Spring Sewing Swap

I got my sewing swap package in the mail on Tuesday I think, but haven’t been feeling quite up to par, so I haven’t posted it yet. I’m still feeling a bit crappy, but I decided to suck it up and get it on here.

You might remember that Kestrel set up a Spring Sewing Swap a few weeks back, and I signed up for it. My swap partner was Judy of Sew Blessed Maw, and it was neat to peek through her blog and try to figure out what she likes/collects/different hobbies/etc. I felt like a detective ninja or something. πŸ˜‰ So anyway, she snooped through my blog too, and here’s what I received!

Goodies for me!

Goodies for me!

Closeup of trims

Closeup of trims

The red cat print is a medium cotton, so I’m thinking some sort of bag maybe? The trim in the pink package is sort of a crocheted lace with an upside down ^^^^^ pattern. The green package has little beaded snowflakes on it. And I love the little white cotton trim with the purple accents, will have to think of something super special to use it on because I don’t have very much.

Anyway, sewing swaps are kind of fun, I’m glad I tried it. I don’t know if I’d do them all the time (they’re kind of nerve-wracking!), but a once a year or something could be pretty cool. πŸ™‚ In the meantime, go check out Judy’s blog, she sews up some cute stuff for her grandchildren and her dolls. πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend!

A winner! And other updates

Sorry for kind of falling off of the face of the Earth there for a while, it’s just been kind of crazy around here lately (totally in a good way though!) and I haven’t been all that productive in a “seamly” way. πŸ˜‰

So, anyway, there is a winner in the Pattern Pyramid, and it’s Seraphinalina!! πŸ™‚ So Sera, just drop me an email with your addy in it and I’ll get it on it’s way! I think you’ve got my email, but let me know in the comments if you can’t find it and I’ll send it to you. πŸ™‚ Congratulations!

In other news, since I’ve been mostly offline I’ve managed to celebrate yet another year of my marriage to the most amazing man, turned another year older (and it snowed!! On my birthday!?!), had a mini vacation, won a blog award* from the adorable Ms. Thimble and Cork (check her out! She’s a darling!), messed up an exposed zip insertion**, played some golf, did some garage sale-ing, and also just had normal life thrown in for good measure. πŸ™‚ It doesn’t sound like much typed out, but it felt like a busy time. πŸ™‚

*I’ll refer you to this post, since I haven’t had the time to brainstorm up new answers. 😳 I am, however, grateful that ya’ll appreciate my blog. πŸ™‚

** Yes, there was some crying, scream cussing, and frantic requests for assistance on the exposed zipper. It was quite dramatic…or maybe I should say traumatic? I’m hoping to find some more of that aqua Lisette twill to recut the pieces so that I can fix it, since I (of course) put in the pockets before messing with the zipper. (No, I don’t know why I’m going to so much trouble on a “wearable muslin”…I guess it’s because I really liked that twill?) Fortunately, it was just cool enough that wearing a skort would have been cold on the golf course, so it worked out that I didn’t have it finished.

So while I’m searching for some of that twill (it seems to be available, I’m just not sure why Joann’s won’t let me put it in my cart???) I started on Burda 02/2013/113, a draped shirt made for those who have a ginormously tall torso. I’ve taken about 4″ out of mine and I think it might still be more tunic length than anything, we’ll have to see. I’m using a very….ah…unique fabric for it, so it’ll either be amazing and awesome or terrible and terrifying. πŸ˜‰ And I’m planning to leave off the sleeves, due to fabric restrictions, (it was a cheap remnant) hopefully that works out OK for me.

Anyway, I’d better get to checking out my blogroll, or I’ll be on here all day! Until next time, ciao! πŸ™‚

STOP PRESS: PATTERN PYRAMID

That seems to be the default title for these posts, so who am I to argue? πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I was the lucky winner of the pattern pyramid from the lovely Penny at dressesandme. They flew all the way from Auckland! I had a hard time deciding between the Burda peplum blouse from 5/2010 and the knockoff of the Duchess’ dress, but ultimately I chose the knockoff.

