3.30.2014

Two Types Of Garments


You know how sometimes you make something that is absolutely fabulous, but then you stop and ask yourself "where the hell will I ever wear this thing?"


And sometimes you make something that is decidedly less fabulous, but you realize that you'll most likely wear it once a week, every week, until the end of time.


Well, this top falls firmly in the latter category.  It's a Tova top that has been sewn up by just about every sewist under the sun so it's less than thrilling to see yet another version, but given how much wear my first Tova still gets I'm guessing that this one will similarly get a ton of use.  The fit is a bit better on this one since I went down a size to compensate for my now nonexistent chest (thanks, kids!) and I also happen to like love this color a lot more.  I'll take some really bright great fabric any day!  The fabric is a fairly lightweight swiss dot cotton that I bought ages ago at Fashion Fabrics Club.  It was about time that I finally got around to sewing it into something.  Plus, this top is kind of perfect for spring.  Now if only we could get some spring-like weather.  Any day now...

3.26.2014

Victoria BC (AKA What I Learned On Our Three Day Vacation)



- That a lifetime with Ben means a lifetime of running for ferry boats.

- That while Victoria may promote itself as having a temperate climate let's remember that that's compared to the rest of Canada.  I'm going to go on the record as saying that it is not warm there in March!


- That we are physically incapable of eating a meal at a restaurant without spilling at least one drink all over the table.

- That it is impossible to pack light when each child sleeps with a doll, a blanket, and a lovey.

- That afternoon tea is possibly the best - and most delicious - creation ever.  And O sipping tea with her pinky in the air is possibly the cutest thing ever.


- That I love my child's bedhead and I refuse to get rid of it.


- That I will never get tired of seeing my girls hug and kiss each other.


On a less positive note, I did purchase two pieces of fabric while up in Canada but I purchased them at possibly the least friendly fabric store that I've ever been in.  Granted, my children were little hellions in the store, but perhaps if someone had offered some assistance I would have been able to get my little hellions out of there a bit quicker.  I'm just sayin'. 

Okay, rant over.  Back to focusing on my love of this sweet and scenic city.

And the biggest piece of fried salmon that you ever did see.


3.19.2014

A Birthday Invitation Is Born

You know what I love?  User-friendly graphic programs because while I bought Photoshop Elements about two years ago I've never managed to find the time or brain power to sit down and learn all the ins and outs of the program.  Basically, I've just abandoned it in favor of iPhoto and Picmonkey because I'm super-lazy like that.  Feel free to judge away.


So when I found Piktochart, a free user-friendly program that allows you to design your own infographics, I think I may have done a little happy dance.  And after completing said happy dance I sat my butt down and designed a little infographic for C's upcoming 2nd birthday.  After fiddling with it for a couple hours, tweaking little things here and there, I realized that I had no idea where to print something like this.  Turns out that you can do it at Costco (because, really, what can't you do/get at Costco?).  So I stuck the infographic on the front and a little picture of C on the back and ta-da!  A birthday card was born.


Considering that I was in labor with C for a whopping two and a half hours, I may have spent more time making this card than actually birthing this nugget.  How's that for perspective?

* And yes, that's not actually C's name on the invitation.  What can I say?  We love a good alias around here.

3.09.2014

Ikat Blazer (How's That For a Creative Title?)



Well, I'm still trying to sew from my stash when I can, but what can I say?  Sometimes a girl's gotta buy a little fabric (especially when said fabric is 20% off) and that's just what I did a couple weeks ago. I've been meaning to try out the blazer pattern from Simplicity 2250 for a couple months now but I wanted to be able to pick out the fabric for it in person to make sure that the weight would be right and with life being crazy right now it took a while to find time to make it to a real fabric store.  But I'm so glad that I waited because I love this fabric with the design of the blazer.  The fabric is a cotton twill with a little bit a stretch to it so it'll be easy to wash (something that I always appreciate) without looking overly casual.


