Friday, December 23, 2016

Looking Forward to 2017

Stop reading now if you don't want to read some politics and philosophizing.

2016...where to start?  It's been kind of a soggy year.  Right now I have fuzzy brain due to some cold medicine, but looking back...soggy is the best adjective I can come up with to describe these past 12 months.

I haven't talked about the debacle of the American presidential election; in the aftermath I pretty much unplugged from social-network-type sites.  And I haven't missed them, so I check in only once a week now.  This isn't counting blogs, which I read when I have time.  Anyhow, the election...I'm not sure I have anything positive to add to the public discourse.  The best response I've seen so far was from a friend on FB.  And maybe she was quoting someone else, I dunno.  The gist of the idea was...the opportunity for positive change doesn't always look like we thought it would.  Personally I have taken this opportunity to donate to causes that are close to my heart, to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

The situation in France and in Europe and North Africa is hardly more encouraging.  Again, I try to keep dialogue open and not simply react like a knee being pinged in a reflex test.  This is not always easy.  In fact this is never, properly speaking, easy.

Which brings me to me and this blog.  This is a rather superficial blog.  I rarely talk about my private life and I don't often bring up the tenderest and most personal subjects, whatever they may be.  In any case, I'm still here, still learning, still (rather slowly) huffing and puffing down the ole railroad tracks.

Speaking of which, I've had a big, semi-secret project in the works now for officially a year.  And I don't have much finished to show for it.  A muddle-headed-cold-and-cough-syrupy day is perhaps not the best day to pull things out and try to get motivated again, but that's what I decided to do.  I needed to unattach the waistband of this skirt and add back 3 inches so the poor woman can breathe and move around, so the unattaching part is done.

I'm waiting for my head to get a little clearer before reattaching.  And then I just need to finish the waistband and attach the ruffle on the bottom, and voila!!  Finito!  Shall we take bets to see how long that'll take me?!?!?

Here's a view of the other side:

Anyhow, I like planning and making lists and having big ideas and the like. And the end of the year/beginning of the new one is a perfect time to do all of that.  It's just not gonna happen.  I imagine 2017 will be much like 2016: too much work and not enough time to do what needs to be done, let alone what I want to get done. 

OK, that sounds a little depressing and that's not the note I want to end on!  So, look I added an Instagram roll on the blog!  You can follow me there too, I'm still niddetissus. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fall Knitting

I don't have much time for sewing, but I do have the odd 20 minutes free here and there, and that's perfect for knitting something not-too-complicated.  I'm in the middle of several lace projects, but that doesn't match the "not-too-complicated" requirement and I find that lace knitting doesn't really respond well to frequent interruptions.

I have quite a bit of yarn in my stash so I wanted to use it rather than spending more money needlessly!  What can you do with a lot of different colors of yarn?!?  Why, stripes of course!!  So I've embarked upon some stripe-knitting, inspired by my stash/fall colors.

I decided on the above stripe pattern, by arranging and re-arranging my balls of yarn.  And I matched up the yarn with a pattern, the Bethany Wrap from Interweave Knits summer 2012.  The original is knit in cotton but there are several examples of knitters adapting it to wool successfully, so I'm having a go.

I'm using Rowan yarn as well as left-over Mission Falls of similar weight.  I'm sad that Mission Falls is no longer around, I love their product!

So far, this is the result.  I may go back and add some ribbing on the bottom to keep it from rolling up like that; I hate the rolling up.  But I think the stripe sequence is successful.

And a cat picture, just because, with some plants enjoying the sun outside on the window ledge.  Gotta catch the rays while there are still rays to catch!!  Happy Halloween everyone!!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

FO: Downtown Tunic by Sew Caroline

The name says it all!  I finished this t-shirt a couple of weeks ago and as per usual, haven't had time to take proper pictures.

So the kitchen mirror takes it again!

I combined two Southwestern style prints and I love the combination; it screams ME!!!

I had to raise the back join 6 cm because it absolutely fell in the worst possible spot on my body.  It worked from the front, but the back was just fugly.  I think chopping off those centimeters helped it though.  Here it is now from the back...

It's been a couple weeks so I've forgotten the small gripes I had with the pattern.  I think I didn't love how the sleeve bands were attached, just because you end up with a lot of fabric at that seam.  Other than that, the small things I don't like are because I don't have a twin needle or a serger.  I had to tack down the neckline in some places because it was wanting to roll outside.  A round of  twin-needle topstitching would've licked that problem I imagine. 