All right, Huggy*, show them what they (might’ve) won!

THE RULES
Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight Central (Daylight) Time on Wednesday April 24.
You must have an active blog.
I will randomly select a winner.
The winner will pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner and post the remaining patterns to that person.
You get the idea!

THE SMALL PRINT
This is pot luck! No way am I going through these patterns ensuring that every pattern piece is there.
If you’re a winner, Karen would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns in this giveaway.
Obviously, I’m operating on a huge level of trust – but I totally trust my readers. All I ask of participants is to engage in a timely fashion, launching their own giveaways soon after receiving a parcel.
Be open to post patterns worldwide – we really want to spread the love! Karen is curious to see how long this takes until the final patterns find loving homes. So please contact her with details of your win and where you live.

Finally, if you’re taking part or just want to spread the love, please feel free to add the below button (found on Karen’s blog) to your blog’s sidebar.

~Let the fun commence!~

* Clearly I’m watching way too much kid’s tv with my little guy…the reference is from a show called WordGirl who has a monkey sidekick named Captain Huggy Face or something equally absurd.

Bodice Block Test 1

I don’t actually know if I’ll test this again, but it never hurts to be prepared, right? I’m pretty pleased with how my block turned out, especially considering the doubts I had before when we were starting to plot it out, and even a bit after it was fully drawn up. I’m kind of scatterbrained today, so I’ll try to hit all the important bits, but I don’t promise any sort of coherent order. πŸ˜‰

As you might have noticed in the previous post, there was a huge dart in the front bodice shoulder that I wanted to take care of. Oh sure, I probably was supposed to test out the original version before making any changes, but I’ve never been known to do “what I’m supposed to do”…a rebel, I tell ya. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, here’s the picture of the darts I created out of the single large one.

I put in a small armscye dart and also a fairly small french dart (which arguably may not be all that technically correct). I really felt like this gave me the front shaping that I need, though the extra work on every garment from here to eternity is going to be a bit of a drag. πŸ˜• Oh, and if you are wondering, I used several tutorials to get the darts rotated, from RustyBobbin and Pattern~Scissors~Cloth. (Note there are two links for the PSC blog.)

Anyway, here’s the bodice on me… (Note: this thing might have fit just a smidgen better if some bonehead hadn’t forgotten to add the seam allowances. I used 1/4″ SA’s after I realized my mistake.)

Apparently adding length over the bust wasn’t included in the drafting…

2 things. 1) Armscye is too high, and a bit snug. 2) Maybe I should have made a bigger and/or lower french dart?

I’m pretty happy with how the back turned out, though the shoulder darts didn’t seem quite big enough to match perfectly with the front.

So I’m not sure what all I should change and what I should just let be. Obviously I feel like the bodice needs to be lower in the front (or else higher in the back–or a bit of both). I don’t know if this was an issue that came up during measuring or what.

I don’t know that I could get much better shaping around my chest–I’m very happy with how that turned out. I think the two darts are the way to go for me.

I don’t love the shoulders/armscye. The shoulders seem like they are too wide (remember there’s no seam allowances!), and the armscye–while not painful like some–just doesn’t feel like it’s quite scooped enough in the front and underarm I might leave it though. In fact, when I get the sleeve drafted, I’m not sure I’d even add seam allowances to the armscye at all, I’d just let the seam do the work for me. Do you know why that wouldn’t work?

I see some wrinkles on the thing, but I know that there are going to be a few because this kind of fabric can’t mould itself to my form perfectly and I’m OK with that. To be honest, for a first attempt, I’d say this didn’t turn out half bad–especially when my numbers were all over the map compared to the “size 10” that was in the example!!

Slackin’

Buckle up, this may be a long and bumpy ride. πŸ™‚

Things have been a bit weird lately. I haven’t been sewing for a couple of days because the weather has been so nice, but before that happened, I was attempting a muslin for a bra that isn’t going to work. I think I just need to give up on my pattern–it’s just not the style that’s going to give the results I want, and I’m just not sure how to get the results I want with any pattern anyway. I should probably try the Sewy Rebecca, but I have been balking at ordering and getting it here–if someone knows where to buy them in the U.S., I’ll be happy to hear it.

