Okay so remember how I was all like I NEED A NEW TUNIC ASAP? Well. You know. I’ve asked for a lot of things in like. I’ve asked for a production of my plays (more on that later). I’ve asked for more wine when the wine was gone. I’ve asked for one thousand cats but then my cat looked at me with disdain and I took it back immediately. I’ve asked for more books to read and they came. So honestly, many things I’ve asked for have come true, all because I asked for them. And then I asked the universe for a new tunic pattern, something I liked better. And you know what? I found one. UNIVERSE. You’ve done it again!
I had been looking for a pattern for my mother-in-law, actually, which sort of proves that getting married was a clutch move for me as its led to positive things like this new pattern (and, like, a life with someone, whatever to that though). She bought a few shirts here when she was visiting the States from India and asked me to make her a shirt, and I had been trying to find something she might like ever since and stumbled upon this pattern on the magnificent GirlCharlee.com which seemed like one she would like. And then I was like, I ALSO like this, a lot….
And so I bought this pattern, the Everyday Elegance Top from Patterns for Pirates, and made it. And fell madly and deeply in love with it. And took it to Portland, which I also loved. And had Mr. Struggle take photos of me in the Japanese Garden which is part of the Forest Park Conservatory and simply stunning. JUST LIKE MY SHIRT!
Couldn’t you just see me in a Russian Propaganda musical? I could! I would love that! I would be so into that! It is, I know, rather wrinkled in these photos because that’s what the rain and being packed in a suitcase can do to a garment. Sorry, but doesn’t the background make up for it?
The construction was fairly simple. The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray from Fabric.com. I made this with french seams throughout, like you do. I lengthened the sleeves and omitted the button tab in this version but I would like to make about ten more of these with different things going on. And then maybe one for my mother-in-law. I owe her.
Yes, yes, wrinkle abound. But it’s cute, right?
Seriously. Go to Portland because it’s really nice, and when you do, go to this park. So. So. So nice. And when you do, bring this tunic with you! I did, see how well it worked for me!
I love this pattern. I want to make it forever. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE!
See? Don’t ask, don’t get.
Hey, party people! You readers have always struck me as an amazing, funny, wonderful crowd of very tolerant people (as evidenced by your enjoyment of/bearing with my blog….) and I want to share with you something I made recently. Basically, about a year and a half ago I wrote a web series. Just a short few sketches, basically, something to pass the time while I probably should have been writing something else. I passed these little scripts over to my friend Victoria, who thought they could be more than just little scripts, and despite my feelings that she was just being nice, she persisted with her belief to the point that we got a filmmaker involved whose name was (and still is) Joe. And Joe also enjoyed these scripts, and I was like, okay, that’s neat, shut up guys, don’t be weird. But they WERE weird and they wanted to make them and I was like, well, if you insist…. and so we did! And apparently people actually LIKE them because we ran a kickstarter campaign that was totally fully funded and in fact over-funded, and we’ve gotten rave reviews (aka friends being like, this isn’t terrible!) You can check out the series here, or watch the episodes right now!
And just so you know, I didn’t just write this thing, I did all the costumes! Which was a ton of fun, actually.
Some of them were simple alterations, like for Ella and Char:
Don’t they look so very Disney goes to prom? You can, by the way, have a Disney themed prom dress. And a Disney themed wedding. I know this as for some reason I’m now on an email list for Disney weddings. The internets is creepy.
Some of the costumes were more of a styling job, like for Aurora and Phillip.
Our Phillip, who is featured on the new show Younger, brought his costume, and our Aurora got our most hipster interpretation possible. Like you do.
And some, like Aladdin and Jasmine got full re-make treatment. Aladdin got tailoring and alteration for his pants and lavender shirt, but I completely re-made a Zara bubble-top to make our Jasmine’s flowy hi-lo crop top, and I hacked apart this crazy Florida-retiree elastic waist trousers into some cuffed Jasmine harem pants.
It was insanely fun, actually, to come up with these ideas for modern interpretations of Disney costumes for the show!
Because of our successful kickstarter, e’ve got more episodes coming up with more home-made costumes, so stay tuned! And if you enjoy these, people, pass them on!
Now to my own clothing efforts. Enough of this sewing for others nonsense.
