Monday, January 28, 2013

Stashbusting - The Beginning

Oh look, it's me again, even though I wrote my last post two day ago, not two weeks. How did that happen?!? Oh right. I actually have a bit of a backlog of unblogged finished objects right now. I spend most of my time at home currently, and while I do spend about 4-5h a day studying (part of it sitting in bed and sipping coffee, yes!), there is actually time left for other things, like sewing. Awesome!

So, as I said, my two goals for the year are stash busting and finishing my rather large pile of UFOs (oh, and refashions), so for now, I'm switching between finishing up a UFO/unfinished refashion and making something new.

And here is the first pair:

FFO (finally finished object) No. 1: Checkered Skirt
This used to be my second-ever dress, which I was both proud of and not. Proud, because I actually used French seams to finish it! Not, because I fudged sewing the shoulder seams and cut them off to fix them, which made the dress a good inch shorter than actually decent, and also made it pretty ill-fitting in the bodice. So I cut off the bodice to make it into a skirt last winter, and cut some more of the bodice into a facing. I even cut a lining from the rest of the facing fabric (black polka dots on cream!) and seam-ripped the zipper from the bodice to reuse it. And then - I stopped. It was just lacking interfacing and some stitching, can you believe that? Anyway, it's finished now. :)
Before and after. I know which one I prefer...

So, on to SBO (stash busting object) No. 1: Coral Lola
I've had Victory Patterns' Lola for ages, specifically to pair it with this fabric. I've even had it printed out for several months. I've finally made it up because I was missing a (nominally) seasonally appropriate knit dress. My other jersey dresses are pretty thin, and even though they layer reasonably well, it was time for this sweater jersey to become a Lola.
The Facts:
Fabric: just over 1m of coral sweater knit
Pattern: Victory Patterns' Lola, Size 8
Notions: none, actually.
Time to Complete: two episodes of EUREKA to cut out and tape, an unspecified amount of time for cutting and sewing, but it fit into an afternoon
First Worn: right after finishing, first worn in public to my short story circle
Thoughts: I cut a size 8 even though I'm more along the line of a 10-12, but I cut according to finished measurements, because I like my knits rather close-fitting. This was an inspired choice because of my very limited amount of fabric - just over one meter - and even with creative cutting, I just managed to squeeze out the pieces, although I had to make both the hem and sleeve bands a bit skinnier and couldn't cut the hem band on fold. In retrospect, I kinda like the close fit, although I think I'd also like the slightly more relaxed look of my real size. Need to try that out sometime. One thing though: using the sweater knit instead of ribbing and using the smaller size made the sleeve bands feel kinda restricting. I did't have enough fabric to re-cut them, and after a little wear they feel alright, but I'd definitely cut them a little bigger next time!
I really love the princess seams and the fact that there's no side seams - very flattering! I'm also in love with the pockets.
It's extremely comfy, but also kinda pretty, not too slouchy. I like that. I also like the 3/4 sleeves, although longer ones would be warmer for winter, but they kinda keep the look balanced. If I should make one for summer use (and I plan to, even though I don't have any appropriate fabric, yet - Oh, maybe it could be striped!)... one thing I'd change is the neckline. I'm not a huge fan of crew necks on myself, and while it looks alright on this dress, the next one will definitely feature a boat neck! Any maybe short sleeves. And stripes! I'm kinda set on the stripes now (and can you just imagine matching them over princess seams, raglan sleeves and pockets...? Sounds like a challenge. Anyone know a good source of wide navy and white striped sweater knit?).
So, in conclusion? It gets loads of wear, I love the cheerful colour, and I've gotten compliments from both my boyfriend and a couple of guys from my short story circle. They digged the pockets. Success!
(The neckline decoration is some yoyo-flowers I made ages ago for a similarly coloured longsleeve, btw.)

That just leaves two more unblogged FFOs and a handful of scrapbusting on my sewing table. What's on yours?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dinosaurs and other pledges

You've probably heard about Cation's stash busting project, right? I mean, it features a dinosaur! Um, Sewasaurus rex, if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway, stash busting and realizing all those little sewing-dreams that accompany fabric buying (and getting rid of the pieces that just don't inspire me any more), is one of my really big goals this year, so I decided to tackle the challenge and sew along:

I, Alessa of Farbenfreude, commit to using as many pieces of stash fabric as I manage in 2013, making at least three in four makes from fabrics already in my stash. I also commit to only buy one new length of fabric for every three finished stash-busting projects until my birthday in July.

There's some monthly mini-challenges, too, which I might enter (I've already cut out three little somethings for January's Scrap Busting), but mostly it's sewing from stash, and for the first few weeks I'm also trying to alternate finishing a UFO with starting (and finishing) a new project. More about that soon (as I actually now have two finished UFOs and one stashbust to blog about).

This is what I definitely want to use: six fabrics for dresses, three of them jersey, eight jersey tops (and there might be a few blouses, too), two skirts (one in red, one in green corduroy). This mostly includes my rest-of-winter and spring sewing, there will be some more come summer.

I've also decided to take the Seamless Pledge.

Wow, that was easier than I thought.

