Tuesday, July 17, 2018

FO: Quill Peggy Skirt

After making my new Sailor Top, I found myself with yet more sewing time thanks to being sick for a few weeks (ugh,I know). Let's call this sewing time the only perk of that illness, lol. So it only made sense that I should make the skirt I planned to wear with the Sailor Top next, right?
This is the outfit I managed to make - and it's kind of ... eh... I mean it's not awful. When I first finished this skirt and put the whole thing together, I was really bummed. As I mentioned before I bought the top fabric specifically because it was the best fabric I could find to coordinate with this skirt fabric. The skirt fabric definitely came first - I love this print and the quality - and after a whole shopping day finding nothing else I went with the quilting cotton for the top since I knew I would have a hard time matching this skirt with anything but a plain white t-shirt, which just feels boring to me now. I did wear this out on my birthday (with my yellow Swedish Hasbeens) and a girl who works at Anthropologie complimented my whole outfit, so maybe it's not as bad as I thought originally. Anyway, let's talk about this skirt, shall we?
This is the Peggy Skirt by Blue Ginger Doll Patterns. I've made this pattern few other times and I always plan to make more. It's a great high waisted skirt with tucks at the waist and adorable pockets that gape away from the body. I did my usual adjustment of shortening this by about 4 or 5 inches (the pattern is made in a more vintage midi length) just because I like knee length skirts. No changes other than that since this is a fairly easy skirt to fit. The fabric is called Quill designed by Valorie Wells for Robert Kaufman and it's a cotton/linen blend. Guys, I love this fabric. It's firm enough to feel secure wearing it but so breathable. One of the things I like most about this pattern is that the skirt kind of bells away from your legs, and this fabric really helps with that shape the pattern creates. And it doesn't wrinkle as bad as I thought it would - yay, lol.
As I hope you can tell, I went to great pains with my pattern matching on this skirt. These large medallion shapes are lovely, but they would look like crap if they didn't line up right and it would completely distract the eye. I spent quite a bit of time matching up the design, and it looks almost perfect everywhere except where the side seams flare out. Technically these seams are matched as well, but the flare interrupts things. Since I had to choose what would match I went with the front and back seam and the pockets. You can see how I still tried to keep the medals in line in the above photo though.
The back seam I am pretty stinking proud of, lol. It isn't totally perfect, but at a glance that seam basically disappears - exactly what I was going for. This was my first time matching a print this large, so I'm really thrilled with my results. There is even a lapped zipper in that seam :)
Check out that shockingly bright zipper! I love doing lapped zippers for many reasons - they look so tidy and I find them more enjoyable to insert - but a big reason is for the opportunity for coordinating but not "matching" zippers. I had this acidic yellow zipper in my stash (can you believe it?) and it is the exact color of the yellow in the fabric. This is a metal zipper from the 60s, which I'm also quite happy about because those things last forever. So while no one will really see it but me, I love how this design choice makes the skirt feel extra cool. I know that sounds silly, but there it is.
And of course you can't talk about this pattern without highlighting the awesome pockets :) My hand is covering it here, but you can see in the earlier photo at this angle that I pattern matched the pocket lining (and it turned out really well). I adore these pockets, folks. Do they make my hips look wider? Yes. But I feel that you can see it's the pockets that do this, not my body, so it contributes to the design in my opinion. And they just beg you to put your hands in them as they are open all the time :)
And I couldn't talk about pattern matching without giving the best prize ever to the front waistband seam. Check that out, ya'll! I think because I haven't done a ton of pattern matching, I am always surprised and thrilled beyond belief when it works out, lol. I'm so proud of that waistband seam. I just feels like magic that it worked.
And some close ups of the details. I used a large acid yellow vintage button from my stash (which I love). And you can see that pop of yellow in the zipper here as well. And I just had to show that lovely pattern matching again close up :) I stitched in the ditch to secure my waistband, and you can just barely see the stitching if you look close. I also should mention that I hand stitched the hem to get a truly blind finish.
So that's my newest Peggy skirt :) It's comfy, it's pretty, it's pattern matched. What more could you want? This skirt really taught me that taking your time with cutting out can pay off in a big way. Incidentally I found a shirt in Anthropologie that is the perfect color match for the yellow.green in the print (and it was on sale!). Being from Anthro, it's a very detailed and different type of shirt - it's all eyelet and lace with a high collar - so I'm curious to see how much I wear it because all together this will be quite the attention grabbing outfit, lol. I'm still on the fence with what top to wear with this skirt, but I can tell you it will be worn! I love this skirt and I am determined to make my fears of it being a wardrobe orphan unfounded. Yay for projects that pay off!

