Sewing: Syrah Skirt

I have had my iphone for almost two years.  In that time, I have yet to download any photos.  I had never even plugged my phone into my computer or downloaded itunes.  So I’ve been running on low storage FOREVER, and the other day I uploaded hundreds of photos to my computer.  Like 1400.  Maybe 1600?   (aside–how can a device so user friendly be so annoying when it comes to doing stuff like this.  or separating accounts.  gah.)

Anyway, these were on there!  I tested the Syrah skirt by Selvage Designs for Lauren awhile back.  I actually almost didn’t.  It was summer and I wasn’t sewing that much, plus a maxi skirt.  On my petite frame.  Meh.  BUT!  This is like the sisterhood of traveling skirts.  It seems to fit everyone of every shape.  I modified the waistband slightly to fall from my hip where I wanted, but I don’t remember much about that now.  I made this skirt again in a solid and it wasn’t nearly as awesome as this version.  The big bold pattern (it’s ponte knit from Girl Charlee) worked perfectly.  My solid was from a ponte knit bought somewhere (I don’t remember) and it pilled and smelled like moth balls when I got to close to our pellet stove.  Fabric is a fickle thing.  I will be making another one next Spring (maxi skirts and snow don’t mix that well), and I will block it next time.  The skirt can be either two pieces (here) or four.  When I do it in four, I want to leave all three panels the same color with just a pop of some other color up the front.  It’s a sneaky slimming effect I’ve seen out there.

These were the quick test shots I sent to Lauren right after it came off the machine.  I used a filter, and it’s making the light colors pop.  The white on the skirt is actually cream.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI think iphone photo shoots may be the way to go…

 

Sew to Sell and a giveaway (now closed)!

I think for any of us that have dusted off a machine and tried to figure it out, there comes a point where you wonder if you could make money from this little hobby.  The most ideal way, of course, would just to be clever, talented or witty on the internet and have that turn into dollar bills.  But how about method number two, where you actually make and sell those beautiful little handmades of yours?  If you’ve ever thought, dreamed, or fantasized about such a possibility, you’re going to want to pick up a copy of Sewing to Sell.  The best way to put it is how the author has put it… “it’s a sort-of love letter I wish I could have written to myself five years ago.”  Sold.  A perfect gift for yourself or your favorite crafter this Christmas.

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In addition to the how-to, Lindsay includes 16 patterns and encourages you to go make (and sell!) them.  I have to say, when I first started reading sewing blogs and such, I was taken aback by the sketched out bib ‘patterns’ with the disclaimers on them.  No selling.  Um, wait, what?  I’m pretty sure you just traced a bib from Target with a sharpee…    So anyway, I love Lindsay’s spirit of generosity in this endeavor and you will too.  One of my favorite parts is that she includes the typical price range for each project.  It is impossible to compare your handmade items to anything sold in stores, and I’m horrible about breaking down the cost of my materials and my very-interrupted time to figure out how much something should actually cost, so I really liked having the reference points.

I wanted to sew up something from the book, and then…I got detoured.  My ideas almost never come first, they typically come as I’m making something and then scrap it and go in an entirely different direction.  I’m guessing that’s what happens for a lot of us.  We need a starting point, a spark of inspiration, and then we go out and make it our own.  Now you can make it your own…and sell them!  For this project, I wanted to make the placemats and potholder patterns in the book and scale them down for the kids’ play kitchen, but I got really sidetracked on the placemats and decided to embroider pretend-play placemats.

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(Want to see other items sewn from this book.? Here are the sweetest little pincushions ever, I love these totes for gifts, and I need this bag next summer!)

