Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios 2011!

It's the last day of the year ... time to wrap it up!   I summarized the first half of the year back in June, and good thing since it seems a million years ago now.   This has been the year of serial sewing -- making multiple garments from the same pattern.  Butterick 6149 (four very different variations), Sew Serendipity's Claire Cami dress (four pretty similar variations), and my own mash-up of Sewaholic's Crescent skirt (four for schmeebot, nine for me) got the most love, but I also made a couple of dresses from Anne Adams 5753.  

Here are the counts for this year (sorry, no pretty infographic):

Dresses:  13 (hopefully 14 by the end of the day!)
Skirts:  11 for me, 4 for schmeebot
Other:  2 camera pouches

Thirty-ish items -- woo hoo!

I started a blouse but it ended up in Waddersville and I walked away from it.  I can't recall any other categorical failures.  I had to re-do a few dress bodices and I started American Weekly 3794 which totally did not work for me, but I was able to morph Butterick 6149 into a similar style, and it became one of my favorite dresses of the year.  It was also the first time that I had attempted pattern re-drafting, and it turned out not to be so scary.

B6149 inspired by American Weekly 3794

That's not to say I wear everything I made.  I do wear most of the skirts, but the dresses don't get as much love as they should.  Some of the vintage styles come across as a bit costume-y for everyday, but I love sewing them and don't plan to stop.   (I might sell some on Etsy though.)  The Claire Cami dresses I just kind of forget about, as I tend to reach for t-shirts and jeans on the weekend.

Here are a few more of my favorites for the year (and hm, three out of four have birds on them):

Original B6149
Claire Cami dress #3
Aviary dress (B6149 variant)
Birds of Norway skirt (Crescent variant)

But my most favorite garment of the year?  I just finished it!   Photos coming soon!

The best thing about sewing in 2011 was getting the bodice of Butterick 6149 to fit me well:  it proved to be a great starting point for fitting other patterns.   It's the reason I had so few wadders this year.   When I put my B6149 bodice pieces over another pattern, I can quickly see how darts need to change, and where I need to add or remove width.  It would be nice to get a princess-seamed bodice similarly figured out.

I took a look at my final post from last year, and while I didn't have an exact count of garments made in 2010, I think I finished a few more projects this year than last.  As for the non-sewing 2011 goals I mentioned in that post, I only did the last two:  selling some of my cameras and contributing more to the knowledge communities at work.  I should do more of both those things in 2012.   I failed to draw regularly, but I'm going to get back on that horse this year.   My house is still messy and I still eat cake for breakfast sometimes, but I did try to do battle with those particular demons even if the result was somewhat less than transformational.

I don't have any sewing goals for 2012, other than to keep on making stuff I like.   But there are lots of things I dream of doing:  get going with knit tops (a wardrobe staple for me),  make a bunch more skirts, since I wear those to work a lot nowadays, make some blouses I like (store-bought blouses rarely work for me), try a 1930s pattern, make more 1950s dresses since they always turn out to be my favorites, and finally cut into some of that Liberty fabric I got in London last year.  I'm sure I'll discover other things I want to do as the year unfolds.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and especially to those of you who provide feedback!   It gives me perspective on what I've done -- sometimes it's hard to spot fit issues, or to get past the frustration of making a particular garment, and that's where y'all come in.  I enjoy reading your blogs too -- I'm not always the best commenter, as I generally read blogs first thing in the morning or at the end of the day:  not the best times for me to string together a coherent sentence!  I will try to do a bit better this year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday roundup

I hope everyone had (or is continuing to have) a good holiday break!   December was a really hectic month for me, and I feel like I am still catching up.  I took two trips -- to Las Vegas, for work, and back to my hometown in Florida, because my dad needed emergency heart surgery (which went well thankfully!)  I also had a lot going on at work, and on top of everything else, I got sick.  I did absolutely no sewing this month until Christmas Eve, when I started a dress.  And I intend to finish it or die trying.  For some definition of "finish", anyhow ... It's not particularly complex, but it seems that everything that can go wrong has!  

