Tag Archives: hemlock

The Old Hat Outfit

As I write this I’m sitting in an impossibly fancy cocktail lounge in an impossibly beautifully and grand castle that has been converted into a hotel in Western Ireland. I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I really hope no one kicks me out. This place is stunning and elegant and I keep swirling my cognac like I know what I’m doing and hoping no one notices that my shoes are from H and M. Suffice to say, 2014 is going wonderfully for me so far, how is everyone else doing?

I didn’t do a year-in-review post this year, partially because I was traveling, and partially because I couldn’t really stomach the idea of summing up my year of sewing/life (in that order) in just one post. I have learned so much over the past year, from my continuing work at the Costume Shop, to sewing for other people with its challenges and delights, to trying new projects for myself, I can hardly contain it all. I made a coat! I made yoga pants! I made three swimsuits! (One was for my mom so you didn’t get to see that, she isn’t as brazen as I am, though she looks really good in a swimsuit, never fear.) I traveling a lot of places! I forced so many good friends to take photos of me and, and this part is important, they still say they like me! So I feel happy about what I did, sad for the failures, but I can honestly say that anything that didn’t work on my I either gave away to the Salvation Army or to the Textile Recycling in my neighborhood. I also made the shift to recycling all my fabric scraps, large and small, at the Textile Recycling as well, which makes me feel amazing. So big days.

But I will say, I did not keep my sewing resolutions all that well, or at least one of them. I had vowed last year not to make the same pattern over and over again and yet I think I have done that more this year then ever before. I guess I sort of unintentionally reverse-pyschologied myself. So, well done, self, but also, you are silly. Honestly, maybe this is just a part of growing up, that you realize there are certain things you reach for over and over so you had better make yourself a bunch of those because that’s the best thing for your wardrobe and your getting-dressed-sanity. Is this boring? Maybe. Is it practical? Certainly. Don’t get me wrong, I also tried and will keep trying new patterns, but I think I will also stop beating myself up when I make another of something I love. I might not always document it, but I plan to keep making certain things again and again for the simple reason that I love them, they look good on me, and if it ain’t broke…

So without further ado, I present to you my new Old Hat Outfit, worn on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, in Dublin:

OH 2Do I even have to say this at this point? The skirt is obviously Simplicity 4529. I really need to make another skirt pattern. OR DO I? I don’t know. I love this thing. Ten darts. Curves for days. Kick pleat. Less than a yard of fabric. I may never stop making this. NEVER.

OH 5I only dislike how shirts create a roll underneath pencil skirts. How do I avoid this? Any ideas? The shirt is a Hemlock from Grainline Patterns. I’ve made, like, five of these. It’s a great pattern. I slim them all down and get them out of about a yard of knit fabric. Ha, two yards, one outfit! Style for yards! Don’t groan, that was brilliant. Can’t stop, wont stop.

OH 4It was so cold when we took these but my mom warmed me by making my laugh at myself. She is the best.

OH 8

I was a little worried about the stripes of this fabric, a Costume Shop freebie, by the by, with all the many darts happening here, but somehow it worked pretty well! You can see the darts, of course, but I don’t really mind that. I mind more the small dish soap smudge there, but what can you do? At the side, in an earlier photo, you can see that the large hip dart kind of makes a chevron thing happen, which I personally support.

Oh 6As you can see, I put in a red zipper. Which is showing, quite a bit. I hand-picked it, and it really doesn’t usually show this much, or at all, I promise. Maybe it’s all the hip sass happening here? Could be, could be.

OH 7

The button is a vintage button.

OH 1

This skirt is so warm and cozy, I can’t even describe it. No lining, just soft wool.

OH 3

The fabric from the shirt is from GirlCharlee.com. Obviously. That’s kind of a give-in with my knits at this point, honestly.

OH 10I forced my mother to take these photos (I tell you, that woman is a Jewish Saint, I swear, the princess moments about photos that she puts up with from me. With anyone else I’m like, it’s great, so great, thank you so much, and with my mom I’m like, DO THIS BETTER, GOD, haven’t you ever used a CAMERA before? This woman gave birth to me. What is my deal?) in the courtyard of the former Royal Hospital, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t actually go inside this museum because homie don’t play that with contemporary art (but you get me near some 17th century something something and baby, we got a stew going!) but it’s right across from Kilmainham Gaol, a large prison which has housed some of Ireland’s most important political prisoners and rebellious heroes. It’s an amazing place, and if you ever come here I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out:

OH 12OH 17OH 16OH 15OH 13Grim, isn’t it, and this was a very NICE prison by Victorian standards. Oy.

