Sunday Sevens 3-12-17

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Very soggy Hoover Park in Newberg, OR.

Still catching up on my pictures in this edition of Sunday Sevens; some of these are actually from last weekend, which was spent in Oregon.  As always, all credit to Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for coming up with the Sunday Sevens idea and giving us something to do with all those random pictures we take.

On Friday, my honey and I headed down to Newberg, Oregon, so that he could do a 200k bike ride with the Oregon Randonneurs (that website is terribly unhelpful, but randonneuring is a type of long-distance, non-competitive, self-supported cycling; a basic introduction is here and a slightly odd–why the marching music?–look at what it’s like to do one of these rides is here).  He’s signed up to do the London-Edinburgh-London ride this summer and a LOT of training needs to happen between now and July.

While he was off doing that on Saturday, I took a walk around and stopped at Hoover Park  (Newberg has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover).  This part of Oregon is still firmly in monsoon season and the park is sort of bowl-shaped, so the ground was muddy, saturated, and slippery with leaves.

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I was just happy to see some green, though.

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Did not manage to get a picture of the hobbits that surely live here.

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I also stopped at the Goodwill there, which for some reason has GREAT fabric; last summer, I picked up this fabulous flannel there.  Look at the summery goodies I found this time!  White gauze tablecloth, white eyelet curtain, and this amazing flowered cotton knit!

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Total luck–opened the hotel room curtains and caught this guy snacking on the berries in the tree outside.

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Back in eastern Washington, I joined a couple hundred other folks in Richland for an International Women’s Day rally.  Best moment:  a toddler in a red dress wandered up to the stage, picked up one of those signs, and walked off with it.  When she turned around, we could see that it read “Children Before Corporations.”  Big cheer from the crowd.

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Another Goodwill find:  a new home for the stash!  I have had ENOUGH of moving bins to get to the one on the bottom.

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And, finally, dinner:  I have introduced the Resident Englishman to another venerable American food tradition, the Tater Tot Hotdish (albeit an unusual version).  #Murica

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Busy week ahead.  Among other things, I’m working on a birthday present for my sister and need to also finish up the commissioned baby quilt ASAP.  I hope you all have an excellent week, get the important things done, and also make room for the fun things.

STH

WIP Wednesday: Spring Showers

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SO FREAKING CUTE

Spring is the time for doing something silly, right?

I freely admit that I get a little nutty (well, nuttier) when the weather starts to warm up and things start greening up.  The sun comes out and they start to put out all that pastel springy stuff in stores and I get overwhelmed by the thought of soft yellow chicks and little fluffy bunnies and lavender Easter eggs and green grass and warm sun and daffodils and irises and . . . I wind up buying something ridiculous and pink that I will never wear.

I’d like to think this project is a slightly more sensible and grown-up version of that.  ALL the colors, but also the colors I love to wear (i.e., not pastels), plus it’s warm, which is a good thing, as it’s not even really spring here.

I bought this fleece the other day when I was at Joann’s to get flannel on sale for my niece’s new baby quilt.  (I brought my mother with me, just so she could get out of the house, and OY please remind me to never do that again.  She’s like the chorus in a Greek play that tells you how everything you’re doing is going to go horribly wrong.)  The fleece was also on sale, and I got a further discount for buying the last of the bolt, so it wound up being about five bucks for 1 1/2 yards.  My big spring splurge.  😉

I wanted a simple sweatshirt-y sort of shape to show off the fabric, and found this pattern:

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The pattern is actually for wovens, but my fleece doesn’t have a ton of stretch, so I cut the size that gave me a couple of inches of ease at the waist and hips.

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Hard to see here, but this has bust darts.

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This is view B–a bit longer in the back and a curved hem.

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I was 1/4 of a yard short on fabric, so the back is about 1″ shorter than the pattern, which was fine with me.

I don’t like bottom bands or sleeve bands on tops, so I didn’t use them on this.  I didn’t really need the extra hip space, but I added vents on the sides, just because I wanted a boxy sort of look.

