Friday, May 22, 2015

Me Made May 2015 Week Three

How are we already at the end of another week??  Is it just me or did the week just fly by?

We had some crazy weather over the last seven days - it started out gorgeous and spring like on Saturday, but by evening the temps had dropped, the rain clouds rolled in and things went downhill from there.  By Monday morning there was snow on the ground.  Thankfully things improved fairly quickly and today is glorious once again.  Sunny and summery.  It's wonderful... and gives me so many more me made wardrobe options (although I ended up with a repeat today anyways.  Ha ha!)

Here's how my me made week three looked!



May 16th - Was an identical repeat of May 1st right down to the jeans I paired with my Honey Blouse.  I think I should have probably ironed it before wearing.  OOPS!


May 17th -  It was pouring rain out making it the kind of day you want to curl up on the couch and do pretty much nothing at all but be cozy and comfy.  I wore my Sis Boom Tortola Top and my Jocole Yoga Pants.  The temperature dropped considerably again by the end of the day and the next morning we woke up to this... (which was actually a bit of a relief to only see that and not the 10-15cm they were forecasting. Still. Yeesh. Mother Nature.  Cut it out!!!)





May 18th - The snow was finally melting away when I got this photo of my me made (but somehow never blogged) Raglan Gathered Tee that I modified from a Simplicity pattern last year and an Abalone Cardi I knit forever ago.


May 19th - Little Man took this photo of me Tuesday morning before he went off to school.  It was still pretty cool that morning, so I grabbed my Hay Cove cardi to ward of the chill before heading out the door.  Have I mentioned just how much I love this cardigan???


May 20th - What a difference in weather a few days makes!  Wednesday was definitely flip flop weather!  I am wearing my new version of the same tee I wore earlier in the week.  Haven't blogged about this one either (obviously).  I'm not sure how I feel about it to be brutally honest.  The fabric is super soft cotton spandex, but the recovery isn't great (despite being advertised as having great recovery. HA!) and by late afternoon my tee was doing some pretty heavy duty sagging and bagging.  Also odd was the general looseness of it from the start given I used the exact same pattern pieces I'd used to make the black one.  Did I shrink the black one that much over the course of the year?  I fought and fought with this blue version taking it in here and there, reworking bits and generally spending way more time than anyone ever should on a t-shirt.


May 21st - I know you just saw this just yesterday, but here it is again, because I really, really love this top and I was so happy to finally be able to show it off since Paprika Patterns released the Onyx pattern yesterday.  (Remember - you still can snap it up for the intro price for the next couple of days!)

May 22nd - Another repeat day today.  It's gorgeous out and I'd planned to wear a dress.  I took no less than four out of the closet this morning, but they all needed a good pressing if I was going to wear them and well, I just didn't feel like doing that, so I went a different route instead and grabbed my Jocole Yoga Skirt instead.  No ironing, no fuss and it's comfy like pjs.

So that's been my week.  I'm still doing well with my challenge and managing to wear at least one me made per day even if they are repeats.  I have a few projects on the sewing desk right now - a wearable muslin of the Clemence Shorts for women that I snapped up in the Bundle Up Sale as well as another Sis Boom Patricia.  Hopefully I will get those finished up or at least iron some dresses and have some variation in my final week of Me Made May for next week.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Onyx


I'm back today with another test that I've been eagerly waiting to show you!  This time it's sewing, though, instead of knitting.

Several weeks ago I got an email from Lisa at Paprika Patterns asking if I would like to apply to test a new pattern.  After sewing up and reviewing the Jade Skirt I jumped at the opportunity and sent an email back right away.  I was super excited to get an email back a couple days later saying I was in.

It was a great testing experience and I ended up with a garment I absolutely love, that fit pretty much right off the hop.  The Onyx top is a carefree easy woven tee.  It has a gentle hi-low hem and comes with two options: a cropped, sleeveless variation and a longer short sleeved version with a cute button treatment on the sleeve. The neckline (and the armholes for the sleeveless version) are finished with bias tape.  So, so easy!!! Of course like the other Paprika Patterns available it comes in a great range of sizes (bust measurements from 31 1/2" all the way up to 49")!

My first one I made out of a polyester crepe-ish fabric.  I've no idea what it actually is or where it came from, but I thought it might look kind of neat with its vertical gradient striping.  Also? The selvedge edge said "Diana Ross", which made me happy.

