Hosh and Shandiin…for a turtle??

Shhhh, don’t tell my 6-year old (who is currently at “Camp Grandma”) that I dressed up his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in clothes…GIRL clothes, no less! Granted, these are for his beloved B – a little girl who he wishes were his own sister. She just turned one, which is a momentous occasion in itself – significantly more so for this little nugget as she had a complicated entrance into this world. Such an occasion deserves a new outfit and, as I’ve said before, this family is probably the ONLY family (aside from my own, natch) that I will sew for – no questions asked.

We can keep a secret, right?

We can keep a secret, right?

After seeing all the adorable versions of the Hosh Pants and Shandiin Tank in the interwebs, I went for it. You can see more about the pants in this post. The picture was crap, so here is a better view of both the fabric and the details. I am not going to do a full-on review at this point as there are dozens of them out there and these patterns are not difficult. The most difficult part was finding buttonhole elastic – which I repurposed from some of Drew’s old pants in the giveaway pile. Sorry kid that would have otherwise inherited those pants…I had a bigger purpose.

This is a much better representation of the color and design in these pants

This is a much better representation of the color and design in these pants

I love this fabric…and I actually found a smaller piece that I am thinking about using to make myself a pencil skirt instead – since the jeans were clearly not meant to be. Here is a shot of the buttonhole elastic and the aqua waistband binding and button:

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Now onto the Shandiin. This tank is so stinking cute I just can’t get over it! And it was really quick to make – I whipped it up from start-to-finish (including taping and tracing the pattern) in an evening. And that includes the breaks I took for dinner, an hour of calming down the dog after an airplane flew overhead, and answering random questions from the hubby who was getting bored right about the time I was finishing this up. So yeah, it’s quick! The fabrics are some quilting cottons I picked up at Hobby Lobby when they first opened in our town, specifically with this top in mind.

 

 

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Can you see my “oopsie?” Yeah, I didn’t notice until it was DONE (not even when I was topstitching, what the…?) that the bands on the front and back didn’t match – as in, they aren’t even the same colors! Oh well, it’s for a one-year old and I kinda dig it, so I left it alone. She won’t know the difference, and I can say it’s a design feature…I work for a software company in my day job and we frequently joke about that – it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Yeah, I’m gonna go with it.

One last shot of Leonardo dressed like a girl, because it’s just too funny.

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Parting shot: Fashion sketches. These are so much fun, but it’s clear that I am no artist. Nonetheless, I am enjoying playing around with this little sketchbook and being able to flesh out some ideas for future makes. Especially since I really need basics, but lately I’ve been having trouble conceptualizing how to make those basics and still feel like there is something special about my wardrobe. Just drawing a t-shirt or a pair of jeans in this book has really helped me to think about all the different possibilities in those basics. The only thing I don’t love about this notebook is you can still see the form lines underneath. I think the more expensive Fashionary is a little less obvious in the outline department…but you get what you pay for and beggars can’t be choosers and all that jazz, ya know? It’s still fun and it totally gets the job done. I should invest in better colored pencils, though – that much I do know.

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Happy 4th of July everyone! Stay safe and have fun!!

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Redemption

Jeans were a disaster, I moved on and finished the top for my OAL2014 outfit and it is great! It doesn’t look so perfect on the dress form, but it’s really cute and I’ll post pics of me in the top when I do my full OAL photo shoot next month!

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The Simplicity 1810 top was the perfect palate cleanser and this really cool multi-colored ikat-ish rayon challis I got at Joann is so cool! It was a bit wonky to cut, but a dream to sew and press. After reading some reviews and blog posts on this top, I opted to omit the neckline facing and just did bias binding on the neck and armholes. I also added 1 1/2 inches to the waist and adjusted the dart accordingly. It is a great easy-breezy tank that will look good alone or with a cardi or bolero sweater. I wore it out and about on Sunday while lunching and errands with my boys, if I make this again, there are a few other adjustments I will need to make (mostly lowering the waistline by ANOTHER inch). It’s really cute and comfortable, and while I may not make this exact pattern again anytime soon, I do see more woven tanks in my future. I think Sorbetto will be next on the list.

I also managed to make something amazing from those failed jeans. The Hosh Pants from Lou Bee Clothing, for an adorable little girl I love like my own. I don’t generally sew for anyone other than my own little family, but this doll and her mama are clear exceptions. My BFF is the first person I ever sewed anything for aside from myself – I made her prom dress our senior year of high school. I also made her wedding dress, maternity scrubs (she’s a nurse) when she was pregnant with her daughter, and a whole bunch of baby stuff for her little miracle girl who just turned one last week.

