Friday, January 31, 2014

Under the Gunn rehash!

Woohoo, we made it to the end of January! Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now on to the best month of the whole year, February (and no, I'm not being sarcastic). Just so you know, it's basically one holiday a week around here. AB's birthday is February 9th (she's TWO, WHAT?), Valentine's Day is the 14th, and my birthday is the 25th. Basically, we eat cake for an entire month. And my husband buys lots of presents. And the weather can't possibly be any worse than it was in January, so there's nowhere to go but up!

Plus, there's Under the Gunn to watch! Spoilers ahead...

Things I loved:


I'm happy the challenge was so generic. I think broad challenges allow the designers to show themselves a lot better than narrowly-focused ones. That said, I watched this episode twice, and both times I forgot to listen to Zanna describing the actual challenge. Whoops. Hollywood something or other?

Anya's plaid shirt and short shorts. That's how you rock a plaid shirt in a sexy way.

I didn't know Mood LA had a doggie, too!

Things I hated:


Wow, Tim really has to keep a handle on things here. Why is everybody breaking the rules? Mentors AND designers!

I was sooooo disappointed with Nick this episode. If I were a mentor on a show named for Tim Gunn, I would be doing my darndest to completely copy Tim Gunn. And he's NEVER sketched for someone or been anywhere near as talkative as Nick. Dude, get a grip!

Favorite garment(s):


I loved Sam's, again. And seriously, how lucky is he to have a model that seems to perfectly fit his vision?

Shan...wow. I could see it on a red carpet, easily. I would never wear it, but it was so cool!

Least favorite garment:


Stephanie/what's her name? ugh. Ugggggggg-ly. Tortured. Remember when Zanna said on All-Stars that green is never on a magazine cover? I can't stop thinking about that. And y'know what? All of Nick's designer's clothes looked terrible. Apparently those girls were going to the Oscars to take a nap, and all the other girls were going to have fun at the Grammys.

I agreed with Tim about Michelle's...that triangle was very poorly placed.

Best line of the night:


"I work off motivation, and I'm feeling motivated, so I have to just go with it." --Shan  

Okay, how brilliant is that statement?


I was surprised that Camilla was "sent home" (seriously, how hard would it be NOT to say "out"??). Camilla's looked far less obnoxious than Stephanie's. I saw a lot of bad prom dresses on that runway, but a simple, pretty dress was the worst? I don't get it. Not sure how I feel about these judges if that's how they think. You already know how I feel about Zanna as a mentor!

Next week: unconventional challenge. BOOOOO!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Plantain Tee hack

One of my goals this year is to sew more indie patterns. I hope to feature at least one each month, and this month it's the Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt. This is a FREE pattern from Deer & Doe (sign up on their website and download free here).

I'll be honest, when I first saw this pattern I thought it wasn't quite for me. The flowy hemline looked like it was meant for pear-shaped woman, whereas I'm more...carrot-shaped? But I got over it when I remembered that I had two similar RTW tank tops that I wear to death in the summertime. I've been wanting to recreate those tanks for a while, so I thought, why not ditch the sleeves and make a tank top?


By the way, the temperatures in Indiana are hovering right around "can't feel my face" but I didn't let that stop me. I made a tank top to remind myself that summer still exists. And then I styled it with shorts and flats. In January. When will humans be allowed to hibernate?


I cut the size 34, but I raised the neckline about an inch, which ended up being a good decision. To figure out where to cut the pattern to create a tank top, I laid a shirt on top of the pattern and roughly sketched around it, joining at the original side seam.

Original pattern on bottom,
my version on top.

Just make sure your front and
back shoulders are the same length.

For this version, I didn't alter the height of the armhole, but next time I'll drop it an inch or so. This one is a bit tight/high. I also altered the pattern for color-blocking. That wasn't totally intentional, but when I washed the black and white chevron fabric, it shrank a LOT and I had to "make it work". To color-block, you simply cut the pattern and add seam allowances to each piece along the line you cut.


To finish the armholes, I used this method. I used self-fabric, but you could use bias tape or just a narrow hem. Whatever your preferred method for finishing armholes.


