Monday, July 21, 2014

Muslin Monday - Simplicity 2444

No, this will not be a regular Monday post, lol. I just love alliteration :)

Well it seems I really have the sewing bug again. With all the cute printed cottons I've splurged on lately, I knew I needed a simple pattern that wouldn't break up the patterns to much (so I wouldn't have to match the print so much - I'm lazy, lol). Enter Simplicity 2444, the work horse of the sewing blog world. I've had this pattern for literally years and I never have put it together. I pulled it out of the stash and finally got my rear in gear. I would "allow" myself a tid bit of time each night last week to work on sewing in between other things I needed to do (like clean). I ended up prepping/tracing my pattern pieces one night, cutting out the muslin a night or two later, and finally sewing it up on Sunday before church.
Once it was put together, I was able to diagnose my issues. I'm beginning to notice I have some "usual" adjustments that I will probably have to make to every pattern forever. I had some gaping at the neck, so I did a 1.5" hollow chest adjustment - I just pinched out the excess and pinned it down, then made that my new center fold line of my pattern. I also had to go up to the next size - I was trying to compensate for the extra 4 inches of ease the big 4 pattern companies add and apparently I went down too much. I also had to lengthen the bodice by 2.25 inches - no seriously! I've never really thought of myself as long in the torso, but that was just to get it to hit my actual waist. Because I changed the angle of the center line, I wanted to adjust the darts back to where they were since they really did hit me perfectly right off the bat. Also, I had to extend the darts down to the new waistline. So, I measured the original distance of the darts from the center and shifted them accordingly. Then I lined up the original dart points with the new shifted spots on the waistline and drew a new dart. They seem pretty crazy long, but it did the job. I redrew the pattern with the new adjustments, and ended up with this:
Kind of a creepy smile, but I think it's obvious that I'm pleased, lol. This new muslin is almost perfect. I never tried to sit down with my first muslin on, and I realized that I need a tad more ease in the waist. I also had drawn the sleeves in the smaller size and I think I'll just go up to the next larger for ease of movement. I don't want to have to readjust the whole dress all the time when I raise my hands above my bust. It may look a little more wrinkly under the bust while I'm standing, but at least I know I will be able to move without worrying about it.

After all the problems I had on Butterick 5982, I am really excited to have a pattern I feel I know how to diagnose and fit correctly. Now I'm torn as to which fabric I'll use as the first full test! I am actually so excited that I may end up with 15 dresses from this pattern, lol, we shall see.

Friday, July 18, 2014

FO Friday: Say Hello To Princess Jasmine

Well, I actually managed to finish something this week :) That's one of the glories of amigurumi - they're fairly quick projects!
I finished my commissioned Princess Jasmine! Isn't she cute? The pattern certainly had its issues, but I love the design and I was able to make it work out.
Her earrings are sewn on, but her headband and necklace are removable. Also the hair is just tied back, so the hair can be let loose. I will say, the hair is kind of a pain to arrange correctly, lol. But if you perservere it will eventually lay right.
I just love her eyeliner! Also, the straps of her bodice move - all little things that make her more play-with-able for a kid, I think.
Not a great picture from the back, but it gives you the idea on the hair. To make Jasmine, I used Vanna's Choice in Beige for her skin and in Mustard for her gold accessories. The black is Everyday Soft Worsted and her clothes are in Red Heart With Love in Jadeite. I think they came out very true to the animation colors :)
Here is one thing I did change and I thought I would mention it here for anyone else who wants to try this pattern. The pattern tells you to just make an oval shape for the shoes and not do any additional sewing afterward. This would have lead to a hole in the top of the foot - it looked like a weird boat, frankly. So, I did a whipstitch across the top and it smoothed everything out nicely.

So, that's one Disney Princess finished, and two still to go :) I'm really excited to finish them all and send them on their way!
That's it around here this week :) Head over to Tami's Amis' Blog to see what other fun things people have made.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday

This week has been a bit more non-knit/crochet focused than my weeks have been in a long time, lol. I still managed to get some projects worked on, but I'm in kind of a strange transition period. I'm not really sure what clicked, but all of a sudden I am desperate to get my house organized. I've been sorting through our junk room that has remained untouched since we moved as well as putting everything where it goes/making a large pile for a yard sale in the near future. And I still managed to get some stuff made! lol I'm pretty impressed with myself, I must say :)