I want for little in the sewing room these days, but I still managed to find a few sewing-related items to put on my Christmas list:   The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, The Colette Sewing Handbook, and two Colette patterns: Jasmine and Ginger.  My book-loving husband was more than happy to oblige!   I also got an awesome sewn gift from my friend schmeebot:   a stuffed owl made from thrifted mens' suits.  How cool is that??   She used a pocket from a suit jacket to give the owl a little pouch for treasures (there was a gift card in there!) and a sweet little heart with mine and my husband's initials on it.   The owl was my and my husband's university's mascot, so hopefully he feels right at home with us!

I'm off from work until 2012, and life is good!  Hopefully I'll finish my uncooperative dress and move on to at least one of my Christmas patterns before I have to go back to work.  I enjoy being a bit reflective this time of year, and while I don't make resolutions, I do think about what I want in the new year.   I'm not making any sewing goals, other than to enjoy whatever sewing I do have time for.  That said, I think I'd like to learn a little more about fit and finish, the two things that bring me the most satisfaction in a finished garment.  I got better at both this year, but it may be time to study up on techniques.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Anne Adams 4753, take two (this time it's all my fault)

I tackled Anne Adams 4753 (of abundant bodice space fame) again over the Thanksgiving holidays.  The second attempt is better, though still not perfect.  This version is made from rayon challis, and the olive contrast material is some mystery blend of (I think) polyester and rayon.

I took a good bit out of the bodice area, which helped the fit, but I think I could have done even more.  Unfortunately, the way I did the modification enlarged the armhole a bit, which was not a particularly good thing.  I have no immediate plans to make this a third time, but if ever do, I'll try to redraft to fix those issues.  The neckline's also a bit wide:  the first time I sewed a narrower seam to give a little bit more coverage, but I forgot to do it this time.

It's also a little baggy in the back -- not sure how that happened, as I didn't change the back piece.  I think it's the result of using a more drape-y fabric (that also may have grown a bit while I sewed).

The round tab part could be a little better, but I don't think its flaws would be too noticeable to the non-sewer.  And I really like the buttons I found: they were on clearance at High Fashion Fabric, and remind me of contour maps.

I hung the dress for days before hemming, but still managed to achieve the most crooked-ass hem I have ever sewn.  Also, I noticed as I was finishing that there's a visible irregularity in the print that shows up in the skirt pieces.  It disappears when you're up close to the fabric.  I self-lined the bodice, but used cotton/poly lawn for the skirt.  Next time I'll line the whole thing in lawn for added stability.   I only interfaced the lining of the contrast fabric: next time I'll interface both sides.  That would fix the pucker you see in the photo above.   Nit-picks aside, the dress isn't so bad.  I like that it screams "Autumn!" ... it's the perfect Thanksgiving dress.  Too bad we're well past that and hurtling toward Christmas.

It has been two weeks since I did any sewing!    I have another vintage pattern and not-so-vintage fabric waiting for me on my sewing table -- hopefully I can spend some quality time with them today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pacific Moon, Christmas Edition

These two have already migrated towards the Pacific rim ... and yes, the orange one is pretty much that bright in real life!  The aqua mini-dot fabric is actually home decor fabric, and the orange is a fairly substantial bottom-weight cotton fabric with a little stretch in it.   schmeebot prefers heavier-weight fabrics for skirts, so they won't be whipped around so much on windy hikes.  

I used scraps left over from skirts I'd made myself in the past.  The fabric for the aqua mini-dot skirt came from a version of Burda 7741 that doesn't see much wear because for some reason the lining likes to creep  out and show itself while I'm walking.

The facing for the orange skirt is leftover from a drawstring-waist skirt I made in the 90s.  I did wear it some at the time, but I have no photos of myself in it and there will not be any.  :)  That skirt currently resides in my attic but I think Goodwill is probably a better place for it.

While looking for facing fabric for these skirts, I found another skirt I made earlier in the year.  I had declared it a failure and stuffed it in the scrap drawer.  However, it doesn't seem too bad to me now.   Does anyone else ever need time to forget your sewing mistakes in order to be able to accept something you've made?