Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And now a word from our sponsors...

Hello, hello!  This Saturday our big LA sewing meetup is happening-time has just flown since Erin, Kathy, Laurie and I first started throwing ideas around to make this happen!  I haven't had a lot of sewing related time since having a baby, so to say I'm pretty excited is a serious understatement!

As you know, we'll be meeting for lunch at Cafe Midi at 11:30, having a swap, (don't forget to bring your goodies!) our giveaway, then heading next door to The Fabric Store.

Wondering what we're giving away?  Well, the following companies were generous enough to donate to our little shindig! Sweet!   


Not only do we have patterns to give away, but The Fabric Store has thrown in a $50 gift certificate for one lucky winner AND 10% off for everyone at the meetup!  Awesome!  If you're coming Saturday, and you haven't been to The Fabric Store yet, you are in for a pleasant surprise!!

Just as a note, the parking around Cafe Midi and The Fabric Store is pretty tight street parking, carpool if you can!  Also, considering we have about 40 people in our group (!) I'd also urge you to bring cash for lunch, just to make it a bit easier when paying.

Can't wait to see you there!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LA Blogger Meetup

It's hard to believe it's been 3 MONTHS since I last posted, but here it is staring me in the face.  Wow.  Having a baby has been all consuming.  I haven't sewn anything for myself since December and I still haven't blogged about those items.  Womp womp.

But enough of my current non-existent sewing life, it's not what I'm here to talk about today.  Today is all about an upcoming Los Angeles blogger meetup.  Finally this is happening!  I've been chatting with the likes of Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy, Kathy from The Nerdy Seamstress and Laurie from Sew Exhausted to get a day planned for us to hit up some fabric stores.  This particular day it will be The Fabric Store and Mood Fabrics.

Saturday, June 14th
Cafe Midi
148 South La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA  90036

LA Blogger Meetup

There will be a swap during lunch, so bring your fabric and/or patterns you'd like to swap.  After that The Fabric Store is our next location (next door to Cafe Midi), followed by Mood.

Are you going to join us?  If so, grab the button and don't forget to RSVP to Erin at a week prior as the restaurant is reserving a table for us.

Hope to see lots of new and familiar faces there!

**Of course non-bloggers are welcome, too!  As long as you love fabric and sewing, we'd love to meet you!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

new year and all that

Well hello and Happy New Years!  I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.  We jetted off to Florida for the family thing, much fun was had by all!  I'm pretty late in the game for the usual projects review of 2013 and goal setting of 2014 but it's still January, and well, a little late is how I'm rolling these days :-D

2013 was a huge, life changing year for me.  I was pregnant for most of it, culminating obviously, in a wee babe.  Since then, my world has been topsy turvy, in the best possible way.  I'm enjoying every minute of motherhood I can soak up.   But what that means, is my crafting and sewing, much less blogging, has come to a screeching halt, or at least a very leisurly Sunday drive, ha.

My sewing in 2013 leading up to baby was pretty much anything that would carry me to the end of pregnancy-trying to fit what ended up being a massive belly. Apparently I was HUGE, or at least that's what people love to tell me :-/  Because of this, I don't feel like I have a proper wrap up of 2013 in the sense of skills gained or stylistically.  And I'm ok with that. 

But if you forced me to choose my favorite make from 2013, it would have to be my Peggy Bundy leggings

I just adore these.  The elastic waist needs to be adjusted again, cause they're a little loose now,  but I feel like these really hit it home for me style wise.

So what about 2014?  Several things are going on here...  

I'm starting a new career, TV's over for me.  I'm a little sad about it, but it's just not going to work out with motherhood right now.  So I'm enrolling in real estate school.  It'll give me the flexibility I need and I'll spend much, much, much less time commuting.  But that means a more professional wardrobe is in my future.

Kid sewing

My IRL sewing friend, Sandra was over last weekend and we were chatting about sewing, naturally.  I told her it's weird cause I just want to make tons of stuff for my kid.  She laughed at me.  Did I think I would be any different from all the other mothers in the world that like to make stuff for their kids?  Uhhhh, guess I did?  I didn't realize how much pleasure I would get out of making a pair of mini pants, hehehe!