Anyway, I started on a new commission this week just for a change of pace. Want to see her?
It's Princess Jasmine! lol She is the first in a series of 3 Disney princesses I will be making over the next few weeks. They will be for a little girl in Japan!
I already have all of Jasmine's other pieces made and ready to put on, so I'm hoping to finish her up tonight :) I just have to fix her hair and put on her jewelry. I used the Jasmine Amigurumi pattern by Sahrit Feurd-Weinstein (specifically requested). I will say, this pattern is definitely not for a newbie! The pattern includes both written row-by-row instructions along with diagrams of the stitches - believe me when I say that I there were many times that I had to look at both to figure out what the designer is trying to say. The wording can be pretty confusing, so I would have to check the diagram and go from that. Also, just the eyeliner and the hair took me a solid hour to finish! And I had to add quite a few more hair strands than the pattern recommends to get her hair to look full (translation - so she didn't have any bald spots, lol). In spite of the issues, I am really happy with how she's coming out. I can't wait to get her finished!

Like I said, after I finish Jasmine I will be making two other princesses. I think I will leave them as surprises on here :) So stay tuned for more Disney cuteness!
I also made some progress on my Myrna over the weekend - gotta love travel knitting! I managed to do all the waist decreases and I'm onto the ribbing. It still looks like it's going to fit right! Hooray :)
I really love how the waist shaping looks - so neat and tidy :)
And here's the ribbing thus far. I've pretty much accepted that I will not be able to complete this sweater for the Outfit Along because of all my other projects I need to finish by the end of the month that are for other people. It's kind of a bummer, but honestly I have come to terms with the fact that I've got to majorly cut back on my knitting/crocheting if I want to get other things about my life organized, and I am ok with that :) As fun as it is to participate in the online knitting/sewing/crocheting community, real life is more important. Plus, I've got the sewing bug again, lol. I've been desperate to try out Simplicity 2444 for a while and that desire is major amped up since I got those awesome printed cottons lately. I've already traced the pattern and cut out a muslin - in actual muslin! Novel idea, I know. I'm not sure when I'll actually get to sew it up and tweak it, but steps have been made and that's exciting.
And since I've worked so hard on this, I will show you my junk rooms even though they are incredibly shameful, lol. The photo to the left is what used to be the "room of doom" - so much so that you could barley walk in the door. As much as I was embarrassed by it, I wish I had taken a before photo just to show how far it's come. The middle is my freshly organised closet in my sewing room. The buckets now are organized by type/size of yarn (one of Caron Simply Soft, one of wool and blends like Patons Classic and WoolEase, one of Bulky, one of "fancy yarns", and one of sport - fingering) and the drawers are all my acrylics I use for amigurumi. The drawers are now organized by brand of yarn (one is Vanna's Choice and Everyday Soft Worsted, the other is Red Heart With Love and Super Saver). I have another drawer unit out in the room that is all cheap thrift store acrylic like Caron Sayelle. I also organized all those boxes at the top with sewing notions, trims, etc. It's been a ton of work. The final pic on the right is my pile thus far of "things to sell" - some will be ebay or craig's list items, but most will be in a yard sale. It's coming along!
So that's been my week :) Head over to Tami's Amis' Blog to see what others are making too!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sewing Supplies Haul

It's that time again! I've made it a tradition to go to the 4th of July sale at The Sewing Studio in Maitland every year, and this year was no different! This time I went with my mom, my sister, and our co-worker who only recently got into sewing and she is completely addicted. It was so fun to expose her to this little bit of heaven of a shop and watch her go wild, lol. I fully meant to take some photos inside, but I was so busy running around that I didn't remember until we were in the car. Oops. So, you will have to live with what I came away with instead :)
As far as the fabric goes, I went in with some very specific items on my list and I am happy to say I came away with several of them :)
  • 3 yards of Michael Miller "Don't let the bird do the dishes" cotton
  • 2 yards of royal blue Imperial Batiste (for my Russian Doll Dress copy)
  • 1 yard of black Cotton Broadcloth
  • 1 yard of Waverly teal and green paisley cotton
  • 3 yards of a mystery rayon in a funky geometric print
  • 3 yards of navy blue Imperial Batiste
I fully plan on making a dress out of the crazy bird material, lol. I've seen a few others around the web use it and I think it's adorable. The royal blue batiste will be for my copy of the Russian Doll Dress. I had never seen anything about this until Sewing Dolly Clacket when Sewing Pies made hers and I instantly fell in love. I already have a yard of Little Kukla by Robert Kaufman that I snagged from Fabric.com and this batiste will go wonderfully for the bodice and hem. I just have to pick a bodice style :) The black broadcloth and the geometric rayon were also purchased to be a dress. I think the geometric print would be a bit to crazy on its own, so I plan on making a waistband with the black - depending on the pattern I go with I may need more, so I bought a full yard. The Waverly print was just too pretty and super on sale, so I got a yard and I'll figure that out later, lol. The navy blue batiste is for McCall's 6503. I'll be making the button top with no ruffle - just like the illustration shows.

