Monday, February 19, 2018

2017 Makes

2017 Makes
I was inspired by Arrowmountain's post on Instagram to take an inventory of what I made in 2017. Being a procrastinator through and through, it is no surprise that it took me almost two months into 2018 to write this post. Partly, I was waiting to get my last two makes of 2017 photographed, and blogged and that is now done. So here you go.

Here are my maker's stats for 2017

  • 22 finished items
  • 19 made it to the blog
  • 11 Tops
  • 3 Dresses
  • 3 Skirts
  • 2 Knit hats
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • 1 Pair of pants
Patterns Stats
  • 3 Self Drafted
  • 3 Megan Neilsen
  • 2 Blueprints for Sewing 
  • 2 Papercut   
  • 2 Vintage
  • 1 Simplicity
  • 1 In the Folds      
  • 1 Colette         
  • 1 Built By Wendy 
  • 1 Deer and Doe 
  • 1 Tilly and the Buttons  
  • 1 Charlotte Kan  
  • 1 Closet Case Patterns 
After rounding up all my makes for last year I realized that I was much more productive than I had imagined. I call myself a slow maker and a procrastinator. I am those things, but apparently I am pretty productive when I am enjoying what I do.

I participated in #sewphotohop on Instagram last September and it really helped me hone in on what I needed to make, and have a solid plan. I did not make the two skirts, but everything else on this plan was completed. I focused on tops, and added some much needed pieces to the upper half of my wardrobe. I never made a solid Winter sewing plan, and here in Texas Winter is already waning. I do need to do this exercise again to focus my attention on what I really need in my wardrobe. 

Fall Sewing Plans

I loved putting the fabric swatches together and seeing where my color choices overlap and work together.

Fall Sewing plans

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gretchen's Saltbox Tee

Here is Gretchen in her Saltbox Tee. Doesn't she look gorgeous?! I think it suits her so well. 

Saltbox Tee Saltbox Tee Saltbox Tee

During the process of receiving the handprinted fabrics from Gretchen and making our Saltbox Tee's I was posting on Instagram. In hindsight I wish I had taken better quality photos to share here.
Here are the two other prints that I didn't use. It was so hard to pick. Gretchen has since printed more designs on fabric and you can see what she's up to on her Instagram.


And one of my all time favorite photos of us. This one was taken by my mom in Santa Fe in the Summer of 1997. We were visiting Gretchen while she worked at a Summer Camp.
    Gretchen and I 1997 Santa Fe


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saltbox Tee, Twenty Seven Years in the Making

There is so much more to this blog post than this pattern, this fabric or this make. I have a story to tell about my oldest friend and the 27 years of friendship that lie behind this handmade tee.
  Handprinted Saltbox Tee

In the seventh grade I started a new school. Picture me, super shy, super awkward and the new kid in a tiny, country middle school. The Forty some odd kids in my class had mostly been in school together since kindergarten. It was hard. I met Gretchen Schermerhorn that year. It was 1986 to be exact. She was popular, but different than most kids in that she was interested in art. She was always nice to me, but it wasn't until the summer after 9th grade (1990) that I got up the courage to call her and invite her over to my house. I asked her if she wanted to come over and make purses, and she did. My mom had a craft and sewing room above our garage and we took full advantage of the space and her materials. We painted with acrylics and 3-D fabric paint and glued together envelope purses with ribbon for straps. I will leave those to your imagination, though I do have one or two still. Those purses were our first handmade bond, a tradition that carries on to this day.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Gretchen and I remained close friends and graduated both high school and college together. We took watercolor, metals and ceramics classes together and were roommates in college. I majored in metals and she went into printmaking, ultimately pursuing an MFA in the field. Gretchen is a working artist and teacher, in printmaking, paper making and bookmaking. She works at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Clearly I have brushed over the intervening years since college, but the point is, that our handmade bond continues. G gives the best gifts, always something unique and often handmade (by her or other artists). We have continued to make things for each other and together. When I saw her post a video on Instagram of herself printing on fabric I was, of course, intrigued. My interest was met with an offer, if I would make her a top with her fabric I could have some for myself as well. Yes, of course I said yes. This has to be the most special fabric that I have ever sewn with or worn. It was designed and printed by my life long friend and she trusted me to sew with it. I felt honored.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Gretchen picked the Saltbox tee by BluePrints for Sewing. I made the size C/D for myself. I love the details and structure of this top. The forward shoulder seam gives the appearance of a yoke, and the simple side vents lend a really nice fit. I was skeptical about the instructions for attaching the sleeves, but they really did ease in nicely. The contrast fabric is thrifted linen that I indigo dyed. It started a light mustard yellow, so it has a bit of green in with the indigo blue. This top is an excellent pattern for highlighting special prints, or even pattern mixing could be fun. This was my first time using a pattern from Blueprints for Sewing but it won't be my last.

