Tuesday, October 21, 2014

KCW ...?

So, um, it's Tuesday and I'm still not sure if I'm participating in Kids' Clothes Week this time around. I had an interesting (read: difficult) planning commission meeting last night, and I haven't done anything tonight either, so ... that might be a "no," huh? Sometimes it's hard for me to say no. Especially to something as fun as KCW. But at some point, you just have to cry "uncle." I think the turning point was coming home after a challenging meeting last night to find Steve had put buckets all over the house - roots got into our drains, backed up the pipes, and a pipe upstairs had started to leak under the pressure. In short, the kids' bath was draining into my dining room.

Yeah. Ew. What the fuck. Uncle.

These are the moments when I'm like, "Oh, shit, we better call the landlord."

"Wait. Oh crap. We are the landlord."

This is the American dream, right? Good times!

But hey, look what I made this past weekend! An outfit for the Magpie!

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

Isn't she the sweetest? As you know, Maggie is on a major pink kick right now. Everything must be pink. Every. Single. Item. Of. Clothing. Including socks. It's pretty intense. Our days are currently punctuated with shrieks of "NO!!!! PINK!" Heaven forbid you should offer this girl blue socks. Unhappy Maggie, forced to wear blue socks, is not the sweetest.

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

But Maggie in a cute new 2+2 Top made from Heather Ross frogs and green chambray and pink Playtime Leggings seems pretty darn happy and sweet. Until something meets with her displeasure, anyway. This expression cracks me up! I like to think she gets this "looking daggers" expression from her mother.

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

I've made the 2+2 top once before, earlier this year, and honestly Maggie hasn't grown much since then. I made this top in the 12-18 month size, with about an inch of extra length for my 28 month old little girl. She's petite, and she loves pink, but don't be fooled: this girl can keep up with 5 year olds on the playground. She has no fear!

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

Maggie loved this fabric and chose it at the fabric store:

"Pink! FROG!" she squealed in delight as I carried the fabric to the cutting table.

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

I found some pretty pink buttons for the back, and whipped up a quick pair of Playtime Leggings in rosy pink knit to complete the outfit. I think she liked it!

2+2 top and Playtime leggings

2+2 top and Playtime leggings


Monday, October 13, 2014

Alder Shirtdress.

I have a finished object to share! I know y'all were getting worried that I had fallen down a hexagon/crochet rabbit hole, and I'll admit, I was a little worried too! You guys, I love crochet! It's so fun! I'm officially obsessed. But don't worry, I can't keep away from my sewing machine for long.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Pattern: Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Patterns. This is a loose (almost "baby doll" style) shirtdress with optional gathered skirt.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Fabric: An inexpensive "washer" linen/cotton blend from Fabric.com in a pastel minty/sage green. To be honest, I was disappointed when I saw this fabric in person and it has sat in my stash for many months. The color was lighter than I had expected/hoped, and as far as quality, I got what I paid for - it's a bit rough and coarsely woven. That said, it sewed up well and has just the right weight/drape for this dress. I am glad that I found a use for this piece! Since the linen seemed a bit washed out and boring on its own, I used scraps of Liberty cotton for the facings, and I am so glad I did. The peek of Liberty at the collar really adds something to the dress.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

First time? Yes! This was my first time sewing a Grainline pattern. I loved the clean, spartan illustrations and instructions and the pattern was well-drafted. I did have to consult the Alder sew-along for more guidance when it came time to sew on the collar, though. I think that's what you get with "spartan" instructions. It's so hard to find the perfect balance! I really love the Grainline aesthetic - all of the patterns are so wearable and simple. I am excited to try the Archer shirt and Moss skirt, which I also purchased in a fit of selfish buying.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Size: 10. My bust and waist measurements were pretty much spot on for this size, and when I first sewed up the bodice, the bust dart seemed to fall in exactly the right place with no adjustment. But in the end, it is a tad large, the pockets are a bit lower than they should be (weighed down by the skirt - even when you sew a muslin, things can turn out differently!), and my bra peeks out from the armholes. If I were to make this again, I think I would try a size 8. I am somewhat small-boned, so my rib cage and shoulders are smaller than my measurements would indicate, and this is a loose and roomy dress. However, it was very refreshing to not have to do a full bust adjustment or have to move darts around! As it is, this is a breezy, comfortable, wearable dress, but I'm not sure it's the most flattering thing on. But it is the perfect garment for a hot sticky Indian Summer.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

 Modifications: Contrast facings. Otherwise, no mods. I flat felled all of the seams except along the skirt, which I serged and topstitched down. So the inside is nice and clean.