Now I’m trying to figure out what I want to make next. I’m thinking a second version of Simplicity 2364 and maybe give the wrap version of New Look 6150 a try.

Also, MacStabby over at Crafternoon Nap nominated me for 4 blogger awards–whoa!

So…11 facts about me for the Liebster…

  1. I have an expensive degree that I don’t use because I’m a stay at home mom.
  2. I’m a strange mix of outgoing and shy–this seems like it’s impossible, but it’s not. Really.
  3. I really suck at this sort of thing, I need more direction!
  4. I’m a super picky eater. For example, I won’t eat anything with onions, peppers, or celery in it.
  5. I could ride a horse probably before I could walk, and used to show them until my early teens.
  6. I haven’t even been on a horse in probably 6 years, odd when you think that my whole life used to kind of “revolve” around them.
  7. I can drive a stick shift…I drove one for 2 years of high school, but it’s not quite like riding a bike. πŸ˜‰
  8. I never learned how to roller skate. It freaks me out and hurts my knees (even when I was a kid).
  9. I hate being tipped backwards, for some reason I always panic if a chairΒ  tips back faster than I expect.
  10. I have the nose of a bloodhound, so if something is particularly strong smelling there’s an excellent chance I’ll get lightheaded and queasy.
  11. I love swing dancing (not that I’m very good at it), but I can onlyΒ  handle about 2 flips before I start to get sick. This should indicate how not fun I am on certain types of carnival rides.

OK, so here’s MacStabby’s questions for me.

1. What is a favorite book or series that you can read over and over? I can and have read several books by Barbara Michaels over and over. They are standalone books, but they are all similarly “gothic” in nature.

2. If you could live in a fictional place (from a novel or series), where would you live? I’m torn between wanting to live in Harry Potter’s world, the world of Alexia Tarabotti, or in Belheddon Hall from Barbara Erskine’s “House of Echoes”.

3. What’s your favorite vacation spot? I haven’t found it yet since my vacations typically involve migrating around my not-so-scenic home state.

4. How long have you been sewing, knitting, etc? Who taught you? Goodness, I don’t know. Probably 8 or 9 years off and on? My mother taught me to sew when I was a “tween”, and I HATED it. HATED IT. She is an amazing seamstress, but a terrible teacher. We didn’t get along very well, and so I had a negative association with sewing. Later, when my husband and I were married I “inherited” a sewing machine, and he kind of encouraged me to start up again. I started slowly with patching his jeans, but after that I realized I quite liked it when there was no one standing over my shoulder berating me.

5.What song or album can always put you in a good mood? I’d have to say Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen. πŸ˜‰ My parents tell me that I’ve had the lyrics memorized since I was about 4 years old, so clearly the song has staying power for me. I also think that Bohemian Rhapsody is super fun to try to sing along to. πŸ˜‰

6. What is one big thing you hope to accomplish this year? I want to see Europe. I’m fascinated by architecture, and I’m dying to see some of those old cathedrals in person. And Stonehenge…I definitely want to see that in person.

7. Favorite movie of all time, that you can watch over and over? Walt Disney’s version of Robin Hood. I love several versions of the movie, but that one’s my favorite.

8. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? The ability to instantly travel through time and space. πŸ™‚

9.Β  What is your favorite James Bond movie, and why? Who is your favorite Bond? (If you say Timothy Dalton, you’re dead to me.) I’d have to say Octopussy. πŸ™‚ My favorite Bond is Roger Moore, but Sean Connery is a VERY close second place. I don’t know who Timothy Dalton is, does that exonerate me?

10. What is your favorite sport to watch? If you could DO any sport that you can’t do now, what would it be and why? I love watching the equestrian segment of the Olympics. If I could, I’d love to try steeplechase; I love the teamwork of horse and rider and the feeling you get when you go over a jump or race across a flat open plain, combining the two would have to be awesome.