I had "cute knits" on my list to try out some t-shirt making, and I was honestly surprised at how many they had to choose from this time. The Sewing Studio sells garment factory remnants in their sale annex and it was full of knits this time around - score!
  • 2 yards blue and white check medium weight knit
  • 1.6 yard remnant emerald green heavy weight knit (like ponte but stretchier)
  • 2 yards blue floral t-shirt knit
  • 2 yards blue with pink cherries t-shirt knit
  • 6 yards white stretch lace border
All of these were bought with with t-shirts in mind, though different shapes and styles of them. The ponte-like stuff will probably be a Parisian Top, while the others will probably be some variation of the Renfrew. I really want to try making a gathered sleeve like some rtw shirts I love. I've been looking for the stretch lace since last 4th of July, but I never came across it in the store until this trip. They had quite a few colors, but not black (boo), so I just got 6 yards of the white. I plan on using this to make modesty inserts for some of my lower cut shirts.

And of course no Sewing Studio trip is complete without visiting the notions wall of loveliness :) Here is what I snagged:
  • 4 yards white poly horsehair braid
  • view-thru pressing cloth
  • seam ripper
  • black and white elastic thread 
  • 3 colors of jeans top-stitching thread
  • silicone thimbles
  • covered button kit, glass head pins
  • top-stitching needles
I've been very curious to try out horsehair braid on a dress hem, so I got just enough to test it out. It comes in plenty of colors, so I hope it works well :) The elastic thread is actually for knitting sweaters (I needed red, but they didn't have it, so I got these two). The thimbles fit my thumb and pointer finger so I'm hoping it will assist in my hand sewing on my animal making. The top-stitching thread was already clearanced and then an additional 40% off, so I grabbed some to try out. I've been meaning to make a denim skirt, so now i have a choice for the thread. The rest are just random notions that are handy to have, so I always grab some at these sales.

I also had buttons on the brain when I was planning my trip initially. Of course when I arrived, I was so overwhelmed by all the fantastic fabrics and whatnot that I had to rush through my button buying. I still managed to get some really cute ones that I am happy with :) They have such a huge selection - seriously so much bigger than a box store.

  • 8 aqua/green buttons with carved leaves
  • 9 mock-wood
  • 6 textured navy blue
  • 8 gold and black old-school clocks
How cool are those clocks! And the green with the leaves were gorgeous - it was hard to photograph them, so I added in the close-up. I honestly wish I had bought more buttons, so I need to make sure and hit that area first next time so I'm not so rushed.

After we finished up at The Sewing Studio, we went to a few other shops and finally ended our day at Joann's. This has also turned into a bit of a tradition because they have had their thread half price for the past few years. So, I stocked up :)
  • 1 skein Everyday Soft Worsted in Baby Yellow
  • 12 spools of thread (various colors and sizes)
  • 1 spool red elastic thread
  • 8 owl buttons
  • 6 white rose carved buttons
They has red elastic thread! Yay :) So now I'm good with elastics for a while, lol. I planned out what fabrics I needed threads for the night before we went and I cut little swatches of them so I could match the thread - this worked amazingly well. I will absolutely be doing this in the future and I highly recommend it. It was so much easier than carrying around my whole yardage. The yarn was just super clearanced (and I love this yarn), and I looked at those buttons a month or so ago but didn't buy them. Now I have owl buttons! lol I know they are designed for baby clothes, but I don't care. I can see them on a sweater in the future :)

