All Mixed Up

Spring is here, finally, and with it all attendant busyness that, I remind myself, is all good things and so WHY AM I SO STRESSED OUT ABOUT IT and having that nightmare where I’m in grad school and it’s the end of the semester but I haven’t done any of the work?

I never had that dream while I was actually in grad school.

Mom told me she wasn’t seeing any Easter dresses she liked in stores. So I made one from “leftovers.” Do they qualify as leftovers when you bought enough for 3 garments? Dubious.

I did make a special trip to Joann for the contrasting fabric.

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Pattern: Tic Tac Toe Dress by Sewpony
Specs: View B, sleeveless, size 5
Fabric: Cotton from Joann
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Piping! Lovely.

It’s the same fabric I used to make MJ”s birthday dress. I thought that birthday dress would be a good backup if this one turned out way too big until I realized I hadn’t seen the birthday dress since, well, perhaps as far back as MJ’s birthday 7 months ago. It’s not in her closet or dresser, that’s for sure. I am losing my mind, and all of the things I am in charge of. Which is everything. I’m a mess, folks.

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Did I sew this neckline twice to get it perfect? YES, I DID.

It’s big, but not too big, and kids this age you can justify making clothes a little larger than necessary, the caveat here being that you need to actually keep track of the thing if you want your kid to wear it more than once.

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When I showed it to MJ she said it was “all mixed up!”. Did she like it? “YES!” Mom says she’s going to be a quilter.

Home away from home

My office is a cubefarm. It’s fine. I’m not complaining. You stop noticing how very, very brown it is after a while. Decorating is not my thing, nor are workplace displays of my personal life or hobbies. I finally put up some photos of the kiddos only after I realized my supervisors were concerned about my commitment to the job. Apparently blank  cube walls don’t communicate a vested interest. I’m just a private person and yes, I realize the irony of saying that on a public blog.

Otherwise my decorating scheme consists mostly of schedules, procedures, post-it reminders, and, now, this kit from the Stranded Stitch:

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It does little to cover the brown expanse of my cube walls. Maybe I should make more.

Resolutions Interrupted

Here I sat with ambitious ideas and informal spreadsheets of inspiring patterns for my work wardrobe, all simple, modern dresses with loose, easy silhouettes, when I discovered Atalier Scammit and took a quick detour into my other sewing aspiration which is, apparently, to be French and wear clothes that are all about flowy ruffles and voluminous gathers and pretty prints. This version of myself is willowy and long-legged and breezy and owns a French country house boasting a gorgeous garden that’s home to a large honeybee population and fruit trees, but there are only a few variables that we can control. Ruffles and gathers it is.

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Pattern: Evol by Atalier Scammit:
Size: 8
Fabric: Cotton sateen Nani Iro fabric

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I loooove the yoke. I looooove the gathers. I looove the sleeves. I looove the curve of the button band. I looooove everything about this blouse. Everything except how it looks on me. But I don’t know if it matters. It’s a shirt. It’s innocuous. Nobody is evaluating it it but me.

Here are some terrible photos I took on a beautiful finally(!) spring day.

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I daresay it’s too big, but then I think isn’t that the whole point? Maybe if I tucked it

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This fabric is another one that I picked up while on vacation from Craft South. There’s just one left from that trip. This fabric was just waiting for the perfect blouse.

Maybe I won’t wear it in a field of poppies, but I’ll definitely wear it to work Good enough.

Blown Away

Look at me, already done with a Christmas gift! It’s for my grandma.

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Except I love it and I want to keep it for myself.

Except I already gave it to my mother for finishing. The idea was that it would be a joint gift from the both of us. I neglected to mention this to my mother. She was surprised.

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I got to work on this after a bit of a sewing spree in the early part of the year, a spree you wouldn’t know about since between snow and snow and more snow and then rain and technology woes, picture taking has been a chore I just can’t deal with.

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My sewing hobby was starting to get expensive, like that time 10 years ago when I was going through a Brooklyn Tweed Noro Scarf thing and could knit a scarf with $$$ worth of yarn in it in 4 days. You gotta put the brakes on sometimes if you don’t want to break the bank. Enter slow, steady, economical cross-stitch.

Those scarves are still gorgeous. Makes you want to buy some Noro Silk Garden, doesn’t it? No? Just me?

Papillon

Back when I was making those Santa sweaters I had to order more yarn. Have you ever run short on yarn and needed to order more? Of course you have. So you know that it just doesn’t make sense to pay for shipping for only the few balls needed to complete your current project. The obvious, practical, and economical thing to do is to order a sweater’s quantity worth of something else at the same time, which was how this really delightful HiKoo Sueno came into my possession.

