Friday, July 11, 2014

Kitschy Coo Camino Cap Duo!

we're looking fierce today

Hey, Psst. You. YES YOU. Do you know what this is? If you guessed the latest pattern from Kitschy Coo then you would be correct! This latest addition to her pattern collection is purrrrfect! I was so happy I got to test from ground zero on this one. Its such a cute and sassy design wrapped up together.

The Camino Cap is a downloadable PDF (-->GET IT HERE<--) that can be made up as both a shirt and a dress. There's the contrast yoke or one piece, and it comes down and covers the shoulders very nicely. This is especially good for those of us in a work place that has two settings: beer cooler or meat locker. In any case, I made an almost maxi length for me, and I confess, did it to completely rip off Katie's wonderful version. I lengthened at the "lengthen here" line and at the bottom. But since I made Felicity one as well, I didn't have enough to reach all the way to the floor. Normally I would wear high heals but soft ground, nope.

Mama Cat and her Kitten

Yes, you read that correctly. Mother/daughter outfits. She was gracious enough to wear hers with me for photos. I'm in size eight, she's in size 1. I had to shorten the bodice for Felicity by about 2 inches, the waist is a bit low and its large at the high bust but that's ok, room to grow!

Spot the belt. GET IT? Hahahaha, I kill me.

This is the husband's favorite, cause I'm smiling.

Check it out, I didn't even need to do a sway back adjustment!

Lawd that girl, she's getting her red belt this Saturday, btw, WATCH OUT BOYS!

I love the little dip in the back, makes for a lovely show of the nap of the neck. Kitschy Coo has THE BEST necklines.

Its like looking in the mirror sometimes.

This is me basking in the glory that is this dress, and/or contemplating how many more I want to make. OH, I have even told you the BEST THING about all the Kitschy Coo patterns. They are made from the same block so most of the pieces are interchangeable. I've had several hacks stewing about and tested, and I want to make some tutorials. Maybe when the kids are visiting relatives with their Grandmother later this month.

That's all for now!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Are You Ready for Some OONAPALOOZA!?

Twitter and myself have struck again. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and caretaker of our Sewcialist blog footed the question "What should our next color theme be?" and when there was some back and forth I tweeted:

What about #OONAPALOOZA?

And everyone, including the Diva Herself said HECK YEAH OONAPALOOZA!!  So this month of July up to August 1rst, Oona is your inspiration. Post your makes in the Sewcialists Flickr Group. Challenge yourself to sew with bright colors and wild prints, make it in something that you've always wanted to try but were afraid of what people might think. And if you find yourself dizzy from the choices, do what Oona does and grab a cocktail and tackle that apprehension with boozy glee.

 If you don't know who Oona is, then you are missing out! Head over to her blog here and lurk her closet here. Here are a few of my favorites.

That's a BHL Victoria Blazer with the most awesome of maxi dresses.

Feather skirt. NEED I SAY MORE?

I've got a few ideas brewing in my head, please tell me yours!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Vacations and Destination Weddings

Remember back in school when the teachers would have you write an essay on what you did during the summer? I kind of feel like I'm about to write one of those now but I'm only a month into the summer school break. Remember that cruise I mentioned? Yup, that was awesome. It was also almost three weeks ago but I didn't get any of the actual wedding photos until today. Its kind of hard to take pictures of yourself when your job is moral support for the bride. Not that she needed much, its the happiest I've seen her in two decades.

It was a lovely wedding and a lovely vacation. The wedding was during our first stop in the Grand Turks, it was just family and best friends there, most of us were actually in the wedding. We'd had no rehearsal or anything like that, and seeing as it started at 10am we'd all managed to forget to eat. Which made cocktails at 11am extra fun. The food was amazing. It was sushi and other hors d'oeurves, and an entire section of gluten free, including cake. I had two pieces of cake because I NEVER get cake anymore.

I'll be honest, when I saw the photos I freaked out. I was like "I am not that wide!!", and then proceeded to have a melt down over my weight.   Then hubby pointed out they used a wide angle lens. Ug. Oh, and Dreama is the same height as Felicity when she's not wearing 5 inch heals. So I'm like a giant compared to all the other women. Or a Viking. Let's go with Viking.

*warning, picture heavy post ahead*

Me, Dreama, Dreama's beau, Dreama's Niece Cas, Felicity, Phaedra, Aurora.

