Tag Archives: handmade

restraint (in theory)

I may have mentioned on occasion that sewing, despite rumours to the contrary, is not a cost-effective way of building one’s wardrobe.

It can be moderately cost-effective, if undertaken with great care. To take as an example one of Frances’s new t-shirts:

Fabric: Rayon knit at $8/m for 1 metre
Thread: Need to buy a whole spool, even though I won’t use it all: $5
Pattern: If I buy them online when they’re on sale, about $3

So total, it’s a $16 t-shirt. Which isn’t bad, but you can find cheaper t-shirts in the grocery store for kids. Of course, it leaves me with scraps and I usually use the thread again, not to mention the pattern, so the cost goes down over time by a bit. But it isn’t and never will be an $8 t-shirt.

Or her grad dress:

Fabric: Rayon at $8/m for about 3 metres = $24
Lining: Crappy acetate lining at $3/m for about 3 metres = $9
Pattern: $3
Zipper: $5
Thread: Two spools = $10 (I won’t use all of both of them, but for a bigger project it’s important to have a spare ready)
Bit of fancy sparkly trim for the neckline: $2

Total is approximately $50. Not bad for a nice dress, no, but I could go to Target or Wal-Mart and get something cheaper if I’d a mind to. It just wouldn’t fit. And where Frances is concerned, this is the main thing: she will have clothing that fits properly (dammit).

With grown-up sewing, the economics get even more screwy. If you search out fabric deals and get patterns on sale, you can make clothing that is reasonably priced, but it will never be as cheap as the sweatshop-produced polyester stuff in outlet stores. If you buy nice fabric, patterns in-store, or indie patterns,* your clothes will be more expensive handmade than what you can buy. Of course, they will fit, and they won’t have been made by a woman in a sweatshop chained to a sewing machine for sixteen hours a day, and they will be much nicer than what you would have bought for less, both in quality of construction and materials.

However, unless one lives off a trust fund, eventually one must consider the costs of one’s chosen hobby. Thus, after the fabric spree over Easter weekend, I have put myself on a fabric-shopping time-out.

Ladies and gentlemen, I spent about $500 on fabric in April. $500! And I can’t even wear any of it yet because it hasn’t yet made its way to the top of the sewing pile (but soon–once the grad dress is finished). Don’t think I don’t know that this is loopy. It’s completely bonkers, from any kind of rational standpoint. I just really like sewing, and hate spending money on clothing that’s a pain to wear because the fit isn’t right. I know that if I thought of the money as spent on outfits rather than textiles, the $500 would not be outrageous, because there’s a fairly large pile of clothing-to-be hiding in that stack on top of the fabric boxes in the den. However, I also know that if I’d gone into a clothing store, I would not have bought myself four dresses. But I bought myself fabric for four dresses. Somehow sewing gets a pass on the decision-making process.

I promised myself after that weekend that I would not buy any fabric until August. Things needed to finish projects I already have fabric for–thread, patterns, zippers, buttons, etc.–are fair game. Even lining, if I’m getting the lining for a fabric I already own.

I have made it through just over a month, Dear Readers. It is getting harder, though. My favourite local fabric stores post IG pictures of their new offerings, and I have to physically restrain myself from jumping in the car and driving down “just for one or two things.” Oh my god, there’s a black-eyed susan quilting cotton print. There’s a thistle print! If it all sells out before August, I will be heartbroken, even though I have no idea what exactly I would do with a thistle print on quilting cotton.

But I am determined. And I hope that sharing the pledge here will help bolster my willpower. I need to sew up what I already have, Dear Readers: NO NEW FABRIC UNTIL AUGUST!