Summary:
Fabric: 2 yards Quill by Valorie Wells Cotton/Linen blend - $9.70
Pattern: Peggy Skirt by Blue Ginger Doll
Notinos: yellow 7" zipper - $0.10, knit stay tape - $0.25, Pellons SF 101 - $0.50, blue thread - $1.50, button - free
Time: 4 hours
Total Cost: $ 12.05

Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Reviews: 1 - 5 of 2018

Wow - so I haven't posted about any of the books I've read this year, lol. So these are a few I read at the beginning of the year...
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey was a great way to start out my year. I went into reading this expecting a typical self-help book, but I was happily surprised. This book is extremely intelligent and covers basics that make sense no matter what your individual beliefs are. The 7 habits really are universal principles that can help everyone. I was thrilled to discover I was already practicing a few, so I consider myself on my way, lol. Who knows if any of us will ever perfect being "highly effective", but this book certainly gives you the blueprints to make that happen if you work at it throughout your life. I aspire to get better, and I plan on re-reading this periodically as a refresher. This should seriously be required reading. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a true classic that deserves its time honored status. The book follows the story of Raskolnikov, a poor student scraping by in any way possible. He develops an idea that murder can be justified if it benefits more people than it harms, and he also believes that he is intelligent enough to not get caught. He justifies murder by believing that some people are destined to be great men and no one questions those they kill along the way to achieving their greatness. He methodically plans out who he will kill, gets everything ready, then carries it out. Raskolnikov is then haunted by his actions for the rest of the book, constantly worrying about getting caught. I also believe it's very ahead of its time with the lengths he goes to to protect himself from forensic evidence. This is certainly one that everyone should read at some time.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote is a novella told through the eyes of a nameless narrator. He tells the story as a memory of his dealings with his interesting neighbor in his first New York apartment - Holly Golightly. Holly is a hopeful social (more-so financial) climber trying to marry into money. She is a model who tries to rub elbows with any man that might make her rich. The narrator falls in love with her, as most men do, and he steps in to try and save her from some of the unsavory situations she puts herself in. Having always loved the film based on this book, I was very surprised at how little in the movie is actually in the book. It's an interesting story, but the film certainly fills in the gaps better than the book does. If you're expecting a written account of the movie, you will be disappointed. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a story of the future we may inherit. The adventurer creates a time machine and takes himself on a few journeys into the far distant future. He ends up 800,000 years in the future and discovers that the human race has split into two species - the Eloi and the Morlocks. Each of the species embodies a separate side of human nature. The books becomes far more about evolution and analyzing what we as humans represent than any time travel. This is a social commentary. I will say that while the story was interesting, I listened to one of the worst audiobook narrators I've ever heard read this book. It was so choppy that I would have to listen to passages again just to understand the sentences. That made it very difficult to get into the story. I'll have to try physically reading this again some time. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is one of those "Books you must read in your lifetime" that I can now check off my list, but that's the most I can really say for it. I firmly believe that you need to have lived in the time this was written (where everyone had a knowledge of the military and how it is run) or have spent time in the military to fully enjoy this book. I acknowledge that the concept itself of Catch-22 is brilliant, but the rest of the book is full of such ridiculous characters and plot lines that go absolutely nowhere that I just couldn't enjoy it, not to mention the fact that every female character in this entire book is either a loose nurse or an actual prostitute. Aside from a few stories that were entertaining, the rest of the book just seemed pointless to me. I fully realize that there are people out there who would argue the absolute hilarity that was lost on me, some may even thing I'm dumb for not catching it - I'm fine with that. I honestly did not enjoy this book and it was a major slog to get through. At least now I can say I've read it and cross it off the list, lol. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 9, 2018

