The Perfect Pairing

I knitted Teresa Gregorio’s newest sweater pattern, TPCT (The Perfect Crop Top), and I love it. It’s fun to knit, easy to modify, and look how cute!

TPCT

I’m wearing my crop top with Liesl & Co.’s Everyday Skirt, which I made with Essex Linen. It’s a great match, and all I can think about it what else I want to sew to wear with TPCT!

salon trousers empire waist trousers

Decades of Style Salon Trousers
1930s style trousers with a comfortable fit and high waist. I have this pattern and am just waiting for the perfect linen to show up for me to make them up in.

Decades of Style Empire Waist Trousers
These 1940s style trousers look like they might eliminate the belly gap that makes so many women nervous about wearing crop tops!

colette beignet colette iris

Colette Beignet
I can picture this skirt in a solid fabric, paired with a TPCT in a gradient or with some colorwork in the yoke!

Colette Iris
I’ve never thought of sewing shorts before, and now it’s all I can think about.

roberts spin skirt

Marilla Walker Roberts Collection Dungarees
I’ve just printed and put together the coveralls version of this pattern, but I think I’ll make the dungarees (overalls) next. How cute would they be over a crop top?!

Sew Chic Spin Skirt Skirt
I have some cotton print set aside for this pattern, white with cherries, and I think it would look amazing with a red crop top!

A few other ideas: Colette Ginger, Sewaholic Hollyburn, Tilly & the Buttons Miette, and Megan Nielson’s Kelly Skirt.

Did I miss anything?

Fashion Revolution Week

I just found out it’s Fashion Revolution Week, like, this morning. So here are some hastily thrown-together thoughts on clothing and where it comes from. For more information you can check out Fashion Revoluntion dot org, the documentary The True Cost on Netflix, and #whomademyclothes on Twitter and Instagram.

I make my own clothes for a lot of reasons. The big one (pun intended) is that store bought clothing doesn’t fit me very well. I’m right on the line between ‘regular’ and ‘plus size’, my bust is significantly larger than the standard ‘B’, my waist and ribs are small, and my booty creates a sway back. RTW clothing is either too big around my shoulders, too tight around my boobs, or tent-like around my middle…often all three. When I make my own clothing, I make it to my measurements, not some industry standard that doesn’t match any real human bodies. (Also, I put pockets in my dresses.) I get to choose fabrics that feel good in colors that I love and styles that suit me, not whatever’s popular. And did I mention it fits?

A lesser concern (but not by much!) is knowing where my clothing comes from, and that it was not made in a sweatshop in a country with no workers’ safety regulations. Now, I am fully aware that I don’t always know the source for the fabrics and yarns that I buy, but I’m trying to be mindful there as well, and as more people do the same, I think companies who care will become more transparent about their sources, which will make it easier.

One of the best things about making my own clothes is supporting other women. I buy sewing and knitting patterns, fabric, and hand dyed yarns from small businesses. I will have suggestions over the course of the week, as well as some fun stuff. Tomorrow I will post about Teresa Gregorio’s new knitting pattern, TCPT, and my ideas for styling.

I wear something handmade almost every time I leave my home, and many days I wear all handmade. (Well, I haven’t made my own undies yet. Or shoes.) There’s nothing wrong with wearing RTW, of course! But for me, handmade is where it’s at.

Sewing round-up

Yesterday (or the day before? Who remembers that far back?) I was feeling bad because it seems like I’ve had a super unproductive couple of weeks. But then I looked in my closet, which we spent the whole weekend cleaning and reorganizing (it’s the only closet, so it’s shared by four people + all our holiday decorations) and I realized that I’m really close to my goal of a handmade wardrobe. Like. REALLY close!

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So I started working on a wardrobe/sewing plan. I haven’t found a digital tool (maybe you can recommend something?) so I started sketching.

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I have plans for tops, pants, and linen coveralls. I have FOUR more Dress no. 2s in various stages of making, because it’s my favorite. All I need to buy is undergarments, and frankly, I might start making those, too.

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In which I may be in over my head.

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This…isn’t all of the new fabric.

I’m overwhelmed, in more than one way. It’s going to be a lot of work. But more than that, I am feeling some guilt and some pride at the idea that I get to have nice things. I get to make myself this beautiful handmade wardrobe. I get to wear it. The pride is winning over the guilt.

