Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Cat Bed Quilt

Sometimes I don’t even know why I bother thinking anything I make is going to be anything ever but a bed for a fat fluffy dictator.

Side note, have you ever seen a photo of Joseph Stalin as a young man? He. Was. Devastatingly Attractive. In a super indie way. Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes on THIS:

DylFIRight? RIGHT? If you saw that guy at a bougie bar over an expensive cocktail you would be pretty into it, right? The hair. The hair is so good.

At any rate, I finished this quilt last night, and even before I had fully finished hand stitching the binding on the wrong side, someone decided this was his new favorite thing.

CBQ 1I think if you look closely you can see a pin sticking out or two. And yet look at that face, that face says, back off, bitch, this is mine now. And he’s been pretty committed to that position ever since:

CBQ 2The pattern comes from See Kate Sew, and you can find her instructions and the triangle template here. As my third quilt ever, this thing was super simple and relatively fast, by quilting standards. I like it a lot, it’s a crib quilt but it just covers my body, and it’s a nice if rather ornamental layer for my bed. But who am I kidding, this thing is clearly for my cat and my cat alone. Even as I type this, he sleeps on it contentedly.

But take a look at the whole thing!

CBQ 4I started this as part of the stashbusting challenge and it really only took me about 3 and a half weeks working on it intermittently as I did other projects.

CBQ 5For the back I used a vintage sheet and I put in a strip of pieced fabric from the front fabrics, which I really like doing. I think it’s really cute. I bound the quilt with the bright blue fabric.

CBQ 6This is all scrap, baby! The blue, the blue stripe, the aqua and the white are all vintage fabrics, two of which I dyed, the blue and the aqua. The pink was scraps from a dress I made my mother, which I have yet to blog, and the floral print with birds comes from this dress.

Can we talk for a moment about how quilts are hard to photograph? Because they are. They really are.

CBQ 7So, quilting. Well, I can’t say I adore adore adore it, but it really does satisfy something in me, the part of me that loves using scraps and loves combining colors and loves making something so homey. So I’m going to keep making them, but never fear, quilt/cat beds are all well and good, but garments have my heart.

Do you think this counts as sewing something for others?

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Challenge, Quilting, Scrap

The At Last Skirt

I have finally found a pencil skirt pattern that works for me.

I HAVE FINALLY FOUND A PENCIL SKIRT PATTERN THAT WORKS FOR ME. This is a big flipping deal, people. Pencil skirts are hard, guys, they hard just plain hard! But I really wanted a good pattern, for the LONGEST time, and I tried all sorts of things out until I found my new favorite favorite pattern, this vintage 1950’s treasure:

il_fullxfull.322568856

Simplicity 4529. It’s actually a rather amazing pattern, 10 darts, 1 yard of fabric, fun all around. I actually tried this pattern once before with a stretch fabric, and that, as I discovered, was some bad news bears. That skirt turned out way too big on me, and it just never really clung the way a good pencil skirt should. I wanted so much from it, and it gave me nothing, it was very sad, I cried many a salt tear over that failure.

But for whatever reason, my instinct was, try this pattern again, and this time, do it in a non-stretch fabric. And lo and behold, look what I came out with?

TAL 9

And it looks, if I do say so myself, baller! I love this skirt, I really do. I shortened the pattern by about 5 inches (this is LONG, and I am short), but otherwise made zero changes.

TAL 1

I’m pretty into the fit of this. Oh, and I made that shirt, too. The sage of that nonsense can be read here.

TAL 2

I wore this on Valentine’s Day, a day in which I went to class, went to kickboxing, and made dinner for my roommate and we drank wine and watched Nashville. So, it was pretty perfect in all ways.

TAL 3

Obviously, given the nature of this skirt, it’s important that you see the back view. Much as I might blush to put this on the interwebs, I will sacrifice in the name of sewing.

TAL 7I hand picked the zipper, and chose a tortoiseshell button, which I thought was fun.

Also, there is only one seam in this ten dart skirt, and I finished that with bias tap. I adore the back vent, I really do. It’s hard to photograph, though:

TAL 5That is just the weirdest pose. Here, try it this way:

TAL 8

And I hand stitched the hem, of course. As one does.

I just, I adore this pattern. I love the fit, I think it really works for me, and I am so thrilled that I made this unbearably practical plain black skirt, and I can’t wait to make this pattern in other fabrics. I have a red wool I got a year ago that I think might be just perfect, don’t you? A red pencil skirt, doesn’t that just delight your mind?

