Resolutions Followup

In January, I posted my resolutions. I would like to revisit those resolutions and see where I am with them now, in October.

The resolutions:

Social Goal

Meeting new people and making friends in the town we are moving to

I’ve made some progress in this goal recently. I have met several people in my area via an app. I’ve also connected with old friends who live in a nearby city.  I started a sewing meetup in my town and have met people through that channel as well. I hope to keep meeting new people!

Personal Improvement Goal

Improving my Spanish vocabulary and strengthening my knowledge and use of the complex verb tenses by taking advanced classes or going to language exchange meetups

I haven’t been able to take a Spanish class, since my work schedule involves unpredictable travel, but I have been using apps and going to language exchange meetups to practice having conversations. I would like to do more of this…I still feel very awkward when I speak, and I understand what people are saying to me much better than I can respond to what they’re saying.

Professional Development Goal

Learning how to use Adobe Technical Communication Suite programs, probably by taking classes (this can be on-going and go into 2019)

I have not made progress here, but I have learned more about Visio and about ERP systems, so I feel like I’m achieving the spirit of this goal.

I also want to make so many things, but I don’t seem to have enough time to take care of everything I need to do and have time for all the things I want to do. I want to do fun stuff outside of the apartment; I want to read; I want to watch my shows; I want to take walks in the park. We’ll see how I balance it all.

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Simplicity 8179: Lounge Pants with Pockets

I’d been looking for a pattern for pajama pants with pockets for a while when I found Simplicity 8179.

I like the way the pocket is formed, with a pocket facing and topstitching.

Simplicity 8179 Lounge Pants
Simplicity 8179, Lounge Pant Pocket

I sewed a size Large. The fabric is a flannel from JoAnn Fabrics. I decided to not add the leg facing due to the pants already being more than long enough for me, a woman 5’4″ tall. I plan on sewing these again for my husband in the same size.

Simplicity 8179 Lounge Pants
Simplicity 8179 Lounge Pants

I do like how the pockets are large enough to hold a packet of tissues (essential for the winter sniffles) or a phone. This was a “regaining my sewing energy” project, so it’s not perfect, but I am so happy to have the finished product. I’d like to find an easy top to sew to match.

Eileen Fisher Style

I’ve been drawn to the Eileen Fisher aesthetic lately. The fabrics the brand uses   are lush and the shapes are relaxed. It seems like the brand is meant for people who want to be comfortable, yet elegant. Can anyone suggest a store where I could find merino wool knots and silk knits? I want to add that lushness to my wardrobe.

Butterick B6178 Culottes in Black Linen

I started on these Butterick culottes about three months ago. I promise you that they don’t actually take that long to sew. With the one-two punch of my sewing room being uninhabitable due to summer heat and me being on travel for part of the summer, my sewing pace slowed considerably.

Butterick 6178 culottes

These culottes are made of black linen from Ebad Fabrics in Manhattan. The linen is flowy and slightly see-through. I sewed a size 18 and added about an inch to the back rise of the culottes to allow for more booty room. I did not follow the directions for the waistband; I didn’t interface it and I folded it in half before sewing it to the pants. The waistband is finished with a zigzag.

I enjoy these culottes and I am excited that I finally finished them!

Pants Lesson in New York

I’m finally starting to feel settled in New Jersey. I’ve been on the job for three weeks; we finally have a sofa and storage pieces; I have become familiar with the bus and train systems of New Jersey (sort of…Newark Penn Station is confusing still, with all the different places that have similar names where passengers need to wait for the bus). Last weekend, I felt settled enough to do something just for me—take a sewing lesson.

I decided to work on pants in this lesson. I’d tried fitting these Vogue trousers before, in a different sewing class in SC, but I then gained a lot of weight, which made all the fitting moot. The lesson I had last weekend was at the New York Sewing Center, located in the Garment District. The instructor was awesome. She was patient and didn’t talk to me like I was a kid (an issue I have had in other sewing classes in other cities). I made a huge amount of progress in two hours, getting the pockets, inseams, and side seams sewn. I plan on sewing the crotch and attaching the waistband before going back to work on fitting. I suspect I need more room for my butt, less of a curve on the hips, and less length overall, due to me being a shorty. I’m really looking forward to my next lesson!

New Look 6053, View E: African Wax Print

I sewed New Look 6053 again. This time, I used a fabric from my stash–an African wax print that I bought in a fabric warehouse somewhere in San Francisco last summer. Since I am in the process of moving, I did not have the chance to take modeled photos for the blog; those will come later. (Edited to add a photo of the skirt on me. Photo was taken quickly by my husband, so please excuse the slipper socks and stuff in the background!)

47E929D2-6D01-4018-A44A-7508BF60E199
Modeling pose.
New Look 6053 skirt
New Look 6053, modeled by the closet door.

I believe I sewed a size 18, although I probably should have gone down to a 16, due to losing weight. I used yellow ready-made bias binding to finish the edges of the facing, and I understitched the facing to help keep it in place. I used dark blue ready-made bias binding to finish the hem. This was much faster than easing in the hem to do a double-fold hem.

