Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today, I had one of those Facebook memories pop up and today is the 10th anniversary of when I bought my first sewing machine!

I bought a Singer Talent 3321 from my local JoAnn that day. And as you know... the rest is history! :)

I sewed on that machine from January 2013 until around April 2015 when I got a Singer Stylist 7258 (it was SUCH a great machine at its price point). I kept that until spring 2017 when I treated myself to a Singer Quantum Stylist 9985 and Brother 2340CV coverstitch for my birthday. 

During the pandemic, I got the Janome Skyline S5 (and upgraded my Brother serger to a Babylock!).

I haven't sewn much in the last year but boy was a busy little bee that first 3-4 years. I sewed HUNDREDS of garments. Some are still in my wardrobe. 

I made this coat on that little $120 Singer!

And these jeans!

And this quilt!

I was so fearless in my sewing! I didn't shy away from anything! Nothing felt "too hard". I just kept sewing and sewing and sewing and one day, I got really good at it :)

I am always so grateful that I took the leap, and always wish I'd started sooner. It truly is a lifelong skill with infinite opportunity for development. 

So while I haven't been sewing a lot, the craft remains such an integral part of my life. Here's to many, many more years of sewing!

Most recent project: 
Burda 12/2020 skirt in an eggplant/plum wool. I wore it for the first time today and I LOVE it. I should have lined it but I was being lazy. :)

And I've started some more knitting! 

We had two baby girls born into our family this month, and of of my closest friends became a grandma to a baby girl as well. So expect a couple more things to pop up! 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Welcome, 2023!

It's so easy to slip away from the blog, isn't it? Eesh. 

Though I haven't been sewing very much and the sewing I have done?? Well...Minnesota winters always present a challenge for photo taking and I just don't have the energy right now to be bothered. 

I think last year may have been the first in like...forever that I didn't do an annual wrap-up! But, I didn't track my sewing, pattern purchases or fabric purchases at all. And...I don't have the energy to figure it out! LOL!

Looking at my 2022 goals posts, My plan was:

  • Trench Coat - Nope.
  • Burda blazer - Nope.
  • Formal black dress - Nope.
  • LBD or jumpsuit - Nope.
  • Men's blazer - Nope.
  • Then, I pivoted with a plan to sew "A Dozen Drafts", but the year had other plans for me. Womp. 
I did sew a couple things last year that are absolute wardrobe staples now:
Burda 2/2013 
(I have a bright blue pair in progress right now)

McCall's 7834 
(and then I made it in white for my birthday!)

Today, January 12th, is actually the anniversary of the day I got my Beatrice form! I still owe you all a write-up and review! This month - I promise.

I don't have a fully formed plan for 2023 yet. I just want to get back to enjoying my sewing space. I am reminded always how much I love blazers so I really want to sew 1 or 2. And, as much as I love Burda for their style and fit, I'm going to have to either find a different pattern. One of the tricky things with more complex garments is knowing what's best practice for seam allowances, etc. I was really loving that vest I was working on and I realized I did something wrong with the facing vs. jacket hem allowance and got discouraged and threw the entire thing away. MEH! 

I also find myself with the same outerwear holes that have persisted. I need 2 more in-between pieces. Which for me are pieces for the 30/35 degree weather. I have two handmade coats that WOULD be good here but I made them both collarless. LOL! The fabric is warm and they are roomy (for layering), but both collarless! And a scarf isn't enough to make them usable for those temps. I also WANT MY TRENCH! I think it's been 4 years now that I say I want to sew a trench coat. I CAN SEW A TRENCH COAT! 

Oh, and skirts. More skirts! :)

I have WIPs for the grandsons - an outfit from Ottobre 4/2022, and I plan to make matching hoodies too. 

Machine knitting goals:

  • Sweaters for the grandsons - No :cry: I got ready to start them and realized I did NOT have enough yarn
  • St. John copycat pants - Not yet! But I did procure wool crepe yarn! Woot!
  • Raglan sweater - SIGHHHHH. I have a WIP and I made a big mistake so I have to get my mojo back to finish it.
  • Sweater with set-in sleeves - Yes! AND I won the 3rd place prize in the Minnesota State Fair!
  • Dolman sweater with detail - Yes! I made a couple of them! 
  • Socks - I made ALL the socks! 
  • Wrap or Poncho - Nope. 
I made a bunch of gifts once I started to feel better during recovery. I made 4 hats (plus 1 for myself!), 5 pair of fingerless mittens (plus 1 for myself!), a pair of flip-top mittens (plus 1 for myself!), 2 cowls, and 2 pair of socks. 