And when you have fabric on the brain while there are plenty of sales going on, it's hard to get out of that mode. When I got home that day, I realized that I forgot to pick up any white ribbed knit, so I turned to Fabric.com. This is dangerous when they are running a big 4th of July sale. I mean, I needed to spend $35 to get my free shipping, right? lol So a few other items hopped into my cart and they just arrived today.
The prices on these have all gone back up now, but I got all of this for just over $35 - nice! The rib knit is a bit thin, but I figure I can just double it up for my purposes. The aqua dot was for a contrast on a dress, but I'm not really sure it will go with the main fabric I'm using - we'll see. The other two were just awesome fabric at great prices. I mean, who doesn't need a dress with chairs or city scapes all over them? The chairs is a Robert Kaufman, so it's a lovely feeling fabric - so soft with a little weight but still some drape - and I haven't even washed it yet! The city scenes is by Andover, so it's also a nice quality cotton, plus I just love how bright the pink is. This is one of the first times I've bought online and the real fabrics came in the exact colors I thought they would be :)

So yeah, lots of fun future projects. I've been on a serious organize/clean/get-rid-of kick lately ... meaning all over my whole house, and just yesterday I made it into the sewing room. I've been washing fabric and putting it away, reassessing some of my thrift store purchases, and I even organized my yarn! It's a nice feeling to not have to move things to find something, or step around a bunch of bags to get to where I need to be. I'm not done yet, but I know it will greatly contribute to my productivity. I'm just one of those people who need everything clean to be creative. I'm hoping to muslin a new pattern or two so I can make some fun print dresses soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My First 29th Birthday

I keep saying I am planning a post about my recent birthday, but I haven't actually done it til now ... 3 weeks later, lol. Can't rush. Just to warn you, this is pretty much just a bragging post, lol.
I had to work on my actual birthday, so my husband and I spent the day before together to celebrate. I decided to go to the temple :) We hadn't been through it in a while together, and it was a really nice day. But before we did that, I went by Moe's to get my FREE BIRTHDAY BURRITO! lol Seriously, sign up for their emails now because you will get a free entrée coupon. And we finished off the day with even more food - dinner at Cypriana, my favorite mom and pop Greek restaurant. We had saganaki, avgolemono, gyros, and galaktomboureko (pictured in the bottom right). So delicious!
The next day was my actual birthday, so after work my whole family went to Orlando to have dinner at 4 Rivers Barbecue. I had never eaten there before and I've always heard good things - let me just affirm ... it was fantastic! You order and sit cafeteria style, and we had 13 people so we took up quite a bit of room, lol. We all ate our fill of delicious food and we all still had enough to take home for lunch the next day - that's how much food you get! We even bought a full almond cake from their "Sweet Shop" and had that at our little party on Sunday. It was so awesome! As you can see, I had many celebrations, lol.
My parents gave me my gifts that they picked up for me on their recent trip to visit my sister in Japan. It's the Paddington Bear bag set from Shinzi Katoh! I've wanted these since the last time we went to Epcot (about a year and a half ago). I fell in love with pretty much everything Shinzi Katoh made - cute doodles, fairy tales, some in French translations, all with slightly off translations into English - what's not to love?! I warn you, if you Google their designs, you will be come addicted to. I didn't buy any at Epcot since they were all crazy expensive there - turned out they were about half that price in Japan (go figure). So my mom got me the large tote bag and an insulated lunch bag :) They are so adorable! Check out that explanation of the Paddington stories - that's printed on the bottom of the bag. So cute! I just love it, lol.
My gifts from my husband came a little late, so he let me go on a mini shopping spree before our 4 Rivers dinner at the Anthropologie sale. Anthropologie is honestly one of my favorite stores ever, but I rarely am willing to pay their prices. Thank heavens for the sale! I got an adorable apron (husband says I look like a Disney character in it, lol), I also snagged some really pretty book plate stickers and an amazing mustard yellow sweater. I've never spent so much on a sweater before, but now that I am a knitter I can really appreciate a well made one! This one is put together exactly like a handmade one and it has a fancy slip stitch on the yoke with a star stitch everywhere else. Even cooler is that the areas were it is seamed together are all about an inch or so wide of stockinette - what a cool idea! I'm hoping to find a pattern like this so I can make more in every color :) My parents gave me the cute stickers and stuff when they gave me the bags. It's all Shinzi Katoh and there are 2 packs of stickers, a pretty pocket mirror and a magnetic bookmark. So cute! A few days later my gifts from my husband arrived. He got me a yarn swift!!! It is seriously so much fun. He also got me the awesome hand mixer I wanted (a Cuisinart) and a 14" stainless stir-fry pan (as seen with my reflection when it was all new and shiny).
Also on my mini Anthropologie spree I got this amazingly gorgeous cookbook - À La Mère De Famille. It's a beautiful book full of age-old recipes from the famous confectioner in Montmartre (Paris). It's been open since the 1700s and some of these recipes are just as old. It's full of chocolate, candy, cake, and cookie recipes and I basically can't wait to make the whole book. I highly recommend taking a gander at this book (I attached the amazon link so you can "look inside"). I think my husband was most happy with this gift since it will benefit him as well, lol.