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This rib knit is from the stash, and it’s the only part of the project I’m not happy with–it got sort of crinkly in the wash, and I’m not crazy about the way it sticks out.  I think I’m going to wait until fleece season is over and redo it. A smooth knit and half the width, I’m thinking . . . .

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Cap’n, she’s starting to list!  We’re taking on water!

So, definitely happy with this one, and I’ve been wearing it pretty much constantly since I finished it.  I’m also thinking, though, that this pattern has a lot of potential.  It’s basically a tee shirt, and it fits better than any other tee pattern I’ve tried; with changes to the neckline and sleeve length, you could get a lot of different looks from this.  The other thing I like about the pattern is that it only requires 1 1/2 yards of (60″ wide) fabric for my size (even less if I do short sleeves), so I’m hoping it will help me use up some stash.

Fair warning:  spring also tends to bring on an organizing and stash-busting frenzy around here.  I’ve got some new plastic bins and I feel a spreadsheet coming on . . . .

STH

Sunday Sevens 3-05-17

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I’m trying to get back into a more regular posting schedule here, so I thought I’d take up doing Sunday Sevens again.  It’s a good place to put those sort of random interesting bits and pieces of your life (and I am all about random).  My pictures this week are actually going to be highlights from the last few months, as I’ve got a bit of a stockpile at the moment.  As always, all credit goes to the ever-fabulous Natalie of Threads and Bobbins for getting Sunday Sevens started!

First, let’s go alllll the way back to Xmas, because I made a couple of pretty cool gifts that I never managed to blog about.

For my sister, I made some unpaper towels and a fabric basket to store them in.

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I braved the big Thanksgiving sale at Joann’s to get these really fun flannels (this is a pretty serious level of dedication for me), then I matched them up with cute cottons from the stash.

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I’m really liking the basket idea for these, and want to make one for my own unpaper towels one of these days.  I get that people like rolling them up and storing them like paper towels, but it kind of makes them a pain to use.  The basket is a better way to store them, I think, if you have the counter space for it.

I also made a charging station for all my partner’s gadgets.

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Yeah, it’s a little droopy.  Obviously I needed a stiffer interfacing.  I sewed along the corner seams and that helped it sit up a bit better.

I made this to fit the shelf where he keeps all his bits and pieces that require charging (which is currently a tangle of cords).

I made buttonholes of various sizes along the back to put the plugs through.

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He has yet to put this to use (he’s planning to organize his office, but it’s a bit of a big project, if you get my meaning), but I think it’s going to eventually be really handy.  The execution on this could use a little work, but I really like the concept.

Now for some demos!  Three so far this year, I suspect many more to come.

In mid-January, the Democratic Party called for demonstrations in support of the ACA (Obamacare), and I went to the one in Richland (next town over).  At the last minute, my honey decided to come with, but warned me that he thought we might be the only ones there.  Eastern Washington state is pretty conservative–Republicans outnumber Dems 2-to-1–and it was 15F and snowing that day.

200 people showed up!

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Best I could do, being short and at the back.  (And can I just mention how much I want that guy’s gorgeous red hair?!?  I mean, yeah, politics, but I know how to multitask.)

For some reason, they had us gather on the outdoor stage, and it was covered in a sheet of ice–I’m kind of amazed nobody slid off the edge of the stage–but folks were undeterred and fired up!

Then, the following weekend, partner and I drove to Spokane for the Women’s March.  Some folks had thrown a local event together at the last minute, but they planned to walk a labyrinth and meditate, and no way did I want to meditate–I wanted to yell!  So we went to Spokane and it was an amazing experience.  2,000 people were expected, but as we drove through downtown, I thought it sure looked like a lot more than that.  When we lined up with the huge crowd at the start, a woman we talked to told us that they had stopped letting people into the Convention Center for the pre-march rally when they reached 5,000 people in there.  News reports afterward estimated 8,000 attended.

