Craftmas in July

June wasn’t a particularly crafty month for me, other than my trip to Squam, but I’m getting my craft mojo back preparing for Craftmas in July.  This idea was born from the fact that we all want to do Christmas and holiday crafts around the holidays, but that’s when you have the least time, so … Continue reading

Making my way…

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I know it’s been all sewing all the time around here, lately.  I have been doing some knitting and other crafting which I’m going to try to share this week, but all of this sewing has gotten me thinking about challenging myself in some new ways.  There are a couple of projects I’ve watched with interest for a while and I think I’m going to play along with them this year!

First off is Me-Made-May, which is right around the corner. I was reminded of this on Instagram by Ysolda & Miriam.   Oh my goodness, how is it already May?  Me Made May is basically a challenge to encourage you to wear more of your handmade things.  Each person can decide what this challenge looks like for them.  I am going to pledge in May to wear one thing that I made each day.  I don’t have a lot of clothes that I’ve made, yet, and it may be too warm for many of my knits, so some days this may be as simple as a piece of jewelry that I’ve made, but I will wear something I’ve made each day.  Hopefully I’ll make some more things during May so I’ll have more to choose from.

This leads me to Seam Allowance.  I have watched Seam Allowance from afar since it first came out, with admiration.  I didn’t think it was something that would be attainable for me, as my sewing skills at the time weren’t stellar.  They still need much improvement, but with my recent garment successes, I think I can make it happen!  So, my broader goal will be to have 25% of my wardrobe be handmade.  I’m hoping to achieve this by the end of the summer with my summer clothes.  I have 7 different upcoming sewing projects planned, so I think I can do it.  I like the thought that 25% of the wardrobe basically means one thing that is handmade each day.  I would love to have enough handmade clothes to be able to wear something handmade each day, so I’m looking forward to making that happen!

So, who’s in on either of these challenges?  I’d love to follow along!

That 70’s Tank

Okay, so the tank isn’t really 70’s at all, but the collar fabric reminds me of the 70’s so there you go.  I finished my first garment from my pattern that I made using what I’ve learned in Cal Patch’s Pattern Drafting class on Creativebug.  The fabric is some I’ve had in the stash for a while, with the intention of making a top, and the collar is some I picked up last week to coordinate.  I love how it turned out!

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I decided to make a tank pattern off of my original pattern that had some slight waist shaping but no darts, just to see what that looked like on me.  I have a feeling there will be a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly what I like, but that’s good as I’ll end up with a variety of garments from that experimentation.  I really like how this one turned out!  It’s not perfect.  I had to adjust the shoulders, as I discovered after doing the bias tape on the armhole that it didn’t have enough slope.  I tore out the binding and just gave the seam a bit more slope.  It makes it lay down much better and I will adjust my pattern for future sleeveless tops.

Overall, I really like this shape on me, and I definitely anticipate using this pattern again and tweaking it slightly to make it do what I want.  I am also glad I did the collar.  I thought about just leaving it off, but I think it adds a lot and I wouldn’t like it as much without it.  Big thanks to my Instagram friends who told me to go with it!   I got maybe a little too excited and bought a bunch of fabric today, so I guess I better get to sewing!

Drafting a Pattern

Math is not my strong suit, and I knew that drafting my own sewing pattern would involve math, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to follow along with Cal Patch’s Pattern Drafting class.  But, she makes it really easy!  I made my pattern when the class first came out, but I just got around to sewing my muslin together.

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I did a dress, and just put one short sleeve in.  My sleeves were kind of a mess, so I didn’t do the other one, yet. I didn’t measure the sleeve cap correctly to make it match up, so I’m going to have to work on that.  When I do sleeves for real, I’ll extend the length of my short sleeve, too.

I followed the instructions to do the front and back darts.  I’m kind of unsure if I’ll incorporate darts into my final garment, but I’m really glad I learned a bit about how they work. I’m pretty sure I won’t incorporate front darts into it. I took them out and I like the muslin better without them. I’m still deciding about back darts.

 

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My hips and my shoulders are crooked, so it complicates things.  I feel like it makes the back darts lay funny (or maybe I didn’t sew them well?).  I don’t really want to make the darts/shape fit my crookedness because I don’t want to draw attention to it, so I’m not sure. On the flip side, I don’t want it to be too loose. If there are any dart suggestions,  I’d love to hear them. Maybe I should make the darts not as wide & therefore less pronounced?

