Harley helps.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

born of frustration: Alabama Chanin fingerless gloves

My dermatologist yelled at me. "You're doing a good job of protecting your face," she said, "but you have quite a bit of sun damage around your neck and shoulders, and you have got to watch your arms and hands."

Then she zapped two not-precancerous-yet-but-they-could-be-someday things on my arms. AUGH.

Skin cancer freaks me out. My mother has it (as do a bunch of my other relatives — we're pasty!) I've seen what she has to go through — surgery after surgery, even chemo at one point — and I never, ever want that if I can possibly avoid it. So I buy vats of the highest SPF I can find, wear UPF t-shirts and sun hats and all that.

But I draw the line at wearing long-sleeved shirts in the summertime. I've tried, but it's just really uncomfortable to go out in 90-degree heat in long sleeves — especially in polyester UPF fabric. Plus, they don't cover the backs of my hands, where age spots and other things are starting to show up.

Enter: Alabama Chanin fingerless gloves!

Obligatory silly Alabama Chanin-style photo:

These are wearable muslins. I made them out of organic cotton from Dharma Trading (I think — it was in the Dharma Trading part of my stash, anyway). I pretreated them with Jacquard iDye Sun Blocker. (Don't know how well I can vouch for it, exactly, but I did use it on my whites last summer before our trip to Orlando and didn't get burned.)

Construction was super-easy — it's just one pattern piece, and you can probably guess how it goes together. As always, I did two rows of straight stitches right next to each other to reduce gaps. There's just one size in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, though, so it's definitely worth making a muslin. For me, there was a ton of extra fabric in the wrist area:

Hi, Harley.
...which I pinched out, marked with needles and chalk and then transferred to the second pattern piece.  I stitched out the extra fabric:

The fit isn't perfect yet -- there's still more fabric around the thumb hole than I'd like, and the upper forearm is a bit tight — but I think they're okay for now. I've already worn them a bunch of times on my bike, in the car, and around town. (Yes, I know they look weird with t-shirts and shorts. I'm embracing the weirdness.) And they're so getting worn to Canobie Lake Park and to the Big E in September.

I'm going to make another pair at some point and stencil, draw, or write on them somehow. Haven't decided what yet — leaves, birds, punctuation marks or something. Maybe "Silent E Is a Ninja." We'll see.


Monday, June 13, 2016

PatternReview meetup

I went to the PR meetup at Fabric Place Basement in Natick on Saturday. I met Deepika and some other lovely PRers. It was great!

Janice, the manager, even showed us around the back room.

Deepika (on the left) was wearing a Deer & Doe dress with fabric purchased during the last meetup. Jenny (I'm not sure who she is on PR) showed us her shoemaking process, too. I'm inspired to try making some espadrilles at some point. Hmm, I do have some Donkey Kong cotton from JoAnn...

Here's Jenny and someone whose name I didn't catch playing around in the button bin.

She self-drafted that shirt!
I also met someone who's working on the same Cynthia Guffey jacket pattern I am. She was also at the sewing expo in Worcester. How funny.

I bought some linen and a couple of zippers for the jacket. Should be just about ready to go. Woohoo!

Anyway, so. It was fun and I'm definitely going to try and make the next one if I can.

In other news, it looks like I probably won't be able to make it to MPB Day this year. Harley had his surgery, but unfortunately, it looks like the cancer might have spread. (Or has the potential to spread; I'm not really sure -- either way, it was outside the margins of what they got.) We'll know more after his kitty oncologist appointment in July.

In the meantime, I'm trying to spend as much time with him as I can, and flinging open all the windows whenever possible, and giving him all the treats.

I'm doing a lot of Alabama Chanin hand-sewing in his recovery room. He seems to like the "loving your thread" part. He's such a good little guy.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

where are you going, where have you been

I guess I did Me-Made May, if you count the one me-made scarf I wore nearly every day in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Here it is in Keukenhof, with Miffy:

And in Maastricht:

"Well, you always take pictures of *me* eating," says Tom.

I also got a major haircut in Antwerp:

Which makes me super-duper happy. I've been waiting forever to get it cut because I knew we would be in Antwerp again and I really wanted to go to Toni Kalin, because he did such an awesome job last time. It feels one hundred million times better.

I have more to post, but I'm working on two city guides for Seamwork, so I'll most likely post some sewing and fabric shopping-related stuff once they go up. :)

In bummer news, Harley goes back to the vet for more surgery AGAIN Monday. We got back from the trip and found two new basal cell tumors. They're going to be more aggressive with the surgery this time and follow up with radiation, so I really really hope that does it. Poor guy.

That's the news for now.