Is there a pattern you have been trying for a while to find a perfect version of? Any luck? I feel so thrilled to have finally figured out a pattern that works for me, I can’t even deal with it. Very Joan Holloway, no?

Oh, and this is me with my Valentine:

TAL 6Crazy cat lady status achieved.

 

23 Comments

Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Sew Grateful Giveaway Winners! (And Status Reports)

First and foremost, the giveaway winners! Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway, and might I add, I am so grateful for all of YOU. This sewing community is just the best thing that ever happened for my sewing journey, and I just adore how generous and smart and funny and sweet and interesting and talented you people all are, I love your stories, I love your struggles and I love your support. I have learned more from you fellow bloggers then I could have possibly learned on my own, and now, as I work in a costume shop, everyone makes fun of me for how often I say, “I learned it on a blog!”. Let them laugh. You people are amazing. I just hope that I measure up in some small way to all the talent I see out there on the interwebs.

Oh, and thanks for putting up with the cat photos, too. And for those who enjoy them, YOU ARE WELCOME.

Now, the winners!

McCalls 7362 goes to Kat H!

Vogue 2077 goes to AlaAmelia!

Simplicity 6309 goes to Karen Jones!

Advance 8622 goes to Mo!

Vogue 6910 goes to Laurie Glover!

Butterick 3097 goes to Lynne!

McCalls 8930 goes to jackieNj!

Simplicity 9254 goes to Brigid Boyer!

And there you go. Winners, please contact me by leaving me your email address in a comment so I can send you your patterns!

And I also wanted to let you nice people know what I have planned for the future. First of all, I have some garments to photograph and post (surprise, surprise, my productivity always outstrips my documentation). Also, my stash busting challenge continues with sewing for others and quilting! And, of course, given that I’m a busy graduate student with very little time, I’ve signed up for two NEW challenges! WHAT. IS. MY. DEAL.

First and foremost:  SFVlogo300

I’ve entered Lucky Lucille’s Sew For Victory Challenge! I have to make a 40’s garment (or more….) by the 29th of March. Let’s see how that goes for me, shall we? I’m so excited to see what everyone makes! More inspiration posts and decision-making dilemmas to follow….

AND of course how could I possibly miss Julia Bobbin (who is a proud new mother to a simply gorgeous new person…) hosting another Mad Men Challenge? Me, who is so mad for Mad Men that when a classmate said it was boring I declared him dead to me? So I’m obviously all in for that, too.

mmc27Who to emulate, who to emulate…The due date for this one is the 19th of April. As my life if ruled by deadlines these days, I suppose I will just fit these in too, somehow…

Have you been entering any challenges lately? Are you participating in these two? Have I inspired you, or made you run screaming?

 

9 Comments

Filed under Challenge, Giveaway

I am Sew Grateful: Giveaway!

Oh, goodness, is it Sew Grateful week already? My lord, how the time, she flies! And yet I am so unbearably grateful for the sewing community at large, and all of my readers, and really everyone out there who makes stuff and puts it on the interwebs and answers questions and alters and fits and obsesses and knows what I mean when I talk about seam allowance. But there will be time enough for that sort of gushing on Tuesday, for now, the giveaway!

I have nine vintage patterns I’m giving away to you lucky ducks. The way this will work is, the giveaway is open for a week, so from today, Monday the 4th, until next Monday the 11th. Let me know in a comment what pattern you would like, and I will draw a winner for each pattern on the 12th. I will ship anywhere, so please, enter if you want it! A lot of these would be excellent for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Copy Cat Challenge, which I am more then excited to enter, having had a huge blast doing it last year.

1. Bust 38

SGGA 1

2. Bust 38 SGGA 23. Bust 37 (I’ve actually made this one!)SGGA 34. Bust 36

SGGA 45. Bust 36SGGA 55. Bust 38SGGA 66. SGGA 78.

SGGA 89. Bust 37 (So very Megan from Mad Men, no?)SGGA 9

So just let me know which one you want, and, if you have a moment, tell me your favorite thing about sewing! My favorite thing? Oh, dear, there are so many but I would have to say I really enjoy pressing, odd as that sounds….