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The color is really black and gray, but needed to be a bit washed out to see the great design in the stretch denim

I won’t be able to attend the birthday party this weekend since they live in another state, 15 hours away, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a great gift from her “auntie” Jamie. These pants should be perfect for the climate when she is big enough to wear them. She was 3lbs at birth, born several weeks premature, and has been aggressively catching up ever since. These pants should fit just as the Phoenix “winter” hits, as I cut the smallest size – 12 month.

I was originally going to cut these from the wadded jeans with the topstitched inseam down the outside, but it resulted in too much bulk at the hem, so I recut from the scraps that was left from the original jeans. I recycled buttonhole elastic from a pair of Drew’s too small pants from the giveaway pile. On the inside, I used cute little aqua buttons and aqua bias binding for the waistband just to give a little interest to the inside. I did cut the waistband pieces on the bias as I used the Jalie waistband to eek those out (the Jalie jeans waistband is cut on the bias). Not recommended AT ALL, but I did manage to steam it all back into shape. I used my serger until one of the needles broke and, being too lazy to change out the needles and rethread it halfway through sewing these pants, I just zig-zagged the remaining seams. They turned out so cute!!!

I am also making the Shandiin Tank to go along with these jeans. I haven’t picked out the fabrics yet – I’ve only gotten as far as printing, taping, and tracing the pattern pieces (also the 12-month size). What I love about this is that it will fit baby B as a dress now, or as a pinafore over a onesie. As she grows, it should fit her as a tank that can be layered over a long sleeve or under a cardigan. I may take a cue from Kadiddlehopper’s dress and add a small ruffle or lace or some other trim to the bottom. As an outfit, she should get a great deal of wear out of these pieces. I will post better photos of the whole outfit once the top is done.

Parting shot: Lookie what I found at Target!!! Crafterhours posted this on Instagram, letting the whole world know that Target is carrying these cute little fashion sketchpads. I had to immediately run out and get mine!

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Jeans are a wadder…

So these jeans are a disaster….not even worth trying to finish. The fabric is too cute to waste, so I’m going to see if I can salvage something to make a pair of baby jeans for my friend’s daughter.

It started with the pockets. I wanted to use some really pretty silky poly print that I had in the stash to make fun pockets. The first one turned out nicely, but the second one had to be redone (including completely recutting the pocket bag) three times. That should have been my first clue that these were not going to turn out, but I took a break for the night and trudged on.

I thought that it was due to having had a long day at work and being foggy-brained, so the next evening I decided to work on the fly. I don’t know if it was because I was trying to modify my standard method of fly insertion to work with a pattern with a cut-on fly facing. Maybe I should have followed the Jalie instructions, or drafted a separate fly facing. Maybe it was the low rise, who knows. The fly is terrible.

The inseam went OK, but when I went to sew up the side seams, nothing lined up. I checked my pattern and it doesn’t line up either – so I think I may have traced the wrong back piece. I know I should have checked before I cut out my fabric, but I didn’t. I’ve been in a brain fog for the better part of a week and I should have known better than to force myself to push through on this make despite the fact that I’ve been having so much trouble concentrating. Today is the first day that I’ve started to feel a little more like myself, and it’s unfortunate that these jeans are not going to be salvageable. I was really looking forward to these jeans for my OAL, but I am dedicated to making a pair of jeans – so I’ll be on the lookout for suitable denim for another pair. Next time I will be more diligent about checking the pattern first to make sure everything was done correctly 🙂

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Outfit Along 2014 in full swing!

I’ve already posted much of my knitting progress over on the Ravelry group for the OAL2014, but thought I would share here as well. This is the last photo I took of my progress on Myrna – posted to my Instagram – and I’m quite a bit farther along than the picture represents, but you can see how nicely this yarn is knitting up.

Knitting away on my #myrna for #oal2014. Waiting rooms don't have to boring.

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I love how this is turning out – Malabrigo Rios is a dream to work with, and the colorway is exactly what I had envisioned when I set out to make this cardigan.

It really feels like the stars are aligned, as I have finally figured out the rest of the outfit! I have changed my mind (again!) on the top fabric from what I had originally posted on IG. I’ll share that later, but here is a sneak peek of my jeans’ back pocket flap with embroidery…the fabric is really fun and I’m playing around with some different things on the pockets and flaps. I digitized the design from a sketch I did based on some ideas I found on the Internet. I’m topstitching everything with a dark gray topstitch thread (as opposed to the triple stitch in standard thread as I did on my last pair). I like the outcome better than the triple stitch in regular sewing thread that I did on my last pair, even if it means switching out the thread more often.