Pattern, Pattern, Who’s Got the Pattern?

I bought some dark blue Essex (linen/cotton blend) for a skirt. I thought I was getting super-dark navy blue, but it turned out to be sort of a rich royal blue.

Large_FF-314-comparison
Top is the photo from fabric.com, bottom is an artist’s recreation of the fabric I received. You can see why I was confused, but I like the fabric I got.

When I purchased the fabric, I had the Colette Beignet in mind. It’s a straight, high-waisted skirt that buttons down the front.

cp1005-beignet-01-large-27e28d296f5acc516c39782c1e99024c

But I am also considering the Sewaholic Hollyburn, a flared skirt with a back zip, and Tilly & the Buttons Miette, a wrap-around flared skirt with clever pockets.

1206_Web_Flats__39702.1422558888.1280.1280 Screen shot 2015-03-25 at 9.12.05 AM

Help me decide which pattern to buy! I can’t decide! I am still leaning Beignet, but the other two are strong contenders (with no buttonholes!).

It’s really happening!

When you plan something for a long time, it can stop feeling like it will ever actually happen. So each time I manage to actually complete something for my handmade wardrobe, I feel like I just beat the system and also won the lottery.

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I bought this fabric at Birch in June 2010. It was really hard to finally cut into it. What if I fucked up?!

Spoiler, I did not fuck up. Even though I made changes to the pattern that I had not actually tried in my muslin. Because I am a crazy mofo.

One thing I did do in the muslin, which I haven’t yet done with the top, is darts in the back to accommodate my small waist. I cut the pattern pieces a bit narrower and took out some length in the waist, which seems to have maybe done the trick! I will give it a few wearings–darts will be very easy to add later if I feel like they are needed.

So, my first Simplicity 3835, a pattern I’ve been meaning to fill my wardrobe with for many, many years, is DONE. (Probably.)

Wardrobe Update: another Dress No. 1

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I somehow never took a full-length shot of this dress. It’s Essex Linen in Lime.

I made the size XL again, but with a few mods this time:
-I cut the back in two pieces and seamed it down the center, to accommodate my narrow shoulders and waist.
-I did a dartless FBA on the front, adding 2 inches.
-ETA: Totally forgot that I cut the skirt at a slightly less severe A, probably about an inch further in at the hem (so four total).
-Contrast fabric for the binding, which I also used to hem the top of the pockets.

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The XL is the right number of inches around for my full bust size, but these two changes made it fit better. Also it looks REALLY good with the contrast trim, so I’ll be doing that from now on. Goodness knows I have enough random fat quarters lying around. Up next: Dress No. 2.

In other sewing news, I have reached the conclusion that I need to buy more linen and some chambray and probably cotton lawn, because quilting cotton is just not going to cut it for clothing. Unfortunately, I have a ton of quilting cotton I want to use for clothes. I’m thinking I will use some of it anyway (I think the Simplicity 3835 can handle it), and use other pieces for trim, like shown here but also for things like a contrast strip at the bottom of a top. I’m also looking for some nice plaid shirting, but I have a specific idea in my mind of what it will look like and I haven’t found any actual fabric that looks like the fabric in my brain. This is pretty nice if I don’t find what I’m looking for.

But before I do any more sewing for my personal wardrobe, I have some Ren Faire Vikings to outfit.

Capsule Wardrobe: Update

So, back in April I cleaned out my closet and put away or got rid of all the clothes I don’t wear. I’ve continued getting rid of stuff, even my most precious way-too-small stuff. (Well. A lot of it is sitting in piles waiting for me to mail it to people. Mailing stuff is expensive.)

I bought fabric and some basics, like jeans. I sewed myself a dress no. 1.

After that we got really busy rearranging our apartment, which takes forever because we are four people and a lot of stuff in three rooms. So I haven’t sewn anything else, but I have been slowly collecting off-the-rack pieces. (THAT SOUNDS SO FANCY. I’ve bought a few t-shirts and some skirts and jeans. I shop at Old Navy and Target. I’ve also bought some fun t-shirts online.)