The Soon to be Mr. And Mrs.  Of note, the necklace and earrings are my Mother's. She loved Dreama very much and so Dreama wearing her jewels meant she was there in spirit.

This adorable little girl. She and her cousin were very serious about their flower girl duties. Later she also decided my arms are the best thing ever. She'd crawl up in my lap all during the cruise and hug them and go "squish squish squish!" and then blow raspberries and giggle over and over.  Its kind of hard to hate a part of your body that gives three year old girls that much joy.

Obligatory photo, I'm trying not to cry. 

Let's not forget about Simon. I couldn't make him a suit so I had him pick one out from the Easter day ZuLilly sale. I was like "really" and he said "really".  I had to hem the darn thing up like 10 inches (its a size 12 for boys!!) and he was just the coolest mac daddy around.

So after the wedding we still had six days ahead of us!  Its honestly the best vacation I've ever been on because I didn't have to do one lick of cooking or cleaning. The next day was St. Thomas and when we all woke up and headed out to the Lido deck the entire thing was covered in towel animals. It was AWESOME! Except the part where Simon almost got eaten by a fuzzy alligator.

Baby elephants love to sun in lounge chairs.  I don't have any photos of our first trip onto the shore, I just didn't feel like lugging around my dslr.

Simon and Felicity swimming in the Lido deck pool.

Our next stop after a day at sea was Tortola, where we got to swim with dolphins!  It was also Felicity's birthday, and since Dreama and family were going on a deep wreck dive their niece wasn't old enough to go (that entire family is scuba certified).  So after talking to Cass' grandparents she came along with us. Again, no DSLR and the photos they took during the swimming with dolphins were not great AND 35 dollars FOR EACH PHOTO. OMG, I'm still mad about that racket. I got one cell phone photo of the three, with dolphin photo bomb.


Cas was gracious enough to take a photo o the four of us together. I'm wearing a hummingbird skirt here that I have yet to blog about. I'm a bad blogger, sorry. 

The next day was St. Maarten, we docked on the Dutch side. At the last minute we decided to book an excursion out on a catamaran to do some snorkeling and swimming. We were warned the French beaches are clothing optional. We were unconcerned and figured that warning was why it wasn't a full booking. Felicity was the only one that even noticed one person. 

As it was both of them were much too busy swimming from shore to boat so they could jump in as often as possible. We anchored in 16 foot deep water and it was almost like glass, you could see the bottom so clearly. Hawaii wasn't even this clear.

Seriously, have you ever seen water so clear?

After the first snorkeling trip I decided to stay on the boat. The snorkel was tons of fun but as I was swimming back to the boat my legs gave out on my and I felt myself starting to panic. Since I'm more aware of most of what impending panic attacks feel like I started calling for Daecon. He was keeping up with the kids and reminded me I could inflate the flotation device, I did, but kept saying in as normal a voice as possible that I need help to get to the ladder. One of the crewmen swam to me and grabbed me by the arm and somehow LIFTED me onto the ladder saying in a Jamaican accent "Its OK baby girl". Daecon had my towel and a xanax in hand, told me the kids were OK and didn't complain that i had to SEE them before I calmed down.

The same lovely crew member gave Felicity some shells he found. Nice ones too!

Daecon and Simon enjoying some wind.

This was the view from the swimming cove. The amount of sun made it challenging to get not over exposed photos. Problem was that the moment it was cloudy I had to change the settings again. I can't lighten some of my others without out graininess. Its OK though, I did come up with a few good snapshots.

And hopefully soon I'll be posting more. I just haven't wanted to take the time to write lately and didn't want to post anything out of obligation. It never really seems fun. I hope you have something planned for the summer, Northern Hemisphere readers!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Toys and Past Lessons Remembered

I bought a new sewing machine!  Or rather, I financed a new sewing machine. I'm excited either way because I looked at my numbers before taking the plunge. This ain't my first rodeo going down this road, you see.

Let me back up a second though and give you some photos. I finally decided to go with this one after pondering it for some time because of Caroline's one year review. Its a Janome 8900 that I bought from Ashby Sewing during their annual Sewing Expo sale. If you live in the Atlanta area I HIGHLY recommend them, especially for getting your machines serviced. The guy that does the work is recognized nationally for his expertise.