This was my first Deer & Doe pattern. They are a French company but I found no issues with their translated instructions, which were very thorough. The pattern was well-drafted, easy to tape together, and I loved that it included a 5/8" seam allowance. A lot of knits patterns use a smaller seam allowance because it's easier to sew with a serger, but in my experience you need 5/8" if you're going to use a sewing machine. And since I goofed and sewed both my shoulder seams, I had to use my sewing machine to attach the neckline band, and I did need the extra seam allowance.


The only thing I didn't like is sewing the curved hemline. I like the silhouette, but the sewing of it sucks. This project made me seriously start contemplating a coverstitch machine (this one).

Love these black
eyelet shorts.

Have you tried this pattern? There have been some pretty cute ones in the Deer & Doe Flickr pool, and they're also wrapping up a contest with it. I can't wait to make a bunch of these tanks for the summertime!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Special Guest Post: Claire from Ragbags and Gladrags

I have a guest post to share with you today! When Claire contacted me and asked about posting, I knew I wanted to say yes as soon as I read about her mission. The work she's doing will have a direct impact on little ones who can't speak for themselves. So read on to hear from Claire!


Hi I’m Claire and I blog over at Ragbags and Gladrags. I’m really glad to be able to guest post for Beth here at 110 Creations.

I’m an artist, designer, sewist and teacher and I use my creativity as a way to release stress and fund charity work that I do with International China Concern. I’d like to share a little of that with you today.

I became passionate about the work that International China Concern (ICC) do when I was fortunate enough to join one of their short-term teams in 2007.

David Gotts, who felt called to make a difference while on a gap year, set up the organization in 1993. He saw the conditions that abandoned children were often living in, the high mortality rate and lack of trained carers in the welfare centers.

Prior to ICC’s intervention the mortality rate could be as high as 80% of children abandoned. With just one carer to approximately 30 children it was survival of the fittest and carer just couldn’t care for the sheer numbers of children, especially those who had additional needs. Several babies would have to share one cot and there was little access to specialist medical care, therapy and special education.

In the 20 years that ICC have been working alongside the Chinese government to make a difference they have been training carers and reducing the ratio of children to staff, providing nutrition and access to specialist care if needed. Now 80% of children abandoned, in projects where ICC work, survive and have love, hope and opportunity. ICC also work to provide training to their own and government staff and work to support parents who have children with disabilities to prevent abandonment.



The need is still very great, and although conditions are improving slowly, there is still much to be done. ICC have a team of international volunteers who work in the projects, many of whom first encountered the organization via a short term team and decided to commit to working with the organization for a longer period of time.


My First team had such an impact on me, that I would have loved to go long term, and still hope to one day, but its not appropriate at the moment. However, I committed to supporting the work, fundraising and getting involved when I can. My family and I sponsor two children, whom I have been privileged to work with, and I know that the money all goes to making a difference. I’ve also supported the annual fundraiser called Walk the Wall over the last few years.


I’m very excited at the moment as I’ve been accepted on another short-term team that will be working in one of ICC’s projects over Easter this year, and my daughter is going with me. I’m looking forward to using my skills to love and care for the children there, to play and smile and give encouragement and support the long term team out there. I’ve been fundraising like mad and would love it if you could support us. If you are interested in joining with us, please take a look at my sponume page for more info, or check out the art works I have for sale (all proceeds go towards my fundraising).


Can I also encourage you to get involved in work like this, DO IT! You will never be the same again, and will never forget it! ICC offer opportunity to be involved with their work from short term teams, to long-term service. Or you can sponsor a child or take part in fundraising activities. I’m happy to tell you more about my experiences and share with you what I’ll be doing and you can contact me via my blog.

Please do take time to look at Dave Gotts telling the story of how International China Concern began. It’s such a moving and passionate story.



Thanks Beth for letting me share a little about this work with you and your readers.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blogiversary!

It took a lot of willpower not to capitalize the entire title of this post. Today is my one-year blogiversary!


Happy Birthday to this little ole blog of mine! How's about we take a look back at the last year, and look ahead at what's to come!