Taylor the pattern designer says:

Blueprints for Sewing patterns are simple, flattering, comfortable, and classic with an artistic edge. They emphasize functionality and simplicity and feature thoughtful embellishments and adaptable cuts. Each pattern takes its inspiration from an architectural style.

I find all that to be true and it fits well with my personal aesthetic. I loved all the nods to architectural blueprints in the pattern layout. 

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

The handprinted fabric is quite stiff, but may soften up some with washing and wear. It is printed on Kona cotton. I had a really hard time picking from the 4 prints that G sent me, but the cactus won out in the end. I just adore this fabric so, so much.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

I am waiting for Gretchen to send me a photo of her in her Saltbox Tee. We took a photo together at Christmas but it is dark and blurry. I will post her photo and some of my pics of the fabrics soon. You can see a bit more here. Thanks for letting me share a bit of my personal history with you.

Monday, January 29, 2018

My Loominous Colette Aster

Colette Aster

This is one of my last two unblogged projects from 2017. I actually finished this Colette Aster back in October but procrastinated sewing the buttonholes until I was able to use my mom's fancy Bernina in early November. And then I procrastinated taking photos, and then I procrastinated blogging. Oh well, I am here now. "Slow maker" is my new moniker and I am living up to it well!

Colette Aster

I have become a person who loves the color pink. Mostly brick, adobe, brownish shades of pink but I do love this pop of color from this gorgeous Loominous fabric from Anna Maria Horner. I have been a long time fan girl of Anna and her fabrics and this line is even more wearable for me than most of her designs.

Colette Aster

I did not create a muslin for this top, my bad. I put the pattern together as drafted, and it was baggy, gapey and all kinds of ugly from the back. I should have known better, as I always need a sway back adjustment. Luckily, the editing that I had to do to fix my issues made the back pattern piece smaller than the original, allowing me to recut the back from the already cut pattern piece. I think I achieved a really great fit and after my initial befuddlement that made me very happy.

Colette Aster

I do find the sleeves to be a bit tight, and while I like the look of the slim fit I think my biceps need a tiny bit more room next time. There is plenty of room across the back, shoulders and chest, so it isn't that I chose the wrong size. This is version 1 in size 2 by the way.

Colette Aster

I figured out too late that I used the wrong side of this fabric. It is a very loose weave and I am not sure how it will hold up over time. I will have to be careful with this blouse.

aster alterations
1. Original Pattern piece             2. Second draft with pleat eliminated and swayback removed      3. Final result with ease added in at hips. 

Here is the evolution of my pattern alterations. It took some thinking and research to figure this out because I had only ever done swayback adjustments on garments with a waist seam. The original pattern piece is on the left. I eliminated the pleat because there was way too much volume for my taste. Then I cut a wedge out at the waist line for the sway back adjustment. Finally I had to add ease back into the hip by pivoting at the center back. You can see that my final back pattern piece ended up with a curve at the top where it meets the yoke. I'm not sure if this is the "correct" way to do a swayback adjustment on a blouse but it worked for me and I am pleased with the result.

Colette Aster

As simple as this pattern is, I had always been drawn to its style lines. I do plan to make the other two versions at some point now that I have the fit down. I would recommend this pattern for someone as an introduction to sewing a button down blouse. I think it has just the right balance of simplicity, modernity and classic lines for my taste.