Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Sewing Sarah and Adeline: A Study in Proportions

I made the Sarah tunic from My Image magazine from a red ponte from Joann’s because it looked so cute on other bloggers. On me, I felt that it was meh. First of all, I could not seem to press the neckline flat enough. Secondly, the armholes were super deep on me. I thought to myself as I traced and cut, “These armscyes look pretty long compared to what I usually see,” and then I shrugged it off and continued.

Months later, I made the StyleArc Adeline with no adjustments (as I do every time I make a pattern for the first time) out of a blue rayon/linen mix from Joann’s and discovered that the amount of volume and length swamped 5’4″ me. I think it would be better shorter and one size smaller. You can see it on my Instagram here (I accidentally deleted all the photos off my device).

Honestly, I should just assume that I need to shorten every pattern and always size down one size from where any size chart tells me I need to be (except for Vogue, which seems to say exactly what they mean by those pattern measurements…as I can attest to with two too-small Vogue garments I’ve sewn).

My sewing plans include a mini-wardrobe consisting of black and white linen items (top, skirt, another top, and maybe shorts if I am being ambitious) and some pants. I also made a skirt sloper draft based on the directions of the Winifred Aldrich metric pattern cutting book (thanks, Linda, for recommending it!!) and I’m looking forward to testing that out in a muslin. I’m also on a diet now, which may slow up my sewing plans, since I don’t want to put in a ton of effort and then not be able to fit the thing I made.

We shall see! In the meantime, I love reading your blogs. Please share any interesting new sewing blogs you’ve found with me. I want more! I recently discovered Jasika’s sewing site and I absolutely love her fabric and pattern choices.

 

 

 

Style Arc Adeline (in the making)

It’s my first time trying a Style Arc pattern and I am having issues with the 1/4″ seam allowances. It’s difficult for me to stay accurate to such a small seam allowance. I feel like I’ve messed up attaching the neck facings, but we’ll see. I’ve been sewing in extremely short spurts on the weekend and not at all on weekdays–I’ve been too tired in the evenings.

I’ve been feeling inspired by Cookin’ and Craftin’s and Thornberry’s pattern choices. I also live in a warm climate and I feel like the things they make (especially the Style Arc items) would be suitable to the Charleston climate.

I really would like to blog more, but my glacial sewing speed is keeping that from happening. I am really enjoying keeping up with other sewing blogs. If you have any sewing blogs you really enjoy, please share them with me in the comments.

The Body and the Job

It turns out that starting a new job and dealing with health issues at the same time takes a lot of energy and time. Throw on top of that managing a household and you have very little sewing going on. I’ve been working on a Simplicity dress off and on for months. I cut out a Butterick shell two days ago,  intending to sew it all in one afternoon, and here we are–days later–with no progress. I get easily frustrated. I’ve gained more weight and now I’m rather lost as to adjustments, etc. I’m hoping things settle down soon so that I have time to create. In the meantime, I’ve been loving seeing what y’all have made.

Back to WordPress.com & Other Stuff

I’ve decided to bring my site on back to https://freshlysewn.wordpress.com. In the end, I decided to not add advertisements to my blog, for multiple reasons: I don’t post very often (because I sew incredibly slowly) and I also stopped working in the online market research space.

I worked at a company where I managed the affiliate marketing portion (along with other stuff) for a while, and I wanted to see what it was like on the affiliate side, as opposed to the market researcher side. The affiliates at Affiliate Summit West inspired me, I guess. I never got around to it, though, with work and traveling and all of that. I don’t work at a market research company anymore, so my interest in seeing what the affiliate side is like has waned.

I have become more interested in the loose/lagenlook/arty patterns that bloggers like Thornberry and Catherine Daze make. This morning, I ordered the Style Arc Hedy dress pattern. I’ve never sewn or worn anything like that, but I’m drawn to the interesting shape, especially since I’ve gotten so thick in the middle. I love dolman sleeves and I am enjoying dramatic silhouettes more.

I’m currently working on several things at once: another New Look top, the Sarah tunic from My Image magazine, and the vintage Simplicity dress pattern I mentioned on Instagram. I went into a frenzy of fabric cutting before Christmas and then just didn’t move forward. I’ve had pretty low sew-jo since we moved into an apartment that is always dark, like nighttime dark. I have lots of lamps in the sewing room, but to no avail.

