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Showing posts from 2014

MPB Day 2014

Our router went bonkers this week, so: belated MPB Day recap! This year, I went with my friend and former coworker Lisa. She wore her first make, a fabulous black-and-white floral dress made from (I think) a Simplicity pattern. She accidentally made it using scrubs fabric, which is kind of funny because we worked in a hospital. (I told her she should wear it down in the OR.) I work my Alabama Chanin skirt. (People recognized it!) We stayed at the Carlton Arms, my favorite almost-hostel. Front-desk kitty was disinclined to check us in. On Saturday, we decided to head over early for flea-marketing. We had breakfast at a Whole Foods "city picnic" on the way (free samples, score), then joined Peter & co. for the Chelsea flea. Lisa considered, but did not get, this Helmut Lang vest. I considered, but did not get, this wacky coat. I still have a minor case of not-buyer's remorse. When in doubt, always buy the wacky coat. Then

also, and furthermore

Speaking of sewfails: This is a couple of years old, but here's what happens when you use a Burda pattern, not realizing that Burda doesn't provide seam allowances: The world's smallest messenger bag. Whoops.

fail: Macbook Air case

After a lot of coaxing from friends and family, I finally broke down and bought an 11" Macbook Air. (Goodbye, ancient Dell laptop. I won't miss you and all of your various screens of death.) I love it, but it needs a case. Or, rather, I'd feel better if it had a case -- something small and padded that just fits the laptop. I really wanted something soft that didn't look like it came from Staples. I had visions of Alabama Chanin fabric and quilt batting and a picture of Antwerp's train station on the front. (Did I mention that Antwerp's train station is gorgeous? I miss it. Wonder if they're hiring.) (And yes, I need a new camera.) I scanned the Antwerp picture and printed it out on a fabric inkjet sheet. Then I stitched it to a piece of scrap AC jersey, and then made the case using ye olde potholder method: 1) lay cover right side up, 2) lay lining right side down, 3) layer batting on both, 4) stitch around, leaving an opening on the bottom, 5

new fall Vogues!

I'm SO SO SO excited about the new Vogue patterns, but I keep squeeing over cute work clothes and then remembering that I'm funemplo-- er, "transitioned." But still! These are on my shortlist: V1419 : Super-awesome Ralph Rucci space-age coatdress. Those sleeves! That collar! Those lines! I've never made a RR or advanced pattern ever, but I'd give this a shot. I can't decide on the color, though. For maximum space-ageosity, maybe a winter white. V1404 : Hard to see the lines with that fabric, but I love the quilted hem and pockets and it looks like it'd work on a short person like me. Now, if I can just find a job to wear it to. (Or not!) V1410 : Lynn Mizono. I'm intrigued by this -- especially the 3 lengths -- but not sure it would work on my body type. Either way, I'd like to try it because I love modular clothes. (More modular patterns, Vogue!)  V9037 : I overlooked this the first time, until I read Communing With

two Alabama Chanin skirts

Once upon a time, I had a really long commute. 3-4 hours a day on the train, longer in the wintertime. Luckily, I also had a copy of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe  and a used Bloomers stencil and fabric scraps from one of AC's online garage sales. I started the Short Fitted Skirt in January and finished it in late April. From the side: I decided to go with reverse appliqué and keep the knots on the inside. I used AC's organic medium-weight cotton jersey in red for the top layer (it's darker than it looks in the pic), AC's organic medium-weight cotton jersey in black for the bottom, Tulip fabric spray paint in Asphalt for the design, black craft thread to outline the shapes, and black fold-over elastic for the waistline.  This is a size small, believe it or not, which was still way too big -- I had to take in each side by a half-inch or so before sewing on the FOE. (Partly because the fabric was inc


I'm here! I'm here. It's been an action-packed few months. The big news, I guess, is that I got laid off in May as part of a department restructuring. (Which is fine! More time to sew, right?) I have finished projects, but that and some other life stuff got in the way of posting. Before I post projects, though...right after I got laid off, we spent a couple of weeks in Wales and Scotland. (I know, I know, but I really needed a couple of weeks to clear my head, and we'd booked and prepaid everything before I found out. So.) I didn't buy much, but here's the haul: Left: Linen with bird print from  Wheeler Fabrics  in Machynlleth, Wales; right: Merchant & Mills Sewing Book Crepe de chine from Liberty. Just enough to make a shell/camisole, maybe. Wheeler Fabrics is really fantastic -- still regretting not buying a couple meters of organic sweatshirt fabric. I might use the linen to try and eke out a dress, although it's a little late in t

see my vest

One of my New Year's resolutions (and yes, it's already the end of February, I know, I know) was to try to make practical and interesting office clothes. By "interesting," I mean clothes that don't make me want to stab my eyes out with a rusty fork. Because if I have to wear one more pair of polyester black pants and black cardigan... Anyway. I saw this on the cover of Drape Drape 2: I wish the Drape Drape models would wear pants occasionally. and went HOLY PRACTICAL THING, BATMAN. A vest/scarf combo (it's cold here) with deep pockets, to throw over office dresses? HELL YES. (I somehow keep buying office dresses that don't have any pockets. Which is a problem, when you have to clip a keycard somewhere because you're running up and down stairs delivering stuff to clients. I'm just saying.) Here's my version.   I suppose it's hard to see in this photo, but it's over a Standard Black Pocketless Office Dress and my favor

Alabama Chanin t-shirts

I've been experimenting with making plain t-shirts lately, preparing for the day when my beloved Esprit t-shirts finally kick the bucket. (Why did you have to close all your US stores, Esprit, why, why, whyyyyyy...?)  I made a size medium short-sleeved shirt from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design , using black rib knit from Jo-Ann. (Used my machine. Sorry, Natalie.) Love this fabric, although I get '90s Banana Republic flashbacks when I use it. My super-fancy sewing blog pose. Guess I need to work on that. It's got a bit more ease than this long-sleeved version, also size medium, using Alabama Chanin medium-weight cotton jersey fabric from one of their garage sales: Although I do love the bell sleeves:   And my husband says, "Woo, I like that," every time I wear the Alabama Chanin version.  Let me just put in a plug here for the Alabama Chanin fabric, though -- it sews like a dream, and it's really soft, especially the lightweight cotton

holiday sewing recap

Catch-up post! (And I made some ACTUAL GARMENTS and they turned out OK, so I'll post about those later. Very exciting. But first, gifts!) I made Cation Designs' awesome all-purpose plushie pattern in Very Serious Bunny and Stoic Doggie as Christmas presents for my niece and nephew. Serious! Stoic! Bun bun and doggie tail. I absolutely love this pattern. It's ingeniously drafted: One body pattern + various switchable ears, paws, and expressions = 7 different animals. It took an afternoon to make each, mostly because I couldn't get the hang of the ladder stitch -- lame, I know. After several tries, I wound up just topstitching the opening closed with matching thread. To the review: Pattern Description:   Cation Designs' free All-Purpose Plushie Pattern , downloadable as a PDF. Pattern Sizing:   One size with switchable parts Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? They looked more