My Sewing Room Tour

My sewing room

Cut Out + Keep is hosting a photo tour of my craft room. This is kind of a big deal. Not because my room is extra special or anything. Rather my room normally looks like this:

That means I dumped a bunch of half finished projects in the hall furiously cleaned my room to take these pics. There’s also a little interview if you want to read that.

You can head on over to Cut Out + Keep to witness this one-time only miracle.

End of the Year Review!

Well, it’s the end of the year which means everyone does a summary of what we made this year. I really enjoy reading other people’s review posts I never actually did one of these for 2013, I think I thought about it but then it was almost the end of January and at that point I guess I figured it was too late.

But this year I’m going to do one of these posts. Let’s get started!

2014 Makes
I made about 30 items of clothing (not counting a couple unblogged pieces and costumes):
                            

And this is where it gets surprising – when categorizing “hits” and “misses” most of these are clear hits and I don’t really have any big misses…

“Misses”

The only that immediately comes to mind is my Mathilde Blouse and only because of fabric choice. The pattern is great but the fabric I used really should have just been for a lining of a jacket rather than a shirt on it’s own. It wrinkles terribly (and I can’t steam out those wrinkles) and even though it is silk it just doesn’t look “nice,” ya know?

I still wear it occasionally but I definitely intend to try this one again in, say, a cotton voile.

TNT Patterns
Quite a few, it seems.

  
#1 Grainline’s Archer Shirt. I made three! And I wear them all the time.
#2 True Bias Hudson Pant. I made a plain black lounge-y pair and a “fancy” pair.
#3 Burdastyle Book Blouse. This is the third version of this shirt and it’s one of my faves.

Most Adventurous Makes
 
Definitely my experimental Cynthia Rowley Vlisco outfit. It’s pretty wild and crazy. And I know my Holly Jumpsuit seems tame in comparison but it’s still a bold move for me to wear a romper.

Favorite Dresses
  
It’s a hassle to get into because of those straps but my coral Cynthia Rowley dress is pretty sweet.

The white trim on my navy silk Flora Dress makes it win out over my other By Hand London dress I made this year (which had some crummy poly fabric that I didn’t end up liking).

And how could I forget my Breathless Dress? It also got the most pageviews of any make this year (thanks Tilly!). It’s absolutely a make I’m especially proud of.

Most Used Fiber
 
Cotton: 18
Silk: 3
Cotton/Silk Blend: 1
Linen: 1
Rayon: 4
Poly: 1
Blend/Mystery: 3

Knits vs Wovens
  
Knits: 9 (counting a couple unblogged)
Wovens: 24

Garment Type
 
Tops: 12
Bottoms: 5
Dresses: 10
Outerwear: 1
Rompers: 1
Weird matching set thing: 1

Most Worn
This one is tough because I wear nearly all of these makes often, weather permitting, with the exception of the “party dresses” and the psycadelic Vlisco outfit.

 
The most worn items are my casual ones like tops because I can wear them with jeans or shorts and my two mini skirts ’cause I can wear them when I can’t find my jeans or shorts.

It’s easier to talk about the least worn garments…

Least Worn

My cat, Peanut, ATE one of the tie strings off my Pintuck Sundress. Not all of it but now the string is way too short to wrap around to the front. I haven’t taken the time to fix it. I know I ought to have enough fabric left somewhere.


I gotta be honest… I forgot I made this dress. Does that ever happen to anyone else? Where the heck is it??? *rummages through drawers*


For some reason I just haven’t worn this dress that often. I think after making it the fabric feels too “party” for everyday wear.

Looking back I’m a little in shock. Nearly all of my makes this year were winners, that’s a first. None of these have been put in the “take to Goodwill” pile. I should pat myself on the back for this year.

Costuming
The thing with this whole historical costuming business is that in order to have a full completed outfit you need so many details: corsets, petticoats, shifts, hair styling, accessories. It’s not just “the dress” and that’s what’s keeping me from showing off my costumes.

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So far I have a completed Regency era outfit with undergarments.

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Currently I have an 1840s dress that is *thisclose* to being finished but I need more petticoats (and maybe a wig?). I just finished one petticoat and I need at least two more. The dress itself came together quite quickly for being a big fancy dress.

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I finished a Victorian corset which I showed in a decorated state to be used with this work-in-progress cosplay.

I also have a couple shifts (undershirts) from different eras and I’m working on a mid-late 18th century shift for an upcoming colonial era outfit.

Other Accomplishments and Fun

I got to meet some new lovely sewing friends and grew closer to some local gals. I did some pattern testing for By Hand London and Jolie Marie Louise. I participated in Sewing Indie Month. Attended Pattern Review Weekend here in Austin. Became part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team.

I’d say 2014 was a pretty good year for sewing! If I have any goals for next year I guess I want to ramp up the historical sewing and costuming. As for regular wardrobe sewing I’d like to make more everyday wearable dresses that I can just throw on in a pinch and feel comfortable in. Oh, and maybe finish that darn skirt pattern I’ve been working on and off with for months. ;)

Blog Hopping!

Normally I don’t do these sorts of things but my good friend Nicole nominated me. And I feel like I owe her an apology because it took me so long to get around to doing this. :( I had plans on taking fun pics to go with my questions but, as you can probably guess, that didn’t happen.

