Monday, February 24, 2014

Under Construction

Please bare with me as the blog undergoes a makeover. I am experimenting as I fiddle around and change things and it sort of between phases at the moment! I promise it won't stay this way long!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February - Pattern - Cinnamon

Brianna Figueroa's pin on Pinterest.

I can't believe half the month is over and I am just now starting my Pattern Inspiration for February! That was definitely not the intention. I am glad that I don't have extremely lofty goals this year as I am finding it hard to accomplish even these smaller ones. That isn't to say that things aren't progressing in my sewing room. It's just much slower going than I would like. I also had unexpected company this month, but it was nice!

Here is a brief update of what I have going on before we start the main topic for February.I have the Friendship Braid Quilt that I started on last year pieced and pin based; ready to start the actual quilting process. I also started a new Hazel dress this month that is nearly complete. I have two knitting projects on the needles, a simple short row scarf that is perfect for the nights that I am too tired to do much but still want something to work on and a cable scarf that is a bit more complicated. I hope to finish these as we near the end of the month.

This month's project which is Colette Pattern's Cinnamon Slip Dress has not even better started - unless printing the pattern and prewashing the fabric counts? I am going to have to go ahead and say it does! I thought since I had a long weekend for President's day that I would come out ahead but the previously mentioned unexpected company meant my project took a back burner to being a hostess.

Since I intend to wear this as a lounge dress/night gown I chose a medium blue, cotton voile for the fabric. The fabric is soft and absolutely gorgeous. The best part is I got it this past year when the local fabric store decided to only sell sewing machines and purchased it for a steal!

I will probably add a simple lace trim, but nothing too fancy since this is also a test garment of sorts being my first time to make this pattern. If all goes well I might make a summer dress version. That is the great thing about this pattern there are super cute versions for both lounge wear and everyday wear.

Wish me luck! I am going to need it to get this finished this month!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Godey's Lady's Book

One of the requirements at my college is that every student take an American History course. There are options to choose to study it through the eyes of major minorities that are present in the U.S. which included women. Since that was obviously an area that I identified closely with I chose that option.

While fashion is not a main point of conversation it does come up quite frequently in our discussions. Our professor often says if you follow the fashion you can get a glimpse of what is going on in women's history. Basically women wore more constricting clothing during times of less freedom and during periods of enlightenment you would see less constructive clothing, this was often cyclical.

What a way to pull a girl into history, then with fashion! At least it made me sit up and pay attention!

Godey's Lady's Book began publication in 1830. Interestingly enough the publisher who was a male understood women's role at the time as the manager of the home meant even then that she was an important role in the growing economy. He centered this publication around just that; including things about being a proper wife and mother while bringing women into a role of a consumer which was in direct opposition of these teachings of encouraging the women to stay within the domestic role of the home. The home was consider a safe place from a harsh and materialistic world.

The magazine also included articles written by women which started at a time when this was extremely rare. Though these articles were often centered around instructing other women on the importance of true womanhood (staying with the domestic sphere). This might sound like women were helping to keep other women in their place (and in essence they were), it is important to note that the majority of women openly embraced this and used the teachings of true womanhood to give their life meaning.

This magazine which was the most widely circulated ladies magazine (some sources strike Ladies and just say the most widely published magazine) up until the civil war included information about housekeeping, a sheet of the latest popular music for the piano, the latest fiction writing and poetry, and a hand-tinted (factory workers colored by hand) fashion plate complete with pattern and measurements for sewing this garment at home!

Providing a pattern for home sewing in a magazine was a novel concept at that time! This was a pretty expensive process and despite being so widely circulated which I am sure helped with the costs it was a full dollar more expensive then other popular publications.

Women used this as a source to replicate the latest fashions and even ideas for their wedding dresses. Despite the many differences in our lives today it is fun to know that many of us share a common band with these women of the past of sewing and fashion. The images have gorgeous detailing! I thought it was also interesting to note that use of stripe, plaids, ruffles, scallops, bows - many of the same details we find interesting today.

