Thursday, July 28, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022...I am behind, can I catch up?


Just some musing today... 

We are 7 months into the wardrobe;  that's 8 sets if you count the core set that was introduced in December.

And I have done the core set and three I've done half of them so far.

And, having a bum shoulder (which is recovering nicely so far) I can't really do anything for at least another week.  So I sat down with the computer and looked over the Vivienne Files picks for April - July...recognizing that August is going to drop in 4 days and I'll be another set behind, lol.

Is it feasible to actually do this at this point?

I made a spreadsheet, looking at each month's choices...not just the ones for the Hydrangea Scarf.  I had been following the Hydrangea Scarf wardrobe additions pretty closely,  because, you know, I had the exact scarf, but looking at the April set...I had to make some decisions. Janice likes to use cardigans as button up stand alone tops; I'm just not comfortable doing that.  The stretchy buttonholes in sweater cardigans don't feel secure enough to me to be worn without an underlayer. The Hydrangea Scarf is the only wardrobe with two cardigans chosen for April, and I'm pretty sure they're meant to be used as stand alone tops.  The other five wardrobes just have pullover tops or sweaters.  So I am going to wander away from the strict application of the Hydrangea picks, starting in April, and look at what all the wardrobes had added.  Which, being honest, is pretty much what I did in 2019 when I tried this the first time.

Once I gave myself permission to more loosely interpret the additions, I took a fresh look at my closet.   What did I have that could work?  

Once I did that, I'm down to needing to sew pretty much just ONE thing for each set.  Which is perfectly doable...if I make it a personal priority.  For instance, there are two navy skirts in the sets and...I couldn't believe it, but I don't own a single navy skirt.  So I'll make the two skirts at the same time...while I have blue thread in the serger, lol.  

Anyway, the upshot is that I decided to press on and see what I can get done.

And I'm actually curious to see how Janice will transition this very bright, springy wardrobe into fall.

So, hang on, we ain't quitting yet....

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022 - 3rd addition

 What!  Did I get the next set made up overnight?  No, this I could pretty much pull from the closet..

Here is what Janice selected for March over at The Vivienne Files...two basic T's, a cardigan, a second scarf and a bracelet.

Here is my take:

The T shirts came rom the SWAP wardrobe, cut from the same fabric as the already-included longer sleeved t's.  I bought the scarf at Talbot's a year or two ago, thinking it would be a good candidate for a wardrobe base scarf.  I actually ordered the Resourceful Lynx bracelet from Fierce Lynx Designs right after I decided to do the project, because it was my colors.  I expected it to show up in the wardrobe picks at some point.  The sweater came from Lands' End and I love it...very soft and perfect for an over-airconditioned event.  It's the only piece I acquired specifically for this set.

So, everything now looks like this...

We will be stuck here until I get my right arm back, lol.  My first PT is tomorrow...we will see what I'm allowed to do after that...

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Start With a Scarf 2022-- 2nd Addition

 I squeaked out the last garment in the set before shoulder surgery, but I didn't have time to post the set before the timer ran now I am painstakingly typing with my left hand.  I will try to catch all the typos before I hit post, but it's quite likely that I will have to make a few edits as I find blunders over the next few days...

Anyway, this is my interpretation of the Vivienne Files Start With a Scarf February wardrobe selections for the PJ Studio Accessories 'Hydrangea Scarf'... which I had just happened to have purchased on a deep discount sale about a year ago.

I made two garments for this set...amongst making a mess out of some gifted diapers, which I was too disgusted to blog about, and making the third trip to Florida since February, lol.  The pink shirt is Burda 6908, crafted from a rather hefty twill.   The blue pants are Vogue 8712 , funky lantern pants; if you click on the photo you should be able to see the bottom angled band and the round pocket.  The green shirt is 4 years old...specifically dyed to match the choir color of the month (I actually wore it to work with the Hydrangea Scarf and white jeans last week).  The earrings are from Novica and the blue ballet flats are from Rockport/ Cobb Hill.'s everything so far...

I have to admit, I love looking at those colors together.  And I am really bummed that I will not be able to sew for the next few weeks whilst my shoulder recovers.

