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Top 5 Reflections and Inspirations of 2013

Top 5

Continuing from yesterday’s post, today I have my reflections and inspirations.

Reflections: 2013 was a good year for expanding my skills. I not only completed my first quilted item, I took part in many sewing challenges. For me the challenges provided an outlet for learning how to correctly install an invisible zipper, sew a hem by hand, successfully draft a pattern, and even how to sew a swimsuit!

Inspirations: My biggest inspirations in 2013 were other bloggers! I learned so much from reading everyone’s blogs and seeing everyone’s finished garments often led me to try patterns I would have overlooked otherwise. My top five blogging inspirations:

  1. Roisin from Dolly Clackett. Her sheer number of dresses is inspiring and her sense of humor is wonderful. I think Roisin’s fabric choices pushed me to buy patterns that make me happy instead of always worrying whether the garment could be worn all the time. Sometimes wearing less often is a good thing because it becomes more special!
  2. Abbey from Sew Charleston. She is a relatively new blogger but her photos are charming and her fabric and pattern choices closely mirror mine. Perhaps it is because we are both from South Carolina but “great minds think alike”.
  3. Alicia from Posie Gets Cozy. I have been following Alicia for years and the glimpses inside her home and life are wonderful. She often shows knitting and embroidery projects and certainly provides lots of home decor inspiration.
  4. Lauren from Lladybird. Most sewists are familiar with Lauren and her mad skills. Her honest personality comes across in her blog and her feisty attitude is fun to read!
  5. Lizzy from Sew Busy Lizzy. Lizzy is both a knitter and sewist which makes her blog double inspiring to me. I especially loved her many versions of the Anna dress. It was her blog that pushed me to buy the pattern and discover the By Hand London company. Though my first Anna dress ended up as a miss, the inspiration is still there!
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Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2013

Top 5

Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow had a great idea about posting top five hits, misses, reflections, inspirations and goals of 2013. Since I think that is a great way to sum up my crafting activity, here goes…

Hits: I discovered a new (to me) indie pattern company, Kate and Rose, early in 2013 and went on to make three tops using the Roza pattern. This pattern brought my love of embroidery together with garment sewing and resulted in three of my top five hits for 2013!

monogram rozaRoza version 2100_1567

Also making the top 5 hit list was my Sewing Cake Cabarita top. This was the first time I had sewed anything from Steph’s company but would definitely not be the last. Her original take on sizing is refreshing and significantly reduces the amount of modifications required.

Cabarita Chevron

I also took part in Colette Patterns Laurel contest and ended up wearing this version all summer! This was my most fun challenge all year and resulted in many cool versions of this rather simple pattern.Summer Version Colette Laurel

Misses:  There weren’t many but unfortunately I have to put my Pantone Anna Dress from By Hand London in the “miss” category. I have never worn it and it is a shame. I think the biggest issue was my fabric choice. The bodice flops out a bit which makes the cleavage a bit too pronounced. I haven’t given up on giving this pattern another go since I do think the overall shape is super flattering!

Pantone Anna 3

Another FO making the “miss” list is my Monthly Stitch It’s Elementary My Dear Watson cape. There is nothing “wrong” with it but living in South Carolina doesn’t lend itself to wearing capes often. Perhaps I need to start a new trend…

Sherlock Holmes

Probably my worst fail of the year was the Maria Mexican Folk Dress. I had such high hopes for this dress. I wanted to marry my love of embroidery with sewing but it was NOT to be. Better luck next year!

Maria Mexican Folk DressTomorrow I will continue the list with reflections and inspirations from 2013!

 

A Merry Christmas To All!

If your holiday season has been like mine, there has been absolutely NO time amid the hustle and bustle to simply sit and enjoy the season. That changed in the last 24 hours. All my traveling was complete and I had time to attend a Christmas Eve service with my husband and two of the kids. It is always nice to enjoy evening services and I especially love a candlelit church. Nothing like the beautiful music and Christmas story to remind us of the reason for the season!

Before last night however, I was rushing to complete all my handmade gifts and decor. I got them finished just under the wire and thought I would share.

First up is my Thanksgiving table runner. I got the idea via Lauren’s post and will definitely try this again for other holidays. For my runner I used some leftover burlap and cotton from my son Brett’s Halloween outfit. Nothing like using up scraps instead of letting them languish forever!