FO: Lotta Jansdotter Sailor Top

So after my Memorial Day Weekend Sewing Extravaganza, I thought I wouldn't have any further time to sew before I needed to move. My house was under contract, so I figured I would be packing everything up, but some snags came up pretty soon that left us in a weird limbo. And then I got sick. I had a virus that turned into a chest infection and bronchitis :/ So while I wanted very much to be productive, I didn't have any definites on my moving situation, plus I just didn't have much energy and would fall into horrible coughing fits if I exerted myself much. What to do when you can't do responsible things you should be doing? Why not sew something, right?
This is my second version of the Sailor Top from the Fancy Tiger Crafts Creativebug Class. This pattern is seriously so simple, but I love my first version and wear it all the time. I bought this Lotta Jansdotter print quilting cotton in January at The Sewing Studio with this shirt in mind. I actually bought it to wear with another fabric I bought, but we will talk about that in my next post. This fabric is called Faril and it has acid green/yellow butterflies on it.
My first version was in a drapey Swiss dot cotton, but they say in the class that it works great for quilting cotton, so I decided to give it a try. I've generally found I'm not a fan of wearing quilting cotton - much to the chagrin of my previous self who bought tons of the stuff to make clothing with over the years. It's just a bit stiff and thick for Florida summer. I don't mind it in winter at all, but that's only like 1 month of the year. Anyway, this pattern is a raglan top that gathers into the neck yoke. The sleeves have a simple facing for the hem, and I love how it makes the top stitching deeper into the sleeve as this echos the yoke and hem.
The only adjustment I made this time was to shorten the neck yoke by 1/2" as a hollow chest adjustment. My first version goes out a bit far and sometimes shows my bra, so I just wanted to fix that. In this stiffer fabric though I can see other adjustments I need to make. Most notably is that I need a major forward shoulder adjustment. I need to move the shoulder seam forward almost an inch, so while I don't love this back photo I'm wondering how much of my back fit issues are caused by the need of this adjustment. I'll have to try it out on my next version and see what a difference that makes.
It also doesn't look so bad when it's untucked, oddly enough, which contributes to my thinking it's caused by the forward shoulder issue. Other than this slight shift the top is nice and comfy, if a bit stiff. I'm hoping it will soften up with washing.
This is a more accurate representation of the color of the butterflies. They are a great acidic green :) This is just a close up of the few details this shirt has - all very simple. There really isn't too much to say about this shirt since it only took 2 hours to make, lol. So easy.
Interestingly, while I really like this shirt (and I've worn it several times already with compliments each time), I don't really like it for the skirt I originally bought it to go with. I bought this fabric so that the skirt I planned to make with it would not be a wardrobe orphan, but I may have fixed that now - we'll see. So while at first I was a bit bummed it didn't work entirely as planned (though the idea is growing on me a bit more now I've had some time away from making it), I really like this shirt just for itself. Who would've thought so many people would compliment a quilting cotton top in an unobtrusive print? And such a simple shape? It's kind of baffling. I've worn this tucked in as well as untucked, and I like it both way. So I'm glad that an item I wasn't super fond of at first has turned into a nice item in its own right :) I really love this pattern, and I have a nice little stack of other versions planned in my head. If you haven't tried this (whether through the class or as an individual pattern), I definitely recommend you change that. It's a great piece!

Summary:
Fabric: 2 yards Faril by Lotta Jansdotter quilting cotton - $9.23
Pattern: Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts via Creativebug class
Notions: White thread - $1.00
Time: 2 hours
Total Cost: $ 10.23

*Affiliate links included, though my membership is purchased with my own money and my opinion is uninfluenced.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Sewing Studio Trip July 4th, 2018

