Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 5 of 2014!

Hey all! A belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year to you!

I'm jumping on the "Top 5" bandwagon. I followed along last year, but didn't post my own. This lovely idea, care of Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow, is both a look back at 2014 and a look forward. 

Top 5 Hits: What have you worn or loved the most?

This one I am dividing into 2 lists... top 5 hits for me, top 5 hits I made for others. 
So, really it's a Top 10:

Top 5 hits for me*:

(* I feel like this list might need to be amended to include the Thread Theory Camas Blouse I just made, but perhaps I should give it time to marinate. Also, I am super proud of my Ginger jeans, but maybe need to work on the fitting a bit more before calling them a top 5 hit.)

1. Plantain, for sure. A TNT pattern for me! It works in jersey, it works in sweater knit, I love it... these three (green heather jersey, neon striped jersey and tan sweater knit) are big wardrobe winners:


2. Stretch denim Meghan dress from Love at First Stitch: I wear the crap out of this one. The only thing I would change next time is to add a bit of length. It seems to have shrunk lengthwise with wearing/washing.

3. Simplicity 1666/Lisette Attache peplum blouse: great pattern! I love both versions I made. The leopard one, in particular, was a surprise for me... out of my comfort zone, but I love it!

4. Black jersey Moneta: What a staple piece! This dress is comfy and simple and the perfect backdrop for all sorts of accessories: crazy necklace, bright scarf, loud blazer.

5. A tie: my floral Sureau and my southwestern Emery: I love both dearly, but the Sureau definitely gets more wear because I can rock it at work. The Emery feels a bit loud for the office, so I haven't worn it as much as I would like. But I still adore it!

Top 5 hits for others:

1. Plantain: gah, flattering on everyone!

2. Strathcona t-shirt: a TNT pattern for Timmy:

3. Soleil dress: this pattern is so freaking adorable. Looks like Miss Z and even Anna got lots of wear out of it last summer. Must make more for next summer!

4. Chambray McCall's 6044 for Tim: he likes it, he really likes it! I was super proud of this shirt and Tim seems to really dig it. He wears it regularly. Must make more!

5. Elephant MC Hammer pants: these toddler MC hammer pants I made for my nieces are pretty awesome... paired with matching Lola tops? Cute overload.

Top 5 Misses: What went wrong or never got worn? 

Most of my misses are no fault of the pattern, but rather one of fabric choice. I gotta pay better attention to stretch recovery with my knits! Live and learn.

1. Liesl and Co Weekend Getaway Top: I really wanted this one to work for me, but it just didn't. I never wear either version I made...

2. French terry Mabel: I love the Mabel pattern. My ikat print ponte Mabel just barely missed making the top 5 hit list, but the french terry Mabel is a bust. No stretch recovery = terrible skirt. After an hour of wear, it is basically falling off me.

3. Neon popcorn Plantain: another knit recovery fail. This damn fabric will not bounce back. It was stretched out even before I finished sewing the shirt! Unwearable. Boo.

4. Lady Skater peplum top: also not much in the recovery department for this old-school knit fabric. Also, I think my peplum is too full. Have only worn this make once.

5. The Staple Dress... I liked this one at first, but I am not feeling it after wearing it several times. It bunches up at the hips because of the pockets, the waistband is always traveling upwards, and I feel like it's just not that flattering on me.

Top 5 Highlights: Tell us about 5 non-sewing highlights of your year!

Most of my non-sewing 2014 highlights are travel-related, 3 of them from my trip to New Zealand:

2. A waterfall full of baby seals north of Kaikoura... haven't blogged yet, but check out this sneaky peak on Instagram, or my GIF below:

3. This passion fruit-filled donut, from Picnic's Bakery:

4. Scuba-diving in the Andaman Sea in Thailand, particularly seeing these awesome, enormous squid in all their iridescent glory:

5. Cambodia's Angkor Wat (our tour guide knew all the best photo poses):

Top 5 Reflections: Looking back, what have you learned about sewing or yourself?

1. I learned how to sew a zip fly when making my Ginger jeans! And it works!

2. I learned I have to alternate my sewing projects to keep my sanity... one complicated, then one simple project.

3. I learned never to cut fabric at night when tired.

4. I learned I need more me-made pants.

5. I learned that I need to figure out how to do a swayback adjustment and make it happen regularly.

Top 5 Goals: What do you hope to achieve in 2015?

1. Pants! I need more of them (see reflection above) and I need to learn how to fit them. First on my list are a) more Ginger jeans, b) Colette Clovers, c) Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers, and d) the pedal pushers from Gertie's new book.

2. I have to be more conscious when choosing knits (see misses above). Recovery is key!

3. I must go back and make a second version of many of the patterns I tried this year. Lots of "wearable muslins" were made (see: Bruyere, Comox, Anna, Yaletown, Ginger), but now I have to bust out the good fabric! 

4. Zipper perfection... I needs it. Lots of my invisible zippers still show at the waistband. Must fix that. Any tips from the peanut gallery?

5. Gotta work on making my way through my substantial pattern and fabric stashes. They are getting out of control!

Phew, that was a long post!  Can't wait to read your Top 5 lists! Thanks to Gillian for masterminding this fun tradition.