Most Popular Post


With almost 1500 views, this post on my DIY Chevron Maxi Skirt is my most popular. I actually don't wear this skirt very often, as it's hard to match a yellow stripey skirt with any sort of top. But I do love how nicely all the stripes match!

Least Popular Post


With a whopping 13 views, this post (my second ever) is among the least-viewed. Another poor performer, ironically, is a post from my sewiversary last year, describing my sewing goals! For some reason, I find it hilarious that nobody read that post, as it's probably the one that received the most thought ahead of time!

Bloggy Challenges


I participated in a few different blog challenges last year, including the Stashbusting Our Sister Fabric challenge, the Back to School challenge with Oliver+S, and the me-invented Fear Fabric Challenge. I love these cross-blog events, they're so much fun and a great way to find bloggers I haven't seen before.

What I've Learned


Man, I had no idea of the skillz you can (emphasis on the "can") learn for blogging! I've learned about domain names, website hosting, coding...on and on! That's a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with sewing. I've also tried to learn what I can about photography (mostly by trial and error!) and I'm currently saving up for a fancy DSLR. I hope to make the most of all this knowledge in my next year of blogging.

What's in Store for 2014?


Looking ahead, I see some changes coming, along with exciting new posts. Up until now, I've blogged pretty much daily for the last year. While this schedule was important for my type-A personality to develop the habit of blogging, I want to focus on posting quality over quantity. That applies to sewing AND blogging. So if I'm posting less often, know that I'm in the background learning and growing, and working on ways to better share that knowledge with all of you.

This is what a year's worth of post scheduling looks like.

In the next year, I hope to showcase:
  • One indie pattern company each month
  • A series on making the basics in a good wardrobe
  • More menswear
  • And anything else you'd like to see!

And you'll also be seeing more of my book, A Sewist's Notebook. There are some fun and exciting things happening with it (some that have been in the works for months) that I can't wait to share with you! The book would definitely not exist without the blog, so celebrating this bloggy anniversary makes me get all misty-eyed about the book as well.

Finally, a few words about YOU, my lovely readers. Blog comments are sent to my email inbox for moderating, and every time I see one pop up I can't wait to read it. Even after a year of blogging, reading comments is just as rewarding as it was when I started. The online sewing community is AMAZING. Amazing. I'm thrilled to be a part of it (that's the whole reason I started a blog in the first place!) and I hope I can help others the way they've helped me.

Enough sappy stuff. Time to pop some champagne!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Under the Gunn rehash!

Hmmmm I'm digging this show! It has characteristics from Project Runway but enough new stuff that the mix is comforting but fresh. What do you think? Do you like this show so far?

Spoilers ahead...

Things I loved:


I was glad that they didn't do the same challenge as last week. If I had to see that black jersey and gold fabric again I was going to scream.

I liked forceful Tim yelling at Isabella. I'm surprised she didn't get disqualified.

Things I hated:


I'm with Sam. Muslins? Draping for an hour? You have to make a decision and move on! I hope that Stephanie wasn't offended when he told her that a model with no skirt was worse than making a decision. He's right!

Favorite garment(s):


I liked Sam's. So sue me. His model was perfect for his look and I completely understood his girl.

Stephanie's dress was cute (although it didn't fit her model) but understated, as Mondo said. And y'know what? I don't think she should design a bunch of "fuchsia dresses" if that's not her thing. Am I wrong about that? Is being on this show worth it if you have to go so far out of your aesthetic? I suppose there's a difference between challenging yourself and changing yourself, and it will be the job of the mentors to walk that line.

Least favorite garment:


Amy. Oh my. I was shocked that the judges liked her fabric choice and didn't hate her design. Here's the thing I've noticed with older designers on these fashion TV shows. It seems like they're designing for their daughters. Like, here's a dress that I think my 20 year old wants to wear. Except my 20 year old is perpetually 15 in my mind. I thought Amy's dress looked very teen, very prom. Ick. It might have been better in a different fabric.

Best line of the night:


(Deadpan) "I'm so excited to work in a room that's clean. --Nicholas

(Straight face) "I design for career-oriented sluts."--Rey

"If they're not looking for funky...I'm funked." --Sam


Whoa. Nick's team is a hot mess. I guess he's lucky that he has so much experience teaching, we'll see just how good of a mentor he is!