(Two months to go.)

~~~~~

*Indie patterns can be pretty awesome. For any of my new-to-sewing friends reading this, would a post on them be fun for you? Patterns from the Big Four (Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick and Vogue) are easy to find and can be cheaper if you get them on sale, but if you have a hard time finding patterns you like from them, there is a world of indie options.

Me-Made May 2014 Last Thoughts

I did it. I wore something I made myself every day. OK, often it was pajamas. But I don’t care. That counts.

And I figured out a few things about my me-made wearables that made the month more worthwhile. Like while I have enough handmade work clothing to get me through a workweek with a little RTW support, I don’t have enough lounge-around stuff. There’s no rush–I have a few RTW t-shirts and shorts that have life left in them yet–but at some point, there will be a wardrobe gap to fill. To fill the gaps:

1. I want to make myself some shorts. A light twill might do the trick, or a medium-weight linen. But I only have one pair of work-appropriate shorts.

2. I want to make Frances some capris, per her special request. She does need something to transition between jogging-pants season and shorts season, but finding a pattern she likes–loose capris, like longer shorts, with ribbed waistbands and pockets, in a light cotton–is not easy. I may need to improve my pattern drafting skills to really get what she wants there.

3. Frances loves wearing the knit t-shirts I make her. How gratifying to make up something so easy that she then wears all the time. Huzzah! However, hemming knits remains a challenge. I want to improve at that.

4. Some knit tops for me would not be out of place. My older knit tees are getting stretched out and most are no longer appropriate as work-wear. I have some patterns and some knits, so it’s just a matter of finding the time, as always.

5. For next fall/winter, some more work pants in a heavier fabric. And for spring/summer, some lighter-weight pants. Not-wool. I do have enough RTW pants to last for a while, so I’ll wait.

6. If I really wanted to dress in handmade clothing all the time, I’d need to tackle jeans. My focus so far is either pajamas or work-wear, with little in between. But I’ve had the devil’s own time finding any denim in fabric stores that feels like something I might want to wear. It has all the drape and hand of a ritz cracker.

Of course, if you looked at my sewing stack right now, you’d see none of the above. Right now I’ve got pieces cut out for Frances’s grad dress and a knit dress for me, and I’m gearing up to cut the remaining scraps from Frances’s pretty ombre pink silk dress into a Belcara shirt for me (actual dress has not been harmed in the making of this wardrobe–just the leftovers).

So when are my Me-Made May lessons actually going to happen?

September? Maybe?

I know. I’m hopeless.

the silk-linen dress of doom

Half-shaped, no hemming yet, no lining.
Half-shaped, no hemming yet, no lining.

The Creativ[E!] Festival in 2013 was the first time I bought serious garment fabrics. Oh sure, I was a regular at Fabricland (I have a two-year membership, after all) and enjoyed pawing through the mountains of poly to find the occasional linen or wool. I’d go hunting for cute prints on Queen West and in various online fabric shops. But I didn’t really know what I was missing.

The Wool House and Sultan’s Fine Fabrics both had booths, and while I had passed them up in previous years because their fabrics weren’t eye-catching from a distance, that time I found myself spending 30, 45 minutes fingering a bolt of alpaca or ooohing and aaahing over a lovely soft shirting fabric. It was hard to restrain myself. And in fact, I didn’t. Or only in the broadest theoretical sense, in that I didn’t bring home a few metres of absolutely everything.

I did bring home a few metres of a nice light italian wool, two beautiful and dirt-cheap wool-silk ends, 1.5 metres of outrageously expensive flannel-weight alpaca, and two metres of a gorgeous linen-silk. Light creamy yellow, somewhere between ivory and sunshine, tending to ivory, with a very subtle twill weave giving a slight chevron effect close up. All the softness and sheen of silk with the stiffness and body of linen. It would have to be something special. A sheath dress, I thought; the body would hold a nice shape and the weight and fibres would be perfect for summer. There being no rush to make such a dress in October, it basically sat (together with the bemberg rayon lining I got to go with it) waiting for Spring.

