Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Olympus sashiko No. 12: colorful daisies

Symmetry galore!!

See how no stitches pass through the center of the daisy?  Negative space at the intersection?
up close and personal
While in progress, before pressing

red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with hot orange border!
After pressing with the Elna Press

After stitching the Olympus Dragonfly kit, I started searching for more sashiko to stitch.

Purl Soho had a blog post from 2009 of this pillow and I had to have it!!  But they did not have the design in  stock.   Finally I found this seller on etsy (TaDaa) that came with the colors but with two changes.

I  substituted Olympus sashiko thread hot orange #22 for the light pink that came with the kit as I felt it was more striking that way.  

I also stitched it the way it is shown on the Purl website and not the TaDaa way.

So how do you stitch it the Purl way?  Use the 6 fold symmetry of the daisy as a starting point, see below for step-by-step pictures. (There is a LOT of symmetry going on with this pattern for you symmetry lovers).

I ordered the kit on Dec 29 and it was delivered on Dec 31.  Perfect!  I started stitching that night and a week later I finished it.

The start:  it's a preprinted pattern.
red, yellow
Red and yellow (like a "flat helix", for lack of a better description.  Alpha helices are 3D (right or left handed) but because of the negative space in the center of each flower (2D helix), you don't know which strand is crossing over the other so...it's without a hand...thus I'm calling it a "flat helix".)
red, yellow, turquoise
Red, yellow, turquoise (so you're stitching the turquoise on the diagonal)
best red, yellow, turquoise, purple
red, yellow, turquoise, purple  (the purple and turquoise "flat helix" are on the diagonal--can  you see it?)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green.  (so the green is half the helix on the diagonal that slopes upward from left to right)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, orange
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange (the hot orange completes the third flat helix)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with hot orange border!
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with border!!
Done and Elna Pressed!!

Relaxing, meditative, no fitting involved, sense of accomplishment!!

One of my friends said it's pretty but what do you do with it?

Olympus recommends a tea towel or pillow.  I'll probably make it into a pillow.  For now it's draped over a pillow, in a place where I can see it every day.  It makes me happy to see it.   But it's not just about making the sashiko into something else, it's also about the joy of stitching it.   The stitches are not perfect and that's something for me to work on but hey I just started and I want to enjoy it!

I also really enjoy that there's no fitting involved.

Did I mention, no fitting?

No fitting.

Be well!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sewaholic Renfrew in chunky sweater knit

Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit

Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
I love the giant collar!!

I made the Sewaholic Renfrew 3x before, in thin sweater knit here and here,  and a fabric that I refer to as Muppets here, but this was my first time sewing the Renfrew in a chunky acrylic sweater knit.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
I purchased this fabric at Haberman's in Royal Oak, MI, before the ASE in Sept 2014.  Fabric.com has what appears to be the same fabric right now if you search on "sweater knit".
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit

This is how I make sure I don't use a cut out piece as a "scrap" during my sewing process--I pin the pieces to my dress form also so they don't get lost
 I swore I had bought enough to make a sweater dress but it wasn't enough.  I had to get creative to cut out the collar (which is two pieces of fabric).  I should note that I don't actually cut anything on the floor anymore, this was just to get the  layout.  I rough cut the fabric and then cut the piece out on my cutting table with my rotary cutter and cutting mat. I cut it out at the end of 2014 and sewed it up but it was too big at first....

All the deets on how Sunny Gal helped me fit the Renfrew in early 2013 are here.  After making all those adjustments to make the sleeve fit and to make it larger in the bust for fabric with 25-50% stretch (Muppets:  25%; Stone Mtn knit:  50%), it meant it turned out to be quite large in the bust with this fabric which is almost 75% stretch, and I couldn't fill out the extra space without some socks, ha ha.

I had learned that point in the PR "More Knits" class while doing the homework for a half-scale t-shirt (if you sew the exact same size pattern in a less stretchy knit and a more stretchy knit, the less stretchy knit will be smaller and the more stretchy kit will be much much larger) but this was my first practical application and it totally made sense.  I wound up not including the extra length for bust, and sewed with 1" seam allowance in the arms and side seams, and then taking it in a bit more from the bust to the armpit.