I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I want to quilt.  So weird, I know!  I've never been interested in quilting, even going so far as to proclaim that on this little ol' blog.  Not sure what's leading me down this rabbit hole, but if you follow me on Pinterest you can see I've been blowing up my quilt board gathering inspiration.  I think it's a couple things, like needing to rid myself of overflowing scraps.  Having something that I can walk away from and come back to anytime.  And finally realizing there are some pretty amazing modern quilts out there, which appears to be what I'm attracted to. 
I'm crediting Gail for really pushing me over the edge.  Back in October she posted about her latest quilt project, this free pattern, Feather Bed Quilt from Anna Marie Horner:

I mean, seriously?  How gorgeous is that??  That would melt even the coldest of anti-quilting hearts.  So I got to researching modern quilts, and wouldn't ya know it, I'm hooked.  I won't be starting with the above beauty, cause I'm too much of a newb.  But I have my eye on some fugly pillows on my couch that need recovering.  Baby steps, y'all.

Le Blog

Lastly, this blog here needs a revamp in a bad way.  I've got some ideas, but my old pal option anxiety has crept in, so I'm still in thinking mode right now.

And that's it for me!  Whew.  I didn't want to give myself too many concrete goals right now.  I've found lately that my pre-baby Virgo tendencies to incessantly list make and goal orient are a little soft around the edges at the moment.  There are a limited number of things I can promise myself these days, so general goals it is!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the wrap dress-finished!

Man, time is a blur these days.  It's been hard to sit and write a blog post when I can be cuddling a sweet babe, sewing or doing the endless loads of laundry babies produce.  Seriously, babies are such tiny humans-why so much laundry?? 

Anywho, a while back, Dibs from Dibs and the Machine posted plans for a long term sew-a-long for wrap dresses using any pattern desired.  It appealed to me cause we had a wedding at the end of October and we'd be taking our baby.  Since I'm nursing, a wrap dress would be perfect.

I was debating between three patterns I found in my stash.

New Look 6697 (OOP)

McCall's 5974



None of them are true wrap dresses per se, but all the better, less chance of bootie flashing, hehe.  I went with the McCalls because I'd read such great things about it.  The pattern claims to be the "perfect knit dress." Challenge accepted!

The fabric is a mystery knit from JoAnn's.  I can't remember the content but it definitely has some poly in it.  The recovery isn't stellar, but the silver polka dots are what got me.  

Also, black isn't usually polite to wear at a wedding but I figured with the little silver polka dots it was fine-more fun, less somber.  Thanks to Roisin and Heather B for talking me into it via Twitter*. 

The pattern is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  I'd never used one before but am familiar with the techniques from the "Real Fit for Real People" book.  I was even a good seamstress and followed the fit directions instead of haughtily tossing them aside.  The post-partum body has got a lot of strange stuff going on, so I figured it was best.

One of my sewing friends, Nhi, came over and helped me sew it since I had very limited time.  Isn't that sweet?  She and Sandra have felt sorry for me, hahaha, and come to my rescue a couple times.  I've said it before and I'll say it again SEWING FRIENDS ARE THE BEST!!!  Nhi even brought her coverstitch machine.  I was too scared to use it, but she made me.  You don't mess with her :-D  And now, of course, I want one.

The only alterations made were to shorten the armscye and shorten the skirt length.  Normally, I like bigger armholes, cause I cannot stand feeling fabric and seams under my arms.  But this one felt abnormally large and was affecting the shoulder fit.

I also left off the belt.  We basted it into place before sewing up the sides and it just made me look pregnant again.  Holy crap it was depressing!  The midsection of the dress is two fashion fabric layers thick, plus two layers of interfacing, and the belt is two layers thick and folded across itself.  Buh bye belt!

Since I chose this style primarily for nursing purposes, the neckline needed a little bit of stabilization, so I inserted clear elastic in the neck seams.

The wedding was lovely, set in the mountains edging the far west San Fernando Valley.  

