Sewing amid chaos

Things have been quiet around the blog because life is happening in a big way.

First, this occurred..

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Then I moved here…

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The move was immediately followed by a brief hospital stay for my fiance. (Luckily, he’s fine now.)

Then, my soon-to-be sister-in-law broke her ankle. I stayed with her for a few days post-surgery.

Now, that everyone is on the mend, I am trying to plan our wedding. It is not going well…

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If eloping wouldn’t cause massive family drama, I would do it in a heart-beat.

In the midst of all of this, I am supposed to be writing my dissertation. Ummm… yeah

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Sewing and knitting  are the only activities keeping me sort-of sane.

Right before I moved, I finished my first vintage pattern!

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I went with view 3 and omitted the pocket.

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The pattern was straight-forward and I loved the little check boxes on the direction sheets. Although the pattern claimed to be a teaching pattern, it assumes the sewer has some basic garment construction skills. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who’s never sewn before.

I used a cotton poplin I purchased recently on sale at Joann’s. I like the crispness of the cotton and the summery pattern, but I wish I had tried to match up the diamonds at the zipper. If I make it again, I’ll attempt back pattern matching and I’ll probably lower the neck by a few inches. It’s a little bit too high to be really comfortable. I also took in the side seams by an inch or so and raised the bust darts (I usually have to make this alteration). Maybe a size smaller would have been a better place to start?

I’ve worn it a few times, but it’s getting too cold in DC for such a summery top. It was in the 50s today! Gah! How is this Florida girl going to survive?!

While my fiance was in the recouping in the hospital, I knit a sweater. I’ll post photos later when it’s light out. I’m not thrilled with the result, but it’ll work. Obviously, I’m going to need it and many more. I need to get the knitting needles clicking!

My current sewing project is on hold while I wait for the knit interfacing I ordered to arrive. I’m working on my first fall wardrobe item, a knit sweater:

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It’s another Big 4 pattern that I picked up for a $1 at Joann’s. I’m working on view E. My version will not have contrast trim or pockets. I want something simple and need some more cardigans for fall weather. Seasonal sewing… a new concept for me!

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The ‘existential crisis tunic’

Wait… where did May go?!

I started off this month in San Francisco at a conference. I wore me-made on the plane home and did a solid job of wearing me-made items twice a week (I didn’t do a good job of taking photos). I even managed to make four new garments this month: gingham bow blouse, a yoga-style maxi skirt (unblogged), a red sleeveless knit top (unblogged), and the existential crisis tunic (below). I also finished knitting a scarf for my boyfriend

Scarf for my guy

Scarf for my guy (Man Scarf on Ravelry)

and made three little crochet baskets.

crochet basket (Pattern on Raverly)

crochet basket (Pattern on Raverly)

I haven’t blogged much because I have been prepping for my qualifying exams (the super terrifying mutli-day test I have to survive before I can start on my dissertation). By the time I finish studying each day, I need a crafty break, but I have no desire to read or write. As a result, I’ve been ignoring the blog a bit this month. My test is the last week in June and I can’t wait for life to get back to normal. My brain is starting to hurt…

Sewing, knitting, and crocheting have provided me with a respite from all the studying. My latest sewing project was made from this fabric:

wild tribal challis from JoAnn's

wild tribal challis from JoAnn’s

Nope, there is nothing wrong with your computer… it is bright and wild! This is not normally something that would catch my eye. (I’m blaming this purchase on exam stress.) It has a lovely drape, was 50% off the sale price, and is unapologetically loud.

I decided immediately it wanted to be a tunic, so I attempted Simplicity 4149 again.

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I made this pattern once before in a gorgeous shimmery linen, but the garment was a flop.

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The linen was too stiff. It was uncomfortable and made me look like a box. Making matters worse, the first time I washed it, the seam at the ‘V’ in the front of the tunic started to pull away and fray.

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You can’t really tell in this photo, but the bottom of the ‘V’ is fraying on the left side. Gah!

Disaster.

