Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brumby, Brumby and Agnes

My first Brumby skirt was made last Fall out of royal blue rayon challis from the clearance bin at Joann. Excuse the wrinkles, this was taken in Dallas after tacos at Trompo and sitting in the car.
  Brumby #1Brumby #1 Brumby #1

Brumby #1 was made with version 3 in a size small with the exposed zipper. It is an easy, breezy skirt and I have worn it quite a bit in warmer weather. This is a good beginner pattern, since there isn't much fitting involved. You just have to make sure you get the waistband fitted to your comfort and you are good to go. I don't normally like gathers at my waist but these gathers are just enough to give a fit and flare effect and not be over the top pouffy.

I obviously had to make the other versions with the HUGE pockets as well. This is version 1 in polka dot Chambray from Robert Kauffman. This fabric is more structured and definitely helps show off those awesome pockets. Being a bit heavier weight than the rayon, it works well in this less gathered version. I cut this version between an XS and S and the fit is just right.
  Agnes meets BrumbyAgnes meets Brumby

I paired it here with my first attempt at the Tilly and The Buttons Agnes Top. This fabric is a bit juvenile but I just adored the print and color scheme. It is literally from the kids section at Joann. The knit itself is 100% cotton with very little stretch and recovery, not the best choice for such a fitted top.  I definitely have plans to use this pattern again and I want one of those pouffy, gathered sleeve versions for sure. How fun is that?! Overall, this combo is more girly and dressier than I would normally wear. For some reason this is just they way I pictured styling both of these pieces. I am totally enjoying finding my style through creating my own wardrobe. Sewing for myself allows me to play with different looks and find out what I am truly drawn to and comfortable in. While I do like this entire outfit, it isn't the overall vibe I am going for these days. I think separately both pieces will have a place in my wardrobe, and I see the skirt already getting lots of wear.  

Agnes meets Brumby Agnes meets Brumby

Megan Nielsen has an exposed zipper tutorial that can be used for this skirt or an exposed zipper application. I was a bit confused on this insertion and had to end up making the waistband shorter in order for the zipper to end right at the top of it. Somehow I had made it work fine with my first version last Fall so I am not sure where I went wrong this time.
  Agnes meets Brumby

FYI, this version is pretty short, at least for me and I'm only five foot four. I didn't want to turn it up twice to hem, so I used bias tape on the hem line to give it a tiny bit more length. It turned out to be just right, but heads up if you don't want a mini version you may need to add a bit of length.

I am currently working on my third Brumby skirt. I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of this pattern. I have another one planned as well. Perhaps I am a bit obsessed. I just love that using different fabrics, trims, treatments, etc can create so many different looks with one pattern.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Black and White Clover Top

Black and White Clover Top

Meet miss Clover, I adore this comfy little top made with the Clover Dress Pattern by Brooke Tyson from Papercut patterns. This awesome black and white rayon was a score at Super Textiles in Dallas out of their $2/yard bin and the inset contrast fabric is a rayon linen blend from Joann. I made the dress version a couple of years ago, also in Rayon Challis.

Black and White Clover Top

I love this pattern, the fit is spot on and it is an easy make. I didn't have to do any alterations on either version and I made it up in a straight size XS. This sweet addition to my wardrobe meets so many of my qualifications for a favorite piece of clothing. Rayon Challis is super slinky and comfy to wear and I will always scoop it up whenever I find it in a good color or print. I am drawn to black and white patterns that can be worn with nearly anything and simple silhouettes in both pattern and fabric design. Check, check and check this one is a winner.
  Black and White Clover TopBlack and White Clover Top

As with my previous make of this pattern I used French seams everywhere except on the inset panel, where I serged the raw edges. It made for a nice clean finish on the inside.
  Insides

I am starting to understand the appeal of making the same sewing pattern multiple times. When you know a pattern is going to fit it is so much faster to whip up. Rather than continuing to hoard sewing patterns when they go on sale at Joann, I am finding indie patterns to be more well drafted and easier to fit from the get go. I am currently sewing my third version of Megan Nielsen's Brumby Skirt with one more planned for the near future. Now back to my yard work while the weather is perfect here in Texas.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Woes of a Wanna Be Knitter

Here are a million photos of one hat because it can be worn a million ways. Okay, four ways. I made it a little slouchy with the option to fold the ribbing up for a more fitted look. It looks good inside out, outside in, folded and unfolded. I adore this hat!
  My cashmere hatMy cashmere hat My cashmere hat My cashmere hat My cashmere hat

My hat was made with the Honey Hat pattern, but only as a starting point. I decided that this gorgeous hand dyed yarn would be best featured in a more simple stitch. I only used the pattern for the sizing and to get started with the ribbing and then continued on in reverse Stockinette stitch to the desired perfect slouchy length. The yarn is Anzula Cricket in Dark Matter (love that name) purchased locally at the gorgeous shop West 7th Wool. This yarn is 80% Merino Wool, 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere. It is just as soft, squishy and luxurious as you can imagine. I adore the jewel tones and the resulting marbled look.