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I did try to use the Singer 20U to do topstitching, and doing all the assembly on my Brother, but the clutch motor on the Singer pretty much eliminated all control I had on some of the tight corners and I had to redo the pocket flaps three times before I was happy with it (maybe one day Santa will bring me a servo motor…). It’s like learning how to drive a car – you have to really learn and practice and become adept at handling the gas pedal and brake until you get very good at maintaining speed and slowing to a stop smoothly. The same thing with this Singer – and I just don’t have the patience to play with it enough to learn how to accurately handle the pedal to have the kind of control I would like. I have an embroidery thread stand for the Brother that I have been using to hold all the thread spools for this project and it allows me to quickly move back and forth between the sewing and topstitching threads with only minimal effort. I have it down to where I can switch between the different threads thread in 30 seconds or less, so it’s not too bothersome.

This is my second pair of the Jalie 2908 jeans. This time I’m doing the low rise and I drafted flaps for the back pocket. I cut them out as flares, but I may narrow the legs. I haven’t decided yet, and I probably won’t until the last possible second. Also, if I had purchased another yard, I would have been able to at least align the design across the legs, but I didn’t bother doing any pattern matching/alignment. Hopefully I won’t regret that, the pattern is so busy that despite the fact that it’s a small repeat, it may not matter. I still need to get some rivets (I saw some really cute crystal rivets at the Quilt Expo last weekend, so I may have to order some for these jeans. I also need to decide on buttons. And I’m already making plans for the next pair, which I plan on being more casual with some distressing!

I also have the top muslined, changes made, and the fabric ready to go – just need to cut it out and sew. I may make the top this weekend just so I have something new and fun to wear next week. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m getting better at making notes in an organized manner as I sew so that I don’t keep making the same mistakes when I make another version of a pattern. Now that I am getting much more involved in sewing my wardrobe (that is my big goal for the upcoming years), and building a collection of TNT and go-to patterns for various types of garments, I have assembled a sewing notebook. It’s still a work in progress and I may change it, but I’m taking a cue from the bullet journal idea and adapting it to my sewing using a sewing notebook template I found for free online some time ago and then tweaked for my own purposes. For now, it’s in a 3-ring binder, but once I have figured out a format that works for me, I will probably create a bound notebook that is adaptable enough to house notes for all my fiberly endeavors. I’ll post more on that when I actually have something worth sharing.

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Jalie jeans in action

Today I wore the Jalie jeans. I.AM.IN.LOVE! These are the most comfortable jeans I have ever worn, especially given how fitted they are. Most of my very fitted jeans look great, but are not very comfortable. After an entire day, these feel like pajamas, but still look great! I was also a little afraid that they would be uncomfortable sitting at my desk all day since I did add the stay tape to the fold of the waistband and they were a little snug at first. But even though the waistband is still nice and snug, it’s not uncomfortably so. These sit right at my waist and if nothing else, they reminded me not to do too much snacking at my desk!

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Pardon the cell phone pics – including the bathroom selfies. I’ve washed it out a bit so you can see a few of the backside wrinkles from the side. I will fix those in my next version – the front is pretty much perfect.

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I was concerned that I was going to have bagged-out knees or a saggy butt at the end of the day given the amount of stretch, but these have held up surprisingly well! I really wish I had more of this denim so I could make a pair of skinnies. For a test garment (not a muslin, as they were either going to be completely amazing, or a total wadder), I really hit it out of the ballpark in terms of wearability!

To dress things up a bit, I wore my McCall’s 5397 cap-sleeve jacket that I made a couple of years ago. This is the second jacket I have ever made, and I’m still learning as I go. The fit in the upper front is not ideal (really, it’s not so bad, although I should have cut a size smaller at the top, tapering to the larger size at the waist/hip area and done a FBA), but I love this jacket just the same and wear it all the time. The fabric is a charcoal gray RPL that I purchased when I was pregnant with my son, so of course I have forgotten where exactly it came from! I’m toying around with making a more casual summer version.

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I’m still getting used to putting photos of ME wearing my garments up here. It’s part of the reason why I took a 5-year blogging hiatus. I am much more comfortable in my own skin (and putting it out there for the world to see) than I was back then. I think I’ll be playing around with my tripod this weekend, in addition to working on my OAL!

ETA: I just noticed the funny knee wrinkles in the first picture. The knees are bagging out the tiniest bit after 10 hours of wear, and the rest is a combination of the length (they are a smidge too long for the shoes I was wearing) and the way I was standing. When I wear them with higher heels (which they were hemmed for) and don’t have my knees cocked to the sides like they are (which was really more because I felt totally awkward standing in the lobby of my office taking pictures). Time to find myself a signature pose!

