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!

Shifting My Summer Plans

Here we are in mid-June and I feel as if my summer is over already! I have two more small-ish trips lined up, in addition to my recent trip to New Orleans and a quick weekend trip to Shenandoah National Park. Over the July Fourth weekend, The Mechanic and I will be visiting his father in Missouri, then I am going to a work conference in Portland, Oregon, at the beginning of August. Then it will be time for back to school, so just like that <poof> my summer feels gone!

All the traveling has cut into my spring/summer sewing plans, however, so I’m shifting my plans and re-prioritizing. I had grand plans for completing garments for each trip, and I did get my navy culottes and blue Liberty of London “Edna” blouse done for New Orleans (even though I ended up not taking the culottes). However, the denim dress and red pants I wanted to make for Missouri are not going to happen, and making a “business” dress to take to the conference definitely won’t happen. And the Breton-style shirt I wanted to make from the cool ammonite Spoonflower fabric? I haven’t even printed out the pattern I downloaded, let alone order the fabric!

This past weekend I cranked out some easy stuff that definitely deviated from my original summer sewing plans. I really wanted light gray, easy casual drawstring pants that would coordinate well enough with many of my blouses that I could expand my wardrobe a tad (at the moment, I have one pair of fitted gray jeans that go with *everything* so I wanted another options). I stupidly ordered five pairs from the Gap and Target, and returned them all because they fit terribly. For about a fourth of the price, I ordered a box of fabric and made pants and two tube skirts instead! And I made another Sprout Grainline Studios Lark Tee with Spoonflower performance pique fabric. So four things in two days, woot! Oh, and I cut out new pieces to remake the crown of my sun hat as well as the McCalls dress. Super productive!

However…. I’m rethinking my summer sewing plans. Looking at my schedule, I can see that I am not going to have time to get all the summer sewing done I want to, even if I prioritize and only do the denim dress and the red pants. And it makes me realize that the harder, more involved winter sewing I want to do is what I should be starting instead. So maybe I need to shift my sewing so that I make fall/winter things in the spring and summer, and spend the winter working on spring/summer clothing (come on Snow Days!).

Cut out is a start!

Cut out is a start!

There is the winter coat I want to make – a huge undertaking for me, who normally prefers quick and easy projects. Not only is it a complex looking design, it means an outer fashion fabric, a lining and perhaps even a Thinsulate inner lining. I haven’t decided yet. And making all the reflective bias to include in the seams. I do want to make a muslin, because if I am going to spend all this time and money on it, I want it to fit right (shoulders, I’m looking at you). So that adds even more time onto the project. This could take months.

Butterick 6292 Version C

Butterick 6292 Version C

Other fall/winter things I am thinking about – perhaps a dress that could have a blouse or turtleneck layered under it, something with a deep scoop neck and fuller skirt. I haven’t found a pattern for it yet, but I haven’t done much looking. And I *still* am dying to use the Spoonflower fabric I picked out months ago, Moonglow Mystery. It screams Victorian to me – something with a high ruffled collar, rather than a traditional shirt collar. But do I want buttons up the front? Slightly fuller sleeves? Not too fussy, but not quite classic either…  And as always, pants. But if I get the red trousers made this summer, those can be my wearable muslin for that pattern, and I can just make a few pairs in whatever color I need. I need more wide-legged cuffed trousers in my life. And I still want to make a cardigan, and maybe another sweatshirt? I have no interest in making blazers or sweaters, but what other cold-weather garments can I make now that I can still wear without a coat, so I can show off the reflective detailing? Then there is the Issey Miyake pattern I’ve owned since 1991 and would still LOVE to make, but I’m afraid it’s beyond my skill level. Lots of tailoring techniques I haven’t used since I learned them – in the 1990s!

It’s hard to get motivated to sew for winter when the summer is just getting started. I just can’t think of what I might want in 6 months! And I’m not doing a Me Made challenge of my cold weather things, haha!

I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much, at least not until I get the denim dress and the red trousers made. But I’ll definitely be looking for ideas, and filing stuff away for next year. That is, this winter, when I’m sewing for next summer.

Not the most flattering photo, nor the sexiest of outfits, but I love the way the butterfly tee and the linen pants work together!

Not the most flattering photo, nor the sexiest of outfits, but I love the way the butterfly tee and the linen pants work together!

