Monday, June 23, 2014

Breaking resolutions

I'm thinking I might need to change the name of this blog, and my commitment to Stash Diet 2014...while I think I've used more of my fabric stash during the first half of this year than all previous years combined, I have also not stayed very true to my "no-buying" rule. Hancock Fabrics is my downfall, but I've also bought a few things here and there at JoAnn (it's much easier for me to put things back there, though!). In my defense, I've already used quite a bit of the fabrics I've bought at Hancock and at the Textile Discount Outlet (and I used restraint when purchasing there!), but still.

This weekend, however, I just couldn't help myself. I occasionally browse Craigslist looking for patterns, fabric, and various other sewing accoutrements, and this weekend I stumbled across what was billed as a GIANT fabric (/estate) sale, with things going for rock-bottom prices. I briefly debated not going, but in the end, the pull was just too strong. 

Giddy with anticipation, I pulled up to the house, got out of my car, walked into the yard...and stumbled upon probably 20 boxes PACKED with fabric...and this was halfway through the second day of the sale! I quickly filled up two bags of odds and ends, mostly quilting-weight cotton (we all know I don't have a problem making clothes from it at this point). The people running it said they'd give me a price when I was ready, so I wandered into the very chaotic house. Inside, I found loads of bias binding, zippers, and some brand new rolls of quilt batting. (I realized after I left that they also billed that there were sewing machines for sale, but I forgot to ask/didn't see them while I was there. Kicking myself for that now!) Once I was ready, I asked for a price, hoping I had enough cash to cover it...And he told me $10! For all of this (and then some)!

Needless to say, I will be busy/stocked for the foreseeable future. 

I have been working on things, but have not quite gotten the motivation to photograph them yet. I've got another pair of culottes that, for some reason, are a bit too tight in the crotch, and yesterday I finished a Modcloth-inspired peplum top. However, once I tried it on, I realized that there's a reason I don't wear peplum, so now I need to figure out how to modify it. Them's the breaks, I guess...

I'll try to post more regularly in the next month or so, before my big move disrupts all of my crafty pursuits.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Cascade love

Did I mention how much I adore this pattern? No? Wellllll, I do. It's awesome: 

This version especially is so flowy and floaty, thanks in part to the underlining:

[Pardon the derp-y look on my face, but I had to do one of these twirling shots.]

And the fabric is amazing. It makes me so happy. (I think it was only like $1/yard on clearance at Wal-mart, so again, not high quality, but that pattern is to-die-for.)

Here's an inadvertent close-up while I was messing with the self-timer on the camera (I really need one of those remote things, but I don't think they make them for this model) - 

I'd originally been saving the fabric for this ModCloth knock-off:

But then I decided that the chances of me getting around to making this, and making it right, were slim. At least I knew that the Cascade worked for me, and I thought it would showcase this fabric beautifully. 

[Again, stupid look on my face, but great shot of the high-low hem!]

I didn't chop the back of the hem so drastically this time, but did keep my modified pattern so that this skirt wouldn't be trailing the floor. Historically, I haven't been a huge fan of the mullet hem, but I'll make an exception for this skirt. However, I've still got to be mindful of yardages, and I barely squeezed this onto the two yards I had.

It was a bit of a pain to work with this version, as I was using TWO very slippery fabrics, and double-hemming them separately. I initially tried to hem them together, but good Lord was that a mess. The lining might be a bit too short, but at least it keeps my naughty bits from peeking through. 

This was a pretty decent stash-buster, too. I've probably had the floral fabric for 2-3 years but was afraid of cutting into it because of how slinky it is. The underlining was bought this year during a stock-up trip to Hancock Fabrics. I can never resist their spot-the-bolt sales, but I did limit myself to only buying fabrics that I thought would be good for linings (with no specific projects in mind). This one happened to be a really good match for the florals, and I used up most of it here (and have already cut into another lining for a project that I'm still working out some fitting issues on, to be posted once they're solved!).

So, version 2 completed, on to version 3...

Not the best picture, but I didn't want to do a complete photo shoot because this one's not actually for me (though I wish it were - it's the best-made version yet, and I am in love with that print!). My friend's bachelorette party is next weekend, and she's pretty shy and innocent and would totally be embarrassed by the typical raunchy gifts, so I decided I'd make her something instead. I'm planning to include a couple of nail polishes that match the colors in this dress. I think this will be the first hand-made gift I've given to someone other than my mom, and I'm very nervous! I wanted this to be a complete surprise, so I didn't consult her on fabric or pattern choice. I figured a wrap dress was a safe bet fitting-wise, but...who knows! 

Do you guys like to give handmade gifts, or are you more "selfish" sewers? And if you do give hand-made, what's the response been? Are people generally grateful/impressed, or are you worried about coming off as a cheapskate?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cascade skirt, just in time for cold weather

I finally broke down and bought this pattern last week, yet again breaking my stash diet pledge and the whole goal of this blog, oops. However, I'd been searching high and low for a sale, and when the lovely Lauren at Lladybird introduced one of her new sponsors (Indie Stitches) with a discount code for the month of June, I jumped at the opportunity and allowed myself a small indulgence, since I've been dreaming about this pattern for more than a month.

[I braved the cold for these pictures, but yesterday really wasn't tank top and wrap skirt weather - cold and windy, and some people may have gotten flashed...]