Please note I pulled facts about this book directly from my textbook Through Women's Eyes by DuBois and Dumenil and Wikipedia. All image sources can be traced through the Pins.

I was interested in seeing more of these lovely images and maybe you are as well? If so, I found a fairly inexpensive (about $20) digital CD for purchase on Ebay with many of the issues. I also found individual issues up for sale but many of these if complete were quite expensive. Amazon also has sales up for posters and paper dolls. Would decorating your sewing room in these pictures be lovely?

This is different from my usual posts and I hope you found this topic as interesting as I have. I plan to write a few more posts about History & Fashion as I make my way through this class.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January Pattern - Fail

Caught On A Whim on Pinterest.

I wish I had a huge success story to begin the new year, but I don't. Looking on the bright side it is good to find time to sew and develop a process that works for me. This tutorial ended up being a fail for me - for a number of reasons. The first is that I just didn't like the way my (wearable) muslin was looking on me. I wish I had pictures to show you but to be honest since my number one goal is getting things accomplished in the short amount of time I do have I didn't finish it. I have a basket on my cutting table that has recent scraps of fabric. My cat Frosty likes to sit in this basket and was excited to see such a nice scrap making it into her "bed".

I really should have read through the tutorial before committing myself. I don't like the way the seam finishes, and I think I would prefer to have a zipper instead of it being a pull-over. There are also some corrections that need to be made to the tutorial. These are all things that an experienced seamstress would read, notice and change as they are making the garment. So, if you feel this suits your tastes - don't worry about that. I am not bashing it. It just isn't for me.

I even contemplated using the pieces as a rough base to draft my own pattern. But there are so many simple peplum top tutorials and patterns out there. I am confident there is one that fits my needs already.

This year I really want to focus on the details of garment construction and adding some well crafted, lovable stapels to my closet. I am glad I used some cheaper fabric to make a muslin because this wasn't going to fill that need.

For now, I am focusing on some WIP's I have that I will be able to complete in short order and getting a jump start on February. Have you had any sewing dissapointments lately and what did you learn from them?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pencil Case

Back in August when I was starting Fall semester I posted about a few things I would like to make for school. One of them was this cute bow-tie pencil case that I found on Pinterest.  I finally got around to it just in time for this semester!  Here it is!

I will tell you that I did find the tutorial for this slightly confusing and ended up after installing the zipper sort of going rogue.  In the end, all worked out for the best and I have a finished pencil case.  One other thing to note is that the pattern comes with the ability to make the bow on both ends which I didn't use.  In that case you cut the pattern out centered on the fabric and it uses up a lot of fabric.  I ended up using just two fat quarters for mine which is much more conservative.  I extended the pattern by 3.5" and cut it out of each fat quarter separately and then used the scraps of one for the lining (with ample scraps left over).  However, if you were going to do it this way and wanted both sides the same you will need a half yard of the main fabric (or at least slightly over a 1/4 yard) and 1/4  yard or at least a large scrap for the contrast lining.

I was able to fit three mechanical pencils, a refill container of lead, a large eraser, four pens, and five highlighters into this little case (it is filled with all of this in the pictures).  Despite the contents it is still rather compact but cute to carry and it sure beats the plastic ziplock bag I used for the first semester.  I kind of became known as the person who always had an extra pen, pencil, or highlighter if you found yourself without.  At least now I won't cringe inside about having to pull out my pencil case.  Isn't that bow adorable?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Next Six Months - My Sewing Plan

As I mentioned I am ready to take action and spend more time doing and less time day-dreaming about doing. To accomplish this I need to have a plan and be ready to take actions when I actually have time to sew.This is my plan for the next six months.

Caught On A Whim on Pinterest.

January: Simple Peplum top - Not only do I need more beautiful tops that are comfortable and pretty but this also helps accomplish the goal of actually doing something with the inspiration I find on Pinterest (that is where I stumbled across this tutorial). This is a very simple pattern, but I am hoping to squeeze in some time finish off some WIP's I have on my sewing table as well (one top that needs just a zipper and another that needs some hand stitching at the collar). I have fabric for up to three variations if I can find time for them all.

