Thursday, January 30, 2014

Colleen's New Wardrobe

After traveling around the world with clothing options limited to what could fit into a backpack, Colleen was looking forward to getting some new duds upon returning to the U.S.  When in town for Christmas and New Years, she perused my fabric stash in search of some fabrics with which I could make her a couple new tops: 

Another Sis Boom Meghan Peasant in a pretty, modern batik that I bought it Jakarta... the print kinda looks like seaweed or kelp or something, no?

Another By Hand London Polly tank in a sea creature-themed fabric I bought online (Jay-Cyn Designs "Bubble Life" from Fabricworm, precisely).  I paired it with some blue/green/grey (sea-colored?) quilting cotton from a local Bangkok shop.  Don't be surprised if I end up with a matching top, Colleen.

Do you sense a theme?  Maybe it's all the diving Colleen and Steve have been doing. Under-the-sea seems to draw her in:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Izzy Top and Fancy Pants Leggings

After seeing Needle and Ted's adorable version of Climbing the Willow's free Izzy top pattern on Kollabora, I printed it out and made it immediately for Anna... so simple and quick to make, but so cute. It's not dissimilar from the Maggie Mae top with the curved bodice seams, but it's got some little differences, like the cute button tab and lack of waist. 

I used some thick-ish Japanese cotton I got off the remnants table at a local fabric store, lined with some thin, soft check fabric from Martha's stash (also used to line my twin Lucy tunics).  

After making the top, I decided it necessitated bottoms. 

I had an old t-shirt that was too stretched out for me to wear anymore, but it matched my Izzy top perfectly... combined with the Titchy Threads Fancy Pants Leggings pattern (in my stash thanks to the Sew Fab pattern bundle, which had already paid for itself, seriously): an outfit is born.

I hope the up-cycled leggings work... not sure my t-shirt material was sufficiently stretchy or recovery-y (you know what I mean... right?).  Also, I definitely cute and sewed one of the legs inside out.  Anna won't notice, though, I hope?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pink Pajama Eater!

The Pajama Eater is pink... the pajamas need not be pink.  

Pajama eater waits patiently to be fed.
I got a copy of this cute Pajama Eater pattern by Sew Fearless as part of the Sew Fab bundle I bought last fall... it's the third pattern I've sewn from the bundle and definitely won't be the last!  I kinda can't wait to see what's in the next bundle, too!

Impatience grows, however: "Seriously, dude, I'm hungry!"
"Feed me!"
Super easy to sew... Made up in some heavy cotton (same as my polka dot blazer, but in pink to match Zoe's room), with regular quilting cotton for the mouth and lining and felt for the eyes.  The rounded bow is done per instructions here.  This is the first time I've used the satin stitch to applique anything (the eyeballs)... it worked out pretty well!  

"Pajamas!!!!! Om nom nom nom nom nom..."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Polka Dot Blazer

I love, love, love my Victoria blazer.  I've had the chance to wear it a bunch recently since it's been relatively chilly here in Bangkok (check me rocking it on New Year's eve below. Also: hi Colleen!) and it's inspired me to take on another blazer project.  

This time I wanted to try something a little more fitted than the Victoria.  I picked out Simplicity 1542, an unlined blazer, because I liked the shape and simple lines of it. Plus it's not meant to be buttoned, which works perfectly for me since I never button my blazers.

I sewed up view C, with the pointed collar/lapel.  I liked the tuxedo-esque lapels on that version (despite the heinously '90s styling on the pattern cover), although I also think the military-esque version with the buttons could be nice, too.  I used some red polka dot fabric (heavier than quilting cotton, but not quite twill?) that I bought here in Bangkok at Hieng Yoo Huat fabric, which is conveniently right across the street from where Tim and I like to grab pizza before heading to the movies (although inconveniently right at one of this week's major protest sites).

I like this pattern and think mine came out really cute.  Here are the sewing details:
  • There was 5 inches of ease according to the pattern, so I ended up going down 2 sizes from what the envelope told me and am pretty happy with the fit (although I think if I wanted to wear anything more than a tank underneath, I would have needed to go up at least one).  
  • The collar/lapels are a bit stiff with so many layers, but it's not a big deal.  
  • I didn't encase inner seams with bias tape; I just serged them. 
  • I also didn't hand stitch the hem or add the decorative button band in the back.  
  • For this version I am not too sure about the full-length sleeves.  I may shorten them to 3/4ths to be more casual since I plan on mainly wearing it with jeans, but in the meantime, rolling them up will do. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lady Skater Peplum Top

It's like a peplum parade 'round these here parts, eh?  Here's my latest peplum: a wearable muslin of Kitschy Coo's Lady Skater dress done as a peplum top according to her instructions.

I made this top from some crazy '80s print knit fabric Martha dug out of the basement for me (thanks, Martha!)... I'm pretty sure George Michael, Duran Duran or someone of their ilk had a t-shirt made from the same fabric back in the day. I also got to use my new twin needle (double thanks, Martha!) for the hem, which worked like a charm.

I think I dig the pattern, although after a week of wins, it's slightly disappointing. I think it just needs some size changes to work for me, though. I'm definitely going to make it again, but go down a size and hopefully get the alterations correct.  I certainly love the neckline: super flattering!  The top is really comfy and more exciting than a regular t-shirt.

