Thursday, November 08, 2018

Charity Crocheting

A woman near by runs a little charity that collects blankets to donate to area hospices and senior's homes. I decided during a lull this summer to try using up some stash. I'd seen a lot of neat "corner to corner" (C2C) crocheted blankets and heard they were really fast to make. Maybe in a tiny baby size, LOL. It still took me a good chunk of time. Think about it--still need to cover the same area. I suppose I could use a slightly bigger crochet hook (I'm using the green one, LOL....maybe 5.5mm or 6.5mm).

First one, I opted to do a more masculine look because it seems there are always more things for the women.
I got started while visiting my parents at the end of the summer. I had a few trouble spots, but just needed to be a bit more mindful. 

 Date night at Movie in then Park.

 It ended up a smidge small so I did the border a few rounds of single crochet.

This blanket weighed in at 404gr, but I'm going to round up to 410gr because I weigh it after weaving in the ends and trimming. It might have even been more.

Before that one was finished I started another one (once it gets big, it's not a good travel project). This time I went girly.
 The pink is a lot brighter in real life. This one took longer because I got near the end and began to question how much white and purple I had. I had to go to Michaels' to get more and it just took awhile to combine having money, time, energy, and gas in the truck.
The pink is much brighter in real life. I couldn't get the same yarn in white (it's not white-white) but I think the one I got was close enough. The purple was very close. This one weighs in at 400gr.

The third one I started after they asked for larger blankets. I had just bought that large ball of cream yarn from the thrift store, so I went with a more masculine look again, pulling all the green and brown yarns out of my stash. I still have quite  a bit left! It's a lot bigger, and softened up the nicest when I washed (this is Red Heart; the pink/purple one was "Impeccable" (I think) and it's not as soft).



Ummm. Yeah, that's pretty crappy photo. Can't really see all the different shades of green and brown. Oh well. Trust me. It weighs in at 644gr, going to round up to 650gr. This really helps out my "yarn out" totals!

Yarn In:     1161gr
Yarn Out:    1460gr + 812gr = 2272gr
Balance:     1111gr OUT
Costs:    $31.39/311 days= $0.10/day

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

More Grey

This is a continuation of the last post, in a way. I like grey. It's a great neutral and many other colours look good with it and it's not as depressing as black. However, there can be issues with "warm" grey and "cool" grey, as evident when I was trying to choose a fabric for the back top part of the dress in the last post. I have a lot of prints with grey in it, which really helps this dilemma.

And then there's silver. Burn out velvet stripes. From Wal-Mart, many, many years ago. Probably about 11 years ago. We moved from Orangeville in August 2009 and Wal-Mart had stopped selling fabric a while before that, but I didn't start really buying fabric until 2006. So this was a great deal that I picked up between 2006 and 2008. It was less than $5 for a good size hunk, and then I picked up another hunk of it (it was pre-cut). I've petted it a lot, and finally last winter, made the chocolate truffle hat.    I decided I needed a grey "waterfall" cardi, for work. I had a lovely black lightweight cardi that I picked up at Value Village last year which I loved for work, but it seems to have wondered away. I don't have any suitable black, but I thought this grey would be nice as a starting point/muslin.

I asked around on the FB "Curvy Sewing Collective" group for a pattern that wouldn't be "too" overwhelming with fabric. Some of the patterns have dolman sleeves that add a lot of width, or are really long, or have a lot of fabric in the "waterfall" collar. Someone recommended the Swoon Patterns "Scarf Neck Cardigan".  And it's FREE!! This pattern looked like everything I wanted (though no pockets!).

I liked the princess seams, but at this time, I hadn't done a FBA on princess seams yet, so I just shortened the upper bodice and graded at the waist, I think. If I do it again, I'm doing a FBA. I also shortened it a fair bit, especially the sleeves (which  I had read were strangely long to begin with).

 I really liked this until I saw this photo. I think because the body length hits at the sleeve length, it adds to the visual width. I didn't want to look like I was wearing a too-big sweater, but this isn't the right length either.

 I do like the back length. The sleeve seam is a little off my shoulder, but I'm okay with that. If I had a shirt on, it would fit differently than the slip dress.
When I wear it, it feels like it pulls at my neck. I wasn't sure if I was feeling the back seam, or if something was going on (I'm really) sensitive to things on my neck. But seeing these photos, I see those vertical lines from armpit to neck. So, I need to add back that bit I had taken out. And even maybe add a bit of length at the neck edge.