I used Kathleen Fasanella’s method of inserting a centered zipper. I like this method because it is fast, neat, and does not require hand sewing. I had a bit of confusion with the Pfaff zipper foot because it doesn’t look at all like the zipper feet I’m used to (see a picture of it here and compare it to a Brother zipper foot). I was basically like, “How do?” I put it on backwards at first. After looking at the manual (which I should have done first), I put it on the correct way. I then sewed the zipper on backwards, unpicked it, and sewed it on the correct way.

Even with the zipper hiccups, I went from cut to sew to finished within two sessions spread over two days. I would estimate that I spent four hours on this, which would make it my fastest item yet. I wanted to have it completed for the Black Panther release date, so I would have it ready to wear when we go to the movies.

I’m also proud of myself for sewing from my stash. One piece out!

2018 Sewing Resolutions

I resolve to actually sew.

This year has been a busy one, with lots of travel and lots of work. I changed my diet right around Memorial Day weekend; now, I cook multiple times a week and have to plan my menu around my nutritional requirements. I wanted to sew. I filled that want with buying fabric and patterns and with reading sewing blogs–with accumulating rather than doing. When I did sew, most of what I made didn’t turn out well. I stopped sewing when I started losing weight, since I realized that my measurements were rapidly changing.

Today, my husband helped me with organizing my sewing room. We’d tackled the other rooms in the house over the holiday weekend, but none were as fraught for me as the sewing room was. We still haven’t finished going through everything. The amount of stuff I have is ridiculous for my sewing pace.

So, my sewing resolution will be to use what I have: patterns, fabric, interfacing, zippers, other fastenings, bias tape, and so on. No more buying fabric until I have used what I have. This is a multi-year goal.

After we move next month, I will work on pairing each fabric length with a pattern and with matching notions from the stash. Then, I will work on scheduling out each project. I am successful at work when I plan ahead, follow a schedule, and document my progress; I should be successful at home if I apply the same principles. My husband enjoys project management and wants to build me a project/interactive spreadsheet of some sort to track my progress and use of my stash. I’m interested in seeing the data from that as well. I’m also interested in applying project management principles to something I have total control over.

I have other goals that I want to meet this year:

Social Goal

Meeting new people and making friends in the town we are moving to

Personal Improvement Goal

Improving my Spanish vocabulary and strengthening my knowledge and use of the complex verb tenses by taking advanced classes or going to language exchange meetups

Professional Development Goal

Learning how to use Adobe Technical Communication Suite programs, probably by taking classes (this can be on-going and go into 2019)

I’m trying to not give myself too much to do because that’s how I got into this fabric panic in the first place. I give myself too much to do and then I do nothing because I am overwhelmed.

What are your goals?

 

Simplicity 1062, View C: Dolman-Sleeve Knit Top

I made Simplicity 1062, View C again. The last time I made it, I used a size Large and a rayon knit; this time, I used a size Medium and a mystery poly knit. I got the fabric on a shopping trip with my mother-in-law at Fabric Warehouse in Rahway, NJ.

Simplicity 1062 View C
I don’t know why I have such a look on my face.

I used the serger to sew all of the bands, and I used a zig-zag stitch to secure the hem. This was really easy and quick to make, and I like how it feels in a thicker knit. I also like how the longer back hem covers the gap that can appear when you bend over while wearing jeans. I would definitely sew this up a third time!

Simplicity 1062 View C Again
It’s wide! Also, serious face.

Just so you know, this pattern includes about 8 inches of ease in the body, but the arm bands are snug.

Are there any knit tops that you like?

 

McCalls 3830 and Cation Designs Dolman Tee

Hello there! I’ve been sewing rather slowly. My old Brother sewing machine decided that it likes to eat knits, even when I’m using the walking foot. I now have a Pfaff (with the IDT!) that my husband kindly got me for my birthday. It handles ITY knits like a champ! I’m excited about it.

I started both of these items about 25 lbs. ago, and it shows–they’re both rather too big for me know. I know I’ll still wear them on the weekend, though, as long as I can without them falling off.

I’ve made the Cation Designs Dolman Tee before. I love it for work because it comes off as elegant and it also has sleeves, which are necessary in a chilly office environment. This one is made of an ITY I got while shopping with my mother-in-law at the Fabric Warehouse in Rahway, NJ. It is a size XL; next time I sew it, I will use a L or M.

Cation Designs Dolman Tee and McCalls 3830 Skirt
Awkward timed selfie.

The McCalls 3830 skirt is made of a rayon/linen blend. I think I got that at Joann’s, as I couldn’t find plain linen in dark colors online at the time I was shopping for it, for some reason. I like the hand of the fabric. The skirt is the shortest view with no back vent and I believe I used a size 18 or 20. I should use a 16 next time, I think, and also take a little off the side seam curve, as my hips are not as curvy as the pattern is. I am closer to success with this pattern!