I have a new disease that I’m going to coin a term for called pattern fatigue. Basically this occurs when you have used a pattern too often and you are sick of it, but unable to find anything else you keep making it until the sight of it makes you sad. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do feel that I could diagnose this in others, as I have in myself. Basically, I’m just over this one tunic pattern that I have and I really need a new one but I don’t have another that I love (well, actually, I DO now, post to follow! But when I made this top I didn’t so let’s operate under that mentality, shall we? ) so I made another tunic with the same damn pattern I always use and while the fabric is great, I’m just, like, SO over it.
That look on my face says it all. Doesn’t it? It’s easy to make but I need something new, with a better fit in the bust and more shape. As I mentioned, I totally have a new and better thing now but AT THE TIME I didn’t!
Meh. Whatever. Total pattern fatigue, guys. Never mind that, though, CHECK OUT MY WEBSERIES!!!!
This always happens, doesn’t it, you plan a bunch of things for a season, you end up not doing them and resenting that season because you get sick of the weather, and then, as the season FINALLY draws to a close, you find yourself scrambling to do even a fraction of those things because you now feel it might almost be too late! Because you will NEVER get that season back again! Because you’ve forgotten how time and weather works! Suddenly you feel a sense of strange and potent urgency. Must make more things that I can only wear for, like, three more weeks! Or is this just me?
Come to think of it, I realize that while I don’t suffer from fomo, I might have the opposite problem in that I might suffer from late to the partyitis. I think it takes me a while to get excited about change, and so by the time I’m really in the zone for a new thing, it’s already almost over. I will never be, I know, an early adapter of anything, except perhaps of television. In five years people are going to be having iPhones implanted in their hands and I’m going to be like, iPhone 6, I think I like it! Maybe I should get one!
So now that it’s finally feeling like spring might be imminent someday somehow here in New York (hahaha I’m just kidding it’s going to snow soon it will never be Spring oh my god people in New York are going to revolt!) I know I should be all about the lightweight fabrics and the showing of the skin, discarding wool for cotton, but guys, I just can’t bear too, not quite yet, not when I had this idea for a skirt in my mind that I knew would be awesome. And no amount of slightly warmer weather was going to stop me from making it! So despite the fact that I should be making aspiration warm weather clothing as an effort to entice Spring into coming and as an offering to the great Sewing Gods, I didn’t. If we get more snow, it’s my fault. Please don’t tell anyone. People will hurl rotten vegetables on my new skirt.
I had a small length of bright lovely felted blue wool from my days working in the costume shop that I knew would be a fantastic skirt with a ton of structure, and I also had Deer and Doe’s gorgeous Chardon pattern, which I had been itching to try. Why did I wait this long? For literally no reason whatsoever. I ended up playing with the pleats and changing the pattern a tiny bit, but still, I believe the spirit of the skirt in intact, and I couldn’t be happier, because boy, does this skirt have spirit. If this skirt was an extracurricular activity it would be the pep squad. Check it out, if you don’t believe me!
It’s like I’m wearing a bell! I ended up omitting one pleat so that I have four in the front instead of five, but I think it’s pretty cute this way too! I liked the volume but I also thought that it might look nicer on me with a flatter front.
How lovely is this color? I love it so deeply. I feel like this makes it a little transitional, right? A bright color for spring? No? The wool isn’t that heavy, actually, despite it being felted, and it actually felt lovely on the balmy 45 degree March day I wore it out on recently. Whatever, I’m not going to apologize for my fear of change, and if this skirt can get me from winter to spring, I’ll take it. It has even cheered me up this week when I’ve transitioned from a slight fever to a rather nasty and debilitating cold. So if it can help me through that, Winter to Spring can’t be SO bad, right?
That’s the look of a person who loves pockets. POCKETS. And these are awesome a deep and lovely, and I like this skirt a lot. I would totally make this again, and try it with the original five pleats, just to see what that’s like. Maybe in a canvas or something lightweight but stiff. I think that what I love about this skirt is its structure and it’s fullness, and I would want something that works with that. Do we think a quilter’s cotton would do it?