A little creative problem solving

 I was rather dismayed to find that if one has shoulder surgery, the sling/ immobilizing brace apparatus is applied while still in the OR, and is not to be removed before the first physical therapy visit.  

Which means it must be worn under the clothing for the first few days.

Those things are BULKY, y'all.

I did a few test runs, first under some of my really loose under a couple of my hubby's t shirts...also fail.  I could stretch them over the brace but t was a chore and they were awkward.

So I picked up a three pack of men's 2X (I wanted 3X but they were sold out) t-shirts from Wally World to do a little hacking.

Found a chunk of cruddy black knit that I had made two tops from that turned my bras black when I wore them.  My idea was to put a godet on the right side so there would be enough room.  Wasn't sure how to go about it but I wasn't after making a snappy looking garment...I just wanted to be decently covered, lol.

So I cut one shirt up the side to about an inch and a half below the sleeve and measured the length of the cut and added an inch for a seam allowance and a hem, should I feel ambitious enough (and have time) to do one.

Then I measured that distance out from a lengthwise fold of my icky black jersey, measured along the fold the same distance +4", to allow for the vertical uptake of the brace, and connected those points with a shallow curve.  Cut two of 'em, because I had two black shirts and I was feeling brave.

So for the first go, I sewed the straight edge 1:1 to the slit in the shirt, then put it on over the brace.  It wasn't horrible, but the slit actually needed to go up into the was tight across the top part of the strapping for the brace... and I had a lovely (koff koff) drape on the side.  It would do...but I thought it could be better.  So for the second shirt I cut the slit up into the sleeve about 3", flipped the godet and sewed the curved edge to the shirt, gathering the excess at the middle top 1/4 or so of the curve.

Much better.  I hemmed that one and took it with me. The nurse who helped me get dressed after the procedure was impressed, lol.

But as it turned out, we caught the bone spur(s?) before any serious damage was done to tendons, etc., so there was no soft tissue repair needed and I don't have to wear the immobilization brace...just the industrial sling.  So there is plenty of room in these shirts, lol, and I should be good until therapy.  And maybe I will have the use of both hands much sooner than anticipated...

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Funky Pants for the Wardrobe

 The 'February' selections for the 'Start with a Scarf' wardrobe included a pair of 'ankle pants'. I wasn't sure what to do but I stumbled across a Vogue Marci Tilton pants pattern (8712) that I had started altering up...sometime back in the past... and decided to give it a go.  I had some very drapey rayon 'denim' that I'd purchased to make a shirt back about 8 years ago, but it was not quite right for what I wanted so it just went into the stash. Bingo.

I had to go back and review the alterations I'd made (and undo some of idea what I was thinking at the time) and I cut them out back in May...and they waited whilst I made diapers and the pink shirt.

But they were rather quick to do, and I finished them up today.  They are a bit longer on me than on the envelope models...I can't remember if I shortened them or not.  (update...I shortened them one inch) But they hit around my ankles, which is exactly the brief for the selection, lol. 'Ankle pants'...

Of course, I will NEVER wear them with a top tucked in, but you can kind of see the lantern shape and maybe, if you can zoom in, the interesting pocket.

The pattern guide called for a narrow hem; I wanted a little extra weight at the bottom so I cut the angled cuffs twice and used the extra ones as a facing. If I were going to just hem it, I think I would use some bias tape as a narrow facing because it is pretty sharply angled and curved.  Just my opinion, lol.

They are very comfy and I'm going to enjoy them.

Since my hubby was handy to take a picture, I put on the pink shirt for a quick shot as well.

Lawdy my hair!  The humidity has froofed it...even in the AC, lol.  I didn't bother putting any product on it today since I wasn't going anywhere.  Wasn't expecting to have to take a picture.  But this is about the duds anyway, right?  

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Pink Shirt - Burda 6908


I looked and looked for the smudgy mark after about the 3rd time through the laundry and couldn't find it, so I hauled it up to the ironing board and gave it the once over.  I flipped the sleeve 'round so you could see the placket I got from David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking, which I substituted for the continuous lap used in the pattern.  I also modified the collar so that it's one continuous piece instead of two pieces as recommended by Nancy Zieman and Louise Cutting.  I flat felled the seams...a first for me...but didn't even topstitch the armsceye seam.  That seems really fiddly and unnecessary and, since I only have a wee bit of thread left, it's probably a good thing I didn't spend the thread on that, lol.