62 Comments

Filed under Challenge, Giveaway, Vintage

The American Apparel Knock Off Dress

I have to admit, I am completely a dress person. I’m a formal person in general, as it turns out. My grandmother was a formal woman, and my mother inherited her sense of what is and isn’t appropriate, and now I kind of have that too. Like, for example, jeans. As a kid my mom wouldn’t let us wear jeans on European vacations. Or any vacations. At all. And now I do sort of thing jeans are a bit, I don’t know, casual, when you travel, and I don’t wear them. Of course, these days everyone wears jeans and it’s no longer the thing that marks you as an ugly American, but still. Some things infuse your identity and never let go. Like, when I was going to Hebrew school my mom put me in skirts and dresses every week. That sticks with you. So I like skirts and dresses. But I also like being warm. And comfortable. Which is not something my grandmother thought of as a concern, but what are you going to do.

So I’m always looking out for dresses that fulfill my sense of wanting to dress nicely and my sense of comfort and warmth and ease of wearing, because let’s be real, not all dresses, gorgeous as they are, are easy to wear and live in all day/night. The obvious solution to this is a knit dress, no? And I have a good knit dress pattern, my beloved Dixie DIY Ballet dress, which I’ve been tweaking over a series of versions, and here is what I have finally come out with:

AAKO 2I have to say, I’m pretty into this dress. It’s unbearably comfortable, probably because of the hellishly soft stretchy lycra cotton blend fabric I got from PA Fabric Outlet the last time I was home in Philadelphia and had time to fabric shop. I still have quite a bit of this left yardage-wise, and my brother has requested pillowcases, but even with that I might be able to scrape together a shirt or something, which is great, because it’s warm and cozy and lovely.

AAKO 4

Here is a full body shot, complete with my tights/socks combo,which I have found makes every day a bit better as your feet are a touch warmer.

AAKO 9

What did I do to the pattern, you ask? Well, I extended the bodice by two inches to have it hit at my natural waist. I lowered the neckline by about two inches at the lowest point, and I slimmed down and extended the sleeves. Were I to make this again, which I probably will, despite my resolution to sew different things, I would slim the sleeves even more and extend them to the wrist. And I changed out the skirt Dixie provides us with with a half-circle skirt. Love the swish. Oh, and I cut the back bodice and back skirt piece in two pieces each and seamed them up. I really like doing this for fabric efficiency purposes, but also I don’t think you can really see it, can you?

AAKO 16

I’m sorry about these photos being indoor ones and not the best light, I forced my wonderful parents to snap these when I went home for a benefit for Pig Iron Theatre Company. I wore this dress to work at the costume shop before I took the bus home (which was HORRIFIC, never take Megabus, seriously, every time it’s late and every time I think, why is this happening? and this time it was COLD and it picks you up at 12th and 34th which basically feels like you are about to fall off the edge of Manhattan, just don’t do it. Take the Bolt. Learn from my mistakes) and one of my lovely co-workers gave me the ultimate compliment. He said, that looks like you just stole it from an American Apparel! Hence the name.

Being home is a great opportunity to squeeze multiple cats:

AAKO 6AAKO 5AAKO 3

Squeeze ALL the cats! Don’t tell Cadfael I was cheating on him…

And then we went to the benefit! Which is and always is awesome.

AAKO 8That’s Miss Martha Graham Cracker. She’s a rockstar.

AAKO 11

I paired my dress with a cream wrap sweater from Buffalo Exchange, and of course, wine.

I’m quite happy with this dress, I really am.

AAKO 14

But I couldn’t match the majesty that is Martha Graham Cracker:

AAKO 10

AAKO 13Not everyone can pull that look off, now, can they? I love her. Dito van Reigersberg, aka Martha in daily life, is just so insanely talented. Check out this version of Life on Mars. Magnificent.

AAKO 12But I tried. I really tried.

So this month’s Stashbusting challenge is to sew for other people! I need to get on that…any requests?

21 Comments

Filed under Clothing, Dixie DIY, knit, Sewing

Fighting and Scrapping

Boy, I came a bit late to the Stashbusting Challenge game this month, now, didn’t I! And yet I am still trying to fit some scrap usage in before it’s too late. So in light of that, I spent my Sunday cutting out a fair number of projects for little bits of fabric, in the hopes of at least making a gentle dent into my enormous scrap pile. What have I been concocting here in Brooklyn? Step into my lab…

I am a compulsive fabric saver. I just can’t stand to let even the tiniest scrap go by the wayside, and that is not a great quality for someone who lives in New York. Or, really, someone who lives. You just can’t save it all, you can’t use every fiber and flash of fabric, it’s not humanly possible. And yet, I try.

