Thursday, January 31, 2013

How exciting!!!

If you follow Tilly's blog, then you know that yesterday she announced the release of her first sewing pattern!  If you don't follow Tilly's blog, then start!  Tilly is one of the bloggers that inspired me to start sewing my own clothes.  Her attitude towards sewing clothes as a hobby that anyone can pick up really encouraged me to get started.  Plus, she started her blog only knowing the basics, much like me, so I feel very strongly connected to the journey she has made from novice into drafting and selling her own patterns.  I'm just so excited for her, and for this top! 

The Mathilde blouse is simple in the front, with the most adorable line of buttons down the back.  Overall, it's an easy, comfortable, stylish silhouette that I can't wait to make up!  You can buy your own copy of the pattern here.  I've already bought the pattern and had a look at the instructions.  The instructions that come with the pattern are pretty minimal, perfect if you are expeirenced.  If you need a little help, Tilly also made up a series of extended pages on her blog with instructions for each tecnique used on the pattern.  As always, her instructional posts are clear and comprehensive.  Go check out the pattern, get your copy, and get excited, because this blouse is going to be great!  If you need any more convincing, here are some pictures from Tilly's maker gallery...aren't they great? I just love that little line of buttons in the back!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting ready to be Sew Grateful!

Hi everyone! We're officially half-way through the work week! Yay! I feel like I've been pretty absent over the past week, but rest assured I've been working hard to make sure that I'm all set for Sew Grateful Week next week!  As you know, I never have the time to blog every day, so next week will certainly be a challenge for me!  I'm really excited about the projects and posts I've been working on, so I hope that you are too! Here's a sneak-peek of the things you can look forward to (in case you haven't checked out the post over at My Happy Sewing Place)

Monday, Feb. 4: Giveaway Day! 
How exciting! My first giveaway! I'm not going to tell you exactly what I'll be giving away just yet, but be sure to tune in on Monday to see what I'll be offering up!

Tuesday, Feb. 5: Reflection Post
You'll have a chance to hear why I'm sew grateful...

Wednesday, Feb 6: Tutorial
I'll be posting a tutorial for a very cute skirt that I've been working hard to get finished this week! It's coming out great, and I can't wait to share it with you next week!

Thursday, Feb. 7: My Sew Grateful Project
I'll be sewing up something from a free online pattern or tutorial.  For us, this will also mark the beginning of the "Sew Free" series on this blog.  Starting with this post, I'll be doing my best to sew one thing every month from a free online pattern or tutorial.  If you'd like to read more about what made me want to start sew free, you can read my post about it here.

Friday, Feb. 8 - Sunday Feb. 10: Wrap up + Sew un-selfish
Debi will be posting a series of wrap up posts on her blog.  I will be trying to be a little less selfish, and sewing up a project for someone else!  I'll be posting about that here, and doing my best to get it finished over the weekend!

In the mean time, I'll leave you with some inspiration for all of your sewing ventures!

Via Etsy

Grey and yellow just look so pretty together, don't you think? I'm in love with this dress, and I'm thinking it may not be that hard to sew something similar!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Wishes?

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks about the Wednesday Wishes series of posts.  Now, I love shopping as much as the next girl, but I feel like sewing has, for me at least, been more than another way to shop.  Sure, I love searching for the next awesome thing to show you guys every week; I'm just not sure that's what I want sewing to be about for me.  Sewing has become a comfort to me when I'm down, and is one of my favorite things to do.  I just wish I had started sewing my own clothes sooner! I feel as though maybe I would have if the materials had been more readily accessible.  That's where I'd like to try something new.

I, like many (I think? I hope?) am a pinterest addict.  I pin all sorts of fancy shoes, dream homes, and pretty pictures on a daily basis.  (If you're interested, you can follow me on pinterest by clicking the button on the right) I also have an entire board dedicated to crafts and DIY projects. So far, I've pinned 272 projects.  I'm tried exactly 2 of them.  Many of them are actually free.  FREE!!! And, I've tried 2? Seriously, what is up with that?

