Sewing June 2019: N + 1

In the bicycling world, there is a long-standing joke about N+1 when it comes to bicycles – once you have one, you need another, and then another, and then another. Look at The Mechanic and I – we have six bikes between the two of us! (One may or may not be in the bedroom, although neither of us are bothered by that. I know some spouses might be.) I suppose it is the same for any hobby. When I got my first tattoo I was told it’s addictive, and it kinda is – I do want another one…

My camera can’t capture the gorgeousness of this Iced Peach Floral Japanese Lyocell Cotton from Marcy Tilton so check out the website for better photos –> https://marcytilton.com/collections/woven/products/iced-peach-floral-japanese-lyocell-woven

But I hadn’t really put sewing into that perspective until this past weekend, when I shared photos on Instagram of some fabric I spontaneously ordered. It’s *gorgeous* fabric, but in a colorway I don’t really have any other clothing in. The fabric is intended for a blouse, so I’ll need either pants or a skirt to go with it. Or both. And then I need to see if any of the pants or skirt patterns I already own works with the fabric I need to get, the style of the blouse I plan to make, and anything else that might happen to go with this gorgeous fabric. So it totally made sense when one of my IG sewing friends commented “If you give a sewist some fabric, she’ll have to make some pants to go with it,” referencing the popular children’s’ book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. And then I realized – N+1. Fabric = more patterns = more fabric = more patterns, etc.

I’ve been trying really hard not to acquire more fabric and patterns, because I’m really anxious to make the fabric and patterns I have. But I feel like it’s too late to finish my summer sewing, and maybe I should move onto fall plans. Of course, I know that it will stay warm well into October, so there is plenty of time to get my warm weather garments made! But cold weather clothes take longer, so I feel like I need to get started now! Now, now now!!! N + 1 = more fabric and more patterns.

The irony is, The Mechanic and I are both not only pretty happy with the bikes we have, we are considering getting rid of some. I mean, it’s been a few years since I’ve dusted off my mountain bike – is there any point in keeping it?! We are planning a West Virginia road trip in October, though, so I guess I will decide after that. But is it worth keeping a bike for a maybe once a year opportunity? I don’t know, is it worth buying fabric that I may or may not every have time to sew up?

I have been sewing up a storm this month, unlike my bike habits. I’m especially proud of the New Look 6262 dress I made from an IKEA duvet cover, and the Vogue 9302 pants, made from IKEA curtains. The dress doesn’t fit great but it feels lovely, the cotton/lyocell fabric is silky and lightweight, and perfect for the upcoming hot weather. The pants are a wearable muslin for wide leg pants that I want to make for the colder months, something I can line with flannel, and/or fit thermal underwear underneath. And hey, tropical print pants! The shift dress is a nice basic, and the infinity scarf will be so great with many things.

I also ordered new sewing labels, yay! I have 100 – how long do you think they will last? I can’t believe I’ve already used 100 labels, frankly, so we’ll see what happens with these! Oh dear – do 100 labels mean N = 100??!

 

A Weekend Five Years in the Making

The Mechanic and I just celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long, and yet it seems like we’ve always been together. Is that how marriage works?!

We haven’t done much to celebrate in the last few years since they’ve seemed a bit anti-climatic. I was in New York last year with a friend, if that is any indication of our attentiveness. But five years seemed like a big deal so we made some plans.

First up, we splurged on a fancy dinner at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a plant-based restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s been on my list for a while but due to it price and exclusivity (Friday and Saturday night seatings only, wine pairings an extra $60 per person), we hadn’t been. But it turned out to be the perfect anniversary dinner.

Violet Moon cocktail and an empty first course dish – as the dining excitement begins!