The thing that I loathe throwing away the MOST is jersey. So I went on a hunt for scrappy projects that involve that material. It’s not easy, honestly. There are a ton of things you can do with scraps of quilters cotton or even apparel weight cotton. Like make little mice for your little cat (or dog):

Scrap 3

I honestly forget where I found this template, but I know if you google “mouse toy diy” you will find just a million and one templates and tutorials and ideas. I have made many of this pattern for friends and no cat has ever neglected to enjoy this when a bit of catnip goes into the stuffing.

But back to my jersey woes, I have, of course, found the obvious solution to small pieces of stretchy jersey left over from knit projects:

Scrap 2

So I made a bunch of underwear, of course. I’m not going to model it for you. That would be weird. My mom reads this.

But what do you do with LARGER jersey scraps that you love, that AREN’T the kind of stretchy material that would make for comfortable underwear? Because having attempted underwear with 2-way stretch fabric, that is just some bad news bears. So I hunted down a way to use such pieces, and I found this! The Dixie DIY Portia Top, a pieced pattern suitable for lightweight wovens AND knits! Yay!

Scrap 7

Cute, no? It’s a bit big on me, which is weird, because I cut it down to an extra-small to fit onto the fabric I had, hoping it wouldn’t be too tight, and there you go, still loose. Bizarre. The printed fabric is leftovers from this dress, and I got it originally from Girl Charlee (guess what? Girl Charlee now has a blog where you can submit projects you made with their amazing knits! Do it!). The white comes from a t-shirt that I never wore because it was huge on me. So there you go, refashioning and stash busting all at once!

Scrap 8Sorry about the less-then-stellar photos. I finished this about an hour ago and wanted to post about it as soon as possible. I’ve just missed the January deadline, sigh, but that’s okay, I’m glad I got to use a bunch of scraps!

Scrap 9This is the back view. A bit blurry, sadly.

This shirt is fairly easy to put together, despite all the pieces, and really you could do all kinds of color combinations, which is cool. I would make it smaller next time, trimming everything down a bit, because it’s really quite blousey for a knit top, but I like it and I’m sure it will be airy and cool come summertime. The only changes I made were not gathering the sleeves (because I didn’t know that was a step, sigh) and changing the cuffs to a binding on the sleeves.

I just really think this is kind of a cool top, and I like the scrappy nature of it, I do! It’s like a t-shirt/quilt. I like it! Would you guys be into something like this or is it just too weird?

Scrap 10For all my travels, it’s nice to be back with Cadfael!

And I’ve also started a quilt! I’m using a free pattern from See Kate Sew, a blog I have just discovered and fallen madly in love with, like I do. She’s looking for pattern testers for clothing for little people, if you are interested…

But I’m making this quilt:

cribShe has this free pattern on her blog, and it looked fun and easy. I might add strips to the sides to make it a bit bigger, but for now, these are my fabrics:

Scrap 1

Of course, it’s really hard to bust your stash when your amazing friends keep GIVING YOU NEW FABRIC! What the hell, awesome friends? Why you gotta be so amazing? To be fair, of the two gifts of fabric I got recently, one I did see coming, as I asked my friend Rohan (hi, Rohan!) to bring me fabric back from India, from whence he comes. Don’t worry, I gave him some rum from Puerto Rico as a thank you…

Scrap 4I have just under three yards of each of these three fabrics. WHAT? Rohan is a marvelous man. And god, he has astoundingly good taste, right? I love each of these, they are so lovely! The orange border print, the ikat, the blue? I LOVE THEM ALL. I don’t know what I’m going to DO with them, but I will figure something out, I’m sure..Well done, Rohan, well done. More rum for you.

And then, my glorious roommate Emily got me fabric too! WHAT? Yes. My other equally glorious roommate Jenny got me this compilation of plays, so I honestly can’t decide which of these two ladies I’m more in love with right now, but hey, luckily I live with them and don’t have to choose! (I made them nice gifts too, I promise!) Look what Emily scored for me:

Scrap 6Is that…LIBERTY OF LONDON? You bet your ass it is. A. Mazing. And the blue behind it is just buttery as all get out, I love it! What to do, what to do with these amazing stash building gifts? My poor stash, it’s one step forward, three steps back with me.

Scrap 5Cadfael says, this is mine now. I likes it.

4 Comments

Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Quilting, Scrap, Sewing