Friday, September 30, 2011

Last Days of Self-Stitched-September

Lots of repeats during these last few days. I never managed to wear my new black and grey dress - the weather has been too warm!

These challenges are good because they make me use all of my wardrobe. If I could, I would probably just wear jeans and t-shirts all the time, despite the fact that I like a dressier look. I'm just lazy! So by wearing a piece a few times during these challenges I get comfy with it and am more likely to wear it during 'normal' months. :)

Plus, since I don't have 30 or 31 different me-made garments, I have to try different combos and accessories to keep things fresh. This forces me to delve into my jewelry collection as well...but I think I don't have my stuff very well organized. If I can't see it I forget it exists, so I tend to wear the same pieces over and over again. I've been meaning to do something about this for several years now...I like this earring display frame, for instance:

You can get the pattern free from Stitch Diva, which is also where I got the photo from.

And, of course, the really cool thing about these challenges is seeing what everybody else is making and wearing. There's always tons of inspiration. And my blog reading list gets longer and longer!

Speaking of blogging, Alessa from Farbenfreude was kind enough to pass along a Versatile Blogger award to me! Thanks, Alessa! She's great, she also helped me some technical blogger problems I was having. :)

So, these are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this award along to recently discovered blogs

Obviously the hardest part of this is figuring out 7 things to share! Hmmm, let's see...

1) I finally talked my husband into signing up for a swing dancing class! We started last week. I used to swing dance all the same when I was college, but it's been a while so the skills are a little rusty. Plus there were never enough boys, so I used to dance the 'boy' part more than the 'girl' part so that I could dance more often!

2) I never finished reading War and Peace. It's been so long at this point that I think I need to start all the way over!

3) I've been learning to meditate for the past few years. I practice a meditation style as taught by the Shambhala tradition. I'm not good about doing it every day though!

4) What Alessa said about lists reminded me that I have to write everything down. I have a very bad memory for things I need to do. One wonders if I purposefully forget!

5) I have a minor obsession with L'Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre and have an idea for a quilt about it. I wanted to write my thesis on it, but unfortunately my idea was too monstrously big...more like Ph.D thesis size, so I guess I'll never do it. I'll do the quilt instead. :)

6) I have a major sweet tooth for magazines. I love National Geographic, Smithsonian, Threads, Selvedge, Interweave, etc. I've been forced to cut down my consumption since moving to France!

and finally...

7) I can't help it, I like emo music. But not exclusively, I like punk too. And some rap. :)

I'm happy to pass this award onto some blogs I recently discovered, thanks to SSSeptember 2011:

1) Sølvi at deflfinelise

2) Two Little Cabbages and Cie


3) Minnado

I hope everyone manages to stay inspired throughout the coming months and I can't wait to see you around for the next me-made-challenge! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cours de Couture

I signed up for an evening sewing class where I work (a cultural center). It will last all school year and runs for two hours on Tuesday night. My first project was to learn/practice some hand stitching. So here's my sampler:

Here's the sampler next to the French terms:

The first one is (for me) just regular stitching - it's called le point de devant in French. The second one is a back-stitch - called le point arrière in French. The third one is a chain stitch, called le point de chausson. And then we have some basting - called le point de bâti long et court. And finally we have tailors' tacks, or le point de bouclettes. :) That's not how I normally baste things but it seems like a good stitch so I guess I'll use it from now on. My backstitch needs some work.

And here's another worksheet I filled out as homework. It shows how the machine is thread:

For my first class project, my teacher will help me draft a straight skirt. I'm not sure what fabric to use!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Fall Essentials Sew Along Finished Item!

Whew, that's a lot of fff's!! I didn't get much done for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along this year, so I'm happy that I got my first item done for the 2011 Fall Essentials Sew-Along!

I finished an item in the Fabulous Frocks category: the Portfolio dress using Lisette (Simplicity) 2245:

Both the fabrics (cotton) came from Ikea. I've had them in my stash for at least a year now. I'll have to wear it with tights and a sweater if I want to wear it this fall and winter. And I think in the future I'll wear it with a belt because without one it looks a lot like a nightdress!

If I were to make this dress a second time, I would put piping on the pockets. And maybe I would embroider the little square at the neckline, as I saw someone do. I love the pockets though, so happy to have pockets in a dress!

