Thursday, January 31, 2013

Odds and Ends

It turns out, all that time I spend not sewing is spent doing things besides daydreaming about sewing.  Here's a few that might interest you.

1) Here is my list of the top 10 movies I saw in 2012.  (Not the top 10 movies that came out in 2012, but the new-to-me ones that I saw from any year.  I'm not as good as I should be about seeing new films.)

2) I made an eyeball planter for a friend's birthday.  No, she did not ask for one, but who doesn't need this beauty?

3) My studio is now screen print enabled, so I am mulling over some possibilities for fabric design.

4) My Goodreads book club, Classic Trash, is reading Mistress of Mellyn as our February read.  If you like your romances of a more gothic nature, feel free to join us!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Simplicity 1693

The early spring Simplicity patterns came out not too long ago, and one of the tops caught my eye as something cute, but easy to make if my hands were bothering me: Simplicity 1693.

Since the details are hard to see in this picture, here are the line drawings from the pattern (I made view B):

I would like you to take a closer look at the fabric because it is CRAZY.  It's hats.  

It came in a Fabricmart bundle, and was one of two pieces of rayon challis that I have had for awhile.  I wanted to test this shirt in a fabric with lots of drape, so here you go.  My husband laughs like a maniac whenever he sees this shirt.  I can't blame him.

Pattern: Simplicity 1693
Fabric: Rayon Challis from a Fabricmart Bundle
Sewing details: This is a very simple blouse to make.  Front, back, sleeves, and neck binding.  The bust darts were way too short, so I made them about twice as long and raised the bust point a bit.  (Yes, I did a very simple muslin first.  I always do.) My head was more than able to fit through the neck hole, so I made the back one piece instead of two.  For the neck binding, I made my own bias tape and put the binding on the outside, instead of on the inside as per the instructions.
Final Project: Aside from the super crazy fabric - which I'm kind of into actually - I dig this shirt.  It's super simple and suitable for a beginning sewist.  I'm not really up for a lot of details right now, so this was a fun project.  I will make some more, but vary the sleeves, and maybe doing a little drafting.  (This would make a nice blank slate for those wanting to practice some simple pattern alterations.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spring 2013 Vogue Patterns

So, the new Vogue Patterns are out.  There are some basic, but nice, dresses, but nothing really caught my eye except for V8886.

It may be the color more than anything else, but I kind of seriously like the 60's vibe.

Some of the new shirts and dresses in the new collection have elasticized waists; I hope that doesn't become a thing.  It always looks sloppy to me.  (Also, I am an hourglass, and it just never looks good on me: too much like a bubble.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Overdressed: Some Thoughts on Consumption, Beauty, and Sewing

So I finally ready read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline, which I first saw over at The Slapdash Sewist.

It's a pretty good book that got me thinking about a few things.  (Like it has been for a lot of sewing bloggers since it came out.)  I am almost always disappointed when I buy clothes in the stores, and this book made me stop and evaluate what I buy vs what I sew, why I sew, and how I feel about beauty.

What I buy vs. what I sew:

I buy the following items: shoes, socks, coats, jeans, under garments, sweaters, and knit tops.  (I still hate sewing with knits, but I am working on it.)  When I buy things, I expect them to last for ever, or at least as long as the stuff I make for myself.  The things I buy tend to be utilitarian and practical, and I buy the same things over and over again to replace things that have worn out.  (I have certain brands and styles that I think work with my wardrobe and last a decent amount of time.) I don't have a ton of clothes, so things tend to get worn a lot and have a limited life-span.  Things that wear out quickly won't be purchased again.  I am most disappointed with knit tops, because even the more spendy ones seem to be cheaply made.

I sew blouses, dresses, skirts, night wear, and trousers (not as often as I should on that last one.)  While my purchased items tend to be practical and somewhat plain, I go for lots of color and pattern in my sewn items.  And I expect them to last for awhile.  I will repair something until it starts to look dingy, at which point it goes into the "work clothes" drawer.  (These are the clothes I wear while throwing pots, painting, or screen printing.)  After that, they become rags.  Clothing that I make or purchase that doesn't work out for me, goes into the secondhand market via Saint Vincent de Paul.  I try to make things that will get a lot of use, but sometimes things just don't turn out.  (Sometimes I think I must be buying patterns while drunk.  What the hell was I thinking?)

