Orla

I started this make soon after finishing the muslin, but it was weeks before I got my butt to the store to get a zipper.

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Pattern: Orla by Frenchy Navy
Size: Medium
Fabric: Cotton voile
Mods: Added 1″ to bodice; lengthened bust darts to end 1″ north of where the pattern marks them; did a small square shoulder adjustment, just a quarter-inch off the neckline side of the shoulder.

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A zipper which I did a not so-great-job of inserting.

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I haven’t decided if I care so much.  I figure I can always decide to fix it later if/when I decide I do care.

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Right now I’m operating on the theory that since I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

Looking at this, there are a lot of ripples around the shoulder/collar area, but you can see how they run in the direction of my sewing. It’s not a fit problem, it’s a sewing problem that I hoped would iron out. It didn’t. It never does. It seems like the top layer of fabric is being pushed forward as I sew. Is this something that a walking foot would fix? I didn’t notice it until posting this picture, but now it’s bugging the heck out of me. It wouldn’t take much to fix if I knew how.

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I don’t know if this is a color I’ll reach for – in my mind it’s a fleshy color and I’m constantly surprised that it’s so peachy in real life. I really like the subtle constellation print, though.

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Those stars feel like a secret since you can’t really see them from more than a foot away.

The Funnest of all the Furs

The material guide gave me pause. I had never dealt with many of the suggested materials listed, and it was a long list for such a small project. I poked around online, but I’m never quite sure if I’m ordering the thing I mean to be and purchase minimums were prohibitively large. Like I said, this was a small project, small here being used to mean “physically little” and not “easy to sew” which it wasn’t, small sewing is often the most difficult sewing, and even 1 yard minimums were simply too much to invest in. I can never predict if I’m going to make 1 of a thing or 20 and it’s better to not assume I’m going to make 20 because goodness knows I don’t need a yard of fun fur sitting in my stash less one pair of booties soles and you know that’s exactly what would happen if I were to talk myself into buying such vast quantities of excess fabric right out of the gate.

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Pattern: Menta Booties
Size: 6 Months
Fabric: Quilting cotton, fleece, rubber dots, faux fur, all from Jo-Ann

I’m actually just realizing that the materials guide suggests faux sherpa for the inside sole and that that’s a different material than the faux fur I used. Whoopsies. Let’s call these tres luxe.

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I second-guessed every material I used. Now that I’ve made them I can you that it wouldn’t matter too much if the fleece were heavier or if I hadn’t been able to find rubber dots fabric or the insides weren’t a perfect color match. They’d still be cute and functional.

There’s a lot of room for improvement in the next pair. My sewing was imprecise. I think I’ll make some more for fun and practice. Maybe not 20, though.

Like I Need More Hobbies

Confession: I joined the Cozy Blue Stitch Club.

I have no regrets. Christmas is going to take are of itself this year, she says optimistically overlooking bags and baskets of abandoned projects as if her crafting weren’t subject to unforeseeable vagary and whim and also ignoring the fact that while the stitching is done, this project is not.

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I decided I would learn and practice at least one new stitch with each club shipment: this is the first time I’ve used raised fishbone stitch.

I’m unsure how to finish this because the curve of the moon matches the curve of the embroidery hoop and the moon gets a little lost. I decided I’d try removing a hoop’s hardware and painting it red, but I haven’t remembered to buy supplies or look for hoop alternatives. Wait for it, I’ll be frantically blowing paint dry on a hoop on December 20th to get it in the mail in time for Christmas.

Embroidery is so satisfying and quick (I’m comparing, here, to the plodding pace of my first craft: interminable cross-stitch). It can be as fussy or simple as you like. I love that Liz can send out a design and every stitcher will come up with something different. I love that even as just a novice I can make something that is legitimately good, desirable, and worth having. I’m so pleased.