Changes I made to the pattern:
  • I cut the skirt to 11 inches from the waist line for the peplum and then slashed and spread it about 4.5 inches to make it more drapey (maybe too drapey? yes, much too drapey.).  
  • After putting the top together, I realized the waist hit me in a terribly unflattering spot, so I shortened the bodice by about 2 inches.  
  • I was sorta between sizes, so I went for the larger size to be safe, but I think next time I'll go down a size- this was a bit loose in the high bust under the armpits and in the waist, although I think the waist got a bit stretched out when I unpicked it to shorten the bodice... perhaps a run through the dryer would help shrink things back to size?  Ha ha, I jest.  I don't have a dryer here in Bangkok and you can tell because all of my clothes are super stretched out from hang drying for 2 plus years. 
  • I didn't follow the directions for the neckband: I sewed the shoulders together, sewed the neckband in a circle and then eased it in successfully.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Deer and Doe Plantain in Neon Popcorn Knit

After my success with Deer and Doe's Plantain t-shirt pattern, I immediately cut and sewed another one out of some fun knit fabric that I bought on sale from Girl Charlee: cotton neon "popcorn" knit (sadly no longer available), which is basically a cream colored knit with little nubbins of fluorescent yellow, green, and orangey-pink... a fun non-neutral neutral.  Check out the up-close below, complete with cat hair:

I love this fabric, but it has a little bit more stretch in it than the green slub knit I used previously, which, sadly, resulted in a significantly larger t-shirt.  Sigh.  Look at this size difference! Sleeves and bodice much looser, shoulder seams sliding off my shoulders, neckline an inch or two lower.  Crazy!

I am hoping I can shrink it in a hot water wash, but man, what a difference a little stretch makes! Lesson learned!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple Ice Cream

Another winning David Lebovitz ice cream recipe!  Rich, creamy peanut butter ice cream with fudge ripple swirled through... plus I tossed in some roughly chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to put it over the top. 

Both the ice cream and fudge ripple recipes are from The Perfect Scoop, my go-to ice cream bible, but you can find the peanut butter ice cream recipe online here and the fudge ripple recipe here.  I love that the ice cream doesn't require eggs, making it much faster and less labor intensive than other custard-based ice creams. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spiced Moroccan Chicken Wrap with Eggplant Tomato Jam

I know, I know... long time, no cook.  But it's not that I haven't been cooking, it's just that what I have been cooking hasn't been new or particularly blog-worthy.  And, yes, since moving to Bangkok I have definitely been cooking a little bit less frequently.  Food is so delicious and cheap here, whether on the street, in a restaurant or at the market!

Anyway, this spiced Moroccan chicken wrap is a recipe from The Cozy Apron that I have cooked twice now, once in Jakarta and once in Bangkok, and both times I failed to get a good photo because it was dark and also because the dish was so tasty we snarfed it down immediately.  But please do check out The Cozy Apron for some mouthwatering pics.

The dish is full of spices and garlic and pretty healthy: awesome.  It consists of 3 parts (hummus, spiced and grilled chicken, eggplant and tomato "jam"), which seems like a lot, but none of the steps is particularly taxing or time-consuming.  You can make the hummus in advance (although we liked it to be room temp on the sandwiches, not cold), which helps the flavors meld and the chicken can be marinated overnight (I started marinating mine in the morning and that was sufficient, too).  We thought the sandwiches were good with a little lettuce for crunch, too.  Mmmm.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt

Another day, another free pattern!  This one is Plantain from a French pattern company, Deer and Doe.  I've had my eye on the Deer and Doe patterns for a while (particularly the Sureau dress and Datura blouse), but haven't pulled the trigger and bought any, mostly because their patterns are not downloadable and I wasn't keen on paying international shipping.  The free, downloadable Plantain pattern was the perfect test run, and now I am reconsidering my stance!

In short: this pattern rocks. Clearly designed for a woman with hips (yay!), the top flares out at the hem, which also helps disguise muffin top.  The neckline is great, too.  Love it!

Until this point, I was not entirely convinced that making my own t-shirts was really worth it.  It's been like Goldilocks and the Three Bears...  My first t-shirt, Megan Nielsen's Briar, was not the right style for my shape (I've never actually worn it in public).  My second, Grainline's Scout, was a bit shapeless (which works in the woven version, but not so much the knit version, although that hasn't stopped me from wearing it).  Plantain: juuuuuust right.  So right that I just lay the pattern pieces on top of my polka dot knit Scout and might convert it to a Plantain.  

 Made from some cotton slub knit from Joann.  The only changes I made to the pattern were lengthening the sleeves slightly (I used the line created by taping the PDF pattern pages together- I probably added an inch) and sewing the neckband on with a smaller seam allowance (probably only 1/4"-3/8" inch rather than 5/8").  Also, check out my sweet twin needle hem below.  I adore how professional it looks!

PS: After seeing this t-shirt, Tim was overcome with jealousy.  A peanut butter and jealousy sandwich craving that can only be sated with a Thread Theory Strathcona t-shirt.

PPS: This might be the first time I have completed a sew-along garment during the time allotted for the sew-along.  Winning! 

Pretty Polly

I've had By Hand London's Polly tank top pattern printed out and ready to roll since they first posted it (it's free!!), and am regretting not getting it sewn up earlier!  How has my to-sew list gotten so long?!

I think this might be my new go-to tank pattern.  While I clearly love the Tiny Pocket Tank, having made approximately 8,000 of them, I think the fit on Polly might be a little better for me.  And no darts!  Woo!  Plus, I like the options for fabric mixing, color blocking, etc.

Deets on my Polly sewing experience:

- The pattern seems to have a lot of ease to it: I actually went down a size from my measurements based on the finished garment measurements and was happy I did.

- I had to sew the front panel in a couple times to get it to lay flat with no puckers.  A good pressing helped immensely on that front, though.  Now that I'm looking at the photos, though, I can see the outline of the seam on the inset piece (on top of the boobs). Maybe if I make the inset in a print and the straps in the solid next time that would hide any lumps and bumps.

- I used store bought bias tape to save fabric and also because lazy.

- I used some solid cotton shirting that I bought at the Jim Thompson factory outlet and mixed it with some pretty floral cotton from Belleboo.