This time around the knit fabric was heavier (and more stable) than when I made the dress pattern from Sew Caroline.  Thank goodness!!  That meant I didn't have to wrestle with it for hours like with the dress!!

Truth be told I've only worn it once so far.  It's been too hot for anything but tanktops!!  But I think I'll enjoy it in the future and it has quenched my thirst (a bit) for all things Southwestern. ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I'm taking advantage of my summer vacation time to sew! Big surprise ;)  I have set myself a goal of completing six projects in three weeks.  So far I've finished 1 and 3/4 projects.  The last one is missing buttons but other than that it's finished.  I want to use clasps or frogs rather than buttons, so I will look to buy some this week.

I had made a list to help me organize my sewing time.  And of course the first completed project is not on the list!!  I decided to change dress patterns at the last minute, thinking I'd have enough fabric left over to be able to squeeze out a t-shirt.  Well that didn't happen; a t-shirt for a baby maybe!

But here is the finished dress, a red knit using an OOP pattern, Simplicity 1796:

Another mirror photo - hey, that's life!
 This pattern is really more designed for woven fabrics, but on the fabric listing they do include "lightweight matte jerseys" as an option.  So I went for it.  The final result is not too bad but I should've gone down a size I think.

The instructions for the armhole finishing were really more adapted to a woven - it said to use store-bought bias tape.  So I made some bias tape with the red fabric, but I had some stretching on one of the armholes.  As a result it sticks out a bit.  It's the left-side facing in the image, as you can see.  I'll live with it, especially since summer around here lasts only two months, so I imagine I'll be wearing this with cardigans or jackets most of the time.

I also have some gaping with the front cross-over.  I had this problem the first time I made this dress too; apparently I didn't learn my lesson.  I should've overcrossed to compensate, but of course I didn't.  I will always wear a belt with this dress, so I can kinda tuck in the extra fabric into the fabric.  There's still some front gaping, however, so I need to wear a camisole to make it work-friendly.  No big deal.

For this time around I made version F, with the hem length somewhere in between the long and short versions.  But this needs to be the last time I make this pattern!  It's not super super great and there are tons of other patterns out there!!

So next on my list to make is the Sew Caroline Downtown Tunic.  There are some really cute versions out there! I think I'm going to try some pattern mixing, cross your fingers for me! ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Progress Report: The First Two Weeks of Me-Made-May 2016

It's only been two weeks and there have already been several outfit repeats!  I have resorted to wearing my me-made necklaces four times in order to have a me-made for the day.  And one weekend I spent entirely in pyjamas, but me-made ones!

So what have I learned?  That if the clothes aren't weather and/or situation apprioriate, I'm not going to wear them.  I will simply wear what I think works best for the day.  So far this month we have been all over the place in terms of weather, but not cold enough to warrant pulling out the sweater knits.

On the other hand, I have finally inaugurated the cotton knit top I made.  I have even worn it twice.  But both times in the exact same way.  Sooo it would be good to find another way to be able to wear it.

And I have worn another new make; a top which I had only worn once before, so I count that as a win too.

In even more exciting news (for me, of course), I have completed two new items!!

Last weekend I made this Out and About knit dress by Sew Caroline patterns:

I am very happy with the result.  The neckline binding was a royal pain the you-know-what, but I suppose that's because I don't have much experience with knits.  I wore it to work almost immediately and I felt comfortable and well-dressed, so win-win.  I'm already planning some variations!

And this reminds me.  I really need to make more bottoms or more dresses.  I have way more me-made tops than anything else and sometimes they only work with one pair of trousers or one skirt, so outfit repeats.

Of course, the next newly completed item is a top!  I made a Belcarra blouse by Sewaholic patterns:

I don't have a good modelled photo, but it's what I wore on May second.  I'm also quite happy with the result and I have maybe four skirts/pants that I can wear it with.  Maybe even more than that actually.  The print is fairly neutral so that makes it easier to pair up.

As a bonus, both of these projects were made with patterns and fabric and all materials already in stash.  And both of them were completed in about a day and a half.

