Category Archives: Planning

A rare planning post

While many plan with the seasons, I have decided to plan anyway in this season-less land. I do very much miss seasons, and someday I will spend more time back in a place that has them, but for now, this nonsense doesn’t really cut it. Funny story, talking to a shopkeeper the other day, I asked him how he was enjoying the comparatively cooler (that is, like 7 to 10 degrees Fariegnheit cooler) weather in Mumbai. Mumbai winters usually last a week or two, with low humidity, days in the 80’s, evenings in the high 60’s, a veritable winter wonderland. He told me he really couldn’t get used to this weather and it was making everyone sick. I do not understand people sometimes, I swear.

Someone recently asked me what is the most challenging thing I’ve ever made. I couldn’t really think of anything that I thought was so very impressive, although there are things I’ve made that were more complicated than others. I think more about the things I HAVEN’T tried, or don’t as well as I would like to yet. I have actually made two coats, although one I never blogged, but I wasn’t really that happy with either, and rarely wore them. So that is a goal for the future, although spending a lot of time in Mumbai makes that unappealing right now, not just because I would have no opportunities to wear it here and could only bust it out when I’m back in the US or traveling somewhere cool, but also because the idea of constructing it in this hot place makes me sweat just contemplating it. But that is on my sewing bucket list, someday, a really nice well made wool-cloth coat. Ah, winter dreams…

Coat cravings aside, there are a few things I do have planned for myself in the coming months. Some are old patterns I’m excited to revisit, and some are new ones I can’t wait to explore. So here are my 2017 crafting plans so far:

Sewing:

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Ah, yes, that elusive beast the circle skirt. I want one of these, I actually want ten of these, but I want at least one or two. The circle skirt is the best, and while I attach them to dresses, I think I want one or two on their own. Solid colors, preferably grey, to go with everything and make me feel like I’m living all my 1950’s movie star dreams. What I need for this one is actually the fabric. I’m having a tough time finding that idea bottom-weight in a solid color I like here. But I continue to search!

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A blazer! (And a pencil skirt to go with it in a cute little set. Which is patterned!) This one I DO have the fabric for:

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So, do I NEED a suit like this? No. No I don’t. Shut up, you can’t tell me what to do! I have a vision of myself in a polka-dotted skirt-jacket combo and I cannot shake it. I have already cut this out, actually, using the Seamwork Delavan pattern for the jacket, and my skirt block for the skirt. I think a whimsical blazer is just the thing that’s going to take me from writer to whimsical-blazer-wearing-writer. Don’t you?

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Blow blouses. I love these things! This is the year I finally find my perfect one. I do enjoy the Seamwork Addison blouse, which I’ve made twice now (both unblogged, ugh, gotta get on that…). But is there a bow blouse anyone else would recommend? I’m also a big fan of the True Bias Sutton blouse, again, made two, gotta blog at least ONE of them…. I have a very lightweight silk that might be nice…

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Using an old favorite, Simplicity 2017 from the 1940’s which I’ve made one before, I want to make a few pairs of lightweight full-length and possibly culotte length trousers. How amazing do these wide-legged orange trousers look? I’m not sure if I could be so daring in color choice, but maybe burgundy? I’ve tried this out recently with strong results, again, gotta blog that. Sensing a theme?

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I’ve cut out the Colette Rue dress in this floral fabric, which I’m excited to stitch up! And then maybe a plaid version….I know, I’m a copy cat but come on, it’s so cute!

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I have made a lot of Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas and never. blogged. a. single. one. Frankly, I have been nailing down a good fit, and I think my last one really did finally get there so I should probably photograph those, sigh. It’s like, what am I even doing with my time? But this cat fabric was just too fantastic and I’m excited to sleep with kitties.

 

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I totally missed the Ginghamalong, mostly because I couldn’t find any gingham, but of course since then I’ve seen it everywhere. I want a gingham dress! How cute are these? This is clearly a more vague idea because I have no pattern OR fabric for this, but I just love it. Thoughts?

Now, for some patterns that I don’t currently own, but might want to tackle this year:
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Clearly a lot of love for Closet Case this year! But the Sophie swimsuit is so great. I am intimidated by the cups and the construction, but that just means I will have to try to figure it out, which is fun! And the Ebony is straightforward but I love it. Raglan sleeves, yes!

Now, a few quilts (baby gifts)

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I love the See Kate Sew Modern Ombre quilt. Wont it look amazing in these fabrics? Again, a tried and true here, I’ve made this more than once. That’s why I want to try something different, adapting this Purl Soho pattern to cottons:

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Now, beyond the machine, there are a few other things I want to do this year:

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I love these coloring books for grown-ups, mostly because I want to use them as embroidery patterns! Isn’t that mouse amazing? Or the whale? I gotta get stitching on these.