February: I purchased the Colette Cinnamon slip dress pattern last year during Valentine's day thinking it would be a great time to sew up a beautiful slip dress that could be used as lounge-wear. I already have the fabric and everything.

March: Blue Ginger Doll Mae Blouse - This is a good selection for me because it is another simple yet beautiful blouse patterns and gives me the chance to try pattern company that I haven't tried before. I will have to purchase this pattern, but I am hoping I can use some fabrics from my stash.

April: Open - I have some ideas for this already, but I also know that a new pattern could come out that I might really want to make right away. So, I am keeping this open while I work on the other items to give me some flexibility.

May: Craftsy Flirty Day Dress - I have already purchased the fabric and the class.

June: WIP Reserve or Quilt - I already have a few WIP's from last year that need to be finished. I am going to try to squeeze them in between these other projects, but if that doesn't happen or I fall behind in my five patterns from the first half of the year I will take this time to complete them. If by some miracle I do not have any WIPs to work on and am doing great on this challenge I will work on the quilt this month and move the WIP month to the next round.

Instead of setting a bunch of rules for myself that might take the fun out of the creation process I am going to be easier on myself and say that if I get to February and I don't feel like creating Cinnamon that month I could switch it with another month in this set. However, I will do my best to keep the patterns chosen and the goal the same unless I find for some reason that pattern doesn't work on (ie. I am half-way through my wearable muslin and I know there is some reason the pattern is going to be something I'll wear once finished). That is the plan! I hope you enjoy following along - I am off to get started!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sewing and other goals for the New Year

I finished my first semester back to school three wonderful weeks ago. I thought I would be knee deep back into blogging by now, but I am only just getting started for a number of reasons. I spent the past three weeks moving into my new sewing room, giving my house an in-depth reorganization and cleaning, reading a book I promised my husband six months ago I would get around to and spending as much time as I could snuggling him and our children (the furry kind).

First an update on school, I loved every minute of it. I could write an entire blog post or two about my experiences in going back to school in my thirties, but I am not sure that is of interest to any of you. The short of it is that I will be starting spring semester today with three more classes that I am excited about. I was a little sad that my photography class ended but I'll be doing some lab course work during the upcoming semesters and practicing some of what I learned here on the blog *(though I do need to get some new equipment (mostly a remote so I can take my pictures on my own). You will see some of my work when I show you my new sewing room in a future post.

My goals for the New Year are as follows (non-sewing / craft related):

* find time to eat healthier and excersize more
* continue to get good grades in school and make school a priority in my life
* take on two big home improvement projects (new windows, new insulation, redoing the fire place are some of the things being considered)
* take time to read for fun
* spend time improving my photography

Sewing / craft related goals:

* make time to blog (I would like to average two posts per a week)
* knit a sweater or cardigan
* ensure I am using some of the items that I pin
* make another quilt
* sew 10 new patterns **

I struggled my first semester back to school finding time to balance everything I needed to do with what I wanted to do. I arranged my scheduled a little bit better this time around and also decided that I needed to make a plan and that was easier to accomplish. I wanted to sew so many things last year that I got stuck in the wanting stage and when I did find time to sew I struggled with making the choice of what to sew and what had to wait and by the time I made any meaningful decisions I was out of time or needed to work on a gift for someone. I also ran last minute on nearly everything and I made some great things I wish I had photographed before giving them away.

This year my plan is simple. I am borrowing a little from Lucky Lucille and her 12 pattern plan but tweaking it slightly to fit what I feel I can accomplish. I am going to sew 10 patterns one each month, leaving one month to finish items in WIP and reserving one month for my quilt. Like Rochelle, I can make multiples of an item. I do want to ensure that I have a nice fit before cutting into any expensive fabrics, but since I feel I could end up struggling to complete anything time-wise if I make an actual muslin of anything I am going to settle for using some of the cheaper fabrics in my stash to make what will hopefully be wearable muslins. I am trying to use patterns that are already in my stash for the most part. I am only going to plan for the six months at a time.