Dressform pix (after fitting)
Sewaholic Renfrew
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit

I understitched the collar so that the undercollar doesn't peek out.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit

I blind stitched the hems.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
Blind hem is blind

After sewing this and with all this cold weather I want to make the Renfrew like 5 more times in various chunky sweater knits, but I have no more chunky sweater knits in stash, just thin ones.  I'm contemplating taking one of my thin sweater knits in stash and just lenghtening the Renfrew into a dress, or frankenpatterning the Renfrew top onto the V1351 skirt.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
It like to baste each seam by machine first, fit, serge, repeat.

Out of the scraps, I made this hat (McCalls 4664) which looks sort of ridiculous when worn together with the sweater.  It is not the right fabric to wear as a hat in super cold weather, but I have made this hat before from fleece and wear the fleece one all the time.
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
In my post about my new serger, someone asked about Differential Feed, or DF, and what it does.    I always run a test through my serger before serging the real deal to make sure everything's ok.  DF can correct issues with knit fabric being stretched or compressed.

Sewaholic Renfrew
Here this shows that with DF set to N, the fabric is stretched and convexes outward.
But with DF set to 2, the fabric is straight across.
Also note that this sample was 3" wide to start, so the finished serged seam should also be 3" afterward.  Sometimes serging stretches the fabric but not in such a crazy convex shape so it is not as obvious that it is stretched out, but if you measured it before serging, you know if it stretched (or shrank) or not.
You should test stitching horizontally and vertically, as you might need to change the DF for one direction and not the other, or slightly different settings for both.  You may even need yet a different DF setting if you are stitching on the diagonal (like an A-line skirt).

After all that winter white, here's some random color for your January!  It's green dianthus purchased at Whole Foods.  I take two bunches and arrange them like they're one giant pom-pom, then rubber band them together.  People love to touch them!  Very soft.

Be well!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Simplicity 9776 gym tank DONE + a new blog for you to follow!

Simplicity 9776 gym tank
This was actually the last garment of 2014.  When I wrote my 2014 recap, I had this down for "half a garment" but I've since decided that it is DONE.

The Fabric, Pattern and FOE Binding Method

The pattern is Simplicity 9776 (it's like 1776, but 8,000 years later), an oldie but goodie pattern that I've used for making gym tanks before....three of them in fact.

Simplicity 9776 gym tank

The outer layer is a burgundy stretch lace-type fabric that I bought at the FIDM scholarship store in Nov of 2013 with Rachel and Jeanette.

The stretch lace is underlined with black Nike Dri-Fit fabric that I recently bought on SewSassy.com.
I basted the lace to the dri-fit and then basted the tank together, tried it on and then serged it with my BabyLock Enlighten.  Seriously, if you can get someone to buy that machine for you (or save your $$$) it is an amazing machine.  My old serger enjoyed chewing up lace tanks for lunch, whereas the Enlighten serges through it like butter.
Simplicity 9776

Simplicity 9776
I did not hem the tank, just positioned it so that this wide stripe would be the "hem", and cut it with my rotary cutter.  I also didn't hem the dri-fit.  Neither the lace tank nor the Dri-Fit is curling nor unraveling, score!
Simplicity 9776

The method for applying the FOE (purchased on Etsy as a 10 yard roll) was from the PR class "More Knits" by Sarah Veblen.  You can see that the fabric is just puckering slightly lying here on my cutting table because the FOE is stretched during application.  If you don't stretch the FOE, the binding will not lie flat against your body.  Sarah emphasized this point during the class, but as Jennifer Stern would say, "ask me how I know".

My other gym tanks had plain ol' knit fabric as underlining, which means that by the end of class, they are drenched with sweat.  This typically doesn't bother me as I take a shower right there at the gym, and my limp and sweaty tank is proof of my workout, ha ha.  So using the Dri-Fit fabric was a little experiment.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Back.  I matched the stripes in the back
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Side seams
This tank has a dart in it, so I matched the stripes under the dart.  I honestly don't remember whose blog I read where they said to make sure to match the stripes UNDER the dart while cutting out the fabric instead of OVER the dart (because if you match OVER the dart, they will not match UNDER the dart which is where everyone can see because who is looking under your armpit) but that  tip stuck with me.  Thank you, blogger I can't remember!
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
So the reason I felt it was not "done" was because the placement of the FOE is not symmetrical. I thought about ripping it out and trying again but I'm afraid to do damage to the lace.  The risk of total damage and destruction outweighs my perfectionism and I'm letting it go.  I know.  This is a big step for me.