And in knitting news:

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I’m currently two-thirds of the way through this sweater for my mom. I picked up some wool to make myself one too, but let’s see when I finally get through this one. For such a simple pattern, it’s taking me FOREVER….

 

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Filed under Closet Case Patterns, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Planning, Purl Soho, Quilting, seamwork

The Knit Knit Duo

Oh dear god it’s that time again, isn’t it? That post-Halloween Trans-Siberan-Railroad long stretch into the holiday season. That long and lonely road from the euphoria of costumes and candy into the descent into that hell where the whole world feels like a drug store seasonal goods display, all scented with canned pine and fluttering with tinsel and despair. (Sidenote, as it may be apparent, Christmas and I? Not the best of friends. I don’t begrudge it for others and am so happy that other people enjoy it,  but we are not personally tight, if you know what I mean.) And as it so happens, those of us who count Moses as a close friend this year is a damn mess. Let’s talk about the fact that the first night of Hanukkah is also Thanksgiving, shall we? Which makes it….HanThanksgivingukkah. And who can pronounce a thing like that? I tell you, it’s a hard knock life as a chosen person. Like no one has ever made that observation ever…

So my life has been a bit consumed with holiday crafting. And school, that place that makes me write stuff, like you do. And honestly the season being what it is and these cold days freezing my face like they do, well, knitting and I have been getting back together. Look, sewing is totally my boyfriend, we are, like, completely committed to each other and we have our tiffs and we spar but at the end of the day, I always know that’s the thing I want to come home to. But knitting is like my work husband, it fulfills all these needs for me, it comforts me, it flirts with me, I look at it and I think, wow, I could do this all the time! I indulge in that fantasy for a few moments until I realize, I would never leave sewing, sewing is too good to me, I’m just not that kind of girl. But the flirtation persists, especially around this time of year when the weather is cold, as are my hands, and I want to curl up with something soft and warm that wont bite me, like this creature, and gifts need to be made.

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One of the things in this photo is more likely to bite then the other. Can you guess which one? It’s tricky, I know. Take your time. I’ll wait.

So I’m not going to post all of my gifts on this blog because although I hate surprises other people seem to enjoy them and I would not want to deprive anyone of that happiness. But I will show you two projects I recently made that I plan to duplicate in some way for holiday gifts:

First things first, after a swimsuit, can you really be worried about your body on a sewing blog? As it turns out, yes, you very much can. So I was unsure as whether to post about this or not, but I thought, well, screw it. Namaste, people, here is me in self-made yoga pants!KK 4Yeah. I made Yoga pants. That is a true fact about me. Spoiler alert, I also run in these and go to gym classes. But I tend to feel fairly wonderful going to my Monday afternoon yoga class at Yoga to the People, the crunchiest possible Yoga Studio (which, by the way, I very much love), in self made pants. Oh, yeah, and there is enlightenment and self understand blah blah blah the point is HAVE YOU SEEN MY YOGA PANTS? I MADE THEM. I can feel very cool and Brooklyn and authentic in them, I think they give my Warrior One a little kick.

KK 5I had grey fabric left over from many knit projects so I went with the contrasting waistline option. I used this pattern, which was insanely simple to put together. Zig zig stitch all the way through and straight on ’till morning. Seriously,  from assembling the pattern to hemming the pants I think it took me less than two hours. It’s okay to be impressed. A lot of people are.

KK 6Enjoy the backdoor shot, internets. Enjoy.

KK 7I got the black spandex/cotton blend at GirlCharlee, which remains on of my favorite websites in existence to this day.

But what is the point of me standing in these pants, what does that prove to you? In order to see these in action, you probably need to see them in their true element, don’t you?

KK 9See? See? They move and don’t break! I know it sounds silly but when I make something like this I almost expect it to fall apart the second it hits the world, but these have done me proud through a few weeks of work outs now, so I feel confident that they will keep it together, even as I cry because ANOTHER PLANK? SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? Seriously this is an excellent pattern and so very easy to make, I cannot recommend it enough.

KK 8At some point, according to my roommate Emily,who kindly took these photos, I’m just showing off.

My cool t-shirt is from kickstarting my friends’ awesome theater company, Aggrocrag. They are fantastic, check them out.