Overall, I am really proud of my muslin & I know I’ll be using this pattern. I am anxious to watch week 3 & hear about some possible modifications. I am hoping to knock out a sleeveless dress using this pattern this weekend. We’ll see what I can come up with!

Polka Dots

When I saw the Endless Summer Tunic pattern, I knew I wanted to make it, and it looked like an easy enough place for me to start with making some garments for myself.  I’ve made shirts for the boys, and halloween costumes for them, but I haven’t succeeded at sewing myself anything that I actually wear.  I started this Wednesday and worked on it here and there, hemming it this morning.

ImageI loved these polkadots.  They go with a lot of things I already have, so I thought it would be easy to incorporate this into the wardrobe (as small as it happens to be).  As you can tell, I had some help with my pictures from some photobombing children.

This tunic (which really came out nearly dress length for me, I think I can wear it as a dress when it’s warmer) is super practical for me, as it is comfortable, doesn’t shift around much when wearing even when chasing children, and has pockets!

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I purposely didn’t try to match the dots up, I was afraid I’d mess it up and it would look like I tried and failed, so I just went with not matching.  After wearing it tonight, I’m okay with that decision.  I wasn’t sure if it would bother me, but it really doesn’t.

I made the 39″ bust size.  It fits me great in the shoulders and bust, but I think I would be okay with just a smidge less ease in the waist/hips area.  It’s intended to be loose and flowy, and I don’t want to lose that aspect, but if I make it again, I might size down that part of the pattern just a bit.  I’m happy with how this one turned out, though, and I can tell it will get a lot of wear.

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I’ve been enjoying Cal Patch’s Creativebug pattern drafting class, and I have a stack of fabric on my couch waiting to become garments, so I hope this is the first of many things I’ll make to wear in the coming weeks!

 

Buy Me Some Peanuts and…

Crackerjacks!  Baseball season is here, and while it’s not my favorite sport to watch (sorry baseball, I’m a football girl at heart), I do like keeping track of it and going to a game when I can.  So, when I heard about the Crackerjack project, I knew I had to do it.  Basically, you knit an infinity cowl using a different color to represent a home win, away win, home loss and away loss.  Sadly, the Astros will probably have a lot of losses again this season, so I chose to use the cheery colors for losses to try to make it sting a bit less.  ;)

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Here’s my color key:

Home Win:  White

Home Loss:  Blue

Away Win:  Grey

Away Loss:  Orange

I’m using Berroco Vintage.  I just got one of each color for now, I figure with the stripes it will be okay if the yarn is in a different dye lot if I need to order more.  I’m making a big smooshy long cowl.  Today is the Astros opening day so I’m excited to get started!

A Very Texas Centerpiece

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When we went to the nursery for our tomatoes and citrus trees, they had a great display of succulents.  I decided to pick up a few and try to make some sort of centerpiece out of it for the deck.  C1 had fun searching through the “spiky” plants and deciding which ones we should buy.  Once we got home, I remembered the deer (maybe? that’s what I’m told) skull that C1 found with his grandpa while they were out exploring some time back.  When he brought it home, I wouldn’t let it in the house, so it’s been hanging out on our back door landing.  Since I was working on a centerpiece for the deck table, I decided it would be great to incorporate it into something useful.

So, that left me with the need to find a container for the centerpiece.  I had checked the nursery, the home improvement store, and a garden center, and I couldn’t find a large shallow dish like I had envisioned.  I decided to check the kitchen area of a nearby store and came across a steel strainer.  I lined it with a coco liner, which I trimmed to fit, to try to keep the dirt from coming out of the strainer holes, and then put it all together.  I’d still like to add some rocks, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

Spring Sewing Inspiration

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About this time of year each year I get obsessed with sewing, specifically garment sewing.  Please note, my sewing machine hasn’t been out in months, but man have I been daydreaming.

I have a bunch of fabric I bought a year or two ago for some garments for myself.  I think I need to get it back out!

First I saw the new Cappuccino Dress & Tunic from Oliver + S.  It is super cute, but what hooked me was the pockets!  If I could have a casual dress to wear every day this summer that had pockets in it, I would be a happy camper.

Then, last night Cal Patch tweeted about her Creative Bug Pattern Drafting Workshop.  I have been taking Lisa Congdon’s drawing class and it has been really fun.  I had also been eyeing Cal’s A-Line skirt classes, so I’m thinking this might be perfect!  I’m not sure I fully have the skills for it, but that’s the joy of doing these sorts of things from home…it is okay if it takes me forever to do something that others can do in a shorter amount of time, the key is just learning it.

