Friday, January 29, 2016

Stress Relief Sewing

Whenever I get stressed and too busy, I try to fit in some extra sewing time.  It seems a little counter-intuitive, but it really does help my brain calm down and deal with everything.  I'm sure there is some psychological reasoning behind it, but it just works for me.  There are a couple of qualifications for it to be stress relief sewing though, as opposed to just sewing.  It has to be a simple project that doesn't require too much actual thinking, and it helps immensely if it is a TNT pattern (tried and true), because I know I can just go through it without fiddling with the fit and figuring out the instructions.

This particular project was intended to fill a need in my wardrobe, which is warm(er) casual tops, and used up some fabric I had left over from another project (Mesa Dress).  I used my usual modified Named Inari tee pattern, which is closer-fitting through the bust, and I added a band on the arms instead of a regular hem.  The length of the sleeves was entirely dictated by my available fabric, as I made them as long as possible.  To make it a tee instead of the dress which I usually make, I just chopped it off at the length I wanted, and didn't adjust the shape at all.  It wings out a bit, and I remembered later that the actual pattern has a slightly different shape for the tee version versus the dress, but oh well.  It's comfy and fits pretty well, and I'm less stressed, so it did its job!

One of the things I like about the fabric (and the style a bit), is that it reminds me of Boden clothes.  I'm usually too cheap to buy them, so I'm always happy to imitate!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Feeling Stripy - 1/27/16

So it's been quite a while since I've done an outfit post, mostly because I still haven't gotten my camera set back up.  I did take some crappy phone photos today though, so here you go!  (Also, I'm much more likely to post outfit photos on instagram now, so make sure you check over there: @lmcwethy).

This is one of my all-time favorite shirts ever.  It's a heavy knit fabric (maybe ponte?), but I just really love the shape of it.  I'm always a bit unsure about what other people think when I wear bright lipstick, but I just really love it and it brightens my day. :)  Unfortunately, it also tends to brighten the rest of my face as I'm a compulsive face toucher, and spread the lipstick all around.  I keep a little mirror at my desk just to make sure I don't have joker-like lipstick from time to time. :)


Monday, January 25, 2016

Fair Isle Leggings

I bought this sweater knit/fleece-lined fair isle fabric back in November at JoAnns, envisioning an awesome pair of leggings.  I wavered, thinking, where in the world will I ever wear such a thing, and almost gave up and made a sweatshirt instead.  But then I realized that I work from home a fair amount, and they would be perfect home apparel, so here we go!  I am a little short on tops that both match and cover my bum, but I'll work on that one later.

This was a super simple project, even accounting for the fact I had to reprint and tape together the pattern, I think it took me about 20 minutes, a half hour tops.  I used the Burda Style Carol pattern, which is just a single piece for each leg and an encased elastic waistband.  The fabric isn't quite as stretchy as it should have been for the pattern (think more like sweatpants), but I can still squeeze them on. :)  I haven't hemmed them yet, as I actually like the way they look rolled up a bit, but I might get around to it eventually, if they don't wear well.  What do you think - are they too crazy?


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Secret Blanket

I'm adapting the term that floats around the sew-o-sphere of secret pajamas (e.g. really comfy clothes that work for real life) to match my latest addition, which is a secret blanket.  I'm not sure I can say it's a fully me-made garment, as let's be honest, I cut a line down the middle of a scarf and added some trim, but hey, I made it work better for me!

Last year I purchased this huge, fuzzy scarf, thinking it would be wonderful.  And it really was, but I mostly just wrapped myself up in it like a blanket when I worked from home, as it tended to be a bit overpowering when worn as an actual shawl/scarf.  I did pull it off a few times, but it was just too bulky for the most part.

My first attempt to make it more manageable was just to cut off a piece and call it a smaller scarf.  That didn't work, because the only way it was long enough to wrap around was diagonally, and now both pieces were too short for that.  Last weekend I was organizing my fabric stash though, and I came across the small scrap I had left of this gorgeous boucle from my mini skirt, and the fabric matched perfectly - it was meant to be!  My shawl can become a real garment!

It was a super simple refashion, with most of my time spent cutting 3" wide bias strips of the boucle for trim.  For the shawl itself, I just folded it in half, slashed up the front and rounded out the neckline.  I was originally going to fully bind the edges with my bias trim, but I liked the wider look  with it just sewn on one edge, so I went with that instead.  I added some topstiching along the seams to make sure there wasn't too much fraying, as well as I sewed about a 1/4 inch away from the edge of the trim for the same reason.  Without further ado, my secret blanket!


Sorry for the crappy phone photos - I took down my tripod and need to get it set back up again.  They really don't convey the beautiful colors of the two fabrics, which you can see better below.