And for the back closure, instead of using two medium-sized buttons, I decided to go for one HUGE back button:

This dress also belongs to my Colette Fall Palette Challenge list, which you can see here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Self-Stitched-September Days 17 - 23

Here's the latest update of my Self-Stitched-September outfits:

There's haven't been too many repeats yet. Also, I finally got around to taking in the sides of my dress bodice so I'll be able to wear that next week...or who knows, maybe tomorrow! And I just finished sewing another dress today!! I need to take photos and then I can wear it :) It is the first item finished for the Fall Essentials Sew-Along and the Colette Fall Palette Challenge.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Croatia: Zadar

After Rijeka we went to another coastal city: Zadar. Zadar had better preserved medieval (and older) architecture. We explored the beautiful old town.

Vestiges of Roman ruins aligned outside the archaeology museum:

Nice colors:

But what I liked the most was the sea:

Plus there is the awesome Sea Organ made by Nikola Bašić. The waves crash against tubes and make music - bigger waves change the resonance and so forth. It's so peaceful to listen to.

This is what one of the openings looks like:

And here's another art installation (by the same artist) right next to the Sea Organ:

This one is designed to be viewed at night, but I think it's pretty cool during the day too. The panels glitter like the sea behind them.

Bye, bye Zadar!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BookMooch + Self-Stitched-September Update

I just joined a new online service/club - BookMooch which is designed to help people get rid of books that they no longer want and replace them with books that they do want.

It's an international club but I fear that there are many, many members (ahem, Americans, ahem) who only exchange within their country. You have the option of exchanging internationally or not, so it's not against the rules. So far I've sent off six books to five different countries: Finland, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US. And I'm totally happy to do so and sending a normal-size paperback is really not expensive.

But I'm saddened to find that nearly all of the books on my wish-list are available BUT they are available from people who are unwilling to send books outside of their country. Bummer. So I have decided that in the future I will only exchange books with people who are willing to send internationally...otherwise I fear that I will send off all my books never to have any in return! And I would like some in return!

Anyhow, despite that little sour note I'm super excited about BookMooch and I encourage people to join, whether or not you want to mail things internationally!

And with no further ado, here's my Self-Stitched-September outfits for days 12 - 16:

Today, plus Saturday and Sunday I will be wearing very unimaginative outfits as I will be at a meditation retreat. Lots of sitting requires comfortable clothes! I will wear me-made tops but my pants may or may not match them that well :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Lisette Cigarette Pants

It's amazing the amount of sewing I get done when I'm procrastinating! I need more pants and I decided to test out this Lisette Pattern - #2245.

I chose a light-colored cream (I don't know why - it's too light!) in a stretchy twill. And I cut out a 12. I originally used the recommended seam allowance (1.5 centimeters) and found that the pants were too tight and gave me major wrinkles in the crotch. So I ripped everything out and resewed it with a 1 cm seam allowance.

That fit better when I tried it on so I finished it like that. But now that I've been sitting in them for 5 minutes, they are all stretched out!

Oh well, these may end up as home-wear pants unless I hide the waistband by wearing a long shirt. There's a little bulge in the waistband that I can't figure out and there are still some crotch wrinkles. I think I just don't have the skills yet for the fitting required on such slim pants. I think I should stick with looser styles for the time being.

I used buttons in my stash for the decorative tabs:

Speaking of buttons, I think I could spend my entire paycheck (which isn't saying much) on buttons and ribbons and such. I was looking on Etsy yesterday - a very bad idea when you can't buy anything!

I made several other modifications to the pattern. I shortened the pants by 3 inches. On the pattern cover they appear to be cropped and/or cigarette style pants but they hit me at the ankle.

And they were much more tapered than I had expected. I hate tapered ankle pants on me, so I made them shorter and improvised a cuff.

And I've been having problems with fusible interfacing lately (it pulls apart from the fabric after 10 or so washes and creates wrinkles) so I decided to use another method. I know there's non-fusible interfacing available also, but it seemed to me that the purpose of interfacing is to make that area a bit stiffer and sturdier and I didn't see why I couldn't use a sturdy fabric I had on-hand. I figured that people have been sewing long before there was special interfacing.

So, long story short, I used some remnants of a quilting-weight fabric I had in my stash:

So far it seems stiff enough; I guess I'll see after several wears.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Croatia: Rijeka

I realized I've been slacking and haven't finished my Croatia trip posts! The country is too beautiful not to share, so here's the next city we visited: Rijeka. It's a port city and we only stayed there a night in order to break up our voyage south.

