Cannot Unsee What Has Been Seen

This is my 2nd Ryan Top. It fits great right out of the envelope – joy! – and I’ve long meant to make another one or several.

This fabric is another vacation souvenir. It’s not something I would usually go for and that was the point, to push my boundaries a bit. I had 2 scant yards of this fabric which turned out to not be quite enough for perfect pattern placement. Limited by my material, I was very intentional with my cutting and contemplative of the layout. I worried especially over the big red boxes and where I wanted them which is why it chafes so badly that for all my care I overlooked something important.

Can you see it?

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Pattern: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal
Size: Medium
Fabric: Something cotton? I’m a bad note keeper.

Do I need to point it out?

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Red Squares. Right on my boobs. I’m annoyed because I could have had a bit more wiggle room with that pattern placement if I’d remembered how looooong this shirt is. The length is something that surprised me the first time around, too, but I got used to it and forgot that I could easily shorten it by as much as 6 inches and have a top that’s not only long enough and, let’s be honest, would be more flattering to boot. I’m not a tunic + leggings sort of girl, but this pattern as drafted would work well for that purpose if you are.

So, not a total success, but I’ve worn it a couple times and probably will again. I need me a pink cardigan or a red scarf to carry it into the fall and winter. Bonus: a cardigan or scarf would mask my pattern placement embarrassment. The problem with picking a fabric that’s outside the box (ha ha I try not to miss a pun) is I don’t have anything like that in my wardrobe already. Maybe I should buy some yarn…

Blue Skies

It wasn’t until I dug it out this Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen to make Hubs a birthday gift that I realized it did not, in fact, have any linen content at all, hence the “quilter” modifier in its name. So Hubs got a somewhat stiff 100% cotton Merchant & Mills All State for his birthday. And you are getting a brief, incomplete blog entry nearly 3 months later.

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Pattern: Merchant & Mills the All State
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen in Dusty Blue
Size: Bigger than last time.

I had made this pattern for him before, but I made it too small. I somehow missed the sizing information (unfamiliar UK sizing was too much for my brain to interpret) and guessed badly based on the finished measurements. Hubs wears it anyways. I considered this and the fact that he wears holes into the things I make him a compliment until I asked which of the 3 shirt patterns I’d made for him he preferred and he told me they were all pretty much the same. Well fine then.

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Indifferent husband in question.

This pattern, with its boxy guayabera feel, is my personal favorite. Not in quilter’s cotton, though, so next time I”ll make it in something lighter. Third time’s the charm, right?

Three

MJ turns three today.

Here is the dress I made her:

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Pattern: Lotta Dress by Companie M
Size: 3T
Fabric: Cloud 9 cotton I grabbed off the clearance rack at Joann

I’m always learning new things when I sew. This time I learned how far ahead of the needle my serger’s knife cuts and why you don’t serge seam allowance after sewing inseam pockets.

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Pro-tip: serge those edges THEN sew.

After a long time out it turned out to be an easy fix. I removed the pocket, cut an inch off the width of the skirt, and started fresh.

It’s the same pattern as the dress I made MJ last year. I used the same button loop placket and cap sleeves, but added the i-cord and used inseam pockets because I thought I ought to mix it up a little bit.

I’ve sworn off Joann Fabrics. Again. Joann, why can’t I quit you? Oh yeah, because you are the only place anywhere close-ish that I can reliably buy notions which is something I re-remember every time I need buttons. I got super lucky, though, and hit a timely and unexpected jackpot at Urban Mining: vintage buttons!

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I stocked up.

Unbelievably I found buttons that were a perfect match in the quantities and sizes I needed. And I needed 4 smaller and 3 bigger, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge the improbability of finding these buttons in a space mostly dedicated to furniture and knick-knacks mere blocks from my house, no long, trying to trips to Joann necessary!