We waited for Spring for a long time in these parts, but I wanted the dress to be ready for the first really nice day so it came off the top of the Someday Shelf. And the Built By Wendy Dresses book and the included sheath dress pattern came off the bookshelf along with it. I mean, why buy a new sheath dress pattern when you’ve already got one you’ll never use? Right?

(Slick segue to book review here)

I was not about to cut into my beautiful and irreplaceable linen-silk without making a muslin first, so I cut out the pattern from some leftover heavy-weight polyester. As it turns out it wasn’t the best choice: while the poly fabric was about the right weight it draped very differently and as a result, this was not really a good test of the linen-silk fit. The poly test muslin, by the way, is going to be finished into a winter version–in the fall.

There were a number of problems with the poly and linen-silk versions:

bloggish-8-31. The raglan sleeves don’t fit at all. This is a deficiency noted by other reviewers, and I wish I’d read those reviews before committing to this pattern. There were several inches of excess fabric at the front neck, and just around the shoulder seam both front and back. This was after I’d taken down this seam to a small based on the muslin fit–and I’m not small! I’m 5’8″ and my shoulders are not narrow. So I took out about two inches from either side of the front neck piece and resewed it. My raglan sleeves now have a bit of a bend but the front of the garment lies flat. It still isn’t perfect and the front and back shoulder seams are still looser than I’d like, but I worried that if I made this any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to raise my arms.

2. There was no back shaping. Others have also noted this, and added back darts. I decided to just shape the centre back seam, taking it in by about an inch on either side at the waist and tapering up to the shoulder and down to the hips. This worked fine.

3. Even grading up to a large at the bust was not large enough. I had to let out the darts, lowering the dart point by 1-2″ on either side to give myself more space.

bloggish-9-44. The waist was a bit too baggy, so I brought it in at either side by about 1/4-1/2″.

5. And the skirt pattern, for some ungodly reason known to perhaps no one, was a-line. What kind of sheath dress pattern has an a-line skirt? Ideally, your hem will be pegged a bit, narrower at the bottom than at the hips by 1-2″, to make that lovely flattering hour-glass shape. So I altered this as well.

6. The back of the neck is about 2″ too high.

This is an awful lot of altering for one sheath dress pattern, and some of it just seems sloppy. There’s no excuse for the poor fit of the raglan sleeves nor for the weirdly baggy shape of the skirt. It’s called a sheath dress because it’s supposed to fit like a sheath.

It was my first effort with an invisible zipper, though, and I do have to say that this part worked out very well. I made an invisible zipper! It’s invisible! And it zips! Properly! This has nothing to do with the book, by the way, which contains as its entire instructions on this step, “Install zipper.” If you’ve never installed a zipper before, good luck to you.

Other notes on the book:

The general sewing and dress information in the front of the book is decent, but not targeted to beginning sewists. The patterns do not have seam allowances included–you have to add them before cutting. No information on seam finishing is included, so a good basic knowledge of garment construction will be required to know when and how to do this. The dresses are unlined; for the sheath dress, I needed to add a lining (and I am tired of it in advance). The ideas for altering the basic patterns to make different kinds of dresses are interesting and a good spark to creativity, but it’s unlikely that any of the ideas included in the book will be perfect as-is, especially since the book is now a little dated (and so is its fashion sense). However, once you get an actual dress pattern fitted properly, it’s likely that you could alter it in any number of ways to make different kinds of dresses.

Also, there are no photos of the finished garments, and the drawings included seem a little suspect. It would have been nice to have photographs to see how the actual finished garments look, rather than someone’s artistic conception of it.

(insert nice transition back to dress post here)