Thanksgiving Table Runner

Next up is my first completed quilting project…a Christmas tree skirt! I love decorating for Christmas and have enough ornaments for several trees but never had a tree skirt until now! I followed this tutorial from  Brown Paper Packages and am super happy with the end result. The total cost was around $30 bucks so my DIY version was much less expensive than many I have seen in catalogs. I also learned a lot and am already planning more quilting projects.

100_1673

I promise not all my recent projects were for me. I actually did complete a few gifts this season too. My next door neighbor, Shannon, loves to bake and can always be counted on for yummy apple pies. While working on my tree skirt, the middle circle got cut out so there is room for the tree trunk. Instead of throwing away the center, I finished it with bias tape and gave it to Shannon for Christmas. This “pot holder” is pie sized so she can sit pies on the counter to cool without ruining her counter tops.

100_1668

 

In addition to sewing, I also managed to complete a few knitted gifts. I finished a drop ribbon scarf for my Mom’s friend Janet and a silk and wool sweater for my Mom. Forgive the less than stellar photo below but this was after a few glasses of wine. I should get bonus points for matching the gift wrap ribbons and sweater color though!

Mom 2I hope your holiday season was full of family, friends, and handcrafted gifts!

 

I’ve Been Busy…How About You?

I am usually a pretty organized crafter who tries to complete one project before starting the next but after losing my sewjo for a couple of weeks I am on fire! My projects took over the dining room this weekend and instead of home cooked meals on the table, we have this…

sewing in process

First up is my ALMOST completed cape for the Monthly Stitch August challenge. Forget that it is hotter than blue blazes at the moment, I must have a cape to parade about town this winter. More details to come on my cape next week.

cape in process

Next up is a totally random project I started Saturday. While I was organizing my sewing cabinet (otherwise known as trying to find a way to jam even more stuff in without the door flying open!) I found a kit for a quilted Christmas apron that I picked up at a local craft fair nearly two years ago. Never mind that I don’t know how to quilt, it is over four months before Christmas and I have tons of other more pressing items in my sewing queue. Even so, I actually enjoyed stitching the blocks together and will definitely use it once I finish. Next I will have to consult you tube for visual aids to quilt and bind the apron. If anyone has suggestions for good quilting instruction sites, let me know.

quilted apron

Also on my table is another Roza blouse (my 3rd!). Football season starts next week and I am a huge South Carolina Gamecocks fan. The University of SC is my alma mater and only an hour from my house. We often go to the games or watch them on television with friends so I decided to create a one of a kind blouse to wear. I did the embroidery of the USC mascot while watching TV last week and plan to stitch up the blouse this weekend. This version also uses up some of my stash so I get brownie points for stashbusting!

roza embroidery

And if that wasn’t enough I also have two items in process for the Sew Weekly Reunion. One is my first version of the By Hand London Anna dress for the Pantone Color Challenge. I am almost finished and hope to have a proper pattern review written next week but if you haven’t tried this pattern, you must get it to the top of your sewing queue stat!

anna dress

The other is for the Patterns and Notions Swap Challenge. If you recall from a previous post, my partner Amanda sent me two vintage patterns along with a cool set of buttons and a vintage tape measure. One of the sewing patterns included a knitted jacket pattern so I am feverishly knitting in the hopes of finishing it before September 1st. I would love to win the huge set of buttons offered as the prize.

pattern swap sweater

With all this positive creative energy flowing, what could be better than a gift in the mail? I recently won the Annette Tierette’s blogaversary giveaway and Anneke sent me a beautiful length of wax cotton fabric and lovely note all the way from Belgium. If you haven’t ever checked out her blog you definitely should. She makes cute clothing and always photographs her makes in cool industrial kinds of places which make her posts exceedingly more interesting!

giveaway gift

That’s what I’ve been up to this past week. Would love to hear about what you have on your sewing table!

Giveaway Winner

First of all thanks to everyone who provided suggestions on tackling my UFO pile. Many of your suggestions have already been incorporated and I hope to show some completed UFOs soon. Over the last several days many bloggers are also addressing the UFO issue so I am glad to know I’m not the only one with this problem! Lauren’s post yesterday about her sewing process kicked off some lively discussions regarding UFOs that you should definitely check out. Lauren also posted some good tips about the sewing process in general which I definitely plan to try. Emily and Cindy’s August stashbusting challenge requires UFO completion so if you have a pile like me and you aren’t already part of their challenge, now is the month to get on board!

