Selfish Sewing Week

Technically last week was Selfish Sewing Week but I had a midterm, class, reading to do, all those school shananigans and then we were away over the weekend. I did manage to get some sewing done but since this week is spring break for me (meaning I’m just working full time instead of working and going to school) I’m calling this Selfish Sewing Week. Not that I really need one. I spent some time last week writing a list of all the garments I’ve made, it’s on my Makes page if you’re interested in perusing, and realized that 13 of the 18 garments I made last year were for me. I’m not pointing that out because it’s a bad thing, simply to say that I’m pretty sure every week is Selfish Sewing Week for me.

Last week I made a Sutton Blouse, did some work on the Natalie Top I started ages ago, and worked on some pattern alterations for my Ginger Jeans.

I’m really on the fence about the Sutton Blouse. I thought the seersucker would be so nice and airy, a perfect late spring/summer shirt but the seersucker is just not draping the way I wanted or expected it to. That, combined with the pattern being intentionally boxy, and the voile that I used for the contrast yoke draping so much more than the seersucker, means it’s just looking a little off. It’s finished now, just needs threads clipped and a final press. I’ve been forcing myself to finish it because otherwise it’ll just sit in my sewing cabinet making me feel guilty every time I start a new project. Hopefully once it’s totally done, and I’ve tried it on with a more summery bottom I’ll like it more.

Unfortunately the Natalie Top I’ve been working on is also not feeling totally awesome right now. I started it quite a while ago, not totally sure when but it was definitely in 2015. I was a bit skeptical about the pattern, not feeling totally sure that the front placket/pleat dealio was really for me. But because it came in the Indiesew Fall Collection I felt I should try it at some point. At some point in January I was surfing through the blogs I follow and I came across Teresa’s Natalie Top and realized how much I loved her version and that I had the exact same fabric. I’d seen her version last fall when the collection came out but when I saw it again and realized I could make it without needing to buy anything I was pumped. This seems to be a bit of a trend for me. I’m checking out sewing blogs over coffee on Saturday or Sunday morning and decide I have to, absolutely have to, make a version of an awesome make I saw on someone’s blog. It means I am not thoroughly thinking through how much I like the garment for me, whether I would really wear it, or whether the fabric is right. I think if I could break this habit and do a better job of psyching myself up for the projects I’ve already planned I would be infinitely more productive. And probably lacking in UFOs, which would be a miracle.

Anyway, long story short I got the pattern and the fabric cut out and was zipping along. The only modification I made was to lengthen it, perhaps 5 inches, I can’t remember right now, and give it a shirttail hem so that I could wear it as a tunic. This may be where I went wrong. I think I could look good in tunics, and I like the idea of them, but there something I’m just starting to explore fashion-wise so perhaps making one from a shirt pattern I wasn’t 300% sure I liked was poor planning. So I was cranking it out but then I was having a really hard time sewing the plackets/pleats at the front so that they met really evenly. I finally finished what I thought then was an okay job. (Definitely wasn’t upon more recent inspection.) I tried it on after that and was just not excited at all. ¬†After deciding to just finish it up and make a decision on it later, I managed to sew on a sleeve inside out. So I ripped the sleeve out, folded it up and in a slightly more adult way said something like, “oh let’s just forget it,” which was 2 year-old Hannah’s favorite phrase.

Last weekend I was grabbing a few projects that I was hoping to finish up during our trip to Vermont and I grabbed my Natalie top along with my Sutton. I got my sleeves pinned in correctly and sewed those. But the front pleat was still really bugging me. I ripped that out and I’m thinking now that I really just need to hand baste it. When I was pinning it I was either sewing too close too the pleat or too far from it. I’m also bugged by my topstitching right at the top corners of the pleats. I’ve ripped out one of those and I’m going to try that again. At this point I just need to fix the front pleats to my satisfaction and then figure out whether I’m keeping the tunic length or axing it. Then a hem and some buttons and buttonholes on the sleeve button tab. Not too far away but I’m going to have to keep pushing myself to not toss it in the back of the cabinet.

One last quick project update. I’ve been wanting to recover my ironing board for a while now. The padding is basically disintegrating and the cover has water stains all over it. On Monday I was at the store and noticed a nice think pad intended for ironing board covers. I tossed that in the cart along with some cheap but adorable fabric and that night I banged out a cover. Nothing terribly impressive but it’s been on my mind for a long time and it’s nice to have it finished.

That’s my Selfish Sewing Week for now. Hopefully it’ll be a productive week!

Project Plans

The Making Goals page on this site lists several dozen projects I’ve dreamed up in addition to lists of patterns I have and patterns I’d like to have. But there’s no real order to that list. It includes some actual planned projects (projects for which I have the pattern and the materials), some projects that were loosely dreamed up in the hopes of using fabric that I bought without any real plans, and some patterns that I have and really want to use but don’t have the materials to make yet. There’s a fourth category too, and one I’m just starting to explore, garments that I’ve seen, either in person, on TV or the internet, or in catalogues, that I want to recreate. This is new for me because it’s really just in the last few months that I’ve started to think about the garment I want to create and then the pattern I would use in that order as opposed to what can I make with this pattern. This is not to say that I’m about to branch out into making patterns, I’m not ready for that step, but I am thinking more about how to use the patterns that I have to create totally new garments.

This is all a very longwinded way of saying that, in addition to a catch-all list of everything I can imagine wanting to make, I think it will be useful to focus my sewing ambitions on a few particular goals. So here are the next four things I’m planning to work on, along with a rough timetable.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Ginger Jeans–I’ve got black Theory denim from Mood and purple topstitching thread set aside for this project. I’m planning a mashup of views A and B, low-rise with skinny legs.

Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic

Minoru Jacket–I couldn’t believe how much I liked this jacket when I saw Andrea’s version. I’ve ordered hunter green twill and a loud plaid for the lining. I’m planning on making the hooded version, omitting the inside pockets and adding either welt pockets or inseam ones.

Felicity Dress by Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Felicity Dress–As soon as I saw this dress I knew I wanted to make it for a wedding I’ll be attending this summer. I’ve ordered a white and medium purple seersucker and right now am planning to make the circle skirt version without any modifications.

Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio

Archer Button Up–This one I have less distinct plans for. I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of variations on the Archer. My first thought was a half button down, which apparently is called a popover? I guess that explains why I couldn’t find much info on transforming a button down into a half button down when I used the Google to search for tips. But magically today I came across this version from Dixie DIY, which is exactly what I was going for and she has some good links on how to pull it off. Jen at Grainline also has a tutorial on adding a placket to the Tiny Pocket Tank that I might use. My second thought was entirely based on seeing this version of the Archer on Four Square Walls, v-neck without sleeves and with a mandarin collar. Also, check out this version over at Design by Lindsay with the same modifications and elephant seersucker!! I knew I should’ve grabbed some of that fabric when I had the chance. So I have lots of ideas about ways to modify the Archer, but I haven’t ever made one straight from the pattern. I think my first step should be a muslin, possibly a wearable one, and then I can try out some of these ideas.

I’m planning to jump into muslins this week. I’ll make muslins for Minoru and Ginger and probably just a bodice muslin for Felicity. A wearable muslin for Archer will follow as well. Hopefully by the end of next week I can cut into my Ginger denim while I wait for fabric for Felicity and Minoru to arrive. Since I’m planning on a wearable muslin for Archer I’m going to work on the other projects first. Be back with progress photos soon I hope!

-Hannah