...More childhood memories.  This memory of a gong show in the school gym, velvet trousers and a completely made up disco song with possibly the world's lamest lyrics - in fact there may have only been one line, that's all I remember anyways - Come on disco woman, baby, come on baby dance with me - but my friends, Madeline and Patricia and I channelled our inner disco diva and strutted our way around the stage to the end of our song being the only group not being gong-ed off stage, so there was that... Ah.  Grade three.  It was a good year.  Anyways that's enough of a trip down memory lane for now.  Back to my Diana Ross polyester and the Onyx now that you know why the fact my fabric was Diana Ross was making me happy!


Onyx sewed up like a dream.  I'm pretty sure the pattern took longer to assemble and cut out than to sew.  I made it exactly as written figuring it would be an excellent jumping off point for any fit issues that might crop up given it was a test sew.  But there really were no fit issues.  It was great.

I knew that I would definitely make more down the road and I did.  One evening I decided on a whim that I felt like sewing something.  I didn't have a particular project in mind, but went down to the sewing room and rifled through my patterns and quickly settled on Onyx.  I grabbed the cotton lawn that the little boys had chosen when we'd had our big shopping trip and my pattern and got started.  I went downstairs at 10pm.  By 11:30pm I was tucking into bed with a brand new top hanging in my closet.  INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

The only thing I changed with my second one was to add a bit of length, because I have a excellent talent for shrinking things and although I'd preshrunk my cotton lawn when I first bought it, I didn't want to take the chance on having it continue to shrink and be too short for me to wear eventually.


I'm pretty sure there will still be more Onyx tops in my future.  It's such a blank canvas of a shirt that the possibilities really are endless!  You can buy the just released Onyx top pattern over at the Paprika Patterns website.  I highly recommend it! And if you hurry, you can get it 15% off for a short time.  You can check out the details here.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cirque Socks

I've mentioned a few times over the last little while that I was knitting a test pattern for some socks. It's been an exercise in patience to keep it under wraps because I absolutely love the socks and I've had them finished for just over a month now, but I no longer have to wait!  Maggie Menzel has just released her pattern, Cirque , for purchase on Ravelry.

These socks were pretty simple to knit, but look intricate.  I always think it rather fun when you can knit a pattern that sneakily looks far more complicated than it actually is!  The pattern itself has a really great size range from an x-small with a cast on of 56 stitches all the way up to an x-large with a cast on of 72 stitches so there should be a size for everyone! So often, and I'm guilty of it myself with my own socks , patterns are created for a generic medium sized foot.  I was really impressed with the effort made by the designer to have all five sizes.

I knit mine using up the leftover Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine yarn from my Sunstruck shawl, which makes a really snuggly warm, but not at all bulky sock.  I only used about 285 yds of yarn making them a great stash buster! You could knit them pretty much any length you want the leg from mid calf to just above the ankle depending how much yarn you had.  I was worried I'd run out so I knit mine with a leg length of about six inches.





If you want to knit yourself a pair, you can get your own copy for a 20% discount until June 3rd.  All the details are the Cirque Socks Ravelry page.



Friday, May 15, 2015

Me Made May 2015 Week Two

Week two of Me Made May 2015 has come to an end.  I'm still doing well on the challenge and once again have successfully worn at least one handmade item each day.  The weather for week two was pretty cool and rainy for the most part and it's made me realize that there are some definite holes in my me made wardrobe when it comes to cooler weather items, which sort of surprised me to be honest.  I'm going to start thinking about what I want to make in the future to fill out those gaps that I didn't realize existed.

But moving back to the here and now, here's how my week looked.


May 9th - I started out week two with great gusto! It was really chilly last Saturday.  Little Man had a friend's birthday party to go to at the park and although the sun was shining, the high for the day was only +10C with a brisk wind making it feel a lot cooler.   To stay warm that day I chose my School House Tunic and my lace weight Clapotis.


May 10th - Brrr.  The weather was rainy and cold yet again.  I snuggled up on the couch that morning with a cup of tea, the little boys and my Sunstruck shawl.  I'm also wearing the necklace that Baby Boy made for me at school.


May 11th -  Rainy and cold yet again.  Only way to conquer the day was to wear wool socks.  My toes kept toasty in my Water for the Elephants socks by Rose Hiver.


May 12th - Blue sky, slightly warmer temperatures and both boys at school meant it was high time I tackle the gardens and reclaim them from the weeds.  I spent all day outside comfy in my interlock knit tortola top.  (By the way, I'm happy to say that raised bed no longer is over run by weeds!  Nor are the flower beds or the herb garden.  Some progress was made on the big garden too. WHOOT!!!!)


