Tiny Pocket Scout Tee Stash Busting

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The Goal: Have you ever been in the mood to sew something really quick? Just a need for instant gratification in sewing? I had recently printed and cut out this pattern so it was ready to go. It’s not that often that I can finish a project in only a couple hours. This was just what I needed!

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The Pattern: Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee (with the tiny pocket pattern piece from the Tiny Pocket Tank). I cut a size four and it fits great!

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The Fabric: Leftovers from this dress that I finished a couple weeks ago. I had just enough to make it except I used pre-packaged bias tape for the neckline facing because I didn’t have enough bias pieces of fabric remaining. It’s a floral cotton voile that I bought at a local store. Yay for stash busting!

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The Changes: Nothing! Well, for fit anyway. I did add the pocket ’cause I thought it was cute.

The Results: I really like this shirt. I could totally see making easy variations of this top for different looks. This shirt may not fit my resolution to make more solid color tops to go with more items in my wardrobe but it will go with jeans and it’s the perfect platform for fancy necklaces. It’s a versatile pattern.

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My friend Susan, who made this pattern before me, and I were talking about how great this pattern was but I didn’t really take that to heart until I made it myself. See, from the line drawing this top seems so simple, unexciting and almost ignorable but once you look closer at the pattern pieces you notice how well designed this little top is.

Scout Tee

The sleeves curve gently at the center, giving a nice, angled shape on your arm. The hem is ever so slightly longer in the back than the front so it gives some extra coverage when you sit down in your low-rise jeans but hit at the perfect place in front if you want to show off a belt.

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And then there’s the no-dart business. Jen Beeman, the designer, shaped the top of the front and back pieces so well that the shirt fits at the shoulder with no gaping at the neck or excess fabric at the armcye and flows below the bust. When you look at the armholes of the front and back pieces the front armhole looks much shorter than the back, which seems odd at first but it totally works and helps to not need any darts. This lady really knows how make some 2D lines fit over a 3D woman’s curves and that’s skill.

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Hiking Archer – More Activewear Sewing

Hiking Archer

Did you know this year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service?

I love National Parks! Creating them is one of the best things this country has ever done. Whenever I get disillusioned by the mess of our current political system and I start thinking “you know, that Justin Trudeaux guy seems like an alright dude,” and “Vancouver is really just like a much colder Austin,” I remember the National Parks and think, “well, at least we got one thing right…”

…Let’s just say, the Parks give me perspective and hope for the future.

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All pics from my Instagram: clockwise from the top left: Big Bend NP, TX; Bryce Canyon NP, UT; Zion NP, UT; Rocky Mountain NP, CO

I’ve made it a personal goal to visit all the National Parks in my lifetime and I’ve got a good head start seeing as I’ve been to quite a few already.

But I say goal loosely because there’s 58 of ’em in total and some are only accessible by plane or boat! It’s unlikely that I’ll go to every National Park but I’m unofficially counting National Monuments and Seashores, etc., as bonus points.

This year we’re visiting Hot Springs and Everglades National Parks.

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More Instagram shots: Big Bend NP, TX wearing Sewaholic Renfrew shirt; Great Sand Dunes NP, CO wearing a knit Grainline Scout tee; Dixe(!!!) National Forest, UT wearing True Bias Hudson Pants

I’ve always worn me-made clothes while travelling but I think it’s high time I made some clothes specifically for the job – in this case, hiking. I don’t camp, I don’t like “roughing it,” but I do love day hikes and exploration – hence the hiking shirt!

Hiking Archer

Like my leggings fabric from the last post, this fabric came from Rockywoods.com. It’s a water-resistant, breathable nylon with SPF 50 which is quite important for summertime adventuring.

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It’s a water-resistant (take that, rain!), breathable (take that, sweat!) nylon with SPF 50 (take that, diminishing ozone layer!) which are all quite important factors for summertime adventuring. It’s crisp with a crinkly texture and makes a soft rustling noise, not quite the same as cotton but it feels a lot like the types of shirts I tried on at Outdoors-y stores like REI.