When I told Ben what I was planning on making with the fabric he looked at me like that was the worst idea that he's ever heard.  It's possible that he just didn't like the fabric, but it's more likely that he was thinking of all the things that can go wrong in sewing a blazer.  Fortunately this is the simplest jacket/blazer you can image.  There is a facing for the front panels so that it looks nice when open but the rest of the jacket is unlined.


Because it's unlined I got all fancy and did french seams on the inside seams that aren't covered by the facing and I eliminated the back seam, but that was mostly because I didn't want anything breaking up the ikat pattern on the back.


As for the size, I cut out a straight size 10 but I slimmed the waist line a tiny bit to give the blazer a bit more definition in the waistline.  I also sewed all the bias binding on by hand to give the jacket a cleaner finish (plus, I kind of suck at sewing binding on with the machine).  I have to say that the length of this blazer is perfect (which is a miracle since I was super-lazy and I didn't make a muslin) but I wish that I had made the sleeves full length rather than 3/4 length.  Oh well.  Perhaps having my wrists cold will just motivate me to make another one of these suckers!


3.02.2014

Elephants on Parade


In case you haven't noticed allow me to point out that there's been a distinct lack of sewing for me around here lately.  Why?  It's pretty simple actually - most of the things that I've attempted to sew for myself lately have ended up being little disasters.

First there were the leggings that I made out of fabric that was too thin for the job and when I put them on I discovered that they show off every lump and bump I own (and my undies).  No bueno.

Then there was the dress that I drafted and made in an attempt to copy a store-bought dress that I own.  I tried to make it out of a really lovely cotton/lycra knit but it ended up being way too tight.  Not a little bit too tight, mind you.  Like "sausage casing" tight.  Not attractive.  And also no bueno.


So after those two projects I was a bit put off of sewing for myself for a while.  It's pretty disheartening when hours of work and yards of fabric end up looking like crap.  But if there's one thing that I've learned from my statistics class this quarter it's that the probably of a project failing three times in a row is only 12.5 percent.  See, math can be fun.

I was thinking of making a tried and true Tova top in an attempt to get at least one success under my belt, but then I became enamored with the idea of sewing up this fantastic batik fabric into a peplum top.  I mean, who doesn't want a peplum that looks like a bunch of elephants on parade?


The fabric is part of a bundle that my mom gave me a couple years ago in an attempt to clean out her ridiculously old stash of fabric.  It's a batik that she bought back when she lived in Indonesia almost forty years ago.  I'd say that it was about time that it got made into something.


For a pattern I used Vogue 8815 which I've actually made before but I was breastfeeding the first time around and now I'm not which means that my chest has shrunk about two sizes since the first time I made the top so I ended up having to make a muslin once again.  I cut out a size 8 but took in the sides a bit around my underarms and let them out a bit around my waist.  I also sewed the peplum on with a 3/8 seam allowance rather than a 5/8 to get the pepulm to hit at my natural waist and I lengthened the peplum portion of the top by about a 1/2 an inch.  I finished the neckline and armholes with homemade bias tape and since I ended up making my bias tape too very narrow I trimmed a 1/2 an inch off of the armholes before attaching the bias tape.  I also ended up lowering the neckline since I discovered that a really high neckline doesn't look so good on me.  When all was said and done I was pretty happy with the entire top except for one thing - there was a bunch of excess fabric around the chest area that I somehow didn't notice when I made the muslin.  I would attribute the excess fabric to the fact that I have a teeny-tiny chest but I remember also having some excess fabric on the top the first time I made the pattern so I'm thinking that the issue may be with the pattern and not my tiny chest.  In any case, while complaining to my husband about the gaping neckline I was hit with a moment of inspiration and decided to make two tiny pleats in the top to take out the excess fabric - and what do you know?  It worked! 


These two little pleats are like two little magicians, turning a top that I kind of liked into a top that I kind of love. 

On a totally unrelated note, allow me to tell you how much I love this cake and caramel sauce.  I made it recently for Ben's birthday and I have to say that it far exceeded my expectations (actually I believe my exact words were "I want to bathe in this sauce").  If you make it you'll either thank me or curse me as you're eating your third piece (or as I like to call it "the piece I'm going to regret").
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