And finally, there are the patterns I’ve looked at for a while, but never actually taken the time to sew, like Made By Rae’s Ruby Dress & I just noticed her Josephine top, I’ve also been itching to make some simple jersey skirts, or regular skirts with jersey waistbands.

We’re busy this weekend, so I probably won’t get the chance to sew much until sometime next week. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to be inspired by people like Ysolda, Jaime & Amber, and others, while also stalking finished items of the patterns I mentioned above.  Maybe eventually I’ll actually get my machine back out!

The Arrow Led Here

I had a lot of fun doing Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow shawl mystery knit along (finished pictures below – if you’re still avoiding spoilers).  I had never done one, and it was exciting to see what was coming next each week.  I did pretty well staying up with the clues until the end, and it has taken me a while to get them finished.  This is my first one.  The second one might hibernate for a bit while I work on a few other things, but I am looking forward to getting back to it.

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I did clues BBABA for this one.  It is in Anzula Haiku – a Merino/Bamboo/Nylon blend.  I am always amazed by the magic of blocking a lace item.  You can see it here while it was still on the needles.  It just bloomed so beautifully and has such a great drape.  I’m still not great at pinning points so that they actually remain pointy.  I need to work on that.

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It is also huge (in the best way!).  This bench is an oversized bench for two people, and it drapes over it and still doesn’t show the full shawl.  It wraps around my neck great and I know it will stay in place whichever way I wear it, which I was a bit concerned about after I did the short row part.

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I’m so excited to see how the second one turns out now!

Hit the Deck

Our 12th anniversary was this weekend, and I wasn’t sure what to do for the husband.  We had bought the stuff to paint the deck and had been shopping for fruit trees, so I decided to try to do a deck makeover for him.  We built the deck last summer, but had to wait for a while before staining or painting it, and we just hadn’t gotten around to it.  He was at a conference through Saturday, so getting home late from work each night, which made keeping it a secret easier (especially since the kiddos were already in bed when he got home).

I started it all Friday afternoon, with a trip to a local nursery & home improvement store to buy plants and supplies, and I finished most of it up Saturday afternoon with the hanging of the plants.  Sunday morning I took him to show him what I had done.  It still didn’t have furniture on it, as I needed his help to get everything back on the deck, but he was excited to have it done & that he didn’t have to do any of the work to make it happen!

Here’s the before picture…pardon the little hand in the upper left, this was taken during one of our “snow” days by a little helper, but it’s a pretty accurate picture of what it looked like (though the orange chairs that are usually there are missing). Deck before

After I painted it, but before the furniture was put back on it, the boys decided a dance party was in order…

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Here’s the after…     Since this picture, I have rearranged the pots on the right, to put the blue pot all the way to the edge and hide the black pot a bit.  I wasn’t sure how the grey patio would look with the brown stuff we already had, but I’m glad I took a chance on it.  I think it looks okay & I really like how the grey looks with the red brick fence we have in the back.

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Here’s the recap:

  • I painted the deck and posts Stonehedge with the Olympic solid deck stain (really more of a paint).  The coverage was good and it was easy to use.  It rained Sunday, so there are places that I’ll need to touch up, as it wasn’t all the way dry before the rain hit.  I’m going to wait and do that Friday since it isn’t supposed to rain this weekend.  I chose a solid color to cover up some previous damage from our grill & firepit.  I also put a mat under the grill to prevent future damage.
  • I bought a dwarf orange and dwarf lime tree and put them in the bright blue pots.  We’re calling it our “beer garden” as we chose those since the both go good in beers ;)
  • I got some tomatoes, peppers and herbs to go in other pots. I think that area will look even nicer as the plants grow.
  • I also made a little centerpiece for our table (more on that later) and bought and hung ferns on the front posts.  I didn’t hang any on the back because that’s where our canopy (seen in the back) connects to provide shade.
  • I added some large pavers to serve as steps up.  They really mostly define the space a bit, but also provide a bit of function.
  • We flipped the table in the back as I think this layout makes better use of the space, and also got rid of some of the other junk that was cluttering up the deck.  It all found a different place to go in and around our house.

I’m pretty happy with all that we accomplished and glad I was able to do it as a surprise to the husband.  It was a lot of fun to pretend I was on one of those HGTV shows ;)  We’re looking forward to spending a lot of time out here this spring and summer!

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