Want to win a copy of Sew to Sell?  Of course you do.  Just leave a comment below by the end of Wednesday, December 10th!  And follow along the tour for more chances to win…

Blog Tour (Large)

Gardenia Dress by Cali Faye

A month or so ago, I was researching the Cali Faye Perri Pullover.  I had seen it around, mainly the little girls version, and thought it would be a nice change from yoga pants and GAP hoodies for wearing around the house.  While I was doing some extensive market research on the pattern (i.e., asking sewing friends on facebook to upload their versions…), I happened to see a pattern tester call on the Cali Faye facebook page for the new Gardenia Dress.  (note…the perri pullover links to her etsy shop, the gardenia dress links to her website)

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Perfect.  Timing.  I would get a chance to test out her patterns before buying, and well…make this dress, which I liked even more than the perri.  Knit dress with long sleeves and a gathered skirt?  Yes, please.   It really couldn’t get more fall perfect.  Or Monica perfect, really.  Love me a dress.  Especially a cozy knit one.  Looking at this photo of myself is kind of funny, because in my head I was wearing a TON of eye make up.  I’ve been a little obsessed with this site, and felt very ‘made up.’  Ha.  Hahahahaha.  On the flip side, I think I’ve mastered the “no-make-up make-up” look.

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This is my tester version, so it isn’t quite right, but I love and wear it anyway.  After the testing, the sizes were all scaled down a size, so this is essentially a size too large.  The yoke hits at a weird place in this version, and it’s…well…just too big.  I think it may actually be a couple sizes too big on the top.  It doesn’t show a lot in these photos because of course, you go through and pick out the best ones, but I swim in it.  The thing is, I still love it and wear it once a week!

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I have the new version printed, taped, and traced (two sizes smaller than this one) ready to go, now it’s just time to find some fabric and share.  As far as the pattern goes, it is beautifully tiled and easy to print, tape and follow directions.  The pattern pieces are overlayed with a grid, which I love for matching and taping.  I don’t like just relying on the one little triangle to match up, you know?  Next time I sew I may add some clear elastic at the waist, or maybe some interfacing, just to help it keep it’s shape.

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Now that the days are so short (and getting shorter…) I can’t rely on my husband to take photos, so this marks my first tripod photoshoot.  Here is Lily to help me, bed-head and all ;)  She didn’t last long in that little nightgown, it was FREEZING outside.

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I’m s-l-o-w-l-y building up my handmade wardrobe.  I’m having trouble figuring out how to online fabric shop and pick good fabrics.  That is definitely what is slowing me down the most.  What are your favorite types of knits and online knit sources?  I’m thinking soft and don’t pill after a few washes… :)  This is some sort of knit from Jo-Ann, and it’s actually been holding up really well!

The Feather Shirt

This shirt  gets a lot of wear these days.  More wear than anything I have made that child, actually.  Except maybe this.

After a sewing lull, I tested the Raindrop Tee by Gracious Threads.  I really thought about stopping pattern testing, but I decided to make some rules for myself, instead and only sew patters that 1) really appealed to me and would be something I would purchase perhaps in an actual store, and 2) I thought I could make multiple times, for multiple variations, and for multiple children.  The Raindrop Tee fit that criteria pretty effortlessly.

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I liked the high/low hem because I thought she could wear it with leggings, but my girl who refuses to wear a woven fabric on her upper half seems to have no problem with skinny jeans.  Kids are so weird, man.

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Actually, Chloe has been asking me to make her some more clothes these days.  This is coming from the kid who burst into tears on the floor of Jo Ann’s when I tried to get her all jazzed up about picking out her own fabrics for a school concert dress.  [sobbing]…I just want a store dress, Mooooom!  A dress that you….you know…go into a store and buy.  (She got the store dress, and I stopped sewing for her for months!  Abuse by handmades is probably a prosecutable offense.)

The fabric was from Girl Charlee, another fabric gifted to me by the lovely Erin.  Seriously, that girl is the best.  I wish we lived in the same town, I bet she’s the kind of friend that brings you casseroles and shows up with coffee (or wine) when you’re feeling blue.

