Sunday, November 30, 2008

the pajama factory continues!

More pajamas! This one is actually a birthday present for my mom. Not a surprise for her, because I had to ask her about what style she wanted and then do a little bit of fitting. This is Butterick 4214 that I found at Parons about a month ago, in size M (which is about her size). If you look closely at that photo, you'll see some golf balls flannel on the floor, ready for my brother in law's flannel PJ pants.

butterick 4214

Hem lace from MJ Trim
butterick 4214

Yoke ruffle from MJ Trim
butterick 4214

I bought some more flannel from the fabric fairy store to make another for her for Christmas, but I still need to buy trim for it. I'm thinking of doing a bit of flat piping around the yoke instead of a ruffle just to try something new.

fire engine shirtAnd this is a small sleep shirt for Tom. It's made from another JoAnn remnant from my big collection of remnants I bought a few weeks ago when they were extra reduced. The neck is kind of low in the front because I didn't put on a rib collar but just folded on some self binding. I think it will be OK, he usually sleeps in a few layers anyway. This is a size 3T, just a bit big on him, but he's growing really really fast. I used Kwik Sew 1531, the same as Ana's pink and brown PJs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Learning to skate

Warning, this is an almost entirely sewing free post!

Yesterday afternoon I took Kate down to our local ice rink. This is her third time ice skating, and by far the most successful. She's already talking about going again next weekend. Kate's actually named after Katarina Witt, so I guess it was just a matter of time before she got bitten by the skating bug as well.

Kate looking a bit concered before we started:
teaching kate to ice skate

And on the ice, now smiling:
teaching kate to ice skate

My grandfather taught me to skate when I was a little kid, and after our lesson yesterday I have new respect for all the work that entails. I spent two hours holding Kate up and skating backwards... thankfully something I'm ok doing, since I used to play defense on our college hockey team. As we were going around and around and around I kept pointing out the lines and circles under the ice to Kate and explaining how they were used in hockey. She got really into it- every time we went over a blue line she would yell "puck out, get out!" So cute. And she was fascinated by the penalty boxes and wanted to sit in them "for a tiredness penalty" a few times. We even had an adorable feminism lesson- when we first went out she was looking at the ads on the side of the rink, and there were some hockey school ones with photos of guys playing hockey. She looked up and asked "can women play hockey?" I told her absolutely, lots of women play hockey. When we got off the ice for a pretzel refueling, she told my mom "guess what? girls play hockey too!" Which of course cracked my mom up. She gave me a "I know where that came from" look and told kate that girls could do whatever they want. Awwww. I love my mom. Especially since she froze in the bleachers for 2 hours while we skated!

I wish I'd gotten a picture of Kate's hockey skates. They're the cutest little teensy things.

Just to make it somewhat sewing related- I'm wearing on of my favorite shirts, an ancient Helly Hansen thermal shirt. I bought it when I was right out of college to replace one that I'd literally worn to shreds in school. I cut off the cuffs because I have short arms and prefer to shove the sleeves up to my elbows, then I slashed the front neck so it wasn't so tight. I wear this shirt constantly- it has to be washed with borax pretty often to keep it from smelling like an old gym locker. I wish I had a pattern and the right material to knock it off. The fit is perfect for me, as it comes all the way down over my hips but doesn't get too tight there and isn't too lose at the top. The fabric is really the key to why I always wear it though. It's some polypro type fabric that's warm when you need it to be and super breathable and soft.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another butterfly dress

My niece Kate has been wearing the original butterfly dress to bits and pieces. OK, not really yet, but she has it on the second it comes out of the laundry. So I thought I'd better make another one for her, although this one has short sleeves. It's Burda 9677 again, and the outer print is an Alexander Henry print.

Front... the collar looks a bit wonky with the way it was sitting on the hanger.

kate's butterfly dress

Back, with a big ribbon sash to tie (essential for dresses in Kate's opinion).

kate's butterfly dress

The hem and neckline were finished with single fold bias tape turned inside. The lace on the sleeves if from MJ Trim- it's just a bit of eyelet lace that was nice and wide. I took advantage of the selvedge and cut the center back along that so that it stabilized the zipper a bit as it was going in. I love the pleats and the princess seaming but they're slooooow to pin together and stitch.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful meal today! I spent the day mostly in the kitchen, but almost all the cooking was done and just waiting to be rewarmed 2 hours before our meal, so I snuck off to my sewing machine. I'd made cherry pie last night, and pumpkin pie early this morning. At 10 AM I started really cooking- we had praline topped sweet potatoes, red bliss mashers from Tom Douglas's Seattle Kitchen cookbook (I love love love Tom Douglas so that cookbook is literally in pieces now), acorn squash, butternut squash with wild rice (my own recipe), home made applesauce, parmesan and rosemary biscotti, biscuits, stuffing with cherries, apples and pears and mushrooms, and of course a huge turkey. My mom contributed carrots, green beans, and cranberry sauce. I don't believe I'll need to eat for days now. This is actually the 10th Thanksgiving dinner I've cooked... I love doing it every year, and the menu is usually pretty much the same, but it's fun.