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I bought the color “Rain Day” which I thought would be gray but it looks more like a pale khaki so I’m nicknaming this my “Safari Shirt.”

The fabric was nice to work with as it was nice and stable and didn’t fray hardly at all. Buttons came from Joann.

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I used my TNT Grainline Archer shirt pattern (what is this, make number 6 by now?). It’s the perfect all-purpose pattern to go with this lightweight fabric. The only change was making the pockets a little smaller.

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A button-down shirt works well for hiking for a few reasons: long sleeves and a high neck keep my uber-pale skin covered from the sun but I can also roll up the sleeves or wear a tank under it and unbutton the front if it gets too warm. Plus, wearing a khaki dress shirt makes me feel like a fancy early 20th-century explorer like Indiana Jones or something.

I ordered more fabric from Rockywoods – soon to become some Grainline Maritime “Hiking” shorts and the Sewaholic Cypress Cape (for extra rainy hiking or rainy Everglades boat-riding…).

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Soon I’ll be all geared up for outdoor adventures! If you want, I’ve made a new Pinterest board collecting all the activewear patterns and fabric suppliers I’ve found in the last few weeks. Let me know if there’s a cool pattern I’ve missed! And tell me about your favorite Park!

Busy Busy January

I’ve been neglecting the blog in favor of Instagram this month. I haven’t finished many projects but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing. So so much sewing… and drafting and cleaning and planning, etc. As a little re-cap, here are just a few of the things I’ve been working on lately…

Blank Slate Sewing Team

Blank Slate Denver Hack

Earlier this month as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team I shared my Denver Sweatshirt hack over at MellySews.com. I loved this gold painted knit that I used for my shirt, it’s the perfect mix of sparkly and subdued.

Cleaning Up My Sewing Room

I am the worst when it comes to cleaning my sewing room but it had reached a breaking point. I spent a good day throwing out trash, organizing fabric, and returning long lost pattern pieces to their envelopes.

Then I brought to one of my sewing group meetings several boxes full of patterns, fabric, and old me-made clothes to give away.

All the fabrics were leftovers from previous projects. You know how it goes, the pattern calls for three and a half yards but you manage to squeeze the pieces into two and a quarter. As for the remainder, well, there are only so many Scout Tees a person can make.

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Sometimes a project doesn’t turn out the way you’d have liked. Other times you find yourself never wearing a garment you made for whatever reason. The worst is when your body changes but your clothes aren’t suited to alterations.

Giving away clothes that I’ve made is always difficult, especially when I don’t know if the people at Goodwill will put my clothes on the rack or send them directly to the cotton recyclers.

I didn’t want that fate to befall some of my beloved dresses so I let my friends have first dibs. Luckily most of my clothes were adopted into loving new homes including the above four dresses. The rest will take their chances at the thrift store.

Vintage Patterns for Sale

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In my effort to organize I’ve come to the conclusion that having a full dresser drawer of vintage patterns isn’t doing me any good, especially if I can’t use them all.

So I’ve reserved some of my favorites and I’m slowly adding patterns to my Etsy shop for sale. They’re mostly 60s and 70s. I have a bunch of 80s patterns that I’ll probably sell as one big lot seeing as most people don’t get that excited over 80s designs.

Making Bias Tape from Scraps

biastapesAmong my leftover fabric were several scraps under half a yard that seemed unusable. But then I got an idea – bias tape!

Most of the fabrics were so cut up that I couldn’t get a good size square or rectangle to do continuous bias tape so I had to do it the old fashioned way – cutting long strips and sewing the short ends together.

I wrapped three yard lengths around pieces of cut up gift boxes and now they’re for sale at Me & Ewe. I made 20+ bundles and still have tons more fabric I could use.

