Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 5 of 2015

I feel like I say it every year, but it's especially true this year: I can't believe how quickly it went! With that said, it's time for another year-end round-up. I'm not planning to stretch this out over several posts this time, so you'll only have one to skip if it's not your thing. ;-) I'm planning to get a few things sewn up over the New Year's break, so hopefully I'll be back soon with some new makes!

Top 5 Hits: 

Walking Dead Quilt: Yeah. This one was definitely a nerdy labor of love. And the compliments I got on this were like none other. 
(Not-so-secret-Secret: I keep a list of my favorites that I can refer to whenever I need a pick-me-up:
"I'm wiping drool off of my keyboard right now. I simply can't believe how fantastic this quilt is, and ALL OF THAT EMBROIDERY!! You are the good kind of crazy, girl."
"Can't. Process. All. Of. The. Awesome. You broke my brain with this. Tremendous!!"
/bragging over) 

Floral Maxi Dress: I got so much wear out of this one - I might have to make another next spring. 

Cabled sweater: I love this sweater and wear it all the time. Thanks, Andi Satterlund!
Christmas dress: I've only worn it once so far, and it drove me nuts trying to keep it on my shoulders, but I got so many IRL compliments that I just had to throw it on here. 

Wanderlust Quilt: This one's really too small to use, but every time I see it hanging on my blanket ladder, I smile a little. This one just came together in some incredible strokes of serendipity.

Top 5 Misses:

These mostly came down to trying to break out of my style and realizing that it was "my style" for a reason. 

Stretchy tulip skirt: Note to self: there's a reason I don't wear pencil skirts. This has already been thrown in the "donate" bag (in spite of Kennis' great drafting/instructions). 

Too-short tunic: This was one of the few tester calls I answered this year, and while I do like the pattern, there are too many problems with this tunic (though not the pattern itself!) and it was only worn once. It's too short, too tight around the bust (some overzealous fitting there, oops), and the finishing on the neckline is pretty terrible. I think this pattern does have some potential for me, though, so I'd like to try again at some point. 

Ill-fitting lace: This was another make that was only worn once. I should've gone back and re-done the zipper, but never got around to it. I do like the pattern, though, and I'd like to try it again, with a few caveats: I need to lower the back neckline, and not try to use this pattern with lace (lace+underlining shifts too much for me at this point). 

Cabled sweater: I used the same pattern as the one above, but a very different yarn, and this one just doesn't fit/drape well at all. Maybe at some point I'll redo the sleeves (the main offender), but at this point, I can't even be bothered to take a picture. 

A little too 70s: I keep meaning to go back and fix the fitting issues on this one, but really, I think the fabric on this is just not me. If I'm gonna go vintage, I'd prefer the 50s/early 60s to the 70s. 

What are your year-end reflections? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Just under the wire

Merry almost Christmas! I don't know about the rest of you, but the holidays really snuck up on me this year. I came back home after a nice Thanksgiving with my family and immediately came down with a pretty terrible cold. It had me stuck on the couch for a solid week, and, though I wasn't really feeling better during week 2, I had to suck it up so I could finish my first-ever Christmas dress!

I bought this fabric over the summer when I fell in love with it at Vogue Fabrics and knew I wanted to make a fancy gown with it. Months came and went and I still couldn't decide on a pattern, but since I'd been telling my coworkers that I was going to make my dress for our annual Christmas party (and since I really didn't have anything else to wear), I had to buckle down and do something. And because our party was at the Signature Room at the Hancock, it was the perfect event for something fancy. 

I started with a muslin of Simplicity 2580, but really didn't like the way it was draping and decided I wanted a more dramatic neckline. I found Simplicity 3503 in my stash and, even though it's intended for knits, I figured I could make it work with this slinky mystery material. 

Rather than my usual slapdash method, I really took my time with this one. After using some really low-quality material that wouldn't stop slipping and sliding for my muslin, this was a dream to sew with. I made sure to stitch up the front neckline to make it a little more work-party appropriate. Because there's nothing like living on the edge, I finished the last piece of this (the hem) about an hour before I had to leave for the party. (I'd debated whether I wanted a floor-skimming gown, but since this was a brunch event, I figured knee-length would be more appropriate.) I just had time to try it on and make sure it looked decent before heading out the door. 

What I realized after walking just a couple of blocks, though, was that this thing did not want to stay on my shoulders, even with some double-sided tape. That meant I was fiddling with it all day, but that didn't stop the compliments from coming! Several of my coworkers told me they liked it, and when I told them I'd made it, they were even more impressed. It became the talk of the party, which made me a little self-conscious, but also infinitely proud. So all in all, while this wasn't quite the dress I'd imagined, I think it was a hit! Hopefully I'll get a chance to wear it again (with some minor alterations, of course).

Monday, December 7, 2015

You look like you're ready to go conquer the Scottish highlands

That's what my office manager said to me about this wrap and I've gotta say...I don't mind. Kind of badass, right? This one wasn't on my fall sewing list, but after hitting the stores again and seeing so many of these wrap/poncho things around, I knew I wanted one for myself. 

[I was super tired on the day we took these pics, so forgive me for not looking at the camera in ANY of them.]

After some business (CT) and fun (San Francisco!) travel, I was very excited to get back to my sewing machine, but also incredibly tired. So my first ever sewing meetup (at the Vogue fabrics warehouse, nonetheless!) was just what I needed to get some sewjo back. (Thanks to Michelle, Gina, and Debbie!) We split some rolls of denim at the warehouse, and then headed to the retail store, where I didn't find the emerald coating wool I was looking for, but I did find this great tartan wool. 

Thanks to Gina's help, I decided I only needed to splurge on a yard to be able to get the look I was going for. I had this all sewn up by the next day! (I basically did what she outlines in this post.)

I definitely prefer it with the belt, I think, although my mom (as usual!) disagrees, ha. I think either way is good, though! I've worn it a few times, and I like the look, but it's not quite as warm as I'd hoped (for winter, anyway). I think it'll be a go-to for next fall, though!