 

Also, I think I will be shifting my blog to “summer hours” and only posting once a week until things settle a bit. They will, won’t they?!

Save

Save

April Showers Bring Spring Sewing Plans

April showers bring May flowers, as the saying goes, but also time to be inside and plot my sewing list for the next several months, yay! This month will be a bit crazy, however, with several weekends of out-of-town guests, and an industry summit in DC, which means out-of-town colleagues to catch up with, plus summit-ing. Nevertheless, I ignore reality and charge ahead with my overly-ambitious sewing plans!

Last month I finished my Vogue 7910 skirt (now apparently discontinued), in khaki twill with the camo reflective bias trim in the side panels. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, although the reflective trim isn’t as bright as I’d like. Also, I’d forgotten how wrinkly twill get, yikes. I wore it the very early morning I met some friends for a bike ride to see sunrise and cherry blossom blooms at the Tidal Basin, and am happy to say it’s a perfectly lovely biking skirt. I anticipate wearing this often in the warmer months ahead.

I tried to get my current project done in March, so I could move ahead with two tops in April, but that didn’t happen. I’m glad I made a muslin of the Kwik Sew 4104 (also apparently now discontinued) jacket I’ve got planned, because I don’t like the fit at all! It’s *huge* – and I cut out a size Medium! I’ve pin fit the muslin but now need to redo everything. Basically, I want to tailor the waist by taking in about 4″ all around, but I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out. I might cut a size Extra-Small in another muslin, I don’t know. I also need to drop the waist about an inch but that’s easy compared to how much needs to be taken in. Even though Spring showers bring May flowers, and I love almost anything floral, I’ve chosen a nautical theme for my Spring and Summer sewing line-up. I’m thinking wide-leg trousers, red and denim blue, lots of stripes, fish, and for something different, ammonites!

First up, an easy top with fish fabric from Spoonflower, in an easy Butterick pattern.

Then something more creative, also with Spoonflower fabric. I’m obsessed with the ammonite ditsy print that Spoonflower designer Coggon created! I think it will be perfect for a Breton-style top. I’m bravely going to try my first download-print out-tape together pattern (ulp), Christine Haynes Marianne dress, which I will then shorten into a top. (Seems like alot of work to tape something together to then cut it apart…)

I want to make more pants, because eventually I’ll find a pattern I like and learn how to adjust patterns for proper fit. I have the sailor pants pattern from Vogue, but I’ll put that off, and first make a nice pair of wide-legged trousers in faded red. I love wide-leg trousers, especially with a cuff. The Simplicity pattern I wanted also was discontinued, but luckily I found it on Etsy.

Then I am going to make two dresses from the same pattern, one for me and one for a friend. McCalls 6520 is *also* out of print, but again, thanks to Etsy, I was able to grab it. I’m going to do version A for me in lightweight pale denim, with the reflective floral blue fabric worked in somehow, and version C/D for my friend, but with 3/4 sleeves. She’s already picked out her fabric, but I haven’t even looked for mine yet. Deadline – a girls’ trip to New Orleans! I could be sewing late the night before we leave….

Out-of-print McCalls 6520 dreses

Out-of-print McCalls 6520 dresses

There are more things on my list but I think this will keep me plenty busy. I’ll be very impressed with myself if I can get this all done before Memorial Day weekend, but know it probably won’t happen. But if it keeps raining, maybe there will be more days and evenings at home sewing! And flowers in May…

Prints or Plain: Planning Perfect Projects

I’ve been soooo lucky to have two 5-day weekends at home over the holidays. Instead of rushing through life as we usually do, I’ve had the opportunity, with so much free time, to do things I don’t normally – I cooked two meals, baked, The Mechanic and I went to the movie theater (James Bond Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, woot!), and I was able to spread out my sewing projects and get stuff organized and completed.

Star Wars SkirtI even ended up with time to start a dress I thought I would have to wait on – a Kwik Sew pattern, it’s going together very quickly indeed!

I love it when a pattern only has one page of instructions, don't you?

I love it when a pattern only has one page of instructions, don’t you?

I’m so excited to be using my new Spoonflower chain mail print knit on this dress! I hunted all over trying to find fabric that I would like in the contrast section of this dress, debating between two solid colors or a print and a solid. I knew I found the right piece when I saw that. I had a swatch of bamboo jersey in a color that matches perfectly, so it ended up being perfect. (I’m adding the sleeves, and adjusted the length so it’s in between the two options shown.)