And I should have pictures for you, but my camera would not cooperate.  Sigh.

But we marched and it was great–so much positive energy and determination to fight for what’s right.  Great mix of all ages, races, genders; it meant a lot to me to see all those people come out for this event after the horror of the election.  I was expecting some counter-demonstrators, but the only ones I saw were at the start–three or four young dudebros snickering on the sidelines.  One of them yelled out something about “making it great again,” but was ignored.  It felt like it was finally OUR time to be heard, not theirs.

Did get the camera working for this shot of the park with decorations appropriate to the occasion.

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Finally, last weekend, our local Indivisible group organized a town hall at the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus.  Our local Representative–I feel like that word should be in quotes–is Republican Dan Newhouse, and he is one of the 200 or so Reps that are refusing to hold the traditional town hall meetings in their districts.  So we held one without him.  Constituents asked him questions that were videotaped to be delivered to his office.  Great idea, well-executed, and lots of smart, well-informed people there to keep the pressure on him to do the right thing.

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I also took the opportunity while I was out there to take a walk along the river path and snap a few photos.

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I love these, but the best thing about them is that they swivel around their poles when the wind blows!

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Looking across the Columbia River.

Next event is a rally on Wednesday for International Women’s Day.  We are keeping the pressure on and the energy up!

Have a great week, everybody, and take care of yourselves.

STH

 

 

WIP Wednesday: Sewing for the Kids

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Spokesmodel Shelby approves.

This project came out of an internal dialogue that went something like this:

Me:  I have all these fluffy, bulky fleece scraps left over after this winter’s orgy of fleece sewing projects.  They’re spilling out of their bin and I swear they’re multiplying in there and what am I going to do with them?

Me:  I mean, I have all these cotton scraps, too, but they’re so much easier to use up because you can put them in scrap quilts . . . .

Me:  HEY WAIT A MINUTE

And so began the googling.  Is there such a thing as a fleece scrap quilt?  I’d never heard of any way of using pieced fleece in a quilt except for rag quilts, and I didn’t want to have big lumpy seams in whatever I wound up making.  I eventually found this post, which suggests overlapping the edges and zigzagging.  Perfect!  I decided to try this technique out on a cushion for the window sill in my sewing room, which is a favorite cat spot for napping.  It had a cushion already, but it was pilling and lumpy, so it was time for an upgrade.

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That dark pink there is actually from a scrap of sweatshirt fleece that I used fuzzy side out.  I just thought the cushion needed some dark pink and I’d used up all my fleece in that color.

I had a little 4″x4″ quilting ruler hanging around, so I decided to cut 4″ squares.  It quickly became clear, though, that I needed to cut some smaller sizes to use up my smaller pieces, so I also cut 2″x4″ rectangles.

Sewing them together proved trickier than expected, however, because my crappy old sewing machine was just DETERMINED to eat that fleece at the start of every seam.  EVERY. SINGLE. SEAM.  It was a wrestling match the whole way through the piecing.  I’m looking at the picture above and I’m amazed that it looks as nice as it does, considering the fleece munching that was happening.  One big reason for that is that I made sure that when I overlapped the strips, the edge with all the messiness was UNDER the other strip.  (It occurs to me now that as you get more experience and skill with sewing, one of the most important things you learn is how to compensate for–and cover up–all your mistakes.)

The cushion is reversible, with mostly pink, purple, and black on one side, and more of a mix on the other.

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I’ve got most of my blue and orange on this side, including some really fun scraps that I didn’t have much of.  See the sun and the spaceship on the left?

I used some of my larger batting scraps for the cushioning, then I tacked the layers together by hand along the long seams.  For binding, I cut 2″ strips of black fleece, sewed it (right sides together) to one side of the cushion, then folded it over and sewed it down to the other side.  To my surprise, my sewing machine didn’t give me any trouble with that part, even though I didn’t trim the batting from the seam allowance, as I wanted the binding to help secure it in place.