All of my alterations and markings on the pattern worked fairly well, and the lining was much easier to put together and fit. So hurray. But before I put the lining in, I wanted to add a little something. I love embroidery and I love clothing with little embellishments and details, and I’m always wishing I had the time to make some of those little (but greatly time-consuming) additions. Well, if a linen-silk sheath dress isn’t reason enough, what is? So I took my stack of torn-out magazine pages and decided on some fabric flowers a la Dolce and Gabbana (sort of), only without the background painting, since I can’t paint, and not as all-over.  Vogue Patterns had instructions on how to make your own fabric flowers, so…
mmmay-8-2Some of them I made from leftover linen-silk, lightly painted with lilac acrylic paint; the others I made from cochineal-dyed wool from a natural dyeing class I took last fall. I used fray-stop on the edges, gathered and beaded them, and the linen-silk ones were also embroidered to help them stand out against the dress. I played around with the placement a bit with safety pins and tacked them on between the dress and the lining. It took a while, but I think it was worth it, and if I ever get tired of the flowers I can cut them off.

I guess this is where it comes in handy to have a mountain of craft supplies in the house. If you are ever struck with the wish to embellish a dress with handmade beaded flowers, you can! Without leaving the house.

Titled: Multitasking. Artist's statement: We were hungry.
Titled: Multitasking. Artist’s statement: We were hungry.

Fun fact: It took about eight hours to cut, paint, stitch, embellish and tack on the seven flowers I have on my sheath dress. If I were to sell this, at minimum wage and without counting materials, that would be at least $80 in addition to whatever the dress itself would cost. Let’s pretend that I didn’t take a full day first figuring out the cut of the pattern, and just count the second day of putting together the shell–and then another day of putting together the lining and attaching it to the dress. So twenty-four hours altogether=$240 + materials = $300 at least and that’s if I’m paying myself minimum wage.

A) I am wearing a dress I could never afford to buy in a store.

B) If you’re wondering why high-fashion dresses cost $1000, there you go. This would be a forty hour dress, with the background painting and all the flowers, at least, and those folks aren’t making minimum wage (nor should they). Forty hours at, say, $30/hour = $1200, plus materials. See?

Here is the finished product, and it is finally warm enough in these parts to even wear it. Yay! The rayon lining makes it so soft and comfortable to wear, and the purple/pink of the flowers highlights the yellow in the linen-silk. I love it.

I will never again make a sheath dress with raglan sleeves, but this dress is a reminder to me to slow down on the finishing side and take the time to add those little details.  It’s part of what makes sewing your own clothes so worthwhile.

Fixed, then partially Unfixed

You remember that lovely crochet sweater with the Very Interesting Neckline?

Plus the whole thing where it keeps sliding off my shoulders, dammit.
Plus the whole thing where it keeps sliding off my shoulders, dammit.

Yeah, that one.

Fortunately, my bright idea of adding a half-motif to the front and back to raise the neckline and strengthen the collar worked.

Unfortunately, the thought that blocking might make it shrink a bit did not.

Now, blocking did make the motifs hang much more nicely, got rid of all the little stitchy kinks and drew out the lacey pattern very well. It made the sweater a few inches longer, and the drape is way better; the sleeves are now soft and fluttery instead of stiff, and all the little loopy picot-bunting stitches at the bottom hang down instead of lapping each other. Hurray! But it is still quite loose.

mmmay-6-2On the plus side, I can easily wear this over another shirt, which I will need to do. On the minus side, it’s not as snug as the one in the magazine by a long shot. So lesson learned: when it comes to a crochet pattern where I fit between sizes, choose the smaller size, and block it up. With this one, I’ve just tied part of the back together with a piece of scrap ribbon to make it a bit more fitted. Not thrilled about the colour, but if I get a new length of a nicer ribbon that matches better it will be just the thing.

It’s beautifully soft to the touch, and the orange-yellow is so nicely variegated that in person, it gives a really beautiful effect. It’s also surprisingly warm. And I have three skeins left which is enough to make a whole other motif sweater. Though that seems overkill. What else does one make out of three skeins of fingering-weight merino-cashmere?

I’ll wear it over a plain tank or camisole* for now, but I think what it needs is a nice bright pink silky shell underneath, no? Or maybe a grey-blue, to make the orange really shine.