Personally, I think the allure of shiny new patterns and books has gotten the best of me.  I read all about other bloggers' projects and want to try them, so I buy the pattern or the fabric or the book and it sits there, and I never get around to it.  So, instead of contributing to the problem, I'd like to gain some confidence in free projects and tutorials by trying them out.  You can look forward (I hope) to a new series, Sew Free!  I'll be testing out some of the free patterns, projects, and tutorials I've seen and sharing them with you.  I'll do my best to keep you posted on my progress, whether good or bad.  If you'd like to craft-along, please share links to your finished projects photos or posts, and I'll post them with mine!  I'm really excited about this prospect because I think it helps spread the goodness that is sewing in a totally accessible (duh, it's free) way.  Sewing can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn't HAVE to be!

In addition to Sew Free, I'll also be participating in Sew Grateful Week, and I have tons of good ideas lined up!

I will, of course, still be sharing all of the cool things I come across with you, I just won't actively look for things and condense them into one post.  I also can't promise that I'll find something I want to share once a week.  It may be less some weeks, and more others.  It's just so much information at once, and when I find something that's really worth sharing, then I'll be able to spend more time talking about it!

What are your thoughts?  Will you miss Wednesday wishes? Are you excited for Sew Free? Let me know!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My first time with a serger...aka that time I wanted to throw my shirt in the UFO pile, except I already told you about it.

As you may know, I was recently gifted a serger.  It's awesome.   It makes the cleanest, nicest seams my two hands have ever sewn.  We were in love.  Then, Mr. Serger (yes, my serger is a guy) and I thought it would be a great idea to tackle another version of New Look 6150.  Hey, we figured, that ruching worked out so well the first time, let's try it again in a super cool cross over version! Plus, I have yet to show all of you the wonders of serging AND I have this amazing stretchy jersey that feels just like pajamas!
Check out that serged seam!!!

Then, I started sewing.  Ugh.  This version of the pattern was not nearly as awesome or easy to put together or comfy as the first one.  It was full of all sorts of quirks.  Quirks+patterns=bad news.  Just in case you didn't know.  I digress.  Why don't I tell you how I really feel...

Pattern: New Look 6150: A knit top with ruched shoulders and bodice.  There is also a faux-wrap v-neck in the front.  I tried this pattern once already, here, with a different variation.  Again, I shortened the sleeves and the bodice by 2 inches.

Sizing: I cut a size 6 again.  It worked well last time, and I figured that although the cut was different, the fit would be similar.  I was wrong :(

Did it look like the photo/drawing? Ehhhh, kinda...  In the drawing, there is a lot more gathering/ruching which there just was not enough fabric for in my version.  Maybe I should have cut a bigger size, and done more gathering? I don't know, but mine isn't nearly as comfy looking as the one on the pattern front.
See that bit on the side? That's my "decorative" ruffle.

Were the instructions easy to follow? NO! I had to take this apart more than once because I just couldn't figure out what the heck the instructions wanted me to do.  In the end, the pattern forgot to have me attach all of the layers together, so I improvised, and added a "decorative" ruffle.  HA.

What I love most: The fabric feels like heaven.  Pure heaven! I wish everything I owned was this cozy!  I'm not crazy about the fit, but I will probably wear this around the house a lot because I love that fabric so much! Plus, I got to use my serger.  Who doesn't love that?

What I would do differently if I made it again:  I wouldn't.  But, if I were forced to: The neckline sits way too high.  I should have figured this out because in the photo on the pattern envelope, the neckline is high, but I thought that it had something to do with the relatively small chest the model has.  I figured my chest would pull things into their proper places.  Obviously, I was wrong.

Fabric Used: 1 yard of amazingly stretchy jersey.  It is a bit more sheer than I thought it would be, but it's okay, I'll wear a cami underneath!  This fabric is totally worth it!