May 13th - It's raining again, oh no my love's at an end, oh no it's raining again... Ok so, unlike Supertramp,  my love's not at an end at all, but my patience with Mother Nature is certainly getting to that point.  It's cold too.  But at least I have a cute umbrella.  Let's focus on that since apparently the camera was either not focused at all, or the rain was making everything blurry...  It was a me made repeat day with my fave sweater, Beach in the Winter.


May 14th - Rain, rain go away.  Seriously.  Enough.  It poured all day.  Bucket loads of rain.  Biblical proportions of rain. Once again it was a wool wearing kind of day.  Thinking it might be pushing it a bit to reach for my Beach in Winter yet again, I opted for another favourite instead, my Hetty cardigan.

May 15th - I'm ending the week on a bang wearing not one, but two me mades!!  The sun is out, it's relatively warm (read: GLORIOUS!!!!!) and it felt like a good day for the inaugural wearing of my "Love My Dress" SisBoom Jamie/Simplicity #2180 dress that I made back in January for the Just for Me challenge as a knock off of ModCloth's I Love Your Dress.  I'm also wearing my Andi Satterlund Myrna cardi that I made last summer as part of the Untangling Knots Outfit Along.  I can't wait for this year's outfit along, and hoping Andi announces it really soon!  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I just went to grab a link for you for Andi's blog and her announcement is up.  SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!  I'm so excited.  I already know what dress I want to make!  Hello Sis Boom/Scientific Seamstress Carolina Mae!!!! Oh and by the way - if you're in the market for some great patterns (you know how much I love them!) you can snag a 45% off discount over at the Scientific Seamstress Etsy shop right now if you use the code MIDMAY but you'll have to hurry - the sale ends on May 17th!!

Ok.  Deep breaths... We now return to our regularly scheduled Me Made May post...

So there we are.  End of week two!  It's the Victoria Day long weekend this weekend, which unfortunately generally means crummy weather. It's a thing.  I swear it - the next two day's forecast is for something like 70mm of rain and I'm just going to choose to ignore the little snowflake symbol that the Weather Network is showing on Sunday's forecast.  Cease and desist Mother Nature.  Cease and desist.  However, next week the sun is supposed to come out again and it's supposed to start warming up again as well.   I'm hoping the weather does improve!  I've got so many spring/summer skirts and dresses I've been wanting to wear...  How did your second week of Me Made May go?  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Beautiful Princess Dress

Remember how I went fabric shopping last month  and Little Man became totally obsessed with a yellow floral print with birds on it?  He would pull it off the table and I would put it back on and steer him off to pick out fabric for himself for summer pjs. Then he would abandon the search for pj fabric and wander back and pull out the bolt of yellow floral again and I would put it back again.  This went on and on and then he finally won me over by telling "Mommy.  You should really buy this to make a pretty dress for yourself.  You will look like a beautiful princess in it." Of course I added it to my pile on the cutting table at that point.  Who wouldn't on that particular recommendation?

I had thought initially I'd just make another Rebecca Shift like my Bluebirds of Happiness dress, but then when I mentioned shift dress to the lady cutting my fabric she said that she envisioned it more in a flouncy circle skirt.  I stuck to my guns and bought 1.6m, which I knew would be just enough for the shift and started home happy with my plan.  As I drove home though I started thinking - it's over an hour, so lots of thinking time - and I started wishing I'd bought more so I could do a flouncier dress.  I considered the fact I already have a shift dress with birds on it.  Did I really want another one so similar? And so the fixating began.  Then I started thinking maybe I should make another Jenny instead.  And maybe, just maybe I could squeak out a quarter circle skirt with my fabric - which I probably could have, but that still didn't seem flouncy enough. I mulled things over and then I gave in completely, measured out how much more fabric I would need and then had to bide my time until I could get back into the city to buy another length of it.  (thankfully they still had lots on the bolt, so I wasn't worried they'd suddenly sell out before I got there again!)

With all the fabric bought, pre-washed and dried, I dug out my Jenny pattern that still had my alterations from last year on it, measured the waist band to find out what number I'd need to calculate a half circle skirt and then had an epiphany!  The Lorelei dress I used for my wedding dress last summer used a circle skirt.  So I dug that pattern out too!  Whoot!  It worked.  No fussing about with making my own pattern and no need to do mathematics! (Bonus!!!) Although I wasn't really going to do math.  I was going to let By Hand London's app do the math instead, but that's not the point.  The point is I had a ready to go skirt pattern instantly in my hot little hands.