~~~~~

*I promise there is a camisole in this picture. Flesh tone match may be a bit too good.

 

Me-Made May 2014, Week 1

Day 1

mmm-8-5

Subtitled: I was just running some errands and thought I’d stop off in the backyard to admire the non-greenery in the freezing cold while wearing a bunch of stuff I made myself.

Everything you can see in this picture, I made. Pants (V1266, fabric a light italian wool), shirt (Colette Jasmine, Liberty lawn fabric), bag (Craftsy, ostrich-embossed cowhide), shopping bag (behind my knees– 1,2,3 Quilt, stash scraps).

Day 2

mmmay-1-1

I am once again just casually stopping in to my frigid and grey-brown backyard for no reason in particular while coincidentally wearing a shirt I made myself. The photo part of this is all kinds of goofy, isn’t it?

Anyway. Shirt’s a Butterick tunic pattern made from Liberty lawn. It’s soft and thin and just the right length for skinny jeans though, again, the pattern ease was way too much. I’d make at least a size smaller next time.

Day 3

I wore my homemade red-and-pink fleece pajama bottoms, and you don’t get to see them, mostly because I was too lazy for the picture.

Day 4

Pajamas again–I told you I’d get a lot of mileage out of those!–and Frances wore the nightie I made her last year, plus her mom-made raincoat and bat-wing t-shirt for our jaunt to the book club. Tag this one Mom-Made May ’14, and I think it still works. Also, Frances loved her shirt and wore it happily all day. Yay for sewing with knits! I have two more t-shirts cut out for her.

Day 5

mmmay-5-3

V1266 top to bottom. Fingers crossed, we won’t be able to wear long-sleeved shirts in this part of the country for much longer, so I thought I should get it in.

I’ll stop commenting on the goofiness of the Fashion Selfies now, but please know that I am thinking it. So goofy! Yet is a communal sort of goofiness that all the MMMers take part in at least partially, so here I am, being dutifully goofy with the goof-crowd. In spirit.

Pleated undersleeves!
Pleated undersleeves!

I’m not thrilled with how the shoulders turned out on the shirt, but otherwise I love the pattern and the finished product. The ridiculously pouffy sleeves are just the kind of thing I love, and with the concealed front buttons and self-covered buttons on the sleeve, plus the pleats on the back of the sleeves and at the cuffs, it all adds up to a very fun shirt. If only Vogue didn’t believe that anyone over a size 8 must want to be swathed in sheets of fabric, because I cut out my size according to the pattern envelope and, despite that it was supposed to be semi-fitted, it was way too baggy at first. Too much ease. Next time I’d take a size or two off of the pattern, and even then maybe fit the waist down a bit.

Day 6 & 7

None!

Ok, not strictly true. Handmade PJs at home, and my new leather work bag. But that’s it. Two rushed mornings = no time to look into my closet and ponder how to incorporate my handmade wearables into functional workwear in new and surprising ways. But I’ll be wearing the handmades again Thursday and Friday, if only because I need to show off the crochet sweater that is finally (finally!) done.

leather, part 2

bloggish-15-8In short: the bag looks great, but I picked the wrong leather.

It doesn’t look wrong and goodness knows it should be very sturdy, and when it was only two or three layers under the needle, it sewed up fine. But whenever it was any thicker than three layers (which happened more than once), and even using the biggest leather needle I had, it would jam up something fierce and sometimes strip the thread. What this means, from a practical perspective, is that I’m not entirely sure of the sturdiness of my seams.

Time will tell, I guess.

BUT:

1. It has lovely flat handles with d-rings, making it look more like a professional bag, and also allowing the handles to rest flat when I put it down. The tabs holding the d-rings to the bag should really have had studs to reinforce them, but I didn’t think of it until it was too late. If it comes down to it and the tabs start looking like they’ll rip, it should be a pretty easy fix.

bloggish-21-122. It has an outside pocket that I lined with leftover nylon from Frances’s raincoat, and is the perfect size for a little umbrella.

3. It has both an inner pouch pocket and an inner zippered pocket. Sadly, I found this pocket very very exciting. I made a zippered pocket! I know how to make them now! Yay! I now must make another purse so I can have a zippered pocket on it! Zippered pockets for everyone forever!

bloggish-19-114. I added a little key fob to attach key rings to. One of my pet peeves is having to muss around in the bottom of a bag for my keys, thus panicking myself every time that I left the keys somewhere or they’ve fallen through a grate. Little key fob means keys always stay in one place.