This building reminded me of some of the buildings in Chicago:

And I thought this square was pretty, especially the colors:

Our main activity in Rijeka was climbing many thousands of stairs (I didn't count but there were a lot) to the fortress at the top of the hill.

Here's the very unassuming fortress:

And here's a view from the top:

We started from way down here, at the port:

And to reward ourselves after all that climbing:

Yummy pivo, perfect for rehydrating after all that stair climbing! OK, maybe not, but still yummy! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Self-Stitched-September Days 6 - 11

I went to Amsterdam for the weekend! I couldn't talk about it because I was going there to surprise my sister. So, my pictures for Self-Stitched-September days 9 and 10 were taken in Amsterdam.
Carolyn nicely pointed out that the pictures I posted of Thermal are pretty dark and mask the detail. So I thought I'd put up this one separately so you can see it better:
And a close-up:
The weather turned cold and rainy today so I was able to wear the sweater. And yesterday I was sweaty in my 3/4 sleeves!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Thermal is Terminated!!

Can't touch this, doo do do do!! It's amazing what music they use for shows here in France :) That MC Hammer ditty was for a cooking show: microwave vs. traditional oven. Anyhow, I've finally finished Laura Chau's Thermal sweater.
I knit the size D: 38 inches across in the chest. I followed the directions exactly except for the button placket and button band. I couldn't understand the directions at all so I did as Sooza's Knitting Stuff did in her version: I knit the button placket/band in the other direction.
I'm happy with how it turned out and glad to have one more sweater in the closet since I shrunk two last year!!
The pictures are a bit dark. I waited until T. got home from work so he could take the photos and there wasn't much light left. A back view:
If the weather turns colder, I might be able to wear this for Self-Stitched-September. In the meantime, I think I'll start a smaller knitting project next :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The First Five Days of Self-Stitched-September

Here's what I've worn so far. I started out really lame (the pink top and jeans) but I've been trying to make up for it.
Today I paired the turquoise-striped shirt with a skirt for the first time ever. I think I would be more comfortable in it if the skirt were longer; I don't like to show my knees because of big scar I have there.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fall Essentials Challenge

I've decided to combine the Colette Fall Palette Challenge and the Fall Essentials Sew-Along but I'm adding one constraint that I didn't have for the Spring Palette Challenge: to only use patterns and fabrics already in my stash. I still haven't finished all the items on my list from the Spring Palette Challenge and I think this is due - in part - to the fact that I didn't have all the fabric and patterns I needed. No doubt finishing these items will take me through winter...and who knows, maybe next fall too! So my palette choices are based on fabrics already in my stash. Here are the colors I've chosen to work with: Colette_Fall_Palette
Color by COLOURlovers I'll be making one dress, one skirt and four shirts: View A from the Simplicity Lisette pattern 2245:
A repeat of view B from Simplicity 2655:
View B from New Look 6808 except with a scoop neckline:
View A from Simplicity 3887:
View A from Burda 7431:
And, last but not least, view B from Simplicity 2339:
I can also count at least two of these projects (the red linen blouse and the black skirt) as part of my Fill the Gaps Challenge, yay! These are both basics that are lacking in my wardrobe. And polka dots are nearly basics, right?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Start of Self-Stitched-September 2011

I mentioned previously that I had hesitated before committing to this because I don't have a very big me-made wardrobe. So one of my challenges this time around is to style my garments differently and to try to salvage what I do have (but don't normally wear). So in the salvage spirit, I chose this Simplicity 3838 top today:
It's a bit of a cheat because I didn't really style it. I just decided it would be acceptable to wear it because a) it was appropriate weather-wise and b) I wasn't going to leave the house today so nobody would see the horrible neckline. ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************* In happier sewing news, I finished my second version of New Look 6677. I'm very happy with how it turned out:
I shortened it by about 3 centimeters and the v-neck turned out better this time. I have to be careful when I take it on and off. There's little give and I'm afraid I'll pop the sleeve seams with my line-backer shoulders!
Be ready to see this one in the Self-Stitched-September rotation! :) ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** P.S. Blogger has changed their publishing set-up and it's messing with my spacing, so sorry for the squished-together post with all the *********! Hopefully I'll figure this out soon.