Here's a close-up on the shoulder detail:

I am taking daily selfies, except for the days when I just do a necklace repeat!  I'm posting them to Instragram, where I'm also niddetissus.

We're basically at the halfway point of this challenge.  I'll try to vary the outfits but only if I feel good doing it!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yay or Nay for Me-Made-May

I've done an inventory of my surviving me-made apparel and the result is rather slim: five tops, one dress, three sweaters, and three skirts.  Plus two necklaces if I include jewelry, and three knit hats!  Oh yes, and one scarf and one pair of pyjamas.  So if I only wear only one item every day (out of the house) that's enough to get me through basically half of the month. If the weather is appropriate for all of the said apparel, which is doubtful. 

As you can see, I'm trying to find a way to make the challenge work for me because I would like to participate this year.  Last year I tried to focus on making more during the month of May; I'm not sure I was successful.

So what can I do this year?  I have thought about trying to quickly do another project before it gets too late, but my rush jobs definitely look like rush jobs!  And the point of the challenge is to try to better utilize what I already have in my closet.

I took a pause after writing the above and happened upon this post from Tumbleweeds in the Wind. 
I like her pledge; she is focused more on analyzing why she does or doesn't wear her creations.  So I have finally decided to do something similar.  But I am going to wear something every day, even if it is just a necklace.

So here's my pledge: I, Donna, of Nid de Tissus will endeavor...

* to wear something me-made everything day, even if it's simply a piece of jewelry
* to think about the whys or why nots for my wardrobe choices
* to dedicate a little time every day for the duration of the month to MAKING something

I will try to track my progress with images (i.e. take pictures) when and if I can.  Not gonna pressure myself over the documentation part of it.

OK, so let's see what happens!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jewelry Making + a Sneak Peek

I've been refreshing my jewelry-making skills.  Here's my most recent creation (last night, ha!) all curled up resting while the glue is drying.  Speaking of, the close-up helps me see a glob there to scrape off!

I was inspired by a tutorial I spotted on Pinterest.  I didn't quite have the materials on hand to follow the tutorial to the letter, so I adapted it to make use of what I have, but I'm pretty happy with the result.  It's a double-wrap bracelet.  I was going for a necklace, but it turned out a wee too small for that.  Measure twice, cut once, whoops!

I plan to actually follow the tutorial to the letter one day though, and when I do I'll link to it.

So basically the bracelet is made from braids of embroidery floss, plus some beaded yarn, and a length of chain.  I had thought about adding some dangling beads, but I think this bracelet has enough going on already.  Oh yeah, plus I threaded some hardware along the floss to punk it up a little.

And here's a sneak peek of a sewing project I finally finished today.  It had sat nearly finished for several weeks.  I just didn't have the time to get to it before that!  And who knows when I'll get photos with a for now, feast your eyes on another close-up:

And I hope you're all ready for the week ahead!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Color Work

I fell off the bandwagon a bit with the Colette Wardrobe Architect project, but I'm back now!

I recently made these color palettes for the fall season, using the Colour Lovers website :

And several years ago I made this bright palette, which I think still represent my colors for spring and summer...

You can see a repetition of colors in various tonalities, like the greens.  And I don't seem to have any purples, but I quite like purple.  It's true that I don't have much in my wardrobe though.

Anyhow, I've been to the bead shop that's a stone's throw away from my apartment to get some supplies for my WIPs.


And, of course, what would I do without my precious cat help?

And now to completely change subjects, I would just like to acknowledge the enormous tensions in France nowadays.  Today there are more student protests against a proposed labor law and law enforcement has decided to use tear gas in Rennes...

I say tensions in France, but I should say in the world.  Every day there is a new tragedy.  I find myself at a loss for words.  I am grieved, shocked, outraged; I think I feel rather powerless in the face of it all.  I drove past the Bataclan in Paris the other day...and I couldn't help but think that life goes on in spite of it all.  New babies are born; new discoveries are made; some people make peace and others war.

In fact, the ongoing project that I've been working on was born as a direct result of the massacre at the Bataclan.  Not to say that the theme is related, but just that I reacted to it with a newfound passion for life, and a lessening of inner criticisms.  And it's helped me reconnect with my meditation practice and walk the walk, do the work, so to speak.