5. And I added purse feet to the bottom so it can stand up properly and the bottom will stay out of the dirt when I put it down. Also, it makes a very satisfying little chink when I put it down on a hard surface.bloggish-22-13

I’m also very pleased with the recessed zipper top. I like bags that can theoretically be closed altogether, especially when it’s raining or snowing. Plus it’s big enough to hold all of my work stuff, including dayplanner, book and lunch.

bloggish-17-9If any of (the three of) you have ever wondered, the Craftsy class I made this for was pretty good. I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. Like those lovely zippered pockets, and what kind of thread to use, and that the inside of leather acts like sandpaper and will erode the fabric lining if you don’t interface it. But next time–goatskin or lambskin, not cowhide.  Something that can theoretically pleat and will fold without being beaten with a little hammer (yes, really).

Me-Made May ’14?

I’ve been sitting on this fence so long my butt fell asleep.

So Me-Made May is an annual thing whereby you commit to wearing a certain number of your own hand-made garments each day/week/over the month during May. Just because.

On the plus side, I do like to show off my handmade pieces, even if I’m the only one who knows that they’re handmade.

On the downside, the last thing I want is anything that smacks of even the faintest hint of work to taint my beloved hobby.

It’s like running. I like running, so long as I don’t track my times or distances or make any effort to improve in any way. I just head out the door, run for a while, run home, and then stop. The moment I try to start a Program or run faster or train for something, I quit. I know it’s motivating for other people, but for me it’s quite obviously and emphatically demotivating. Running to run is fun. Running to run better is Not Fun.

Sewing is a great good joy in my life in part because there isn’t the slightest obligatory thing about it, unless you count “I promised Frances a raincoat and I have 2m of blue waterproof nylon and no desire to go to Gymboree” as an obligation. Which maybe it is. But in general, I have a big pile of fabric, a pile of patterns and a stack of sewing books and I just tackle things as I want to. I’m under no illusion whatsoever that I would enjoy sewing for a living–I’d have to sew something that needed to be sewn! Terrors.

I do like wearing the things I make and I already wear them fairly frequently. But it might be cheating. I mean, I made myself a leather workbag. If I carry it to work with me every day, then I’ve fulfilled my monthly commitment without lifting a damned finger. Or at least, it’s a damned finger I would have lifted anyway. Is that fair? Plus the handmade lunch bag and business card case, and my handmade jammies–I’d have to work not to have something me-made on me in May.

I could just wear stuff I made in May without being such a joiner, I know. But then I can’t really participate in the whole community side of things. It’s nice to talk about the stuff you made and wore with people who also think it’s significant instead of odd or grandmotherly. Once people stop taking you aside to suggest that you go home on your lunch hour and change into something more work appropriate, or at least stop thinking it–say, if you made a shirt out of a too-heavy fabric so that the back zipper bubbles by your neck, not that this has ever happened to me–no one notices. If they’re thinking anything, it’s likely, “Andrea’s wearing a nice shirt today.” Even more likely it’s “goddammit how am I supposed to finish that report by tomorrow?”

So there’s the benefit of being able to show off shame-free to a group of people who Get It.

I know that I have turned into A Thing something that is not supposed to be A Thing. I’ve Thinged it. But I need to make up my mind. Like a cat at the back door. Am I in, or am I out?

.

.

.

.

.

.

OK. I think I’m in. But in my own way: I’ll wear or use something handmade every day in May–pretty hard not to, considering–and I’ll document it when I can, though I make no promises given other responsibilities. I’m allowed to repeat, so the workbag counts if there’s nothing else I can use or wear. And I’ll try to finish the following, and wear them too:

  1. the linen-silk sheath dress of doom
  2. the pink blouse I cut out the pieces for, and which now sits on the dining table
  3. a Moneta
  4. and two t-shirts for Frances, though I obviously won’t be wearing those. It might look funny.

