Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stuck on pants

I've been debating on posting this for a while. I thought that it might just go away and I'd feel weird letting it out there, but it hasn't and I don't know when it will, so I'm posting.

My father recently passed away after an 18 month battle with pancreatic cancer. 

I have gained quite a bit of weight this past year so I no longer fit into any of my vintage clothes. Beyond that I am just not interested in wearing skirts and dresses right now. I don't know why. I know that skirts with wool tights are much warmer than pants, but I am just not feeling skirts.

This left me with a single pair of jeans which were not in good shape, so I did it. I'm not proud of that moment, but I caved and bought a pair of jeans from Walmart. They fit really well and I like the look of them. Though, I feel ashamed because I want to purchase ethically made clothing whenever I do buy clothes. The only problem is that I need to try on clothes before I know what size to get. So any suggestions on a physical store that sells ethically made jeans at reasonable prices. I prefer American made if possible.

I am thinking of making a pair of vintage pants and seeing if I would feel comfortable wearing them. I have two patterns to consider 

Does anyone have any experience with either of these patterns? I have never seen pants before. What about fabrics? I love wool but have never sewn with it and do not know which types are good for winter pants. I know I want something fairly heavy weight.

I have been training for two pancreatic cancer events, a 5k and a triathlon. I do not have much free time for exercise, so I have been doing this during lunch. Which means showering and wet hair at lunch. Hair is the main part of my vintage look and I do not generally have time to even dry it before heading back to work after doing two sport workouts. So does anyone have any wet hairstyles they can recommend. I have been sticking with the ponytail sadly.

Also any vintage inspired workout gear would be great. I made a Pinterest board for workout clothes, but haven't found anything really practical

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wardrobe Needs Break Down

I thought that since I am not getting too much down in the sewing department, that I need to maximize my efforts by looking at the things that get worn the most. That way I would be wearing clothes I was happy with more often.

Being the OCD curious person I am, that lead to some mathematics. Did that word scare you off? Don't worry I am not going to share how I calculated the values (too much), but I am going to show you a pretty graph.

Okay, so I currently do not work out that much, but that is what I would hope to start working out soon. Not too extreme, just 1 hour/ 3 days a week. It would be more than I work out now (at times none - though in January I work out probably 7 hours a week lol). I can always go back and change it if circumstances change.

So, The three categories that stand out are work, sleeping and lounging at home (not necessarily just lounging though, cooking dinner, doing homework with kids, sewing, etc. is all lumped in that).
I have been working on my work wardrobe the most because I supposed that is where all my time was spent, I was surprised that I actually spent nearly as much lounging at home. Also, I had pretty much ignored my sleeping clothes (not to mention the under garments that are required in almost all categories). 

Finding this out,  I started a new board on Pinterest for loungewear. I have been pinning things that I think would be comfortable and practical for me to wear on the couch watching tv (with my legs up - no skirts) with hubby as well as playing board games and doing homework with the kids. Most of them are suppose to be PJs, but I am planning on going a different direction with that.
Here are some of my loungewear inspirations:

I wish I could just buy the Abrey PJ set from Maddy James (as well as the rest of her line), but it just isn't in the cards for me right now :(
same with the Rita siren suit from Betty Blues 

So the plan is for a top to use the free Vera Venus pattern that I have been wanting to do for so long. Luckily it is already in my size.

I will also need a matching pant. Here are two free options that I found:
Free tutorial

This free pattern would need to be lengthened, but I like the wideness of them
I am not sure about what fabric to make it up in though (Vera Venus pattern states Best with soft woven fabrics with a nice hang on the bias: ie. silky synthetics, silks, rayons and very soft cottons.) 

I love the look of those silky satiny fabrics (like the first pic), but I am not sure I am for all of that slippery fabric both sewing wise and wearing wise. I have one set of pjs made in satin and I never wear them because I always feel like they are falling off either my shoulder or otherwise (and they are most of the time). What fabric would you suggest to look and feel nice, but also machine washable (a must!)?

For night wear I would like to go with night gowns and perhaps some french knickers (not sure of a top to go with them).

For a start I am thinking of this free Vera Venus slip pattern as a night gown. 

As for the work clothes, I am going to still work on those a lot, but that will be another post.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Staycation dress

This past week, I've been on a staycation. You know a vacation where you don't go anywhere. I know some people do it all up and visit places around the city they haven't been too. We went to a couple of events at the library and into the woods, but for the most part, we just stayed home. Which was fine. Great even. I got the chance to play with the kids which I usually do not get to do because I am at work all day.

But why am I telling you all this? Because not only did I get extra time around the house to clean, I also was able to sew! Unbelievable right? I spent approximately an hour a day while the kids were having quiet time in their beds (formally nap time, we let them read in their beds to give the youngest time to be able to nap and not feel pressured by the older kids).  

For this project I chose to do a shirtwaist dress with my simplicity 1880 pattern. 
I decided that I was going to get this right. I was very deliberate and careful. Did this mean I didn't make any mistakes? Absolutely not. It just meant that I made fewer and when I did, I carefully unpicked them and redid it.