Whoops, just ignore that backwards sewn pleat

This dress is deemed "the perfect knit dress" right on the pattern envelope.  And if others reviews are any indication, it is.  Maybe it was a weak fabric choice on my part, needing something with more recovery.  But I just don't feel it's perfect for me.  My body still isn't back to pre-pregnancy weight, so I'm not completely sold on this look.  I think where the midsection hits combined with the skirt pleats doesn't flatter. 

However, it was still nice to put on a dress and get out of my usual yoga pants uniform.  I wore it again on Thanksgiving, so at least I've gotten some wear out of it.  I like to think of it as a "holding place" dress-sort of "it'll do for now".  Surely I'm not the only one that has items like that in my wardrobe?

*Twitter always seemed silly to me, buuut now I'm a convert!  Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow talked me into joining and I have to admit, I dig it.  Must be cause of the awesome sewing community, no?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

my latest project

First, I never said thank you to everyone that commented on my last blog post, ahem, 2 months ago.  I appreciate each and every compliment, cause y'all, I was feeling mighty large.  Whoever said pregnancy is magical is a damned liar! So thank you!!

Second, this post is about my baby's birth (not in massive detail, I promise).  So if you don't like fat babies, or aren't in any way interested in this story, I'd suggest closing out this page now!

May I present to you, the crowning achievement of said pregnancy, my baby boy:

 I like to call him Mr. Sweet Cheeks

My home birth did not go according to plan, and I ended up transferring to the hospital and having a caesarean.  Most definitely the opposite of the drug free birth I wanted.  But, it is what it is, and though it was traumatic, but not life-threatening, I'm slowly processing everything.  My emotions have been all over the place and I feel like I'm just now coming out of that fog.  Plus, it ends up good that we went to the hospital, as the baby was hypoglycemic and possibly had sepsis.  And no, I did not have gestational diabetes.  So, on top of me recovering from surgery, he ended up in the NICU for a week.  Longest week of my life.

First day in the NICU

My husband and I tried to keep perspective, for the most part we have a very healthy baby, all he needed was sugary fluids and antibiotics for a week, unlike a lot of other babies in the NICU.  It's easy to not feel too sorry for yourself when you see 2 lb babies and yours is a whopping 9 1/2 pounder.  Oh yeah, he's a real chunk.

He's just got more to love

We've been home now for 4 weeks and even though I'm a little zombied out, I'm having a great time with him.
Diaper changes are his favorite

Now I'm working on carving a little time out for some craftiness.  Yesterday was the first day I was able to sew, only for 5 minutes, but still!  Baby steps, y'all, baby steps.  I just need to get him on a schedule, right?!?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

renfrew parade v2

It's been over a year since I used this pattern, but here are a couple more Renfrews, woohoo!

First up, my dress!

It's taken me forever, but I'm finally getting around to posting this Renfrew dress.  I went to a wedding in May, and of course needed a new dress to wear.  I busted my butt getting this made in time, and thankfully finished quickly, by my standards at least.

This was a fun make for several reasons, 1) It was my first attempt at turning a Renfrew into a dress, 2) It's also a maternity Renfrew, 3) I just love the fabric

 gathers detail

For turning it into a dress, I added the desired length, tapering it from the hips to the knees.  Let's just say it wasn't a perfect process, but I figured it out somehow.  I was very careful with the fabric/pattern placement, not to highlight the bewbs, only to realize after cutting that I put a big 'ol bouquet on my belly AND my booty, hahahahaha!  Like either of those areas need extra attention!

belly bouquet

booty bouquet

For turning it into a maternity T, I used So, Zo's tutorial found here.  I'd been wanting to do this to a shirt for a while, and had looked up a lot of variations on turning a t-shirt into a maternity one.  Most of them involved taking a RTW shirt and sewing elastic into the side seams.  But I wanted a from scratch one, and as lovely as Megan Nielsen's are, I couldn't justify paying $20 for another t-shirt pattern when I knew there must be a way to alter a pattern.