Actually, I've been thinking about it for a while, but I was reluctant to be so formal about it, and what if I saw the perfect garment and couldn't buy it without breaking the pledge? But honestly, I think I bought my last garments (a cheap H&M jersey dress, a polka-dot cardi and a pair of wooly knee socks) almost exactly a year ago, because they were on sale, and while I've been window shopping more or less regularly in between, I haven't seen a garment that has seriously tempted me to buy it since then. Not one. (Except for tights, which I regularly buy, especially if they have cute patterns.) So, why not, right? For now, I will commit until the end of my studies, since I'm not quite sure if my wardrobe is up to life as a doctor. Probably yes (most probably, I'll be wearing scrubs), but I'll reserve judgment for now and maybe extend to the full year after that.

I, Alessa, am taking the #seamlesspledge until at least finishing my studies this summer, but possibly for a full year, until Jan. 25, 2014. http://bit.ly/tktV04

The rules

  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
  4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your knitting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!

  So, do you have any great plans for the year?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Christmas Leftovers

There are another couple of things leftover from last year that I haven't blogged about: Christmas presents. What with working and commuting by bike instead of public transport, I only managed to get done a tiny fraction of what I would have liked, so virtually everyone got some homemade spice sirup (to be added to hot milk for a Chai Latte, or to red wine for a hot spiced wine, or to apple juice for punch) or cake-in-a-glass.

I wanted to make something for my two little half siblings, though, and my grandma, who doesn't have a sweet tooth.
This one was made for my half-year-old sister. It's based on the Critter Hat on Ravelry and made of baby merino wool. Aren't the little ears quite cute?
The Owl Hat I made for my three-and-a-half year old brother. It's also made from merino wool - my favorite! I love non-scratchy wool. :) My sister crocheted the eyes and beak (cause she's better with a hook). Isn't it adorable? Both hats were mostly knitted on my way home two days before Christmas. Good thing we took about 9h drive, which meant I could almost finish the both of them.

The pair of socks for my grandma got only started on Christmas Eve, to my eternal shame - and I haven't even finished the first one yet. My grandma is pretty understanding, and knows that I have a lot of stuff on my mind, but I hope to finish the pair of them before visiting next time - at the end of the month.
The pattern is Spring Pools Socks, a very pretty toe-up lace sock pattern (and free!). Even though it's not incredibly complicated, I still haven't memorized the pattern, though, and have to look up every row. Which makes for non-mindless knitting, not easily done while chatting or watching TV... The yarn is a merino sock yarn, which I love because it is soft, warm *and* durable! :D

I've been meaning to try the 30 minutes a day regime to finish the socks, but haven't knitted a stitch since the new year, yet. Bad Alessa.

Do you have anything on your knitting needles right now?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas Dress

This year already feels very productive. I'm keeping to my revision schedule, while still managing to have a social life, my blog reader has been un-clogged and I've already started to tackle both my UFO pile and stash! Two finished items and it's only the third week of the year! First I'd like to tell you about my Christmas dress, though. I originally wanted to make a pleated skirt with suspenders for Christmas, out of some lovely teal cotton sateen, but lacking a pattern and the time to draft one, I went with the Parfait in red corduroy.
The Facts:
Fabric: about 1.5m or red corduroy (about 10€/m) and a similar amount of dark blue rayon lining (about 3€/m), from Holland Fabric Market.
Pattern: Colette Parfait, Size 10
Notions: a 40cm red invisible zipper and three pairs of miscellaneous red buttons from my stash
Time to Complete: about five sittings of 2-4h - I never quite keep track
First Worn: Christmas Eve
Thoughts: With my bust size being an 8, hips a 10 and my waist being a size 12, I traced a size 10 and hoped for the best. It fits nicely in the waist and hips, but even taking it in about 1 cm on both side seams (after making a bodice muslin! go me!), it's still a bit big in the bust. I'll have to go down a size in my next version, I think. Apart from that, I'm well pleased with the look and fit, although the bodice gathering would probably look nicer in a less bulky fabric. I fully lined the dress for a little extra warmth, and so it doesn't stick to my tights. The contrast between the blue and red is very pretty, I think.
I used three different sets of buttons for the dress, just for fun. I was a bit afraid of making the button holes, since I had only ever done them once, and with a different machine. It worked out fine, though. Just following the instructions in the manual, they were done in a thrice. Seems my fear was misplaced. :D
I actually only finished the pockets today, so no pictures of those yet, as it has been to dark to take decent ones. Can you believe the sun has only peeked out twice since the beginning of the new year? Berlin is such a cloud magnet in winter... I originally wanted to take some outdoor pics with the dress, but after an incredibly mild Christmas and New Year's (like, double-digits!), it has started snowing and freezing again, so even on the one lovely, clear day I just couldn't face taking off my coat - or even opening it! Luckily, living on the 4th floor our living room and home office catch some nice afternoon light if it's clear, so I managed some pics in natural lighting after all.

There is some fabric left, which I hope will be enough for a little skirt one of these days. And the green corduroy, which was originally marked for a duplicate Parfait? I think it's going to be a Rooibos instead. I definitely want to make another Parfait (yay for duplicates and triplicates!), probably even another winter-weight one, but I think a nice wool or flannel might work better with the gathers.

Soo, two finished projects coming up, and I need to think about which UFO to tackle next. I'm thinking I might alternate finishing a UFO and starting something new from my stash, for the forseeable future. I also need to take a hard look at my stash and think about which pieces I want to use and which ones just don't excite me anymore. Would anyone maybe be up for a little fabric swap?