Anya's team is all boys. Interesting. Especially since there were so many women designers who wanted her to be their mentor.

I have a hard time seeing Mondo as a leader. He seems like a loner. I'm interested in seeing how he does with a group looking up to him.

Tasia is reviewing 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook today over at Sewaholic. Go take a peek!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Cursed Lap Tee

This project was doomed from the start. Remember this?


To refresh your memory, this was the start of a Lap Tee, a new pattern from Peek-a-Boo Patterns. After screwing up the neck band, I set the project aside for a few days. Then I came back to it and immediately made another mistake.


WHY DON'T YOU JUST READ THE DIRECTIONS!? I used to work in customer service, and it amazed me how often people replied to emails and asked a question that I had already answered. And now I'm that person. The directions stated to lap the back over the front, but I reversed it. No, it's not a huge deal, but seriously? How dumb am I.

Don't answer that.


It's still a cute shirt. And now AB and I can match! This is a simple pattern (assuming you can read better than me) and I can see a bunch of these in the future. I did the construction on my serger, and the 1/4" seam allowances basically dictate using one. If I were to make this on a regular sewing machine, I'd increase the seam allowance to 5/8". Knits get sucked down into the throat plate if you use anything smaller than that.


I used my regular machine and the good ole 3-step zig-zag for the hems. I topstitched the narrow, terrible front band since it was flopping everywhere.


I only topstitched the front, so I can quickly tell which is front and back.


The pattern has short sleeves and long sleeves, but I cut them in this weird elbow length. AB is fussy about sleeves (she gets it from her mother). It's kind of tight around her midsection, the way a lap tee/bodysuit should be. I can see this being cute in an A-line dress, or even with a gathered skirt attached to the t-shirt.


She looks like quite the little lady in this photo (and yes, she was being bribed with her Nabi tablet for these pictures). AB will be turning 2 years old next month, crazy! It was weird sewing up a size 2T for her. I have to get out of the habit of calling her a baby, she's a bona fide toddler now!

While you're checking out the Lap Tee pattern, don't forget that today is Thrifty Thursday! Pick up the Starboard Jacket pattern for $4. Spring is coming (I promise!) and this would make a great spring jacket.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I'm Reading

Yesterday I was on the Threads website (I let my subscription run out...whoops!) and came across this list of sewing events coming up in 2014. I'm REALLY interested in going to a sewing event or convention, and thanks to this list I see that there's one in my state in May (Original Sewing and Quilt Expo). Yay! I already devoured what I could on their website and wrote it on my calendar. Must. Go!

Someday I'd love to go to a crafty retreat, as well. It would be a total dream to do something like the Makerie. Last year they had a sewing-specific retreat in the mountains of Colorado. I mean, C'MON! How awesome would that be?

Looking at these retreats and conferences yesterday, it made me a bit lonely for an in-person sewing friend. You know, someone to go with me to these things (someone who cares about them, anyway! sorry hubs...). I've learned all my sewing second-hand from the internet and books, not from a real person. I'd love to have someone local for sharing purposes.

Enter the Sewing Buddy project! Have you heard about this? It's run over at Whipstitch and you only have until Sunday night to sign up! It's a project that links you up with a sewing budding, somewhere around the world. There are giveaways and challenges and all kinds of fun stuff. For reals: I found out about this last year in February, just weeks after the registration had closed. I've been waiting that long to sign up. It does cost $3, but I've already logged in and the platform is super professional. Whipstitch runs online classes, and this is set up in a similar fashion to an online class.

And yes, I realize I basically paid $3 to buy a friend. I'm okay with that :)

So talk to me, do you have a bunch of local sewing friends and you all hang out at fun conventions and be crafty and creative together? Or are you like me, sometimes feeling a bit lonesome in the midst of an amazing online community? (And seriously, I wouldn't trade the online sewing community for the world...but that's probably another post for another day!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Tips

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny 40 degrees (warm for January). I needed to go to the grocery store, but I blew it off in favor of staying home and sewing something that was NOT a winter coat.