When I put it on the ironing board, I promptly found that five out of the eleven buttonholes had unraveled to some degree in the repeated trips through the washer.  I don't know if I nicked the stitching when I  chiseled them open or if the stitches just didn't get secured well enough at the end of the buttonhole...every one came undone on the second side.

At that point...I pulled out a handsewing needle and buttonhole stitched those puppies.  I was DONE. 

It is a fairly hefty twill with no drape and lots of grab; a little warm for now but it will be good later. This is supposed to be an overshirt so I would have liked a little more ease over all.    If I make it again I might add a teeny bit more ease to the back hips, and I've already added back one of the inches I took out of the sleeves.  They're really not short but they feel a little short, if that makes sense. But, to be honest, if this were intended to be worn as just a plain ol' button up shirt instead of an overshirt I think it would do nicely.  I don't think it has as much ease as shown on the pattern envelope; I suspect the models were wearing a size or maybe even two up. But it's ok.  I do believe I will wear it and that's the main thing.  ETA:  I did some remembering and remembered that I picked my size based on the finished garment measurements...and I had a brain glitch and made the size I would have made for a regular ol' shirt...not a generous easy shirt.  So the fitted-ness of this is totally on me.  I forgot to consider the extra ease.

Here is the inspiration  pink denim shirt that resulted in the pink twill landing in my mailbox a couple of months ago.  I don't know how long the link will work; the website says it's low stock. I know the pink one was on sale a couple of weeks ago.  But I'm looking at that shirt...that retails for $268...and shaking my head that it is low stock.  Now, I realize the rumpled, distressed state of the shirt is part of the aesthetic but I just can't wrap my brain around spending that much on a chewed up shirt that looks to not even have any interfacing in the front band.  And...all but ONE of those color options shows the sleeves rolled up...the gray one has them pushed up.  Not one actually shows how the sleeves will fit. Which seems kinda...suspect....

My pink twill (which was dead on the exact shade of pink I want) was less than $20.  The buttons came in a bulk bag from Hobby Lobby and cost about $2.  Now, I will admit to more aggravation than I expected but most of that was my own bone headed mistakes.  I've just spent too much time sewing knits lately and was a bit rusty on the shirtmaking, lol.  But, hey, I 'earned' about $246 by making that shirt vs. buying the denim one...right? And the IRS don't even get any of that, lol.

The blue pants for the 'February Set' are ready to sew...we'll see if they will be a little more cooperative.  

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Finished but no photos

 I finally finished the pink shirt last weekend but I don't have photos yet because...somehow it got a teeny smudge on one of the sleeves while in process.  It looks like ink or, you know, a greasy sewing machine lint spot...but the machines are brand spanking new so there hasn't been time for them to accumulate greasy lint yet, and I'm not aware of any ink pens anywhere around, so I've no idea what it is. The shirt has been through the laundry twice this week, hanging to dry in between so as not to set the spot, while I work on it.  It's very, very faint now and I don't know if I'm going to give it another go or not.  We'll see.

Anyway, once I decide it is indeed the last attempt to erase a tiny blip and iron it, I will take picutres.

Meantime, I will show you this bit:

Those are amputated cuffs, y'all. Once I got the first set of buttonholes on I realized that the cuffs were going to be uncomfortably snug.  I did a little research and found that somehow I had mistraced the pattern and they were about 1/2" too narrow.  Oy.  

Well, I had fortunately (as it turned out) completely forgotten to topstitch the cuffs (and the collar band as well), and I had a fair amount of leftover fabric so...I bit the bullet and cut new cuffs.  Took the old ones off and rearranged the pleating (I thought the excess sleeve width was because I had done a different placket finish) and then put the new ones on.  No mean trick because I did trim the seams out.  But once the new cuffs were on it was a MUCH better fit.