So this is what I made in my little sewing break. I'd gotten a really nice poly jersey (since sold out, sadly) in my Gorgeous Fabrics order, and I was dying to make yet another BWOF 11-2008-103. This is my third iteration of this pattern, and I still love it. I could easily see making a few more with 3/4 length sleeves. This one goes nicely with jeans and with my black sateen trousers, so it should get a lot of wear.
with tom

My niece Ana also got to test out her new polar fleece smock today. This is another pattern from the most recent Patrones Ninos magazine. I love the super bright stripes on the fleece-a bit loud, but it makes a nice bright smock and hides food well. I bound the neckline with navy foldover elastic, then the sleeves and bottom hem are sewn with a twin needle. This version was just a wearable muslin-hence the wild fabric- to see how it fits. Like every Ninos pattern so far, of course, it fits very nicely. I have some nice velour that I'll use to make up a good version for her. Here she is modeling it- there's a funny fold in that photo, but I think it's because she'd been racing around in her walker for a while before I took the picture.

The butternut squash and wild rice we had for our dinner was something I sort of invented, based on a zucchini and rice casserole we eat a lot. Here's the recipe, such as it is:

* Cook 1 cup of wild rice with red rice according to the package directions
* Roast a butternut squash until it's soft. Ours came from my grandma's farm, and it was sooo sweet. Yum!
* When the squash is soft, peel it and put the soft fruit into a casserole dish. Mix in a bit of olive oil.
* Add the cooked rice
* Add some dried cranberries, and a bit of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Mix.
* It can wait at this stage until you're ready to eat. Cook in the oven or microwave until it's warm through. The best way to test that is to insert a knife into the center, then pull it out and feel if it's hot.

And one last picture... Ana and Tom tucked into their playpen while we ate. They had started out at the table and got a bit fussy. I love how they're happy to sit and watch from a distance. Silly kids.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Present PJs

There are going to be a lot of Christmas present pajama posts in the next month, hopefully! Here's a pair for Ana. The material is some marimekko cotton rib knit left over from my hoodie.

PJs for Ana

Here's the pattern- it's an older Kwik Sew, has PJs from size 1 year to 4 years old. The footed version is adorable, but I wanted these to be able to roll up a bit if the legs are too long.

kwik sew

Another Patrones Ninos Hoodie for Kate

I've had this pink hoodie cut out for a while, so I finally sewed it up today. You know how sometimes projects just refuse to cooperate? That was definitely this hoodie. I think every single seam was ripped out and re-sewn multiple times. It still looks wonky, Kate isn't so picky, so we're calling it a day.

hoodie for kate

It's made from two JoAnns remnants, one a light sweatshirty knit and one a pink polar fleece scrap. The pattern is the same as her earlier green hoodie, from Patrones Ninos #271. Since you see the back of the fabric in the lower front- behind the pocket scoop- we added a nice layer of fleece in there. It made the pockets super cozy. The pockets are edged with a piped elastic from MJ Trim.

hoodie for kate

I only had a 12" zipper instead of the 14" it needed, so the zipper stops a bit short. It should be ok, though, since she doesn't usually zip the green one all the way up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

matching skirt

This is a home dec remnant I bought at JoAnn's last weekend:

It's a nice navy blue matelasse fabric, embroidered with cream. It was just big enough to cut an A-line skirt from, so I used BWOF 03-2008-122, which has turned into my go-to a-line skirt pattern. It's really basic, just a bias tape hem and a grosgrain ribbon waistband and an invisible side zip.

There's kind of a serious lack of skirts that I like wearing with boots in my closet. This is not even remotely the same thing as "a serious lack of skirts in my closet" because I make skirts all the time. I'm just picky about what I'll wear with boots- it has to be some what thick, a pencil or a-line shape, and usually darkish colored. So this meets all those requirements. Not too bad for a $5 remnant!

When that was done, I decided I really should finally put the buttons on my coat from last year. Even though it's wool, it's kind of light, so it hasn't gotten much wear yet. The temperatures have been in the 20s, so my Navy surplus peacoat, which is the warmest coat I've ever owned, has been getting worn every day.

It closes with snaps, so the buttons got sewn on the outside over the snaps. This coat was made in February...10 months to get buttons. Sewing buttons over snaps is one of my least favorite things to do. If there's some trick (sew the buttons on, then the snaps?) I need to figure it out, because these took forever to put on!

