Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh, the Possibilities!

My Kaffe Fasset fabric binge arrived this week. Oh man, are these prints gorgeous!

All of these were purchased on impulse due to a half-price sale (would this be a good place to confess that I have, already, as of the last day of January, purchased HALF of my target yardage for the entire year?). I got mostly 1-yard cuts with a few 2-yards from prints I thought I might want to wear.

Mostly I had in mind a paper-pieced quilt project of some kind, so made sure to get some darks, some brights, some pastels, and some prints that--in small pieces--would yield multiple pattern/color impressions.

What I've ended up with are some combos that I so want to wear that I'm gonna start with fashion projects, and use the scraps for future quilting. As indulgent as these photos may seem, there are about 4 more prints I haven't photographed. Maybe more than 4. I'm too embarrassed to go count them.

Here's combo #1:

There's a blouse in there somewhere. The little strip of pink/red showing in the middle is the only one of the prints purchased that I am not completely 100% gaga over. That doesn't mean I don't like it (what's not to like about KF?), just that the drool factor on that one is lower than expected. But I like how a hint of it pops with the other two. Don't have a pattern in mind yet, blouse-y contemplation still going on.

Combo #2

The Paperweight print in "algae" colorway (far left) I already had... waiting for me to acquire something to go with it. Et voila. I'm picturing a long sleeveless tank dress from these, maybe with gathered tiers to the skirt, maybe with a somewhat shaped bodice (princess seaming, plain old darts?). I have a few rayon numbers of that ilk in frequent wear rotation for inspiration. Probably will grab a bodice pattern from somewhere, improvise the skirt.

Combo #3

These have to become an ankle-length peasant skirt. They just have to. I'm giddy with anticipation of wearing the finished garment, and cringing at the thought of tackling yet another gathered monstrosity.

I'm only about a third of the way through Peasant Skirt #2 (from blue/green Amy Butler fabrics, stay tuned for pics of that), and man, the basting, the fussy gathering and pinning. Ugh, what a chore. I took me months to recover from the mind-numbing tedium of making the Parrokeet Peasant Skirt . I'm sure I'll be as sick of the gathered-tier process again by the time I'm done with the AB one.

So what has got into me to already be planning another?

Well, I wore the Parrokeet skirt the other day, and remembered how much I like it. It's so ultra-comfy, and fun to wear, and I get a kick out of the goofy fabric and bright colors. I'm much happier with it than with any of the garments I've made from patterns lately. And they're a great way to mix and match gorgeous fabrics like these.

So perhaps I should give in to impulse, embrace my bohemian side and make/wear lots and lots of peasant skirts.

Excuse me while I go add "patchouli oil" to my shopping list...

Come to think of it, I have a bottle of Mandarin Orange and Patchouli body wash in my shower, and it's divine (i.e., not overly patchouli-y). A quick visit to the Nature's Gate website reveals they make a body lotion in that fragrance, too. Hmmm, maybe revisiting my youth isn't such a bad idea.

Yes, I'm old enough to have done the peasant-skirt-and-patchouli thing the first time around, in case you were wondering.

It was fun. I think I'll do it again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Simplicity 2962

I finished this top just in time for what passes for wintry weather here in Hilo, but it was warm enough yesterday afternoon to wear for several hours. Nice and comfy, but sheesh, it's big. I made my size and yikes, I'm swimming in it. The yoke is too wide (I have broadish, square shoulders, fit there is not usually a problem), and the armscye is gapier than it should be. I thought I liked that the front yoke is lower than in similar other patterns, but when I wear it I wantto hike it up an inch or so at the shoulders.

I ended up making View B (shorter length) with a contrast yoke, and skipped the pockets.

I chose this pattern because I like the pleats (rather than gathers) in the front. I'm not so thrilled with the square yoke in the back, and would prefer a circle yoke that goes all the way around. But this is intended to be around-the-house wear using up some stash fabric, so the yoke issue isn't a big deal. Original plan was to add the cute pockets in the yoke fabric, but I ended up deciding on a shorter length, so pocket placement would be awkward.

