reiny days and mondays


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Happy New Year 2014!

2013 review of items sewn:
For me: 10 (plus a handful of unblogged dresses)
For Liam: 11
For Kevin: 1 (sorry love… but there is 1 more from 2013 that is yet to be blogged!)
For the home: 4
For others: 7 – not counting Christmas presents!!!

Let’s see how I did against my 2013 reSEWlutions, shall we?

  1. Start a blog to keep myself motivated on my projects. – DONE!
  2. Cloth napkins in a pretty fabric – DONE!
  3. Liam’s birthday quilt – DONE!
  4. Quilt for a niece or nephew who is on the way! – FAIL. Said nephew is turning 1 in a couple of months. Oops.
  5. Blazer for LiamDONE!
  6. Try at least one new fabric type – DONE! As much as I still love the variety of designs you can only find in quilting cotton, there are lots of much better apparel fabrics. I’ve sewn with wool, cotton voile, cotton-linen blends, flannel, and corduroy (twice!) this year.
  7. New pillowcases for living room – DONE! (not blogged) I sewed up a bunch of Christmas pillowcases. I probably need non-holiday ones too though.
  8. Bow ties for the husband – FAIL. But I made him pants? Surely that is worth a million bow ties?
  9. Learn how to sew buttonholes! – DONE! A million times and more!
  10. Try sewing a zipper or two. – DONE! (And a zipper fly too!) And I just bought an invisible zipper foot so WATCH OUT!
  11. Finish Christmas pennant banner! – Fail-ish. But not a fail! I was really not feeling the way the banner was coming on and I complained to Kev about it one evening. He said he has a rule about not finishing a book if he’s not enjoying it – there are infinite books he could be reading instead, and would enjoy more. That really helped me get past my obsession with seeing this project through even though I didn’t like it. So that project got scrapped. We hosted a Christmas party and no one was devastated about the lack of a Christmas banner! (I think).
  12. Take better pictures! No more blurry phone pictures! – Done-ish. I got a new camera for my birthday (the Nikon J1) so my pictures have gotten marginally better starting in August. I’m really not a photographer, nor will I ever be, but I think my pictures are good enough to showcase the finished product.
  13. Update this blog with projects I HAVE completed – DONE.

Soooo, not bad! I feel like I really evolved throughout this year as a sewist so I feel much more like I’m on an intermediate level rather than beginner at this point.

Now for my 2014 reSEWlutions! I don’t have quite as many this year because my main goal is: SEW A BUTTLOAD OF CLOTHES. But that’s a bit rude, isn’t it? Also not easily quantifiable – I don’t just want to say “sew 30 items” because then I might feel pressured in December to just sew up a bunch of pants for Liam to meet my quota.

  1. Sew at least 1 more pair of pants for Kev. The man definitely needs them.
  2. Make either a raincoat or winter coat for myself. I’m waffling between the Rainy Days hooded jacket by Amy Butler and the Colette Albion jacket. I’m not sure I can do both this year but we’ll see! I actually already own both patterns; it’s just a matter of WHEN I can get around to them.
  3. Sew more cake for myself! I really need solid/neutral tops and bottoms so I can actually mix and match my wardrobe.
  4. Try out a new-to-me pattern designer.
  5. Dress pants for myself! I may be able to kill two birds with one stone if I use the Thurlow trousers pattern from new-to-me Sewaholic! I never like the way RTW pants fit on me so this would really help my wardrobe.
  6. Participate in at least 1 sew-a-long!
  7. Stay on top of blogging finished projects a bit better… Right now I have about half a dozen items that still need to be photographed and blogged.

Thanks so much for following along, friends! A very happy new year to you all!

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Corduroy blazer

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Christmas outfits are pretty much done chez Waterman! I made L a corduroy blazer using Blank Slate Pattern’s Basic Blazer.

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The corduroy is 16W corduroy from Jo-Ann’s – Biking Red like my uncut corduroy Kelly skirt.

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Silver shot cotton lining! I think it makes it look extra festive.

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I tried to get a good picture of how shimmery this shot cotton is. It’s nice and light which I think pairs well with the heavier corduroy.

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These beautiful little buttons are Jo-Ann’s (what else) – not sure why they’re called tortoise buttons but they’re cute and remind me of Bilbo Baggins. I bet he’d be proud of these buttons.

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These are my first welt pockets. They could definitely use more work but my second turned out much better than the first! I’m sorry to say that this one pictured is my second one… but I’m sure I’ll get better with practice! Plus, come on, it’s not like it’s going to fit Liam next year…

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Laurel Top in Rosebed Pomegranate

I’m officially a Laurel convert! I loved the fit of my Laurel dress so much that I had plans for a top immediately after finishing it! I was surprised the top had no closures and, while I should have made a muslin, I decided to just go ahead with it and add a zipper if necessary.

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It fits! And it’s really comfortable.

I used bias binding to finish off the neckline, sleeves, and hem and machine stitched them on rather than by hand. It’s not as fancy-looking but I don’t think it really has to be for this top.

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This fabric is Rosebed Pomegranate by Juliana Horner for Jo-Ann’s. This line is just so good.

