project pile 1

projectpile1-01Remember my project dump from a few months ago? I decided that I don’t like the word “dump” but did like the idea of doing a group post for my backup of past makes, so I’ll be referring to these posts as project piles. Same thing, different name. So what have I been making these past few months…?

projectpile1-02I’ll start with the mondaine blouse by aime comme marie. I bought this pattern when visiting France in September 2013… so it had been sitting in the stash for a while. I finally got a job earlier this summer (June 2014), and it requires professional attire. So my Vionnet project went on hiatus as I focused on making work friendly clothing. Mondaine caught my eye and that was that. It features a very long bow tie that can either be tied at your neck or at your waist.

projectpile1-03I was attracted to the extra details of this top: four buttons and a tie that can be worn however you like.

projectpile1-04And here it is tied at the neck. The pattern doesn’t come with seam allowances and the pattern pieces are overlapped so you have to trace. Ugh. I’m okay with cutting my patterns, please don’t force me to trace! Instructions were only in French, naturally. Illustrations… major negative here. You can read my detailed frustrations at this thread I started over at PatternReview. Essentially the author continuously mixed up left and right, so if you are a visual learner, the illustrations were not matching up at all with what you were actually making. In the end I love my blouse and how work acceptable it is along with how I can change it up depending on my whims, but I won’t be trying out any more of these patterns because of the tracing and illustrations. Fabric is some .99 polyester from Golden d’Or as it would be ridiculous to make a muslin for fabric that cheap.

projectpile1-05Another .99 polyester make for my wearable muslin of the Colette Oolong. Back when I was in Benin in November 2012 Colettte had a black friday sale, and I went nuts and purchased 7 digital patterns. While there I managed to make 6 of the 7 patterns, but Oolong escaped me because I was unsure it would work with African wax fabric. I’m glad I waited until I was back in the states, because something flowy and stretchy along the bias is a definitely necessity for the Oolong. I shudder to think what would have happened if I tried to make it in wax.

projectpile1-06I didn’t gather the sleeves exactly the same for both sides but I don’t think non sewers pay attention to that. I like how the muslin turned out, but I haven’t worn it yet because this clingy non breathable fabric is not my friend during a Texas summer. Perhaps I will try it for fall. I also made it with the intention of wearing it to work.

projectpile1-07I had to lengthen and increase the back darts as I had major excess fabric in the lower back. I also shortened this dress a good 5 or 6  (or more? I’ve forgotten) inches because I don’t like hemlines that fall around my calves, it just isn’t a good thing for my silhouette. This was a great introduction to bias cut garments, as I hadn’t really made any before. I’ll admit I also made this as a sort of contemporary complement to my Vionnet project to get more of a feel of working with the bias.

projectpile1-08I also worked through my scrap bin and made a tank top out of Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt tank. My fabric isn’t very drapey, still from Africa, that fabric stash is endless… I am slowly but surely using it all up.

projectpile1-09No, I didn’t get a dog. Just some summer dogsitting for a friend.

projectpile1-10I liked my slightly different hue of bias tape for a little detailed difference. And I like the middle seam as it gives the tank top extra detail as well as allows you to use up irregular pieces of fabric.

projectpile1-11Waaay back to when the first Perfect Pattern Parcel came out, I snatched up a bundle although I already owned some of the patterns. I too wanted to play with the Lady Skater knit dress, and seeing as how I didn’t own any similar pattern, click click and yet another online purchase was made. Customer service was great for Kitschy Coo. I emailed the creator because I wasn’t sure about cutting for the border on the PDF pattern – was I to cut on the inside of the line, on the line, or outside of the line? It was a rather thick border so the difference was important. It was only a few minutes later before I received a response in my inbox! Inside of the border was the answer. Customer service for indie patternmakers is crucial as the market is becoming more and more crowded. I won’t name the pattern companies that have ignored my emails/comments, but I definitely notice who does and doesn’t respond. I don’t expect an answer as quickly as Kitschy Coo responded, but some acknowledgement after a few business days is always nice.

projectpile1-12I made a size 5, but the waist was too loose so I graded it down to a size 4 as I think negative ease looked and worked better. My hemline drooped on the side, but honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much so it will stay. The cuffs were also a bit too wide as I prefer negative ease on them, but not noticeable. I’ll just make a size smaller next time or leave them off. In the end I love this dress and have worn it lots. It’s a great transition dress as I wear it with a blazer/jacket for work, then once I’m off work I just remove the blazer/jacket, change my shoes, and am ready for whatever casual activity is next. Dresses that are work friendly and normal life friendly are gold in my book. Fabric was another .99 Golden d’Or knit. See a trend? The clearance room back there is the best place to find wearable muslin fabric.