Oh, I made the shirt, too! A plantain, en noir, so I can wear it to cafes in Paris and talk about the disillusion of the human spirit and stuff. Or, just, you know, with EVERYTHING. It’s a black shirt. Everyone should have one of these. Everyone should have ten. Everyone I know does. Remember when black was something you wore for mourning? Me neither. It made it out of a slightly stretchy rayon knit which is actually fairly comfortable despite its low stretch. Just your standard Deer and Doe Plantain. I’ve made maybe 15 of these now. I’m not kidding in any way.
I had anticipated putting the belt loops in this skirt, but the fabric ended up being too thick for that once I made the belt loops, so I had to omit them. That’s alright, though, although I liked the look. Maybe this would be nice in a linen, too, although maybe that would also be a wrinkle monster, just like me. See, I’m thinking about lighter weight fabrics! I’m getting there!
But for now, I’m going to nurse my sickness and enjoy my warm, wool, not at all Spring-forward skirt. Oh, and I’m going to curse daylight savings times too because in the words of the John Oliver show, why is that still a thing?
Jump shot! Haven’t done that for a while, as Mr. Struggle reminded me.
Do you sew for the season you’re in or the season you WANT to be in? I’ve got to warn you guys, I’ve got some more warm clothing coming up, including a coat, sigh…I’m a mess….
Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s cold here in New York. It’s really quite cold. It’s a bit on the scale away from warm. Comparing this to a tropical island would be almost impossible except for the island parts. The east coast is in the middle of a painful freeze and it seems to be taxing all but the most diabolical Christmas special claymation villains. Mr. Struggle, who hails from a sultry exotic climate, turned to me the other day and mournfully asked me when it would be warm again, as though this is somehow under my control. I told him he would have to wait until springtime. I strongly suspect that if he could, Mr. Struggle would hibernate like a bear. Unfortunately none of us are built that way, except actually bears, so we all have to figure out ways to deal with winter, should we live in such places.
Now, honestly, I don’t really mind the cold that much. I like having seasons, I find the weather fairly bracing, and I feel that as long as you have appropriate clothing you can kind of deal with anything. Layers are key, wool is key, etc. Actually the issues I have with winter don’t have much to do with my personal reaction to the weather and have more to do with how awful people become during the months after December.
See, during the holiday season people are very excited and cheerful and everything is romantic and lovely, at least, if you’re into that sort of thing. But people WANT it to snow, the fools, they want that White Christmas any everything. After New Years, though, once the snow has stopped being charming and just looks like sad gray sludge mixed with garbage and rock salt (isn’t New York a magical place?), people grow bitter and take up a great deal of space on the subway with their coats. I do not begrudge them the coats. I feel weird when I see someone whose coat is not made of down when the temperature is under 30 degrees. I don’t care how good you think that cloth coat looks. No one looks good with pneumonia. Fact. But people just get grumpy and short-tempered in bad weather and who can blame them, only this is a city of so many people who you sort of wish everyone wasn’t like this at the same time. I know it’s hard to be cheerful when you are freezing and your boots are slowly being eaten by whatever they put on the roads here to prevent ice, but my goodness can’t we just try?
However, I might have this attitude because I try to dress for the weather and make sure I have lots of warm comfortable layers to help me make it through. First of all, you must have sweaters. And maybe you shouldn’t limit them to your upper body….
Maybe you should put them on all over your body! RIGHT? Genius! This is a sweater skirt! I love it so much. It’s gotten really big because wool stretches so it used to be closer fitting and more flattering and better, but I don’t care because I’ve worn it like ten times already so this is only my fault and it’s worth it. This is a wool sweater knit that came from Mood and it is actually the remnant of another garment, this dress! Which I also wear all the time these days because this wool is seriously warm. This wool is thick and cozy and actually not really itchy at all, so it’s basically a miracle. The only issue is that it stretches, so the waistband has already stretched and you are going to see some fun gaping on that subject in the side view. I have already washed it and it didn’t quite return to its original size so….who knows, really. Ah, well. It’s warm. That’s all that matters right now.
See, you can see a little bit of sagging in the fabric. What do you guys do to tighten up your wools? Anything? It’s okay, honestly, just wondering, though. So the pattern was Colette Patterns Mabel, which I lengthened and took in at the hem to give it a more pencil-skirt shape. It was insanely easy to put together. That is all.