Although we passed on the wine pairing, we did order cocktails. My Violet Moon appeared more gray than violet, but the vodka, kombucha, creme de Violette, and Freixenet Blanc de Blanc combo could possibly be my most favorite cocktail ever. I had two – just to test the consistency, of course! I can’t even begin to describe the food, it was so amazing. So many wild and different flavors in one mouthful! The Mechanic and I, not being foodies, credited our years of vegan Green Chef meals with introducing us to the possibilities of flavorful, exotic, and adventurous dining – if it hadn’t, this meal might have been a great shock! I didn’t take pictures of all seven courses but I did take a few of the more picturesque ones.

One of seven delicious courses at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Also, I wore my new Vogue 9091  linen culottes and the Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which I cropped into a top. I love this combination so much!!! Expect to see me in it alot – and sorry for the bathroom photo….

We balanced the fancy experience at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw the following day with a road trip to Shepherdstown, WV, where we had gotten married five year previously. We rented a (ginormous) pick up, and The Mechanic managed to nicely arrange our bicycles in the back so we could take them with us. Once in Shepherdstown, we started with a casual lunch at our favorite place, the Blue Moon Cafe. The food is always good, with plenty of vegetarian options, but the highlight is the outdoor seating with a small stream rushing through it. We love this place so much that we made it part of our unofficial wedding reception (we had a lunchtime wedding and reception, so everyone who stayed joined us at the Blue Moon for dinner that evening). We continued our wedding anniversary tour with a stop at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, where we had ordered our wedding cake. We purchased a slice of cake that was almost identical to ours – this was almond cake (instead of the lemon we had five years ago), with a raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. Just as delicious as we remembered!

Biking has always been a large part of our memories of Shepherdstown – we first encountered the town when we signed up for the CASA River Ride seven years ago. We also used it as our starting point for a bike camping trip down the C & O Canal that same year. We’ve returned over and over, since it is a perfect day trip destination. Luckily the weather this year was dry enough for us to squeeze in another bike ride down the canal tow path. It was so lovely and just perfect, and we agreed we need to do more of *that* sort of biking – adventure travel biking, casual, gravel roads, nature, trees, etc.

Our last anniversary-related stop was at the Bavarian Inn, where our wedding had taken place. We were one of the first weddings held overlooking the infinity pool, and there had been some question as to whether or not it would be ready for us – but it was, and provided a lovely backdrop of just nature and the Potomac River. We visited a few times since then, but not for a few years, so we were completely surprised at the remodeling they had done when they added Bavarian Brothers Brewery to the site last year. Walls were changed, decor was modernized, fixtures were new, the bar was larger, and there was an entire new dining area where our reception patio space had been. Wow! It looks amazing! We had a flight and some fondue, then took home a growler – which I had to bike back to our rental truck, since we’d gone there on our bikes. What’s more bike-y than beer and cupcakes on a bike?!

 

Part of my wedding reminiscences included pulling out my wedding skirt, which I made from my wedding dress. It’s a bit too small for me now <ahem> but I would still love to have a reason to wear it somewhere. Someone, invite me to a garden party!

So many changes since 2014!

Who knows how many changes there will be in another five years!!! We have enough to keep ourselves busy until then, so check in with me in 2024!

June 2019: What Happened to May?!

I can’t be the only person who is seeing this year slip through their fingers, can I? Is the year moving too fast for anyone else?

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants, black Dansko sandals

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants

First time I’ve used this white reflective piping and it’s pretty fabulous!

black linen Vogue 9091 culottes with whit Ready-to-Wear tee shirt, silver sandals

Showing off my new black linen Vogue 9091 culottes!

Admittedly, part of the reason why I’ve felt so busy is because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve been trying to create some summer weather clothing, since a lot of my things from last year do not currently fit. So I made a white blouse and another pair of my favorite culottes in a larger size. I haven’t worn them together yet but they will be nice paired up. And they go with several things in my wardrobe, which means these will get heavy rotation this summer.

