Monday, August 22, 2016

Colors! My Colors! (And a Monstrous Run-On Sentence)

Have you ever decided that you are absolutely not going to buy any more fabric for a long time because you are suddenly slightly horrified to realize how much you already have, but then a local quilt shop has a 30% off on everything sale(!) and you remember you actually do need a few small pieces to finish or refashion some things, like contrast for a couple of shirts you're planning, for example, so you go just to buy those things and you leave the store proud of yourself because you only bought what you went there for but then you keep thinking about that one really gorgeous fabric that you didn't buy because you were determined to be good and you go back and buy some because, what the heck, it's 30 percent off!?

Yeah, that's what happened to me. (This is actually lighter weight than "typical" quilting fabric, perfect for a summer dress.)

I am so excited about this fabric, I was going to cut it out today but then I realized that I do not have a zipper or thread to match. The only place within an hour's drive of me that has sewing notions (other than quilting notions) is Walmart and they probably have the right color thread but no chance on the zipper so I'll have to order that. :-(

For the most part, it seems like I have been sewing some uncharacteristically subdued colors lately. I mean, I like all the garments I've made this year. I like a wide variety of colors - sometimes it's the print that's the main thing - but I have been craving some real COLOR! Summer's last fling, perhaps. So for now I wait and look through my stash for something else colorful, though I know I have nothing else quite this bold.

What's In a Name?

I had an epiphany yesterday. Well, not really; I just like the word "epiphany" and this seemed like a good excuse to use it.

When I first decided to start a sewing blog I wanted the word "sew" in the title but it seemed like all the good sewing blog titles were already taken so after much thought I settled on "And Sew It Goes". I actually sort of like it. It's not bad for something I settled on and I was satisfied with it but yesterday I thought of something that is both more meaningful and more "me".

I enjoy attention and praise as much as anyone. In fact, sometimes I think I might crave attention a little too much. But, to be honest, I do get a little tired of non-sewing people always being SO AMAZED that I sew. Yes, it is nice to be able to impress people but I feel like a bit of a fraud - like I'm getting praise that I don't deserve. Sewing is really no more impressive than a lot of other things people routinely do, such as driving in a large city, using computers, baking cookies, or keeping house plants alive. (The first and last of those are more difficult for me than sewing.)

I don't have much patience with people who say they would love to learn to sew but they "can't" or "could never learn". Look - for most of the history of civilization not sewing was not an option for most women. The only women who could get away with not sewing were those who were wealthy enough to pay someone else to do it for them, so anyone with two functional hands can learn to sew. Now if you really don't want to or "don't have time" that's fine. That's disappointing but I can accept that. Just don't act like sewing is some kind of strange superpower. It's not.

I must admit that I do have a selfish motive for wanting more people to learn to sew. The more people there are who sew the more local fabric stores there will be, but seriously, I don't expect everyone to know how to sew and if people are impressed that's cool too, just not so much over-the-top, OMG-you-have-superpowers impressed.

So anyway, sorry for getting preachy. I know the people who really need that sermon will never see it. Anyone who comes here will most likely be someone who already sews or who is seriously interested. I just wanted to explain the name change and why this one is more ME.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Brand New Sloppy Old T-Shirt

Fair warning: this post contains the worst photos of me you will ever see. I'm talking driver's license photo bad. In fact, I've had better driver's license photos. But for this garment that seems sort of appropriate somehow. So anyway...

First, about the fabric - I went looking for some hemp fabric to make my oldest son a shirt for his birthday because I knew he would get a kick out of having a shirt made of hemp. (One thing we have in common is that we are both easily amused.) I found Hemp Traders. This jersey is 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton. It is wonderful! It's soft and drapey but really well behaved and a dream to sew. The cut edges don't even curl up like most knits do. You've gotta get some of this stuff. It comes in more that 20 colors.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that t-shirt to show you. As I said last week, when the kids get to be six feet tall it's just about impossible to dress them up and force them to pose for pictures. But it really turned out great. I'm tempted to say perfect. And he liked it so, yeah, perfect.

I bought almost twice as much fabric as I needed (It's 64 inches wide) so I had enough left over for another shirt. I thought about making one for my other son but I decided he would probably like a different color better so I made one for myself. I used this really old pattern, upsized and lengthened it just a bit.

I will never wear this in public but that's exactly what I intended - a comfortable shirt for housework and just lounging around. So we'll start with an "action shot".

Yikes! I don't look like that. No, seriously, I don't, not even when I'm zombied out in front of the TV. I refuse to believe it. Anyway, you probably want a better look at the shirt. Here ya go.

The hem is straight; it just looks that way because of the slouchy style and the way I'm standing, I think. Anyway, it feels great and I love it and I'm definitely buying more of this fabric, and making some things that can be worn in public.

By the way, the pants I'm wearing are a very old pair of L.L. Bean Perfect Fit(tm) Pants. I highly recommend them if you want some nice, practically indestructible RTW knit pants. Sadly, the color selection is very limited - what I like to call six shades of dull - but, to be fair, they are all useful "go with everything" colors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Regrets? No and Yes

I don't regret this dress. I like it. It's another Simplicity 1803, view C this time, and it's the best fit of these princess seams so far. (Bodice only; I don't like the extra seams in the skirt of this pattern)

But as I started sewing it I noticed that these are fall colors and I started thinking what a lovely fall tunic it would have made.

I have been obsessed with these scoop back dresses though and I want more, more, more of them.

So I don't regret the dress but I regret not having the fall tunic that might have been. Does that make sense?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Brief, Unillustrated Notes

I made a t-shirt for my oldest son. I will probably never get to show that one to you. When kids get to be six feet tall it's kind of hard to forcibly dress them and make them pose for pictures. But I do have to say something about the fabric. It's a 55 percent hemp/45 percent organic cotton from Hemp Traders. It is wonderful to sew with - very well-behaved on the sewing machine - and it feels like it would be very comfortable to wear. I have some left over, maybe enough for a tank top for myself. And I'm definitely buying more.