Here we go. See the back-gaping? Upside, I can fit a lot in this waistband, downside, will it stay in place? One never knows. So there you have it, a little something to help beat the cold. As for Mr. Struggle, he’s avoiding the outside world as much as possible, forcing me to bring him supplies and report to him what’s going on. Hmmm, maybe he IS hibernating….
Of course, there are some who would say it’s madness to wear skirts in winter at all. To those I would say, I can’t hear you over the feeling of insane warmth in my legs from this SWEATER SKIRT.
Hey, there, people! So sorry for the long delay in posting, though I know that with all the internet content out there very few people even noticed because you know, reality television exists. I have to say, the holidays make hell with my posting. I’ve made a lot of things, but my work schedule is crazy and I can never get them documented, and then I’m spending all this time making gifts for other people and KNITTING which takes so much damn time, it really makes you appreciate sewing, right? Knitting really encourages me to see more movies because that’s when I end up knitting the most, otherwise I will never get it done. That being said, there are a lot of bad movies out there, and I would know, I’ve dropped stitches through all of them.
So I feel I should give you a quick recap on my January. Let’s see, a lot of sewing, working, more working, sewing, surviving the New York winter, getting into Jane the Virgin (SERIOUSLY WATCH JANE THE VIRGIN IT’S AMAZING) and then being sad that I watched Jane the Virgin so quickly and now I have to wait for more episodes. Oh, and wedding planning and life and writing and whatever. All such non-important nonsense because it has nothing to do with Jane the Virgin.
I am seriously jealous of the insanely good costuming throughout that show, for women AND for men. It’s set in Florida so everyone looks warm and happy all the time. Now, I’m not actually that anti-winter. I don’t mind the cold much, I grew up with this weather over in Philadelphia and do so enjoy wool. But watching this bright and sunny show after trudging through the sludge of the city does make me just the slightest bit jealous. The thing about New York in the winter is that it just destroys your sense of dressing, for most of us, at least. Your boots get eaten by salt, your body grows due to puffy coats, layers and, to be fair, eating your feelings, which makes subway rides even more crowded, and at some point you just figure, god, why am I bothering to look nice? Let me just lean into this, invest in the biggest sweater I can find, and call this a look. It’s deeply tempting to do this, and I admit, I have. Additionally, on the days I’m working from home, writing on the couch, it’s even MORE tempting to just live in pajamas, especially of the flannel variety. But I’m trying to feel a little more pulled together even when I’m writing, because it’s important to take writing seriously and treat it like the job that it is, so I have decided that even my lounge-wear needs to be nice, and, if possible, handmade.
I made both of these pieces over a month ago at least, and hadn’t gotten around to documenting them before yesterday because it’s hard to pry them off of my body unless it’s to put them in the washing machine.
They are both super-easy to put together. The anima pants have pockets which is just fantastic and the construction is actually fairly fun for those, I liked that a lot. Otherwise these pique knit pants came together like a dream.
Next time I would use wider elastic for the waistband, because the thinner elastic I used makes it a little bunchy, but hey, these are basically high-class sweatpants, does anyone actively care? My laptop sure doesn’t and that’s the real audience for these….
There were no other fitting issues. I cut a medium for the top and the bottoms, and they both fit like a dream, but to be fair, these are comfortable knits, the fit is, shall we say, an easy thing. But the last thing you want when wrestling with words on a page is a woven, I can assure you…
The shirt is super easy, I love it. The hi-lo thing, I wasn’t initially a fan but I kind of like it now, and when I wear this with real pants I throw a tank top on underneath, and there you go. Layers. Like an onion of an outfit.
The fabric for the pants came from FabricMart.com and was insanely cheap, I think it was like 3.50 a yard. I used some to make this skirt. The shirt came from a length of fabric from Paron’s. The cat hair is all Cadfael.
There’s that high-lo for you. I look like I’m in deep pain, but go with it. I promise I’m very comfortable and happy in this outfit. Mr. Struggle, who kindly took these photos, was also kind enough to brush at least a large portion of the cat hair off of me before these were taken. Cadfael also likes this outfit, clearly…
I promise that now that all my gifts have been given and my life has calmed down I will be giving you more posts and more photos! Including wedding updates coming soon! So many things to make, so little time. Why can’t everything be made of Jersey? It really does make things easier….well at least I have my winter writing look down…