided I take their large amount of ease into account. I especially like some of Vogues designer patterns for their interesting and unusual construction and techniques (Ralph Rucci!). I've made a couple of patterns from the Japanese pattern book Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa, and I look forward to trying more.

Do you have a favorite sewing trick that you think everyone should know?

Well, this is more of a general approach than a trick, and I suspect that everyone else already knows this, but it took me a while to discover. I used to think that getting better at sewing would mean I'd sew more quickly and with less effort, but its just the opposite. For example, hemming is usually a multi-step process now: put in two rows of machine basting, fold and press along those rows of basting, baste a third time to hold in place, topstitch or hem by hand, remove all basting. It takes longer than what I used to do—press folds in, stitch—but the result is so much better.

Me-Made-May 2014 is on! I only have two days worth on the Flickr page (my pledge was to wear something Ive made five days a week, and we just started on Thursday), but Im still going to do a mini roundup and evaluation.

Top, Vogue 8535: More wearable than I thought. I just finally posted a pattern review of this.

Dress, Burda special issue from 2000: The fit is not bad, but the length is off. I could shorten it, but there are five topstitched overlapped vents around the bottom hem and it would be a lot of work, for a dress that I probably still wouldnt wear much. (The theme this day was cocktail hour.)