Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pattern Impulses

At the beginning of every year I see a lot of talk about "stash busting" on the sewing blogs, and I've seen some really incredible stashes out there. I'm not even in the running for the "She Who Dies With the Most Fabric" prize. But what about patterns? I haven't seen as much about this. Sewing people, do you have a stash of unused patterns?

I have a bad habit of using a few TNT (tried 'n' true) patterns over and over again and making little changes or combining parts of different patterns to make frankenpatterns, while I have unused patterns that I could not resist but haven't got around to using yet. Below are a few from my collection followed by explanations and excuses.

From the top, left to right

Simplicity 1882 - This is a very recent purchase and I have fabric for it. I just need to find some fabric for the contrasting trim. I am confident that I will get around to this one this year.

Simplicity 2957 - I've had this one several years and have had fabric for it for over a year. I also need to get some contrasting trim fabric for this one.

Vogue 8577 - I also have fabric for this one but when I started cutting out the pattern pieces I got a little discouraged with it because the pockets are not real so I need to figure out some way to add real pockets, which I know I can do but when I discovered that I just decided to put it off until "later".

Simplicity 2363 - It was love at first site. Then, sometime after I had purchased it, love turned into "What was I thinking?" But now I do have a piece of fabric for it and I'm inspired again. There will be some modifications though.

New Look 6963 - A couple of years ago I thought it was past time to get a new big shirt pattern but then I started wearing more fitted tops and I'm not so fond of big shirts anymore. I think I will use this pattern eventually. One cannot totally give up big shirts.

Vogue 8811 - I love this pattern but haven't bought any fabric for it yet. I want to make a plaid one. This week I saw some pale blue dotted Swiss at Denver Fabrics and my little girl heart started thinking fluffy thoughts but I'm trying to resist because I'm not sure I would regularly wear anything so delicate.

McCall's 6279 - I saw this on one of the sewing blogs and loved it but now I'm not sure what I want to do with it - what kind of fabric, what color, etc. It's a little short for me. I would have to lengthen it quite a bit. How would it look then? I do still like it and want to make it eventually but it probably won't happen this year.

New Look 6950 - I bought this one because of the curved pocket opening. The pants look really baggy though. Okay for lounge pants maybe. I might make the skirt someday. My daughter-in-law liked the top (A & B) so I might make one of those for her. I like it too but the neck opening looks way too wide. How are you supposed to find a bra to go with something like that? Anyway, I don't have any immediate plans for this one but it still seems like a useful pattern to have.

Simplicity 9403 - This is a very old pattern. It includes only sizes 6 and 8. I never got around to making it because I couldn't decide what colors I wanted for it. Now... well, size 8 was about 3 sizes ago and I have no idea how to upsize this pattern with those weird curvy pieces. I should just give it up but darn it I really liked it and wanted to make it and I keep thinking, "There's gotta be some way."

I'm reluctant to make any kind of pattern stash busting commitment but I'm tempted to say I will make at least three of these year. So stick around and see how I do. What about the rest of you sewing people? Anyone want to talk about pattern stashes?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Colorful Paisley With Rick-Rack

The delightful Anne of Pretty Grievances came up with my new favorite neologism (I first saw it in the comments on a recent post. I'm not going to look it up.) - gaudiflage - bold, colorful clothes and accessories used to conceal or divert attention away from one's physical imperfections. Skeptical? Seriously, here's how it works. You dress so that instead of having people say about you, "Does she really think wearing black will make that huge butt look any smaller?" they will say, "OMG! Quick, where are my sunglasses?" (Or perhaps, "Who sent in the clown?") Well, anyway, I was using gaudiflage before it was even a word.

Here is my recently finished creation.

This is Simplicity 5346 with a little sleeve modification and lots of pink rick-rack. I am mostly pleased with the result. Comfortable and colorful. What more could one want? The sleeves aren't quite the length I was going for but they'll do.

I just happened to have the perfect button in my leftover buttons drawer. I only had the one so I'm probably going to be slightly paranoid about losing it even though I rarely lose buttons off clothes I make.

My history of making button loops is not exactly filled with honor and glory. (i.e. They usually turn out ugly and the wrong size.) So, I thought, what I really need for the loop is some small, round black elastic. Of course the local Wal-mart didn't have any but while I was looking for it I noticed a card full of colorful ponytail bands. (Yes, in sewing notions; no wonder some people get confused about where to find things) The bands gave me an idea but they were too thick so I rushed back to the hair products and found these little black ones.

And it works perfectly. I left it whole so there will be no problem with it fraying. The hidden part of it is about the same length as the half you can see. I still have 35 small black ponytail bands, which should be enough to last me a lifetime if Number Two Son doesn't find them.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Respect the Whimsy

I haven't used rick-rack much until fairly recently. Not that I disliked it or thought there was anything wrong with it. If I thought of it at all it was as a whimsical, old-fashioned trim that my mom used to sew on some of my dresses when I was little. But then I noticed a few people on the Internet hating rick-rack. I'm not talking about people simply saying they don't like it or that it's not for them. That's perfectly fine - different strokes, right? But I mean hate - people seeming to be offended that it even exists. Well, fortunately, I've seen only a few of those but such is the way my brain works, when I see someone hating something that I like my fondness for that thing shoots way up. Suddenly I go from fond memories of my mother sewing rick-rack on my clothes to actually wanting to sew it and wear it now, as an adult.

In this first picture I was about six years old, I think. I don't clearly remember the color of the dress. I think it was some kind of off-red or red-brown. I don't remember the color of the rick-rack at all. It was one of my favorites at the time though.

Here's a dress I already showed off last year. Two rows of white rick-rack around the neckline and one on each pocket. So perfectly summery.

I made this top several years ago and it was the first time I had used rick-rack in a long time - actually only the second time I had ever used it. I just had a sudden epiphany that this print needed a bit of red rick-rack.

This is a very old top. It must be at least 20 years old. This is a nifty thing to do with rick-rack - two different colors wound around each other - a bit tedious but not difficult. My mother got this idea from a tip on a package of rick-rack in the late 60's.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of my latest project, which I will be showing off soon, probably early next week.

This is almost everything I have ever put rick-rack on. The only thing not included is an aqua and pink house-coat with pink rick-rack. So you see I haven't used it a lot. I don't plan to go crazy with it but I will use it again. It's not to everyone's taste but if you haven't used it yet and would like to don't be timid. It's actually very easy to sew. It goes around curves like magic. I would recommend that you do not pin it in place. I tried that and it did not work well for me. I just take it completely off the card it comes on and hold it by hand as I sew, following a seam or a line drawn with a fabric marker, then cut off the excess when I'm done.