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They can’t all be masterpieces…

This is my mantra for today. But first, how about a WIN? I just finished my very first (EVER!) pair of real jeans, which ARE a masterpiece. I am SO stinking proud of them!!! The Jalie stretch jean pattern is AHHHMAZING and while there are a few minor tweaks that I should make in my next pair, these are better than any pair of RTW jeans I’ve ever owned. Granted, as per usual, the proof is in the wearing and I have not yet worn them so they could be a baggy mess by the end of the day, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the construction on this pair of jeans is perfect. I don’t know where I got this fabric, but it was most likely Jo-Ann or Hancock. The recovery test was pretty good, given that these contain about 4% lyrca.

These jeans fit like a glove!

These jeans fit like a glove!

I really like the pop of color in the waistband treatment

I really like the pop of color in the waistband treatment

This, my friends, is a PERFECT fly!

This, my friends, is a PERFECT fly!

How's this for a fun pocket bag? Love using leftovers!

How’s this for a fun pocket bag? Love using leftovers!

My back pocket design could use a little work

My back pocket design could use a little work

I followed along pretty closely with Angela Wolf’s Craftsy class, “Sewing Designer Jeans” and really enjoyed the process. Like I said, this was my first time tackling a real pair of jeans and I really needed all the help I could get. Angela’s class covers a lot of distressing techniques, which I did not do, as I want to be able to wear these to work – they needed to stay dressy. I made them extra long (I’m 5’10” with a 34″ inseam barefoot) so that I could wear them with heels!

I immediately wanted to go in and tackle another pair out of some deep purple stretch sateen. Pulled the fabric out of the stash, pre-washed and got to cutting. This time, I tried out Butterick 5682. I did a side-by-side comparison with the Jalie and some decent-fitting RTW jeans and it looked like it will be OK for a far-less-stretchy fabric than the 4% Lyrca denim I used for the Jalie jeans. Here is the first issue: the piece of fabric was actually two pieces. Apparently, when I purchased it, there wasn’t enough in a single cut so I took the two cuts on the bolt. I assumed that the two pieces were from the same bolt (you know, based on the fact that they came off the same bolt!), but as you can see in the photo below, they are not. The reality is worse than the picture…I had enough on those two pieces to barely eek out everything needed for the new pants by using a single layout, but now the back legs will be significantly darker than the front. This was not noticeable until after washing!

One bolt, two colors? I think not!

One bolt, two colors? I think not!

Although, the fact that the pattern confused a neckband and waistband leaves me a bit concerned…or else these are REALLY high waisted! Hello, Steve Urkel!:

This should have been my first warning about this pattern...this is the waistband!

This should have been my first warning about this pattern…this is the waistband!

The second issue: The muslin was a total wadder and these jeans are BAGGY, even when cut out 4 sizes smaller than my norm. Yeah, I’ll just cut a size up on the Jalie for lower-stretch denim. For the Jalie pattern, I really only need to scoop a bit out from the seat (and make the crotch curve more L-shaped) and take in about 1/4″ on the inseam and they should be perfect. This Butterick pattern would be great if you wanted baggy mom jeans…but I definitely don’t want/need 8″ of ease in my jeans!! So yeah, they can’t all be masterpieces, and I’m OK with that. How’s that for personal growth? A year ago, this would have prompted me to walk away from the sewing room for a week, regardless of the preceding win!

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And now I have yarn!

So Friday after work I headed over to Jimmy Beans Wool to check out some yarn I had snooped online and make a decision. I knew I wanted something bright and cheerful and happy to use as the Myrna in my outfit along and offset the black and white polka dots. After some digging around in the back warehouse (SQUEE!!! So much amazingness in that place!!) I settled upon Malabrigo Rios in English Rose. This yarn is seriously amazing, and so incredibly soft and squishy – and the first time I’ve EVER hit gauge in my life. Double YAY!

While I was initially leaning more toward an aqua or lime green, this bright pink is a color that is sorely lacking in my wardrobe. It will also coordinate beautifully with several other pieces I have in the collection. I can’t wait for June 1st to arrive so I can get started!! My next big goal will be to muslin the dress and make sure that I tackle any fitting oddities.

Oh, and you may notice that I (obviously) didn’t make good on anything that I had said I would do over the weekend photography or sewing-wise. That’s because we redecorated our bedroom and I went through a massive purging exercise of my 6-year old son’s room and our master bedroom. Including two more giant bags full of clothes and a box of shoes to donate. I was so exhausted when it was over that about all I had the energy to do was veg on the couch and knit, so that’s what I did last night.

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