For fabric I used a quilting cotton which I thought looked kind of like a feedsack print. I picked it up at Walmart for $2/yard on clearance. I know that I need to be getting American made fabrics, but as a beginner sewist, it is so hard to justify the cost. 

I did sew in interfacing this time because of the issues I have had with iron on in the past. It did really well, but I think it was really a bit too heavy ( they only had one type of sew in at Walmart). The fabric turned out heavier than I expected. This will be a good fall dress when paired with a cardigan.

This project cost less than $15 for fabric, interfacing, zipper, & lace hem tape. I already had the pattern, buttons, thread, and freezer paper (which I used to trace the pattern).

I used a fashionable stitch's sew-a-long to help me along the way. 

Changes I made to the pattern:
- I added an inch to the waist (1/4 inch on each side seam of the bodice and 1/8 inch on each seam of the skirt panels)

- I sewed up the pleats, which I believe makes them tucks, right?

- I did the collar as instructed by a fashionable stitch and it looks so much better than my first attempt.

- I also followed the sew-a-longs directions for sewing the sleeves in flat, which was much easier than the method in the directions! I decided to make them look nice, I would do French seams. They look great on the inside, but I do think the gathering looked better inside out before I finished the seam.

Things I learned:
Well, it would wear you out. Because this is only my 5th real sewing project, the whole thing was a real learning experience! 

Where I am at now...
And you thought I actually finished it didn't you?

While I did machine stitch the hem so that I could wear it to church this morning, I stitched it with a basting length stitch so that I could easily rip it out and do it properly. I plan on actually doing that this time.

A fashionable stitch doesn't carry these kits unfortunately

I am considering doing a matching belt. The pattern comes with a sash style belt. Which do you think would look nicer or do you like it belt-less?

Also, I had wanted to put on rounded shirted patch pockets. However, when I mentioned it to my husband, he said that it would dress it down (too much to wear it to church). My mother in law went on to say it would look like a house dress. Not that there is anything wrong with house dresses I love them, but I am not at the point of making them because I don't have that much to wear outside of the house yet.
Pocket inspiration photo
I am trying to determine if I want to add the pockets and only wear it to the store or possibly to work if I wear a company logo cardigan over it. The only problem is that I do not have much to wear to church which is almost the only place I go outside of my home, work, and the store.
I don't know, what do you think?

Oh and I almost forgot. A few things that I am proud of..
My button holes. My sewing machine does not have a special buttonhole stitch or anything, but it did have directions in the manual on how to use the zigzag stitch to create buttonholes and I think they look pretty dag on good :)

My invisible zipper. While it is not 100% it is so much better than my last attempt. I think it looks great.
I still had an issue with seam finish with the zipper. Was I suppose to finish the seam before the zipper was put in?
At least I only cut the zipper tape with the pinking sheers because that isn't visible. Apparently I didn't take out my basting stitch on the side of the zipper. 

And I changed up my sewing area. I was inspired by this photo on pinterest
I have a few vintage suitcases and thought I could easily do this. What I didn't consider is that all of my suitcases are not square. They are thinner on the handle side than the base side so when you stack them they lean. I turned one around backwards to help some, but I could not stack the last round one under the top and have it be able to be open. So it is set to the side. It is the one housing all my patterns. I have each of the other cases filled with my fabric stash, yarn stash, sewing whatnots, etc.

I have the kids sewing stuff pushed up against mine, so that looks a little messy. I am okay with that though because it is still accessible to them and doesn't look too bad. The knitting basket in front has the stuff that I am currently working on so that it is easy to reach when I do have a few minutes to spare. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Uninspired for summer

I have been a bit uninspired lately.

I like warm weather and love sundresses

I also love playsuits and beachwear! 

The girl with a star-spangled heart is doing a playsuit sew-a-long and I got a pattern and bought fabric. Then before I even cut the fabric, I remembered that I do not get the chance to wear playsuits very often. Occasionally on Saturdays I leave the house and go out. But I spend a lot of time in the summer in the woods with my family and though playsuits are cute, I worry about getting them too dirty.

Dresses are great for church on Sundays and I do plan on making some really soon, I have fabric and patterns picked out for that.

The problem is five days of the week I am at work. At work I have to wear a company shirt and am not allowed to wear shorts.

I do pretty good in the cooler months because I love to layer with cardigans, stockings/tights, over the knee socks, scarves, & accessories. In the summer it is just way too hot to layer.

So that leaves me with only the option os skirts and capris. Not only that, but the company logo shirts come in really bold colors that I really do not know what to do with besides black/dark grey which I am really bored with.

 I am just struggling trying to figure out what to make in order to go with my company shirts.

So this is where you come in.... Can you help?