Why I sew:

I was taught to sew by my grandmother at an early age and went to junior high at a time when everybody was still expected to take a sewing class.  (We also had to take cooking and a shop class on electricity.)  My stepmother also helped me with garment sewing in high school.  As a punk rocker in mid 80s Southern Oregon, I made my own clothes and modified my thrift store finds.  (And did so for my friends.  That's how I earned my spending money in high school.)  As an adult, I may not look like a punk rocker anymore, but the idea that "anyone can do it" has stuck with me, and I would feel adrift if I could not have at least some involvement in clothing myself.  I am also completely uninterested in wearing the same styles as 100,000 other people.  A bazillion other folks wear the same style of jeans that I do.  But nobody else is going to pair them with a sea foam Colette Patterns shirt with a modified collar and sleeves.  It's not about refusing to look like anyone else, it's about getting to wear exactly what I want.


But what causes me to want to wear the clothes I do?  I recently had a bit of revelation where I decided that I was no longer going to care a rat's ass about beauty.  I'd so much rather spend my time focussing on enjoying my family, being smart and funny, being a good mentor to my Boys and Girls Club teens, and learning how to make cool things.  That's who I want to be.  I am not beautiful.  Don't care.  When I am told that everyone is beautiful: I  DO NOT CARE.  I have other things to worry about.  If my looks were never commented on again, I would be happy as a clam.  I want to spend my energy on things that actually matter.  I don't think my husband has ever spent a day of his life thinking about how he looks other than making sure everything was clean.  I want that too.

But how do I justify that view with my continued desire to sew and make fun, well-fitting clothing?  Well, if clothing were just about beauty than I would be sunk.  But it's not.  Clothing is also about expression, feeling comfortable and enjoyment.  I like wearing loud colors with crazy patterns because it makes me feel good.  I want to feel good, and in the end - for me anyway - it doesn't have much to do with feeling pretty.  It has to do with creating something that serves a purpose and appeals to my sense of aesthetics. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

McCall's 5989

Easy project accomplished.  And LOVED.  It's been forever since I've had a pair of pajama bottoms.  (Mostly for the reason that I can't have anything on my legs when I am sleeping.)  Since they won't be used for sleeping, they are heretofore referred to lounge pants. I never knew how great these would be for hanging out in after dinner.  What a fool I was.

I love swishing around with the extra wide legs.  I love the bright fabric warming up my winter evenings.  Oh lounge pants, I just love you.  I also love it when something so simple to make is going to get a lot of use.

Pattern: McCall's 5989
Fabric: A cotton quilting fabric I got on Main St in Ashland, Or.  Not sure of the name of the shop.
Sewing Details:  I did not open the directions, but I've made pajama pants and shorts for the family so I didn't really need to.  These are pretty long, so they have 2 1/2 inch hems, which I think looks cool.  I used a very soft 1" pajama elastic in the waistband.  To keep it from rolling, I just made tacks on the inside front, back, and sides.
Final Product:  I love these.  Super comfy and fun.  I want to make at least two more pairs.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy 2013

Happy New Year everybody!  I am a little late to the game for reasons I will discuss below, but I hope this year brings awesomeness to everybody.  Let's play a little catch-up now.

Christmas sewing: I did do some Christmas sewing this year.  My daughter requested some cloth napkins, and that was an easy enough request to satisfy.  I had some left over cotton quilting fabric, and just cut and hemmed some generous squares.  My husband also asked for a pair of pajama bottoms, which was also an easy project.  Easy projects were good for this year, because it turns out I have arthritis in my hands.

Arthritis diagnosis: So about a year ago, when I started all my hyperparathyroid issues, my hips started to hurt and I was no longer able to get around very much.  We all assumed it was part of what was going on with me, but it really wasn't.  I have psoriatic arthritis (it's one of the autoimmune ones) and it has moved from my hips to my elbows and hands.  December was pretty hard for me, but I am feeling much better now, although not quite back to normal.  This arthritis usually accompanies psoriasis, which I have never had, but I'm kind of itchy now, so guess what's coming?  Yeah, not sure this year is going to be any better than last year.  I'm indulging in a little self-pity right now, but it's already starting to get boring, so I'm sure it won't last much longer.  I do have a simple sewing project cut out for myself, and I'm raring to go.

Gingerbread Houses: As per usual, we made our crazy gingerbread houses again this year.  Darin made a jailbreak scene and my daughter and her boyfriend made the Battlestar Galactica.  I did another one of my "paintings" since my hands weren't up to a complicated assembly. (Also, I am much more interested in surface, so the candy and frosting paintings are more fun for me.)  I felt mildly inspired by Scandinavian design this year.

Going Forward: Well, we'll just see what happens.  This is one of those "taking one step at a time" situations.  I do have some fun things to look forward to: we bought a camping trailer to make camping easier for me (I love spending time with my husband in the middle of nowhere) and I have a youtube movie discussion show I'm working on.  I just need to pick myself up, brush myself off, and get back to it.