projectpile1-13With some of that black leftover fabric I made McCall’s M6751. Aside from the new job, I have also joined a climbing gym that offers free yoga classes. So in addition to work appropriate clothes, I’ve also started exploring activewear because I’d like to still avoid purchasing RTW clothing. The only exception I made was for some business suits, since my sewing and fitting skills are nowhere near ready to tackle tailored garments. But activewear meant for sweating and stretching? I can do that! From the front it looks like a normal tank…

projectpile1-14Bam! Keyhole and crossover straps for the back. The top is very swingy, but it was designed for a woven and not a knit. For my next version I will lengthen it and narrow the waist/him area. It is SHORT. If I raise my arms, lots of tummy becomes exposed. No thanks. So this top’s current status is home only for loungewear. No active wear status for it at the moment until I modify it a bit.

projectpile1-15I also needed a lunchbox for my new job. I reluctantly used this waterproof fabric from my mom’s stash as well as some Insul-Brite lining for the insulated inside. The pattern was a free zippered top lunch bag tutorial from blissful.

projectpile1-16I say reluctant because I just got a job and while the fabric type and quality is great (as well as free), I don’t want to have cats on my lunch box… In the end I purchased a different lunch bag that better suited my needs and style, so this bag is in limbo status until I find a different need for it.

projectpile1-17I knitted another sweater from the book Metropolitan Knits by Melissa Wehrle. This time it was the Washington Square Cardigan made with Made in America Yarns’ bulky American Lamb yarn purchased from Knitting Fairy. I figured I should knit dark things now while I am still young and have good eyesight. Older knitters have been telling me that it will only get harder and harder to knit darker things as I get older, so I figured I’d knock out the darkest of the dark right now.

projectpile1-18As to why I am not modeling it, it’s because when I finished making it this is what the temperature gauge in my car read. As much as I love photography, I have my limits. Give me a few more weeks and I’ll have it properly photographed.

projectpile1-19I always buy an extra skein as back up, so a matching hat and set of mittens were made.

projectpile1-20Eight gold blingy buttons. If I’m making something black, I want statement buttons. And this is the joy of knitting/sewing – full control over everything!

projectpile1-21Back to the climbing gym. Sorry to jump around so much, but hey, at least they’re being shown in the order created rather than grouped by appropriate category. Do you see all the white halos on the climbing wall? It is chalk left by people’s hands. When climbing your hands become sweaty, and thus slippery, making it difficult to grab those holds. This is where chalk comes in, you just powder your hands, it dries it out, and you can grip almost anything. Of course then you have very dry hands and at home you use lotion to repair all the damage… such a cycle.

projectpile1-22And this is where my chalk bag comes into play! You can buy them and they range from $15 to $40… to that I say HAH! I used scrap fabric, scrap boning for the rim, and a free pattern found online to make my bag.

projectpile1-23The inside is lined with my polartec fleece from the hoodie I made ages ago. And there you can see my little sock filled with chalk. I always feel so satisfied when using scraps to make practical projects.

projectpile1-25More yoga wear, except here I used it for jogging instead of yoga. This is Kwik Sew 3660, top and bra. This is my first time using a Kwik Sew pattern, and after receiving lots of advice from the Pattern Review forums, I raided my local Hancock’s Fabrics during a Kwik Sew sale and bought all the patterns for active wear tops and pants… so far I’ve only made up one of the patterns, but thought I’d just admit my pattern buying spree and have that out in the open. Fabric is tencel jersey. Nice lightweight stuff, but my machine eats. it. up. I use a scrap “leader” fabric, but this pattern calls for a 1/4” seam allowance, which is too little for me since the machine tends to eat up lightweight fabric with tiny seam allowances. So first change for me was to sew with an increased SA. I didn’t add any SA, just sewed more on the inside. I don’t have photos of the muslins, but at first I made a size M. Too big. Dangerously big as there was major gape whenever I bent slightly forward. Then I made a size S and it fit perfectly. My advice is to size down as the ease is more than enough. For the bra, I found it to be too short. As in the bottom band would cut across my underboob (sorry, don’t know the real term). I added two inches to it and it was much more comfortable. It kind of messed up my darts, but since I don’t plan on wearing it alone (it’ll always be worn underneath something) it isn’t important. But I will try to fix or remove the dart for my next effort. I think the bust part of the top is also too short, so I will always lengthen that by an inch for my next make. All in all I’m pleased with it and I enjoyed running in it. Sorry about the sweat, but that’s reality for you.

projectpile1-26Jumping to knitting, I’m currently working on my first lace sweater. Surprise surprise, it’s from Metropolitan Knits, and I think it’ll be ready in about two months or so.  As for sewing, there are some finished objects to be photographed, but I’ll save that for project pile #2. I’ve not forgotten about Vionnet, dress #3 has been cut out, I just need to sew it together. I think I’ll bump Vionnet back to the top of the queue as I am satisfied with my recent work and active wear makes.

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