Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No more UFOs: Love Notions Canyon Complete!

Hello everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

I am celebrating today in a special way--I have no more UFOs (unfinished objects) to speak of!!! That alone calls for a DANCE!

I don't know about you, but UFOs had become a part of my nature.  Never mind the reason why I didn't finish the project in the first place,what truly matters is the weight unfinished projects have carried in my mind.  Even though I would surge ahead with the next thing, the nagging of the "left behind" items would linger with me.  And beyond that (go with me for a moment), isn't it better to finish?

Isn't it better to learn the technique I was running away from? Or embrace errors I made along the way, like not choosing the right fabric for my pattern?  How about just knowing when it is time to let go and move on?

This year I am working on FINISHING. It can be a quick finish, a slow finish, an easy finish, or an UGLY finish. The bottom line is, I want to finish. I deserve to see my garments through, until the very end.

For example, as a runner, I have experienced runs where I hit a wall and my feet would not move.  It is then that my will and perseverance would come into play.  I had to push when everything in me was telling me I couldn't.  I had to tell myself that I had the strength to push through, one leg at a time. Left foot, right foot, push, push, push. Why push? To finish. To finish the race I started well--even if that meant crawling across the finish line.

Keep this in mind as I show you my latest completed project, the Love Notions Canyon Cardigan:

This cardigan was a long time in the making! I believe I started it last year in October or so.  I got everything finished except the hem and neckband.  In fact, it was looking pretty good! But, to me, the end results are just ok.  I like the pattern, but there are a few things I would do differently the next time.  Here are the details:

Fabric: Rayon/Lycra Jersey.  In hindsight, it has too much flowiness. I chose it for this reason, but realize that the drape and flow is excessive and unforgiving.  Also, my fabric was NOT a pleasure to work with. It is very stretchy, but the recovery is not as good.

Size: Medium. Again, in hindsight, I would probably look at increasing the size. 

Instructions: I must say, the instructions for the cardigan were phenomenal! I was able to work my way through it with no questions. This is the way I like to work!! I definitely recommend this pattern for all levels of sewers.

Features I like:  I LOVE the little pleat feature on the back.  I also think the waterfall part on the front is adorable, and the way the neckline is sewn on makes it fit perfectly.  

Adjustments: None. 

For now, I have decided on two things:

  1. This isn't my best version for this pattern, so I will revisit this one again in the future-maybe even for late Spring.  I will use a heavier weight knit that is a little more stable, and probably do a full sleeve instead.
  2. I will keep this version to wear around the house. I tend to get cold, so this will be a perfect cardigan to put in my rotation.  

Overall...yes, this one is not what I hoped, but it is FINISHED!  And not only that, I gained such appreciation and knowledge as I worked through it.  I guarantee you, the next version will have me a little more prepared, and a lot more aware.

And that, my friends, is what I LOVE!!!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day, and stay sew filled!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Plans

Hello everyone!

It is February and I am ready to sew!

Since the beginning of the year I knew I wanted to work on something BIG! Actually, not only BIG, but NEW (to me).  Well, I put this particular item off until now because I really wanted to get my feet wet first. Now that my feet are wet, I am forging ahead with my pattern choice for February:

It is Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak!  I know I have mentioned it before, but here it is again, along with my fabric of choice.  Isn't the jacket just purty??? And I love that I don't own a jacket reminiscient of this style at all! At all!! I will be making the hooded version on the left.

My fabric is a Robert Kaufman's Ventana Twill in Navy. I purchased it from Fabric.com on the recommendation of Heather Lou, the creator of this lovely pattern.  I have been stalking the Closet Case Files blog lately, preparing myself for all that sewing this jacket will entail.  I already have all my materials for the jacket, and will start out working on a proper muslin shell in order to fine tune the fitting details. I don't anticipate it will need many fit alterations, according to Heather Lou, but I want to take my time and be sure.

Speaking of fit, this project lines up PERFECTLY with the MAGAM (Make a Garment a Month) theme for February:

The theme is to choose a pattern, work out the fit issues, and finish it! Easy enough, right? I anticipate this jacket may take me most of the month to finish, but I would like it to be done so I can at least wear it a time or two.  The weather has been so up and down here lately that I'm nervous we may be jumping right through "winter" and into spring before I know it.  If that proves to be true, I'll have to wait another 6-8 months before I can wear my jacket again!  Ah, well.  I will err on the side of optimism, and hope the weather cooperates. Besides, the material I am using is a lighter to mid weight, so it should transition well.

There are also a few garments I have laying around that I would like to "finish" this month too.  First, is my daughter's overall dress from Ottobre magazine.  She has chosen the fabric, I only need to cut out the pieces I traced off. It looks like a nice simple sew, and some encouragement from a few of you in one of my posts led me to realize I needed to get moving on this one:

Yes to overalls!
Next is a project that I just can't seem to finish, even though there is barely anything left to do (ever have one of those):

It's the Love Notions Canyon Cardigan! Please don't think there is anything wrong with this pattern! It was a delightful sew up until the point I reached, I think I just have a mental block and I need to press through. Expect to see this one finished...soon! LOL!

Then there is this Simplicity top that I cut out, started to sew, then made a mistake with the bias binding. I used some packaged binding that I had, and it just looked horrible! Horrible! I remembered, after sewing it, that I prefer making my own because it always turns out so much better. Here is the pattern:

I love the flowiness of the front, and how it DOES NOT hug my stomach (priorities, lol).  Once I get this shirt worked out, I want to sew a few MORE! So, expect to see this one...and in more than one version!  