The dilemma over this dress highlights the struggle I’m having with the stack of patterns I have awaiting my attention. I had assembled a “capsule collection” for the fall, but alas, I haven’t completed as much of it as planned. I did get the colorblock dress done, and the bow blouse, but the pants, jacket, cardigan and second blouse have evaded even being started. I simply can’t decide what fabric to pick!

I’ve picked a nice solid color twill for the pants, which are on task for this month. The color will be perfect for the bow blouse. I’m using the twill as my muslin, but still want to be able to wear them, so I chose carefully. Pants FabricBut I can’t decide what to make the coat and cardigan out of!!! Solid or print? A neutral or a fun print? Something that goes with everything, or a really stand out print that goes with only a few things? I have so many print shirts right now, and several navy and gray jackets, and everything more or less goes with something else (even if I’m not thrilled with the combo), so I could splash out and do something crazy – but what if I end up wearing it rarely?! That defeats the purpose.

The coat will have reflective camo on the cuffs and hem (but not a collar), but I can't decide about the rest of it. The cardigan I just can't decide.

The coat will have reflective camo on the cuffs and hem (but not a collar), but I can’t decide about the rest of it. The cardigan I just can’t decide. 

This will be a great spring jacket that will reflect like mad when I bike home wearing it!

This will be a great spring jacket that will reflect like mad when I bike home wearing it!

I’m definitely obsessed with floral prints, if you hadn’t realized yet, but I like the occasional abstract print as well. I found this shoe print in the bottom of my stash (which isn’t all that big, to be honest) and think it needs to become a fun summer blouse. I don’t have much of it so it will probably be a sleeveless something.

I found this Moonglow Mystery print on Spoonflower and am COMPLETELY obsessed with it. I just can’t decide what to make out of it. I love that Spoonflower has “performance” fabrics as an option, so I have been mulling over the idea of making a moisture-wicking tee shirt with it, but I think it calls for a more structured, Victorian style. Hopefully I’ll see the perfect pattern soon, so I can order the fabric. Spoonflower Moonlight MysteryBut then that brings me right back to the dilemma – a bazillion print tops and only navy and gray pants. And don’t get me started on skirts – trying to coordinate plain or print skirts with everything else is a whole different challenge! Augh!

Am I the only one worried about making things that don’t go with anything else in my wardrobe? To the other sewists out there – what do you do? How to you manage what you make, and whether or not it all coordinates? Or do you just not worry about it?

The struggle is real - solid swatches, but nothing I like

The struggle is real – solid swatches, but nothing I like

2015 in Review: More Sewing, Less Biking

Hard to believe 2015 is already almost over! Christmas was barely over when every news agency and social media platform started trumpeting reviews of the year – hey, we still have a week! Nevertheless, I was curious to see what my nine best Instagram photos were:

Instagram 2015 Best Nine: Ironically, three are old photos I posted for a sewing challenge! (Top left, top right, bottom left)

Instagram 2015 Best Nine: Ironically, three are old photos I posted for a sewing challenge! (Top left, top right, bottom left)

Looking over 2015, I realized that I did indeed do waaaay more sewing than biking. I made 18 garments this year! Two pieces were for other people, but regardless, that is more than I made in 2012-2014 total (I made a total of 15 things in those three years)! That also doesn’t include the American Girl Doll things for my niece, plus two attempts at reflective bucket bags. Guess I was indeed madly sewing away. No wonder I’ve gotten so out of shape – I really haven’t done much biking beyond my daily commutes and errand running.

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As with most sewing, there are things I love and things I don’t. My favorites are the Liberty of London blouse I just finished and wore to Christmas dinner with the in-laws; the Bike word skirt; the color-blocked dress; the hummingbird blouse; the culottes; and the “antique” floral blouse. I love the way the reflective trim turned out in that.

It’s not that I didn’t do *any* biking – The Mechanic and I did the CASA River Ride in Shepherdstown, WV, again, and we did some mountain biking with friends.

I did participate in some bike events – BikeArlington’s Balaklava and Baklava sewing events; the Women’s Bicycle Forum during the National Bike Summit; a Ladies’ Night at Revolution Cycles; tested out Forest and Fin’s Bicycle Wrap Skirt; a bike rodeo for some elementary school children over the summer; and Reid Miller’s bicycle fashion trunk show.