But Nicole’s other nominee, my friend Susan, already did her post so now I feel like I gotta get off my bum and do this thing. Motivation!

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Thanks so much for the nomination, Nicole! You’re awesome and I’m glad I’ve gotten to hang out with you so much lately with the meet ups and sewing parties.

So, questions…

How does my blog differ from others of its genre? 
Hmm, I guess I have a few themes on my blog like sewing clothes that will actually be worn rather than pure frosting.

But on the other end I’ve been going through a phase where I want to be challenged by my sewing whether that means learning new techniques, trying my hand at costuming or just making and wearing clothes that are out of my comfort zone.

Why do I create, and why do I write?
Creating is in my nature and I blog to document what I make. You never know if in the future you or your grandkids will want to look back on what you made years ago. I would love it if I had a 5 year log of everything my grandmother made way back when. This blog is a historical document.

Having a blog is also a good reference if I want to re-make a pattern and cant remember the changes I made to my original version.

(A dress I made in 2010 and a more recent make from this year)

Oh, and I think it’s kind of cool that I have continuous catalog of pictures of myself (posed “photoshoot” style, as opposed to selfies) from at least once a week for the past several years. Sometimes it’s interesting to go back and see how much (or how little) I’ve changed.

How does my creative process work? 

Lots of procrastinating in between naps – just kidding (mostly).

Usually I find a pattern design or inspirational photo online of a garment or style I love and start from there. I don’t have much of a fabric stash but it’s growing. After I find a good fabric then the fun begins.

The actual work is when I sit down for marathon sessions of sewing and whatever I’m watching on Netflix (right now I’m catching up on Doctor Who). I’ve found that I can sew for much longer if I’m being entertained (MUST. FINISH. EPISODE.).

Once I’ve finished I show off my new make to Justin who then proceeds to make unnecessary comments (“You look like a flight attendant/girl scout/50s housewife/librarian.”) and I grumpliy trudge back into my sewing room.

After I get over that I then take pics and blog about it.

I can tell you one thing my creative process doesn’t involve – cleaning.

What am I currently working on?

You mean what am I NOT working on? Hehehe, well, I made myself laugh…


I usually have several projects on the table at once. I know some people are adamant supporters of the “one project at a time” philosophy but that just slows me down. If I have several garments I’m working on then I can switch between them as I go.

Sure, juggling many makes does bring a UFO risk, but so does getting so frustrated with a persnikity project that you shove it into the black hole of shame a drawer. If I can take a break from a dress that’s giving me trouble and work on a simple shirt then that success will fuel my desire to finish that other project.

A garment is most likely to become a UFO if it never makes it to the sewing machine. Most of my “UFO bags” are filled with cut out fabric pieces that probably aren’t even pinned together.

But for real: I’m slowly working on a dress inspired by one of my favorite movies, a cosplay that I need to have finished by January, a 1840s romantic era dress, a Regency era bonnet, a Nettie Bodysuit, and a shirt dress are in the pipeline.

Ok, now for nomination(s)!

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I’m nominating Lauren from Rosie Wednesday (I know I didn’t ask ahead of time, but too bad, you gotta do it now). Not only is Lauren a great friend but her love of all things vintage is inspiring. She rocks the vintage look like no one’s business from hair to glasses to her sassy and adorable handmade wardrobe. Seriously, this lady has a great blog (and she obviously loves candy as much as I do!) so you really ought to check it out.

Pattern Review Weekend and Sewing Indie Month

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May is going to be a pretty busy month for me. Right now I just got home from dinner in downtown Austin for Pattern Review Weekend. I’ve already met so many nice people and ‘oooh’ed and ‘aaahhh’ed over everyone’s lovely makes. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked or been asked “What pattern is that?”

I got a goody bag filled with patterns and fabric and we had a pattern swap going on.

This is probably a 30ft long bar covered in patterns!

This morning Daniel Esquivel, former contestant on Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (and Austin native), spoke to the group. This is him wearing a felt pumpkin pie fascinator made by a very talented lady (I can’t remember her name, sorry!) who kindly let him try it on. It was pretty awesome.

Sewing Indie Month

Also, all May is Sewing Indie Month. A collective of over 20 indie pattern companies are posting tutorials and interviews on their blogs and there’s even a big sew-along hosted by some great bloggers with prizes you can win!

Heather at Closet Case Files interviewed me on her blog so you should go check it out. I’ve already gotten some really nice comments from friends about it so thank you!

Heather is kind of a kindred spirit to me in blogland. Besides having a cool, modern style and being so friendly and open she is also a great pattern designer. You’ve probably already seen some of the stunning versions of her Bombshell Swimsuit out there (maybe you even made one yourself) but now she has a new dress/bodysuit pattern out called the Nettie which you totally need in your pattern collection! Thanks, Heather, for asking the “deep” questions. :)

There’s going to be more fun stuff posted throughout the month so check out each of the designers’ sites and stick around here in the coming weeks for an interview with the designer behind Thread Theory, a tutorial from Sewn Square One and my own tutorial which is going to be on Sew Caroline’s blog.