I even had another celebration with my husband's family the next weekend :) This year's birthday was really my most fun in many years. We've had a few unfortunate occurrences on my birthday since we've been married (including a few funerals and a major surgery), so it was nice to have a fuss-free good time. Thanks everyone so much for all the awesome gifts and parties!

Friday, July 11, 2014

FO Friday: Firefly Testing - Meet Ferdie!

I am seriously so remiss in posting about this project! I made this as a pattern test literally a month ago (geez!) for the lovely Chloe of Amination. She just released a cute little collection called Microcosmos and I got to test out the Firefly!
Isn't he just adorable?! This was a very quick little guy - I made him in just 2 hours - and he takes very little yarn.
For my first foray with this pattern, I used all the recommended colors. I used Premier Everyday Soft Worsted yarn for the red, white and brown. The yellow is Red Heart With Love and the tan is Patons Canadiana in Flax. I used a size H hook, but I do crochet tightly so most could probably use a G hook. 
The color changes make this a bit of an intermediate project, but it's really not hard at all. I used 12 mm safety eyes for mine. I love that you can lift up his wings and wiggle his legs :)
I am super happy with how this came out! The pattern is really well written and everything is explained well so even a beginner could tackle it. I'm so excited to try him out in different colors! (I'm seeing a green and yellow one in the future). I would definitely recommend the pattern as well as the rest of the Microcosmos gang. Just look at that lady bug! Thanks so much for letting me test your fantastic pattern, Chloe! I really love it :)

*I received the pattern Microcosmos: Firefly by Amination for free to test it for any errors. I was not obligated to review the pattern on my blog, so all opinions are 100% my own. It's just so cute I had to share!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Things have taken a nice turn around these parts lately. I had my husband ask the zombie-recipient's-dad when the birthday is (meaning when does it need to be done), and I found out it's July 31st! Hizzah! My husband has just told me "July" from the beginning, so I've been really worried it wouldn't be finished. Now I don't have to doggedly plug away at the zombie while forsaking all other responsibilities like I was doing for the past few weeks. In celebration, I spent a little time on my Myrna :)
I knitted a few hours on it this weekend and it is almost back to the point it was at before I frogged the whole thing. Yay! And even better - it fits! My gauge is still tighter than listed in the pattern, but I'm knitting the same size. It looks like it will come out with just a bit of negative ease - perfect! I can't wait to get more done on it. I'm fairly certain I will be dying the finished result though. I've been mulling over it while I knit and I honestly don't have anything to wear with a cream colored sweater. Now to just pick what color I would wear. Decisions, decisions.
On the zombie front, I have the actual doll completely finished except his hair. I've finished the fronts of his sweater and I'm almost finished with the back. I still have to finish the sweater, make pants, and make a rat - then it's done! I can't wait, lol, mostly just so I don't feel guilty it isn't done anymore.
 Don't you just love how his sweater compliments his ... eye :)
I've also been in a very "get-stuff-done" type of mood lately. So much so that I did a mega deep clean on my living room. It's been an embarrassing wreck ever since our office flooding incident, and now it looks great :) As a reward for my hard work Sunday night, I spent Monday night working on my long anticipated dress! I finally put in the zipper and honestly it doesn't look too bad. This is my first time doing a slot seam zipper, so I'm really happy with it. That said, I'm not happy with how the dress fits now. I'm not sure how it happened, but when I put the dress on with the zipper it looks like my boobs are being bound down and I get wrinkles above them at my arm pits. Also the arms are weird, but that's my fault for not including them in any of my 3 muslins of this bodice. Rrrrr... Oh well. This was meant to be kind of a wearable muslin anyway, so I'm not too beat up about it. I just wish I knew how to fix these issues so that I could make it in the future without all the problems.
That's all that's going on around here (except for a crazy amount of sorting and cleaning and getting-rid-of). Head over to Tami's Amis' Blog to see what others have going on :)