Tuesday, April 24, 2018

It's Finally Spring! (I think...)

I first bragged about this fabric here. Aaaand it's another McCall's 9065, with butterfly sleeves this time.

I think I might have overdone it a bit with the sleeves - like they're too big, too... out there? I'm not sure they're a good look for me anyway. In a way they are. They draw attention away from the hip area, which is always a good thing. But on the other hand, I worry that they might look ridiculous. They are comfortable though. I hate sleeves in the summer but these let the breeze in so I can wear them even when it's "too hot for sleeves." And I don't worry a great deal about looking ridiculous, obviously.

I am very pleased with it. Green and pink is an exciting color combination and I love the big flowers. I have plans to use this pattern with at least two more pieces of fabric but I am also interested in moving on to sewing dresses.

Tasha got me interested in the idea of sewing a birthday dress but I'm having the devil of a time deciding which piece of fabric would make the perfect birthday dress. Even if I were not thinking in terms of a "birthday dress" I would still have a tough time deciding. It makes me a little antsy being between projects and I tell myself, don't think too much, just start something but all the fabric in my stash keeps saying, "Sew me next! Sew me next!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pink Cotton Cardi

Two or three years ago (I can't remember exactly when it was) I bought 3 pieces of lovely cotton interlock knit at Hancock Fabric's going out of business sale. I liked what I did with the green piece (Butterick 3345) so much that I decided to do the same thing with the pink. Except, I lengthened the sleeves just a little bit on the green one but I didn't this time.

It's not hanging quite right in the photo. I assure you both sides are even. It has kimono sleeves so it was very fast and easy to make. There are only two pattern pieces. It has darts in both the front and back.

I faced the edges with wide bias tape. It was actually double fold bias tape that I pressed open. I'm not sure if wide single fold bias tape is even a thing. I have never seen any.

This is going to be very useful. I love the color and it's the perfect weight for slightly cool mornings and over-air-conditioned stores and restaurants.

Goal: Sew fabric that I have had for 2+ years at least once a month (or 12 times this year) 6/12

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tunics, Old and New

Before I show you something new I have to show you something old.

I made this tunic over 10 years ago, maybe over 15. I like it but I haven't worn it a lot. A couple of things bother me about it. I'm not really comfortable with the baby doll style because it makes me think of a maternity top. What bothers me more though, is that the neckline feels too wide. I can do something about that and I'm old enough now that nobody is going to mistake me for being preggo so I decided to try it again with a piece of fabric that's been in my stash for several years without any kind of plan or ambition.

I added an inch to the inside edge of the yoke. I also lengthened it a little. I don't know why I did that. It was long enough to start with. Just an idea that popped into my head for no reason. I don't know if you can see them in the photo but there are butterflies, dragonflies, and bees flitting around among the flowers.

I like it. The neckline feels much better now and the length is fine even though it's almost what many would consider dress length. For me it's still a tunic. It's a comfortable, loungey kind of tunic and I think it will mostly be hanging out at home reading, watching TV, and puttering around the house doing housewifey things. We also need pretty things for days when we have nowhere to go.

Goal: Sew fabric that I have had for 2+ years at least once a month (or 12 times this year) 5/12

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Just Some New Shoes

This seems a little odd to me but I have never owned a pair of pink shoes before. Most of my shoes are brown, black, or tan. I guess that's because growing up I only had one pair of "good" shoes at a time and maybe a pair of sneakers for summer so I got used to picking shoes that "go with everything". But I was looking at these shoes, which come in more than a dozen colors, and decided I have enough pink clothes for a pair of pink shoes to make sense.

It's surprisingly tricky to take photos of one's own feet.

The color in these photos is just a bit washed out. They are a slightly brighter pink in reality. Today I'm wearing them with jeans and this blouse.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Call of the New

Since I'm doing really good with my goal of sewing from the older stash I felt like I could afford to give in to some of the more recently purchased fabrics that have been calling to me so strongly. I have so much that I want to sew right now and most of it is fabric I have purchased in the past 6 - 8 months.

You know fabric is like potato chips. You can't go into a fabric store and leave with only a half yard of fabric. When I went to the little local quilt shop to buy the blue pin dot I needed for the last project this fabric spoke to me and I could not ignore it.

And I knew right away it had to be another New Look 6963. ("Hey Lynn, how are you doing with that goal of using some of your unused patterns?" - "Shut up. I'll get to it eventually.")

This year I've been feeling a need for more tunics and long shirts so I'll have more choices of things to wear with comfy stretch pants and leggings. (In this pic I'm wearing it with loose fitting jeans.)