I'm not sure what all disappoints me with this. I don't know if it's just the grey on grey, my hair, the length, or what. I should get another picture wearing it with a different outfit. I do want to love it and make more!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I've Got the Greys

Argh, why do I do this? Sinclair Patterns was "retiring" a couple patterns. I bought the nice and simple slip dress pattern. Even though I already have one, made it, and wasn't really happy. And to make me scratch my head even more, I decided NOT to do a FBA. Why?!

I chose this grey fabric, I thought it was nice and cozy. Slip dresses are not supposed to be cozy. It was a tubular fabric that I had been sold being told it was a cotton lycra, similar to what I used to make my leggings last year. It's so much NOT like that fabric. It's thicker. I had cut some off to use as a waist band on one of the pairs of grey pants I made. And of course, even though I shortened the dress, I didn't have quite enough. So I dug through the stash, thinking a grey print would look rad. The girls vetoed them all, so it ended up with this grey athletic mesh for the back top part.

Then, the bindings. I carefully cut them, tried to iron them, sew them carefully....and they looked like crap. The fabric was just too soft. So I thought some fold-over elastic (FOE) would do the trick. I didn't have any that looked like it was intentional. Head to FOE Your Diaper. They used to be in the south end of my town. The map now shows south Oshawa, the return address was Courtice, and the phone number is eastern Ontario. So who knows where they are. Bought some grey, went away and didn't get it done.

Finally got it done at the end of the summer. And, surprise, it's not love.

 Notice the carefully placed accessory? LOL.
Oh yeah, I did a shelf bra. Took some adjusting to get it to the right length. Okay, it's not horrible. It's probably a great nightgown. Though I get all twisted. Whatever. Sometimes things are just not your dream project.

Red Scarves

I had a lofty goal of 10-12 red scarves for this year's World AIDS Day. I got five done. I do have until Nov 23 to collect them, but I don't have the patience or yarn. I thought crocheting was supposed to be quick, but these still took me awhile.


They don't make for very interesting pictures. Basically, there are two with a multi colour glitter yarn (76gr+63gr=139gr):





One with Bernat "Holiday Glitter" silver/red yarn (98gr):




And one plain Red Heart type yarn(109gr):


As well as the one I posted earlier this year.
Yeah. Awesome pictures from my phone. Red is tough.



Yarn In:     1161gr
Yarn Out:    346gr +  466gr= 812gr
Balance:     349gr IN
Costs:    $31.39/301days= $0.10/day

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I Bought More Yarn

Yes, I did. I got a custom order from a long time friend/client. It's a small and simple project so I couldn't say no. I had to buy some red and black yarn, and I needed some more yarn for one of the charity blankets I'm working on. Two balls of Red Heart "Soft" (141gr each), one skein of Red Heart "Super Saver") (198gr), and one ball Loops & Threads "Impeccable (127gr). Total, 607gr, $23.12.

Yarn In:     607gr + 554gr= 1161gr
Yarn Out:       466gr
Balance:     695gr IN
Costs:     $8.27+$23.12=$31.39/298days= $0.11/day

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I Love This Dress; I Hate This Dress!

I've been wanting dresses with sleeves for awhile. I have the blue one I made, which I do love but it feels a little dressy. Not sure why, it's just a simple gauze. Maybe cause I wore it dressed up for my supply teaching interview. To me, woven=dressy, knits=casual. I finally decided to just make a pattern. I took my favourite TNT t-shirt pattern, and added the skirt from Megan's skater dress. I didn't want a waist seam, so it flares out just at the sides. I also added pockets, of course.

I instantly loved the dress. It went together so quickly and easily. I even topstitched around the neck cause it was all going so well. I do need to press the hem again; I did a blind stitch hem and it's not quite flat in a few spots. I wore the dress quite a few times, but never got a picture.

However, this always happens to my rayon fabrics (this fabric was another Value Village find). It gets a halo. Not pilly, like a sweater, but it fuzzes up and looks faded. So now it looks even more casual. But I still love it.


Around this same time, I bought a dress from Avon. It is a slinky material, but the print is so similar. It's much smaller scale, but I like it. It had a "shark bite" hem. Instead of a hi-lo, where the front is high and the back low, this is high in the middle, and low at the sides. Totally odd, and totally too long for me. So I shortened it and made it even all around. Then I took the extra, and made pockets!! Of course! Why wouldn't I? I love this too, but it is an "infinity" dress and I find I can't drive with the knot at my back. I was thinking I might make the straps narrower, but I do want to hem, or just serge?  No sleeves on this dress LOL.

Excited by my new t-shirt dress pattern, I grabbed some more fabric. Initially, this was going to be a shirt for Hugh, but he wears too many stripes, and there was so much fabric (bought in a FB de-stash group), that I figured I should make something that actually uses a lot of fabric. Right? 