Luckily, right under my nose, I stumbled on So, Zo's method.  It's easy peasy and makes perfect sense.  Even my math challenged brain had no problem figuring it out :-D

the fabric has this cool cross stitch kinda look

The fabric is a wool jersey from Mood LA.  Because the jersey can stretch pretty thin, I added a stretch lining, also from Mood.  I love that store, but if there's anything they're missing, it's a variety of stretch linings.  This one is a nylon and has two distinct sides.  One is rougher than the other.  Of course I put the smoothest side against my body, but it's still a smidge itchy.  I only lined the body of the dress, omitting the sleeves.

inside gathers

 neck and sleeve head

The lining is less stretchy than the jersey, and after wearing it a few times, the jersey has stretched out a little bit at the bottom, causing a weird ripple at the hem.  I might go back and add the hem band like a regular Renfrew.  But then again, I might end up too lazy to do anything, ha!  Any suggestions out there?

Also, I made a tiny (but liveable) mistake by making the gathers a wee bit high, and not making enough of them.  That's the only thing I changed when I cut out the second one.

the dress is great for stretching my hips!

Speaking of my second one, remember my last post I talked about how awesome my sewing friends are?  Well, my friend Sandra came to my rescue on this shirt.  It was one of the 5 doomed items I was trying to sew for more maternity wear a couple weeks back.  It never made it.  She's one of my IRL blogger friends and when we had a sewing meetup a couple weeks ago, she offered to sew it for me so I could work on another project.  It was already cut out, but HOW FREAKIN' AWESOME IS THAT?!?  Seriously though.

So I can only take credit for cutting it out and wearing it, other than that, it was all Sandra :-)

more gathers this time

I fixed the high gathers I had made on the dress, by lowering these 2 inches.  I also added another 2 inches of gathering.  It fits me perfectly, and is very, very comfy.  In fact, I'm wearing it now!  The material is a rayon jersey bought years ago from Joann's, that is unbelievably soft.  

I have zero complaints about this shirt, huzzah!

Look how straight her stitching is!

The days of being pregnant are numbered.  I'm due in 4 weeks and thankfully, my job ends next week.  I'm looking forward to lounging around in comfy clothes and not having to worry anymore about what to wear to work!  Can't wait!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

channeling peggy bundy

I love me some good animal prints, but who doesn't?  (Honestly, if you don't, I'm not sure we can be friends) A while back got in my head that I wanted a pair of velvet leggings.  A 4-way stretch plain leopard print velvet is very hard to find, my friends.  Plain meaning, not iridescent, or sequiny.  I searched high and low, found some 2-way stretch, but never the 4-way needed.  I sew with a bunch of awesome ladies IRL*, and had expressed my sadness over the elusive fabric.  I didn't think I'd ever find the perfect stuff.

Amity, one of the group, texted me out of the blue one day with a glorious picture...of 4-way stretch velvet leopardy fabric, and did I want her to grab some for me?  Uh, YES PLEASE!  She was in San Francisco for PR (Pattern Review) weekend and spotted it at some random fabric shop.  How awesome are fellow sewists?!?  She even dropped it by my house the next week!

 look at that sweet leopard velvet goodness

I got most of them sewn at one of our meetups, captured here without the waistband or hemmed, by the crazy, funny Julianne.  Once again, I used Jalie 2920 like here and here.

muahahahahaha, leoooopard!

I finished them up a few days later and wore them to my step-daughter's graduation in May.  I quickly realized I needed to make the waistband bigger, cause they were uncomfortably tight :(  Once back home, I unpicked all that waistband serging (ugh) and put in a fold over waistband and threaded the elastic through.  No more unpicking serging if I still couldn't handle them.  (My hips are expanding, ya know).

But all is good and I've worn them a couple times and love them!  They aren't nearly as hot as I imagined they would be, which is good for a sweaty preggo, hehe.  They do however, make me feel like Peggy Bundy :-D

yes?  If only I could get my hair to do that...

*Our sewing group includes these lovely ladies:

Amity and Nhi of Lolita Patterns 
Caroline of  TigerFeet
Cindy Cation Designs -even though she's moving soon :(
Julianne of Made by Julianne

Caroline came up with our name, "Stitch in the Ditch".  You know, cause we're in California, near the San Andreas fault, it's a ditch...If you ever find yourself in the LA area, please get in touch, we love to meet up, shop and sew!