At this time I don't have a special table that the machine sets into, this is one that husband and brother in law built for me. Its very sturdy, just like this machine. Full speed and everything in the sun room vibrates, but you can barely hear it, which means I can sew when my husband works from home. SCORE! I decided to not install the knee lever because I'm more likely to injure myself on it than find it useful. For whatever reason my hips are always larger than I think they are, come to think of it so are my bewbs. I run both into door frames ALL THE TIME.

Stop laughing.

So as you can see this thing is huge. Lots of stitches, lots of carriage space, and I even got the extra spool holder for my larger thread spools.

One of my more favorite features, slots for the most used feet! The tension is automatic but has an override button and there's a walking foot in the storage container at the bottom (not pictured) along with bobbin storage and even more feet. When I was checking out they asked if I needed more bobbins.

"How many are in a package" I asked.
"Ten" she said.
"I'll need two then" I said
"What in the world are you sewing!!" she exclaimed.

Apparently quilters don't switch bobbins out that often. I know I need a black, red, and blue wound at all times, and really several other colors. Or two of one color if I'm working on something with lots of stitching. I don't know about you but I hate stopping to wind a bobbin, so lots of bobbins it is! Oh, and it takes standard needles so I didn't have to rush out to buy more. In any case, I love this machine to bits.

But lets go back to about this not being my first rodeo when it comes to financing. We bought our house back in 2002 before the prices skyrocketed but the regulations for financing had begun to loosen up. This was also before the bottom dropped out of the tech industry when outsourcing became the norm. I had done a lot of research and when we chose the house we chose one that we could pay on one salary, despite it being a tiny house. This turned out to be a decision that saved our asses. Even so, what happened to many in 2008 happened to us in 2004. One or both of us were out of a job at any given time for several years.  During that time I was staring down the long road of possible foreclosure and lots and lots of credit debt. We did the credit consolidation, we liquidated all our retirement funds (what little there was), we had to turn to friends and family. This was a time of hardship for us but we made it through. A decade later we both have steady jobs (queue superstitious knocking on wood) and our credit has been repaired. We have, on several occasions, used the X number of months no interest financing. These are great deals, and how I financed my new sewing machine. THE TRICK, however, is to be absolutely certain you are never late on your payment, because then they charge you an obscene amount of interest. And the laws being what they are, they will then share that information with all the other credit companies and they will jack your interest based on that one card. And if you overpay it goes toward principle, not the next month's payment.

Its a racket.  Its a racket I would not gamble with unless very certain I could do the monthly payment on time. When I financed this through Ashby they made sure to tell me this all up front before I sign the documents, which I thought was amazing. Most places don't, but I already knew because, well.. been there, done that.

I know that was long winded and maybe a bit off topic but I believe in sharing knowledge, be it how to do an FBA or how to keep from getting scheistered by credit companies. Got any nuggets of wisdom to share?

Monday, March 31, 2014

10,000 Hours

Another pair of Simplicity pants and a modded Lady Skater t-shirt.

I've had this thought in my head for some time now, the idea of becoming a master at something by spending thousands of hours doing it. Ten thousand hours, give or take a few. It was an amalgam of different thought threads, one was of a conversation I had with a dear friend about how, as we approach our fourth decade of life, things keep getting easier. Like, we really have a handle on it. Things like cooking or driving, writing, reading, running a household, games, and our chosen professions.

And those thoughts led to a phrase I hear all the time. You might have heard it yourself "Gosh, I wish I could sew like you do, I'm just no good at it". And I always want to tell these people that I didn't start off being good at it, I worked my way toward it. In fact, I'm still learning more as I go. Lately, however, I've found myself coasting just a bit by making more knit clothing than anything else. Granted I've hacked and slashed any number of patterns without much anxiety because hey, knits are very forgiving. But then I found myself putting off things I NEED because I didn't want to challenge myself anymore. So, I pushed myself by taking my serger in for badly needed repairs and facing the wedding sewing head on (which is not a complaint about sewing for a wedding).

I had forgotten how much I liked the challenge.It also made me realize just how much I have learned about fitting a garment to myself in the last year. The non-euclidean topography that is our bodies is making more sense to me. I think I even have started wrapping my brain around fitting trousers. And here's the funny thing, its not all from doing, a lot of it is from actively working the problems in my head. I suspect I am not the only one that uses idle brain capacity for solving the complex geometry problems that making a garment can create. In fact, I think it is a trait found in most creative people that gets applied to computer programming, science, math, engineering, and domesticity.