So here's a big hug to all my readers and the universe in general.  Bisous tout le monde, I'm wishing you well!!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

More or Less Finished Objects

This combination of short-pants and waistcoat are basically completed.  It's for a costume, so I plan to add some bling bing, but these are the basic pieces.

Made from Simplicity 2556, a Project Runaway pattern.  I think this pattern may be out of print.  I had some trouble finding it available to purchase in any case.

I used stash materials for absolutely everything, so go me on that one! Oh yeah, except the pattern, which I did have in my stash, but not in the good size range for my friend.

Yes, this will not be worn by me.  When the entire outfit is complete (I'm still working on the blouse), I'll ask my friend to model for me.

The bottom was made with Simplicity 2656, but modified to have a more piratey effect at the knees.  I made the piratey part way more complicated than it had to be.  I made my own pattern pieces and wasn't precise enough in taking note, so I was scratching my head a bit when it came time to do the second leg.  The insides on that part are absolute shit.  But they look nice elsewhere.  It's a costume; it'll be fine.

And, I have to say, it was no cozy boatride for the waistcoat either.  I found the directions rather sparse for the lining insertion; and it didn't help that I had inadvertently skipped a step earlier.  I was forced to go my steadfast resource Sewing Basics by Patricia Moyes.  Her directions were slightly more helpful, but her photos even more so.  I was able to figure it out after that.

I have several other waistcoats to make, so hopefully I'll get the process down!

Here's  an in-progress shot for the blouse:

It's comin' along!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Colette Wardrobe Architect Experimentation: Silhouettes with Pants/Leggings (aka Fun with Polyvore)

Continuing with my Colette Wardrobe Architect experimentation, here are my other Polyvore creations, this time, with pants.  Or leggings, because I do sometimes wear those with a tunic or long shirt.  All of these silhouettes are for the fall or winter season, which is 9 months out of the year where I live, so represents the bulk of my wardrobe needs.

I don't have a red blazer, but I do have a white button-down, black pants and black wedge boots like that.  And I have several blazers to choose from, but all more muted colors, like grey...and grey houndstooth.  Okay, I have several shades of grey.  Not 50 though, ha!

So I feel like this is a real, workable silhouette, and the addition of a red blazer is a good idea to brighten up my wardrobe.  I have to work on ironing my shirt more often too.  Knits are so nice for that reason...

OK, and another pants variation:

This time with a loose top paired with a cardigan.  I'm diggin' the waterfall style cardigans in various prints.  Again, I don't have one.  I have several loose cardigans like that, but plain-colored, but not with a print design.  I think I tend to reserve my prints for my shirts, so I keep the other pieces more neutral.  But I'd like to change that up a little.

And finally, with straight-legged or wide-legged pants à la Hepburn:

This is another attainable silhouette.  I have very similar shoes and jackets.  I could make one more pair of pants, more fall/winter appropriate than my current wide-legs.  And I could sew (and then iron) another button-down.  This is a very classic, safe silhouette for when I need to dress more conservatively, but it still represents my tastes.  I can always funk it up with the accessories.

This exercise just may help me organize my sewing after all...wanna place bets?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Elemental Boatneck Knitted Top

I finally finished weaving in all the ends and today is sunny, so I took some pictures of my handknitted top, which I made using the Elemental Boatneck pattern by Hannah Fettig.  It's from Interweave Knits magazine Summer 2009.  The yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima and was agreeable to work with.  See?  I'm smiling!

It turned out waaay more fitted than the magazine model.  Perhaps I should've gone up a size! But I'm happy with the result.  It's a different silhouette than I was going for, but I can deal with it. 

As you can see, I match my room decor.  Plus, photography with cats!  There's another knitted work in progress just to the right of her.

I had to knit and reknit the sleeves many times, at first because I goofed up the pattern, and then because I ran out of yarn.  I calculated how long I could make them and still be able to finish up the body and seaming.  Turns out I calculated wrong, so I had to unravel them and go even shorter! 

I'd prefer the sleeves to be a bit longer, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. 

A couple of mirror views:

I'm hoping to finish up another nearly-done knitting project soon...just need to unbury the instructions!  Now where did I put them??

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Works

I have lots of WIPs, it's great!  These pants are nearly finished, I just need to do the bottom part.  Made from Simplicity 2656.

This was the second time I've made this pattern, but I completely forgot everything about the construction.  So I had to do several steps twice and there were a lot of furrowed brows.  Frankly, the instructions leave something to be desired.