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So it was a busy bike-y year – just not not as much on-the-saddle, long-distance bike riding as previous years.

My goal for 2016 is to figure out how to balance these out a bit more. Of course, I’m already planning 5 or more sewing projects for the near future, so no sign of slowing down there! And The Mechanic and I are going to sell our road bikes and replace them with something more suitable to what our interests are. I’m currently thinking we need folding bikes, so we can take them with us when we travel. And there there may be plenty of travel in 2016, depending on how things shake out!

I always enjoy planning, especially for a new year. Expect to see a more formal 2016 Goals blog post next week. I can’t help it – planning, dreaming, scheming, creating… These are the best things! Balancing it all out so that it ALL happens is where I tend to get stuck.

 

MeMade Reflective Bike Fashion Challenge

I decided that it’s time for another MeMade Reflective Bike Fashion Challenge – how many days in a row can I wear to work something that I have made? I did this once before, last year (September 2014), and since it’s been over a year, it’s time to do this again! So many more reflective bike fashions to showcase!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that my sewing goal is to make clothing that A) I can wear to work; B) that have something reflective somewhere, so I am more visible when I am biking to work; C) must be bike-friendly. The reflective materials have gotten more exotic and varied, so I’ve been able to do some great stuff this year, a trend I’m not sure will be sustainable. Nevertheless, I’ve made fourteen new pieces since this time last year, which means almost a full three weeks of just new stuff alone! However, some of the things are not necessarily work-appropriate, like the Kwik Sew 3513 knit foldover waist skirt I made for summer weekend biking.

I started this week, but unfortunately, the mornings have been too dark, so the photos are taken inside. This means they are not great, thanks to our lousy apartment lighting, and neither The Mechanic nor I are fully awake. Please don’t just the sleepy looks on my face….

Day 1 – McCalls 6361 Skirt

MeMade Challenge Day 1 - McCalls 6361 Skirt

MeMade Challenge Day 1 – McCalls 6361 Skirt

This skirt is only one of two garments without any reflective trim. Shocking but true. I just couldn’t see it, so I didn’t add it. It’s not the best biking skirt either, honestly, but whatever. I paired this skirt with my favorite floral-print denim shirt from Ann Taylor Loft, and a very old Loft blazer. The suede booties are from Land’s End. I think I need to up my tights game, however. Don’t love these cream-colored cable knit ones with this look. Wooden necklace purchased in Prague in 2006.

Day 2 – McCalls 7160 Dress

MeMade Challenge Day 2 - McCalls 7160 Color Block Dress

MeMade Challenge Day 2 – McCalls 7160 Color Block Dress

I really love this McCalls 7160 dress. I think I need an assortment of belts, however, because it feels a bit unfinished. I really wanted to wear my Boden soldier print shirt under this, but it wasn’t ironed, oops, so I added one of my Land’s End striped turtlenecks. Again, not in love with the tights, but I am in love with those Dansko heels! Check out the way the trim is reflecting! A friend made me the necklace, lucky me. I got a complement on this dress from a stranger on the street the day I wore this – I consider that a successful garment.

Day 3 – Vogue 9026 Sweatshirt

MeMade Challenge Day 3 - Vogue 9026

MeMade Challenge Day 3 – Vogue 9026

A warm rainy day. I often wear my faux leather skirt, purchased on a whim last year at Macy’s, when it rains, because I know the water will roll right off the skirt and not hurt it. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so warm, or I might not have worn this top, however! I had to bike to a client event and was a sweaty mess by the time I got there! Oh well. This gray velour sweatshirt with all the lovely reflective bias trim is one of my favorites as well. I don’t always love what I make, but this one I do. Pattern is Vogue 9026, and the fabrics were purchased from Britex, in San Francisco. Boots from I don’t remember where, but they were cheap and leak badly, so I need to replace them. And I don’t leave the house without my Cleverhood when it rains!

The rest of the days depend on the wishy-washy Fall weather and what I’m doing for work, of course. Friday I have to be at an event wearing a work-branded shirt, and since I haven’t yet made pants that would coordinate, well, that’s going to be an off-day. Stay tuned for the next update, though! Several more options lined up!