And I’m happy to report the cushion has been a hit!

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This was already a favorite nap spot for Pooh, but he’s been spending a lot more time here since I made this cushion for him.  Shelby moves around more, but she’s also in this window frequently.

But wait–there’s also this!

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I also made a cat bed, based on this tutorial.

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So that’s where that 4″ square ruler went.

Another project to use up fleece scraps, this was supposed to be for Pooh because I finally put our artificial Xmas tree and tree skirt away.

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I put away the ornaments and the rest of it early in January (I love Xmas stuff, but having it around always makes my allergies worse), but Pooh LOVES napping under the tree so much that I just couldn’t take it away completely.  I left out the bottom section of the tree with the skirt, and he used it for a while, but then seemed to lose interest, so I figured it was time.  (I’ve firmly established my crazy cat lady cred here, haven’t I?  Yep, I thought so.)

I didn’t have a big enough piece of fleece for this, so I used purple for the top, and bright blue (which I had to piece) for the bottom.  I would have liked to use something a bit more fun, but it’s for the living room, and the person I live with is somewhat more conservative in his tastes.  😦

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Here’s the bottom.

The tutorial tells you to use stuffing to fill this, which I didn’t have a lot of (and I didn’t want to get trapped yet again in the Fiberfill Vortex, where you buy another bag to finish your project, but then you have half a bag left, but it isn’t enough for your next project, so then you buy another bag and so on and so on).  I do have batting scraps, though, so I used several circles of batting for the center and sewed another ring of stitching to secure it.  I tore up my smallest scraps and used those–and the last of my fiberfill YAY–to fill the outer ring.

Now, according to the Sewing Blogger Code, this is the part where I’m supposed to say that it isn’t as lumpy as it looks because that’s just an illusion caused by the camera or sun spots or something.  However, the truth is that it is just exactly as lumpy as it looks; I don’t think I’ve ever stuffed anything that didn’t turn out lumpy, which is one of several excellent reasons that I don’t make stuffed animals or things like that.

So far, Shelby has been the only one interested in this.  I had to hand sew the opening shut with her actually napping in the bed; I tried to lift her out of it, but she told me off with an outraged squeak, and I gave in and let her stay.  Anybody who has cats knows getting them to like and use an offered cat bed is a highly risky enterprise, so I’ll be happy if it gets any use at all.  Hell, I’m happy anyway because I used up a fair bit of fleece and about half my stash of batting scraps.  So I’m calling it a win already.

STH

No Painful Owl Puns, I Promise

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Don’t these owls deserve better than bad puns?

This project is a bit of a switch for me–imagine, me sewing a recently-released pattern made with a fabric that’s actually available in stores right now!  Almost like a real sewing blogger!

Don’t worry.  It won’t happen again.

Anyway, this is the Named Patterns Saunio Cardigan, which I won recently in a Facebook sewing group giveaway.  The soft, drapey owl fabric was a remnant (5/8 of a yard) found at WalMart; since there was so little of it, I used another remnant (3/4 of a yard) for the sleeves and some black mystery knit from the stash for the facings.

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I usually wear this with a black turtleneck, but I’ve got a charcoal one on here so that you can hopefully see the detail better.

Strictly speaking, this pattern does not come in my size (though Named does have some patterns that go up to larger sizes), but it’s meant to be a bit oversized, so I figured I could make it work.  I added about half an inch to the sides of the front and back, starting below the bust, and that was plenty.

In reading reviews of the pattern, I had run across complaints that the sleeves run a little narrow, so I also added half an inch to each side of the sleeve pieces starting about half way down, and an inch to the length of the sleeves.  Good thing I did–the sleeves are JUST wide enough and JUST long enough, so I didn’t hem them.  If you made this pattern out of the recommended stretchy sweater knit, the sleeves would probably be fine as is, but nobody who’s blogged about it seems to be doing that, and my black fleece has very little stretch.