Okay, enough sadness. here is a cat photo from a nice Irish cat we met:

OH 11So handsome, with those green eyes. Cadfael, forgive me, who can resist a bit of Irish charm?




Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage

The Hijacked Hemlock Top

I am on a ROLL with these knits! Which I shouldn’t have bought. Because I’m not supposed to buy fabric. But let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that I DID buy some fabric sometime, from my favorite online fabric store for knits (and then that opened the floodgates and I bought more from other sites and collapsed into a pile of pain and shame and beautiful beautiful yardage and cried and cried and drank and cried and lulled myself to sleep with episodes of Archer. But hey, you know, we all have lost weekends, right? Also, I’m seriously late to the game on Archer. And I love it. Which everyone told me I would. So way to be right, EVERYONE. I hope you feel SOOOOOO good. Because I do. Splooge.)

Speaking of rolls, I recently went to a woman’s roller derby game, for class. FOR CLASS. I love clown college so very much.¬† Basically it’s a class where you go out and experience audience cultures and experiences that blur the line between audience as spectator and audience and participant. So I got to go to the roller derby. Like you do. And circumstances conspired that I ended up going alone, which was actually pretty fantastic, because I had an adventure and met this guy named Abner who insisted I sit with him and his friends, former roller girls, and a current player on the Bronx Gridlock (the names, the names, they are so amazing! Brooklyn Bombshells, Queens of Pain, Manhattan Mayhem, get it? Subtle they aren’t, but that doesn’t mean there is no cleverness involved…) Cherry Napalm. Which isn’t even the best name, because they are all so amazing, but I think my vote goes to Angela Slamsbury and/or Puss and Glutes. Roller derby. I have no idea how it works (maybe even less now, if that’s possible) but it’s awfully col and really girl-power centric, which I can’t help but adore. And the fans, man, bleed for their teams. Which is good. Because that game is violent, and the teams bleed for the fans enough, someone should be returning the favor.

And of course I’m enough of a vain person to wonder, when going to attend a new experience, um, what am I going to wear? I wanted to look cool, and be comfortable, and not seem like I was totally out of place at the game (which I was, but it was still awesome). I didn’t have anything in my wardrobe that I thought would work….. But I had a sewing machine and a yard of knit and a free pattern, Jen from Grainline’s Hemlock Pattern. So I was good to go. Have you seen this pattern? It’s a must make, it really is, Grainline is awesome, I’ve drooled over their patterns for months without daring to buy any because they seemed fit for ladies with, well, shall we say, more demure frontal regions? But this one seemed appropriate for my form, and besides, what did I have to lose? It’s free!

One problem? I didn’t have enough fabric to make it. The pattern is loose and meant to be large and I only had a yard of 60″ stripey cotton stuff. But I figured, this is a pretty boxy blousey t-shirt, I bet I could put it on a diet and make it work. So I did:

HH 1And you know what? It fit like a dream!

HH 2 I wave to my own shadow. Hey, buddy! Glad I didn’t lose you like that irresponsible jerk, Peter Pan. What a rube…

HH 4Because sometimes I fail at all things, I cut the front piece on the wrong fold, that is, I ended up having to chop it into two pieces, which kind of sucks under any circumstances, but in this case, this is a striped fabric. WHAT. THE. WHAT. BUT I think I made it work, stripe matching wise, and while I can see the seam, I can’t see any mismatching, and that’s all that matters, right?

HH 5Other then take about 2 inches off of each pattern piece width-wise, including the sleeves, resulting in a slightly more fitting but still quite lose top. I also lengthened the sleeves to full length and lengthened the hem, which makes it fun and tunicy. Which is a word I just made up. Enjoy.

The back is a little off but I can totally live with that, as long as the sides and front line up well. And they do! Even the shoulders form nice little chevrons. And I did all this with a yard. Throw. Me. A. Parade.

HH 6I like this pattern a lot, I’ve actually made it twice now, and the first is often worn but a little boring so not blog-worthy. But this one I thought could represent them both, and show you what it looks like when it’s reduced in size and covered in black stripes.HH 7The neckline, for all to see. You choose your own thickness¬† in the pattern pieces. Seriously, this is such an easy shirt to make, I don’t know why everyone isn’t doing it!

HH 3This free pattern is a pretty wonderful one, I must say, and someday maybe I will make it the way it’s meant to be made, but for now, I like my skinny Hemlocks, and no one at the roller derby seemed to mind, so….and trust me, you don’t want to make those ladies angry. They will mess you up.



Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit