Sunday, February 24, 2013


They're not both for me.  I'm selfish, but really, I can only use so many shawls.

They're not identical twins, they're fraternal.  And isn't it weird to use the word fraternal, even when the twins involved are sisters, not brothers?  I digress.  The point is, these two shawls share a lot of DNA.  They're made by the same person (me), from the same pattern (the Elise shawl), and around the same time (February -OMG, I made them and blogged them in the same month!).

They were also made for sisters.  Specifically, for me and my sister.  Unsurprisingly, being my publicly acknowledged muse didn't really satisfy my sister.  And being a younger sister, she was not at all shy about frequently letting me know just how unhappy she was.  If you have a younger sister, and she's the baby of the family, you know what I mean.  And if you are a younger sister, you also know what I mean.  We older sisters know that you do it deliberately.

Her birthday is in the month of February, so I crocheted her a shawl as a birthday gift.  This pattern is awesome.  It works up quickly, it's free, you can make it with pretty much any kind of yarn, its free, and you can easily customize it by changing the edging, adjusting the size, adjusting the hook size, etc. etc.  And did I mention that its free?
If this chair were cold, it could throw on a shoulder shawl....
Her shawl was a lot of fun to make. I think that's why its easier for me to be generous with crocheted items, versus sewn items.  Crochet is like therapy for me, it calms me down; I enjoy the process.  And because I made a shawl, I didn't have to worry about how it would fit; my only concern was would she like it.  
A crab stitch edging seemed suitable.
No, I'm not saying that my sister is crabby.
As much as I enjoyed making it, I had no desire to keep it, because all of the decisions were made with her in mind - what color to use, what edging, and most importantly, what size.  Honestly, I don't enjoy wearing shoulder shawls.  They're a little fussy and they constantly demand attention, as they move with every move you make.  For my sister, however, it was perfect.  

or tie on a neck scarf.

So that the party with this pattern could continue, I crocheted a neck scarf for me.  Smaller yarn, smaller hook, and smaller size.

Beaded edging.  I love beads.  Did I mention that before?
Now her birthday has passed, and we're both happy.  Hmm, if we went out together, both wearing our shawls, I wonder if we'd pass for twins.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Doctor Who?

My sister loves the Doctor Who television series.  She even signed up for Netflix just so she could watch it.

Last fall, she asked me to make her a Doctor Who scarf.  Because I don't watch Doctor Who, I had to google the term to find out what she was talking about.  If you've watched Doctor Who or if you've googled the term yourself, you will know that this scarf is not a Doctor Who scarf.  A Doctor Who scarf would take forever to knit.  And, as I am always reminding my sister, I don't knit; I crochet.  (And yes, I say it in the most obnoxious tone possible.)

Fast forward a few weeks, and I decided to make a scarf for me.  (Do I have to explain that I'm a selfish seamstress?)  I had a remnant of silk chiffon that I had bought because it was cheap and pretty.  I also had some green thread from a skirt I had previously made, and I had a serger that I was willing to experiment with.  All together, I had all the ingredients for a fabulous scarf.

Most of the work in this scarf was in setting up the serger for a rolled hem.  
If you've worked with silk chiffon, you know how difficult a fabric it is.  Part of its appeal is that it is light and airy, but that light airiness makes it slippery, and difficult to cut and sew.  So I decided to make it easy on myself, and make as few cuts and joins as possible.  I cut the remnant in half lengthwise.  The cut wasn't straight, but its a scarf.  Who would know if I didn't tell?  Then I french seamed one end to the other to make the piece extra long.  After all, if Doctor Who can wear a ridiculously long scarf, then I can too.

I have worn this scarf nearly everyday since I made it.  I love it.  Even though it is light and airy, its actually quite warm.  It makes a great indoor scarf, and, when its really cold, I layer it with other scarves and wear it outside.

Thanks, Sis, for the inspiration.  You didn't get me to watch Doctor Who with you, nor did you get a scarf out of this deal.  But everyone who reads my blog now knows that you're my muse.  That's thanks enough, isn't it?

And thank you blog readers, for reading this far.  Til next time,


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Dresses

I wish I could say:  "It was the best of fit, it was the worst of fit."  Fortunately for you, dear readers, all the drama queen energy in my family seems to have gone straight from my Mom to my sister, so my writing style is not nearly as melodramatic as that of Charles Dickens.

But this is a story about fit.  The first dress, the brown dress, was completed in January.  I didn't bother with a muslin, because sometimes it takes me months to make a wearable garment if I muslin first.  So it wasn't until after I made it that I realized that the bust darts pointed to where my girls used to be, like 10 years ago.  And the buttons not only don't quite match up to the buttonholes, but they are a bit strained as well.  Fortunately, the more than fabulous Alexander Henry print quilting cotton and the pockets hide, or at least distract the eye from, the most egregious sins.  And oh yeah, if I showed you a close-up, you'd see that the collar is upside down.  You'll have to go to Pattern Review to see that.

Fast forward a few months and, after visits with measuring tape wielding bra specialists at more than one store (yes, I insisted on a second opinion) I'm no longer able to delude myself that the B cup provided by Simplicity 2246 will fit me.  But I liked the first dress, and I wear it, even with the off fit.  So I decided to revisit the pattern, to revisit the quilting cotton (Dear Stella, this time), to revisit the neutral colors - grey, this time - and to do something new: try to make an FBA.  I also bought a buttonhole marker, so that I could place the buttons better for my larger and lower girls.

Thank goodness for coffin back.  Not much to see or do here.

The second dress is better.  The fit is better and the construction is better.   I even put the collar on right side up.  And I petited the sleeve so that I could roll it up.  But the fit could still be better.  I probably have too many books on fit now, because all the knowledge in them helps me to see the problems opportunities for improvement.  For example, there are a lot of wrinkles around the armholes.  Next time I make a top, I'll try shortening the sleeve opening a  bit.

For now, there is an easy solution for all my fitting woes with these dresses.  Cover ups.  As in jackets and sweaters.

Mwahahahaha.  These dresses have escaped the guillotine.  The pattern, however?  Its not so lucky.  Its appointment still stands.

And by guillotine, I mean scissors.  I'll alter the pattern and try it again.  Its a shirtdress after all, and shirtdresses, like Dickens, are classic.

OK, maybe I did get some of the drama queen energy from my Mom.  Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Zero Skirt

Or the first skirt, depending on where you start counting.  My apartment, for example, is on the third floor, but I have to walk up 3 flights of steps to get to it, which means I start at zero.

But I digress.  Already.

Back in 2010, I decided to start sewing.  My mom, of course, helped.  Cuz she's like that.  She gave me her old sewing machine - the one that had been sitting in the basement for 15 years.  (Yes, Mom, it was 15!)  She took me to a couple of fabric stores and helped me pick out fabrics and patterns, and then marveled at my decision to make my first sewn object without using a pattern.

With the help of a few books, some muslin, and perhaps a few undisclosed, pharmaceutical mood enhancers, I drafted an a-line wrap skirt with fringed edges, and used snap tape for the closure.

Why 2 sets of snap tape?  Cuz I did, at one point, take the skirt in to help it fit better.

That skirt was made from linen - I love linen! - and the next one was made from denim.  With the denim skirt, I was much more courageous and actually attempted a zipper insertion.  Button holes, however, still scared me, so I used a hook and eye and sewed on a button for decoration.

I picked a bright red zipper and installed it center style, so that it became a DESIGN FEATURE! 

Hems are still my nemesis.  If you're looking closely, please ogle the beaded fringe and ignore the stitches.

Fortunately, both skirts were successful.  So successful, in fact, that I have continued to sew and have decided to brag blog about my sewing, on a hopefully regular basis.  

What's my criteria for success?  I still wear both skirts.  The linen one is shown with RTW tops, while the denim one is shown with a me made top.  A peasant blouse that I might blog about in my next post.  Which will be the first one.  Cuz that's how I count.

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