My machine knitting exploded this year! I have ventured into a few areas unexpectedly, but there's more that I want to do! I have yet to make a finished item with my bulky machine, so that's on the agenda. And I am determined to make a fair isle garment. I'm going to do it!!!

Personal goals:

  • Graduate school - Definitely won't be ready to apply Feb 1. When I made this goal last year, I had no clue that the application deadline was so early in the year. So hopefully, I can apply mid-year for Spring entry. 
  • Read 3 books per month - I've barely read any books! Wait, does self-help count? Because I always read self-help books! LOL! I did read a handful of books while I was recovering from surgery, but no where near 3 per month. 
I'm so determined to have a good year. 

Work is really hectic right now and not likely to improve in the near future. I spent weeks just crashing on the couch once I logged off. This past week, I've been a lot better at not doing that. I've tried to expend some energy doing ANYTHING else. Sewing, knitting, decluttering, something

And, I've already attended 3 crafting meet-ups (1 via Zoom) this year! Starting the social aspect of sewing and crafting off right!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Sewing WIP - Style Arc Alexi

I wanted a fitted, zip-front turtleneck and spent a long time thinking about how to do it. I was super over-complicating it. Finally, it dawned on me that a 1/4 zip fleece is basically the same concept, and I found a pictorial which was exactly what I was thinking. Doh.

I had to search high and low for my printed copy of this pattern. I KNEW I'd printed it, but could not find it anywhere.  I'd given up and went into the spare room I'm using as an office, intending to print another copy. Ah! There's another bin in this closet! It was right on top - YAY! 

I haven't sewn a Style Arc pattern in a long time and was a little disappointed when I saw that the size 14 was printed. I've always used a size 12 on top with them and thought I'd have to reprint it (spoiler alert - the 14 is the right size!). It took FOREVER to assemble it - an entire Dateline episode! - and I was really annoyed that the front and back were full pattern pieces - aka a waste of paper. 

I traced everything off, made a 1" bicep adjustment on the sleeve, and called it a night. And then I couldn't find the traced collar piece! BLEH!

This morning, I got started on cutting everything out. I knew the collar as drafted was too tall for what I wanted. In a softer jersey, it would double fold or puddle around the neck nicely, but I was using this firm ribbed knit and inserting a zipper. I decided on a 3" height and then, for some unknown reason, changed it to 4". Sigh. You know where this is going, right? 3 inches would have been perfect. 

I have a lovely, full stash of zippers and this 11" brass zipper with cream tape was perfect. I only wish I'd double-checked the collar height once I had it cut out because I could have shifted it down an inch, easily. 

I marked the center line on the pattern front and fused a 1 1/8" wide strip of tricot interfacing to the wrong side. Cut it down the center and angled to the corners (like with welt pockets), and used Wonder tape to hold it all in place. The zipper insertion went FLAWLESSLY!

The collar scrunches down because 4" is a tad too tall :( but it's still cute!! I need to topstitch the zipper and then I'll be ready to get the rest sewn up. 

I recently finished a dress from the same fabric and I adore it. This fabric was a Fabric Mart find this spring at $3.99 a yard (I snagged 4 yards). There's easily another top worth - ha! Hopefully I can model them, soon.

Here is my recently finished knit sweater :-D

I've also been knitting some gifts and can't wait to share them. Here is a pair of fingerless mitts I snuck in for myself, using the same yarn from my State Fair socks :-D

I knew it would be a close call and yet I was determined to make foldover cuffs. I knitted the first one completely and started the second one. I got to row 72 (of 104) and ran out of yarn. So I frogged them, counted up the total number of rows knitted (because I needed thumbs, too!) and adjusted my pattern. I would have had *just* enough of the patterned yarn to do them in full, but I like the contrast ribbing too :)

Speaking of those socks...I bought a shadow box to frame the socks and my ribbons. Right now, I'm just checking the layout, but I love it! Can't wait to get this mounted. 

I want to sew my blue pants, but also pants with zippers are a real no-no right now. I'm not sure if it's worth spending my energy there, if I can't fit them properly. Maybe I'll give it a bit longer. I wore real pants today to run a few errands and my incisions were very angry with me. oy!

There are a couple of skirts I'd like to sew and a couple of tops, too. I go back to work on the 19th and those first two weeks back will be 3-day weeks (WHEW!) so, I may be able to eek out a couple more garments before the year ends.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Catch up post...

Before surgery, I sewed this McCall's knit top - M7836. I don't know where I got this ponte from but it is really nice and while I like the top, it wasn't the right choice. I'm not sure how much wear the top will get. 

I don't remember all (any?) of the details, but I am sure I did a swayback adjustment and adjusted for my large bicep. I think I shortened it too :)

I finished the Ottobre jackets for the boys. 
They really turned out amazingly well!!