Happy new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thread Theory Camas Blouse in Mod Flowers

I snapped up the Camas blouse, the newest pattern from Thread Theory (and their first pattern for women!), right when it came out. I've enjoyed working with their other patterns and thought the style of the blouse was really flattering, too. Also: I am a pattern junkie. Welp... Merry Christmas to me!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dude Sewing: Striped Strathconas

Tim and I are not really doing true gifts for each other this Christmas.  We are forgoing them in favor of going diving in Bali for a couple days. Wooo! Life is hard.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bubble Fairy Twin Dresses

A couple of dresses I am sending back to my nieces for Christmas!!  Based on their Halloween costumes, my understanding is that they are big into fairies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Stripey Bonnie

I've been meaning to buy and try out a Bluegingerdoll pattern for a while now, but the two newest patterns, Violet and Bonnie, pushed me to dive in. The Christmas sale helped, too! Since the Bonnie sewalong was still going on, I decided to start with that... 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kanerva in Lawn

Woop woop! Back at my sewing machine after a few weeks off, busy with work, a business trip to Vietnam and Thanksgiving.

My first foray back into sewing is the Kanerva peplum blouse by Named. I think the pattern is a sleek, modern take on the peplum and I love the button back. I've had my eye on it since I saw it pop up around the blogging world earlier this year... I was particularly enamored of Kirsty's two Liberty Kanerva blouses. Amazing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Plantain for Mom

I made this one for my mom for her birthday since the previous version I made her fit her so well. It's actually made from this squiggly knit fabric I pilfered from her prodigious stash. I thought it was funny to make her a gift from it... sort of a re-gift, in a way.

Here's a (slightly blurry) photo she sent me of her wearing the top:

Happy Birthday, Martha!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holy Sh*t, I Made Jeans!!

This is a bit of a sewing milestone for me... so many firsts! First zip fly, first time using topstitching thread, first jeans button, first swayback adjustment, first time breaking two needles on one project... I am super pumped! Ok, maybe not about that last one, but everything else = yes. Really, this is my first pair of legitimate pants (i.e. non-elastic waist).

This is the new Ginger skinny jeans pattern from Heather at Closet Case Files.  I was planning to make the Ginger jeans for the sewalong, but once I got started, I couldn't stop (I literally made these in one long-ass day of sewing). But I'll call it a sewalong make because I relied heavily on the fitting help Heather provided!

Ginger Jeans Sewalong by Closet Case Files

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Modified Marbella

I stumbled upon the Marbella dress and loved it immediately. Something about the boat neck, the yoke and the pleats drew me to it- very classy looking! Check out all the Marbella dresses on the Marbella blog tour... lovely!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oil Spill True Bias Sutton Blouse

Confession: I've been kind of a pattern junkie of late. I try to have self-control, knowing that my sewing list is a bit out of control, but after a bad day at working, the instant gratification of PDF pattern buying is so satisfying. I have a feeling I am not the only one in this situation...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Last Minute Halloween Accessorizing

I was really struggling with what to wear for Halloween.  I'd heard that some folks in my office were really into dressing up, plus I was handing out candy in my apartment building and heading to a costume party, so I needed something.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back to Beading

Sooooo... recently this blog (and my extracurricular activities generally) have been all about sewing. I've been quite smitten (nay, obsessed) with sewing.

Not that that's bad. It's just that my other hobbies are jealous...

After Colleen asked me what accessories I was planning on wearing with my leopard peplum blouse, it got me thinking that I'd been neglecting my beads and jewelry-making. I mean, the last time I made a piece of jewelry was over a year ago, for the Jenneth wedding spectacular (to be fair, I made six earring/necklace combinations for that affair, no small feat!)!!

I decided straight away that I should remedy the situation by incorporating more jewelry-making into my crafting schedule. And maybe some more cooking, too, while I'm at it.

What happened next, you might ask? In search of inspiration, I fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole, foraged through my beads for several hours, got overwhelmed and ultimately decided to start with something simple.  I decided to answer Colleen's question by making something to go with my leopard peplum!

A necklace made from round hematite beads alternating with short lengths of chain for about 30 inches, with pairs of little triangle-shaped glass danglies in between for movement.

Turns out this baby might be a bit too matchy-matchy... it basically blends in with the top when I'm wearing them together. But it's pretty and sparkly anyway and I imagine I'll be able to wear it with other stuff, too!  Plus it got me thinking about beading/jewelry-making again, so mission accomplished!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fabric Shopping in Hong Kong

Wanna read a little bit about fabric shopping in Hong Kong? 

Read more here about my recent Hong Kong trip, which included a brief foray into the fabric district.

Spoils of my trip below:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mimi Blouse in Lawn

After my raging success with the Megan dress pattern from Tilly's Love at First Stitch book, I've been yearning to make another pattern from the book. I wear that dress at least once a week... I adore it!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #6: Hudson Pant and Julia Cardigan

Doooods: This Pattern Parcel is so killer. I mean, all the Parcels are pretty awesome, but I found this one to be particularly great.  I mean, I already owned 2 of the patterns and was considering buying at least 2 of the others... so that says something. At least something about how style-y I think this Perfect Pattern Parcel is!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bruyere: A Wearable Muslin

Finally, my Deer and Doe Bruyere!

I've had my eye on the pattern since it was released, but only got it in my hot little hands earlier this week, just in time to squeak in under the wire for the sewalong.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sorbetto and Prefontaine PJs: Cat Lady Sewing Challenge #1

When Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy announced The Cat Law Sewing Challenge, I was all at once feeling delighted, excited, and inspired about sewing with cat themed fabric, not to mention mildly embarrassed by those aforementioned feelings. I dove in headfirst, making two (well, three, really) garments for the challenge.  My two garments fall on either end of the cat-fabric spectrum.  Here's my first!