 It looks good, right? OMG. This dress nearly killed me. Would you like a list of all the ways you can mess up one item?!


That's a pocket. One side was sewn on the right side. Fixed it. I think the pockets took a couple tries and still ended up rather low.



I don't remember what happened it, but I assume it wasn't good.

While serging the skirt together, the underside got caught up. So I had to take the seam in and lose some fullness.

I could NOT get the stripes to match. I basted,  I sewed instead of serged. Like, WTF. Two spots here it got puckered and nothing matched up. 


I finally got some of the washable WonderTape. Carefully applied it, basted, then serged. It STILL shifted!!! Not only did it shift, but somehow the stripes angle downwards at the seams. WTF. How do you stop that?!

Time for the neckband. Surely I've done everything wrong by now. No, somehow I got this little tail of fabric sticking out of the neckband, on the right side. I just trimmed it really close. 

And  I have no clue why it decided to sag. I guess this fabric is thinner and stretchier, and needed a smaller band. F you dress. 

By the time I got to the hem, I was ready to just leave it raw. I keep reading about how "knits don't fray", but you know what? They DO. They ladder. So I still like to hem them. And of course, no amount of pressing and WonderTape would make this hem lay flat. 
It sort of sags in the back. The stripe matching isn't too bad, in the end, but for all that work, it should have been perfect. 

 I feel like this one makes me look frumpier than the black print one. The way the stripes curve downwards at the side seam? After I washed it the second or third time, I forgot it in the dryer and it got totally dry. When I took it out, it looked like it shrunk. But once on, it fit really well. However, the last time I washed it and later tried it on, the upper back was all stretched out, it looked horrible, I don't know what happened. Maybe it was too damp when I hung it to dry? Maybe it got stretched out in the washing machine and then not enough time in the dryer? Then I tried it on again and decided to just wear it. It seemed fine after awhile.

The fabric is quite thin, and really needs a slip to be work-appropriate. I think I wore it once to work. It feels super comfy.

So, while I loved these dresses, this one  was like the younger sibling that was trying to upstage the older, perfect child.  What happens if I try for dress #3?




Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Dress! With Sleeves and Pockets!

Awhile ago I had seen a photo in the FB "George + Ginger" group of the "Riki Dress". Everyone was gushing over it, but it was "retired". I don't really get the idea of retiring patterns. They're online. What's there to retire? I know sometimes they retire early patterns as they become better designers, use different software, or tweak their size blocks. But why retire a pattern that everyone loves? They then brought it back a little bit later--so I wonder if it was a marketing ploy (like, Stitch Upon A Time's "Spoxxy" tank getting a one day re-release, and then coming back a month later as a totally new updated pattern). I jumped on the chance to buy this dress during the short sale.

I had a few options for fabric. I really wanted to do colour blocking, but felt I should do a "wearable muslin" first since other than the Lovesick Bra, I hadn't made any of their patterns. I don't really fit their sizes though, so a muslin was important. Plus...a FBA on princess seams...Had I done that before? I know I tried to make a princess seamed dress in the summer of 2010, but there were no blog posts. I finally found it blogged in 2011.  I really wish that dress had worked. It was a great pattern, nice fabric, I love the look, etc, but too many issues from trying to fix it. I worked on another version of this dress, but the blog post indicated I still had a lot of trouble and the FBA was difficult. I also really liked that dress. I got rid of both of these when I lost some weight and started sewing better fitting items. Sometimes you can't just keep taking in seams!

Oh yes, back to the fabric. I was sure I had seen a picture where someone did a striped fabric, but had the stripes one way for the centre, and the other way for the sides. Couldn't find that photo again, and my fabric didn't have the greatest vertical stretch, so I worried that might be an issue. A lot of the dresses shown used black for the side panels, but my black is a cotton-lycra and this fabric was likely a poly-blend (shiny). So, I just went for all one fabric.