Extra:

I made a skirt for a friend tonight (the one who made my bunny necklace, pictured above). This Kwik Sew 3513 knit skirt (same as mentioned earlier) whips up really easily, and the faux snakeskin-print knit she picked out was actually really lovely to sew – nicely squishy. The fabric is soft and fuzzy on the back, which means she’ll need to wear it with a slip, or it will crawl right up her legs when she walks. (I’m assuming that in the coming months, she’ll want to wear tights with this, as it gets colder.) I can’t wait to give it to her and pray that it fits properly. I made this pattern for me, and like it, but I’m not good at sewing for other bodies. Snakeskin skirt

 

Lining Up the Sewing Projects

My local fabric store options are limited to JoAnn Fabrics and G Street Fabrics, both of which are fine but not great if one is looking to do decent apparel sewing. So I tried something new, and ordered swatches from Fabric.com. Although the swatches didn’t get mailed off right away, hence delaying my instant gratification, I was very impressed with the size of the swatches. Most of them are 8×8″ range.

Fabric swatches from Fabric.com

Fabric swatches from Fabric.com

I was looking for midweight knits for a jumpsuit and a jacket, plus I just love the two corduroy prints and wanted to feel the weight. Yes, the floral one is a Liberty of London print! I have no idea what to do with the squirrel print but I love it so much! It’s a fairly lightweight corduroy, so even a easy top could be an option.

Squirrels!

Squirrels!

My first project idea is for a bomber jacket. I think I’ve mentioned the McCalls 7100 pattern already, but the reflective fabric I got from Oanh in Australia made me think about it more. I think the black would be great for the sleeves, so I am looking for something more silvery for the body of the jacket. I’m not sure this knit is exactly what I had in mind, but I’m not sure I’ll find anything better. However, it is more lightweight than I think I’d want. And I’m not a fan of black jackets. So probably back to the drawing board with this one. Maybe a basic sweatshirt gray?

Black reflective for the sleeves for sure, but what for the body?

Black reflective for the sleeves for sure, but what for the body?

McCalls also came out with a jumpsuit pattern, M7099, that tempts me to make one. I was a bit horrified when jumpsuits first became a thing, but they don’t appear to be going away, and they are also beginning to grow on me. Being able to make one means that I can lengthen the torso for my long waist, and make sure it’s comfortable on a bike. I think I’d want to make it sleeveless, however. I’m not sure about the color – a dark solid would be comforting, but I dislike wearing too much black, but gray might look like PJs. I really like this teal, but is that too much? I’m not sure I’d make it reflective, but a sash out of the reflective black fabric is definitely happening, so that would take care of that.

I like both of these knits...

I like both of these knits…

The reflective fabric on the top would be great as a sash with either fabric.

The reflective fabric on the top would be great as a sash with either fabric. (ignore the incorrect pattern number on the page… it really is 7099)

I also really love these swatches together, but I’m not sure what I’d do with them.

Love that black and gold knit, and the Liberty of course. The solid gold in the back works so well with either, but for what...?

Love that black and gold knit, and the Liberty of course. The solid gold in the back works so well with either, but for what…?

I do have the fabric already to make a spring/summer top, which, although I obviously couldn’t wear it any time soon, I should just make, since I have all the materials. I’d rather make something a bit more seasonal, but might have to start here.

McCalls 6794, out of Liberty fabric with a reflective sash

McCalls 6794, out of Liberty fabric with a reflective sash

This Liberty of London for Target fabric (with coordinating throw pillow) used to be a duvet cover - I am going to turn it into the McCalls 6794, with the orange sherbert reflective fabric as the sewing in sash

This Liberty of London for Target fabric (with coordinating throw pillow) used to be a duvet cover – I am going to turn it into the McCalls 6794, with the orange sherbert reflective fabric as the sewing in sash. Perfect for Spring!

Despite the fun of ordering swatches, I’m not as excited about these options as I’d hoped I would be. I guess it’s back to the drawing board. This will make it harder to be in New York this weekend with The Mechanic, since I doubt I’ll manage to get to the fabric stores with him in tow. Most of the Garment District stores have limited weekend hours, and we have other things to see. Of course, if we happen to walk through there to get to anything, well, I’m sure it won’t hurt to duck in somewhere. After all, he needs to see the places I keep talking about, right?!

On the other hand, I have a project that needs to get done before any of these. I promised my niece I would make her a carrying bag for her American Girl doll. I think it’s only appropriate that I practice the pattern first on my American Girl doll, don’t you? As the Victorian doll, I could come up with some lovely fabric combinations for my Samantha. Liberty of London would be perfect for her, if only it weren’t so expensive.

Samantha, in her winter school dress, wants a fancy carrying bag!

Samantha, in her winter school dress, wants a fancy carrying bag!

So I’ll start there, then move onto the spring top, while trying to come up with a better option for the bomber jacket and jumpsuit. And see what else comes up in the meantime!

Boots and Colorblocking

I’ve been hopping around this evening out of excitement, because Merrell has at last created bike-friendly boots! I want both pairs!

Merrell Evera Fade - this color is my favorite fall/winter neutral, so I love them even more!

Merrell Evera Fade – this color is my favorite fall/winter neutral, so I love them even more!

Merrell Evera Amp - a very work appropriate dressy black boot.

Merrell Evera Amp – a very work appropriate dressy black boot.

I love boots, and I love my Merrell Evera bike shoes, so I’m especially excited to see these two. And I love that wine color – it really is one of my favorite winter neutral colors. My beautiful big wool overcoat is that same color, and I just love it. Merrell has also come out with a cute Mary Jane style heel, which makes me a bit crabby, because I just this spring bought a pair of the basic black pumps, but the size is too small. A shoe that is not strapped around my ankle just doesn’t stay on, so I hoped that a smaller size would help. Not really – anyone want to buy a barely used pair of black Merrell bike heels?

The Merrell Evera Draft - I would much rather have these than the ones I have. I even love the color.

The Merrell Evera Draft – I would much rather have these than the ones I have. They have just enough of a strap to keep them on my foot. I even love the color.

These shoes are a reminder that I’ve started to see fall clothes pop up here and there, and now I’m getting my mental list ready for what I want to sew for the fall. I already have one very clear project, although it is a bit too hot these days to get excited about sweatshirts.

I’ve shared this pattern already, but I’m posting it again.

McCalls 6792

McCalls 6792

I’ve got two ways of altering it so the block is on the back as well as the front, and then I can put reflective piping on both sides. But what got me more excited about this pattern is my latest Lucky magazine, which had several color block tops here and there.

Colorblocked sweater - like these colors.

Colorblocked sweater – like these colors.

This is neoprene, but I LOVE the color combination! This is my biggest inspiration.

This is neoprene, but I LOVE the color combination! This is my biggest inspiration.

A few black and blue options. Like the one with the white shoulders.

A few black and blue options. Like the one with the white shoulders.

Then a friend posted this picture on some social media site, can’t remember which one. It’s a gown in the Bergdorf window in Manhattan.

Colorblocked gown in the Bergdorf window.

Colorblocked gown in the Bergdorf window.

It reminds me of this other pattern I have that I’d kill to make, but have nowhere to wear it.

McCalls 6755 - colorblocked skirt, which I love and is completely impractical for my life.

McCalls 6755 – colorblocked skirt, which I love and is completely impractical for my life. Too long to bike in, too dressy for the office, and I have no social life, so…

That, in turn, reminded me of an old Vogue pattern I recently rediscovered, this Issey Miyake pattern I bought in 1995 (I started writing the dates of purchase on my patterns for this very reason!).

Vogue 1563 Issey Miyake colorblock dress in two lengths.

Vogue 1563 Issey Miyake colorblock dress in two lengths.

I’m so tempted to make this dress right now, but I would have a hard time deciding which length. The short one is obviously very bike-friendly, but I love the longer one, and maxi dresses are very in right now. Besides, the shorter one just looks a bit awkward, and sort of like a maternity dress. No matter, I probably won’t get it done soon enough for summer anyway.

So I’m back to sewing the colorblock top for the fall, with some alterations needed to make it reflective fashion-perfect. Now I just have to pick out colors! I am so tempted to do the burgundy-aqua of the neoprene top, but I’m a bit worried that I won’t have anything to wear with it. I need it to be office-friendly, and what pants do I own that would be appropriate? Maybe I need to make new pants, too? I have noticed that the fall pants are a slightly different, more relaxed skinny leg (that almost scream the 1980s, which I’m trying to ignore…). It’s hard to balance fashion with office wear with sewing projects with what one already owns! And my closet isn’t that big. What do you do – shop for mostly work clothes, or mostly play clothes?

Yeah, I really want to make this dress...

Yeah, I really want to make this dress…