Historical Costuming – Late 1880s Bustle Dress

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But this is the big project that’s taken up so much of my time.

If when I complete it, this will be my fastest costume make to date. A full outfit from the ground up in less than a month (well, I’m cheating, I already had the chemise and corset) including a gigantic bustle, petticoat, underskirt, overskirt, fully lined bodice and trimmed hat!

I’m already off to a good start. One day I made my lobster tail bustle. The next I made the petticoat to go over it. The third day I tested the fit of my bodice then redrafted the pieces into a new design.

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At this point I’ve cut all the pieces that I can from the fabric I have and I am now waiting on my velvet to arrive for the trim.

Oh, and did I mention that I still have to make a hat!??!?

I keep reminding myself, “It will be finished. It will be beautiful. It will be finished. It will…”

2015 Re-Cap

 

Happy 2016! I only barely made it home in time for New Year. Our flights were delayed coming back from Ohio for three whole days because of bad weather (thanks, climate change…).

Now is the time when most people reflect on the previous year and as sewists we usually look at what we’ve made: the hits and misses and the goals for next year. Keeping with that tradition, here are mine.

Most Worn:

Honestly, this was a pretty good year in terms of quality makes. Nearly everything got worn often but these are some of my favorites.

Side Cut Out Dress Version 2 Side Cut Out Dress version 3

My two favorite Bonnell Dress samples have been my go-to party dresses for this year. I especially love that silk/cottom geometric print fabric.

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My makes for the Blank Slate Sewing Team were pretty good this year. I’ve got plenty of wears out of my rose printed Tulip Top and my Favorite Purse is living up to its name – currently it is the only purse I carry (and I finally switched my strap to a cotton belting).

Circle Skirt and Cropped Sweatshirt

This whole outfit is just adorable. I get lots of compliments on it and I drafted both pieces myself.

Rayon Scout Tee Knit Scout Tee

When in doubt, make a Scout. Or two. Grainline’s Scout Tees are always in heavy rotation.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt Hack

My Onyx hack is a surprise favorite. I love the fabric and the lace at the bottom makes it more than just a plain woven tee.

 

Well, those are some highlights. It would take too long to write about everything so here are the rest:

107 Sparkly Morris Blazer Sleeveless Popover Archer Sparkly Box Pleat Skirt The Refashioners 2015 The Refashioners 2015 Papercut Patterns Clover Dress  Blank Slate Patterns Oceanside Shorts Blank Slate Patterns Juniper Jersey

 

Least Worn:

Sew Liberated Esme Top

 

My Sew Liberated Esme Top was just too big. I liked the fabric and the look of the pattern design but the fit made me feel like I was drowning in it even after I made a tuck in the back. Other things I didn’t like: The cuffs hit right at my elbow so they would get all scrunched up as I bent my arm throughout the day. Too long, but that’s a relatively easy fix, but with the other issues I didn’t feel it was worth making the effort to change it.

Beach Cover Up

For Melly Sews’ 30 Days of Sundresses, I hand dyed a beach cover-up but a sad accident meant I’ve never worn it since I made it. While on summer vacation that June we had a fire in the garage. It could have been a lot worse but we’re ok now.

When I returned home I dyed the dress in the back yard then went to wash the fabric in the washing machine in the garage. After washing, I found the fabric covered in gray splotches everywhere that wouldn’t come out no matter what.

Turns out that while the firefighters were here they must have shut the door to the washer so I thought it had been closed the entire time. It wasn’t. During the fire the door was open and soot and debris coated the barrel of the washer and I hadn’t noticed. It completely stained the fabric (luckily it was the only thing in the washer at the time).

Since I didn’t have any more dye or fabric I just had to work with what I had so I sewed up the fabric and took pics anyway. You can’t tell in the pics but I think it’s very obvious in real life. I loved the dyed fabric so this was quite a disappointing turn of events.

