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.

Cannot Unsee What Has Been Seen

This is my 2nd Ryan Top. It fits great right out of the envelope – joy! – and I’ve long meant to make another one or several.

This fabric is another vacation souvenir. It’s not something I would usually go for and that was the point, to push my boundaries a bit. I had 2 scant yards of this fabric which turned out to not be quite enough for perfect pattern placement. Limited by my material, I was very intentional with my cutting and contemplative of the layout. I worried especially over the big red boxes and where I wanted them which is why it chafes so badly that for all my care I overlooked something important.

Can you see it?

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Pattern: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal
Size: Medium
Fabric: Something cotton? I’m a bad note keeper.

Do I need to point it out?

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Red Squares. Right on my boobs. I’m annoyed because I could have had a bit more wiggle room with that pattern placement if I’d remembered how looooong this shirt is. The length is something that surprised me the first time around, too, but I got used to it and forgot that I could easily shorten it by as much as 6 inches and have a top that’s not only long enough and, let’s be honest, would be more flattering to boot. I’m not a tunic + leggings sort of girl, but this pattern as drafted would work well for that purpose if you are.

So, not a total success, but I’ve worn it a couple times and probably will again. I need me a pink cardigan or a red scarf to carry it into the fall and winter. Bonus: a cardigan or scarf would mask my pattern placement embarrassment. The problem with picking a fabric that’s outside the box (ha ha I try not to miss a pun) is I don’t have anything like that in my wardrobe already. Maybe I should buy some yarn…

Temp Tempt Tank

I’d put off the Ogden Cami because I felt sure it wouldn’t work on me. All those pretty floral Ogdens during Me-Made-Made May coincided with a sharp rise in outdoor temperatures (in the Midwest you can go from snow to 90’s in the span of a week) and suddenly the temptation to take a chance on a loose-fitting tank was too great to resist.

I dutifully worked up a muslin and was pleasantly surprised: all I would have to do is shorten the straps. I’ve had a string of successful muslin-ing and superstitiously started to believe that whether I make a muslin or not directly impacts how well a pattern fits out of the figurative PDF envelope. The “logic” goes that if I make a muslin a pattern will fit better than if I don’t. My streak ended with a muslin of the Lander shorts, but that’s a story for another time if and when I go back to that pattern. Trust me, you don’t want to see a picture of my too–small muslin in white-on-white printed quilting cotton.img_9241.jpg

Pattern: Ogden Cami by True Bias
Size: 6? I think? I made this pre-vacation. Details are only faintly remembered.

Sewists go on about what a great pattern this is for using up odds and ends. To my surprise the only suitable remnant in my stash was the blue linen from my Forsythe Dress. Every other remnant was quilting cotton or too little which left me wondering *again* why I’m keeping it. I was excited to make a wearable version of this pattern and jumped the gun: not only am I tired of this fabric 3 projects later, but it’s a bit too heavy and remember how I was inspired by the light, airy, floral versions? This in no way resembles them so I find myself disappointed even though there is no possible way an Ogden made out of teal linen could resemble one made out of liberty lawn.

The benefit to having made this weeks ago is I’ve worn it and I can report that I need to shorten the straps another smidge. I might even size down; this tank seemed OK at first try-on, but has a mind of its own when I’m actually trying to live life and I can’t abide constantly adjusting, lifting, and tugging so my bra cups don’t show. I’m not sure if this is a sizing problem or a high/small-bust fitting problem, but it’s exactly the issue I had anticipated that made me so reluctant to try this pattern in the first place. Muslins, like swatches, can lie.

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?

So Nice I Made it Twice

After digging around my stash for inspiration for baby things to make I remembered that I had made all those toddler aprons. Good news! Two babies taken care of and I found this tunic which happily is exactly the right size for MJ to wear this spring:

Pattern: Hide-and-Seek Dress + Tunic, Oliver + S
Size: 3T

This pattern and this fabric was what started me sewing. I can’t tell you exactly how or why; it was a confluence of cute fabric that grabbed me and discovering Oliver + S patterns and chronic insomnia that gave me time to fill and thoughts filling my head I needed distraction from. The insomnia and depression also compromised my decision making processes and handicapped memory formation, so I’m not altogether clear what happened or in what order or exactly when or why it seemed sensible to make dozens of garments for no immediate purpose in the middle of the night. My memory is so bad that while looking through my Google photos and online order history to put some sort of timeline together I discovered that I made this exact thing in size 6 months for MJ and had completely forgotten. But look, photographic evidence:

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Back when she used to let me pick out her clothes

So there, she gets the same top 2 years apart. I guess I should try to be delighted that past me left these little surprises for present me. That sounds better than being frustrated by my muddy mind and sad about the things I don’t remember.

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Respite

When I started dipping my toes into sewing I told myself I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes I did when I got really super into knitting, specifically the undiscerning accumulation of anything and everything relating to my new hobby and even more specifically the enthusiastic and often misguided procurement of materials. Yarn, people, I’m talking about yarn. Yarn bought for projects I never made, yarn bought that was unsuitable for its intended purpose, yarn bought because it was pretty or to get free shipping or because it was on sale. I bought so much of it and am still dealing with the repercussions of that years-long binge years later.

My fabric stash creep has me stressing out. Fabric stash has some advantages over yarn stash, though. Project-for-project it takes up less space and it can be used up more quickly. And if I buy some fabric, for example, with some vague idea of finding a coordinating fabric and making a child’s dress which I never do, I have a much easier time finding another use for that fabric. I can, for example, easily find a pattern for an adorable top to use up that fabric whereas a skein-or-more of yarn is so encumbered by its yardage, fiber content, and weight that I’m wracked with indecision.

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The pockets on this are THE BEST POCKETS.
Pattern: Wiksten Baby + Child Smock Top
Size: 3T
Fabric: Kawaii Japanese Fabric in hedgehog
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I want one me-sized

Let’s not talk about the resulting increase in my pattern inventory this example produces.