YOU GUYS. Why in the world did I wait so long? I love this thing! I think taping together the PDF pattern took longer than cutting and sewing the entire thing...okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but this was such a quick project, even with the French seams. Not fiddling with a zipper probably helps a lot, huh? 

A million more of these are now on my to-do list. I made the tie-in-back version, but ended up tying it in front because A) it feels more secure, and B) I'm not a huge fan of bows, so I didn't feel the need to have the extra length to tie one. I also made the hem less drastically high-low, and ended up evening it out even more when I felt it wasn't sitting right in back. I'm wearing it as a high-waisted skirt because it's flattering as hell that way, even though that wasn't the original intention. 

The fabric wasn't a stash-bust, either, as I picked it up this year, but am proud that it didn't sit in my stash for too long! It was only 50 cents/yard brand new from Hancock Fabrics, talk about a steal! It's some cheap synthetic stuff, I'm sure, but it's still really soft and feels really nice on bare summer legs. :) (And obviously it's more florals, ha.) I'm also happy that I still have about 2 yards of it to use - I didn't need anywhere close to the almost-4 yards that the pattern calls for (this is the second Megan Nielsen pattern I've sewn that severely overestimates the yardages needed, though I know that cutting off a lot of the back hem contributed to that here). 

Anyway, I think I'm in love, and this may have surpassed the Tanias as my favorite pattern to-date (though I do have one more pair of those to show you soon, too!) Have you guys given this one a try yet? What did you think?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finally finished - Simplicity 2250

Aaaages in the making, but it's finally done!

[Yay for another cool backdrop!]

It's a crazy-bright, ridiculously floral border print quilting cotton, from God knows where. I feel like this somehow made its way into my stash from something my mom picked up, because it doesn't look like anything I'd choose, but who knows? I probably had just over a yard of this to start with, which is not a lot to try to squeeze a dress out of. I ended up juuuust squeaking by - at first I thought I'd have to do the back in plain white, but ended up being able to barely fit all of the pieces I needed.

[Check out my super 90s styling, guys!]

I made view "A," but let me tell you, this bodice is super fiddly, and by the time I finished the front there was no way I was going to do all of that nonsense with the elastic in the back. (It's a shame you can't even see all of the detailing in the front, really.) I also realized I kind of screwed up the straps, so I decided to just make it into a halter - at least that way the straps won't be constantly falling off of my oh-so-sloped shoulders.

I know I look really happy here, but honestly, this isn't my favorite dress. I just don't think it's super flattering, I guess. At least I got some practice, and it IS wearable, but...yeah, not going to attempt this pattern again.

In addition to the changes I made to the bodice, I obviously couldn't make the skirt as-instructed because of A) the border print and B) the limited amount of fabric I had. I went with my standard lazy-girl pleats in the front and back, but they were sitting so weirdly in the back that I ended up just taking them out.

Yes, that zipper is embarrassing. I was having so many issues with it - I think this was my third attempt, and I didn't realize it was too low until it was way too late for me to want to fix it again. I'll have to go back and add a hook and eye or something to keep it a bit more closed at the top.

Like I said, not too flattering to my tummy or butt, but...oh well! Live and learn (and practice, practice, practice!). Woohoo for some great stashbusting on this one, though!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Me-made May, the end

Wow, I can't believe we made it all the way through! 

[Sorry for the super awful pictures, and that crazy pile of clothes in the background. I was sans photographer this week and, to be honest, was getting pretty tired of taking pictures every day.]

Day 27: Newest summer dress
Day 28: Old refashioned summer tube dress, same belt because I'm unimaginative

Day 29: Forgot to photograph, but I wore my gray maxi skirt with a chambray button-up
Day 30: Tania culottes, back in the rotation with my favorite cami/cardi combo.
Day 31: Yet again, did not leave the house, so no makes to show (though I DID finish that damned Cynthia Rowley dress, finally!)

By the numbers:

Since I didn't really think I had that many me-mades in my wardrobe, my initial plan was to make a better effort to wear me-made jewelry. I did do a pretty good job of that, but was far too lazy to photograph it, so I don't really have any stats on that one.

I did, however, wear me-made garments 24/31 days, well above my goal of 5/7 days/week. Honestly, most of the days that I *didn't* wear me-mades were because I am a hermit and didn't leave the house!

Most worn: 

Not surprisingly, my most-worn make was my self-drafted maxi dress with a total of 5 (!) times for the month. 
Somewhat surprisingly, both pairs of my Tania culottes got worn the same amount - 4 times each. I like the bright-colored ones the most, but my attempts to mix up the styling have shown me that there aren't really a lot of different styles that I like. I think the black and white ones are much more versatile, especially now that I've shortened them up a bit. I even wore them again yesterday for "me-made June" (3/3 days of me-mades so far this month)!
Most everything else was worn 2 or 3 times, with the exception of-

Least worn:
Refashioned men's polo. I guess I'm just really not feeling the fit or finishes of this one.

Overall, I'm really pleased with my performance this month. I obviously have a long way to go toward creating a larger hand-made wardrobe, but I think I'm finally got some of my crafting mojo back and have been putting it to good use. I have one finished stash-buster project to show you, and another on the way (though it's been set aside for the moment as the fit isn't wanting to turn out quite right). My stash diet was pretty much a failure this month, but I have been doing a decent job of cutting into stuff right away rather than letting in linger in purgatory. Next up from the recent purchases - a very different pair of Tanias, already half-done!

How did you guys fare for the month? Or, if you didn't participate this year, did the deluge of inspiration from others make you want to try for next year?