Thursday, January 12, 2012


As promised, here's a sneak peek at my next project. Can you guess what it is?


Well, no need to guess, because I'm going to tell you. And, what better way to tell you than via croquis?

Beignet by Colette Patterns

I'm making this out of a length of bright fuchsia wool crepe that I picked up from Fabricana on clearance. I originally had it in mind for a dress, until I realized the likelihood of my ever wearing a fuchsia dress with regularity was pretty slim. A skirt, on the other hand, has potential. In the past the high waist would have worried me, but I've been trying to wear more skirts up there and get used to it, and it's going well so far.

I've been trying to get better at moderation, and I'm pleased to say that I haven't put more than 2-4 solid hours into this baby in one sitting. That's a big step, for me! I'm surprised at how much more I'm enjoying the project by handling it this way. No more burnout or frustration. Win!

This project has been pretty fun to make, although attaching to the lining to the facing did intimidate me into procrastinating for a week or two. (In the end, it wasn't so bad.) I'm almost finished now - all that I need to do is cover the buttons and sew the buttonholes. Here's hoping I don't garble the whole thing! I used the blind hem foot on my machine for the first time, and while it's not exactly invisible, I can handle the imperfection in exchange for the ease and speed. Ten minute hem? Yes, please!

As usual, I find understitching magical

I have one confession that I may regret admitting - I didn't do any fitting. At all. Not even a tissue fit, let alone a muslin. I realized that all the obsessing about fit really stole the joy from sewing for me last year, so I resolved to scale it back a bit. Obviously I wouldn't take this route for a more complex or fitted pattern, but I figured a straight skirt that matches my waist and hip measurements was a relatively safe bet. (Especially knowing that other Colette patterns I've tried have fit large, rather than small.) I'm pleased to report that it seems, so far, like a success! But I suppose I should reserve judgement until I get the buttons on. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paper Dolls

The act of drawing a dress on a croquis reminds me of playing with paper dolls when I was little. Which suddenly makes it a lot more appealing!

In general, I consider myself to be much better at manipulating than I am at creating things from thin air... but I suppose trying to copy a line drawing freehand isn't exactly high art, and I should be able to get the hang of it eventually. Right?

With that in mind, I tried to draw a little something on my croquis, loosely following this tutorial from the lovely Alana of Lazy Stitching. This is what I came up with:

I can immediately see the benefit of this activity. It's so much easier to visualize what the proportions of the garment will look like on my figure! (In this case, I feel much more confident that B5707 will look good on me.) Between the paper-doll-esque fun and the practical benefit (and the fact that this actually took very little time), I can see this becoming something I will actually take the time to do.

I'm very grateful for my little tablet, which was a gift from my fantastic brother a few years back. Until now I've used it exclusively for photo editing, but it definitely made doing this about 100x easier and would be well worth the price if you were interested in digital drawing!

Anyway, lest you think I'm just piddling around on the internet these days, I actually have a skirt nearing completion. Tomorrow I'll take some in-progress photos and show them to you. I fell into the habit of only showing finished objects last year, but I'm thinking this year a little more detail might be fun. (Even if it means actually owning up to project failures!) So, stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Croquis Bandwagon

I've been intrigued by all the little personaized croquis drawings that have been popping up around the blogosphere. I wasn't sure if I wanted to try my hand at it, but then Lladybird posted a tutorial on how to make one and I had to give it a go. I didn't want to bother taking a new photo, so I just picked the closest thing I already had on file. It's missing my head and my legs below the knee, but otherwise it seemed like a good shot to use as a rough draft.

I'm surprised how naked this makes me feel, lol.

My inner photo-editing dork enjoyed making this, enough so that I think I'll take a better photo and try again later. But the real question is: will it actually prove to be useful? To date I haven't bothered doing things like making digital colour palettes or Pinterest inspiration boards, so my track record doesn't bode well. But hey, you never know until you try!

Have you made your own croquis? Do you make inspiration boards and/or colour palettes, or otherwise organize your creative self digitally? If so, have you found it useful?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!

I can't believe it was nearly two years ago that he looked like this:

(He weighed two pounds when this photo was taken)

And now he looks like this!:

(I haven't weighed him recently, but my educated guess would be 12-14lbs)

Around here, we have a bit of a good-child/troublesome-child stereotype happening. Hobbes is the good child; there's no way around it. He's super quiet, rarely complains, makes this squeeky little chirping sound instead of meowing, is literally the softest cat I've ever met, purrs like a super-loud motorboat at the drop of a hat, and spends a good portion of his day trying to take care of people. Case and point:

(That's a bath. He's always trying to give everyone a bath. Us included.)

Johnny Cash is our troublesome child. He meows, loudly and often, and complains (mostly to be let out). He eats clothes. And shoelaces. He's the most likely to get frisky and accidentally claw you. Hobbes has always seemed to understand that you don't ever scratch a human's face when playing... Johnny Cash does not know this rule.


But regardless of all of that... he's also the sweetest cat I've ever had. He makes the most eye contact. When he meows at you and stares into your eyes, you can almost feel him trying to speak English. He's smarter than Hobbes. (Sorry, but it's true. And I suspect it's why he complains more.) He takes his collar off for fun and hides it around the apartment. He plays intense games of monkey-in-the-middle with us. When the Mr. is gone on overnights, he curls up on my shoulder and snoozes with his little chin resting on my arm. He's always the one still sleeping at the foot of the bed when I wake up in the morning. His purr is quiet and he reserves it for moments of true happiness, which makes it more rewarding. Maybe I just love an underdog, but I think he's pretty awesome.


Happy Birthday, little cat.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Patterns & Planning

I thought it might be wise to take stock of my dress patterns. Surprisingly, I have quite a few! I'll admit, I did impulsively purchase a few this year when they were on crazy sale. But I also have a small collection of vintage patterns which I inherited. I don't normally like stashing, but patterns are small and my collection still fits in a shoebox so I'm not too worried about it.

Before I dive into showing you everything I've got to work with, I wanted to highlight a pretty exciting discovery. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me post about my love of this little number, from Modcloth:


Well, I spotted this Butterick Retro reprint at the fabric store the other day. Pretty close, wouldn't you say?


I was pretty excited.

So, what else do I have to work with? First, there's the patterns I bought this year that I'm still pretty in love with:






Then, there's these, which kind of leave me kind of scratching my head about why I bought them. But hey, they might have some potential:




But the most exciting bunch is the inherited vintage. I actually originally had quite a few more, but I culled the collection a while ago. These are all in the 14-16-18 size range. Unfortunately, most of the ones I like best are 14-16 and my measurements indicate that I'm an 18 in vintage sizing (as opposed to a 16 by today's Big 4 standards). I'm not sure yet if it'll be possible for me to grade them up, but I'm sure I'll develop that skill sooner or later?

First, my very favourite. (Why, oh why does it have to be a size 14?):


And, all the rest:








(That last one is particularly awesome, isn't it?)

I think it's safe to say that it's unlikely I'll need to buy any more patterns this year! Especially if you consider that I also have to do the Lonsdale and the Bombshell dresses (for which I already have the fabric and everything).

I'm pretty excited to get going... right after I finish this skirt I'm working on. (More on that in a day or two!)