Well, once again, you can count on me to have lofty goals! Though this time I think at least half of it is achievable!  

Good luck with your sewing plans for February!

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, January 27, 2017

January Sewing Social Meet-up

Hello everyone!

Thank you again for all your wonderful comments on the Zoe Tunic I made! I'm sure you can all agree that sewing a garment you love makes all the effort worthwhile! I hope you have been getting a chance to sew some lovelies yourself!

Today I would like to share about the sewing meet-up I recently had with my neighbor. Somewhere before the beginning of the year, I began thinking about asking my neighbor if she wanted to get together and sew. I mean, it was a no-brainer to me. She likes to sew, and so do I. She doesn't ever get a chance to finish her projects, and neither do I. Our time and family commitments, while valuable, have kept us from making time for the craft we love.

So, I approached her about my idea: a sewing meetup where we would bring our already cut-out projects, whatever materials we needed, and some light refreshments in case we got hungry (sewing and snacking go together).  Invariably, we could chat as we worked, and (the best part) we did not have to bring any children!!!!!!!!!

Anyhow, you can imagine what my neighbor told me. She said that it all sounded WONDERFUL!!! In fact, she already had three projects cut out and waiting on her! Now all she had to do was bring them. So we got together last weekend, and had such a blast!

My hubby offered his office space for our meetup, so we got there early, set up our spaces, and started to get to work. We both brought coffee, had a light breakfast, and grazed on snacks while there.  While we originally planned to have one serger, she luckily brought hers too, so machines were always available for use. The only thing we had to share was the iron, and that worked out well according to our crafting personalities. As you may have guessed, I was a bit more obsessive about pressing when I sewed a seam, but my friend was much more laidback.

We stayed a total of four hours. Here is the outstanding dress that my friend sewed:

It is called the Ginger Dress, and I love the way it came out! She said this project was A YEAR in the making! She had the black fabric already, and another friend sent her the plaid for the bottom hem. Can you believe she had this amazing project in her craft room the whole time?

Here she is with the bottom hemmed, and all "dolled up" for a day out:

I think she even has plans for another one!  I told her she could easily make a different one to wear each day of the week!

For my projects, I was ambitious, as always, lol! I brought my Zoe tunic, an unfinished cardigan, a top I cut out, and my daughter's overall dress to cut out--if I finished all those items. Of course I didn't! I spent all of my time on the Zoe tunic, and had a few mishaps that required unpicking. Ah well! I learned a lot.

After we finished, we both were so giddy with excitement! It really does feel like winning the lotto when you are a busy mom who completes, or even nearly completes a sewing project!  My original thought was to have our "socials" every few months, but we both decided that a monthly meeting was necessary.

For the next meeting, we plan on inviting another lady, and maybe even having a pattern swap.  My neighbor embroiders, so she will be bringing her machine in case anyone would like embroidery done.

If you don't have a sewing group, and you can start one, DO IT! I was soooo nervous to ask my friend, and now I wish I would have done it sooner. It turns out there seem to be a lot of people who would love to get together and do something they love.  You don't even need office space like we used. You can use your home, or sometimes the library has space available too.  Whatever you do, find the time to pursue your passion--alone, or in the company of others.  You will not regret making that decision.

Stay sew-filled!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January MAGAM Completed!

Hello everyone!

There is still a week left in the month of January, and I am elated to have finished my FIRST project of the year!! It is the Simple Sew Zoe Dress (my version is a tunic), and I'm going to tell you all about it:

I must say, this was a good pattern to start off with! I wholeheartedly agree that this was indeed a Simple Sew!  I started out by choosing a Mod Square Poly/Lycra from Fabricmart Fabrics (no longer available).  It was one of their pre-cut fabrics, and I have really been enjoying the quality of pre-cuts that they carry.

Anyhow, this fabric is nice and drapey, with a small amount of stretch. It really behaved more like a woven, so I wanted to be sure I had enough room in the end result so it would fit.  I sewed a size 10 for the waist, but graded to a size 14 for my hips. 

The pattern listed the finished measurements, and I love that! The fit was spot on! I did add a 1/4" to the front and back seams, but I don't think it was necessary. I was just being a "nervous Nelly" since I have not sewn anything for myself in a while.  

 If you remember from previous posts, I received this pattern from a UK sewing magazine. My whole reason for sewing this was to gain experience concerning their patterns, since I already LOVE the magazine. Well, I can definitely say that this pattern is a winner--a great sew for a beginner and up!

I did make some changes, though. I ended up leaving off the pocket, and didn't bother with an inseam pocket either. I also shortened the length by 4 inches because the dress was LONG, and I wanted it to end mid thigh or so.  Lastly, I did not do all of the topstitching. I left off the CB/CF stitching, but did do the neckline and sleeves.

The inside of the garment is also pretty! I realized that it went much quicker to serge the raw ends of my garment first (without the knife engaged), and then sew my seams. Brilliant! From there I just pressed the seams open, and it looked nice and clean.

There is a slight amount of excess in the back, but the fit is comfy! Also, considering the curviness I was working with, I think I deserve an award, lol! It was not easy, but I know each time will get better.

Overall, it feels good to meet the January MAGAM goal to "get back to sewing."  

Stay sew-filled!