Thursday, October 16, 2014

Green and Gold for the Win!


I didn't have as much time for knitting or sewing this week as I wanted, so I don't have anything to share from my fall sewing and knitting plans.  However, I do have a darling face to show off :)

Over the summer I knit my daughter a hat in Packers colors to wear this fall and winter.  It was all done except for the pom-pom.  I wanted to make sure that I would have enough yarn to knit a green hat in the next size up.  As the weather cooled down, I started having my daughter wear her pom-pom-less hat, but I felt it really needed the pom-pom.  This forced me to finish the larger hat, so I could see how much yarn would be left for the pom-pom on this hat.  Luckily, toddler hats don't use a lot of yarn, so there was plenty left over to make a nice full pom-pom.


I know I've shared this hat pattern a billion times on this blog (okay, not quite a billion, but a few times at least), but it's just a great hat.  My little girl actually likes wearing it.  All summer she tears off her sun hats and runs away.  But now that the weather has cooled, when she wants to go outside, she brings me her shoes and hat.  She rarely tries to take the hat off when we are outside.


Part of me feels bad for making her a hat in the colors of a sports team (we don't even let her watch tv yet, so she really has no idea what Packers football is all about).  The hat does look like it belongs to a little boy, but all I see is my baby girl when I see her wearing this hat.


Now that my little one is set with a hat for winter, I realize that I have never knit myself a hat and I could sure use one.  Does anyone have an adult hat pattern that they simply love?  It needs to be something that will keep my head and ears warm, not a fashion hat for winter.  My girl loves to be outdoors, and I have a feeling we will be spending a lot of time tromping through the snow this winter.  Eek, it just feels wrong to be talking about snow and winter already, but truly it is just around the corner!

Annabelle

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Falling Leaves Belcarra


Can you believe it, two completed sewing projects in two weeks?  I think I'm on a role!  Actually, I picked the two easiest projects from my fall sewing plans to sew up first.  Last week I shared my Renfrew top, which was a very quick sew.  This week I have my Belcarra blouse, which was another relatively quick sew.  I did take the time to blind stitch both the neck facing and hemline, but even with the hand sewing and french seams this baby sews up quickly.


 Hands down, my favorite thing about this top is my fabric selection.  I mean, those vibrant colors and that beautiful drape of the fabric - love!  That said, when I first started cutting out this project I whined and complained (to myself) about how much I hate sewing with rayon.  One absent minded moment and it would look like my 14-month-old helped me during the cutting process.  Sadly, I do this little pity party charade every time I sew with rayon.  Then, once I have a completed project, I'm all I need to stock up on rayon and sew with it more often, rayon is the best.


I made up a muslin of this shirt before I started cutting out my fabric and immediately decided that I needed to bring in the neckline a bit.  So I did bring it in about 3/4 of an inch on each shoulder, but I am wondering if I need to do so even more next time.  It doesn't look too bad in these pictures, but in the reality of chasing after a toddler I find that I am always adjusting the blouse so that my bra strap isn't showing.  If I elegantly trotted off to lunch dates and happy hours in red heels, maybe it wouldn't be a problem.  But, that is not my life, even if I pretended so for these pictures.


I am delighted that the fall colors are taking their time, so there is still plenty of beautiful scenery in my yard to shoot these photos.  While the hazelnut (or chestnut) tree has lost most of its leaves, there are still a few trees in the yard that have only just begun changing colors.  Hopefully things will continue to cooperate as I sew and knit up the rest of my fall wardrobe.

If I am going to continue my progression of easiest/quickest sew to most difficult/time consuming sew, that means my Beignet is next!  Will I stick to the plan . . . 

Annabelle

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hazelnut Harvest Renfrew



It really feels like fall now, and just in time for fall I've got the first completed item from my fall sewing plans!  This is my Hazelnut Harvest Renfrew, named such because I finished it just in time to start harvesting the hazelnuts from our tree.


I seriously love this top.  I really need more long sleeves in my wardrobe, as I hardly have any RTW and absolutely no hand made clothing with long sleeves.  The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and there are still a few yards left.  It's a rayon and cotton blend, so there is a bit of drape and just the right amount of stretch.