Oops

spring sweater-6-3
Hey! That’s not so bad!

So here’s what happened:

I got within spitting distance (or sleeve distance, at any rate) of finishing the light blue sweater, and realized three things: a) for some reason, even though I followed the directions exactly, the top of the sweater is looser than the bottom, and b) for a probably related reason, the left-hand front shoulder wasn’t working out quite right. So I had to take it out, just when I was ready to join up the front and back and see if the looseness was fatal or not; c) there’s no way it was going to be done in time to wear it this winter. Not that I’m complaining about the temperatures slowly inching upwards–far from it, I’m pretty excited every time we get above freezing–but it is rather demotivating when it comes to finishing bulky winter sweaters.

So I switched to the marigold short-sleeved sweater.

This pattern comes from the 2013 Vogue Crocheting magazine, where they made it in a size small. Super pretty, no? It’s motif-based, which means crocheting up endless (or 40) quantities of hexagons and joining them together. Let me tell you, I got pretty good at those motifs. By the end I could whip one off in about 30 minutes without even looking at the instructions. And every day, I was getting four or five added; who cared if I wasn’t sewing or quilting or reading or blogging or doing anything but crocheting soft yellow lacey hexagons, right? I was so close! I was going to finish a sweater, by god, any day now!

spring sweater-7-4
On the other hand, a self-disrobing top with a very low neckline is maybe not exactly what I had pictured.

By last Thursday I had finished all the motifs and I had the end in my sights (so I thought). All I had to do was weave in the ends, add the edging, and voila! A short-sleeved sweater that I can wear, you know, soon.

First of all, with a motif construction involving 40 joined motifs, there are 80 ends to weave in. I’m about halfway through.

Second, those edgings take forever. I got the sleeves and the bottom edging done. I haven’t yet done the neck because, well …

Third, it’s … umm … perhaps a little indecent.

Mind you, you are supposed to wear this over a shell or t-shirt, not on its own. But holy neckline batman.

Plus the whole thing where it keeps sliding off my shoulders, dammit.
Oh for the love of god.

According to the magazine, I’m a size large in this sweater (it is Vogue, after all). Because it’s a motif construction, adding up a size means either scaling up the hook size (the medium pattern) or adding extra motifs (the large) and rearranging them slightly. So the very demure high v-neck of the size small and medium becomes a plunging v-neck in the large.

Thankfully, I can just add a couple of strategic partial motifs to bring the neckline a tad closer to my neck. Sort of like fig leaves, but softer. This should also stop the shoulders from becoming elbows. I’ll have to improvise the edging, but I’m not sure I’m keen on their neckline pattern anyway. I realize that the bright orangey-yellow makes me look even paler than I normally look, and can only ensure you that I do go outside and I do not have the flu. I love the colour anyway.

It’s also a fair bit looser than I’d hoped. It might shrink a bit when I block it (fingers crossed), but if not, and assuming I can fix the neckline issues, I think it will still be wearable and lovely, and next time I’ll make the medium and block up.

The Someday Shelf

This is a Post that might become a Page: a list of all the things I’d like to make. At some point. When it’s fun. No pressure.