The good: Modern, wearable shape, clean finishings, simple instructions that get the job done without killing too many trees. (I so much prefer line drawings to photographs in patterns, although I understand why so many indie pattern designers use photographs.) I love the menswear-style shirt details like the two piece collar, plackets, and breast pockets. I love the use of bias facing on the armholes (I hate big bulky facings on shirts). The inside of this dress looks great and I think it will hold up to washing really well.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

And hey! It looks good with a cardigan! But doesn't everything? I only put this on for a minute - it's too hot for a sweater today!
The not-so-good: I would prefer real "notches" on the patterns, something easier to see when you're cutting. Tiling this PDF pattern took FOREVER. So tedious. I know some people find Liesl's tiling style to be confusing (it confused me at first), but I prefer not having to tape 500 pages together before I can even start cutting, so I like the way she tiles her patterns one piece at a time. Also, the different versions of the Alder Shirtdress have their own pieces, which is great, except that there is no option to print out only one version because of the way they are tiled. So that's just a whole lot of paper. On the bright side, I've already cut out the version without a gathered skirt, so I wouldn't have to tile it all again if I wanted to try the other style.

Make again? Probably ... it's a pretty specific style, so I am not sure how many of these I need. I do think it would make an adorable blouse to wear over skinny jeans, though, and I'd like the opportunity to work out the minor bugs/fitting issues. It may not be the most flattering shape on me, but this is a great dress for chasing after children on the weekend - it's even nursing-friendly! Although it's a bit baggy, this dress definitely radiates "effortless cool" and I feel reasonably put together in it.

Yay for selfish sewing! Next up, a few pieces for Maggie. I am considering participating in KCW again - once again in a low key way considering that I have Planning Commission on the night of the 20th and I am, of course, working all week. But Maggie does need a pink fall wardrobe since she refuses to wear any other color right now! I figure the best way to kill her love of pink is to inundate her with handmade pink clothing that I will be sad if she doesn't wear ... haha, we'll see!

Are you going to be KCW'ing this autumn (spring for you Aussies)?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Goings on.

Just popping in to share what I've been working on this week.

WIP: Living room progress

Work on our living room (with requisite naked baby!) continues. We bought and installed the giant and enormously practical entertainment center we have been hankering after for years. What a difference it makes!! Of course we might need a larger television set eventually, I'm sure my husband wouldn't complain. So many problems solved with this piece. There is still a lot of work to be done in this room, and it may go a bit more slowly from here on (among other things, our budget needs some time to recover!), but ahhhhh, it is already so much better!

New sewing/crochet nook

And look, my new set-up has space for my handwork/craft supplies and books!

Rejected Parsley Pants

Here's a sad story: I made these awesome green convertible Parsley Pants to Joe's very particular specifications (green with yellow star buttons), but when it was time to try them on, he declared that they were both too small (too tight) and too big (too long). To be fair, size 5 was a bit snug in the ahem, crotch area (the length was perfect in my opinion) but still. I was so hurt and stricken. Joe is really hard to sew for. He is so very fickle, and perhaps I am too sensitive. It's a bad combination. He does love some of things I've sewn for him in the past year but with the number of items he ends up rejecting, I often wonder if it's worth it to even try anymore. Of course, when he does love something, it's all the sweeter, but ugh, the rejection!! It sucks!

So I posted this photo on Facebook, and offered the awesome green pants with yellow stars (remind you of the sneetches?) up to anyone with a skinny/smaller side size 5 kid, and the many nice responses and offers to take them off my hands did soothe my bruised ego somewhat. So that's something! Off they go to a more grateful recipient!

Fabrics for Maggie Projects

The pants bummed me out for a bit, but I have learned that it is best to move on quickly from sewing failures/heartbreak! Recently Maggie has expressed a strong preference for pink. Everything has to be pink, from her socks on up! I promise I did nothing to encourage this; if anything I discouraged it, which is probably why she's picked it up, right? You can't win! But in the interest of reducing morning dressing battles, she clearly needs more pink clothes. So I stopped by the fabric store and picked up a few fabrics that are pink, but still tasteful enough that I won't gag trying to sew them. Maggie spotted the Heather Ross frogs from about a mile away at the fabric store and freaked out over them ("pink! frog! pink! frog!"). I had to bribe her to let go of the fabric so that I could prewash it! Right now I'm seeing that being used for a long-sleeved 2+2 blouse and the berry chambray becoming sandbox pants.

I can't quite decide what to do with the Kaffe Fassett striped pink - perhaps an Ice Cream dress? Playtime dress? Geranium? Hide and Seek dress? Or a blouse or tunic version of any of the above? Hmmmm.

I love planning projects, don't you? I just wish I had more time to execute my plans. Of course, it would probably help if I spent less time drooling over blogs/planning/shopping and more time actually sewing? But let's be realistic, shall we?


Another good way to recover from kid-inflicted sewing heartbreak is to sew something for yourself, right? I know autumn is coming, we are having a blazing week of Indian summer right now, with the temperatures in the high 80s, so all I can think about are light and breezy clothes! And I figure an Alder Shirtdress would look good with leggings and sweaters as the temperatures cool down ... this is my first time trying a Grainline pattern and I'm excited!

Learning to crochet!

Oh, and in addition to making a Grandmother's Garden Quilt, hexie pillow, and embroidered apron, I'm teaching myself to crochet. No bigs, right? Yep: I am nothing if not logical, sane, and rational when it comes to crafting projects. That's me!

Do you have a couple (or a thousand) WIPs? Tell me about them!