Sewing May 2019: Moving Through Me Made May

As I previously posted, May is many many things. The one that is currently taking up most of my time is Me Made May, a sewing/knitting/crafting “challenge” established 10 years ago by blogger Zoe. The goal is to encourage us to wear our handmade wardrobe, and everyone sets their own goal. I always like this challenge because it helps me see the gaps in my sewing wardrobe. So I pledge and post on Instagram as a way to keep me on track, and to track.

The usual part of my pledge is to wear something Me Made every day. I have made myself alot of clothing, but it’s not all work appropriate, so that’s the biggest gap I’m always trying to fill. I don’t always succeed at this… For example, I always have work events in May, and haven’t yet had anything Me Made to wear for them. Last week I had a fancy schmancy corporate-y work event, and I just didn’t feel like anything I’ve made was appropriate, so I wore some of my favorite Ready to Wear. However, just so everyone was clear, I wore a sewing themed pin (that I’ve had since the 90s!), in the Madeline Albright style. The first few days I wore something that was either red or pink or orange. I swore I’d leave those colors alone after I changed my hair color but I rather liked my outfits.

On May 4th, I wore my new Princess Leia tee shirt for May the Fourth/Star Wars Day. I grew up with Princess Leia – was she my first role model? Possibly! This image is a vintage library poster, which the genius people at Out of Print turned into a tee shirt, along with some others.

Princess Leia said read, so I did!

I wore my favorite dress on my birthday, made with fabulous linen from Marcy Tilton. I also matched my floral print top with a floral labeled beer. And Gaston helped me show off my new rabbit print shirt that I whipped up ahead of going to NE Bunfest. Yes, it’s a thing. More on that in a week or so! And over the weekend I kept to my pledge of not buying any new patterns or fabrics this month so I can sew up my stash. I wore a favorite tee shirt into Joann Fabrics, and made out with only zippers and thread. Whew!

Me, fleeing the temptations of Joann Fabrics, in a Me Made tee shirt (horrible lighting, though, yikes!)

I also made a new tee shirt whilst wearing a Me Made tee shirt – so meta. Except that I don’t really need any more casual wear! I need more corporate-y clothing! I have some ideas for summer weather, I just need the time to make them.

I have another three weeks of Me Made May to go, three more weeks to see what other sort of things I need to make myself.

That’s right, that’s what I am!

May19: Momentous May

It’s the merry month of May! It’s a rather momentous month every year because of three things that always happen (and are important me): my birthday; Me Made May; and National Bike Month.

My Birthday

This year I am turning 47. I have no idea how I got to be suddenly so close to 50!!! Eek! I feel a sudden urge to figure what I should do with my life. I need to put a plan into place to help me focus the next three years. Maybe that’s the year The Mechanic and I will finally move overseas somewhere. Who knows, it could happen!

Early celebratory mermaid themed cupcake!

Me Made May

Me Made May is a personal challenge for sewists on Instagram. The idea is generally to encourage you to wear the things you have made, especially the pieces that get little use. Most sewists set their own pledges: I pledge to wear something #memade everyday; to work; not buy fabric; finish up neglected projects; etc. This year I plan to sew what I already have planned, and see what gaps I think I have by wearing as much as I can (depending on what fits). Loved wearing some #memade things in New York Cityast weekend! I got so many compliments on my coat, I was shocked!

National Bike Month

Yep, a whole month to celebrate biking. It will be a bittersweet month in the DC area as the bicycling community continues to mourn and fight for improvements. I pledge to bike as much as possible this month! It’s the perfect month to get serious about my regular biking. I plan to use this time to analyze my love of all things reflective. Does the reflectivity make sense on the things I’ve made? Are the trims in the right place? Should I give up making reflective tops, because they are covered up in the winter, or I’m not out late enough in the summer? These are things to consider.

Wore my new nail print skirt on a recent bike commute- it was perfect (but not reflective)!

All Together Now

Putting all these things together, May should be a month to plan, reflect, and celebrate. What do you plan to celebrate this month?

April19: Sewing and Biking

My goodness, life has gotten overly complicated and blogging has gotten away from me! Sorry for irregular postings. I’d like to promise that I’ll get more disciplined, but I suspect that won’t happen…

Here we are, staring down the last full week of April already! I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of sewing this month, which is great. What isn’t so great is news about a local bike advocate getting killed, and the lack of support of Vision Zero by cities that have signed onto it. I’m a bit upset about it, so if you don’t want to know more, don’t read the end of this blog post.

Sewing

I feel like I’ve been a busy little sewing bee! I have completed three projects since I last blogged about my sewing, among other things.

  • Visited Stitch Sew Shop in their new location, where I bought the Scout Tee pattern for my Zodiac top (among other things)
  • Ordered scalloped pinking shears, to try an idea (which I haven’t tried yet)
  • Ordered some different black reflective fabric, which I ultimately don’t really like – it’s hardly reflective!
  • Completed a wearable muslin of the Scout Tee in some Charley Harper cotton from my stash – it’s easy and simple, and will be perfect for the embroidered mesh Zodiac fabric
  • Finally made the Cotton & Steel Rifle Paper Co. Amalfi Freja print button up shirt I’ve been planning for ages, another version of my favorite Vogue 8772
  • Made, then remade, the Simplicity 1369 skirt out of nail print cotton – designed to fit low on the hips, I took it in 4″, shortened it a tad, and now it’s perfect! Thanks to my Instagram fellow sewists for their feedback!
  • Finally cut out the Burda 6678 pants pieces, from a gray chambray I purchased at Stitch Sew Shop
  • Discovered “A Stitch in Time” on Acorn TV – a documentary series with fashion historian (and icon!) Amber Butchart, who selects garments from several historic portraits that a costume shop led by Ninya Mikhaila recreates using historically accurate tools and techniques. It’s 100% where I wish my career could have gone – history, research, sewing… It’s so wonderful to see pieces from paintings recreated! And of course, I’m terribly envious that they were all made to fit Amber.

I love Charley Harper art so much! Yes, I have it on my walls : )

Biking

I was very proud of myself – briefly. One whole week, I biked each way! Although I biked to work one morning, then biked home the next afternoon. So not full round trip rides, but a bit every day. This actually worked out really well, given weather, my work schedule, social outings, etc. Then the following week – nothing. Sigh. I did wear some of my #memades, though, but I didn’t get photos each time. But May is National Bike Month, so I plan to do as much biking as possible then – wearing reflective #memade garments, of course! In other biking news – the Washington, DC, bike community is reeling after a beloved bike advocate, Dave Salovesh, was killed in a car crash. I didn’t know Dave but I followed him on Twitter, and even with that distance, it hits close to home. I feel for the #bikeDC people I do know who knew Dave so well – their pain and anger is completely justified. I suspect that the only reason why his killer was charged with second degree murder is because he was speeding in a stolen vehicle. If he had been speeding in his own car, I doubt it would have been the same. It’s so frustrating and upsetting that a supposed Vision Zero city seems to do so little to support the goals of eliminating traffic deaths. i am not as qualified to talk about Vision Zero as some, like Dave, are, but from what I see in the news, American cities such as DC and New York City that have pledged to these goals are doing pretty much the exact opposite. Also on Twitter over the weekend, people in NYC were reporting that cops were confiscating bikes from kids and/or ticketing them for not having bike bells. Seriously?! Bike bells? When are they going to confiscate cars from drivers who don’t use their turn signals?! Gah!

I don’t post political stuff much because I don’t have the interest or energy for getting into social media spats with strangers, but these two things pushed me over the edge. We read and hear all the time about an obesity crisis, and climate change is pounding down our doors, but god forbid we actually embrace the easy and inexpensive ways to tackle both – active transportation. Some cities get it, like Vancouver seems to, but others just don’t really give a sh*t. I don’t know how long The Mechanic and I will live in the DC metro area, but I can tell you that we are making a list of cities that promote the things we value and we’ll consider them first and foremost.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month. I talk about it every year. But this year, I’d like everyone to think about some simple things they can do to promote the well-being of others. We really are all in this together, and we can only make it if we are careful of our actions. That means put down the cell phone and use turn signals, as well as cross at crosswalks and stop for red lights. You don’t need to bike to be careful of people on their bikes, or people walking. National Bike Month should only have to celebrate the joy of biking, not remind people that life is fragile and gone in an instant. And maybe, just maybe – try a bike ride yourself if you haven’t in a long time.

 

Travel March19: Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso

The Mechanic and I just spent a week in El Paso, Texas. I can’t ever say it without thinking of the Marty Robbins song – am I the only one?! I know it seems like a random vacation spot but my brother and sister-in-law have lived there for 13 years, and The Mechanic’s brother-in-law was just stationed there last summer. So it presented a perfect opportunity to visit them both as well as introduce them to each other. I’m all for our siblings getting along!

We had a whirlwind tour of both the city and the parks outside of it. Our first stop was BeerFest, hosted by local brewery DeadBeach Brewery, complete with local artists and food trucks. It was a perfect intro to the city. We had the opportunity to ride the “new” streetcars, too. New as in – recently reintroduced. They are the original streetcars that ran from the 1950s to 1974, then were stored near the airport. In 2012, the city decided to resurrect them, and they officially launched last November – so we were among the early users. We rode the whole loop and greatly enjoyed our tour of the city this way. (There are a few things I’d like to see improved, including better stop signage, but hopefully as more locals use them, they will campaign for those things themselves.) Our whirlwind tour of the city included the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) campus, local restaurants and the zoo. The El Paso Zoo is small but well done, with a new section being created now. For such a small zoo, it seems to be very heavily involved in saving endangered species regionally as well as around the world. It must keep their personnel busy – but thank you! I hope we don’t lose much more wildlife because of human activities than we already have.

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We also did a day trip to White Sands National Monument, outside Las Cruces, New Mexico, and camped overnight at Davis Mountains State Park, in Fort Davis, Texas.

I’m completely fascinated by White Sands – in the right spot, all you can see is white gypsum sand. We took our shoes off, and despite the glare of the sun, the sand was cool and damp in some areas.

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Camping at Davis Mountains State Park was colder than we had anticipated but still fun, with amazing views from the mountain top. We stopped at the Fort Davis National Historic Site on our way out, rounding out a brief history of the Buffalo Soldiers, some of whom were stationed there in the 1870s. We also saw a Buffalo Soldiers memorial in the El Paso Cemetery.

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Visiting our siblings was of course the highlight of the trip, but there is plenty to do in the city as well as the area, so we are looking forward to a return trip someday. Is your family as spread out as ours are?

 

Sewing March19: Bunnies Take Over

Not much sewing happened in February because the bunnies took over our lives. Seriously, three little rabbits, the largest not even 7lbs, and all we did was watch them every minute we could. Bunny bonding is not for the lazy or distracted.

Pretty much how I spent all February

L to R – Sullivan the Angora, Henrietta Rosalia Miracle, Gaston the Lionhead

In November, while we were on a family trip to Disney World, one of our angora rabbits unexpectedly died. Apparently Quinn, sister to Sullivan, was the glue to our happy fluffy bunny family, because Sullivan and Gaston, our little 3lb lionhead bunny, ceased to be friends. We took them speed dating at three different rabbit rescue group events, and eventually chose a new girl to be their friend. Henrietta Rosalia Miracle (I like the name Henrietta; she hid under a rose bush for 6 months after her former abusive owners threw her out of the house; Miracle is what the rescue group named her) came home the first weekend of February. Although Hetty and Sully and Gaston spent a week together at the rabbit rescue group and seemed to get along fine, we kept a close eye on them. All seemed to be fine for the first week, and then they started brawling. Yikes! Sully liked Hetty so much that he was mounting her as much as he could (which is a normal part of the bunny bonding process; its how they establish their natural hierarchy) – but she didn’t like it. So they started fighting, which is a *bad bad* thing. So we separated them, rebuilt the pen to keep them all apart, and called the rescue group for advice. For the last two weeks we’ve done some careful bunny bonding steps to reintroduce them in smaller neutral territory, and it seems to be working. Whew!

Although I haven’t had the free time to sew that I had hoped for, I finally managed to finish my Charley Harper children’s sheets top. Clearly I have no idea how to determine ease on patterns any more because I cut a size that ended up being massively oversized. So I took it in and hope that I like it. I did a rather crappy job on the neckline but I can’t imagine anyone else will notice. I have enough fabric (sheets) left over that I plan to make a summer top, too, yay! I ordered a Burda 6678 pants pattern then decided that I ought to test it first before I use the tencel twill I have in mind for this pattern. So I found a quilting cotton at JoAnn Fabrics on clearance and bought the last 2 5/8 yards. Hopefully that’s enough after I lengthen the pants! I may try to make those before our upcoming trip to Texas mid-March, but maybe not. Then I have at least four tops I want to make – I really don’t need more tops but they are so much easier to sew than the things I really need, which are pants (bah).

Burda pants muslin cotton quilting fabric – not the best for this style but cheap and ultimately wearable

Considering changing my mind and making both fabrics with the Vogue 8772 pattern

My mom and aunt visited Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics last week and bought me  yard of this fab-u-lous zodiac embroidered mesh I asked for. Do I have anywhere to wear a fancy top made out of this amazing fabric? No – but do I care?!?! Look at it!!! Thanks, Mom! (totally envious that they got to go, since they are nearby and I’m on the other side of the country….) It’s almost spring, though, and our icky weather will soon be behind us! Has anyone else started their spring or summer sewing yet?

Travel Feb19: Disney World – for Work, I Swear!

It’s mildly embarrassing to admit that my recent trip to Disney World was my fourth in a year (okay, 13 months). Two of those times were for work, I swear! This trip, like last year’s, was for my association’s ImpACT! Leadership program, which I’ve help develop. I find this program amazingly rewarding, between the leadership consultant we’ve hired and watching the participants connect.

 

This year the program was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. It has a “Spanish Explorer” theme, and the conference spaces had some lovely traditional textile art displayed. The resort also has a Mayan pyramid themed pool! I’m sure we could debate the legacy of the Spanish explorers in Central and South America, but let’s just leave that for someone else’s blog. I enjoyed the theme, the decor, and the gardening – plus some perfect weather the last day I was there!

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We didn’t have much time in the parks, but managed to squeeze in some fun, including some of the shows. I haven’t been to the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom in a long time, and enjoyed that. We also forked out some cash and went to the Spirit of Aloha show at the Polynesian Resort. I really loved this, but I’ve always loved the styles and sounds represented in the show. The vegetarian meal option was uninspired, but the performances made up for it. I barely noticed what I ate.

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I did find some delicious vegan meals, however. At the Yak & Yeti Restaurant, in Animal Kingdom, I had a spicy cauliflower meal for lunch. That same day, I had another cauliflower meal at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot. I guess I’m the only one weirded out by people eating seafood as fish swim by at their elbows. Nevertheless, I highly recommend the vegetarian/vegan meals both restaurants have, and you can’t beat the ambiance.

In other food-related topics, I was excited to have the Maleficent ice cream cone at Magic Kingdom, a rum Dole Whip at Animal Kingdom, a delicious rum drink at the Spirit of Aloha show, and another rum drink at the pool bar at Coronado Springs. It was not a trip of dietary restraint! The conference catering food was excellent as well, with good vegetarian options for their buffet lunches. If conference food is a priority, have your conferences at Disney World!

Wish I’d had more time to really enjoy the Festival of the Arts

One of the really fun things we planned for the participants of our ImpACT! Leadership program was a team-building scavenger hunt in Epcot. One part of the scavenger hunt was finding as many Hidden Mickeys as possible. If you didn’t know, Imagineers hide Mickeys all over the parks as they are building them. They could be anywhere and take a sharp eye to find. Ever since I learned about them, I’ve enjoyed hunting for them as well. Makes the time standing in line go by faster, too!

I guess it will be a while before I go back to Disney World. Our program will return there in 2020, so if I’m allowed to go, I *may* do some Star Wars themed sewing, because the new Galaxy’s Edge world will have opened by then, and I will need some Princess Leia/General Organa inspired outfits. Until then, I have several trip’s worth of magic and memories to keep me satisfied. Whenever things get stressful, there is no end of happy Disney things to keep me happy.

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Sewing Feb 19: Winter Blues

After a productive December, my sewing has sort of come to a screeching halt. One success, one failure, and lots of plans – but no free time in the near future. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose hobby takes a backseat at times, amiright?!