Simplicity 9776 gym tank
So I've worn it twice to the gym now.  On New Year's Day (when I took these pix) I took balletone, which is a somewhat-sweaty but not overly-sweaty class.   The dri-fit fabric was great and wicked away the moisture.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank

I washed the tank yesterday (wash in the washing machine and line dried).

Tonight I wore the tank for boogietone, which is a high-sweat class.  The bra I wore the tank with is not an exercise bra so the bra itself retains moisture whereas the top releases it.  I would say that overall the tank was not as sweat filled as my cotton tanks and probably wouldn't be sweaty at all if I had worn a moisture wicking bra too.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
The next tank I will make using a similar wicking fabric, but will be cut from a freebie conference t-shirt that happens to be "performance fabric".
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
You can see how my bra strap does not align with my tank strap on my left shoulder, but it does align on my right side.  I'm also going to try to let my perfectionist side let that one go too.....

You can see the sneak peek of the next garment I made....that's the Sewaholic Renfrew on my dressform.  At that point it was gigantic in the bust (because that fabric was waaay stretchier than others I have used for Renfrews) and not hemmed.  I have since made it fit!

New Blog Alert!!
In other news, if you are looking for a new style blog to follow, my friend Ellen has started a really fun one with her daughter Rachael, Style 25 to 55.  The concept is to take a fabric/look/style and show how to rock the same concept at ages 25 and 55 in a really fun, clean, concise and snappy way.  Check it out here!  They will be posting on Mondays and Fridays.

Be well!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Instead of a Christmas tree, this was my ode to the holidays.

This is the first week that I've had the week between Christmas and New Year's off since 1998 and it is AMAZING.   Utter joy, I tell you.  I have taken other weeks off and not traveled, but there is something about staying home this week that is totally decadent.  Less commitments and no routine.

Happy New Year everyone!!!  Or almost-New-Year, depending on where you are located and when you read this.  It's still New Year's Eve for me as I write this.

I won't forget 2014.  It was a huge surprise when my mother suddenly passed away on April 5. One of the many lessons I learned from her death is this:  Is there something you want to tell someone, something you've never told them or haven't told them enough?  Don't assume that they know.  Tell them now.  Mom was always big on reiterating that point with me and those around her, but I had saved up items to tell her between Christmas (the last time I saw her) and Easter, but she didn't make it to Easter.

Another big event was that the huge software project I'm on at work went live on July 1 and is still stabilizing.  I'm still learning more about the software every single work day.

If you're a long time reader, you know that in Jan of 2009 my chronic back pain started, along with a variety of other health issues.  I'm happy to say that 2014 was my most pain-free year since before my chronic pain started.  Something hurts in some way every day, but it's not as intense, long lasting or as terrifying as it was in 2009.  I have many days now without any back pain at all and it is AMAZING.  Totally, utterly grateful.

Enough of all of that; let's get to my personal performance evaluation on my sewing!

Items Sewn/Stitched
Oliver + S Valentine Hearts

So that's 21 garments total, plus 1 bag, 1 pillow, 10 hearts and 6 sashiko items and the CTGBS dress.  The 2 items labelled "and a half" means I started them but have not finished them...they will be finished up in 2015.


One of my favorite "action shots" ever!  Thank you Anna Christina for taking this class with me, and taking the picture!
  • PR weekend, Austin in April (5th year in a row)
  • MPB Day, NYC in August (3rd year in a row)
  • NYC with ATP in September
  • American Sewing Expo, Michigan, in Sept (5th year in a row)
  • PR Day, NYC in November (2nd year in a row) where we toured the McCalls Pattern Company
  • Not really a meetup per-see, but I also participated in the "Around the World Blog Hop" in Sept.
New sewing tools
  • The Ikea Groland kitchen island for my Elna Press  (that press is a miracle worker and deserves its own post about how amazing it is)
  • My BabyLock Enlighten serger --with it I was able to do my first ever rolled hem on a serger.  I was serging on it again just last night and it is pure JOY to have the right tool for the job, seriously.
  • Not a tool per-see but I did redesign my blog in May so now it looks like 1995 instead of 1965 
  • I never blogged it but I am using the Nancy Zeiman sewing gauge and it is pretty nifty. It's better than the regular standard issue sewing gauge because the plastic gauge part is much longer so it makes marking hems faster for me.