MJ, of course, would have been happiest with Minnie Mouse buttons. Here is the godawful dress I made at her behest also out of clearance Joann fabric that MJ spotted, adored, would not let go of, and insisted be made into a dress immediately upon arrival home. She will surely wear this dress instead. Ah, well, more power to her. The girl knows what she likes.

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B List

I am really bad at stitching in the ditch. Really bad. I have no idea how anybody successfully achieves an even, invisible stitching line that does not wander with all the fabric you cannot see caught in the back, but not too much such that your elastic casing becomes too narrow for the elastic. Or, as is often the case, both, in alternating sequence on the same waistband.

I’ve learned a thing or two about coping and even more about avoidance so when I realized I could hand-sew waistlines and bias edging with far better results in not much more time than it was taking me to fix my mistakes all the while skirting (har har) the horrible feelings of frustration and inadequacy, well, that’s how I do it, now. The slow way. The in-front-of-the-TV way. The gee-I-thought-this-would-be-super-annoying-and-should-be-avoided-and-I’m-surprised-to-find-I-rather-like-it way.

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I wrote all of that because I have not much to say otherwise about this skirt. It’s the same skirt and fabric as last time, different view and different color. View B-stands-for-Boring because it doesn’t have view A’s fabulous pockets in Boring Brown. We’re getting down to Basics here, folks.

Pattern: Gypsum Skirt by Sew Liberated, View B
Size: 8
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in some brown shade I don’t remember
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Fear not. It still has pockets. Just the Boring inseam variety.

The waistband really elevates this pattern. Even as basic as it is Hubs was surprised that it was something I had made and that’s 100% because the waistband looks complicated. It’s not – it’s just a wide elastic waistband sewing over a couple times. Which is great! It never cups or rolls and I find I really prefer the wider elastic to the narrower stuff. Unfortunately when I pulled this on this morning I realized that I hadn’t cut the elastic quite short enough. It’s driving me crazy and not as flattering as if it sat at my proper waist and to fix it I’m going to have to pick out all that stitching. So much for my quick summer-into-fall basic. Wah.

Hippy Hippie Lake Dippy

Well, that turned out better than I had imagined.

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Pattern: Gypsum Skirt by Sew Liberated, View A
Size: 8
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Washer Linen Blend in Sage

I’m hippy. I didn’t think big, wide pockets or a gathered elastic waist would work on me. I was seduced by the pockets on this pattern and decided I didn’t care and if I ended up with a loafing-around-the-house skirt then so be it. I’ve mostly eschewed elastic waistbands but it’s true what my mom has been saying all these years: they are comfy. And this pattern makes them cute, too! Unlike that pair of stretchy black old lady pants she gave me that one time.

The sage green fabric purchase was inspired by a pair of pants I adore but haven’t been able to wear since 2 kids and 10 pounds ago. Maybe just 1 kid and 5 pounds, I don’t know, suffice to say I held on to those pants that were making me feel bad long enough. Clearly I’m still psychologically holding on to them even after clearing them out of my closet.

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Look! A bird! Not really. I’m grimacing at nothing here. Hair styled by slumber + lake water.

Speaking of embracing elastic waistbands as a sign of aging, I see a lot of my aunts’ features in this photo of me. I see them in me more as I grow into the age I remember them as and the faces I remember them having from when I was young. Aging is a trip.

Back to the skirt: I LOVE IT. It’s fun to wear. It’s swishy. It’s comfortable. The pockets are the envy of any and all pocket-coveting skirt-wearer. A++. Now for some cropped shirts to wear with all these high elastic-waisted skirts and pants I’ve been making. Onward!

Voluminous

I finally made pants.

Actually this is my 2nd pair of pants.

I wrote a big ‘ol post months ago about the Ginger Jeans I made…

Side bar: I made jeans!

Side bar subheading: the Lander Pant disaster of a muslin I made doesn’t count and we’re Not Talking About It.