I love how perfectly the stripes on the side seam lined up.  Can you see the seam?  How about that stripe matching on the front band as well?  Actually I think larger stripes like this (1" stripes) are pretty easy to mach up, but very gratifying nonetheless.  


I made this pattern with no adjustments as I didn't need to make any adjustments with my first Renfrew.  The sleeves are a tad long, but I kind of like them that way because I love to hide my fingers inside my sleeves on cooler days.  I haven't decided if I will shorten the sleeves on my next Renfrew, but it doesn't matter because that's not the next item on my sewing list anyway.

Have fall colors started where you live?  I simply adore this time of year and can't wait for the rest of the colors to appear.

Annabelle




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Picking up my Knitting


Last week I went to visit my Baba and Dido to see if the beets in their garden were ready because I wanted to make some borscht.  While I was there, my Baba picket a bouquet of flowers for my daughter.  As my little girl was having fun running around their yard with the flowers in hand, I decided they were as much my flowers as they were hers (ha-ha-ha, evil mom laugh).  So, when we got home, the flowers were given water and put in a vase in the center of the kitchen table for all to enjoy.

Getting flowers from my Baba and Dido's garden is a memory from my childhood that I will always cherish, but I think I love it just as much now that I am an adult.  Does that ever happen to you, where childhood memories seem just as wonderful now?  As I was getting all nostalgic and admiring this beautiful bouquet, I couldn't help but see my fall mood board in these flowers.  Of course this just made me happy; inspiration to keep sewing.


But I really didn't feel like sewing.  After my crazy week of sewing to get my dress completed for the Fall Bombers Moon Ball, I kind of needed a little break from my sewing room.  However, I still really wanted to work on my fall mini wardrobe.  It was at that point that I noticed my too-small-Georgia sweater fit in quite nicely with my fall sewing plans.  While I was super encouraged by all of your comments to complete my yellow sweater, I decided to start unraveling the plum cardigan and begin work on that instead.  I think this will be the perfect addition to my fall mini wardrobe.

Annabelle

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bombers Moon Ball


Hey, I finally have some sewing to share with you!  Lately it has been all talk as I've shared my process for planning out my fall sewing.  Right as I was about to actually start on my fall sewing something came up that put a huge halt to the entire thing.  My parents mentioned that they were going to the Fall Bombers Moon Ball.

What?  An event where people dress up in 1940's attire and get to listen to a live swing band.  Sign me up!  I did sign me up, and my husband as well.  Then I decided that I simply must have a new . . . um old . . . oh yes, vintage dress to wear.  All this occurred a week before the dance!  If you know me, then you know I have never really sewed anything from start to finish in a week.  Never.  Not ever.


Except, I did it this time (with many, many, many thanks to my hubby who spent all his free time watching our daughter, so I could spend all my free time sewing).  But can I tell you how close I cut it? When the babysitter arrived at 5:30 I hadn't showered or eaten and was still pinning the hem on my dress, with the lining to follow.  Needless to say, I did not do a hand-stitched blind hem as originally intended, but I did leaved the house in my dress and managed to do a sort of wonky victory roll-esque hairstyle with totally wet hair.


Enough with the dramatic introduction, what about the dress?  The dress is Butterick 5281, which I've had in my pattern stash forever.  I honestly wasn't even sure I liked the pattern and probably would not have sewn it up at all.  But, I was on such a tight time schedule that I needed to start with something in my stash, this was one of my only reproduction patterns that was era appropriate.  I had a few actual vintage patterns, but knew I didn't have the time for the more careful handling that actual vintage patterns require.


I love the fabric.  I used a black rayon with tiny pink flowers all over.  Not sure if hot pink was used back in the forties, but floral rayon was definitely used.  This dress is fully lined, and my lining is a hot pink silk!  It matches the flowers in my fabric perfectly.  The dress is so light weight and perfect for dancing (which for the record, both my hubby and I are terrible at, but we don't let it get in the way).