I finished up Me Made May 2019 having worn something Me Made a whopping 29 out of 31 days. The two exceptions were work-related. I need to make some super corporate-y things to wear to work events. Here are some of my favorites: 15 images of a tall, red-haired woman in different outfitsI keep analyzing what it is about my favorites so that I can spend more time making things that I’ll actually like once I’m done. A quick read here shows that I like things slightly fitted around my waist. And prints. Lots and lots of prints. Mostly floral.

My main Me Made May pledge this year was to not buy any new patterns or fabric the entire month, and I not only survived that, I realized I have at least half a dozen things to make before I even need anything. But of course, it’s now June, and I pre-ordered some Charley Harper fabric from Fabricworm.com. It’s barkcloth, and I’m not entirely sure what it will feel like, but I love the print. It won’t ship until July at the soonest so I’m thinking a pleated skirt or maybe some sort of cocoon jacket. While all this mad sewing was going on (and a million other things) in May, what was *not* going on was all the biking I promised myself I’d do. I’m not sure I biked any day in May – bad! I need to pull the bike out and clean it up and that’s part of my excuse. Weather, work schedules, after work activities, and everything else have piled up. Maybe I need to stop considering myself a bike commuter. Or a bike rider at all. <very sad face> Ah well, it’s a new month, so many more new opportunities, right?

This Star Wars print fabric *arrived* in May, but I ordered it in March, so that doesn’t count and still supports my Me Made May pledge : )

 

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.

 

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?

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:

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!

Looking Back to Look Ahead

And here it is, a new year. Welcome, 2019! I think I’m not the only one to be happy to say goodbye to 2018.

It certainly wasn’t a bad year, but it was not an easy year for me. Two major surgeries and a seemingly endless cough for the last month of the year meant my overall health went out the window. With it – my motivation and a bit of self esteem. Not biking to work this past year means I’ve gained weight and gotten out of shape. That’s taken a big toll on me. Then we lost our beloved girl bunny, Quinn the Angora, who died unexpectedly while we were out of town. Ugh – no wonder I’ve been comfort eating the entire month of December.

Hospital style, haha!

But it wasn’t all bad, of course. I traveled a lot, once I recovered from my surgeries. I went to New York City, visited friends in Los Angeles, went to Disney World *three* times (!!!), spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Arkansas, and The Mechanic and I enjoyed a few days of doing-nothing bliss in Bermuda.

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I made myself 24 new garments, including my amazing Dashing Tweed Reflective Coat.

I have some other favorites as well, including the Liberty of London dinosaur print shirt I made after my first Disney World trip – I guess I’ve fallen back in love with dinosaurs.

I did a lot of travel sewing, making things specifically for my trips.

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And made some personal appearance changes – red hair and a rabbit tattoo!

 

Red Hair and New Glasses!

Floral bunny – totally me!

But now it’s time to look back at 2018 and decide what I want 2019 to be like. I do like making resolutions because I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about planning, and what’s better than a brand new start?!

Nevertheless, some changes need to happen.

  1. I must get healthier in 2019!!! Back to biking to work, at least 3 times a week, and adding the yoga and BodyPump back into my schedule. Gotta reduce the cheese intake too, alas. But I’m turning 47 this year, and I want to be super healthy before I hit 50 (ulp), so time to get serious about that middle-aged health stuff!
  2. Revamp the blog. I’ve been a bit lazy with the blogging – lazy, busy, sick, whatever, the blog has been neglected. So I’m going to try a weekly focus each month, rather than a random update on whatever. Sewing one week, biking the next, travel, then the random ICYMI post. I know all you reading this blog like different topics so we’ll see which weeks are the most popular, haha!
  3. Hm…. maybe two things are enough! I could add in stuff like: sew slower, spend less, be more strategic about money, etc., but I always need to do those things, regardless of year! So I’ll stick to health and the blog and we’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for sticking along with me this far, as I sew and bike through my adventurous life. I appreciate all of you and look forward to a productive, constructive, and healthy 2019!

Sullivan and Gaston resolve to be better friends in 2019!