…but I can’t get decent photos of anything on my body, least of all light-sucking black-on-black denim. I’m really struggling to get photos. I had hoped this was a skill that would improve over time, but there’s no light when there’s time and no time when there’s light,  and there are no uncluttered rooms or pretty backgrounds.

Ah, well. Here’s my messy, cluttered front porch. And my not-jeans.

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Pattern: Mercury Collection by Marilla Walker, view C
Size: 3 waist graded to 4 everywhere else
Mods: I must have short legs. I chopped a lot off. I might shorten them even further to a couple inches above the ankle. Then again, I might not.

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It seems fitting (ha ha, pun intended) that after making jeans I would do a 180 in just about every pants-making respect possible. Linen instead of denim, an elastic waist instead of fly, clownishly wide legs instead of slim, a style whose only fit requirement is that the elastic is snug enough to stay at your waist while being wide enough to go over your tush. They feel ridiculous to wear, but they were super easy to make and I’m pleasantly surprised to find I can wear them without them wearing me. Good enough! One office-wear garment done.

Dolly Dolly Oxen Free

Toys are deceiving. I know from personal experience that beginning knitters misidentify toys as “small projects” that will be “quick” and underestimate the skills they require. Toys are actually really difficult projects to get right – there can be more techniques used in a seemingly simple toy than a simple sweater and when you scale down a project’s size you’re often leveling up its difficulty. I don’t say that to discourage anybody from knitting or sewing whatever they like – do it! Toys can be excellent learning tools for all the same reasons that they’re difficult! – I say it in case you don’t have me in your life to (loudly, probably) reassure you, “Toys are HARD!” if you’re embarrassed to find that, for example, the stuffed pig you made with ad-hoc fun fur wings turns out to have more of a sneer than a smile, crooked bum, asymmetrical snout, and 4 differently shaped and sized legs that collectively cannot support the creature’s weight.

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Pre-printed fabric for easy doll making!

Point is, it takes a little more time and practice to develop the chops to throw a toy off one’s needles that you feel proud to gift to anybody but the cat. The good news is that except in cases such as the crocheted hanging clown doll that lived in my childhood closet terrorizing me at night, the trade off to “perfection” is often “character”. And so even though I knew I didn’t have the sewing skills or attention to detail that would make these dolls keepsake-quality, when MJ picked cooed over, clung to, and generally delighted in the Goldilocks and the Three Bears samples at Craft South (well played, Craft South, well played) I thought, well, what the heck. Why not?

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Uneven, imperfect, and who cares? They’re cute and good enough and MJ won’t get them until her birthday, but I hope she loves them to literal bits after years of use and abuse. Aren’t keepsakes that retain their condition the ones never enjoyed? Or is that a lie I tell myself because we don’t take good care of our things?

I don’t see them available online, but I do see Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

MJ wanted those, too, but one has to to draw the line somewhere. Right?

Temp Tempt Tank

I’d put off the Ogden Cami because I felt sure it wouldn’t work on me. All those pretty floral Ogdens during Me-Made-Made May coincided with a sharp rise in outdoor temperatures (in the Midwest you can go from snow to 90’s in the span of a week) and suddenly the temptation to take a chance on a loose-fitting tank was too great to resist.

I dutifully worked up a muslin and was pleasantly surprised: all I would have to do is shorten the straps. I’ve had a string of successful muslin-ing and superstitiously started to believe that whether I make a muslin or not directly impacts how well a pattern fits out of the figurative PDF envelope. The “logic” goes that if I make a muslin a pattern will fit better than if I don’t. My streak ended with a muslin of the Lander shorts, but that’s a story for another time if and when I go back to that pattern. Trust me, you don’t want to see a picture of my too–small muslin in white-on-white printed quilting cotton.img_9241.jpg

Pattern: Ogden Cami by True Bias
Size: 6? I think? I made this pre-vacation. Details are only faintly remembered.