This is another one of those garments that I like way better when I'm just wearing than when I'm looking at pictures of myself wearing it. Which means, I like it. No, I love it. Very comfy and colorful like all my favorite clothes.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Another Little Dress and Another Stash-Bust

Another McCall's 9227 for my granddaughter.

Those are not the cap sleeves from the pattern. I just wanted little ruffles so I made little ruffles. Also added the border, like on the last one. On this one I left off the sash and used elastic on the back waistline instead. (I do that on my own dresses that are supposed to have a sash because I really don't like sashes.) I feel like this photo doesn't do it justice. It's super cute and I can hardly wait to see her wear it.

I have had the pink fabric for about three and half years so it counts toward my stash-busting goal of sewing from my older-than-2-years stash at least once a month or an average of 12 a year. The blue pin dot fabric is much newer. Both came from the local quilt shop.

By the way, this and the other little dress are a size 5 in case you were wondering. It's a bit long because she's tall for her age and also she likes her dresses sort of long - well below the knee but not necessarily maxi.

Goal: Sew fabric that I have had for 2+ years at least once a month (or 12 times this year) 4/12

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Birdhouses, Birds, and Flowers

This little dress is so freaking adorable I can hardly stand it.

It's for my granddaughter. She told me a while back that she wanted a dress with birds and flowers on it and this is what I came up with. I used McCall's 9227 view A but left off the ruffle and drafted my own curved yoke and butterfly sleeves and added a border to match the yoke.

Sorry I didn't think to photograph the process. Here's a quick tutorial for butterfly or flutter sleeves. To make a pattern piece for the yoke I cut a complete bodice front out of Swedish tracing paper (but you could use any paper) then I traced the edge of various large bowls and plates until I got a curve I liked.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

More Online Shopping

I'll start with Etsy. I haven't been shopping at Etsy for very long but one time was all it took to get me hooked. Search options are convenient and ordering is super easy. Most recently, I have ordered fabric from HouseOfMamiWata and MoreLoveMama. Both of these sellers are located in Texas, practically right next door to me, geographically speaking, so I received my orders in just two days.

Shopping online for notions is even more of a necessity for me than online fabric shopping. The only place within 40 miles of me that has any notions at all is Walmart. They have very, very few and almost never what I need. You would think with such a small notions department they would at least have a few of the basics but that is exactly what is lacking. They have a few odd novelty buttons, but no standard shirt buttons, double fold bias tape but no single fold, and so forth. So online I go. Here are my three favorite sites for notions.

Create For Less - This site has all kinds of craft supplies but I mostly go there for buttons and trim. They have a lot of Dill buttons, which I love not only for the buttons themselves but for the packaging. They usually come in surprisingly easy to open blister packs. No staples!

Lots of Buttons - Like the name says, lots of buttons. Only ordered a couple of times but everything I received was high quality and in convenient packaging. My only complaint is that sizes are like 20L, 32L, and so forth and I always have to look up what those "L" sizes really mean. They do have a size chart but I wish they would just show the sizes in fractions of an inch like I'm used to in the first place.

WAWAK Sewing - Again, I have saved the best for last. This site has everything plus items you never thought of but my favorite thing is the zippers. OMG, the zippers! They have zippers from three inches to over 100 inches. They have brass jeans zippers in 27 different colors and sizes from 3 to 11 inches. Also jacket zippers and specialty zippers like ones that are closed on both ends, for example, and of course, standard nylon skirt and dress zippers. And the prices. Seriously, go look at the zipper prices. Some other items come in large quantities like, for example, a gross of shirt buttons and a 30 yard package of elastic if you ever need that much.

See my Online Fabric Shopping list, in case you missed it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fresh Oranges

I don't have just one favorite color but I'm really feeling the orange this year. It's such a happy color, don't you think? I feel like I'm spreading happiness wherever I go when I'm wearing orange.

The pattern is New Look 6963. The check fabric is from the Kona Colorworks 2 collection. I've had it in my stash for two or three years. It's a wonderful, crisp cotton with a sturdy feel. I keep hoping Kona will come out with a Colorworks 3 collection because Colorworks 2 is all sold out everywhere I go. The stiffness of the fabric makes for some weird wrinkles and some other wrinkles are because I've already been wearing it for over half the day but I don't care. I only mentioned it because I'm sure someone else will notice. You know, life gives us wrinkles. Wrinkles are just signs that we've been living our lives.

The floral fabric isn't exactly the right orange (you can't tell in the photos) but the way I saw it I had 3 choices: 1. keep looking for the perfect orange and white floral for the rest of my life; 2. tell my OCD self to just shut up and let me do this; or 3. abandon my original plan and just use the check by itself. As you can see I picked option 2 and it was the right choice. I'm totally happy with it.