Success

My Disney World Jungle Cruise-inspired shirt turned out great, I love it! It’s well-made, comfortable, and the coconut buttons are perfect with the lagoon map print. I only added a tiny reflective ribbon tab, so it’s not very reflective, but that’s okay. This is the third time I’ve made this Vogue 8772 pattern and I think I’ve figured it out. I’ve actually got plans to make a fourth. I guess I’ve found my uniform!

I wore it at Disney World, and was pleased at how many compliments I got from cast members.

The famous (or infamous) Purple Wall at the Magic Kingdom!

Failure

I’ve been dying to make the Tilly and the Buttons Orla Top out of these Charley Harper kids’ sheets from Pottery Barn. Thankfully, I made a muslin first. I don’t really like it. Okay, maybe going up in sizes will help a bit. Maybe it’s the yellow gingham. At any rate, I rarely muslin my projects, and I’m sooooo grateful here that I did, because I would have been very upset to ruin the fabric. I’m not sure what my next step on this one will be, but I’m setting this aside for a while.

Okay, maybe it doesn’t look that bad – the pattern will need some work before I like it

Plans

Found these little blue buttons on Etsy and aren’t they just perfect with this fabric?! This combo will be my next Vogue 8772 shirt. I can’t wait to make this! I’m going to try to add reflective piping to the cuffs, so stay tuned! This is a long-term plan but I’m super excited to make this reflective Dashing Tweeds fabric into a Chanel-inspired jacket. I’m aiming for September to get this completed. That seems like a long way off, but I want to alter the Simplicity 2284 pattern (at least attempt to get it fitted), make a muslin, and buy a really nice lining – maybe silk? Maybe a Liberty of London cotton lawn?

The craziness of life right now means that I won’t have much free time for a while to sew. While I’m thinking about my plans, I’ll have to be happy with wearing this awesome tee shirt that my dad sent me:

Travel Jan19: Dreaming and Planning

It’s the first bitterly cold day of 2019 and luckily it’s a holiday Monday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), so I don’t have to leave the house. Instead, I’m dreaming about a warm vacation somewhere exotic – or at least maybe not in the US.

The Mechanic and I agreed that we need to stay home this year and not travel, because we did a terrible job at saving money last year. It’s the smart and practical thing to do. But I simply cannot sit home all year and not go anywhere!!!

Not that we don’t have travel lined up already – in February I am going to a work-related conference conveniently located at Disney World. It’s  repeat of the leadership program I’m involved with that we launched last year. I can’t afford to spend much time there so I will have limited time in the parks. But considering it will be my fourth time in 13 months, I think I’m okay with that! Then in March, we are traveling to see siblings – The Mechanic’s sister ended up in the same West Texas town that my brother lives in. But after that…. nothing! Well, maybe a quickie weekend to NYC.

At Disney World last January for the Association for Commuter Transportation’s ImpACT! Leadership Program

What we really want to do is another European bike tour. We had such a wonderful time when we did the one for our honeymoon, and this year will be our five-year anniversary, so it seems like a good time. Friends brought us biking magazines from Germany, which is only adding fuel to the fire. Gah! All I want to do right now is bike through some gorgeous countryside in warm weather, stopping at cute cafes and biergartens, and perhaps attempt some rusty German language skills.

But we have to figure out when, how much to spend, and most importantly, which one?!?! There are so many we want to do! We’ve been talking about this Venice to Porec, Croatia one for a few years now, but then saw this Danube Delta Bike & Barge trip in Romania that looks *amazing*! Of course, it’s way more expensive than we originally had in mind, but neither of us have been to Romania, and a few days in Bucharest would be pretty fabulous as well. Then again, if we did the Ruhr Valley loop, we could visit friends who live in the area – plus that tour is half the price of the Danube Delta one….

Adding to the travel plans is the tentative plan with my mother and aunt to go to the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play, in Oberammergau, Germany. The entire town takes part in this event, which has been going on for centuries, and only happens every ten years. This is something I first learned about in my high school German class, and despite not being terribly religious, I’ve always wanted to go.  It’s also eye-wateringly expensive, due to the fact that the easiest way to go is with a tour group. The town is tiny and lodging books up fast – in fact, it probably already is. As much as I’m not a tour group traveler, I’d do it with my mom and aunt. The tours include other destinations, so it would be a fabulous time. It just means I need to be super careful with both cash and PTO, so I can do it.