Today, the temperature dropped 30 degrees and it's snowing. And now I really REALLY have to go get groceries. Sigh.


Yesterday did provide me an opportunity to use today's tip. The speed of my serger totally intimidates me. Not to mention that it features a knife. Couldn't they have used a less-threatening term, like "fabric cutting thingy"? Obviously, all this speed and slicing business makes me afraid to use pins any time I use my serger. I have no idea how much a new knife costs, and I'd like to keep it that way!

Most of the time I can keep pieces of fabric together with my fingers and guide the fabric along, but I have trouble sewing a t-shirt seam from sleeve hem to bodice hem. It's hard to navigate around the underarm corner and to keep everything aligned without pins.


My solution? I take those pesky thread tails (from attaching the sleeve to the bodice) and tie them together. That small knot keeps the underarm portion aligned, and can easily be cut off by the serger when sewing the side seam. No broken pins, no cursing, no trips to the ER (does that happen? I don't know...I have an over-active imagination).

Time to guzzle the last of my coffee and head out into the blizzard-ness. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Musings: long-term projects

What's the longest you've ever spent on a project? How did it feel when you were done?

Yesterday, finally, I finished a winter coat for my husband. By far and away, it was the most time-comsuming and costly garment I've ever sewn. It took two months. And I'm not talking a few hours here, a week later, a few hours there. I sew every day (I must be slow, ha!).

So how did I feel when that last thread was snipped? Giddy. Insanely happy. A bit rushed, because my daughter got up from her nap with literally 1 inch left of handsewing for me to do. But I spent the rest of the day walking on air. I wanted to run a marathon, sew ten more coats, make an apple pie from scratch.

And then he put it on. And I hated it. Hated. Ugh.

I promise lots of photos and many posts recapping the whole thing. I'm not going to tear it apart because there isn't any point. He likes it. That's what matters. And seeing him walk out of the house this morning, wearing a coat that I made (a coat!), was an amazing feeling.

And thank God I can finally move on to something else!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Under the Gunn rehash!

Did you watch Tim Gunn's new show last night? Me neither. I watched it this afternoon ;)

This show is already very intriguing to me. It's not quite as simple as "I like that designer, I hope they do well". I think we all like Mondo, Anya, and Nick. Do we root for them, or the new designers? And do the mentors go all Survivor-style, and choose designers that they think can win, or people they like, or aesthetics they like? Interesting.

First episode spoilers ahead...

Things I loved:


I like the show being in LA. Maybe I've been seeing too much snow here in the Midwest (SUMMER COME SOON PLEASE!).

I'm glad it's not a team competition, per se. I thought, from the previews, that was how it was going to be. And nobody likes teams.

I was very happy to see Tim again. Seems like it's been a long time since he's been on my TV.

Things I hated:


Anya looked TIRED. Poor thing. The show is just starting.

The fabrics that the designers were given were straight awful. Very love-it-or-hate-it. No surprise that everyone was using black jersey. I use black jersey in almost everything.

I didn't like that people were not picking Nick. I think the designers were greatly underestimating his value as an already-established teacher, and were choosing mentors based on who was similar to them. Just because your aesthetics are different doesn't mean you can't learn from someone.

Favorite garment(s):


I love Shan already. A family man who took a layoff as a push for his dreams? And he made a jacket in two hours? Losing my mind.

Brady's was cool. And he's already branding himself? Smart.

Least favorite garment:


Oscar's gold costume...oh my. I can't believe Nick picked him, but I think it shows how confident Nick is in his mentoring abilities.

I'm exhausted by Natalia already. And her dress was WAY too short. BUT. I give her credit for her "tenacity" as Tim called it. I think we all want to believe that passion pays off, and in this case it obviously did.

Uhhh...so far Nick has Natalia and Oscar. WUH?! Trainwreck.

Best line of the night:


"It's just running with the scissors into the fabric." --Oscar


Wow, the end of this show was really hard to watch. Schoolyard team picking on both sides! Designers not picked, mentors not picked! Fashion is rough. But overall, I like the show so far. We'll see how it goes when the teams are settled and competing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wardrobe Architect: Worksheet #1

Are you following along with the Wardrobe Architect project on Coletterie? (If not, read it NOW!) Today Sarai posted the first worksheet, which contains some prompts to help start you thinking about what has influenced your style. She gave a bonus challenge to Instagram photos on the themes that influence style. Today's theme is "personal history".


