Monday, August 19, 2019

FO: Gray? Green? Skirt

Well, I meant to post this a day or so after my previous post, but it's been a crazy time. Interestingly, this skirt is now too big for me even before I managed to post about it. Interesting. Anyway, when I made my Fair Tale Voile Sailor Top, I really wanted a new neutral skirt to wear with it. Enter one of my favorite patterns: McCall's 7475.
This is my usual use of this pattern: view B plus the back pockets from view A. Add all the pockets always! I've made this skirt 2 other  times, both of which are still worn weekly, so I knew this was a solid choice to help out my dwindling wardrobe. Interestingly, I don't have a lot of bottom weight neutral fabrics in my ridiculously large stash. I have plenty of cool prints and then things like denim that would stand in a corner on its own, but not much with any type of drape. The fabric I used isn't ideal, but it did the job credibly for a mystery cotton twill. I grabbed this gray? green? fabric at a thrift store for $1.00 simply because it was a usable neutral. It's the weirdest color. In real life it has an olive-green tone, but in these pictures it looks totally gray. But it's not really olive green as you can see by the contrast it shows against my top in the pictures.
Pardon the all over wrinkling, but these pics were taken after the same July 4th trip to The Sewing Studio. I particularly love this pattern because it takes no alterations at all for my sway back - it just curves how it should at my lower back :) And I love the look of the pockets on the front, plus they are big enough to fit my enormous phone. As per usual, I top stitched all the seams with a triple stitch. This proved interesting when choosing a color for the thread, but I just took the fabric to the store with me and chose a strange greenish color, lol. Still don't know what to call it.
Another of the things I love about this pattern is the fly front. There's something so professional feeling about a fly front to me. This one actually went very well, so I'm thinking I am getting better at them. Another reason to love a fly front is when you don't have a weird green/gray colored zipper on hand but really want to sew this skirt up. Since a matching color wasn't an option, I decided to grab a zip from my stash in a color I would be unlikely to use elsewhere - so this has a mustard yellow zipper inside, lol. Yay for fly fronts.
I actually managed to sew the top stitching correctly on my back pockets this time. Usually I mess up the little triangle in the upper corners that helps to reinforce them so you don't immediately pull the pocket away from the skirt when you put your hand in. Usually my triangles are weird shaped and different sizes and overshoot the edge. This time though, they look great :) Yay for progress.
And now for the saga that this skirt became. I finished this entire skirt - hem and all - tried it on, and discovered it was over an inch too big at the waist :/  I was so ticked off. I had gained weight at the time, so I knew it needed to be a bit bigger than the last time I made the pattern, but it seems I overcompensated. I had to unpick the entire two piece waistband with top stitching, the waistband seam, the side seam and top stitching halfway down the skirt, and all the serging on the edges to take this skirt in. Nothing like doing a full scale alteration on an item you just finished, right? Not fun. It took me over an hour, but I got closer to a decent fit and sewed it all back up.
Later that week, I went to my moms and sewed the final step - the buttonhole. That night I cut open the hole with my chisel and sewed the button on, only to discover it was just a tad snug in the hole. So I grabbed my seam ripper to just barely open up the hole a little more... AND I SLIPPED. I've seriously never had this happen, but I guess it must happen to everyone at some point. I slit right through the buttonhole stitching and through my tab to about 1/4" from the edge. I was so ticked off, lol. The only thing I could do was sew a perpendicular line to hold the two sides together, then sew an extremely tight zig zag stitch over the rip and then fray check it within an inch of its life, knowing full well this repair may not hold up very well. I've managed to wear and wash this a few times now and thus far it has held up ok, so hopefully I was being overly pessimistic. Interestingly, I have now lost a weight since I made this and the photos were taken (I don't say this to brag - it has not been in a healthy way, but in a "I'm so stressed out I don't feel hungry" kind of way, which I don't recommend), so the skirt is WAY too big yet again. Like 2 inches can easily be pinched at the waistband :/ So who knows how long I will keep this one in rotation - I don't really fancy picking it all apart again, plus it seems to pull a bit odd across my tummy with each alteration at the waist. 

Anyway, I do still wear this skirt in spite of its issues because it makes a great casual, "go with everything" type piece (and my shirts always cover the buttonhole and the loose waist anyway). Mostly, I'm just glad to have sewn something wearable up in my sewing room back in June :) Here's hoping I can make something again soon!

