Friday, 31 January 2014

Jungle January… the skin of my teeth

(Click for a little soundtrack to this post)

With 2.5 hours left in January, I think I'll just manage to get this posted in time.  Whew.  It's been a while since I've had the time to sewalong with anybody else, so I consider this a minor victory.

I didn't have much animal print fabric in my stash aside from some scaps and a large piece of beige snake print quilting cotton.  The snake print is great, but the colour is REALLY bad on my skin, and the weight makes it a bit of a challenge to use.  I decided to put it aside and do some scrap busting this time around.  

(Here are a few quick snaps taken in the lab before anyone could walk in on me; hence, the uncomfortable look on my face.)

I made this first item a few weeks ago, and managed to post it to the Flickr group, but wanted to put off blogging until I'd finished everything I'd planned.  This is roughly based on the free obi belt download at Burdastyle, but with a lot of modifications:  I didn't have enough of the print to make a whole belt, so I ended up just using it for the centre front panel.  The remainder is a heavy black cotton (almost canvas) leftover from an old Sew Weekly project.  Come to think of it, this print was also leftover from the Sew Weekly…..I used it to make one of my most-worn and most-complimented skirts (see Sick as a Leopard skirt here).  

I've worn this belt a couple of times already this month, and I like the way it acts as a bit of a waist cincher (in the first photo above, it had come a bit loose.  I tightened it up for the other two photos, which is how I usually wear it).  

Bolstered by this success, I decided to try making a bag.  My one casual handbag was a sample made by my designer cousin Genevieve Savard, and it's a bit too well-loved at this point.  I need to order another one.  If you're reading this Genevieve, I'll take a look at your etsy store soon!  

There are plenty of free bag patterns available online, but I like Novita's because of its simplicity and the fact that it's reversible.  

from Novita's blog 
For whatever reason, my printer wouldn't print the pattern, but it was fairly easy to just eyeball the image on the screen and copy it to tracing paper.  I had a really nice scrap of black wool, and an equally sized piece of poly-cotton giraffe print that worked well together:  classic black bag with a hint of print peeking out.  

Nice size, nice shape, nice topstitching, nice pockets…..

…..ah shit.  

Novita even explicitly says in her instructions to take care of which straps you sew together before you topstitch, but I guess I was sewing on too little sleep.  Again.  I don't have the time or energy to unpick this and resew it before the end of the month, so it's getting posted as is.  

And thus concludes a hastily written, unedited Jungle January blog post.  See you on the round up! 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Top 5: Goals for the New Year

Top 5 Goals for the New Year

Get organized  
That includes organizing my time, my space and my mind.  I'd also really like to redo my blog, since it's just the original template I chose 3 years ago, and I haven't customized it in any way.  

And I should really add some twitter, Pinterest and subscribe-by-email buttons.  Done, although I need to figure out how to change the layout to be a bit more elegant.

And figure out how to do a bit of basic coding.  

Hmmm...this first goal seems to have turned into five.  


Reduce my mending & alteration pile
Do I really need to explain this one?  We all have that guilty pile.  

Purge unloved clothes
I actually tackled this one, and I have 3 bin bags in the trunk of my car that are full of clothes to donate!   It is always hardest to get rid of things that you've made, but I forced myself.  Now I just have to keep at it as the kids outgrow their clothes.

Make slopers  
While participating in The Sew Weekly over 2011-2012 was a great exercise to simply force me to tackle projects regularly, it didn't leave time for learning how to make muslins and alter patterns to fit my body.  I've finally recognized that besides altering for pear-shape, I should really be doing forward shoulder & narrow shoulder.  Trousers are still a mystery, but I should stop being intimidated and just jump in.  

Finally tackle those boring home sewing chores 
They have been ignored for..... *ahem*..... a while.  You know the ones: new cushion covers, curtain hemming, recovering the sofa.  

Yeah, those curtains aren't hemmed.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Top 5 of 2013: Inspirations

Top 5 Inspirations:  What books, people, blogs, trends etc. motivated you this year?

1.  Pinterest.  Yes, Pinterest.  I know that people poke fun, thinking it's all mason jars and fantasy weddings, but I've found some great inspiration from fellow sewists' pins.  

2.  Twitter:  Yes, Twitter.  I joined in 2009 during the Iranian spring, but then didn't have many friends on twitter, so I left it alone.  Then I went to Toronto for the GTA meetup in February 2013 and Gillian mentioned how many sewists were on twitter.  Back I went and found a great new way to talk fabric - literally, in the case of Friday #fabricchat!  

3.  Meeting blog friends IRL:  There's nothing like meeting the people behind your favourite blogs in person and realizing that you could talk for days.  

Feb: Toronto 

May: Montreal visit from Debbie....

...and a visit to Tampa where I got to meet Andrea and Myra.

May, August, & Sept: Montreal meetups!

August: 2 days in NYC for MPB day 

Oct: SF with Loran (not yet blogged!  coming soon!)

4.  My ever-evolving blog roll:  Take a look at my blog roll if you'd like to find some awesome new sewists, because that's where I get the bulk of my ideas.  I noticed that I've stopped keeping up with my blog reading since about March of this year, and wondered what caused that.  Then I realized that I started sharing my lab and office space with a couple of new people right at that time.  Oopsie.  Guess I had been doing more blog reading at work than I realized!

5.  Finally, one pat on my own back for starting Map the Sewintists.  I still haven't figured out how this will evolve, but if anyone has any suggestions for making it more user friendly, or switching to another format, please let me know.  It's helped me find people, and hopefully has helped some others connect.  

View Map the Sewintists in a larger map

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...