This is my sophomore yearbook photo. It might be my least favorite photograph of myself. A bit of background: I was homeschooled and entered high school my sophomore year. I had a few friends from church and so wasn't totally alone when I went to public school, but I was painfully nervous about fitting in. The last thing I wanted to do was stand out. As if you could look at someone and know by sight that they were homeschooled? And as if that was such a bad thing? IDK. I was 15. I didn't know anything about anything.

My high school style certainly reflected my inner teenage turmoil. I wore a lot of solid colors, jeans, and that was about it. I never did anything with my hair and didn't start wearing makeup until I was probably 17, maybe older. All I wanted to do was blend.

I could easily sew a whole wardrobe of solid colors, but I don't think anyone is doing that. We're all magpies, attracted to pretty fabrics and things that honestly aren't "us". But I don't think my problem is resigning myself to sewing boring garments, I think my problem is learning to embrace risks. I'm not in high school; if some random person at the grocery store doesn't like my outfit, are they going to tell me to my face? Tease me? Doubtful.

One of the reasons I love Heidi Klum is precisely because she wears crazy stuff. I read an interview with her where she said she wears what she likes and that's that. She KNOWS people will criticize her but she barrels ahead anyway. (Okay, if I looked like her I'd wear whatever I wanted, too!) It's all about confidence.

I want to challenge myself to take more risks with my wardrobe. No, not with bustiers and hot pants, but with color, and prints. With silhouettes and fabrics. I might surprise myself with what looks good. And if you look good, and know it, who can stop you?

Bad Sew-jo

Y'know when you're sewing and you can feel things going downhill, but you keep sewing anyway? And then you make a mistake and are totally shocked? Yeah. Happens to me a lot. When will I learn to stop sewing when that bad mojo creeps up on me?

Not anytime soon, apparently. I posted this picture on Instagram yesterday, of my attempt at the new Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Lap Tee:


I don't know if you can even see the neck band in this photo, but it should be way more apparent. Most of Amy's patterns use a 1/2" seam allowance, so I breezed through the instructions and did that. Except this pattern uses a 1/4" seam allowance. So when I serged the neck band to the front (of course it's the front) I cut off way too much. Fail.

So no finished object for you today. This isn't such a terrible mistake, but I had to quit sewing afterwards. Otherwise I probably would have serged off a whole sleeve accidentally. Please tell me I'm not the only one that has this type of bad vibe seep into my sewing room?

By the way...who will be watching Tim Gunn's new show tonight?? I'm unnaturally excited.

Today is Thrifty Thursday at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, and you can grab the Sabrina Shirttail Dress for half off! This cute pattern is $4 today only. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I'm Reading: Patternmaking for Menswear

There were a few books I was dying to receive for Christmas, and my husband came through big time! At the top of my list (okay, let's be real, there were 5 things at the top) was the book Patternmaking for Menswear. I first saw this book on Instagram, via Andrea at four square walls. Then I read Peter's review on Male Pattern Boldness and had. to. have. it.


This book reminds me a lot of the Sew U books by Wendy Mullin. The beginning introduces slopers (in this book, an upper body, a sleeve, and pants) and then shows how to alter a flat pattern for a completely different look. There are 20 different variations on the slopers and details on how to draft them. You'll find everything from a knit polo to outerwear.


Obviously, the bulk of the work is in drafting the slopers, but this book gives a thorough explanation of how to do it. All without the trouble of bust darts : ) There's also information about grading and some industry processes. One thing that is NOT in this book is information on construction and actual sewing. This is strictly a patternmaking book, and a very detailed one at that!

I think we're all amazed at how a boring, boxy sloper can evolve into something like, say, a hoodie. It's one part good design, and ten parts math, from the looks of it!