Then I put a bazillion buttonholes in it.  No kidding, I'm pretty sure I averaged doing each one of them  at LEAST twice.  It had been a while since I've made buttonholes and there were some finer points of it that got by me.  One or two were crooked.  The neckband one had lumpy seam allowances to negotiate (I think I did that one 4 times).  Once I lifted the presser foot...forgetting that that resets the template.  Oops.  Another time I mistook a piece of lint for the mark and put the buttonhole in 1" too low.  

Lots of frustration, lol.  But all character developing, right?  I know enough that a year from now I won't remember the frustration, I'll just be happy with my pink shirt.

It did feel like it took a long time...and it kinda did...but I had diapers to make (and they had issues as well, due to fabric quality...or rather, the lack thereof).  So all in all I have had a rather tiresome time in the sewing room and things have not progressed as well as I would have liked.

And I'm going to have shoulder surgery in a little over a week, so I don't know how long I'll be out of the sewing room due to that.  Hopefully all that has to be done is removing a smallish bone spur;  if we've caught it early enough I shouldn't have much muscle/ tendon damage that needs repairing.  Won't know for sure until the doc gets in and sees in real life what is there.

So, I may end up skipping some wardrobe additions for the scarf plan this year...  we'll just have to see...

Didn't plan on making a bunch of trips to Florida or losing the use of my dominant arm for a bit.  And I may need to use my one-week of sewing time left to make some button up shirts...

Monday, July 04, 2022

Thinking about taking up sewing?

 While I am still trying to find the time to get the buttonholes and buttons on that #omigoshthisistakingFOREVER pink twill shirt; I stumbled across an article on the interwebs that has struck a chord. Why Retail Clothes All Look the Same isn't the actual name of the article but it is the theme.   And it contains a link to a clip from The Devil Wears Prada, which is worth a watch, too.

I have long rebelled at the whole 'Colors of the Season' thing...the idea that someone in an office in Manhattan or Paris or London or Tokyo or wherever...has the power to pick what colors the world will wear for the next season/ year.  

It's why I have a ridiculous fabric stash, y'all.  Buy the fabric in the color you love whilst it's available, because in a couple of years you won't be able to find it.

But the idea of the style on repeat...that is one of the best reasons to take up fashion sewing. You don't want puffed sleeves?  You don't have to put them on the dress.  Even if that pattern shows them...just switch it for another one from another pattern.

We don't have to participate in the Fashion Great Chain of Being.

You can find a style that suits you and make it, in fresh fabrics, whenever you want.  It doesn't have to be On Trend to look good.  

Or maybe you like that style that you see, but hate the icky polyester fabric it's made of.

Same deal.  Find a similar pattern (or frankenpattern one from two or three, if necessary) and make it up in a nice silk or linen or cotton or whatever strikes your fancy.

There is SO MUCH information on the internet now...sewing websites like Pattern Review; YouTube videos by the score demonstrating basic skills....even not-so-basic skills.  (One of these days, thanks to YouTube tutorials,  I'm actually going to tackle pad stitching, lol).   A decent sewing machine is not terribly expensive...all you need is one that will do a nice straight stitch and sew a decent buttonhole.  If it will do those things, it will cover all the requirements.  A serger is nice but not necessary...certainly not in the beginning.  A good iron is a must.  

Start with a pull-on skirt; that's almost instant gratification and a good place to learn how to sew a straight seam.  Botch it up?   It's just practice...a learning curve.  Did you pick the wrong fabric for the pattern?  Like, it sticks out instead of swishing?  Or did you pick the wrong size?  You can't assume your ready-to-wear size is what you make in the pattern...heck, you can't even get the same size from one retailer to another in RTW anyway, so don't expect the patterns to be different.  Just measure yourself and the pattern before you cut anything and you should be able to make a fairly educated guess.  You may learn you like more or less room (aka 'ease') in a pattern than what is included.  Trial and error is your friend.  You will learn faster than you think, if you really want to.

Sewing frees you from the People in the Room Who Pick From The Stuff...and from the computer algorithms that are increasingly determining what shows up on the racks in stores and online.  

We don't have to follow their dictation.  We can sew.