There were some pre-surgery knitting projects - a vest and some hats that I donated:

Because Lily is me, you can see that the armhole is a bit too wide. 

I suck at poms

This one was better :)

knitting a hat in 45 minutes is very rewarding...
I donated 6 hats total. 

I'm not sure that I'll return to Instagram. I'm just not interested in Reels. If I see one more thing "thrown" at the camera, I'm going to chuck my phone. Plus, all of the sudden movements (jerking, flashing images, etc) is a nightmare for me and sometimes makes me physically ill. So I just stay away most of the time. 

Also, I finished my sweater today (Rav page)! I have membership on the Knit It Now site and it allows you to create custom patterns on demand. There are base patterns, you enter your desired measurements and stitch gauge, and it creates a pattern:

This is a simple bateau/boatneck so the front and back are basically rectangles, creating a drop shoulder. BUT, with this one, the front neckline is very slightly shaped so it doesn't come all the way up your throat :) I decided to add a little fair isle to the sleeve using the machine electronics. I used one repeat of the pattern, which was 44 rows. On the first sleeve, it popped up 44 and I stopped, I was supposed to knit one more row and forgot that the machine will ping when it has completed a repeat. I got it right on sleeve 2 so they don't match but, who will know besides me and y'all?! :-D

I made one other mistake, I changed the armhole drop. I don't know why I did this. DOH. I made it 8.5" which is a 'normal' drop and this drop shoulder style would have necessitated a lower sleeve drop. Blergh. It's still wearable and I really(!) like it, so I will definitely update it and knit another version in the future. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

McCall's 6436

Lots of stuff happening and most recently, some major surgery. I'm recovering quite well and have a finished object to share! Not on my person because I am not presentable! But, Lily is me so you can see how well the fit is on this shirt. 

I bought this cotton/rayon blend shirting from Fabric Mart in the spring to make a casual shirt (it washed up so nicely, I ordered 4 more yards to make a jumpsuit). I really did intend to make something with a yoke and back pleat for a casual style, but looking through my stash, McCall's 6436 spoke to me.

It has several pocket options, epaulettes, a 2-piece sleeve and cup sizing. It should be labeled a tunic because it is LONG!!!


I cut a size 16 A/B cup. I fit the pattern on my Beatrice form and made the following adjustments:

  • shortened 1.25" between the waist and hip
  • narrowed shoulder 3/8"
  • lowered bust dart 1/2"
  • added 1" to neckline opening and adjusted collar and stand to match (I have a large neck! But this was a tad bit too much. I added 1/4" to front and back. Next time I'll add 1/4" to back and 1/8" to front for a total of 3/4")
  • 3/8" high round back adjustment
  • sewed back seam of sleeve at 3/8" through the bicep

It has vertical back darts and shaped side seams but manages to not be super fitted. 

I usually cut pattern pieces out as I need them, especially if I am not worried about being short on fabric. I chose the inverted pleat pocket with flap and cut out the pocket pieces and front piece. I cut out the button bands and interfaced them. I marked the seam allowance of the inside edge at 5/8" and then trimmed it down before pressing it. (This fabric took every marking tool extremely well! Wax chalk, Frixion pens, my disappearing ink pen, wax was all good. I did use tailors tacks in a few key places.)

The next day, I cut out the back piece and sewed the darts, and shoulder seams. I also started the sleeves by cutting out and interfacing the cuffs.

Next, I cut the sleeve pieces out, and constructed one sleeve. I also sewed the side seams and hemmed it (by serging and doing a double turned 5/8" hem). The following day, I constructed the second sleeve and cut out and sewed the collar. 

The collarstand and collar construction was the last thing I did! LOL!!! It's so tedious but so critical to get it right! 

I made my markings after interfacing the stand to be sure everything matched up - I always draw in the stitching line along the curved edge. I also mark and press up the seam allowance of the interior stand. Another good tip - sometimes less is more when it comes to grading. It is critical not to trim things down too much or it's hard to fold it all up neatly inside. 

Next up was sleeve insertion. This fabric washed well, pressed amazingly well, took markings well, topstitched DID NOT want to be eased! Oy! Now, this sleeve doesn't have a ton of ease which is nice, but the top portion does need easing in and it took a little work and restitching to get them in nicely.

I only had 9 of these buttons but they were really the right I used a different button on the sleeve cuffs. Shhhhh. No one will know!

I am really happy to have this in my wardrobe!! The fabric is fluid enough that it can be tucked, it can be tied, it can be worn open or closed. I'm very happy with it!

My current  knitting WIP is a drop shoulder sweater with a bit of fair isle on the sleeves.