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As for the sewing, it’s stating the obvious that it sews up fast.  The curve would have been tricky for me a year ago, but now I always hem curves (and a lot of hems in general) by sewing along the seam allowance and then pressing up to stitch.    The girls over at Indiesew have a great tutorial on this process (and a few other hemming options).

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We are full on in the second grade year now.  It’s amazing how independent they are at this stage.  She does her homework on her own, reads chapter books (she loves anything funny), and has turned pretend kitchen play into full on making lunch for herself and her siblings.  I remember being pretty jealous when a friend’s son (probably the age Chloe is now, actually) made his own toasted cheese in the toaster oven.   I mean, I had a newborn, 2 and 3-year-old, and not one of those freeloaders could dress themselves or buckle a car-seat.  Good thing they were cute.

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Sewing for kindergarten

 

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Hi all!  I am so excited to be participating in Mie’s Sewing for Kindergarten series.  (If you don’t know, Mie is the impeccable seamstress behind Sewing Like Mad, and a new friend of mine!).  I happen to have a fresh kindergartner on my hands who loves some new gear for him, so let’s get to it.

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A few questions from Mie…

Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten?  Nope, I’ve done it once before.
If not, what number child is this?  He’s the second, and middle, child.

Do you feel like crying or celebrating?  Celebrating, mainly.  The thought of him growing up is a little sadder than the girls, just because I know my days of snuggles are probably more limited with him.  By the end of the summer the kids were both really good at annoying each other and really over being annoyed.  I love having the kids all pretty close in age, but the fighting.  Oh, the fighting…!

And what about your child?  Oh, he is celebrating.  In a week he will ask when the first vacation is, but for now he’s happy to be back with his friends.  He’s more low-key, so the full day kindergarten will probably exhaust him by the end of the day.

What type of school (public, private, homeschool) will your child attend?  Our school is a public school that strangely goes from pre-K up to 9th grade before sending the kids on to another district for highschool.  They have really small classes, which is great. His class has 10 kids in it right now, which is a nice size.  And there are a lot of really sweet kids in there.  I substitute taught for him a few times last year and it was great to get to know the kids.  I moved to the Adirondacks when my dad became the school’s superintendent in the mid 1980’s.  My mom is the school treasurer and my husband works there.  It’s pretty easy for me to send them off there and feel completely secure, I’m lucky.

What was your own first day of school like (if you remember ;-)?  I remember my Mom made my dress!  She didn’t sew a ton for me growing up, but she did make my first day of school dress and I can still picture it!  Fabric that reminds me of it always pops out at me when fabric shopping, too.  I actually remember quite a lot…the names of my friends, my old phone number, the number of the bus I rode home on…

I wonder what this guy will remember from his Kindergarten year.  He was very nonchalant his first day, running off to be with his friends and eating with them at breakfast like nothing.  The biggest difference is that he is a BEAR when he gets home.  And not a cute cuddly cub, more like a pissed off grizzly.  Handle with care.  I’ll chalk it up to an adjustment period, and see what next week brings.

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Pattern deets:  this amazing (!!!) double cloth fabric, this red chambray, and some chambray gifted to me by the talented, gorgeous, and generous Erin (if you don’t already, you should be reading her blog).  The top is from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids and the pants are an updated version of the Hosh pants that I’m testing out (I blogged the original here).  Spoiler–they are incredible.  You’ll be hearing more about these in the future….stay tuned.

The total effect was a bit like a chambray suit or something, and I was on the fence about it, but really, we aren’t a match up your clothes kind of house (especially this kid), so they won’t pair up often, and I love them separately.  The hoodie was a comedy of errors (the front was not intended to be red), but it always happens to work out in the end.

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I could eat this wild thing up, I love him so.

**Posting today as well is my friend Sara, who blogs over at Made by Sara.  I love connecting with people over the internet…Sara and I both have biology degrees, three children, and a passion for sewing.  I knew I had a twin out there somewhere, and one day I’ll have to travel to Portugal to meet her!**