Oh, and in the midst of my holiday knitting I got a little selfish: KK 1Last year I made this pattern for my friend Allie and ever since then I’ve wanted one for myself, but couldn’t find the time to make it even though it seriously takes no time at all. So this year once I finished a simple scarf that nevertheless took a while, scarves take longer then they should, I believe, new theory, and was already ahead on my crafting schedule (I obviously have a schedule, if you don’t have a schedule how do you get things done? I’m not being facetious, I genuinely don’t know, I cling to my schedule like a shipwrecked sailor clings to a piece of driftwood, I swear.) so I figured I could take a day and make myself this earwarmer. So I did. And this thing is so fast that it literally did take me one day to make it.

KK 2I used Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, one hank, and that stuff, pricey as it is, knits up a dream, and feels like clouds in your hands. And on your head. So it’s kind of worth it, at least in a project like this that is quick and easy and yarn-efficient. Just saying. I’m not making a sweater out of this any time soon, but for something like this it’s nice to insert a little luxury into your life.

KK 3I told Emily I had to have hair up and hair down photos, the hair down ones being the hipster-style, and she was like, Leah, you are taking this photos to put on your sewing blog, I think you have the hipster-style covered. And this is me laughing.

The color on these photos is a bit off (or a mile off) because they are indoor evening shots, so this is what the color of the earwarmer is more like:

KK 10Both of these patterns are quick and fun to make, so if you are looking for gifts for the people in your life, well, look no further. Me, I’m back to my crafting sweatshop to pump out more gifts. Of course, someone might point out that I could BUY gifts for people, but that’s just madness.

How is your November going? Are you excited about the upcoming holiday season or quietly shotgunning mulled wine in the corner hoping it’s all a bad dream? You could be doing both, you know. No judgement.

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Filed under Clothing, Greenstyle Patterns, Knitting, Planning, Sewing

The I Have A Problem Shirt

There are times when, having vocalized a desire, I find myself filled with the need to do that which is exactly the opposite. For example, having recently decided that I should be making new patterns, or at least ones I’m less familiar with, I then go ahead and make this nonsensical little shirt, which is the fourth iteration of a Dixie DIY pattern. Why am I like this? Could it be because I deeply fear change? (Yes, it could be that)

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Or it could be that for whatever reason, I really like this swingy sweet style. It’s so not my normal thing and yet I really like it! It’s comfortable, it’s breezy, I like the way it swings around…

IHAP 5After all, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

IHAP 4Well, come on, I had to make that joke, I’m a human, aren’t I?

I couldn’t tell you why I keep making this pattern over and over again. It’s not the most flattering shape for me, and yet I like it. What is that about, some odd self-destructive tendency? But then, more than one person thought this was cute, unsolicited, so I guess it’s better than I ever thought…

I made very few changes to the pattern, I only lengthened the sleeves slightly. I would have lengthened them more but couldn’t due to a lack of fabric. This shirt only took a yard and a half, so yay for fabric efficiency!

IHAP 6And it does feel wonderful when I swing around… but god, the look on my face here is like I”m being tortured, isn’t it?

The colors actually match Puerto Rico neatly. Don’t you think?

IHAP 3IHAP 2Right? Don’t I fit right into the scenery?

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There is very little else to say about this shirt. Except that I really have to stop making the same thing over an over again. And yet last night I made ANOTHER repeat pattern. What. Is. My. Problem.

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I think maybe it’s comforting to make the same thing over and over again for me, I feel like by the second or third time through I have the pattern down pat and I really know how to make it, and while the bloom is off the rose, so to speak, my final version is usually better then my first (though, not always…isn’t THAT troubling?). But I also think it’s a bit of a laziness/fear thing, like, I know I like this pattern well enough, I don’t worry about the fitting, there are no surprises. But then when I have the finished object, I also have no surprises, and I think that’s starting to get to me. So note to self, after this dress I worked on last night (a cute little number but yet ANOTHER pattern I’ve made to death) I really have to get on the new-pattern thing.

How do you feel about tried and true versus new patterns? Do you get into a re-making rut like I do? Or are you all about new horizons?

In other news, I had vowed as a Sewalution for this year to for real for real get into my stash. And who should swoop in to help me but Cindy! (Side note, if ANY sewing blogger would be a superhero, wouldn’t it be her? I think so, with Walnut has her trusty sidekick…) So I’ve joined in her Stash Busting Sewalong, which is gloriously structured and filled with challenges and monthly themes. Here is my vow:

I, Leah, commit to using 15 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. Additional option: I also commit to not buying any new fabric/patterns/ notions except for needles and thread and zippers until July (my birthday month!).

This month is chock full of Itty Bits, so I will get into my scraps as soon as possible, as the month is almost over! Quick, to the scrap pile….