I am almost finished with another dress. No surprise - another scoop back. I love it but at the same time I'm not without a minor regret regarding the fabric. More on this and some photos, probably sometime in the next few days, maybe a week.

I am getting really close to finishing a quilt that I started several years ago so now I'm getting excited about quilting again and I'm so full of ideas. That's not 100% a good thing though. I have more ideas than I have time or money. Most of my ideas involve buying more fabric, unfortunately, but I do have a lot of scraps that could become a lovely quilt. In fact, scraps are taking over my house and I really need to make a scrap quilt. I just need to decide on an interesting pattern.

Finally, I want some of this fabric SOOOO bad but I don't know... I can't picture what to make of it. It's quilting fabric, so obviously I could plan another quilt, but I was actually thinking something to wear but I'm having trouble coming up with an idea for such a large print. Oh well, sadly, I'll probably just let it go.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Jellyfish Dress

It's not perfect but I love it anyway so I'm not going to point out its flaws this time.

This is the bodice of Butterick 5748 again and the skirt of Vogue 8811. I didn't get a picture of the back this time but I must say I think I'm addicted to these scoop backs. I have made several, using two different scoop back patterns, and now when I put on an ordinary dress it almost feels wrong to have fabric touching my upper back.

Of course I added pockets, as always, and you might notice the two sea green buttons at the neckline. I just happened to have those, only the two, and they're very close to the color of the sea weed in this print so I decided to use them for a little decoration. I'm not sure they're really noticeable enough to make a difference but I like them and I'm glad I used them.

You know, it's funny... I am not especially attracted to navy blue and I would never claim it as one of my favorite colors but I keep making and loving navy blue things. (Well, two so far this year) I think it's more the colors that go with it though. These ocean colors look so cool and summery and the jelly fish are great fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Not Sewing

Hey, it's been a long time, huh? Actually I have been sewing. There was one week when I only did one little thing the whole week - fixed some pockets that were bugging me. And I'm almost finished with another dress that I feel like I've been working on forever, doing just one little step a day most days. Eventually I'll take some pictures and get around to showing off some things but that's not what I'm here for today.

This is not about sewing but it is crafty and it's incredible. I want to shrink (like in those movies) for just an hour down to the size to fit in this dollhouse so I can walk around in it. I'd probably throw out the skulls and the creepy dog skeleton but otherwise this is fascinating and wonderful.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eifel Towers and Lavender Lace Become the Lazy House Dress

I was having a bad face day. Actually, I have a cold sore. I have been using that stuff that costs nearly $20 for a tube the size of a five-year-old child's pinky finger. I'm not sure if it works or not. Maybe a little but certainly not well enough to justify the price. But I'm not here to talk about overpriced OTC pharmaceuticals.

I used my go-to lazy dress pattern, Kwik Sew 2671. "Lazy" because it's easy to sew - no darts or zipper - and because it makes a very comfortable, lazy day kind of dress. I have made it probably a dozen times with various modifications. I prefer the look of a more fitted bodice but I wear the dresses made from this pattern more than anything else so I'm always happy to have another one.

This time I made it with a seam down the front of the bodice instead of buttons so I could use this cotton lace trim. I'm a little embarrassed about the obvious lack of pattern matching but I think something would have ended up cut in half and/or not lined up no matter what I did.

How about an action shot? Not one of my best but it'll do.

I have to show you a close-up of the fabric so you can see the detail in the bird silhouettes.

The verdict: This is another one of those, "I love it when I'm just wearing it, not looking at pictures of myself wearing it," things so overall, a win.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I made side seam pockets this time. Also, two modifications I always do when I use this pattern. 1. It's supposed to be a jumper so I always make the arm holes smaller. 2. I hate sashes and tie belts so I leave it off and put elastic at the back waist instead. I think I could have used a shorter piece of elastic in this one.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Colorful Cats

I needed this. I was feeling a need for some outrageous color. These colorful cat silhouettes are just the thing. I used the bodice of Butterick 5748 with a plain gathered skirt again. (I don't know if I will ever make it with the circle skirt. I like the idea of a circle skirt but I'm not sure about actually living in one.) I also lowered the neckline a little and I'm not really happy with the shape of it this time.

This photo is out of focus but in some ways I think it's the best of the photos I took of this dress.

Most of the photos had these goofy wrinkles across the bodice. But you know, that's life. We are not department store mannequins. We move, we breathe, we are imperfect. But I do need to talk about that bodice a little bit and not just to make excuses for it.

You may remember that the first time I used this pattern my usual size (16) was way too big. So this time I cut a size 14. Well, it turns out that a size 14 in this pattern is a little bit tight so I let out the back seam a quarter of an inch. That's not much and it still doesn't have as much ease as I'm used to but it did give me a little more breathing room and it's not uncomfortable at all. I think those wrinkles are due to a combination of it being a little bit too snug and just a smidgen too long for me. If I use this pattern six more times I think I might get it all figured out.

The trim is cut from a small piece of fabric I had left over from another project. It wouldn't have been my first choice of trim color if I had been buying something new but I already had this and it was a spur of the moment decision and I think it looks okay.

Here's one more pic. The goofy pose mostly smoothed out the goofy wrinkles.

Overall I really like it. It's not perfect but it's perfectly wearable and super fun.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#%&*$@&! Zipper!

Zippers - I've installed tons of them. Well, maybe not tons but a lot and I almost never have any trouble with them, though some end up looking better than others. But today... well, refer to the image above.