Fabric - 1.4 yards gray?ish cotton twill - $1.00 (thrifted)
Pattern: McCall's 7475
Notions: 7" mustard yellow zipper - $0.10, green button - free, green thread - $1.00
Time: 6 hours
Total Cost: $ 2.10

Monday, August 5, 2019

FO: Fairy Tale Sailor Top

Guys, life is a crazy business. You can be going along thinking one things and then BOOM something else turns out to be your reality and you have to adjust accordingly. It's happened to me a few times before, but I guess I got a little comfortable this time because it's kept me reeling for months now. I've had the pictures done for this post for over a month, but I just could never bring myself to focus on it enough to write anything to go with it. Today I decided to write this post more as a personal will power exercise. SO while this technically isn't anything you haven't seen before, I've gotta start back somewhere, right? Here we go.
This is yet another Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts courtesy of my Creativebug subscription. I've been planning on making this pattern with this fabric for probably over a year now and I decided it would be a good first project in my new sewing room in my new house. The fabric is an Amy Butler cotton voile called Fairy Tale in the Pistachio colorway from the Alchemy line. I picked this up as a 1.60 yard remnant at The Sewing Studio so many years ago that I don't know when. Maybe 2012 or so? I didn't think about this fabric for this project until I made my other cotton voile version. That shirt is so breezy and comfortable and I knew I had to make more.
With all my other versions of this pattern, I've got making it down to a science, and this includes gathering at the neckline.  This shirt has my same forward shoulder adjustment and hollow chest adjustment I did on the Botany voile top so it lays wonderfully on my shoulders.
The one change I made was to curve out the bottom front hem - my previous versions tend to ride up there and it was suggested to me by another sewist that it could be because I need a full bust adjustment and that I could compensate by just adding a little length. It's not totally perfect, but it's much better than my other versions.
And the back view - it's not actually this wrinkly just standing, but I took these pictures after wearing this top out for the first time (scandalous! I never do that) so these wrinkles are courtesy of my several hours of riding in the car that day. 
Another simple but thrilling change I made to this version - I finally remembered to add a ribbon tag to mark the back of the top! It's a little annoying on my other versions to line up the shoulder seams to see which side dips lower to know if I'm looking at the front or the back. Now I can tell at a glance :)
And this was a lovely shirt to wear on my annual Sewing Studio pilgrimage. for their 4th of July fabric sale. I took the fabric back to the source, as it were.
My lovely mom came with me this time and we had a very nice day together buying fabric :) I'm really glad I finally made up this top and that this fabric is no longer languishing in a tub in my closet. And while life is nothing like a fairy tale right now, this fabric definitely lives up to its name. It's such a buttery soft and breezy thing to wear in the horrific heat of Florida summers. Yay for some new clothes at long last!

Fabric: 1.67 yards Fairy Tale Cotton Voile for Alchemy by Amy Butler in Pistachio - $5.50
Pattern: Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts via Creativebug
Notions: Thread - $0.50
Time: 3 hours
Total Cost: $ 6.00

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

World Watercolor Month (Check These Giveaways!)

Since I've been so into watercolor lately, I started checking in on Doodlewash again. I found this website back a few years ago when I first started dabbling in painting and they are a fun resource to get great inspiration and prompts if you're stuck on what to paint. Lo and behold, it's actually World Watercolor Month! They really amp things up during July, so it's only fitting that I decide to pick up the medium again now, it seems.

In honor of World Watercolor Month, Doodlewash is hosting some really wonderful giveaways! I just wanted to give you guys the head's up in case you'd like to start playing with watercolors yourself :) These giveaways expire this week, so click the links to enter while you still can - these are lovely prizes!

Enter Here to win this American Journey watercolor set courtesy of Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

Enter Here to win this Van Gogh 12 pan watercolor set plus 72 color dot card from Royal Talens.

Let me know if you win anything so I can be super jealous! I'll post the new giveaways next week too, so hopefully we can all win some sweet swag!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Watercoloring Again and More Art Shenanigans