Pattern alterations: Again, I shortened the sleeves and the bodice by 2 inches.
Check it!

Recommended? NO! The neckline came out all wonky, and I'm still not sure how they got the pictures to look like they do.  I seriously don't think they constructed the gorgeous back-of-neck draping in the photo with this pattern--or these instructions. 

You could wear it to snuggle with your cat.  Just a thought...
Final thoughts: Just say no! Unless you want to make the other view, which was better.  I like the fabric sooooooo much, but the weird neckline/hunchback effect of the gathering is not my thing.  It will be relegated to sleepy time and lazy Sundays!  If my serger didn't make this whole thing so pretty on the inside so quickly, I probably wouldn't have finished it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Wishes

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Things around here have been quite busy, but that hasn't stopped me from reading all of my favorite sewing blogs :-)  This week, my wishes are 100% thanks to the lovely Anna over at paunnet has a beautiful blog and a passion for independent pattern designers (much like myself!).

This week, she announced that she helped Deer&Doe translate their beautiful patterns into English.  This is great news for me, since I have been dying to sew up their Sureau dress since Anna did her sew-a-long.   I was too nervous to try it in French, (seeing as my knowledge of French is limited to the words bonjour, crepe, and baguette, I'm sure you can guess why) so I'm so excited I'll be able to try it out in a language I actually understand.  YES!

Sureau, isn't it lovely?

Then, a mere four days later, I was introduced to a(nother) new independent pattern designer, Eliza M's Vintage Style Sewing.  The beautiful, vintage styled dresses have all stolen my heart (although not my money--yet) so they are right below that lovely Sureau on my wishlist for the week!  Here are a few of my favorites:



I'm hoping to add at least a few of these goodies to my collection over the next few weeks!

In other news, in case you didn't notice the button on the side of my blog over there, I will be participating in Sew Grateful Week.  I'm very excited about all of the days that Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place has planned.  You can expect giveaways, tutorials, and more from your favorite bloggers.  Check out her post for more details!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ruched sleeved goodness!

Pattern : New Look 6150: View E.  A basic knit top with ruched sleeves--a first for me!  I tend to make a lot of dresses, and a lot of summer clothes.  I wanted to make something that I would get a lot of use out of in the chillier months.

Sizing: I cut a size 6 in the bodice and graded down to a size 4 in the sleeves.

Did it look like the photo/drawing? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Sort of...  The construction of the sleeves was very detailed, and the rest was pretty simple, so I can't complain, but there wasn't anything too detailed in the instructions either.

What I love most: The gathered sleeves.  I was really nervous about sewing with elastic, (I've had some bad experiences in the past) but I think they came out perfectly.
Gathered with elastic!

What I would do differently if I made it again:  The neckline doesn't lay perfectly flat.  It irks me, but I'm sure non-sewists will never notice!  I would probably cut a 4 as well, as I'm sure it would cut down on some of the alterations I made.

Fabric Used: 1.25 yards of knit fabric.  I'm not sure what kind exactly, maybe polyester?  Definitely something synthetic.  I bought it on sale at Jo-Ann's, and just love the large-scale floral print and the small price tag-$7 a yard makes this an $8 shirt!

Pattern alterations: I took about an inch out in the width of the waist and the back of the neck.  I also reduced the length of the sleeves to 10 inches, and shortened the top 2 inches.  I'm very short!

Recommended?In this version, yes.  I think the top came out very well, and I will get a lot of use out of it.  I love knits because they are so comfy and versatile.

Conclusion: The sleeves make this top a little bit special.  Otherwise, it's a great staple piece that will probably get a lot of wear both at work and at home.  Success!
Check out those sleeves!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Wishes

Happy Wednesday everyone!

This week's wishes are all FREE! I've looked around for some things that I wish I could spend all day trying out....if only I had  the time! If you do, please share!

