Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 sewing goals and a 2014 recap

Sooo... it's that time of year to make New Year's resolutions and I'm just not feeling the whole lose weight/get in shape goals I often make. Sewing resolutions? Totally feeling it. During 2014 I accomplished some informal goals I had of sewing with knits, a swimsuit, outerwear, using more of the patterns I already own and sewing more in general. I also tried to sew for myself three times and failed. Three times. Bahh.

Goals for 2015:

(In general, goals should be realistic, specific and measurable, so here goes)

- Make 50% of the girls' clothing
- Make more clothes for myself (specifically, workout leggings and a chambray shirtdress)
- Learn to use the serger

These are more like guidelines:
- Use patterns I already own or free patterns when possible
- Try to use fabric stash first (use two fabrics from stash for every new fabric purchased)
- Explore fabrics beyond quilting cotton

2014 Recap:
So what was my favorite item I sewed this past year?
Maybe this (blogged about here):

Nituna Jacket
 Or this Bimaa (never blogged but well loved):

Or this Nantucket one-piece by peek-a-boo patterns (a swimsuit! Also never blogged about and then it died a gritty death thanks to a dirty lake):

 Or maybe this backpack from the Oliver + s Little things to sew book:

What was Stella's favorite? I didn't ask her because she's asleep, but I'm guessing she'd say this incredibly ridiculous dress (Seriously? What was I thinking. Just because you might think every little girl needs a rainbow dress, doesn't mean every little girl needs a rainbow dress.):

Party dress free pattern by the Cottage Mama

 Or maybe this dress, which was also the most challenging thing I made this year:

Modified fairy tale dress by Oliver + s
Most worn item?
While it's shaping up to be the nituna jacket at the top of the post, this skirt was worn a TON. I think it's because a skirt usually gets pulled on over pants whenever Stella gets the opportunity and this one was marketed to her as pirate-esque. Thanks to Jake and the Neverland Pirates, we went through a big pirate phase this year. I was totally okay with it, because I love this skirt. It was such a happy sew. I made it for Stella to wear for Mother's Day and the colors remind me of Guatemala.

 This is also worn a lot by the little one. It's the perfect weight for chilly winter days.

Lullaby layette jacket and happy Charlotte

So what are your sewing (or non-sewing) goals for 2015?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pattern review: Nituna Jacket by Figgy's

Wow! There were a lot of firsts with this project. First time sewing with a sweatshirt knit, first outerwear and ... wait for it ... first welt pockets!

And it fits, and it looks stinkin' adorable. Seriously, she wore this with skinny jeans and boot the other day and I loved it even more. It has a really nice swing shape and just the right length. I like it more and more every time she wears it.

Oh yeah, and the girlie likes it, too. She's still in a wonderful phase where she likes clothing just because I've made it and wants to tell everyone she meets that momma made her dress/shirt/skirt/COAT. Which is awesome, except when she wears the crazy rainbow dress I made her and tells everyone I made it. Then I cringe a little.

Here's the deets on the pattern:

PatternNituna Jacket by Figgy's

Sizing: Measurements fell right in between sizes so I cut between the 2/3 and 4/5 lines and added about an inch in length and it fits just a tad big (I'm okay with that).

Material used: Gray sweatshirt fleece, navy kona, green polka dots and a calico classic all from Joann's.

Notions needed: Four buttons. I was supposed to interface the front placket, but I added a sweatshirt knit lining to the front placket instead. I didn't really want the lining to show if the placket fell open since most of Stella's wardrobe is pink and would clash.

Appropriately rated: I don't think there's a rating. Aside for the welt pockets, I real like an advanced beginner could handle it. The directions are a little sparse, but pictures help.

Time spent: I cut it out a couple months ago, and then spent weeks thinking about how to construct the welt pockets until I had time to tackle them. Once I actually started sewing, it went pretty fast for a jacket. Maybe a week's worth of shorter evenings?

Comments: The hood turned out a little weird as seen in the pictures above. The directions for the welt pockets were laughable. Plus, looking through an Oliver + s tutorial (written by Kristen from skirt as top) showed a backing piece that the pattern didn't have, so I cut one out and didn't look at the directions in the pattern again. Aside for the Oliver + s tutorial, I studied a welt pocket on a jacket I own.

I like the jacket more and more every time she wears it and can see making this pattern up again. I'm glad it goes up to an 8/9 because this would be really cute on an older girl, too.

This post is linked up over at Straightgrain's sew + show.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pattern review: Every little thing dress by Shwin Designs

Well, my model is less then cooperative. But that's old news. It's hard for my little girls to hold still. And hairdos? I save that battle for Sundays. But she loves this dress, and I love this dress, so at least we agree on something.

You probably can't tell from the amazing pictures, but the snaps are heart shaped. Which I love.

I love this plaid. It's perfect. The purple, blue and pink are almost too '80's, then it hits you with the black and orange (happy little sigh). It must be a poly/cotton blend because it doesn't wrinkle, either. I think I have enough left over to use as a back yoke for something if I ever actually use any of the patterns I've been accumulating for myself (frustrated sigh).

In other news, I finished my last nursing theory course today and all I have left is an integrative practicum January - June. Woohoo! I'm getting so close to being a nurse!

PatternEvery little thing dress by Shwin Designs

Sizing: I think I sewed up a four. I couldn't find a size chart anywhere in the pattern, so I went with what Stella wears in ready to wear and added length just to be safe. It should fit for a couple years :)

Material used: Robert kaufman chambray stretch linen in black (I think) from Pink Chalk fabrics' liquidating sale and the most amazing plaid ever upcycled from a Mexico skirt (aka a skirt I bought from Goodwill to wear in Mexico during a missions trip back in high school. I might have fabric hoarding tendencies.)
Notions needed: Three snap sets from here. Aren't they cute? The pattern calls for buttons, but snaps are just so much quicker.

Appropriately rated: Yes. Rated advanced beginner because of buttonholes, and instructions are a little hard to read at times. If the instructions were rewritten, it could easily be appropriate for a beginner.

Modifications: I left the bow off and have her wear it with the snaps in the front (the front and back bodice pieces are the same except for the button placket). I also added a couple inches width to the skirt to make it nice and twirly and doubled the width of the skirt band to add growing room.

Time spent: A long evening covered both cutting and sewing.

Comments: I think the pattern is one of Shwin Designs' earlier releases. I haven't tried any other of their patterns, so I don't know if they've improved. The instructions in the pattern are written in the same style of the blog, so if you like the tutorials and free patterns on the blog, then you'd probably do fine with the instructions. The photos are helpful, but the written instructions lack clarity and good sentence structure. That said, the pattern is perfect for a simple, cute, quick jumper and the pockets are awesome. This is actually the fourth time I've made it (a tunic for Stella last year and two dresses for nieces -- none blogged), so I must like it!

Linked up at sew + show at straightgrain. (Look! I figured out how to add a button! Thank you google.)