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I've recently become obsessed with watercolor painting again. Back in 2017, I decided to learn to watercolor paint. My biggest achievement and most progress was made during July of 2017 when I participated in the Daily Painting Challenge on Creativebug where we painted a new flower each day with Yao Cheng. I had a lot of fun that month, but shortly after that I kind of fell out of the habit. Maybe I was just all painted out after painting every day for a month? Mostly I know that my old problem of not knowing what to paint without having a prompt caused me to just stop painting. I hadn't really picked it back up since then (so sad), but back in June I started to become a bit obsessed again after discovering the work of Josie Lewis. She paints beautiful geometric designs in watercolor, and she put out a book teaching color theory through her designs, so I bought myself a copy. Then she restocked her limited edition watercolor palette in early June and I just had to grab one for myself since I love her chosen colors. 
 This is what came in my package - look at that awesome painting on the cover of the book! The book includes templates so you can recreate these types of paintings yourself, but before you get there it works you through other projects to build up your ability to mix the colors like she does.
 One of the first projects is to make a color value chart - I seriously always love color charts, so I was right on board. I cut some larger watercolor paper in half and printed out the template (which you can download off her website) on nice watercolor paper. I love the format and evenness the template gives and I love that I can see all the colors I can create with this palette at a glance.
I also had to just mess around with the pretty colors, so I painted these little amoebas. Look how vibrant these are! I just love it. I also love the little tin this set comes in - you can mix in the palette really easily and it all closes up very compact (you could easily fit it in your purse). Just bring along a water brush and paper and you're set.
And about a week later I was just messing around and came up with this little painting. I like it so much I made it the cover on my Facebook page, lol. This was before I got better brushes too, so I'm sure I will be playing around more now :) Princeton Neptunes - check. them. out. For real.
 All this playing around inspired me to pull out some other art supplies - acrylic inks! I grabbed these on major clearance and hadn't really used them at all until now. Their little bottles just look so cool and I thought they might work like watercolor (spoiler, they don't - big surprise, right?)/
Then I decided to keep the amoebas going by mixing my few acrylic inks to see what combinations I could get and test out the different looks I could get. The painting on the right is with acrylic ink. I will say that I was impressed with all the colors I could make with just my primary set and the metallics are fun but more designed for lettering, but they just don't have the zip and glow in the color that watercolor gives. They also dry more streaky unless you even it out completely yourself - I was used to the flow of watercolor evening itself out. So, I will certainly use these, I just won't expect them to be like watercolor now. I also decided to make a color chart for another palette - this is the Windsor & Newton Cotman 14 Pan Travel Set, which I do like, but some of the color choices are a bit odd. They include white, which I will probably never use, and the two reds included are so similar I don't really see what the point was there. But the glory of this set is that I can pop out the ones I don't like and replace them with any other half pans I would use instead, so I will be adding a neutral tint I've filled myself and then I'll have to decide on the other color. I LOVE the case on this though. It has several mixing areas, a tiny dish you could mix in or put a little water in to use as a wash, and it includes the most adorable little brush that also fits inside. I just love that everything is so contained and easily portable - plus it's just cute. This was another thing I got on major clearance, so I'm really happy with it for the money. Now I'm just glad I have the colors painted out in front of me for reference.
So, the Josie Lewis book includes lots of projects that are designed to ease you in to more complex color mixing projects. Having made a goal of working through the whole book, I decided to start with the very first one. It involved smooshing acrylic paint around with a palette knife, and it's definitely something I never thought I'd do, lol. It was pretty fun though, even if my color combo came out kind of Miami Dolphins looking. That pthalo green really takes over.
Another beginning project is a color value collage. I've never been one to do much collage, but again it was pretty fun. I used 2 fishing magazines, a crochet magazine, and some junk mailers because that's what I had on hand and I'm pretty happy with the result.
And just yesterday  decided to make color charts for my most used watercolor set - the Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 pan set. I bought this back in 2017 about halfway through the flower painting challenge and I really liked these for how vibrant they were compared to the total cheapo set I was using before. Since there were so many colors, I never did a proper color chart until now. Thanks to the templates in the book, every palette is my oyster as far as color charts go :) I will confess that as I do more watercolor I am less enamored of this set of colors, but they really are lovely so I'm glad I did this to reignite the spark and make me want to use these again. And just as a reference for anyone else out there that is considering getting this set, I've included some close up shots of each page so you can really see the range of colors included.

The final page does have a few extra colors thrown in because I have them in tubes and needed to see their value somewhere. The are Windor & Newton Artists' in Naples Yellow, Windsor & Newton Professional in Neutral Tint, and Windsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Spectrum Yellow. Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there :)

So thank you for enduring all my random art adventures of late! Seriously who knew making color charts and simple art projects with not much skill involved could be so much fun? I will be progressing through the Josie Lewis book throughout the year, so be forewarned that you will see more posts of my projects some time. I've included a link to the Creativebug class that helped me so much in case anyone is interested. Fall down this hole with me!

*contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.