Now lets talk about the woes of a wanna be knitter who lives in Texas, shall we. Every year I get sooooo excited to knit, and I am going to knit up soooo many things. I go to the local yarn shop and ooh and ah and find the perfect lovely yarn for my first of many projects to come. I ever so slowly knit up said project, it may take me a month like this hat or several years of knitting (in the cold months only) to finish the first project of the season. Then I get to wear that precious item exactly ONCE before it gets too hot. And then it IS too hot and I am out in the garden working, or sewing up Summer clothes and swimsuits, with absolutely NO desire to have wool on my lap. I will say that in the years of scattered practice my knitting skills have grown, but I do not think I will ever be a fast knitter. It just isn't meant to be. I will however continue to knit that one special project each Winter in Texas and I will covet these pieces and wear them on at least one cold day each year.

The newborn hat was made in January and took me forever. I think the newborn recipient wore it once (he was a big little guy) but that's okay because I learned a lot and it was gifted with love. Sorry for the bad phone pic, but I couldn't not share. This is the Easy Peasy Newborn hat, a free pattern intended for leftover sock yarn. I purchased a 100 yard skein of Madeline tosh sock yarn and taught myself how to knit on teeny tiny double pointed needles. I attempted the magic loop technique but failed miserably and had to start over on DPNs. This hat actually came before mine, so the practice on DPNs came in handy when it was time to finish up my hat. The yarn was difficult for me to work with because it split a lot and I am not used to working with this weight of yarn. In the end I learned a lot and I am happy that I persevered. I think this hat found a home on one of baby River's stuffed animals and I am happy with that outcome.

Baby River's hat Baby River's hat

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vintage McCall's 3835

McCall's 3835 Front

This was my first finished garment of the year. I actually started this overall dress back in December but the topstitching was giving me so much trouble that I set it aside for a while. My machine just didn't want to stitch over even one layer of this lightweight denim with topstitching thread and it was super frustrating. I finally cleaned and oiled my machine and came back to the project with more patience. In the end it was totally worth persevering. This is McCall's 3835 from 1973. Oh how I adore 70's fashion, I am a child of the 70's after all. I found the pattern on sale on Etsy and just had to have an overall dress. I used some Japanese cotton Denim leftover from the Miette Wrap skirt that I made for my friend Gretchen.
  McCall's 3835McCall's 3835 McCall's 3835 Back

Styling wise I think this dress works pretty well with tights and this tee, however it looked even cuter with a more fitted Nettie top that I wore with it this week.

The original pattern has an invisible side zipper but I wasn't feeling that. Instead I made a little tab for
a button and button hole. I sewed one side shut, as I only required one button to be open to shimmy into this thing.
  McCall's 3835 BackMcCall's 3835  Back detail

I shortened the dress, and had to draft the missing strap pattern piece. I use the term drafting loosely because, rectangles, duh. It did work out better that way so that I could make them fit my hardware perfectly.
  McCall's 3835 Vintage Overalls and Overall dress pattern

I am really happy with this addition to my wardrobe and I feel like I will wear this dress year round. The fabric wrinkles easily but that really doesn't bother me too much. I think this style is the perfect mix of vintage and modern, hip and art teacher-esque.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Where I Have Been

Ack, where have I been?! It has been over a year since I posted anything here. I guess I will start with showing you what I spent most of last year devoting my energy to. Frank and I have been in our sweet little 1923 bungalow for almost 16 years. It was in desperate need of some love and attention and we gave it quite a bit last year.

This is the front of the house after a face lift. We put in new windows, doors, a new roof, a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, house numbers and spruced up the landscaping. Front porch

This is the front room. We painted, de-cluttered and put in a new light fixture that you can see in my Christmas selfie below. I adore that light fixture by the way.Front room Christmas selfie

Our dining room after a fresh coat of paint and a new light fixture. Dining Room

In our hallway and front bedroom we put planks on the ceiling to cover the old glittery popcorn. hallway

Aaaah, our bedroom. It is my favorite and most complete room in the house. This is the smaller of our two bedrooms and was Frank's music room for about 15 years. We swapped rooms so that we could share the back room and to give me a dedicated sewing space. I still need to make a bedskirt for the bed and frame and hang photos on the big wall to the left, but otherwise this room is just how I want it.
  bedroom

