Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stashbusting: the olive crinkle top

Oops, the camera caught me cheating . . .

. . . trying to arrange the folds of the front pleat to hang just so, and maybe if I hold very, very still, I'll be able to get at least one photo in which this doesn't look like a maternity top.

Oh, okay, maybe not.

This is view B of Vogue 1412, a loose-fitting pullover top with some nice details.

It's all right, really, as this was one of my stashbusting exercises. I take a pattern that I think is unlikely to work well for me (no fault with the pattern usually, just not a good match for my body), and I use a fabric that I would like to see disappear from my stash. The pressure is off, and I most often learn something.

What I see here is that I could use a different fabric (I've been disenchanted with crinkle rayon since the first time I used it but already had this in my stash)—something more drapey, with some slip, that won't get hung up on whatever I'm wearing on the bottom. And, crucially, I could remove all that pleat business in the front and just make a center front seam below the buttoned section.

The back has some nice gathers where it meets the collar band.

Another thing I learned was how to insert a little placket in the sleeve opening. But if you look closely at the first photo of this post you will see that I somehow got it backwards; the cuff should wrap the other way, but I couldn't make it happen because of how I put the placket in. That's okay: I get the idea and will get it right next time.

A couple of ideas on things to watch:

Seeing the movie Boyhood recently (which I liked a lot, by the way) reminded me of a very different but also longitudinally filmed series of documentary pieces that my husband and I watched obsessively some years ago. It made us laugh, it made us tear up, it made us squirm, and I still think about it surprisingly often. If you have not seen the Seven Up series, which follows the lives of a set of British children of various backgrounds over the years, do yourself a favor and take a look.

Also British and also really interesting: Whoa, have you seen Black Mirror? It’s like a Twilight Zone about where technology might take us, with a new story and different characters every episode. We’re watching it on Netflix. It is superbly done and absolutely addictive. But it’s dark, and when I say dark, I mean it. The first episode in particular could be difficult to stomach: I will just say that it goes where TV in the U.S. would never dare to go.

And an update on my mother-in-law’s cave house, for anyone who saw that note in my last post:

Danielle has had exactly one potential buyer show up to take a look at her home. And that was . . . Kat Von D. Not to namedrop, but I couldn’t resist telling about it. Apparently the tattooist liked it a lot, but she is looking at a number of properties in southern Spain, so we’ll see. We think it would be kind of hilarious if she buys it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wiping away the cobwebs

. . . from the blog, that is. I'm still here, still sewing, and still aspiring to be a participating member of the wonderful online sewing community. I see that I took a long break from October to January last year as well, which makes me wonder a bit. Seasonal inertia?

Anyway, we had some snow yesterday.

(A potting table and a barbecue grill lurk somewhere deep beneath those humps.)

It looks impressive, but the truth is that the very cold temperatures made the snow so dry and light that it was not a disruptive storm here in seacoast New Hampshire. No trees or branches down, minimal power outages—just find a place to put all that snow and you're back in business.

So, in late fall I made a blouse and skirt that I am happy with.

The blouse is my second version of Vogue 8535, which has unusually shaped pieces that are quite gratifying to put together. Look at the line drawings, not the odd renderings on the front of the pattern package, to get the idea. Those curved seams along the bottom of the sleeves are even more extreme than in the line drawings, though, and had to be trimmed back.

My first version of this blouse is unblogged, but I did post a pattern review, and this photo featured in Me Made May last year.

The new version is in a scrumptiously soft black wool-and-Tencel blend from B&J Fabrics. The black doesn't show the details well in my photos, but I think this blouse is a good use of the fabric and will go with, um, pretty much everything I have that can be worn with a blouse.

The skirt is (another) Vogue 1247, but with something like 10 inches added to the length(!). As detailed in this post, I had to make a few changes to the skirt after I thought it was done, because of the thick, stretchy fabric I used, but eventually I got what I wanted.

Oh, I have been away too long! I can't wait to take a look at what all my many favorite bloggers have been doing . . .

A couple of notes today:

Internet: Check out This blog is a real treat for anyone who loves New York City half as much as I do.

Some family real estate for sale: My remarkable mother-in-law (or belle-mère, as she prefers, for obvious reasons), Danielle, wants to move on from her cave home in an isolated but beautiful part of Spain. A reporter from the International New York Times (formerly the International Herald Tribune) contacted her, wanting to do a feature on her home. She never asked how they found out about her, because that's just how she is. I wish they had included more photos of her really very beautiful and unusual home, but here's the piece.