11.Do you think you currently have the skills needed to survive the zombie apocalypse? Absolutely. And whatever I lack in skill I’ll make up in enthusiasm. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’m supposed to pass these on to like 11 people, but my butt is numb after filling all that stuff out, so I’m going to let you claim these if you so desire.

Lookout weekend, here I come!

Itty Bits; better late than never!

Over at Cation Designs, there is a themed stashbusting event going on. There’s a different theme every month, and for January the theme was itty bits; stashbusting using up those little pieces (>1 yd) in your stash. I happened to have a few of those, so I did what I guess you could say I always do. I made up underwear. What? They’re fun to sew up, and they get rid of those little pieces that take up an obscene amount of space (seriously, they completely defy the laws of physics!!) I’ve got fabric on order* ya’ll, I need a place to put it! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, my pledge was to use at least 10 pieces, 8 remnants, and I think 7 patterns from my stash. This little project got rid of 2 remnants, so I’ve only got 6 to go! (Though I’m going to try to use them up for varied things, maybe I’ll only let 1/2 of them count for underwear.)

Here’s the two pieces that I used up. As a bonus, it’s almost like a Jungle January redux! πŸ˜‰

So I guess I’d better get pictures of my pieces for February’s “Love Challenge”. Hubby is needing some new shirts, and I’m making PJ’s for the kiddo anyway. πŸ˜‰

* Does that make me seem hypocritical or something? In the interest of full disclosure though, most of the fabric is for some PJ’s for my kiddo. There’s only a couple of pieces for me.

P.S. Is there a way to get pictures from flickr to here without making everything public on flickr? It seems silly to me that I have such a hard time posting my own d@mn photos to my own d@mn blog! 😑 Currently, I seem to have to put them as public, click on them, click on them again with the little “magnifying glass”, choose a “size”, then right click on them and choose “copy image location”. There has got to be a better way, or else I need to quit using flickr….

UNCLE!!

I’m not entirely sure how that became the term for surrender, but English is a rather hilarious language sometimes.

So yeah, I’m giving up. I have tried several different times to make a bra that fits for the sewalong, but I can’t seem to make it big enough without distorting it, so I’m just quitting. Sewing is my hobby and it’s supposed to be fun, this isn’t fun anymore. I have a short fuse anyway, though I usually am stubborn enough to stick it out, but I’ve noticed that I’ve been avoiding my sewing room, and that’s not cool either. So, I picked up all my stuff, put it away, and maybe sometime in the future I’ll give it another shot. I know that Miss Celie has had good luck with the Sewy Rebecca, and someday when I’m over my snit, maybe I’ll order it and give it a try.

Next up is boring stuff; pajamas for my son. I’d swear he’s grown 6 inches since last summer, so all of his pajamas are ridiculously short. I’m terrified about him outgrowing his jeans (because they’re getting close too!) since he has a teeny tiny waist/hips and loooooooong legs. I’ve considered sewing them for him, but they have so many details to look “right”, and it’s a ton of work for something he might outgrow before I even finish them!

Sssssssewaholic Alma for Jungle January!

A little late, but better than never, right? I’ve actually had the blouse done for a week, but was waiting until I got the belt done before taking pictures. To give you an indication of how terribly slow I am at sewing, that little belt? Took me a full hour from pulling the fabric off the shelf to taking pictures. 😳 Tutorial @ Tilly&TheButtons.

Sorry no modeled pics, I had to be my own photographer, and the concept of self-timer completely eludes me.

I want to thank PrettyGrievances for the idea to use up this fabric that’s been marinating in my stash for a couple of years or so. I liked it at the store (obviously), but once I got it home I had no idea what to do with it, until this came along.