I followed a tutorial for the FBA. I think it was a mash up of https://sewoverit.co.uk/elsie-sewalong-full-bust-adjustment-princess-seams/ and http://curvysewingcollective.com/princess-seams-an-fba-for-large-busts/  There are LOTS of tutorials for how to do this now. Not so much in 2010!!
I think I also took out a smidge in the upper bodice and sleeves.
 It all went together super fast! The only issue were the large pockets. I saw pictures of others complaining that the pocket sagged. The suggestion was to make the pocket pieces narrower. I tried that on one side, but it still sagged and now pulled in the seams a little. So I experimented with a safety pin, to mimic a snap. I polled my girls, and they said the side with the snap looked better. I couldn't do anything about the side I had already taken in, so I just put a snap on it, and didn't bother to adjust the other pocket.
 The sleeves are long. I think I did the 3/4 sleeves and they were full length on me. So I took some elastic pieces (I keep all my elastic scraps, just for these sorts of things), and ruched both sides of each sleeve. It was tricky, since the sleeves were already seamed, and I thought about taking out the seam, but just persevered.
 Since I wanted this for teaching, I kept the longer length. Some of G+G's designs seem really short!
This is the angle most of the world sees. Okay, the world over 6'2". But most of the world is still taller than me. I would prefer a slighter more open neckline. Got to be careful though, don't want students taller than me looking down, or have it gape when I lean over a desk!!
My husband won a very significant award from Ontario Power Generation (OPG; the provincial corporation that creates electrical power in Ontario) and this dress was perfect for the "business casual" dress of the award ceremony. The day started with a tour of a hydro electric generating station, and we had to wear flat shoes. I wore my Sketchers that are a little more dressy than a sneaker.


Instead of plain black snaps, I used Snoopy. I've always loved Snoopy cartoons and I love adding whimsical touches to my teaching outfits! I wore this dress to a high school recently, but never got to show anyone the snaps LOL.

I do find that even my phone is too heavy for the pocket. Tissues, room key, cough drops are fine.

I want to make more of these...but G+G are having a sale right now and I see a couple contenders. I like the  Daydream Dress and then I saw the Sassy Side Top!  How the heck to do a FBA on that? And my waist is way bigger than the size I would pick going by the upper bust. It wasn't an issue with the Riki because the FBA added enough and there was also pattern ease at the waist. The Sassy Side Top is really slim fitting. I've had a hard time finding tops to wear with my leggings, and this might work. I was going to order the SoTa last weekend during their debut sale, but it was Thanksgiving here and I missed the deadline.

And then in my email this morning, was this new pattern!   I thought Peek-a-Boo used a curvier block, but the sizing seems to be the same as G+G. However, the ruching is lower and the side piece goes straight down, so a FBA might be easier on this one. I don't need ruching over the bust, as evident in the Plitvice  (which I still love, and wear, but would modify next time). I think I will get the  Astoria because it includes the hood and cowl. And, I can probably modify the side panel to make it swoop like the Sassy Side Top. Now, I've got to find the time to sew!! And, I need some thick tights and/or some tall boots. That's been a challenge. My legs are too skinny and short!

I Bought Yarn

Yes, I finally bought some yarn. This has been a bad year for yarn drought. I'm not knitting/crocheting  a whole lot now that I'm not doing custom orders. But I still need to keep my hands busy while watching TV and being a passenger (recently went away for a night, 2+hour trip each way...only took one project and somehow didn't have the hook).  I was recently killing time at a thrift store with my daughter and saw a 1lb ball of Red Heart "Comfort" in a neutral beige. Perfect for these blankets I'm making for a charity. It was $4.99, so $5.74.

The stats are a little skewed because I do have quite a few finished projects to show. Including some mittens according to my scribbles. Two pairs of mittens. Vaguely remember. I've finished one charity blanket and two are in the works, and they take quite a bit of yarn! So far, except for this beige, I've only used stash yarn. I need a bit more for one of the blankets, to feel safe, but not much.


Yarn In:     100gr + 454gr = 554gr
Yarn Out:       466gr
Balance:     88gr IN
Costs:     $2.53 + $5.74 = $8.27/284days= $0.029/day



Thursday, October 04, 2018

More Coral

Coral seemed to be the colour of the summer, so when I found this remnant at Fabricland, I snatched it up. It was only  150cm x 70cm. I knew I probably wouldn't get a t-shirt, but a nice tank top would be fine too. It was marked as $11.55 but with my card I got a 50% reduction.

I used New Look 6807. I was going to make the sleeveless version, but I didn't have enough for the wider neck tie (I think that's what happened. It seems like forever ago). So I made the sleeveless version but with the neck binding like I did before.
I know it looks a little frumpy here. I think it's partly the angle. The pants also have a waist tie which is kind of lumpy. 

Don't have much to say. Simple tank from a TNT pattern. I got my hair cut at the start of September and I wasn't happy with the cut. However, these pictures look better than how I think I look in real life. And I love the colour of my hair. Did that after the hair cut, right before school started. It's starting to show grey again though.
I'm not sure when I finished this top, sometime in the summer, but I didn't wear it until last week. I'm at the point where I seem to have more clothes than I really need. Though I always want more dresses. Unless I get some tall boots, or thick tights, dress season is pretty much done.