I did lower the bust dart points two inches and I think they’re perfect now.

I almost always use french seams when I sew up the shoulders. Super neat! I rarely have the patience to do that for too many seams though… not when my serger is so handy! I did serge the back seams separately and pressed them flat.

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Love this top! I really want to make a few more. I will say that since I started sewing for myself, I’ve made almost exclusively dresses and well… sometimes a girl just needs some separates.

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Corduroy Kelly skirt

Another Kelly skirt in my repertoire!

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This is uncut corduroy from Jo-Ann’s in Biking Red.

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I found these lovely buttons at Jo-Ann’s during their BOGO buttons sale during Thanksgiving weekend. They look like hammered gold.

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I love the look of uncut corduroy. It looks almost velvety and it’s super comfy for this cold weather!

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This time I cut the skirt pieces Small and the waistband Medium. Not sure what I did but the waistband could’ve been a Small as well. I also think both skirts are too long by about two inches so I will probably rehem them both.

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I lined the pockets with the silver shot cotton I was talking about for my failed Laurel. I bought it at Fabric.com – I don’t see the silver anymore but this is the dark green one (which I think is actually quite lovely… I’d love to use that for a scarf!) This is one use I’ve found for it – another more exciting one is waiting to be pictured!

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I was taking these pictures but Liam kept looking at the LCD screen and waving at Mummy inside the camera… he nearly knocked the tripod over a couple of times. Never a dull moment.

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Navy Jedediah pants

Behold, my first sewing project for Kevin!

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Kevin desperately needed casual pants. All he had in the way of pants were: dress pants and cargo pants that dated to his high school days. Which meant that all of his non-work pants were either camo, holey, or both. One pair even had an oh-so-classy peekhole right in the front.

It took me a really, really long time to sit down and make these pants for him. I believe I promised to make him pants about… six months ago? Since then I’ve made several dresses, a wardrobe of toddler clothes, and draped my entire house in seasonal fabric. And yet Kev had to endure his holey pants. I first went out and bought Simplicity 4760 at Jo-Ann’s. I cut out all the tissue paper pattern pieces, which then sat crumpled in my sewing room for a few months. Not to mention I was already giving this pattern major side-eye. A pattern sized for men and boys? Yeesh.

I was so close to gritting my teeth and cutting into my chosen fabric but then… Andrea posted about Thread Theory’s Jedediah Pants. I’d never heard of Thread Theory but I think there is ABSOLUTELY a dearth of good men’s sewing patterns and I’m so glad they exist to fill that void. Anyway, I scooted over and bought the Jedediah Pants pretty much immediately after I read Andrea’s post.

I printed and taped up the pattern pieces right away too. Then the pieces sat around for a while too.

I used navy twill from Jo-Ann’s (same as my Kelly skirt) and FINALLY started working on the pants in October, but then Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations came up. I also made an unwise decision and decided on a whim to use gold thread, simply because I was out of navy thread. In my head it looked REALLY awesome and I was envisioning nice preppy maritime slacks. As each stitch was sewn, I felt more and more like I had made a mistake. I kept sewing.

I had to take a break when I made Liam’s School Days coat and the entire time, the half-finished pants were in my line of sight. And they looked AWFUL to me. Something about the shade of navy and the particular gold thread I used just screamed “military reproduction” to me. Or Sailor Moon. Either way it was just not what I wanted and I resigned myself to the fact that I would be ripping out not only flat-felled seams, but SERGED SEAMS as well.

If you make mistakes like me, you will know that unpicking serged seams falls somewhere in the lowest circles of hell. Luckily, I got through it, but only just barely! I ended up not ripping out ALL the gold stitching, mainly just the inseams and outseams. I left the gold thread on the back yoke and the pocket details.

This time I used navy thread and I started to fall in love with the pants, finally!

I referred to the Thread Theory blog’s sew-a-long the entire time. I really liked having all the helpful tips as I went along – for example, several people commented that it was much easier to sew the flat-felled inner seams BEFORE sewing the outer leg seams. It never would have crossed my mind; in fact, I did follow the directions the first time and noted how annoying it was to sew the flat-felled seam in a tunnel, but since I ripped it out anyway, I had the chance to do it the easy way the second time. MUCH easier, and my stitches looked a lot better the second time.

Then tragedy struck. I was chatting with Kev while I worked on his pants and… I accidentally trimmed down BOTH seam allowances on the inseam (instead of one side, then creating a flat-felled seam.) I gazed horror-struck at what I’d done for a full minute before I started cursing fluently. Luckily it was also lunchtime so I ate (rather distractedly, I’m sure) while I tried to figure out how I could fix my mess. Eventually I decided to unpick the seam and resew the seam, lining up the new raw edges, so the right back piece of the pant is about 1/2″ – 3/4″ narrow than the front piece but… well it’s hardly the worst thing that could happen.

navyjedediah5I had a beautiful Armani Exchange button in my stash. Perfect!

After that, construction turned out fairly easy. I LOVE that they did a video to help with inserting the fly. Believe it or not, this is my first pair of pants with a fly… all of the pants I have made so far have been for L and they were all elastic/flat front waist pants. I definitely appreciated the extra help there!

navyjedediah3Ugh, ever heard of an iron, man?