Bonus? Not only was this a stashbuster, but this was also one of my resewlutions–I sewed up an indie pattern and it wasn’t a fail! πŸ™‚ I’m not sure what I can say about this pattern that hasn’t been covered by pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere, but if you haven’t tried it, I think it’s a keeper! I’ve got a few kinks I’ll work out on my next version (and there will be a next version very soon!), but overall I was pretty pleased with it “as is”. The only disappointment I had (with the end result, not the pattern) was that the fabric for this one was too “floaty” for the side zipper, IMHO. I’ve had this happen before, but I’ve never seen a zipper that was softer for lightweight drapey fabrics (this one appears to be a poly blend challis). If they exist though, let me know!

Sunday recipes

Like pretty much the entire world population, we are trying to eat better this year, and in order to succeed, we all need some cheerleaders in the background keeping us going and not succumbing to junk “food”. In honor of that, I thought I might post a couple of (healthy!) recipes we’ve recently tried and enjoyed.

Friday night we had something called Cuban Picadillo. It has a rather interesting set of ingredients (raisins and capers–together?!), but trust me, this was just the perfect mix of sweet and salty to really satisfy your taste buds. I’m really looking forward to the leftovers of this stuff, and I’m one of those anti-leftover people (unless it’s pizza, obv.) Her recipe doesn’t actually have the raisins in it, but I tossed in a handful after reading the comments, and next time I’d probably add another handful. This stuff is pretty awesome, and only uses 6 WW points (I’m not on that program, but lots of people are, maybe even you!) Give it a try, you might be surprised! πŸ™‚

On Saturday, we had our first ever spaghetti squash spaghetti. (NOTE: we didn’t use her sauce, we had our own.) I’m not certain that mine was cooked all the way through (a bit crunchy?), but as far as taste and appearance go, I think you’d have a hard time proving it wasn’t really spaghetti noodles. Double check the doneness after the cook time, but definitely give this veggie a try! We’re going to do it again for sure. πŸ™‚ If you’re not a squash eater (we definitely aren’t!), it can be a bit tough to make yourself try it, but once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. πŸ™‚ So just go buy one, it doesn’t cost any more than a package of decent spaghetti noodles!

EDIT: OK, according to the Dashing Dish website, if you don’t want a crunchy texture on your squash, you should saute it a bit, I’ll keep that in mind for us in the future too!

Top 5 Goals of 2013

From what I can tell, it appears that I didn’t make any goals or resolutions for 2012. But I want this year to be a bit different. I’m not setting any major goals, because I never seem to make them happen if they overwhelm me, so this year I’m just going to make a few smaller achievable goals and work toward them.

  • Sew up an “indie” pattern. I tried the Sorbetto, but I’m not counting it since it was a fail. I’m thinking a Sewaholic pattern might be the weapon of choice for this one. I’ve been eyeing both the Minorou and the Alma since they came out.
  • Try to better organize my sewing room. I’ve done pretty good about picking up the majority (key word!) of the mess between projects, but I’d really like to get myself motivated to do an overhaul and get rid of the little pieces of tissue paper and fabric. And then keep it that way!!
  • Purchase less cheap fabric, and buy better quality in smaller quantities. I’d much rather have 2 or 3 nicer blouses or t-shirts than 8 crappy ones that itch, make me sweat, or whatever. (This one will be tough for me.)
  • I’m going to master the bra this year. I’ve finally found a few RTW ones that seem to fit pretty good, but I’d still like to be able to sew my own in non-itchy fabrics that better appeal to me. (For example, I don’t love mesh cups. And I’m not always a fan of lace. 99% of the time I just want a plain bra in pretty fabric that makes the twins look their best.)
  • Not completely sewing related, but I’d like to eat better. I’m getting better about appreciating the body I have, and while I’d still like to lose weight, maybe it would start being easier if I’d just eat better. It’s so easy to fall back on junk food when I’m feeling lazy, but there’s several options out there that are just as delicious and are way better for you. I just need to do a better job of making the right choices. Not only for me, but for my family. I need to remind myself that even though they are slim, it’s not good for them to eat poorly either.

So, those are my Top 5 Goals for 2013. I don’t think there’s anything too strenuous, but there’s just enough challenge here to keep me working, I think. Or maybe I’m being a slacker and just don’t know it. πŸ˜‰ What are your goals for 2013?