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Pattern: Papillon by Svetlana Volkova
Size: Cast on medium with a gauge that produced something a bit smaller
Yarn: HiKoo Sueno in Rust

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Confession time: I had assumed papillon was sort of botanical term and it wasn’t until googling the word while writing this post that I learned it’s a dog breed. I have to tell you, I am deflated. I have met many fine dogs and my family had dogs growing up, but I am not a dog person. Sorry/not sorry.*

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Anyways, name aside, it’s a perfectly good pattern. I love the yarn. Good stitch definition, not itchy, orange without being ORANGE. Everything came up roses in this make. I didn’t even make careless mistake after careless mistake! Boring for blogging, eh?

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I keep searching for dog faces in this stitch pattern. Do you see any?

The project I cast on next was a bust, though. I ran out of yarn almost before I started. You win some, you lose some.

 

*It has since been brought to my attention that papillon is the French word for butterfly. Who knew? Approximately 275 million French-speakers, but I’m not among them!

 

Toast

My continuing troubles sewing with knits… continue. Let me enumerate my mistakes and grievances. After failing to cut a single pattern piece on the grain I:

  1. Broke a serger needle and since I
  2. Couldn’t find the allen wrench to replace the needle I
  3. Decided that I would just go ahead with the one needle and call it a 3 Thread Narrow stitch
  4. Resulting in holes at the end of seams when sewing in a continuous circle which I
  5. Realized were recurring and not one-offs only after multiple passes (because Hello! You can’t just leave a broken needle in your serger and call it a 3 thread narrow stitch)
  6. Meanwhile losing maybe an inch of length in the sleeve/cuff before
  7. Deciding I didn’t give a damn and zig zagged those damn holes closed, and not even with matching thread because I was GOING TO FINISH MY DAMN TOASTER SWEATER DAMMIT whereupon I
  8. Donned my finished top and realized I had sewn the bottom band on backwards with the seam in front.

It was not a good sewing night, folks. Now, in the clear light of day I can see that and I can’t really explain the fogginess, stupidity, and/or stubbornness that kept me going on down the wrong path blatantly ignoring the voice of common sense and reason that I definitely heard yet willfully ignored. I mean, really, a broken needle =/= a 3 thread narrow stitch, and I knew that. I just really wanted my damn sweater and it seemed to be holding the pieces of fabric together just fine which is as much as you want when you’re too desperate to give it a proper thought. It was supposed to be an easy, quick, one-night sewing project, and I was going to fight the thing into submission.

Knits can be challenging, at least for me, but they make up for that by being forgiving. In spite of all that I ended up with a passable top, passable here meaning I can wear it without embarrassment and nobody will assume it’s handmade because of its defects.

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Blurry, much?
Pattern: Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven
Size: Small
Fabric: Cotton French Terry from Stonemountain & Daughter. Here it is in black.
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All seams in the back as they should be.

I even like it! Everyone and her sister has already made a toaster sweater, and with good reason: you get the comfort of a sweatshirt but a style that’s fancy enough to wear to work. Fabulous. I can’t stand the high funnel neck (I hate turtle necks, too, it’s a personal preference, not a pattern problem), so I fold it over and my neck can breath and move without touching fabric.

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Not today, funnel neck.

Next day I found an allen wrench, not the one that came with my machine which is gone, gone, gone, and fixed my machine up. All is well with serger until the next time…

Mid-Century Modern

Sometimes you don’t even know that a fabric is perfect in color and scale until the thing you’re making is finished and you put it on and it’s the somehow the most YOU thing you’ve made possibly ever.

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Pattern: Matcha Top by Sew Liberated
Fabric: Aerial Lawn in Pacific by Carolyn Friedlander, purchased at Sarah’s Fabrics

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I’ve made Matcha twice before. I get the most use out of my sleeved version and had had in mind to make another like it, but didn’t check yardage requirements and there was just no way.

Mods-wise, I skipped the shoulder detail and sewed the center front to halfway between the lower and upper neckline notches. Construction-wise, I flat-felled the center front seam, french seamed the shoulders and sides, and hand-sewed the inside of the collar down. It’s easier to find satisfaction in fine finishing if you’re pretty sure your project is going to work out.

 

The woman who helped me at Sarah’s Fabrics was so kind and persistently lovely that she wore down my antisocial attitude and got me to confess to all kinds of indie pattern makes and intentions. She also told me she’d used this fabric to back a baby quilt for friends who live in a Mid-Century Modern home. I live in a 1908 hulking box of a cube of a battleship of a house. but I like to fantasize about having  Mid-Century house, or maybe about being the kind of person who can live in one fabulously, minimally, uncluttered surfaces gleaming. I don’t, and I’m not, but I have a pretty blouse that’s a call out to that fantasy.