Which leads me back to the hours I've spent in my head thinking of creating. For a while now it feels like there was some sort of block between ideas and action upon those ideas. I want these things to materialize out of thin air but it doesn't work that way. Finding a way to make myself visit challenges head on and start DOING again has felt like a huge hurdle. I'd like to say that kids, husband, job are keeping me from doing it, but really its my own anxiety of feeling like I'm shirking everything else.

Which is totally crap because when I create I feel better. That's the whole reason my tagline is "Sewing to Stay Sane". I really should learn to take my own advise. I'm halfway to 10k, I just gotta keep going, learn to take the time for myself.

Because if Mama ain't happy, Ain't nobody happy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trifecta Two and a TNT

I did not make just one Trifecta, I made two! In fact, if my main serger didn't need to go to the sewing machine doctor I'd probably have cranked out another  two or more. And a whole slew of Simplicity 2369 variations. But for this post we're going to focus on view D, the pants. But first the top.

Is this how I smile? 

Contrast lace sleeves! In fact this is almost an exact copy of one I made for Felicity and failed to blog about it. I did put it up on Instagram sometime last summer though. The stretch lace I got in 2011 at the Sewing Expo. The black fabric is a medium weight bamboo knit from Its 5% lycra so has great recovery and doesn't grow like most bamboo knits which is awesome.  They have several basic colors that are re-orderable. I want all of them because they are so soft and snugly. I could just throw them all on the bed and make a fort.

I think I might be scowling at the neighbor's screaming kids.

Uh, I'm not sure how this one got so washed out but hey, at least you can see my butt clearly. And now would be a good time to mention the pants. I love them! I can actually pair them with a nice knit top and wear them to work, like this set, and be comfortable. Like I said, I want to make many more of these along with the view C tops from the Simplicity pattern. I could wear them and feel put together at work even during The Monthly Visit (its really the worst four days of the month).  In fact, a few more fancy stretch laces and such and I could get away with the Trifecta as well.

Almost bitchy resting face.

Did I mention that these pants go perfect with Kitschy Coo tops? They totally do. The blouse didn't require anything special other than elastic along the arm seams. I also put clear elastic in the crotch and inseams of the knit pants to help them keep their shape.

My husband posed this one.

Ya know, I'm not getting any kick backs or anything for telling you how much I love Kitschy Coo patterns. They really are just that awesome.

p.s. I just got my Espresso leggings and Riff shrug in the mail and its killing me not to start on them RIGHT NOW. I have to make some frosting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

KitchyCoo Trifecta Top!

Have you seen the latest Kitchy Coo pattern yet? If not, there's a whole lot to love here! This is a raglan sleeve knit shirt that has lots of customization as shown above. The top I'm showing you here was my first test, straight out of the package. Its a bit tight in my shoulders but I think that's me going off old measurements*.

This is a poly ITY knit from Fabric Mart. I also made a pair of slacks out of this, I'll show you that one later. My favorite thing about this pattern is that I didn't have to do a large arm adjustment. WOOT!!

I could probably do with a sway back adjustment. However, I usually just make the hips wider. This does not always turn out as planned.

I put the neck binding on in the round, as well as the sleeve bindings. I just turned under and cover stitched the hem.  That's about it, really. The whole thing took me about an hour after I was done fiddling with the fabric to cut this out of leftover scraps. So, not counting my time this shirt was basically... .50 cents worth of material.

So you really need to run and get this pattern RIGHT NOW. Its easy to put the pdf together, not very many pages at all and there are endless variations. Ok, not endless, its actually 27. TWENTY SEVEN VARIATIONS FOR A SINGLE KNIT TOP!! Holy crap. So if you take the $7.20 UK (11.98US) and divide it by 27 that's .27uk (.44us) per variation.

So what I'm really trying to say is "BUY THIS PATTERN".  Ok, that's all for now. Love all y'all crazy folk.

*new medications and new diet have had me swinging widely on the scale. I'm currently at the heaviest I've ever been outside of pregnancy. I'm NOT happy with it largely for health and pain reasons.