What are you making?

 

Bootstrap fashion: more thoughts

I’ve been working on figuring out what my ideal measurements are to produce a garment that I would like and that would fit me the way that I would like using Bootstrap’s software.

The first time I put in my measurements, I got this wacky picture that looks nothing at all like a human. I don’t think I know of any humans you have a pointy stomach that points upwards. Here is my 3-D model:

Your_3D_Avatar

I sewed their three seams skirt pattern from it. It was actually too large for me; I had to take it in an inch on either side. Also, the hips on the pattern were an exaggerated womanly shape; my hips are actually relatively straight, but my bottom is the part that takes up most of the circumference of my hips measurement. Then I realized that the waistband was too short, as I cut off part of it to accommodate the revised skirt. However, I hadn’t really changed the waistline of the skirt, so now it doesn’t fit.

Yesterday, I remeasured myself. For the under cost measurement, I put the same as my waist measurement. I figured having a dramatically different under bust measurement from the waist measurement the first time around is what produced the exaggerated stomach shape. I also included a full bust adjustment, since I felt that the dress that I made the first time around was too tight in the back and smooshed my boobs. Now, the avatar looks more like me:

Your_3D_Avatar

I’m going to reprint the pattern and make the skirt and the dress again with these new measurements. We’ll see how they turn out.

Coming Up Soon: Experimenting with Bootstrap and Lekala Patterns

My experience with the free Bootstrap A-line dress pattern will not discourage me from trying again! I really like the idea of a pattern more closely aligning with my measurements.

I re-measured myself and made a few adjustments to my measurements on the website. I included the belly + hip measurement as well–this measurement takes the belly protuberance into account, in relation to the full hip measurement.

I’m going to try this vintage-inspired sheath dress, which has a keyhole in the back and a collar, along with a waist inset. I have not done any of those things before (I am not counting the collar on the New Look shift because it is in knit and isn’t a “traditional” collar). I am excited for the challenge and the skill development. I need to buy some “suiting with spandex” (their words) for this pattern. I saw that Fashion Fabrics Club is having a crazy cheap sale right now, including suitings, so I think I’ll nab some there for my practice run.

I’m also going to try the free three-seam skirt pattern. I have seen this skirt recommended to sewists new to Lekala/Bootstrap’s patterns. Earlier this year, I spent a weekend trying to fit a straight skirt pattern (a McCall’s) that had worked fine for me several pounds ago. I made what I thought was a successful skirt, having tried it on throughout the process and having made an adjusted pattern. When I put it on, it wouldn’t stay up at the waist/stomach! I’m hoping this customized skirt pattern will do the trick.

I printed those patterns out yesterday and they are waiting for my attention. Right now, I’m working on another iteration of Simplicity 1609 in a light cotton that I need to line because it is see-through. This is my first time lining this pattern, but I think it should be fairly straightforward! I will use The Slapdash Sewist’s method. (I miss her posts!!) Also, I will be sure to use Kathleen Fasanella’s method of sewing in a zipper. For whatever reason, when I am in the throes of zipper sewing, I forget about all her methods and end up with it looking crappy at the top, where the facing is.

I’m looking forward to the weekend, when I can do some marathon sewing!

 

Bootstrap Fashion 8000: Short-sleeved Dress with Belt

I decided to try a Bootstrap Fashion pattern because I am particularly hard to fit right now. I tried the free pattern, 8000, the short sleeved dress.

I had a bit of a mishap trying to put in a lining. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it was a twisted mess. I cut it out just so I could see how the dress would fit.

I put in the invisible zipper so perfectly. The waist lined up in the back. The armscyes turned out to be too small and I had limited range of motion. There is also wrinkling where I sewed the armscye facings on. The curves there are extreme. I did clip the curves. That didn’t do much.

I had enough room for my stomach, my bust, and my hips, although there was extra room on the sides of the skirt and it has a strange, exaggerated hip curve. I probably put in inaccurate measurements.

I will try Bootstrap Fashion patterns again, after I remeasure myself and put in the new measurements.

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