Probably the most exciting thing for me about this entire year was creating a sewing studio in our back bedroom. Previously my sewing projects were strewn across the dining room table, creating an ugly mess or preventing me from sewing altogether when I would clean and pack up the mess. I am so happy with my space now. I have a ton of storage and am more organized than ever. I can see my fabric and have quick access to all of my tools and patterns. Best of all, I don't have to put anything away. I used an Ikea shelving unit for storage and an Ikea kitchen island that I converted into a rolling cutting table. We had new light fixtures installed so that I can actually see what I am working on! studio

Our back patio. There's a lot more to our back yard but I couldn't find any good photos. Of course right now it needs a ton of work (weed pulling) to get ready for Spring. I will have to get some good pics after we clean it all up. We really enjoyed eating meals out on the back patio last Spring and Summer. They always needs work but I love our gardens. back patio

There are more projects to do, now and forever I am sure. Our living room needs some touch up paint, and we totally ran out of money to renovate the kitchen and bathroom. Someday we will get to those major projects. For now we are enjoying our home and I am back to sewing, cooking and exercising, all things that were sorely neglected last year. I can procrastinate with the best of them, so this blog renovation is slow going. I am back, and plan to share my sewing and other creative endeavors here. I am slowly but surely updating the layout and cleaning up this space. I hope you enjoyed my little home as much as I do.

* I neglected to mention what wonderful parents I have. They spent so much time helping us with these projects last year and I can never thank them enough. My dad put in our doors, finished out our windows and showed us and helped us install that ceiling and all of our fans. My mom helped me paint and clean and do all kinds of dirty work around here. Now don't I feel like a jerk. Really, I hope they know how much we appreciate them!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy New Year!

I am late to the party, nothing new there. We had a good holiday, how about you? I took off three extra days in the weeks leading up to Christmas in order to preserve my sanity and it worked. We visited my family in Austin, then hosted four of our best friends for New Years.

Here are myself, my niece Karlie and mom all wearing tops that I made on Christmas day. Theirs were Christmas gifts. We look alike, don't we?! Untitled
For mom I used a gorgeous crossweave linen from Joann and the Fisherman's top patterns from Merchant and Mills Sewing Book. Karlie's tunic is made with the juvenile apparel knit from Joann and I'm so in love with it! I used Simplicity 1785, which I had sewn for her before.

And her model pose.    Untitled Untitled I asked Frank for this ring made by our friend Claire for my Christmas gift. I adore it! It fits perfectly with my wardrobe and my everyday jewelry. I never wear rings but this one is perfect.

I also felt inspired to make some new jewelry designs. My friend Matt asked me to make his wife some small-ish earrings. Inspired by Claire's work, I finally got my hands on some brass to play with and am happy with what I cam up with. I think I need to make both of these for myself now!
Untitled

Here are my top nine instagram pics from last year. Pretty much sums it up, lots of sewing, a little travel, including our trip to Tulum that I still need to share, and some adventures in the kitchen.
ashleyakers

There hasn't been any New Year Resolution stuff going on over here just yet. I have plans but got sick and have no groceries, so no gym or healthy eating plan for us at the moment. I promised myself to get back to the gym asap. We are in the midst of refinancing our home and planning to do some work around here, so that will consume most of our Spring. I also promised myself to not buy any new fabrics, but instead work my way through my stash this year. I may break this rule for things I really need but don't have fabric for, like winter wear and possible jeans sewing. We shall see. Mostly I won't be too hard on myself or too rigid. I'm in a good and happy place and hope to stay here.

 I hope you too are having a wonderful new year filled with whatever it is that makes you smile.
 xoxo Ashley

Friday, December 11, 2015

Simplicity 1377 in Cotton Ikat

I made this skirt sometime last year but never blogged it. It is made with a gorgeous cotton Ikat from Joann (of all places) that I wish I had bought more of. The pattern is Simplicity 1377. I have actually made the shorts and pants form this pattern as well. Neither worked for me, but both times it was my fault. The shorts were too short and too small so I gave them to a friend. I need to make myself another version though, as they were super cute on her! With the pants I narrowed the legs too much and when I sat down it would stress the seams. Those went to the donation box. This skirt is the clear winner of the three. It is a simple and quick pattern and I think it works well with this fabric. I eliminated the back pleats in order to eek out the pattern from my small yardage, but I think I like it with the minimal volume. I'm not big on volume at the waistline. I will use this pattern again and I highly recommend it. It is versatile and great for a beginner, aka a super quick make.

I think this is truly more of a summer skirt, but I was trying to be creative and layer my clothes to utilize more of my handmade wardrobe. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the way I styled the skirt here as it kind of looks like I'm wearing a unitard under it, while it was actually tights and a tank top. This photo shoot was fun because we were at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens to test out our action camera for our vacation (this post is long overdue and I am still playing catch up).  I love this little cactus garden and had fun with these pictures. Frank is really nice to be my personal photographer!