A few fit notes that I need to make since I’m considering these pants a wearable muslin:

  • I should have sized down. The waistband fits about right but gets looser with wear. I should also take that into account during fabric selection.
  • I would widen the legs just a bit for dressier pants. They’re fine for casual pants.
  • The pockets gape like crazy. Kev says they look like wings. I think I need to tuck the pockets in just a bit more at the side seams.

navyjedediah2Back view – I think I could’ve taken in a bit more at the waist band and perhaps the seat seam as well.

All in all I am super proud of myself for getting through that! I already have plans for another couple of pairs… here’s hoping it doesn’t take me another six months!


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Navy Kelly skirt

I’m trying to sew more cake and less frosting for myself and well, it’s really hard. I’d much rather sew the floraliest, most heartastic, kitten-adorned dresses in the world (evidenced by my fabrics Pinterest board) but I really need some separates as well, and I need to be able to mix and match them to some extent so I can pretend to be a normal person at work.

That doesn’t mean I can’t be ADORBS too! I’ve wanted the Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt for ages now but I have a thing against paper patterns. The tissue paper just makes me really nervous because I feel like they get so rumpled and I will NEVER be able to use them again. Oh, and also my fear of the buttonhole foot on my machine.

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WELL not only has Megan Nielsen started converting their patterns to PDF format, I have since conquered my fear of the buttonholer! I was super productive over Thanksgiving weekend and sewed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR garments with buttons. Ok, one of them only had one button, but TWO of them were Kelly skirts so I got a lot of practice! My machine does four-step buttonholes which sounds really terrifying (anyone else? just me?) but it turned out fine! I wouldn’t say they’re the most beautiful buttonholes in the world, but I’m getting a lot better.

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I used this cotton twill from Jo-Ann’s, lined the pockets with leftover Bouquet Sprout from my Ruby dress, and used these faux (?) wooden buttons, also from Jo-Ann’s. I’m not sure why I only ended up with five buttons (they came 2 to a package) so I used an old 1″ tortoise shell button I had in my stash for the top instead of two smaller buttons.

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I love the pleats on this skirt! It actually may be a little TOO full for me. I made a second Kelly skirt this weekend and cut a small for the skirt pieces but kept the medium waistband and just shifted the pleats to fit. I like the second skirt better and may adjust this skirt as well to tone down some of the fullness.

One thing about this twill though – holy lint trap, Batman! It comes out of the dryer completely covered with all the lint from the other clothes, and attracts dog hair like a magnet. A dog hair magnet. It even attracted lint from my sweater all day long.

Also, I swear I’m not wearing black tights with a navy skirt! They’re gray, I promise!


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I Heart Laurel!

It’s been a long time coming, but I love Colette Patterns now.

I bought the Laurel pattern half a year ago and had grand plans to make it in a gray shot cotton. Unfortunately I didn’t realize how SHIMMERY the fabric was when I ordered online, and the more I sewed, the more the dress started to look like something Donna Summer would have worn at one of her concerts. I tried to tone down the nightclub feel by cuffing the sleeves and adding pockets but I just was not feeling it. It was my most embarrassing UFO (and trust me, I kind of looked like I came from a UFO when I tried it on) and I just shoved it to the bottom of my scrap pile.

The silver Laurel has since been Frankensteined into several beloved pieces – soon to be blogged! – but I have revisited the pattern and did it RIGHT this time. And I love it!

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I found this pretty hunter green fabric at Jo-Ann’s – I think it’s elegant and sweet at the same time, which I don’t find too often there. Even Kevin commented that he thought the fabric was nice! Win!

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I think the sleeves are just perfect. I love the slight puff, and the length is exactly what I want on all my blouses/dresses. I don’t like sleeves that are too loose, nor do I like super tight sleeves (ok who does?)

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Once again I think this is a dress that looks better belted on me. I would probably take in a bit more on the back darts if I wanted a more close-fitting dress that I would always wear unbelted. One other note for my next Laurel – I want to shift the bust darts down about an inch as I think they hit me a bit high.

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I bought enough fabric to self-line the dress and I think that was a good choice! Not that anyone will ever see it, but it looks so beautiful on the inside too! The doubled fabric also gives the dress a lovely weight that makes it feel more substantial and a lot less “homemade”. I took care and did ALL the handstitching that was recommended in the instructions – the bias binding on the sleeves, neckline, and the lace hem tape – and it looks amazing. Good call, me.

I DO need to get an invisible zipper foot! I did my best with a regular zipper foot and it’s not terrible but certainly not invisible either. Of course I didn’t get pictures of the back but rest assured, you don’t need to see my backside after Thanksgiving.

Anyway the reason why I finally pushed myself to get the Laurel done is because I’m planning on making the Albion coat for myself! Now that I’ve made a wool duffle coat for Liam and sewn another Colette pattern, I think I’m as prepared as can be for the Albion. I’m sure I’ll be too busy with other projects in the meantime so I’m waiting for the sew-a-long that I hear will be happening after the holidays. Can’t wait!