Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MMM fail, the Azores, and the next Alabama Chanin project

Hi!

I failed MMM—mostly because some unexpected things came up for which I didn't have MMM pieces. (I really need to learn to make a suit one of these days.) And I'm starting a new job on Monday in a formal work environment, and the only formal anything I have is that suit, so I had to spring for some RTW dresses and stuff. Double fail.

But! I got the dresses from Nau—in linen and hemp and Tencel, yay!—and also sprung for the Annelise dress from Alabama Chanin with cap sleeves, which I'm hoping will be dressy enough with a cardigan and flats. Hooray for NO MORE BLACK POLYESTER PANTS, EVER.

We also went to the Azores for a week (just Sao Miguel; we're definitely going back to see the other islands at some point!) Embroidery, knitting/crocheting and cross-stitching are big there, and I stumbled across at least four fabric/sewing stores. Some pics:





That newsstand had a kajillion issues of Burda and other pattern magazines, and a TON of cross-stitching magazines. I kind of busted my budget there.

Aside from that, I'm trying to get as much planting done as I can before the job starts—tomatoes, cukes, anise hyssop, hardy hibiscus, amaranth, and purple basil so far. I'm also trying to make progress on the next Alabama Chanin fitted dress:



I have to admit, every time I start a reverse applique project, I start to question whether I should just leave it stenciled. Sticking with the original plan for now, though.

That's all for now!



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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Me-Made May

I'm doing it this year for the first time now that I finally have enough me-made things to wear -- but won't be doing daily outfits or photos or anything like that.

Will most likely wear a lot of tees (I have a ton!) So far, I've worn:

Vogue 8877, which turned out to be super-comfortable; I wear it a lot more than I thought I would:


And blurrily stenciled Alabama Chanin/Renfrew mashup:


Weirdly, I get compliments on this when I wear it out. Blurry stenciling: the wave of the future!

In other news, foster kitty is doing well. We named her Kiki, after the cat in Kiki's Delivery Service. (Yes, I know the cat is a boy named Jiji; she just looks so much like a Kiki.)


She's gained weight (she's a super-picky eater, but we finally figured out that she only seems to like Purina Cat Chow; she doesn't even like treats!), passed all her tests, and will be going to the shelter for adoption on Sunday. I'll miss her! It's nice to have a lap-sitter around the house.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vogue summer pattern update

I bought the Guy Laroche, the Anne Klein, and the Patricia Keay.

I can't stop thinking about the Laroche; it's such an interesting design. How do you even put that together? Metal or covered buttons? How does the overlay work? Why those sleeves? Etc. I kind of want the pattern just for the instructions.

Then, on the PatternReview roundup, I saw the amazing original version:



THAT MAKES TOTAL SENSE. Much better than the all-white version:



I fell in insta-love with the original version and am now trying to figure out how to rent or borrow an embroidery machine to make it happen (either that, or learn hand embroidery, which is a whole new world and something I was thinking about trying anyway).

Oh, SEWING.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

new summer Vogue patterns

I love Vogue, but there's not a lot I can do this time around (long, ruffly dresses do not work on short people, and open backs and cold shoulders are not my jam). But I'm looking at these:

V1543, Anne Klein

Dig the pleats in the front. Wondering if it would work in linen? Really wish they'd used plain fabric for the photo.


V1550, Paco Peralta

Not sure if this would work in short-personville, but I really like the shorter top and pants together. I like the Paco Peralta jacket, too.


Unsure about:

V1549, Sandra Betzina

That's some excellent fabric, but again, you can't really see the lines in the photo. It looks boxier in the line drawing?


V1548, Guy Laroche

Appropriate short-person dress, but not sure about the overlay (is it totally detachable?) Could be good, could go so, so wrong.

Those sleeves are amazing, though. I almost want to just get it and Frankenpattern them onto other things. I like the back seams too.


V1542, Patricia Jeanne Keay

Except I don't really need a party dress. (Unless I do. Just in case, right?)



Gah, I just looked over this post and it's "not sure" about everything, isn't it?

Sewing news: Not much happening in that department lately, mostly because of life insanity, but I'm hoping to get back to it soon. I get sad every time I look at my stash. Soon!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

oh hi!

It's been a while. I haven't really been sewing as much, although that Sandra Betzina dress is still in progress and I'm thinking about a couple of projects.

But a couple of things!

First thing: I went to the Women & Textiles Expo in Lowell yesterday and met up with Deepika and a few others from PatternReview.

hi!
It was really fun! I think it's the first year for the expo, and I hope they do it again next year. There were lectures, a makers' table (we made scarves out of cotton and fleece strips), vendors, and a fashion show.