The dress went together really quickly.  I was just about to put the zipper in - the second last step in making the dress - when two things occurred to me.  First, I realized I should possibly try it on just to make sure things were fitting right.  Second, in an attempt to add a pop of solid colour I had done a bright red contrast waistband and realized it was quite possibly a very misguided attempt.  So I stopped what I was doing and tried it on at which point I confirmed that the pop of colour at my midsection was a TERRIBLE idea.  It was like a beacon pointing directly at the spot I carry all my excess weight.  I might as well have put a neon sign saying "HEY EVERYONE!!! LOOK HERE!!!!!" I also confirmed that my dress was too big.  Argh.

I briefly thought I could just take the easy way out and take the skirt off, flip the bodice and waistband inside out and just put the zipper on the other side since I had lined them with the main fabric.  Those hopes were dashed when I remembered that I'd accidently cut my bodice lining upside down so all my birdies were perched on their heads, besides which I really did need to take it in anyways. So it languished on my desk for a few days while I worked up the "oomph" to make a date with my trusty sidekick, the seam ripper.  Nothing kills the sewing mojo faster than requiring an epic journey in taking apart an almost finished garment.  But then I reminded myself that I wanted to take part in the Dress Up Party that Sara is hosting over at Sew Sweetness and knew that if I didn't tackle the dress soon I never would.

Motivation restored, off came the skirt, then the waistband, and then I reworked the fit by taking in the side seams 3/4" on each side and continued on my merry way.  I finished off the zipper last night and hemmed it this afternoon.  I did get my pop of solid colour after all too.  I can't remember where I read about it, but recently I saw a circle skirt done with a bias binding hem.  Where has this been all my life??? It was the easiest finish ever! Just sew on the bias binding in line with the hemline, flip it to the inside, press and topstitch it down. Done.  Easy as that with no worrying about trying to ease all that fullness of a circle skirt into the hem and have it still look nice and crisp once it's done.


Hopefully my dress fits Little Man's vision of a "princess dress".  I think now that I have this dress finished, I really need to knit another Andi Satterlund cropped cardi to go with it.  And I think it needs to be red.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Me Made May 2015 Week One

Well, week one of May is over and I have, so far, maintained my very reasonable challenge of wearing/using at least one handmade item per day.  I had some doubts after signing up that maybe I shouldn't have after all.  As I read around the blogosphere about crafters worrying that they didn't have enough outfits for the entire month and would have have repeats so they weren't participating, or reading here and there, comments such as "I'd better hurry up and sew {x} amount of dresses so I can participate" etc. the doubts just compounded.  But then I went back and re-read Zoe's sign up post and I felt a whole lot better about it all.  I'm really enjoying the personal challenge that I set forth for myself and that's really the whole point of it I think.

So here's a bit of a round up for week one. You have seen last Friday already so I'm just going to jump on in today with Saturday.


May 2nd:  Jocole's A-Line Yoga Skirt (blogged here)- I absolutely need more of these in my wardrobe. I love it!!!  It's a "wearing pyjamas" kind of comfy but looks put together (unlike my actual pyjamas - although I'm sincerely considering rectifying that matter this spring. No, don't worry I won't be wearing them out in public, but it's high time I had some nice, not threadbare and tattered jammies).


May 3rd: Mouse House Creations' Julia Cardigan - Once again,  I need more of these.  I made this one a few years ago now (yet somehow never blogged about it).  I've worn it so much it's pretty much worn out.  The fabric, which was just cheapo clearance section unknown fibre content sags and bags now and is definitely showing it's age.  Time to make a new one.  In possibly every colour.  (If I'm looking a bit ragged it's because Baby Boy had been up and down all night with a nagging cough then was up for the day before six, then we had done the MS Walk that morning and although it was warm it was also really windy and there is something about being outside in the wind that sucks all the energy out of me.  By the time this picture was taken I just wanted to have supper and curl up on the couch.)


May 4th: Laura Aylor's beach in winter (blogged here) - Monday morning started out brisk.  So I decided to ward off the chill with my new favourite pullover.  I really like everything about this sweater.  It's comfortable, it fits, it's cozy without being crazy warm and the Northern Wool with Tweed is such a soft yarn against the skin.