I really haven't done any vintage sewing since this dress almost two years ago!  Oh my goodness, I do miss it.  This gives me extra motivation to make sure I finish the McCall's skirt from my fall mood board.  What about you, do you prefer sewing from vintage or modern patterns?  For those of you who sew both, do you find yourself in phases of one or the other at times?  

Annabelle

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Favorite Part!

After creating my fall mood board and getting excited about creating a fall mini wardrobe, I began the process of figuring out the details (my favorite part)!  Since I haven't done a lot of sewing lately, I decide that I wanted all of the fabric and most of the patterns to come from my stash.  I don't have a huge fabric stash, but enough of one where I knew that my rule wouldn't be too limiting.

I keep a small swatch of all of my fabric because it is much easier to pull out the swatches when trying to decide what fabric I want to use.  I have always liked this method, but it really came in handy with making these plans.  I started by pulling out all of the fabric I owned that could even remotely tie into my mood board.  Here was the result:


Next, I went to my pattern stash and pulled out all of the patterns that I've been wanting to make, or that  I thought might be good for fall.  I did go out and buy one pattern (McCall's 6993).


Then, I decided that the floral rayon absolutely had to be used as it was the most representative of my mood board, and I love sewing with rayon.  I knew that I had about three yards of it, so it really could be used with just about any of the above patterns.  The fabric seemed perfect for Belcarra, the flowers may be a bit large scale, but I am willing to give it a try.


The next fabric that really caught my eye was the chocolate-rapsberry-oatmeal stripe knit.  I have absolutely no me-made items with long sleeves, so I decided that this must become a long-sleeved Renfrew.


With two bold patterned fabrics selected, and both destined for tops, I then selected three more fabrics that were more neutral.  The chocolate brown fabric is pretty much an exact match to the striped knit and the dark accents in the floral rayon.  The brown cotton or khaki cotton would both make a great Beignet, or McCalls 6891.  The red silk is left over from an Alma blouse that I made a while back.  I feel like I could squeeze a Beignet or Belcarra out of it - but need to have some very thoughtful piecing.


My last step was to narrow down my patterns.  I've chosen five patterns that will work well together: one dress, two skirts, and two tops.  I think both tops would pair well with both skirts depending on fabric choices - meaning I would have a mini wardrobe that could actually be worn together.


So while only two patterns have been matched with fabric, I have a nice collection of fabric that coordinates with one another and some patterns that I am looking forward to sewing with.  I am certain that as I start the sewing process, I will be able to identify the remaining fabric-pattern matches.

Do you have any tips on sewing a mini wardrobe?  How do you coordinate patterns and fabric?

Annabelle

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall Sewing Mood Board

I have participated in the Colette Spring and Fall Palette challenges in the past and always enjoyed the process.  While they seem to have stopped hosting them, I still like to follow their general structure when it comes to planning out my sewing.  I admit that in the past I have not done a very good job with planning or follow through.  This is partly due to the fact that I have not created an actual wardrobe with either of my challenges (my fall challenge had a blouse and a skirt, but they did not go together really well, and my spring challenge had two dresses).

I am going to do things differently this year, starting with a beautiful mood board.  Fall is so beautiful, one of the things I love about this time of year is taking a walk through nature and my neighborhood.  I love stumbling upon a deer in quiet of the morning, or seeing cattails along the water.  When the fall flowers start to bloom, it truly is a beautiful sight.

Photo credit (clockwise from top left) 1. Flowers 2. Flowers 3. Fawn  4. Cattails 5. Flowers 6. Flowers

I am going to look for shades of brown as my neutral, and accent it with shades of purples, pinks, reds, and gold.  What images of fall inspire you the most?  For those sewists in the northern hemisphere, are you planning a fall wardrobe?  Now I'm off to start sorting through my fabric stash and pattern collection!

Annabelle

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on what I should do about my two sweaters.  You all are an optimistic bunch as I assumed they would both be frogged!  Thanks to you, I have decided to finish the yellow sweater and possibly start over on the plum cardigan.