I'm not overly fond of math, but I don't mind using it for the sake of menswear drafting. The current men's pattern options are beyond sad. If you've ever tried to sew for men, you already know that. Pajama pants! Scrubs! Fleece vests! Thanks Big 4. I definitely want to focus on sewing for my husband this year, and in order to do that well I will need patterndrafting skills. I'm grateful to have this book on my shelf as a reference. I don't think he'll be asking me for an anorak anytime soon, but it's still cool to know how to draft one!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Follow me on Instagram!

If you don't use Instagram, can I coax you to give it a try? Especially in the sewing world, it's so cool to see in-the-moment snapshots from my favorite internet-not-actually-my-real-friends people. I've had a personal account for a while, but I decided to make one for all sewing-related goodness! So, use the button in the sidebar, or click here to follow me. And a random side note, remember that if you're a Facebook follower, you'll need to choose "Show in Newsfeed" to see my posts.

You might have noticed that things have been a little quiet around the blog lately. I'm gearing up for my 1 year blogiversary at the end of the month, plus some other exciting things! Hope you'll stick around to see what's in store.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Releases from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop!

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm so excited about the new patterns from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop that I'm devoting a whole post to them! No joke, I've been waiting two months for the Lap Tee pattern. I know there are other pattern companies with that style top, but I'm definitely partial to Amy's patterns. The Facebook group is excellent about questions and supporting one another. After all, half the fun of sewing is showing it off!

I don't have any pregnant family or friends right now, but these patterns will be so useful for baby shower gifts. I remember being at my baby shower (before I learned to sew) opening handmade gifts, and being in such awe of them! You can see the entire Lullaby Line later today (TBD on a time...I'm waiting on pins and needles!), including the baby gown, pants and shorts, and sleep sack (to name a few). So much cute!

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Project Runway All-Stars: The Finale!

I left the house yesterday! What an accomplishment, right? Some places in Indiana ended up cancelling school this entire week, and after being out on the roads I can see why. And of course, after an hour of running errands, I was exhausted and just wanted to come home. #oxymoronproblems

But I was able to snag a bottle of wine for the Project Runway finale! And my husband even took AB into another room so I could watch undisturbed (yes, she's a bit of a night owl). It was so nice to watch an episode without a book being thrown at my head or a toddler screaming into my ear (literally). Spoilers ahead...

Things I loved:


Korto and Elena's immigrant experiences are really inspiring. I take it for granted to live in a place where other people WANT to go. This was a nice reminder to be grateful for the parts of my life (like where I was born) that happened by chance.

I'm SO excited for Tim's new show starting next week! I've missed Tim. And you know I'll be rehashing it here!

Speaking of people I've missed...Zac Posen. I just want to get coffee and people watch with him.

Things I hated:


Six looks. Four days. Are you kidding me.

What was with Elena's super-short skirts when she was at the UN? She couldn't find something a tad more respectable? Am I an old lady who is nit-picking right now?

Ugggggghhhh I finally decided that I don't like Zanna. When she comes in the room all I feel is a frown on my face and my shoulders sinking. She's depressing.

Favorite garment(s):


After the runway shows, I honestly felt like anyone could win. The garments went by so quickly that I was only left with half-developed impressions, and the impression was that nothing was an overt hot mess. During the judging I was able to study the garments a bit more and come up with some faves: Korto's yellow maxi, Seth Aaron's red coat dress, and Elena's scarf dress. The shoulders/bodice on the maxi dress were particularly well done.

Least favorite garment:


Elena's looks all used the exact same raglan sleeve (I checked). I feel like Elena is inhibited by her own rules. She seems overly preoccupied with making sure her designs fit a certain look. She's SO creative, what could she do if she started breaking her own rules?

I forget which judge said it, but I agreed that Korto's structured designs missed the mark. They looked a bit tortured. And all you people who think Korto should have won, listen to Zac Posen. The hem lines were all different and her "collection" wasn't very cohesive. Sorry Charlie.

Best line of the night:


"My mom used to say this: 'Don't drown in a cup of water.' You're drowning in a cup of water." --Viktor


So Seth Aaron is a double winner! I have to say, back when he won his first season, it was just about the happiest I've been watching a reality TV finale. I like that he always referenced his family when he talked about how important it would be to win. I just plain love him and how beautiful his clothes are (whether or not I'd wear them is irrelevant). What do you think? Was Korto robbed again (by her thinking)?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fly Fly Away Shirt

The birds on this shirt make me want to fly outta this cold weather.