Now back to the winner of the pattern giveaway…

Congratulations to Nessa! Her suggestion to unpick the garments in short stretches then reward myself by doing something else already seems to be working. I have unpicked the In House Blossom blouse and Colette Ginger skirt and plan to get these completed in time to post them for the August Stashbusting Challenge. Nessa, please email me your shipping address along with your pattern choice and I will send to you right away.

Sewing Mojo, UFOs & a Giveaway!

I had a few days off at the first of July and spent the time organizing my sewing space. I went through my fabric and pattern stash, happily making plans to get both under control. After completing several items though, I feel like I really should finish all of my UFO’s before starting something else. I am not looking forward to fixing all of the issues that prevented me from finishing each garment in the first place so I keep putting them off. The pile is growing and at my current rate the UFO pile will be bigger than my fabric stash soon! Any ideas on how to keep my sewing mojo (or sewjo as  Lizzy calls it!) going while also reducing the UFO pile?

As an added incentive for both you and me, I am going to give away a pattern of your choice from my “willing to share” stash to the person with the best idea for keeping my sewjo going and conquering my UFO pile. The giveaway will close on next Wednesday, August 14 and I will announce the winner next Thursday so get those ideas coming!

My current UFO’s include:

Colette Crepe in vintage navy dotted swiss. This dress has been in the UFO pile since early 2012. I got as far as adding the piping then got stuck. The dress has a sweetheart neckline so it requires some finesse to get the piping and facing to lie flat. After trying a couple of times, I got frustrated and tossed it. In order to finish the dress, I would need to unpick the neckline and restitch the piping then sew the sides seams and hand hem.

Colette Crepe

Colette Ginger in embossed suede microfiber. This was my second attempt at this skirt and has been in my UFO pile since mid 2012. The first one is a tad too tight in the hips so it rides up. In an effort to correct that issue, I cut a larger size expecting to simply add a few back darts so the waist would fit appropriately. Unfortunately the fabric is so thick and stiff I can’t get the waistband to lie flat and get all these weird puckers. In order to finish the skirt, I would need to unpick the waist darts and figure out how to get the waistband to fit properly. The skirt also needs to be hemmed.

Embossed Ginger

In House Patterns Blossom in Amy Butler sketchbook voile. This blouse has only been in my UFO pile since early spring but the fabric is so lovely it is a shame to have it languish. There are a couple of issues with getting this one finished. First the back neckline gapes so somehow I need to find a way to “tighten” it up without removing fabric from the shoulder area. I also didn’t have enough fabric to grade up the sleeves as the pattern is written so I opted for a tulip style instead. I got the first side on correctly but struggled with the other sleeve so much I put the whole blouse away and never came back to it.

In House Blossom

Colette Hawthorn in minty green eyelet. Not so much a UFO as a hard to get started. I have all of the pieces cut out but can’t seem to wrap my head around how to line and add the facings. The fabric is scalloped along the button edge instead of the hem so any ideas on how to get the facings and lining stitched without losing the scallops would be most appreciated!

Colette Hawthorn

Thoughts on Me Made May

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I have been faithfully posting my me made items to the flickr group each day and also adding to my Me Made May page to keep a running total. I must say that after 2.5 years of sewing, I have amassed quite a bit of clothing. Today was the first day I wore only a me made accessory instead of a garment.

The belt I wore today was a year in the making. I did all of the needlepoint last April then set it aside for other projects. When I realized last night that I didn’t have anything new to wear, I pulled the belt out and finally added velcro closure which took all of five minutes. Do you ever have projects 99% finished that languish? I really need to work on finishing one project before starting another!

Here are some of the things I have discovered thus far this month:

  • I have an abundance of dresses and knitted items but not many basics
  • I like floral and bright colors
  • Many of my first me mades are still being worn
  • My sewing is MUCH better but I still have a lot to learn
  • Fitting my decidedly pear shape is still super difficult
  • I can tell from the photos which items truly look good and which need adjustments

Though the rest of May most likely will contain a large number of garment repeats, I am glad I participated!

Also as a bit of housekeeping, I need to claim my blog on bloglovin so I can get converted properly before Google up and leaves me. Have you chosen which format you plan to use?

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