Binding outside                                   Binding inside

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Beach Cover-Up

I realized there was a project I left off my Fall sewing plans, part 2, despite the fact I had already started it!  This was just a super simple tank dress to use as a swim suit cover-up, but it evolved over time.

I started out with the Wiksten tank pattern, which I chopped at the waist, and did a simple a-line skirt, with a curved hem.  The fabric I used was originally a double-gauze, but I had already removed one layer, as I just liked the plaid fabric.  I had intended having a button placket center front, but I made my bias tape too skinny, so I dropped that idea, and just did a bias-tape binding around the neckline and armholes.  I also was more in quick-sew mode, wanting to crank it out, so I just pinned the crap out of the binding and sewed it in one step, instead of sewing it first to the outside and then the inside.  It worked out, but it's not my best binding work.

The second change involved the waist.  When I got it mostly sewn up, I just thought it looked like a sack on me, so I zig-zag stitched a skinny piece of elastic along the waist seam.  It was a bit slap-dash, but it works for a beach cover-up!

Piece number 2 of my travel wardrobe down, many more to go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Off to a good start!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have already started in on my fall sewing plans, part 2, and I whipped up a sleeveless tank Inari tee dress.  I started with my modified pattern from my winter cocoon dress, and left off the sleeves, made it a much bigger scoop neck, and added about 9 inches in length.  It was a quick sew, and I'm in love with it!


The neck and arm bindings could have been a tad tighter, but I love how they give it a slightly sporty vibe.  And because I'm never one to make something without immediately wearing it, below is the way I wore it to work yesterday!  Throw on a sweater, some boots, and some jewelry and it's winter work appropriate.


Fall Sewing Plans, Part 2 (Also known as tropical vacation sewing plans)

Last week I was merrily thinking about my fall sewing plans, and it occurred to me that I'm going on a three week trip to Thailand in December, and therefore should sew my entire wardrobe for the trip.  Tropical Thailand is a little different from Fall/Winter in the Northeast, so my sewing plans have needed a little revision.  I have slowly talked myself down from the ledge of spending every waking moment sewing until December, but even still, there is no way I will be able to accomplish it all. :)  Also adding to the tricky factor is that I've been doing some reading, and it turns out there are a lot of confusing advice about what to wear there.  It's a very hot, humid country, but pretty modest, so things like shorts and tank tops are frowned upon.  I'm not a big fan of skirt-wearing in the summer (thigh rubbing issues), but I'm figuring it out.  Without further ado, here are my fall sewing plans, part 2!

1) Featherweight black/white knit tank dress, based on the Named Inari Tee dress.  My sweater cocoon dress was so comfy, I immediately thought of doing a tank dress out of this delicious feather-weight knit I got from Emma One Sock.  It will be super lightweight, but not clingy, to combat the heat, and will be just below my knees, which from what I can tell is the safest non-maxi skirt length.  Apparently it's totally possible to wear above the knee-length if it's not too short, but that is the shortest length for visiting temples.


2)  Repurposing one of my original fall sewing plans, I've come up with a dress pattern for my silk jersey material.  This will be the Sallie jumpsuit/dress, with the kimono top and again a just below the knee skirt.


3)  Knit wide-leg capri pants.  I'm going to do a test run with some pea-green jersey knit I haven't been too excited about, but mainly I want them in black for traveling purposes.  I'm thinking about just adapting the pants portion of the Sallie Jumpsuit, because I'm too lazy to cut out another pattern (it seriously takes up valuable sewing time!).  When I went to Africa, I took a pair of pants like these and they served me well, so  I think they will work for Thailand as well.

4) The Pauline Alice Rosari skirt in this fun viscose/rayon fabric which I also just got from Emma One Sock.  I would love to have the buttons down the front, but if I don't have time, I will have to skip them.  I've been experimenting with skirt shapes over the years, and I'm not really a fan of full gathered skirts, since I carry my weight in the my middle, so I think this A-line shape will work well both for my body type and for being cooler than my usual straight skirts I wear.  The pattern is actually intended for fabrics with more body than this pretty light-weight rayon, but I think it will work out in the end.  I'm going have it so the solid olive color is at the top, with the floral border.


5) Black/white squiggle silk tank top, using a modified Wiksten Tank and fabric which I once again got from Emma One Sock, but ages ago, and I don't have a photo of it.  Instead of making it straight down, I'm going to add a ruffle to the bottom, more like the tank below.

There are a few more less-defined things on the list as well, but I doubt I will even make it to the end of what I've listed here, so we'll save those for later!  I may have been a little devious and already made one of the items, so you'll get to see that one before too long as well. :)