Sew Liberated Myla Tank

This tank was originally a sample for a class so it’s currently hanging up at Me and Ewe.

Side Cutout Dress Version 1

The first incarnation of my soon-to-be Bonnell Dress was just too big in the bodice. I had to go re-adjust my block for my next versions.

Costumes:

 

When I look at individual posts on finished projects, this year seems a bit sparse, but that’s probably because so much of my time was spent on costumes and to complete a costume I often need to sew upwards of half a dozen pieces.

Here’s what I’ve shared on the blog in the costuming category which doesn’t include several other pieces in progress…

Elizabeth Cosplay 18th Century Underthings Regency Era Costume 108 1780s Robe en Chemise

My Bioshock Infinite video game cosplay from January, 18th century undergarments, my completed Regency era outfit, mid-Victorian undergarments and petticoats (so many petticoats!), and my 1780s Robe en Chemise outfit.

All together those costumes contain about 19 separate garment pieces that I had made (not counting some small accessories, and not all were completed this year). That’s huge! And I’ve already agreed to go to another costuming event in February which I’m now committed to making six more pieces! Including a hat! And a metal bustle! What have I gotten myself into!?!?

Other Accomplishments:

I had one major pattern release this year. The Bonnell Dress. It’s my new favorite and I want to thank everyone who helped make it a success!

I wore my costumes (more than one!) in public, around other people, in daylight, which is pretty scary for me so I’d say that’s something to be proud of.

Unrelated to sewing, I had a New Years Resolution last year to send out birthday cards to family members. I made limits for myself, I only sent them to the younger generation and only on the side of the family that was included in the big family calendar (which made it easy to track to the dates). I probably sent out over 45 cards last year. As someone who comes from a very small family, it was a bit overwhelming. People need to stop having so many dang kids! I can’t keep up! Needless to say, I ain’t sending no more cards this year. Just facebook posts if I remember. But at least I stuck with it for the whole year!

Goals for 2016:

Finish my in-progress costumes and find a place to store them. They take the longest to complete and they also take up the most room.

On that note, keep my sewing room cleaner in general. That place is a constant wreck.

Sell/give away some patterns and fabric I know I’m never going to use. No need to waste more space on them.

Release another pattern, or two, maybe, maybe not? I love seeing all the new pattern companies pop up these past few years. It’s inspiring, but it also reminds me of the aspects I don’t love about pattern designing. I generally don’t like sewing sample after sample of the same thing as I tweak a pattern. I don’t like that my whole time for a good few months is spent on the same long project. I don’t like that because of that I have little to show on the blog until the pattern is finished. Pattern design can be fun but because I do everything myself it gets to be a burden. I’d much rather sew for fun.

So, if I manage to release another pattern or two this year I’ll consider that a success, if not, that’s ok, too. I’ve been doing the pattern thing for several years now and I think it might be time for me to get back into the working game again. I miss working with and around other people. I do teach sewing classes occasionally. Maybe I’ll do more of that, or maybe I’ll find a totally different job. Who knows. Anybody have any suggestions?

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Lastly, as a goodbye to 2015 I thought I’d share a fun photo I took for my grandmother-in-law’s 80th birthday celebration (her b-day is NYE). I was given her mother’s 100-year-old swimsuit from 1915(!!) and told to take a picture with it. So, of course, if I’m gonna do this I’m going to go all the way. We did a whole little photo shoot a la the 1920s – hair, makeup, accessories, everything. Then I photoshopped a background and “colorized” it like an old post card.

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The swimsuit itself is pretty wild if you’ve never seen one before. It’s a one-piece, all wool knit, with a button on the right shoulder. There’ are shorts underneath  an attached skirt and there’s absolutely no bust support at all, I can’t imagine how some curvier ladies could have worn something like this but compared to swimsuits worn just 20 years earlier this thing must have felt like a string bikini. If you want to check out some authentic old swimsuit pictures I made a pinterest board.