Pom Pom Cowl
It's that time of year in the Northeast when one can NEVER have too many scarves.  Although this week has been okay so far (knock on wood), the past few weeks have been absolutely bitter.  If it's not quite as cold where you are, I could totally see this cowl working in a lightweight fabric with a long-sleeved tee.  Come on, how can you say no to those little pompoms?

Cameo Quilt

 If you like to quilt, then this free pattern from Amy Butler will be right up your alley.  I love the look and feel of quilts, but have never worked up the courage to make one of my own.  I'd like to try something simple, and small, though.

My love affair with Colette Patterns continues on and on and on...If you love them half as much as I do, then check out the Sorbetto.  It's basic, easy to alter, and free!  If you're up for a challenge, then check out the 7 days of Sorbetto.  Over at the Sew Weekly, there are a series of posts that show how to customize and alter this top for  a new look every day.

Museum Tunic Dress

Anna Maria Horner's Museum Tunic Dress is a must if you are a little bit more than a novice.  The fabric she uses is gorgeous (duh!), and her tutorial provides a great beginner's introduction to drafting a very basic pattern and putting it all together.  This dress has been on my to-do list for a while.  Maybe once the weather gets warmer...

I hope all of your Wednesday Wishes come true!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Great News!!

Sewing Patterns, Pattern Review, Sewing Classes, Sewing Machines and Sewing Machine Reviews!
I was a featured member on pattern review yesterday!  I didn't have a chance to get online yesterday, but was thrilled to see the e-mail in my inbox today, and haven't been able to sit still since I found out! What a terrific way to start off the new year! As you know, one of my resolutions was to connect more with other crafters, and I think this is definitely a step in the right direction! Woohoo! 
If you're not familiar with pattern review, it is a wonderful resource for sewing enthusiasts of all levels.  As the name suggests, you can find reviews and photos of all sorts of patterns and sewing machines.  There is also a great forum for questions, discussion, and sales.  Check it out!  If you're interested in my reviews, you can find them on my profile. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy 2013!

Hi there!  It's been a while!  As it was for many others, the holidays were a busy time in my house.  I'm expecting the next couple of weeks to speed by, then I'm looking to a nice, quiet, and maybe snowy February that will force me to stay inside.  So, I'll just have to sew! Oh, darn!

Isn't it great to finish up the year, and start fresh? I think so!  This seems to be the time of year when all of my favorite bloggers are looking into the future, and laying out plans for the year ahead.  I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon.

1.  Commit to writing at least two posts a week. 
When I don't hear from other bloggers for a while, I get sad.  I just want to make you guys happy!  I'm going to do my very best to check in a couple of times a week, even if I haven't had the chance to make something new yet!

Pinned Image
via pinterest

2. Sew at least two items a month. 
For some of you, this may seem like a breeze; however, I'm pretty slow-going, and I don't have too much free time.  I would like to sew many, many more things, but I think that two a month seems pretty realistic right now.

Pinned Image
Via pinterest
3. Sew retro.  For real.
I've never used a vintage pattern before (not for lack of ogling), and I'd like to try.  There are so many beautiful garments from the past and new techniques that I'd love to try.  I'm pretty excited for this one!

Pinned Image
Maybe this one?

4. Build relationships with other sewists.
In real life, I don't know anyone that sews.  Online, I follow (ok, fine, I stalk) lots of other people who love to sew.  Either way, I don't do a whole lot of interacting with other people who share my crafting interests, and I'd like to! If you have any ideas for me, feel free to share!

Pinned Image
via pinterest

5. Learn how to use my shiny new serger!
I got a serger for Christmas.  Wahoo!!!!! So far, I've managed to take it out of the box, and serge seams on the default settings with the thread that came in the machine.  And, that about sums it up.  I'm hoping to master the art of using a serger and making all my garments look more professional and durable. 

Brother 1034d

Thanks for following along! I'd love to hear your goals for the new year!