It started with my kids arguing over use of the free Puzzle Puzz tote bag. Maybe I should make them each a tote bag, I thought, as if more of a thing ever forestalled sibling rivalry and children everywhere demonstrated gratitude for mom-made garments and accessories with enthusiastic and frequent use. I googled, I found tutorial I liked, and without stopping to think too deeply about it I went looking for fabric. Then the most rare and lucky break: the most brilliant fabric that I just love, love love leapt at me. All of these were such easy decisions requiring so little deliberation that they seemed to materialize out of nowhere, a happy effortless accident.
I purchased a half yard of each fabric, 2.5 yards total. I could have done without one of the contrasting colors in terms of material requirements – I have lots of the green left over having only used it for handles on the blue. I had to piece each piece together to maintain pattern direction.
Almost correct placement!
Not so much.
Perhaps I should have given greater consideration to the placement of the Lilliput scene when cutting my fabric. OK, I definitely should have given greater consideration to the placement of the Lilliput scene, especially on the pink one where the clouds are rolling by right smack in the middle of the tote. But I didn’t and I can’t tell you why, but I’m not letting it bother me. These totes just make me too damn happy.
I decided – I wish I could remember the sequence of events that led to this decision, but when your decisions about what to make and when are best characterized by the word “whim” their roots are hard to trace – that I should make my husband’s cousins a pair of these throwback stuffed Christmas trees in whimsical (there’s that word again!) fabric. Didn’t you have these in your house growing up? Didn’t everyone? I thought so and consequently have had this conversation several times with my husband:
Me, confused: Really? You didn’t have these growing up?
Me, incredulous: Like, really? You don’t remember them?
We certainly had at least one and I remember them at other people’s houses, too. I’m sure our was made by some well-wisher or other and my mom grudgingly held onto cherished it for years until she could finally chuck the thing with no guilt it fell apart from all the loving.
I have a fondness for homely objects of yesteryear. Making them in silly fabric elevates them from nostalgic to absurd. Unfortunately the seemingly never-ending bag of poly-fil I’ve had longer than I can remember did finally meet its match on this project and finishing will have to wait until another bag can be acquired.
I bet Hubs’ family had at least 3 of these and he just never noticed.
This is the Sea Captain kit from Cozy Blue Handmade. I didn’t notice that random stray piece of a thread on the Captain’s cap until now. It’s driving me nuts. Look, you can really see it well in this photo:
Like everyone else in the sewing universe who loves sewing small dresses, I discovered the Geranium Dress, bought the Geranium Dress pattern, made it up, and delighted in it. Possibly unlike everyone else, I didn’t stop there. I made more Geranium dresses than I had possible use for. I made them in every size with every neckline and every sleeve. I made them in geometric, bird, floral, dinosaur, cupcake, and sausage (that one was for my restaurateur cousin) fabrics. I made them for friends, I made them for friends of friends. I looked for every opportunity to give the things away and when I ran out of outlets I stowed them in a drawer from whence I drew this quite wrinkled version to finally pass along:
I had already started a post describing the shirt I’m making Hubs for Christmas. In that post I told you all about the other shirts I had made him already. I described the particular problems and set-backs I had encountered. I did this because I was sure that it would be smooth sailing thereon and I would have a finished shirt to show for my efforts by now. Instead the mistakes keep piling on so numerous that they cannot be contained in a single post. So far I have:
Re-made the button placket so the plaids match. This was me being a perfectionist. This shirt was going to be a pinnacle of crafts-person-ship, after all, gotta match that plaid.
Re-made a pocket because it puckered where the fold was sewn down as I pulled basting stitches. This sounds like me being a perfectionist, but by the time I was done fussing with the thing it was no longer square in addition to having a pucker. I was a cool customer, redoing a pocket was no big thing.
Topstitched the inside yoke instead of the outer yoke. Frustration mounts.
Sewn both the shirt fronts inside out. I did not realize this until after I finished the yoke, making for twice the ripping. Frustration turned into anger at carelessness.
Re-sewn one of the shirt fronts not only inside out but with the arm and neck sides reversed when I “fixing” mistake #4. By then it was enough to be funny.
Re-attached part of the collar stand. This being the trickiest part of a men’s button down I anticipated having to fix a pucker or two. No big deal and I was glad there was only one pucker though it would be nice if the fix took the first time and I hadn’t had to fix my fixes.
I have had to re-do or fix every single thing I’ve done – sometimes twice! – and folks, I haven’t even gotten to the cuffs, yet.
More PJs. We moved the clocks back a week ago and this, for a short time, affords 15 whole minutes of adequate daylight to snap photos before scuttling out to work. Given that I’m getting 3 bodies out the door at the same time you can imagine how well that goes.
You’d think having made this pattern 3 consecutive times I would be a pro by now. Instead I continue to make new mistakes and forget construction steps (some important, some not). There was the cuff mistake that set me back and then when I got to the buttonholes I dutifully got out my buttonhole presser foot, but neglected to put it on my machine and wondered the whole time why I couldn’t see what I was doing. The buttonholes turned out OK, at least. My buttonholes are never great. I’m waiting for time and experience to take care of that. If not that, then maybe a new machine with fancy buttonhole settings my circa-1980 Bernina Nova lacks (but I love her so!).
I’m neither a cook nor a baker, but I do make a big deal out of Christmas cookies and I have to start early for our church’s Kristkindl Markt the first weekend of December. Sunday I tried out the new cookie gun I got last Christmas with fancy Christmas-themed discs my beloved vintage aluminum cookie press lacks.