Here's the back. (and, so sorry, the ugly backs of arms too)

And I have to show you the buttons. One of the buttons.

I rescued these from a blouse that I do not love. (Except for when I go through my closet looking for stuff to give to Good Will then suddenly I do love it very much.) Whether I donate it or keep it I will eventually have to put buttons on the unloved blouse but I do love these buttons and I think they look much better on this shirt, which I also love.

Goal: Sew fabric that I have had for 2+ years at least once a month (or 12 times this year) 3/12

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Online Fabric Shopping

I noticed some discussion, here and there, of online fabric shopping so, since I have considerable experience in that area I decided to share some thoughts and links.

I can't remember the first time I bought fabric online. I had said that fabric was one thing I could never buy online. I have to be able to touch it but maybe I needed something I couldn't find locally or maybe I read a recommendation on a blog and decided to take a chance. Whatever started it, I soon became hooked on online fabric shopping and now it feels like practically my only option.

I live in the boonies. The nearest major fabric store is in Tulsa, an hour away. I live about 12 miles outside a small town where there are two grocery stores, a Walmart, a Lowes, and about a thousand antique shops. (Okay, I exaggerate a bit.) And one small quilt shop. So you see, my local fabric shopping options are extremely limited. Online shopping was made for me.

I am hesitant to buy certain kinds of fabric online. I am confident buying quilting cotton because I know pretty much what I'll be getting. I have bought a lot of stretch denim and stretch twill online and I'm sometimes happy with what I get, other times less so. And I have had really bad luck buying knits online. There are just too many variables - weight, stretch, recovery - and even if a site gives ounces per yard and percent of stretch it's still impossible to tell what you're really getting. I have bought fabric that seemed like a good weight - like 10 ounces per yard - and it turned out to be much thinner than I expected.

Anyway, here, in no particular order, are some of the online fabric stores I have purchased from.

Fabric.com - Huge selection of fabric, good prices and you can get swatches of some fabrics, but not all. There are good search options too so it's easy to find what you want.

Denver Fabrics - Great selection of fabrics including some hard to find. I have ordered a lot of stretch twill and some cotton lawn from them and I've generally been happy. Some of the "stretch" twill I've purchased has been nicely stretchy but some has had barely any stretch at all. This has been one of my frustrations. Denver Fabrics seems to be an outlet store. If you see something you like don't hesitate. It will be gone tomorrow.

Girl Charlee - This is where my fear of buying knits online was confirmed. I bought one piece of cotton/poly knit that I was very happy with. Most of the other fabrics I've bought from this store have been either acceptable or disappointing. And it's really hard to find anything specific. For example all jersey knit is listed together so if I want 100% cotton I have to look through page after page of fabrics, clicking on each one only to find that most of them are cotton/rayon blends. However, if you like rayon blend knits (I do not!) this is your site.

Spandex World - Some very nice cotton spandex knit (as well as many other spandex fabrics) and they will send swatches. Unfortunately, shipping is beyond ridiculous. I don't really blame the store for that but I really hate to buy fabric when the shipping charge is more than the cost of the fabric itself.

Nick Of Time Textiles - Great selection of cotton spandex knit and sweatshirt fleece. (and many other fabrics but those are the two I've purchased) They send swatches. Same complaint as with Spandex World - shipping costs more than the fabric. If you're buying a huge quantity of fabric you can sometimes get a deal on shipping.

Rocky Woods Fabrics - Specialty outdoor fabrics. Windbreaker nylon, including waterproof nylon, Cordura nylon, canvas, wool, neoprene, mesh, ribbing, and lots of different camo fabrics.

Hemp Traders - A hemp store, not a fabric store but they do have hemp fabrics. I bought some of their 55%hemp/45% cotton knit and I love it. Must buy more!

Extra Special Fabric - Western theme quilting cotton, plus a little fleece, faux fur and a few others. This one is located in Guthrie Oklahoma, on the far side of the state from me but I have been there in person once and I ordered from them twice, I think. When I ordered they didn't even have an online order form; I had to place my order by phone. I don't know if that has changed. Excellent fabric and service though.

eQuilter.com - I have saved my favorite for last. Absolutely the most beautiful cotton prints anywhere! The website is super easy and fun to use too. Fabrics are organized by theme and you can also search by color. Mostly quilting cotton of course but they also have some flannel and yarn dyed shirting.

There are also a lot of fabric sellers on Etsy but this has taken me a lot longer than I expected so I will save those for another time.