Everything you need to know about the Oberammergau Passion Play is on the official website https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home

Then where does that leave time and money to see friends and family scattered across the country? The drawback to having people scattered across the globe means that it’s hard to see everyone. Sigh.

So we’ll continue to save and dream and hopefully plan for later this year. Do you have any travel suggestions for us?

Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’… and plannin’ and dreamin’ …..

 

Biking Jan19: Winter Biking – So Far

I already failed my January goal of biking to work three times a week. I blame the weather. I blame my apparent inability to gauge cold and warm – how cold is it really, and how many layers do I need to wear to stay warm on a four mile bike ride?

The first day wasn’t so bad – not terribly cold, nice to be out on my bike, surprise new bike lanes on the route I normally take (makes me feel legit!).

Now my regular commute is legit!

The second day was colder, so I decided to wear my corduroy culottes with the reflective leg warmers my mother knit for me several years ago. This wasn’t too bad on the way TO work, but on the way home, the temperature had dropped and the wind had picked up. I got blown around on my bike, and the full legs of the culottes blew around my legs, so I wasn’t as warm as I wanted to be. I was certainly reflective though!

Here are my reflective winter touches, from outside, working in:

  • Nutcase helmet (not seen: reflective stickers on side and back)
  • Reflective Rabbit scarf, knit by my mother
  • Old Lands End red puffer coat
  • Vespertine skinny reflective belt
  • Reflective lobster gloves (don’t remember where I got those)
  • Funflector reflector on my very old Basil pannier
  • Reflective leg warmers, knit by my mother
  • Navy corduroy Megan Nielsen Tania culottes with black reflective piping in the side seam, made by me

1. All a-glow, after I got home

2. Unpeeling the layers….

3. Ta da! This is how I looked in the office – respectable and not the least bit “bikey”

Then it got even colder and stayed windy. Although it meant I missed my third day of biking, I was fine with it. And now we’ve had the biggest snowstorm in three years, with 9″ of snow on our back deck alone, so I won’t be biking for a bit. Although Arlington County does a great job at clearing the bike lanes and trails, the same cannot generally be said for the conditions of streets. In years past, my bike route has been blocked by the giant piles of snow pushed aside by snow plows. I just don’t feel like the battle, so I opt not to, especially since the bus is so convenient.

9″ of snow on our back deck this morning, wow! Of the originally predicted 3-6″, I was hoping for 3″, haha!

I discovered something I’d forgotten in a year – after a 25-30 minute bike ride, my back is sweating and my fingers are freezing. So I plan to spend the rest of this month trying to balance out the warmth, and figure out how to keep my fingers warm and my core a bit cooler. I might just break down and make my own bar mitts – reflective, of course!

Sewing Jan19: So Much to Catch Up With!

Welcome to my first post in my attempt to focus my blogging a bit more in 2019. Every month I will do a sewing post, a biking post, a travel post, and a catch-all ICYMI post. That way, everyone who likes different things about my blog can read what they are most interested in – and I have a bit more focus!

Catching Up

After doing zero sewing in November, I cranked out a ton of stuff in December. Remind me next year to not leave the gift sewing until the last minute, okay?!   

Friends, sisters who once raised rabbits as kids, had their babies months apart, so of course I had to make their babies bunny pjs!

Love this pillow cover that I made my father-in-law! It’s so perfect for his farm, and he loves it.

In between sewing presents, I made myself four new garments – mostly *after* Christmas.

I threw together this Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which I ordered pre-printed with this “Dark Matter” print from Sprout Patterns, as part of their closing sale. It’s waaaaaay too short on me, which I should have anticipated. As the pattern pieces were printed onto the fabric, there was no way for me to lengthen this. I wore it to work with leggings and boots but might end up shortening it into a top. But I love the print, so it will stay as a favorite.

Work bathroom selfie – you can almost see how short this is. Without leggings, it’s indecent!

I also made another pair of the Burda 6770 pants, but this time in black corduroy. I also didn’t include the drawstring, and just made two wider elastic bands. I love the darkness of black corduroy, and wanted something winter-weight that I could someday fit thermal leggings under, when it’s super cold. These will do the trick, and go with everything else I’m making this winter.