Our apartment is in pretty good shape but I haven’t gotten into the habit of creating again. For one thing, it’s been insanely hot and that just makes me sleepy. It’s started cooling off a little so I am hopeful that I will get back into the swing of making. (Or into it at all. I’ve always gone in fits and spurts. I’d rather it be a regular thing.)

My wardrobe building has been a little unusual. It’s not a true capsule wardrobe, because that implies that I am narrowing down my existing wardrobe, when in fact I am building it from almost nothing. In a way, I think this makes it easier for me. My hard choices are all based on what I can afford.

My goals are/were to have a well-rounded wardrobe, suitable to wherever I need to go, with a good range of items that mix and match well. I want good colors, variety, and to look/feel cute at all times. Being comfortable is non-negotiable.

Lots of details follow. Continue reading

Obsession: Vikings

Last summer, I did a favor for my friend Bristol while she was visiting Iceland. As thanks, she sent me two skeins of beautiful Icelandic wool yarn, one a natural undyed black and one a stunning natural dye blue. I had no idea what to do with them, but kept them safely tucked away as they are very special.

love story pair

This past spring, Will and I agreed that for next year’s renaissance faire, we need Viking clothing. I have an apron dress that my sister made for me for Halloween when Sam was two, but I’ve, um, grown a bit since then.

Sam-Annika-halloween2008

HE WAS SO TINY. I can sew a new dress, of course, and I still have the brooches my sister’s ex made for me (they are not visible in the photo, so let me assure you that they look exactly like copper boobs). Sam’s tunic is too small for Grace to wear, but that is okay because I want to make her a girl’s costume. I think I will make the apron dress in two pieces with ties at the side so that it can grow with her.

Because it is regularly over 100° at the ren faire, I plan to make everything out of linen, and wear only one underlayer. I am planning an alternate, long-sleeved overdress, because reasons, but will not likely wear that at the faire. Unrelated, I am planning to make myself a linen Scout tee, and may see how I like the apron dress over a short layer instead of a long one.

Also in spite of the weather, I plan to make outer layers for all of us. Wool wraps for the boys, a cloak for Grace and a kaftan coat for me. I am planning to use the Icelandic wool from Bristol for all (or at least some) of my embroidery needs.

Now that my sewing area is nearly ready to go, I will hopefully have pictures to share as I work. In the meantime you can see all of my inspiration here.

By the way, I finished Beautiful Wreck, immediately read it again, and then made my husband read it. It is my favorite. I have a lot more to say but maybe in another post.

Heartbreak; new dress and a trip; sorting

Last night I received the impossibly sad news that my friend Laurie has died. I am still reeling and can hardly believe it. She was the funniest, warmest person I knew. And oh, she loved Sam. Whenever she was down she would ask for a Sam story to cheer her up. She was also my knitting pattern line’s #1 fan.

Laurie loved movies. We went out at least once or twice a year to Cinefamily (formerly the Silent Movie Theatre, aka where I got married), and to the Egyptian Theatre for the American Cinematheque’s Noir festival. This is the first year we missed it.

I feel like there is a hole in my chest.

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Because life goes on, I will also blog about the stuff I was planning to write about.

I finished sewing this in time for my friend Jim’s wedding:

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

I swear that huge wrinkle didn’t really show in person, and the pocket is sewn on evenly.

I flew to New York BY MYSELF overnight last Wednesday-Thursday. I bought a SIX DOLLAR MOCHA at JFK, then took the AirTrain to the A train and rode into Manhattan. I got off in the village and had breakfast with my dear friend Nova, then walked to the 1/9 and went up to Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Tiny Amy met me there and we wandered up Amsterdam to 72nd street, where we got some amazing falafel at Soom Soom Vegetarian Bar. Then I headed to Grand Central Terminal and took a commuter train up the river.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

I spent the long weekend with my mom. This is the first time I’ve been childfree since Sam was born, and the first time I’ve ever been away from Grace. The first night I slept twelve and a half hours (though to be fair, I’d only slept about two hours on the airplane).

It was nice to be back in Woodstock.

Forsythia

Forsythia

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In my grief and confusion today, I did not know what to do with myself. So naturally I signed up for Pottermore to get sorted.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

This is so appropriate that I cannot even.