Here are some that I struggle with: (the colors are much brighter than the pictures show)

These ones are not as bright, but I still haven't worked out what they will go with:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter wrap up and planning for spring

Still alive. Things have been kind of odd as of late. I have been trying to prioritize things in my life and make lasting changes. I have not however figured out how to fit everything in. I am not talking about being one of those supermoms who make their children's bento lunches every morning in cute shapes and love notes with fresh veggies from the garden, keeping the house immaculate, going to all school and church events, making the children's clothes (before they grow out of them - I did make one of my daughter's a dress during this last hiatus), etc. I am not that delusional, but I would like to figure out how to fit in working out and having a little me time (to sew/knit/read/blog) and a little more cleaning time into my schedule without turning to sleep deprivation.  But enough of why it has been so long (since this is an ongoing problem with me, I will try not to post any more about it unless a miracle happens and I get a solution of sorts).

So, my fall/winter sewing plan did not go that well. I did however buy a couple of things so that I am able to make it through fall and winter and be able to wear vintage the whole time. 

Fall and winter have always been my vintage wardrobe's strong suit because I love layering and skirts are perfect for cold weather because you can have wool leggings with over the knee socks and not look bulky, if you put long johns under your pants, you will be warm, but will be either bulky or feel constricted. 

There are a few problems with my fall/winter wardrobe (which may warrant a post of it's own when/if it eventually warms up and I prepare to pack them away and bring out my spring/summer clothes).

1 - I do not have many warm dresses that fit (and by that I mean none). 
2 - A vast majority of my skirts are grey. I did buy one dark wine colored wool skirt (that is now my favorite), but I was in a hurry washing and ruined another skirt (last year's favorite) on accident because the wine color bled really bad! 
3 - I need more sweaters. I have two nice heavy cardigans that I love and two sweaters. That is not enough for outside of work wear (that is plenty for working because I have to wear company logo shirts)
4 - All of my heavy tights (or all of my tights period) are either black or grey (but I do have several textures/patterns) which is good because they match everything, but might want to add a little color.

So I will need to deal with that before next late fall/winter. I traced and cut out the pattern for the Colette Peony dress, but that is as far as it made it sadly. I am not sure that I will get around to making that before spring or not, because since I have been wearing my warmest winter clothes so much this winter, many of them are in need of repairs. Nothing too huge, 1 zipper, 1 ripped lining, 2 needing dyed, and several buttons need sewn back on.  So I am planning on working on those before they get packed away so I do not have to worry about that to start next fall (and so that I can wear them until spring decides to show up). 

All I have planned for the rest of winter is to repair those items and look forward to spring. 

I am planning a lot and know that I will not get around to making it all, but it is something for me to think about and have a direction for my wardrobe to go and I think that is important. 

I have decided is that I should stick to patterns I own and free patterns, that way I will not feel bad about buying patterns and not getting around to using them. I also want to use my fabric stash to start with. I have some decent stuff in there, not really high quality, but I do not think I am really ready for high quality anyway, I will get there.

So here is the plan so far....

1. Skirt. I may not fit into many of the skirts I had from last year, so this is probably going to be top priority. I am thinking at least one fitted skirt and a couple of flowy ones. Plus I put away my circle skirt without re-hemming so I have that to look forward too LOL. 
I have a couple of fabrics in my stash that are only a yard long, if I can test and make sure I can do a pencil skirt in 1 yard, I will have to decide between these fabrics...

Maybe I will use the pattern from Gertie's book.

I don't think I have any fabric in my stash for a circle skirt or even a aline though. I have tons of aline skirt patterns, but I will make sure to make one with a waist band. I hate where they decided to get rid of them in the 60s, I have several 60s skirts that I do not feel comfortable in because the lack of a waistband. I don't know what it is but a waistband makes me feel more secure and makes me feel that my figure looks better.

2. Blouses. I do not have many blouses to wear outside of work that I can think of. I did buy one, that I am excited to try out 

But I will need some more. The afternoon tea top from last year was out of terrible fabric and it did not make it sadly. Here are some of my choices for blouse patterns.
As you see I am big on sleeveless. It just is so much more comfortable for me, plus no sewing the sleeves hehe. I would like to do a white eyelet like Claire did here, but only making it button down instead of pull over. That would match everything! 

As far as my stash goes. I have this, that might make a nice top
3. Pants. I would love to have at least one pair of pants/capris that were flattering. These are adorable.  I have quite a few pants patterns, but this one looks promising. 

4. Dresses - The shirt waist dress I made is my favorite summer thing. It is light weight and very versatile because I can  wear it by itself, with a cardigan, or with a circle skirt over it. 

However, that is the only dress I wear in summer. I would love a collection of summer dresses, but I think that two more are necessary

I am thinking of using the blue and white searsucker that I have in my stash and Casey's tutorial where she made this beauty..

 The second, if I get around to it (after the other things) would use a sheet set that I have in my fabric stash and I might treat myself to this pattern unless I find something in my pattern hoard that I have forgotten about (Planning on organizing that soon too, many another post).

So, that is what I would love to do. I hope to get at least a few things done and show them to you. Wish me luck :)

* All photos came from my Pinterest, if you want the original links