We’re scheduled to make some chocolate teddy bear spritzes tonight. I’m so spritz-obsessed I can’t even remember what other cookies I usually make. Luckily I have a helper and all I have to do is pass the Betty Crocker Cooky Book to the 4-year-old and he’ll point out to me all the cookies we should make.
I’ve been making, but everything I’m working on is in some stage of progress and I have finished nothing this week.
I have socks on the go.
I have super secret Christmas gifties on the go.
I have swatching on the go.
I have that Christmas sweater on the go.
I have those PJs on the go. Well, they were until I sewed the cuffs on the pants before sewing the front and back cuff to one another. I spent the rest of my sewing time last night getting back to where I thought I was starting. That’s progress, in a way.
A lot of process, little progress. Sometimes it’s like that. Heck, sometimes things never get done. Speaking of which, note to self: the next time you’re wondering where your #8 Knitpicks interchangeable need is, let this serve as a reminder that it’s in the half-finished Lotta Cardigan you started and abandoned last year in that pretty dark purple Cascade 220. Remember you found it when you were looking for something else in your knitting basket in the bedroom? What was I even looking for? Who can remember? What was I talking about, again?
Hm, well, my holiday sweater has hit the skids a bit. I blithely knit on the first sleeve (I took the liberty to knit it in reverse stockinette to match the sweater body, the pattern calls for stockinette) last night without checking the wraps on my short rows until just before bed and lo:
I must have wrapped in the wrong direction on the back because they’re not beautifully invisible like they are on the front. Womp womp.
It’s just as well because I was afraid the sleeve would be too big for me and it is:
This style sweater is a bit of a departure for me. Not being a sweater-babe-type person I cast on a size that wouldn’t have as much negative ease as recommended so I thought this might happen. Back to the sleeves drawing board!
This time with properly wrapped short rows and a maybe 4-8 fewer stitches picked up around. Not today, though, this sweater and I need a little break from one another.
I thought I was starting a primarily sewing blog, but the thing I can’t put town this week is Julgran:
I clicked through and bought this pattern as soon as I saw Andi’s pattern release blog post. Not long after that I sent screenshots of 19 different shades of Cascade 220 to Hubs to help me whittle down the selection and then I picked what turned out to be the perfect green – Shire – from those 4. You know those studies that show that too much choice actually makes people more unsatisfied with their decisions? I’ve always known this to be true about myself. Have you ever shopped for a stroller? It’s maddening. I knew I would be unhappy with whatever I chose so I didn’t bother and we ended up with a hand-me-down that we literally strolled into the ground when the front wheel went irreparably flying off the thing 7 years later. The thing I loved best about that stroller was that I hadn’t picked it so I had no reason to ever be unhappy with its shortcomings or interpret them as me making a bad or wrong decision. It was just a stroller that was better for some things (like traversing NYC’s variable topography) and not so great for others (like fitting through the check out line at a NYC grocery store). There is no perfect stroller, but there is a lot of angst over not picking one that is.
Anyways. I love a good Christmas sweater! There may not be a perfect stroller, but damn if this isn’t pretty darn close to a perfect holiday pullover. I’m close to the ribbing. I tried it on this morning and lost a bunch of stitched (oops) so I’ll have to fix that up before hopefully finishing up the body tonight. Yay!
Every time he spotted these on my sewing table my patient kiddo would excitedly ask “Are they going to be ready for tonight?!” No, not tonight, dearie. There’s still a lot of sewing yet, I would say. I’m busy embroidering toys, instead, I didn’t say.
Finally! And none too soon. Nighttime temperatures have dropped and kiddo is outgrowing his PJ stock. We always get a big influx of pajamas during the holidays and these will be a useful bridge while we’re waiting out the gap. My idea here is to try to prevent ending up with way too many PJs. Wish me luck as I haven’t struck the right balance yet. Our neighbors across the way have a new baby and I told them I’ve been setting aside clothes if they want them and they’ll never have to buy another set of PJs again. Neighbor Dad said he thought they hadn’t used the same set of PJs twice in the first month of their new baby’s life. PJs: either you have an absence or an abundance. And often when you have an overflowing PJ drawer they’re off-season and useless except to make it so you can’t find the PJs you want or to instigate fights because you haven’t disappeared the footed PJs your kid pulls out to wear in the middle of summer.
Chuffy picked out the fabric himself. He loves it and his excitement is adorable. I’ve had trouble with the waistband casing on both sets of Sleepover Pajamas I’ve made. I just don’t end up with quite enough space for half-inch elastic even skipping the stitching at the top of the waistband casing. I used quarter-inch elastic on the last set, but I wasn’t sure that would be hefty enough to keep these pants up. The half-inch cups a bit in spots, but they’re only jams and I’m not letting perfection be the enemy of good enough. I’ll try to remember to widen the waistband a bit going forward. It’s not a problem with the pattern, I’m just not a precise enough sewer and an eighth of an inch makes all the difference.
Chuffy loves them which is very gratifying. They’re a bit big but that’s perfect. It’s not going to keep anybody coming back to my little neck of the net, but next up for sewing will be yet morejams in the dino fabric Chuffy selected. I’ve also got some embroidery for gifting and knitting for keeping on the boil. I’ve got lots of makes in progress, but it’s the time of year when life itself gets busy without me coming up with more projects for myself. Let’s put on some cozy PJs and hunker down.