So, this was a second attempt. I worked on it for a little bit each night for about a week. It’s an easy make, but this was my first time working with challis. It’s slippery and has a bit of stretch. I’m sure with some practice this will be no big deal; however, my first few seams were wavy. My seam ripper got a workout. I ended up with this:

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topstitching around the neck in turquoise. It looks wavy here, but really is straight.

Topstitching around the neck in turquoise thread. It looks wavy here, but really is straight.

It’s super comfy. I was bummed that the ‘V’ is a bit too low to wear out in public without a cami underneath, but otherwise, I like the fit- flowing and comfortable. I think it will make a nice cover-up poolside as well as a top for running around on weekends.

I’m particularly proud of the detail I managed at the ‘V.’ I just wish it didn’t get lost in the print:

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I’m calling this my ‘existential crisis tunic’ because I finished it on a day when I was not coping well with exam stress. After throwing myself a pity-party, I decided to channel my freaking out into something productive and finished this tunic.

I’m not sure what I’ll work on next. My sewing production has ground to a halt since finishing this tunic- too much studying to do. After the exams, I have a few days of nothing but sewing and mindless television watching planned. I’m soooo looking forward to it!

Gingham wrap blouse

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I love a bow.

My boyfriend has hidden things with bows from me when we go shopping. He thinks I am irrationally drawn to items adorned with bows. He’s right! I don’t think my style is super girly, but I love a bow.

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The above is McCalls M6564.

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I used a cotton blend I picked up on sale at my local Hancock Fabric store. The word “easy” is missing from the pattern envelope, so initially I was worried the make might be too complicated for my current skill level. It wasn’t. The directions were clear and uncomplicated. The pattern fit perfectly as written, so no fitting adjustments were made. I did add a snap to the front neckline. While trying it on during sewing, I noticed it gaped a bit across the chest when I moved around. I also gathered the tops of the sleeves to create a little poof. This wasn’t my original plan. I couldn’t get the sleeves to ease in without puckers, so I decided to gather the tops in order to make them fit. Luckily, I like the result.

During the make, I made two rookie sewing blunders. First, I sewed a dart inside out.

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Then, I basted in a sleeve inside out.

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Oh well… I’m still learning and I like the end result.

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My first vintage pattern!

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Look what arrived in my mailbox today!

I’m so excited! This is my first vintage pattern, Simplicity 4676. I discovered the pattern on Lauren’s blog. Her make is gorgeous and I want one, too!

After some hunting, I found it in Tina’s online store.

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I’m always nervous ordering online from someone for the first time, but this was a pleasant experience. Tina emailed right away that she had received my order and was shipping it out. The pattern arrived wrapped carefully in plastic and is as advertised.

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I think I’m going to attempt view A.

Joann’s has 50% off of sale fabrics and I now officially have what sewing bloggers refer to as a “stash.” I totally lost control and filled my cart with linens, knits, cotton blends, and satins. I picked up 11 different fabrics. The most expensive was $5 a yard (a tribal print challis) and the cheapest (a wine colored cotton knit) was only $2.50 a yard! My fabric store purchases will now consist of only notions until I get some of this sewn up. I’m so looking forward to making up the garments I’ve planned for all of this beautiful fabric!

I picked up this beauty today for $3 a yard and I think  it will make a perfect bow blouse. It’s a lightweight (but not see-through) cotton. I’m generally not a big fan of pastels or purple, but I really like this anyway.

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I’m a little worried about the pattern’s fit. According to the body measurements on the envelope, I am a perfect size 16. In the modern patterns I’ve made up thus far, I’ve been taking a size or two down because there is so much ease. They look sloppy in the “correct” size. I wonder if this will be a problem with vintage patterns. Should I have ordered a 14 instead?…

Mathilde progress

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This evening, I needed some sewing therapy. It was one of those days. Nothing horrible occurred, but little frustrations seemed to greet me at every turn. As soon as I got home from the university this evening, I went to work on Mathilde. I managed to cut out and mark all my fabric pieces. I also stabilized the neck and back of the blouse with interfacing.

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Tomorrow- pleats and darts! Wahoo!