Sewists go on about what a great pattern this is for using up odds and ends. To my surprise the only suitable remnant in my stash was the blue linen from my Forsythe Dress. Every other remnant was quilting cotton or too little which left me wondering *again* why I’m keeping it. I was excited to make a wearable version of this pattern and jumped the gun: not only am I tired of this fabric 3 projects later, but it’s a bit too heavy and remember how I was inspired by the light, airy, floral versions? This in no way resembles them so I find myself disappointed even though there is no possible way an Ogden made out of teal linen could resemble one made out of liberty lawn.

The benefit to having made this weeks ago is I’ve worn it and I can report that I need to shorten the straps another smidge. I might even size down; this tank seemed OK at first try-on, but has a mind of its own when I’m actually trying to live life and I can’t abide constantly adjusting, lifting, and tugging so my bra cups don’t show. I’m not sure if this is a sizing problem or a high/small-bust fitting problem, but it’s exactly the issue I had anticipated that made me so reluctant to try this pattern in the first place. Muslins, like swatches, can lie.

Some Assembly Required

I saw this fabric online and had to have it. My favorite shade of blue! And a print reminiscent of that dandelion motif I so enjoy. I had visions of a summer dress.

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Pattern: Willow Tank Dress, Grainline Studio
Size: 6
Fabric: IKEA Ingelill
Mods: moved the bust darts up an inch & made them a little longer

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I’ve cooled on this fabric since I saw that someone online used it to make a privacy curtain for her cat’s litter box.

Also, it wrinkles like, well, like cotton would. I’m not usually bothered by that – I love linen and live with its characteristic wrinkles, and I’m bad at laundry and choose to wear wrinkly clothes rather than properly micromanage the dryer-to-hanger pipeline – but these wrinkles are deep and right across my lap. Meh.

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Boxy style is boxy

I rather like its fashion’s style, but I’m not sure it will fit into my life’s style so well. I don’t tend to “dress”, which here means owning a variety of clothes suitable for various specific occasions and, this is the part I’m bad at, remembering to use them rather than wearing the same dress over and over because it’s comfortable and already ironed (I refer you to my statement above about being bad at laundry). So while I look at this and think it’s perfect for a BBQ or pool party, I haven’t been to a BBQ or pool party since finishing this dress and probably wouldn’t have thought to wear it if I had been.

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I haven’t worn this once since the day I finished it excepting these photos. It seems too casual for the office, too short for chasing after kids, too loud when I’m wearing it, and yet when I look at these pictures it isn’t too casual or too short or too loud, is it?

Maybe if I can disassociate this print from kitty litter boxes it could still stand a chance.

Gaslit

The last time I wore my Wiksten Tova Tunic I had a series of revelations:

  1. Hey, this style is pretty flattering!
  2. Didn’t this pattern have a dress option?
  3. It does!
  4. That fabric I bought way back when for a skirt that never happened would be perfect!
  5. I should make a Wiksten Tova Dress!

And I did and it is SO GOOD.

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Pattern: Tova Top + Dress by Wiksten
Size: Medium
Mods: added 2 inches to the length*

Last week I found myself awake at 2 a.m. too angry and upset to sleep (work stuff) so I got out of bed and sewed it up but for the cuffs. I coulda gotten it all done, too, if I hadn’t tried to get back to sleep between 4 and 5.

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I just love this. It’s comfy and casual, but nice enough for the office. I wore it to work with my red saltwater sandals and on my walk to the car after work I saw another woman wearing a denim dress with red sandals. “We match!” I said without thinking, immediately relieved I hadn’t instead blabbed “we’re twins!” to a black woman.

 

*Folks, as written this dress would be seriously mini. I was surprised when I pulled out the pattern to see that the dress was not a whole lot longer than the tunic. I wonder if the dress is actually an extra-long tunic intended to still be worn with leggings? Or could be that I’m a prude who’s uncomfortable in short skirts; with the extra 2″ this is as short as I can imagine comfortably sitting in. And I really like sitting! I do it all day! Preferably without feeling the seat on the underside of my seat.