Hard to see the details on black corduroy….

Then I made a fabulous cardigan from a pattern I’ve made before, McCalls 6844. The first time I made this, I made the asymetrical peplum, but this time, I wanted the peplum the same longer length. Since I apparently didn’t keep those pattern pieces, and the pattern has vanished from the internet, I had to re-draft them! I like pattern drafting though, so that was fun. This black and white “tweed” knit was recently purchased at JoAnn Fabrics. I added black reflective piping to the waist seams for some subtle yet important reflectivity. I really like this cardigan, although I’m not a fan of cardigans that don’t fasten in the front. I added ties to the first one I made, but decided to leave this one alone. Maybe I’ll add something later.

New pants and cardigan, worn with a shirt I made in January

The last thing I made in 2018 was this cozy tunic made with Dri-Flex fleece, ordered from Stonemountain and Daughter (glad I ordered it when I did – now they only have it in this purple-pink color). The pattern is McCalls 7660, version F with Version E sleeves, a quick and easy make. This stuff doesn’t press well though, so the hems feel poufy! But the inside of the fabric is so soft, and I can see this being a three seasons top.

Another work bathroom selfie! I don’t know where I stashed my tripod for better selfies….

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my 2018 sewing. I made 24 things, not counting the baby clothes and the zip pouches I made as Christmas presents. Some of the things were sleeper hits, like the Sewaholic Granville shirt I made out of the Tula Pink snail print. Even though I lengthened the sleeves too much, I tend to wear it alot. I did some random Disney World sewing, but also made my fabulous Dashing Tweeds reflective coat and Liberty of London dinosaur shirt. And, since 2012, this brings my MeMade garments to a total of 100! Not all are winners, and sadly, I am not skinny enough to fit into some of the earliest favorites at the moment, but I feel well on my way to an exclusively MeMade wardrobe.

2018 makes, with favorites highlighted

Planning 2019

I have such a backlog of sewing projects! So many that I have fabric and patterns paired up, just no time. At least there are a few long weekends in January and February!

Patterns and swatches waiting for me!

But on January 1, as I sat down to start another cardigan, my serger gave up the ghost. It’s a long story but essentially, I couldn’t get it to work at all. It’s probably 25 years old, and I’ve been thinking about replacing it, but I sort of thought I’d have some more time. I guess we are never really when something beloved dies, are we?

Bought in California in the early-mid 90s, three years on tour with me, ten years in NYC, several locations in the DC region – it’s lived a GOOD life!

So I ordered one from Amazon and it arrived just in time for weekend sewing.

Welcome, Locky!

This one will be fine until I decide if I want to look into a nicer one. It’s pretty lightweight and already it feels like I’m running it too hard and fast. A sturdier machine would be really nice someday, but for now, this will get me through that project list.

I broke in my new serger and interrupted my black and white winter theme to complete a blue cardigan that should coordinate well with almost everything I already own. Trying to make some winter basics is a big part of my winter sewing right now. This McCalls 6996 cardigan doesn’t have any front closures either, so I may end up adding something. I just feel that cardigans should actually close, amiright? There weren’t many seams so all this one got was a bit of black reflective piping at the back waist seam, but it will do. I hope that this will be a good travel piece, too.

I am interrupting my black and white winter theme one more time this month. I’m headed to a conference in Orlando in February, which means Disney World, which means, yep, you know it  another Disney-themed something! This time, it will be a Jungle Cruise-themed long sleeve shirt. I found this “lagoon map” Cotton & Steel print and coconut buttons. It will be perfect for a winter jungle cruise! And I can get away with it in the office, too.

Not exactly Disney but for those who know the Jungle Cruise ride, well, they’ll know

I’m still on my hunt for the perfect <fill in the blank> garment, the perfect pants, the perfect skirt, the perfect dress, etc. I’d love to perfect pants, always my weakest link, but I need to not get distracted until I get through this list. Then I can evaluate what has worked best and study the dismal failures. I need to wear what I’ve made until I can’t stand it any more, and then I’ll know what works best, what I’ve worn the most and love the most. But I’ve got a while before that sewing list finally ends!

Feelin’ fancy with such new machines!