Cation Designs Dolman Tee and McCalls 3830 Skirt 2
This one is much better and shows the drape of the knit.

I love the idea of #sewmystashseptember. My stash has gotten uncomfortably large from all these shopping trips while traveling and little gifts to myself when I am feeling blah and uninspired. Now it is time for me to make these lengths of cloth into clothes I love.

I am interested in going at it from a capsule + purpose perspective: travel capsule (quick-drying, anti-wrinkling, stretch, chic for tourist photographs); casual Fridays/weekends capsule (structured, but not TOO structured, colorful), and work capsule (basic, dark colors, opaque, full coverage). I wonder how I can fit my stash in there.

My grandmother used to buy me complete outfits whenever we did back to school or vacation shopping. I remember getting coordinated shorts and tops sets with matching socks and a coordinating cardigan (and maybe matching hair bows and barrettes too) when we prepared for our first vacation together to Seattle. So much pink! I would like to approach my sewing this way too: for every top, there must be a bottom, and every bottom must have a top. That doesn’t mean a 1:1 ratio, as many tops can match a bottom. However, the styles and shapes must go together. That’s something for me to think about as I approach the stash.

How do you approach building a wardrobe and managing your resources?

Sew My Stash September; Hurricane Worries

I decided to join in on #sewmystashseptember, an initiative started by Jo of Stuff Jo Has Made. I have rather a lot of fabric–about eight standard cubes’ worth of fabric–and I put myself on a fabric-buying ban after I came back from my last visit to my in-laws, where I bought a lot of fabric. I have a few things on my agenda. To finish:

  • See & Sew apron started in August
  • Deer & Doe Plantain in white jersey, a refashion from a terrible New Look dress I made
  • Simplicity Sew Simple A1636 rayon challis dress started a couple of weeks ago; here is a version I made previously:

sew simple 1636

On my list of things to make:

  • McCalls 6654 flared skirt for my friend from stash ponte
  • Halloween costume (this is ambitious, but I bought the materials earlier this year)–generic Sailor Scout (Simplicity 2072) (I am inspired by my friends who are in Krewe du Moon)
  • A skirt out of one of the many suitings and twills I bought when I first learned to sew and thought I would make a bevy of work skirts
  • A top to go with that skirt of out of one of the many knits I have bought on my adventures to Fabric Warehouse in Rahway, NJ

I’ve been thinking about how my grandmother used to shop for me when I was a kid and teenager. She would buy my clothes in outfits–an equal number of bottoms and tops, and they had to go together in style. As an adult, thrifting and sales guided my shopping habits, so none of my clothes matched. I need to work on this. I’m now in the mid-level part of my career and I just can’t look disheveled at work. I want to be taken seriously and I know image is a part of that.

I mentioned before I have been working on losing weight. I’ve dropped about two clothing sizes so far–it’s hard to tell due to variation in clothing sizes–and I will drop one to two more before I hit the weight that counts as technically not overweight for my height. This has been a nightmare in terms of getting dressed every day for work. I feel so flappy and Golden-Girls-ish in my big clothes. I have been buying stopgap clothes because there is no way I can sew fast enough to keep up with my needs. To circle back to what I was talking about earlier, I am trying to buy classic, base-uniform basics that are the sort of shapes that can carry me through a few pounds loss. I can jazz these up with accessories or toppers later. So far, I have for work:

  • A black faux-wrap cotton dress, knit
  • A black pleated sleeveless dress, stretch woven
  • A black and white polka dot wrap dress with circle skirt, knit
  • A navy blue pencil skirt, woven and lined
  • A black pencil skirt, stretch woven
  • Black cropped pants, stretch woven
  • The same tops and cardigans as I was wearing before (so flappy!)

I continue to wear my too-big clothes for casual wear, since I really don’t go out. I think that I don’t fit either of the suits I have (one brown tweed and one black, both skirt suits), but I’d rather wait to make that investment until I am at a stable weight. Suits are so expensive!

Topic Change…

I’m really concerned that Irma will take a turn and come to Charleston. Tonight, my husband and I will make a plan for us and the cats. I feel so bad for those who suffered from Hurricane Harvey. I am scared for those in the Caribbean and in Florida who are enduring Irma. The hurricane looks monstrous on the map.

I experienced the Katrina aftermath in New Orleans and I understand how horrible it can be. My family evacuated ahead of time with very little, thinking we would be going home in a few days, but we didn’t. We lost everything. Those in Houston will be dealing with the emotional and physical fallout from this for YEARS. I also feel bad for the New Orleanians who evacuated to Houston for Katrina, settled there, and then had to weather the storm in place there. I know old high school classmates who went through some harrowing days there, with their kids with them this time, twelve years later. How terrible. Please consider donating to help those in need. Charity Navigator is a good place to start with choosing where to donate. A hot meal or fresh, clean clothes to wear really makes a difference in helping to make people feel normal again. I know I was (and am) thankful to the places of worship, charities, and communities in Little Rock, Arkansas that helped me and my family to get right after the storm.

It is raining hard as I finish this post.

 

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