  1. The Colette Meringue skirt.  (Done!) (Also on the Someday Shelf is the Taffy Blouse and one of the dresses, also from the book, but they are farther down the list–spring/summer)
  2. A Project Yet To Be Determined, with the heavy-weight alpaca wool I picked up at the Creativ Festival. It’s a flannel-weight fabric, incredibly soft, with a pin-stripe, in a nice warm neutral, and I have 1.5 metres of it.
  3. A short-sleeved crochet sweater in Squishy, in marigold yellow (called poppy, for some reason). Because if you access to a yarn called Squishy, it would be criminal not to make something out of it. Currently in progress–a Vogue Crochet pattern that looks a bit like the Taffy Blouse. (Done!)
  4. A sheath dress in creamy/tawny linen-silk blend with a bit of a subtle chevron pattern, also picked up at the Creativ Festival. Yes, that missing e bugs me too. Likely sheath dress pattern from the Built by Wendy Dresses book. (Done!)
  5. A Farmer’s Wife quilt.
  6. A quilt for my room. Something bright and floral.
  7. Another Jasmine blouse. I have a nice Liberty tana lawn cut out for it, so it’s just a matter of sewing it together. (Done!)
  8. Another marigold/orange/yellow pillow cover for the living room
  9. A crocheted sweater for Frances. For next winter at the earliest.
  10. Fleece pajamas for Frances. (Done!)
  11. Comfy pants and shirts for Frances: a long-sleeved knit shirt, a bat-wing t-shirt (Done!), and some baggy pants.
  12. Raincoat for Frances. (Done!) I have the nylon shell fabric and the fleece lining, and the pattern, so my target is April/May. (Guess I’d better get started…)
  13. A stumpwork (3D embroidery) dragonfly or butterfly. Probably not on its own. With flowers or something.
  14. A leather handbag. (Done!)
  15. A piece of hand-dyed clothing, or an accessory of some kind.
  16. A hand-embroidered blouse. Maybe in a nice, light linen. Don’t you think a light-weight linen blouse that’s fairly fitted, with pin-tucks and some bits of colour in the embroidery, would be super pretty?
  17. That Vintage Vogue dress I got the pattern for last year–then realized I needed 6.5 freaking metres of fabric for it. I am thinking of getting the freaking metres in a nice Liberty Lawn, though it might require a second mortgage on the house. Or maybe a trip-to-Queen-West fabric, so I can get something a little stiffer. Lawn’s lovely, but it might be too light for the skirt.
  18. Curtains for pretty well every window in the house, but the kitchen and the dining room to start. I have yet to find a decent curtain fabric.
  19. The blackwork sampler.
  20. The dragonfly appliqué embroidery
  21. The cross-stitch piece I’ve been working on since last fall.
  22. Something with the doilies.
  23. A new spring work bag. Maybe canvas? Heavy linen? Heavy linen would be cool, and it takes embroidery well. I could dye it, maybe. And/or smock it. Some kind of fabric manipulation would be a lot of fun. My last work bag used an old pair of jeans as the lining, which was super fun and very practical (and cheap), but I don’t think a summer bag is heavy enough to handle a thick denim lining. So it will take more brainstorming.
  24. More button-up blouses. Work shirts. Boring as hell, but necessary. This pattern is one, with the long sleeves and narrow cuffs. It says crepe de chine is an option, which would be much less boring if I picked something like this.
  25. Work pants. I want to take the pants I made over the winter and tweak the pockets so they are more horizontal and less vertical, but this can wait. I’d also like to make them out of something heavier, a nice wool flannel maybe, so they are work-appropriate but also cozy.
  26. A suit. Just for the challenge. Can I make a suit that’s nice enough to wear to work?
  27. Another Chardon skirt from Deer & Doe. I made one last year (with a lining added) in a lovely wool-silk (Creativ again) that is very light and very soft, but stands out like a bell. It was just perfect. I think the next one will be linen, for summer, with the band and the ties instead of the belt loops. Apparently I want to make everything from linen right now.
  28. Frances’s grade 5 grad dress. Light blue rayon with sparkly trim. (Done!)
  29. A Moneta dress for me (Done!) And another, sleeveless one.
  30. Some knit shirts for me. (Done and Done!)
  31. Something out of the leftover ombre pink silk.
  32. Work-appropriate shorts. (Done!)
  33. A Hollyburn skirt. Yes, I have jumped on the Hollyburn bandwagon.
  34. A silk shift dress.
  35. The McCall faux-wrap dress. (Done!)
  36. A bra. Just for the challenge. And maybe for the cost savings.

I just have to take the long view here. The years-long-view. Clearly this will not be done in time for summer.