May 5th: The sun was shining and the temperature glorious on Tuesday.  It was the perfect day to wear my "Bluebirds of Happiness" SisBoom Rebecca Shift for the first time of the year.  This dress is one of my favourites. It's easy to just pull on but makes me feel really great.  At the same time it's comfy enough to just hang around the house in too!  What more can a gal ask for in a dress?  I blogged about it last year here.


May 6th: My Sweatshop of Love Work+Shelter top was the choice for Wednesday.  I knit it two years ago (blogged here) and I've worn it so often over those two years.  My only disappointment with this top is that I knit it out of 100% bamboo yarn and over time my top (that I was once worried would be too short) has now migrated quite far south with stretching.  The yarn has also definitely lost its once upon a time lustre, becoming quite matte and muted now.  I need to figure out how to tighten it up a bit.  I'm considering just tossing it in the dryer and hoping for the best because it's getting to the point where it's looking pretty sloppy these days.


May 7th: Thursday was dreary and rainy here on the prairies.  The morning started out warm with a temperature of +17C when we woke up.  By the time afternoon had rolled around it was +6C.  Yikes!  I figured that morning, upon looking at the forecast, that layering was my best option, so SisBoom's Tortola Top (blogged here) and Andi Satterlund's Marion cardi (blogged here) were the way to go.


May 8th: Today has been downright cold. What the heck Mother Nature??? You can't be +26C one day and then three days later dive down to -1C.  It's just not nice.  So it was a "wear all the wool" kind of day.  Laura Aylor's Hay Cove (blogged here) and my own Just Around the Corner socks (blogged here) kept the freezing weather at bay somewhat at least.  I really hope the sun comes out tomorrow and the temperature starts to climb again!

So that's a wrap for the first week of my first ever participation in Me Made Made!  I'm looking forward to seeing what hand mades I can wear next week - of course a lot of it depends on what Mother Nature throws at us next temperature wise...

How about you?  Did you pledge a Me Made May challenge for yourself this year?  If you did how's it going?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Valencia Women's Tunic

It seems like I've been sewing up a storm lately!  When the warmer weather arrives I almost always trade my knitting needles for my sewing machine.  Don't get me wrong.  I still knit.  It's just that it takes a bit of a back seat to sewing, where as in the winter it's all knitting all the time.

A few weeks ago I posted my to do list and on that list were a couple of test projects.  Today I get to tell you about one of them! (sorry, can't tell you about the other one for a few more weeks yet...)

Hayley Crouse - you know her from Mouse House Creations and Willow and Co. - has just released the Valencia Women's Tunic as part of Willow and Co.'s spring line up.  It's a sleeveless, flowy, high-low hemline, tunic top that comes in sizes xs to xxxl and is perfect as those temperatures heat up!  (although depending on the fabric you use this could easily become a year round wardrobe piece by just throwing on a cardi as the cooler weather approaches).

I was really excited to be chosen as a tester for the Valencia Tunic.  The Julia Cardigan is one of my absolute favourite hand made items in my closet that I've nearly worn out from constant use - note to self : make a new one!!! - so I was confident that I would appreciate both Hayley's pattern making skills and her method of construction.  What I appreciated most though was that I got to see the inner workings of her process in releasing a pattern.  She was great to work with and I can tell you that she only releases a pattern once it is perfect and any little kinks that may have existed have been ironed out.  Although, one would hope all designers would consider that to be standard, it just doesn't always seem to be the case.  If you purchase one of Hayley's patterns I guarantee that you are getting your money's worth.  You can purchase the Valencia on the Willow and Co. Patterns website.

So without further ado, here's my take on the Valencia.  I used a cotton lawn with a lace overlay yoke.




Don't forget to hop on over to Willow and Co. and pick up your copy of the Valencia Tunic.  It's intro price for the next few days is just $7.00, which as you seamstresses/sewists/sewers (what on earth are we supposed to call ourselves these days) know, is a really great price for a pattern!

Now I've got to head back down to my sewing room and find my trusty BFF the seam ripper for my current project I'm working on.  I've completely ignored the order of my to do list and am working on a dress for myself right now and not only have I changed sizes over the winter and have to take in what I've done so far (a darn sight better to need it smaller than bigger mind you!), I made a tactical error in colour judgement and need to fix it up.  I've also added six more items to my spring sewing list when I took advantage of the newest Ladies Bundle Up Sale the other day. (Hurry up and get it while you can!  You've still got until May 8th to get the bundle pricing!!!! There are some awesome patterns that you do not want to miss out on.  I worked out the price of the patterns I bought and I saved over $40 on them buying them through the bundle up sale.  Whoot!).