Friday, January 28, 2011

New Fabric and Wardrobe status

I succumbed to yet another fabric sale. Good Lord. What am I going to do with all this fabric??? Anyhoo, had a good sale on ITY knits. I purchased 4 of the knits and also 2 charmeuse satins (poly) to use for linings. They goofed on one of the ITY's and instead sent a (really ugly) gold woven linen like fabric but just got off the phone with them and they are sending the correct fabric right out. All fabrics appear to still be in stock so if you're interested, click on the photo to be taken to The four knits:

The knits are all a nice weight and the colors are vibrant. I've had mixed results with knits from in the past so I'm very pleased with the quality of these fabrics.

And the two charmeuses (is that a word? lol) that I will use as linings to jazz up plain skirts, dresses or jackets.

My wardrobe progress (see here) is not going as well as I'd hoped. I have the two knit tops done and hope to complete the skirt and bolero this weekend. I will prepare full reviews later but the quick version is I LOVE the Jalie top (what a clever construction method!) and am not terribly fond of the other purple top. The armhole openings are quite deep, so much so that I don't think I'll be comfortable wearing without something (like the bolero ) on top. The front was very floppy and I had to take it in quite a bit. Probably should have attempted a SBA on this but I fudged it to work. I will probably wear it on my trip and pitch it when I return.

The reason I am behind is I found out a baby shower for a close family member is WAY earlier than I expected so I am frantically pulling together some baby projects to try to have at least some done in time for the shower (in two weeks!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My First Wardrobe Capsule

Year after year I watch the "SWAP" contests and the mini-wardrobe contests and all the blogs in which people develop wardrobes and I think to myself how fun it would be to create one. But I've always been intimidated and have never taken the time to attempt even a mini capsule. Instead, I make random items depending on my mood. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but with all the trips I take, it would be helpful to have a coordinated grouping so I wouldn't have to stand in front of my closet picking and choosing items that go together.

Well, last night, I took the plunge and developed a capsule for an upcoming trip to Saipan (people usually ask so see here for more about Saipan). Saipan has a tropical climate and the people dress very casually. As a consultant, I still need to look professional but not overdressed. Men can simply throw on a golf shirt or short sleeve button down and a pair of khakis and voila, they're ready. More difficult for women.

I started by looking in my fabric stash for items that go together and came across a print fabric from which I made the following dress:

I can actually wear the dress (with a jacket/wrap) on this trip so that became my starting point! I am only going to be with the client for 4 days so I really only needed 3 outfits other than the dress, plus I intended to include a RTW pair of khaki capris as one of my bottoms. But I couldn't narrow my pattern/fabric choices down so I've expanded the plan to include the following 9 pieces:
  • 3 skirts
  • 4 tops
  • 1 bolero style knit wrap
  • 1 jacket
I strategically planned the sewing order so I will have at least 3 outfits in case I don't get done (which is almost certain since the trip is in 4 weeks and I have several other business trips in between that will take away from my sewing time.) I frequently have trips to warm climates so even if they don't all get done in time for Saipan, I will get plenty of use out of them. Not all items go together like a true SWAP (i.e. the leopard charmeuse top and the purple turquoise paisley skirt!) but each item does go with at least two things. I think...

Each item in the order I plan to sew:

1. Scarf tie knit top in purple lycra; Jalie 2921, View A with short sleeves (I forgot to photograph the purple lycra for this one.)

2. Pencil skirt in lightweight brown stretch twill; Vogue 8603, View C

3. Bolero wrap in brown lycra; New Look 6559, View A

4. Ascot knit top in brown / cream leopard charmeuse; McCalls 5977, View C

5. Straight skirt with pleated overlay in purple, turquoise, cream stretch sateen; New Look 6918, View E

6. Gathered side top in purple slubby knit; Simplicity 2977, View B

7. Jacket with bell sleeves in brown stretch twill, facings in leopard charmeuse; Simplicity 2977, View E

8. Ruffled-neck top in turquoise knit; Butterick 5493, View D

9. Skirt with inverted triangle pleat in brown embroidered linen; New Look 6969, View D

Broccoli Cheese Soup with noodles

All this snow falling has me thinking of soup. I posted a new recipe on my cooking blog for Broccoli Cheese Soup. I was a member of Kindervelt a long time ago and our chapter used to make this soup for the big KinderMart every year along with corn muffins. I've lost touch with the group so I don't know if the group is still active or if they still make the soup but the soup has become a family favorite!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

New Years Resolution # 1 - Done

1. Change the skanky ironing board cover shown here:

Voila! I have been dealing with this nastiness for over a year because I thought I would make one like all the other crafty ladies in blogland. But other projects were way more interesting so I continued to deal with my yucky ironing board, constantly crossing my fingers that the gunk wouldn't rub off on my sewing projects.