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Filed under Clothing, Dixie DIY, Planning, Sewing

Spring/Summer 2012 Palette Challenge (And I’ll throw a Me-Made-May in for free!)

Ah, Spring, you are (sort of) here. Well, I’m wearing a sweater right now, and it wont get higher than 57 today, but hey, in THEORY Spring has sprung and it’s time for some planning! And you know how I love to plan…

But first, I should tell you that I’m participating in Zoe’s 2012 Me Made May Challenge! I had a lovely time doing it last year, and Zoe has encouraged repeat offenders to up their game, as it were, so here is my pledge:

I, Leah of strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one if not two self stitched items and one vintage item(including accessories) each day for the duration of May 2012.

Boom. How is that for a challenge?

And additionally, I’m going to be participating in Colette Patterns’ lovely Spring/Summer 2012 Challenge! I love that Sarai has opened it up to both seasons, because now I can merge the seasons and think further ahead into making pieces that transition well! Yay! I’m so down for this.

So here is my palette, as generated by Color Lovers:

So as you can see, we are going Nautical this year.

Can we talk about the fact that every damn year magazines do the same damn thing? Wool and plaid for Fall! Stripes are back for Spring! What the HELL? When did stripes ever leave? At what point were we going to oust sweaters in the Fall? “Bright colors for Spring”. Florals are BACK! REALLY? HOW UNUSUAL. In no way does that corresponding with nature and precedent. It just makes SENSE to wear brights and floral things in the spring and summer and darker tones in the winter. THAT’S OKAY. We don’t have to pretend is a damn revelation every damn season! AM I RIGHT?

Okay, moment of rage over. Back to the planning session.

I’m planning on shopping my stash for this challenge, because god knows I have more than enough fabric to do so.  The one exception might be a dress for Jenny’s wedding. I mean, I MADE one already, but I’m kind of on the fence about it, so…..

Anyway, here is what I’ve got in mind so far. One pair of shorts, four blouses, two dresses and one skirt. I’m really more in the Spring place then the Summer place with this challenge (at least, in this color palette) but hey, that’s okay, right? I do have some summery projects planned, but color-wise they are sort of more wild-cardy so I will save those for June. Let’s look at the combinations, shall we?

1. A Blouse

I’ve been wanting to  make a Jasmine top ever since the pattern came out last Fall. In fact, it was even included in my Fall Palette Challenge goals, but it never came to pass (hangs head in shame). I love the idea of making a Sailor Style one, and of course Mena and MTL had to go and steal my idea…seriously, though I love this combination. I’ve actually already cut this out of navy and white cotton shirting, and I’m just hanging the bias portions and getting ready to sew this thing into existence.

2. A Shirtdress

I already own this pattern, it’s Butterick 2626. I’ve wanted a 1960’s style shirtdress for a while, so let’s see how it goes with this fabric:

which I also already own.

3. Another blouse.

Simplicity 4608, version A (short sleeves) sans pocket. Using this vintage blue and white shirting:

I used that for my truffle muslin (PS I need to have WORDS about the Truffle, more on that later) and for the lining for my jacket. This shirting has really gone a long way.

4. A Skirt:

This is an ebay pattern score (from a lot of 40, guys, I really can’t buy any more patterns…), Simplicity 5196:

Horrible cover outfits aside, it’s actually a simple and sweet bias-cut skirt that I’m doing up in a grey linen/cotton blend. No photo of that, sorry!

5. Another blouse (or two, or three…):I want to make a New Look 6808 (or two). Am I alone in thinking that everyone and their mother has made this blouse? And tips?

With these fabrics:

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And I want to  make this DARLING vintage McCalls 3305:

In this:

6. A pair of shorts, Simplicity 2017. I’ve made these before, and I love them.

This time it’s navy linen all the way:

(All of the swatches from from my sewing book, which I made after being inspired by Sarai of Colette Patterns and it’s proved to be a really helpful tool, especially when thread or zipper shopping.)

7. And finally, another dress, AKA Colette Patterns Lily AKA my new best friend. (I totally bought this as soon as it released even though I don’t need any more patterns and don’t really need to spend money. I am weak in the face of adorable patterns. WEAK.)

I’m not sure what fabric I will use to make this one. How about a bright red linen with white linen accents? Or is that too va-va-voom? I’m just throwing it out there. If you want it, take it. If not, send it on back. (Guess the movie quote!)

So those are my plans for Spring. I actually enjoy these planning posts, both reading other people’s and making my own, but if you don’t, well, feel free to ignore all these ramblings. However, if you DO, what are you working on? Any spring challenges or ideas? What do you want to make as the weather gets warmer?

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Inspiration, Planning