Haven't decided yet whether to stick with this length or add a contrast band of a third fabric at the hem to make it long enough to be worn as a short dress. A dress would fit my need for steamy-day-around-the-house wear more than a top does, but I don't have a fabric in my stash that looks right with this. Theoretically I could purchase another half yard or so of the yoke fabric, but the whole idea was to use up my last piece of that. So it may stay a top forever. Whether it will stay in the closet, or see regular wear, is as yet unknown.

Construction was pretty easy, BTW, although getting the yoke and yoke facing all lined up just right was a bit fussy. The back of my bodice ended up about an inch wider than it should have been to fit the yoke width (I suspect that's my error: I did not intently heed the instruction re trimming S/A at the armscye), so I took a small pleat in the center back as well, which you can see here:

Remembered to add a fake tag to the inside yoke, too, just for fun. It's not exactly centered, big deal.

I skipped the back ties. They don't really seem necessary, since most of the extra is in the front. I made ties, but didn't insert them when I sewed up the side seams because I wanted to check placement first. And then I decided not to bother, as most of the extra size in this is in the front. I might take in the sides a couple of inches, see if that helps it feel a little less gargantuan. Yeah, I wanted loose and cool, but there's loose and then there's gigundo.

I've got a similar pattern to this (Butterick 5179), with a higher yoke, in dress length. I'm gonna try that before attempting this again. If it fits/looks better and I want another top, I'll just make a short version of that one.

UPDATE: I've worn this top several times now, and am liking it more and more. It's just so comfy. I think I will make it again, going down a size and see how that fits. I also want to try out those cute pockets and make a shortish (not mini, I'm too old for that, but a couple of inches above the knee) dress length for hot day wear. That may be one project, or two.

I've got other things higher on the fashion sewing list, though, so don't know when I'll get back to this. Probably around the time the weather gets warm and sticky again and I feel desperate for light, loose clothing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wonky Log Cabin improv block #1

I had so much fun making this: my first "improvised" block, and my first Wonky Log Cabin. Now I'm itching to do more.

This is my (first?) contribution to the charity quilt action over at Project Improv. I'd love to make a pink/orange block, too, but don't know that I have much of those colors in the stash. Although I will when my Kaffe Fasset fabric binge (many reds/pinks) arrives. Oh, I so totally lost control. Feeling equal parts ashamed for succumbing to temptation, and so excited that another parcel of gorgeous fabrics is on its way to me. Perhaps I can attone by making some charity blocks from it when it arrives?

Pincushion Caddy

What a clever idea for a pincushion!
Not that I can claim credit, it's from Anna Maria Horner's book, Seams to Me, and worth making. It's a substantial size, as you can see, which I like, because my small ones seem to always be hiding under a piece of fabric or somewhere on the floor. I don't have to look for where this one has gotten to, plus, I don't have to look for my snip scissors, thread, or seam gauge, either. So handy! And pretty, too.

As usual, I strayed from the instructions, but only a little bit. My construction tip: I found it easier to hand-sew all but the first step of stitching the outer panels together. More can be done by machine, but it's so fussy, you might just as well do it by hand. Doesn't take long, and if done in front of the TV you won't feel quite so much like life is passing you by while you sit on the couch watching Biggest Loser.

I made two, but the first one came out rather misshapen. I'll take credit for that, as I'm new to stuffing shaped things and seem to have done a poor job with that. Perhaps the stuffing wasn't the best either: I pulled it from the middle of an oversized "read-in-bed" pillow that's at least 15 years old. The cover of that one disintegrated, and the pillow itself wasn't in very good shape, so I figured I'd cannibalize the insides of it rather than make a special trip to purchase a bag of stuffing when I only needed, well, way more than I thought, but not all that much, really.

The pincushion deemed photo-worthy here is attempt number two. I used three green fabrics: two for the outer panels (alternating), and a third for the center compartment.

There are many more examples of these at the STM Flickr group page. Either they've all been thoughtfully photographed, or other crafters out there are better with the stuffing-it step than I am.