The trousers were made for a friend and she stopped by today to try them on.  I won't post photos of her modelling them until they're completely done, but I think the fit was good.  Close enough for gov't work in any case!

Using the laundry drying rack as a model, so classy.
Plus an enormous skirt...

I recently discovered the plastic Burda tracing sheets.  They're not bad.  I wasn't convinced at first, but I especially like them for storage.

And a top to go with the enormous skirt...

The top and the pants use fabric from stash, but the skirt was a big purchase: seven meters!  On sale; oh yeah, you know I waited for that!

Sewing with cats, always a pleasure!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Colette Wardrobe Architect: Style Inspiration

The last time I tried to fill out the Colette Wardrobe Architect worksheets I just thought they were so TEDIOUS!  Now I have more free time and am enjoying the process. 

The first worksheets have you think about your style/wardrobe from a philosophical perspective.  But also practical influences.  I am probably like most people in that I have a slightly different style for work than for off-work.  Most of my clothing choices are made to be functional at work because that's where I am most of the time.  Although I do change clothes when I arrive home, so I should think about making some more loungewear.  And I have nothing else to say about worksheet one, so moving on!

The second worksheet is entitled Defining a Core Style.  While doing this worksheet, I have chosen the following women to represent my real AND aspirational style.  So, in no particular order:

Lucy Liu's Dr. Watson from Elementary
Jennifer Morrison's Emma from Once Upon a Time
Jaime Murray's Helena (HG Wells) from Warehouse 13
Katherine Hepburn in real life.

So, I lied; there is some order.  Lucy Liu's character isn't wearing wearing trousers!

I realize that the outfits pictured are all fall/winter appropriate.  That is how I dress for the majority of the year so I'm just going with it.  I can do a spring/summer version later if I feel like it.

So, lately I have been wearing short, fluffy skirts with tights when it's cold, like Dr. Watson.  Combined with boots and a jacket or cardigan or pullover, like Dr. W.  This is a combination that I am comfortable with AND it does double-duty because I can wear the skirts in warm weather too.  I do also wear pencil skirts in a similar combination, but they read as older and more conservative, so I am less excited about them.  But some situations need more gravitas, so I'll keep them alive.

For example, minus the cigarette smoke:

 I have no proof of me wearing a fluffy skirt like Watson; I'll try to remedy that soon.

Emma in OUAT represents more of my off-work style: skinny jeans and/or leggings, plus a cropped jacket and some sort of top.  My tops probably tend to be more tunicy and flowy than Emma's tops (such as those sported by Watson), so I think I can take a lesson from her and try something more cropped.

I often wear flat-heeled boots like those Emma has on below, but I have recently started wearing heeled boots too.  But NOT stilettos or a thin heel.  I prefer a solid, chunky heel and 2 1/2 inches would be perfect.

Again, I lack photographic evidence of me dressed like this!

I read HG's style and Katherine Hepburn's style as being similar: menswear for women.  I like (and wear) wide-legged pants combined with a sharp, button-down shirt.  And a jacket for fancier moments.  I do not have a waistcoat anymore, but I would love to acquire/make one again.

This is a look that I wear both off and on-work.  And I also combine it with a more slim-fitting trouser like HG does here:

I DO have evidence of me sporting wide-legged pants and a button-down shirt...

I know I'm not smiling, but in the smiling photo you can't see the pants as well. Priorities!

As well as another jacket and slacks combo.  And I was on vacation (or dancing) during all of these photos!

So what does all this wardrobe and style analysis tell me?!?  Not much new.  I was already aware that I had those preferences and practices.  I guess this just confirms that I feel like it works for me, so perhaps I should focus on making separates that can go in these categories, and not stray too far out of range. 

We'll see; I think there is room for some other silhouettes in my life.  I will continue to wear these, for sure, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself either.  In my outfit photos, I only made the Beignet skirt and the plaid sleeveless top.  I can see myself making another long-sleeve button-down shirt, or attempting some wide-legged pants.  But my immediate sewing plans are a little different...

For those of you who have gone through the Wardrobe Architect worksheets, what did you get out of it ultimately??

Plus, here's a sneak-peek of what I'm currently working on:

RAARRRR!!!! We HATE taping together patterns!