Today makes day FIVE in a row that I haven't left my house, although I plan to try today. The temperatures are finally coming back up, but the roads are still bad. I've been sitting at home and sewing, and I finally sewed up this bird silhouette fabric that I ordered (from Girl Charlee), oh, close to a year ago? Two? IDK. The black is cotton/spandex jersey, also from GC.


I loved this fabric when it was released (didn't everyone?) but I fell victim to "it's TOO special I can't sew it" mania. Being stuck at home forced me to GET OVER IT and stop wasting time stashing fabrics. Sew it already!


The pattern is Simplicity 1501. This is a new pattern and I bought it right away, on my quest for more raglan-sleeve styles. I'm also looking forward to making some of the shorts come summertime.


Yes, I made a different raglan t-shirt a few months ago (here) but I wasn't in love with that pattern. There were too many things I needed to change (armholes/sleeves too tight, neckline too low, shoulders too broad), so I figured $1 on this Simplicity pattern was worth a shot.

I sewed a size XXS, but I extended the side seam/hem line to the length of the XXL. As drafted, this pattern is SHORT. It called for a 1" hem but mine is more like 1/2". It's still too short for my personal taste (although it looks pretty good in these photos). Next time I'll add 2" at the lengthen/shorten lines and be more comfortable with a 1" hem.


I used 1/2" seam allowances throughout, instead of 5/8". This decision was based on fitting-as-you-go and also on the fact that I was using my serger. And speaking of sergers, I tried something new!


I used a flatlock stitch to sew the sleeves to the bodice. I love how RTW it looks, and it was SO simple. I was changing thread color on my Brother 1034d anyway, so I followed my manual for the appropriate settings for flatlocking. I did a few tests and was pleased enough to do it on the shirt. To achieve this look, I sewed with the pieces WRONG sides together. You can also use the flatlock stitch to have "ladders" if you sew RIGHT sides together. I liked the look of the loops better than the ladders for this particular shirt.

Wrong side of flatlocked seam.
Overexposed to show ladder stitches.

One final pattern adjustment. Unlike my previous raglan t-shirt, this pattern has a center-back seam. That allowed me to easily adjust for narrow shoulders (which I'm finding is a required adjustment for me).


After removing a wedge at center-back (at the neckline) the shirt lies flat across my shoulders. No gaping!


I wasn't sure about the wide neckline band, but I love how it turned out. I've already copied the pattern (with my 2" added) and it's officially my raglan-sleeve "sloper". It makes me happy that I finally used this fabric and used it efficiently. I have a bit left over and I might make AB a matching shirt...too much? :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I'm Reading: GQ

There's a saying in Indiana (and probably elsewhere): "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it'll change." Thank God it's true! Two days of negative temperatures have finally given way to a "mild" 30 degrees. It's supposed to be 50 degrees by Sunday!

Spending three days holed up at home means I've gotten a lot of reading done. Last week I found an old (Fall 2013) copy of GQ magazine at a used bookstore for 50 cents. It specifically dealt with menswear and fall fashions, but I find that a lot of menswear "fall" looks double quite well for winter. Plus they cover accessories and shoes as well.


This is the first time I've ever sat down and read GQ, and I must say it did make me laugh. It definitely has a different tone than, say, Better Homes and Gardens. Plus it smells good! 


My husband has been in the market for a suit for...forever I guess. He ordered one recently but it didn't fit right and will be going back. I learned a lot about suits from this issue of GQ and feel slightly more qualified to help him shop.

Apparently a grey suit should
be your first suit.

It also reassured me that I must have some fashion sense and be ahead of the trends. I bought my husband a leather keychain for our anniversary last year, so this made me happy:


This was a fun read and there were lots of little details to inspire my menswear sewing. And maybe even womenswear sewing. Do you read up on men's fashion? Ever browse that category on Pinterest? It's such a drag, looking at handsome men and beautiful clothes, but research is important! :)