2 comfy shirts

This morning I woke up super early to.... get my hair cut! It's needed a cut for over 2 months, and I just hadn't remembered to schedule an appointment on the weekend during the week. Finally I called last night and was squeezed in. Aaaa... short hair again! I get it cut really short every winter, and it's nice to have it up off my neck again.

This afternoon I cut into that fantastic wool/rayon doubleknit from gorgeous fabrics and made 2 shirts. They'll be good for layering, and they went together really quickly because both patterns were repeats.

A simple gathered vneck cap sleeve tshirt, as modeled by Charlotte:


And another BWOF 11-2008-103, but this time with 3/4 sleeves, which I usually prefer to wear:

BWOF front

This jersey doesn't have a huge amount of give, so I cut the shirts just a bit wider so that I could get them on without ripping a seam. It was fun to play with the contrast options, since this has one gray side (the wool jersey) and one ivory side (the rayon jersey). The edges will curl if you tug at it, and the rayon jersey shreds a little where you've cut it, but the material was otherwise a dream to sew up. I used a stretch needle and twin needle, but probably any needle would be ok.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

comfy knit shirts and my meetup group

Lindsay T, who has the coolest NYC Garment District guide on her blog asked me to write a guest post for her blog on my meetup group. You can see it here: The NYC Sewing and Fabric Shopping group guest post.

Anyway, I got my gorgeous fabrics order last night. I ordered a few knits, and I'm soooooo head over heels in love with one of them. italian reversible knit - gray/white. OMG... so soft. So wonderful. I think I'm going to be making another BWOF long sleeved knit top from this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

on the bridge

My Coastie, taking his cutter out into Lake Michigan 5 years ago. I wish he was in hugging range today, but he's hard at work down in Virginia.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

bwof 11-2008-103

I should be sewing together the lining of my jacket, but I needed some easy knit sewing today. Here's a knit top from the latest BWOF:

review on pattern review

I bought that argyle at JoAnns in September, and it's been sitting on my shelf since then. I wasn't sure what to make out of it, since it's a bit heavy- not in thickness, but it pulls down if you try to drape it. So it's been sitting there, waiting for a pattern, and I realized this morning that the 103 shirt would make a good pullover to layer with in this material.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ghosts and goblins and pumpkins, again!

Another Halloween catchup post! Way back at the beginning of the month, I entered the Halloween advent calendar I'd made for Kate and Ana in the Dabbled Halloween Craft Contest. It won an honorable mention!

Go check out the winners, they got some fantastic entries!

more regency fashion

I found this fantastic resource online, a guide to women's regency fashions. It's a really interesting website on fashion history.

This blew me away... my Elizabeth Bennett dress was featured on The New Yorker's Books blog Literary Halloween post!
THE BOOKS ARE ALIVE! RETURNS - it's #6 in the slideshow. I'm a big New Yorker fan, so that's a huge *wow* for me. The costumes in the slideshow are all from the delightful Literary Halloween Costumes flickr group.

two links

I managed to add a hem to Kate's Christmas present dress, and so I've written up a review for PR. It's the girls jumper from the new November BWOF magazine.

And, there is a cute slideshow on the NYT website today, and an article featuring Joelle Hoverson, who owns the Purl Patchwork store on Sullivan St in Soho.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

i voted

This is my 4th presidential election I've voted in. I was 19 in 1996, so I campaigned for Clinton in New Hampshire and voted for him, and I've voted Democratic in every election since. It's been exciting to see so many other people my age who never bothered to register or vote to actually follow through and do both of those this year.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

BWOF 11-2007-114

Originally uploaded by wck

Here's what I spent my Sunday working on... a new coat, BWOF 11-2007-114. The pattern is for a princess seamed double breasted jacket with 2 piece sleeves and lapels and a collar.

The outer fabric is a thick coat weight camel colored wool from Ebad's (550 8th Ave) for a whopping $8/yard. Ah, I love the garment district. It's a beautiful wool... really thick, eases with no complaints and it's an amazing camel color. Which, of course, you can't see in these photos because the lighting is so bad. I already have visions of wearing this with long jewel toned gloves and my favorite black trousers.

I hand sewed (good lord) the lapels and collar because I've never been able to get that area to look good on a machine. It's so frustrating- very few things terrify me about machine sewing... except lapels. It was really sunny in my loft today, though, so I put on some music and camped out on the sofa and stitched it together. Once it was together, I ran over the very back of the collar and the lapel points with the machine just to reinforce them.

bwof 11-2007-114 The lining is cut out, but not assembled, so that will probably be next weekend. I'm using a flannel backed pink satin for the lining since I had a large piece left over from some earlier coats.

The buttons will almost definitely be done by Jonathan Embroidery in the city (on w38th!). My current machine will do buttonholes-- if you are very very careful. The needle position switch is broken, but you can still adjust the zigzag width and density. So it's only a matter of marking carefully and manually adjusting for each step. Doable, but terribly nervewracking.