When I saw these lovely Raymond Waites ironing board covers at TJ Maxx for $10 ($10!!!), I nabbed a black and white paisley. Took it home and my mother decided she wanted it. Went back and bought this cute red/pink paisley one for me.

New Patterns from McCalls and a few others...

1/13/2010: Edited to reflect shipping time. I ordered on 1/9/2010 and the patterns arrived today. Unfortunately, one pattern was back ordered but a note on the invoice indicated it would be back in stock in 5-7 days. I am pleased with the speed of the shipping!

One of my favorite things about blogland is when new patterns are released and bloggers point out their favs. I often overlook patterns that others find and am always happy to get new suggestions. I just placed my first order with because they have new McCalls for $2.99 and I don't want to wait for JoAnns or Hancocks to put them on sale (only to drive to the store and find out they are not in stock yet. But I digress...)

Anyhoo, I purchased the following McCalls patterns and also a KwikSew and 2 Burdas. Several of the suggestions were from fellow bloggers: Sharon, Ann and LaToya.

I also had my eye on these 2 jackets from McCalls but I didn't purchase them. Yet.

Weekend Sweatshirt

I have loved this pattern for so long. In fact, I bought the Yarn Girls book (The Yarn Girls guide to Beyond the Basics) just for this pattern. The book includes other great patterns and I highly recommend it. I started this sweater in 2009 and it was a start and stop kind of project - my normal M.O.! I finished the knitting before Christmas but it took a while to sew it together and weave in all the loose ends. I love this sweater and the only thing I would do different is increase the length next time. The yarn is Knit Picks Main Line (discontinued). I also have this yarn in a cream color and I'm considering making a second version although there are so many other designs out there that I hesitate to repeat.

Forgive the photo. I was too impatient to wait for natural light. The color is much more vibrant than it appears.

Here is my full review at Ravelry.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Knitting FOs

I finished a few knit projects right before Christmas. First is a stocking knit for the Man. I intended to make a pair - one for each of us. Mine was going to be the same pattern with a cranberry red accent color but this pattern was a B***H!!! No errors or anything just very difficult for me to follow. I made quite a few mistakes.

I still intend to knit the second one so we will have two by next Christmas. The pattern is from a book called Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit that I checked out of my local library. The design is named Hugs and Kisses Aran (Designer - Dee Lockwood) because of the x's and o's pattern on the front and back. The middle cable pattern is called the spindle lattice (I think). It's hanging a little funny because I didn't get the I-cord loop done so it's just stuck on the stocking hooks. The yarn is Cascade 220.

Next up was a quick cowl to keep my neck warm. It matches my pink coat! The pattern is called Captain Crunch and the yarn is an old one from my stash called di Ve by Teseo.

Finally, another little neck warmer from a pattern called Tudora. The yarn is a self-striping yarn I purchased from someone at a fiber fair in 2009. I love the colors and the yarn was a joy to work with.

V8422 - wrap top

Note: Picture was lightened intentionally to show detail.

This pattern received rave reviews at Pattern Review for its ease in construction. Many people touted the speed at which the top went together. Well, mostly due to user error, mine took longer than I expected and as you might notice, I constructed it backwards. I seem to have a block when it comes to asymmetrical designs and frequently use the one-way pieces incorrectly. I try to pay extra attention when laying out the pattern pieces but I still make mistakes frequently. It didn't matter in this case (at least I don't think it did!) but I wish I would quit doing that!

The fabric I used was an interesting knit described as a sweater knit. It was very stretchy and looks like boucle but without the bulk. I'm fairly certain it's 100% poly but it feels ok. It's a very dark navy although I lightened it for the photo so the detail was visible. To be honest, I really don't like navy and I'm not sure why I bought this fabric (ok, it was on sale; that's why!) and after looking at the final result, I still don't like navy on me. I don't intend to wear it with jeans - that was just for the photo. Instead, I wore it with tan slacks.

The opening for the tie is quite large (I flashed a little skin at the waist - not a good thing!) so I will sew it more closed before I wear it again. The wrap stays adequately closed and isn't too low cut. The construction of the top was quite interesting - a little different but worked very well.

All in all, I like the top but I don't think I'll make it again. I don't care for View B or C. The actual versions on Pattern Review indicate the top closes even higher at the neck than the picture drawings show.

Vogue 8422, View A but with long sleeves.
Navy stretchy "sweater" knit from Fabric Mart **
The closure is a metal ring - one of two that came in a package by Dritz.

** I have placed several orders with Fabric Mart recently and can't say enough about their customer service. They are very fast (I usually receive my fabric within a business week) and they communicate during the entire process.

Vogue 8634 - Knit Tunic

I finished this at the beginning of December and wore it a bunch during the holidays. The glittery threads made it seem very festive. I love the fit and it is very comfortable to wear. It went together in a flash and I intend to make more of this pattern.

Vogue 8634 , View C
Sweater Knit from Fabric Mart - glittery gold with black stripe