Hits/Favorite Items
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
I think my very most favorite thing sewn this year is my Maria Denmark Lotta Lady bag.  It is absolutely perfect for work.  I just love it 

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag

This is my favorite skirt--New Look 6843 with the darts pleated out for knits and elastic waistband sewn on that looks like a belt--I wear it at least once a week and sometimes twice a week.


I love this red Vogue 8571 dress but I don't know how to style it for winter.  

Vogue 8571

I also love this Vogue 1351 dress--I solved the "poly stretch lining clings to my tights" issue by wearing a nylon slip; problem solved.

And I love the McCalls 6559 polka dot dress too

McCall's 6559 done

And I love the "Can This Garment Be Saved" Simplicity 1609 dress--I've been wearing it pretty much once a week since I "saved" it.

Simplicity 1609
And I adore the Muppetlicious Sewaholic Renfrew.    Cute story:  On Christmas Day the neighbor who sews came over.  I told her I made the shirt I was wearing.  After, Dad said he didn't realize I had made that shirt; "it looks like something you bought in a store".  Bingo!

My third Sewaholic Renfrew:  fuzzy!
The underwear makes me pretty happy too.  I showed it to my friend who said "this really should be a bikini bottom because it deserves to be seen!" 

I am also loving stitching sashiko and want to continue with it in 2015
Olympus sashiko #240 dragonflies

Misses/Least Worn

New Look 6843 view C
This skirt; I feel like somehow the shape is not right and it's too big.  I should have made my usual A-line skirt from it but I thought the fabric was more suitable for a pencil-skirt shape.  Now I don't have any more of this fabric and I bought it years ago.   Maybe someone has it in their stash and would be willing to sell the fabric to me?

Simplicity 1314
This Simplicity dress; I spent a lot of time and effort on it but I should NOT have quilted the bottom panel.  It feels a bit like armor wearing the dress, and guess what?  All that time I spent getting that front wrinkles out of the front bottom half of the dress?  After wearing it, the wrinkles have popped up!  I wonder if they are there because the panel is much heavier than the rest of the dress?  

StyleArc cardi;  This really isn't my style.  Since I have hips, I don't need any extra fabric at my hips.  I might chop it off.  Hmm....

StyleArc Laura cardi

Looking back at last year's recap, I completed ~half of my goals.

My goals for 2015 are to sew up the denim jacket and get real about fit. Fit is still my nemesis, and by "get real"  I mean, pick a system for helping me fit my clothes, stick to it and see if it works for me.  It's not a coincidence that many of the items I made this year were remakes where I already had perfected the fit because I did not feel like dealing with fit on new garments.   I think I am going to use Joi Mahon's method this year with new patterns I sew up and see what happens.    I need to relax a bit and not get so emotional about fit.

I also want to watch more of my online class stash, but now that I am stitching sashiko, I can watch classes and stitch at the same time.

Overall evaluation
I am getting better at matching fabric to pattern and also knowing what styles look best for me.  

I still get sucked into the fitting drama of every wrinkle.  I think I need to "let go" a little more.  (Hmmmm...does that conflict with my fitting goal?)  

I still think that I should be able to sew up a shirt or dress "in a few hours" and am surprised when it takes me 20 or more.  It takes however long it takes.

I still compare myself to other bloggers who sew garment after perfect garment in the time it takes me to make just one (or none!); I have to keep reminding myself it's not a race.

One of the consultants on my work project said she understood why I was such a perfectionist on the project, because I am a perfectionist when it comes to my clothing.    Hmmm.....

My wish to you:
A happy, healthy pain-free year filled with successful stitches.
Thank you for reading and for all of your comments!!!

Be well!