So as with every year for my birthday, I went to the amazing sale at The Sewing Studio yesterday. This year it was just me and my mom and we spent hours spending a nice chunk of money on fabric. This store just has everything you could want and you can wander aimlessly touching all the lovely fabrics.
This trip was so important that I even took a break from moving to go, lol. We had a great day, and as always I wanted to show the spoils.
This is everything I bought this year. The pile doesn't look as huge as other times, but it's because the fabrics I bought are thinner - certainly not less in quantity.
Let's start off with the cottons. They had several Birch Organics Sea Life cottons in their clearance section, so I grabbed a few for 70% off (I know!). I got 2.25 yards of Sea Snails, 2.5 yards of Eight Legs, and 7/8 yard of Here Be Monsters. The two larger cuts will be shirts and the other was just irresistible so I had to grab it :) The pink with the trees is a lovely Art Gallery poplin called Nightfall Mystical Woods Solar and it's a lovely light weight - this will be a shirt. Bottom left is 2.12 yards of Rifle Paper Co Sun Girls in Sky for an apron for my sister. Bottom right is 1.38 yards of Kujira + Star Sightseeing Sand Dollar by Cotton + Steel - no idea what this will be, but it's super cute.
Next up - deliciously drapey stuff. I got 2 yards of Telio Dali rayon poplin in the Birds on a Wire print. This will be a top. The bottom right us a designer remnant poly chiffon that is a navy background with coral flower clusters. This will be a skirt. And the pièce de résistance - I grabbed 3 yards of this beautiful Art Gallery rayon challis called Flowery Chant Subtle. It's just heavenly feeling. This was my big splurge of the trip and it will be a dress.
I only bought 2 knits this trip - crazy, right? The white is an eyelet knit - so cool! It's polyester, but II loved it too much to care. I grabbed 2.38 yards and it will be a top for my and one for my mom. The lovely floral is another splurge - I got the last 1.25 yards of this Art Gallery jersey called Sprinkle Peonies and it has gold metallic on it :) This will be a lovely shirt.
And some specialty cottons :) The top left is Telio Playtime cotton poplin in navy blue with amazingly bright oranges all over. I grabbed 4 yards and this will be a shirt dress. I can't wait :) Top right is Cote D'Zur cotton seersucker by Robert Kaufman. I grabbed 2 yards to make a shirt. Bottom left is lovely cotton voile called Botany Full Bloom by Windham fabrics. Isn't it awesome? This will be a top and I have some skirt fabric I think will match it wonderfully. The blue and yellow and 2 yards each and they are cotton voile for tops.
I went a little crazy with the fat quarters, but at least this time I didn't just grab willy nilly. I grabbed 6 fat quarters of Cotton + Steel Rotary Club telephone dials print, 6 of Cotton + Steel Trinket Whistles, and 4 of Cotton + Steel Fruit Dots Gum. I figured with that many I could make a really cute bag with each. I grabbed 3 other single fat quarters, 1/3 yard of a floral, and a 1 yard cut of gray with pianos.
And the notions. This time I specifically needed serger supplies (which I will talk more about soon). I grabbed 4 white cones of Maxi Lock thread and 4 gray cones as well as 2 packs of serger needles. Speaking of needles, I really stocked up. I've run out of my go-to size (universal 70/10) and last time someone else took them all, so I grabbed 3 packs as well as a pack of 65/9s. I grabbed a multi size pack of jersery needles and 2 different sizes of microtex needles as well. I got a refill pack of blue chalk powder for the Chalkoner pen since they didn't have an actual blue pen. I also restocked on frixion pens! They may a felt tip variety now and I grabbed one of each color available. I also got some awesome twill tapes. The larger one has acurate inch increments and I grabbed 10 yards there for waistbands and other places that need stabilizing. The thinner white and gold tapes are centimeters and I grabbed 6 yards each of these.
Check out that line - and this was halfway through the day when the line was much shorter. The cash register is up by the front door, lol.
And I took a picture of my favorite section - I spent a lot of time fondling these rayons, voiles, and linens. I was seriously tempted by some $30 per yard watercolor rose printed linen. Gosh that stuff was dreamy...

So that's my trip this time :) Like I said, the stack may not look as large, but it certainly is about my usual quantity of yardage. Also I had a fun day with my mom, which is always great. I'm so excited because now that my house is on the verge of selling (we are counting the days now!) I will have all my time back without any guilt of needing to fix things around my house instead of sewing. I anticipate quite a serge of new items being made very soon, and it's so awesome to finally feel that way. So hopefully I will be able to start making nice dents in my stash and at least sew up the equivalent of what I buy on each Sewing Studio pilgrimage :)

Anyone else do any heavy fabric buying this week?