A Welcome

We have a new baby in Hubs’ extended family. His family is small and this is very big, very welcome news. This baby lives far too from us in a Texan climate I don’t understand which confused my usual sensibility to knit. Do Texan babies even need sweaters? No matter, she’s getting one anyways. Even if it is 84 degrees today (I checked). Perhaps it will be useful in chilly overly air-conditioned restaurants? IMG_8044.JPG

Pattern: February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Mod: Omitted the lace pattern
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Hummingbird

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Leave it to a knitter to pack a sweater, a summer outfit, and sunglasses in these same box as if they all belong together.

Velour Socksuit

I call the knitting I carry around with me my “travel knitting,” but these socks have really been places.

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Local dyer, ooh-la-la
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Iowa
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Dentist
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St. Louis: knitting present, but not pictured. You didn’t really want another picture of knitting on the dashboard of my car, did you?
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Finished socks!
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Afterthought heel to preserve stripe pattern

Ruffles Have Ridges

I inexplicably love ruffles. Inexplicable because the ruffles I gravitate to are not ones that balance my pear shape, but emphasize it. I love a big ruffle at the hem of a shirt, but I’m pretty sure ruffles don’t love me. Not that this has stopped me from making and wearing the heck out of a View Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs… 

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Photo from last summer featuring Chuffy’s pincushion sculpture that says “oOoOh”

but the cropped length of the Peplum Top gave me pause. So I made a muslin! Just to try it out and see if it would work! I hurriedly tried it on and it was so ill-fitting that I decided I would use it as a PSA about how making a muslin is useful because sometimes that little bit of extra effort will prevent you from wasting time and money on a garment that just isn’t going to work. So I was shocked when I put on appropriate undergarments to take photos with the express purpose of showing you how bad it was and…

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*Spit take*

It turns out trying a muslin bra-less over the oversized t-shirt you sleep in is not going to give you a fair assessment of a garment’s fit. WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN? Obviously I didn’t. It fits and I stand in disbelief. But would it flatter? I certainly wasn’t going to wear an 80’s-athletic-wear-inspired crop-top out of the house (or around the house, for that matter) so I attached that ruffle to get an idea of what this style would look like on me.

I’m a definite pear-shape with short-ish, muscular legs. I love the volume and the movement of this top. But it’s a style that favors the slender-thighed and narrow-hipped and, dare I say, the youthful. Does it work on me? Do I care?

This is what I’m self-conscious of looking like:

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What is even happening up there by my head?

And yet I know that people don’t look the widest part of me straight-on from the angle that unflattering photo was taken while I stand stock still so they can take in all the lumps and bumps. In real life I think I might present more like this:

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In my mind I aspire I look like this:

So I don’t know. What do you think?

Taking a Pattern for a Test Drive

In the past I’ve tried to skip the muslin process, often with regrettable results. I seem to think I should be able to cheat or outsmart my way clear of making a muslin. I started sewing with the misconception that a muslin is a chore you should try to avoid doing if possible, whenever possible. I’m having to learn for myself the hard way that what everyone says is true: if you want a better chance than a roll of the dice at a garment that you’re happy with, making a muslin is critical.

Now, I’m not going to say that me up and making two muslins for fun marks a sea change in my attitude towards them, but I think it does reflect a grudging acceptance of how important a muslin is. It didn’t hurt that both these patterns are free. Patterns can be pricey and if I’ve chosen to spend money I already have a personal investment greater than the financial one. Making muslins of French Navy’s Orla and Peppermint’s Peplum Top patterns felt more like I was taking them out for a test drive than a trial run, or as in the case of my Belladone, training for a marathon.

This post got too long, so first Orla. I had seem some very nice examples here and there, but I wasn’t up for another fitting challenge so I was fully prepared to make a muslin and chuck it. I was stunned that this fit so well right out of the (virtual pdf) envelope.

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Pattern: Orla by French Navy
Size: Small

Folks, if I found a dress that fit as well as this in a store I would absolutely buy it. Lest you think the muslin in this case was a waste of time, I decided to size up and make a couple small adjustments on my final version because I, ironically, am aiming at something less fitted. It’s currently more of a hospital gown than a dress – the fabric store is far and my weekends are busy, but hopefully I’ll get around to buying and installing the zip soon!