Here's Deepika trying on a jacket from B. Felt:


She bought the blue scarf from them:

B. Felt! #goals
The fashion show was pretty amazing. Here's what won Best in Show:




Why yes, that is a reversible coat with a map of Amsterdam made out of felted organic merino wool, no big.

I bought an amazing red woven scarf (you can just see it in the top photo) from Elizabeth Springett:


Her friend, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, made it. She uses just one finger to move the shuttle. Gorgeous work.

So yeah, fun day. It's filling the Worcester Sew Expo-shaped void in my heart. (But I'll still miss you, Cynthia Guffey.)

Second thing! We adopted this little dude.

Hey, ladies.
The shelter named him Rensselaer, and we've been calling him Ren or Rennie or Captain Rensselaer Sassypants or (suggested by Facebook) Snake Plissken or Nick Furry. The non-working tiny eye on the left is a birth defect, but he sees pretty well out of the right. He's super-pouncy and snuggly and fun, and he likes pizza, vegan yogurt, and hemp milk a lot. (Ask me how I know.)

That's the news for now!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Harley

We said goodbye to him this weekend.

I miss him a lot. Hunkered down in the window, snoozing in the sewing room, stalking heating vents, chasing his tail... the house feels weird and empty without him.

Our other cat, Cinders, knows something's up, and she seems pretty unsettled. So am I.

I'm setting up a memorial space in his sleeping spot in the sewing room, with his blankets and a toy and the ridiculous baby t-shirt the vet asked us to make him wear (which he hated). It had some patriotic baseball thing on the front, and I wish I could have snapped a picture of his expression when we first put it on him. What the hell, person?

He was so funny -- the type of cat that took everything extremely seriously, until he didn't.

Going through my photos, it's amazing how many of them are sewing-related. He was always there! He loved sitting on fabric and paper patterns (especially PDFs, as I was trying to tape them up), and watching me thread needles. (String, person. STRING.)








The ridiculous baby t-shirt:


And my all-time favorite picture of him:


I'll miss you, buddy.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

V1510 progress, dyeing with purple basil, and other stuff

Updates!

1. I'm making slow progress on view A of V1510. Slow because Harley the cat is still sick (his cancer is progressing, unfortunately), and this keeps happening:

Me: Hey Harley, want to go work on the dress?
Harley: I have a better idea. How about I curl up on your chest and go to sleep?

This...
...or this?
I like the dress so far, though. (I'm doing the tunic version, but it's long enough to be a dress on me.) And how did I not know that Sandra Betzina's instructions are fantastic?

2. I'm totally drooling over Dries van Noten spring 2017, especially this coat:


I need this! Where can I find a giant floral print?

3. I dyed some fabric with purple basil. Did some cotton (including an overdye on a tansy/iron mix I wasn't crazy about), and then threw some wool and silk into the exhaust dyebath. I simmered each batch for several hours, then let it sit for 1 or 2 days.

Result: two totally different colors. Plants, you are so weird.

Purple basil, you smell SO GOOD

Soaking cotton
Final results

Left: Cotton, definitely purple. The bottom is the overdyed Alabama Chanin fabric. I might redye the cotton on the top to try and get a deeper color.
Right: Wool and silk in bright yellow bordering on chartreuse. WHAT.

4. We went to the Big E last weekend — New England's epic multi-state fair. It's so big that it takes two full days to see everything. My favorite building (well, aside from Vermont) is the New England Center, which has the the competition quilts, fiber projects and crafts. Some of my favorites this year:

RIP, Cecil
The Death Star quilt was really amazing up close.
A knitted electric guitar!
Hi, Amelia.
I had a fun conversation there with a woman who was hand-quilting some pieces from her brother-in-law's mother's (?) stash -- mostly pieces from the '40s and '50s. (I didn't get a picture; wish I would have asked.)

We were chatting about hand-sewing, and she said, "You know, those embroidery machines do a fabulous job, but why should the machine have all the fun?" My thoughts exactly.

Also, we saw someone making silk from cocoons — ! She had a little crockpot set up, and walked us through the process from beginning to end. She also had a shawl that she'd spun, dyed, and knitted herself. I really should have taken photos.

On Sunday, we went to one of my favorite fabric stores, Osgood Textile in West Springfield. I love Osgood -- it's enormous and I always find something interesting there.



When it's home dec, but you absolutely, positively must make a dress out of it.
That's about it for now. Time to go check on the cat!

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