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I’m contemplating adding some loops and buttons on the front . . . black elastic for the loops maybe?  Would love some suggestions if you have them.

Also, this is a pretty short cardigan, so I added a couple of inches to the length.

And will you take a look at this happy accident?

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The front almost-kinda-sorta matches, simply because I had so little fabric.  I didn’t plan it–honestly, pattern-matching never even occurs to me–but I had to put the front pattern piece right on the fold of the fabric to get it to fit, then I cut down the fold to separate the two fronts.  With the 3/8″ seam allowance specified in the instructions, I got pretty close to matching the pattern on the front.

These cheerful little owls have been such a fun thing to wear the last few weeks!  I’ve really been enjoying them, as it’s been less cold, but still plenty dreary here.  February requires warm, colorful things to cuddle up in, that’s for sure.

Also, I wanted to give you a little preview of another project I’ve been working on.  I just happen to have all these fleece scraps hanging around, so I put them to use so that Pooh could have a better pad for his favorite sewing room windowsill.  So far, the most challenging part of this project has been getting it away from him so I can work on it.  Here, it’s just two layers of pieced fleece.

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And here it is with the batting sandwiched in the middle.

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He even came back in the evening for another nap on it.

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I’m hoping to get the binding on it tonight, if I can.  Fleece fun continues!

STH

 

Superb Owl Sunday

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Current coping mechanism:  brightly-colored fleece remnants.

While I spend the afternoon ignoring today’s sportsball event, I thought maybe I would drop in here and show you some pictures of what I’ve been sewing.

First, there’s this blouse, made for the Ridiculous Prints Sew-Along over in the Facebook Sew-Alongs & Sewing Contests group.  Pattern is Butterick 6177.

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Everything used to make this was from the stash, as I was snowed in at the time.

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This is a cotton or cotton/poly shirting, bought many years ago.

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The collar’s my favorite part of this.

This pattern is another little step outside my fashion comfort zone, but I really like how the blouse turned out. There’s just something about this shape that’s fun to wear.  It fits well through the shoulders and bust, but then there’s the swirly stuff around the hips that’s just fun–it’s a little like wearing a circle skirt. Feels swishy and a little girly, but also tailored, which is a combination that really fits me.  Drapey fabric, that nifty, crisp little collar, and lemons, too!

The only part of this blouse I’m not crazy about is this business here:

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The outer blouse has this weird little boxy shape at the ends, which I’m not really sold on.  I haven’t worn this out and about yet (I’m pretty much wearing nothing but fleece right now, as anything else isn’t warm enough), but after I road-test this, I might sew straight down to the point at the lower left and cut off the box.  We’ll see.

I’ve also been working on the baby quilt I was commissioned to make, but it’s a bit boring, so I took a break to whip this up:

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My new best friend.

Somebody in one of my Facebook sewing groups linked to this tutorial for a microwaveable shoulder wrap, and I knew immediately this was a thing I needed to have.  You may recognize the fabric as part of the comforter cover I got at Goodwill last summer.  It’s soft and colorful and I have a hell of a lot of it, so it was perfect for this.  A bike wheel turned out to be just the right size for the pattern, and I used the base of a coffee carafe for the center.

My excuse for making it was to help ease the tension I tend to hold in my shoulders.  I don’t know that it really helps with that, but it is lovely and warm.  🙂

And then there’s the owl fleece.

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I had SWORN I was done with piecing fleece, but then I happened to find this remnant at Wal-Mart and couldn’t resist.  (Yeah, I know, Wal-Mart, but I take my mother to get groceries every week, and Wal-Mart is the only store she’ll go to.)  Then I took her again the next week, and there was a remnant–almost a full yard–of black fleece to go with it.  So it’s fate, obviously, right?

I wanted to try a different style with this one, so I’m making the Named Patterns Saunio Cardigan, one of the free patterns I won recently.  This cardigan is going to run me about four bucks.  🙂

Loving all my brightly-colored fabrics right now when things are all white and gray here.  Partner and I were supposed to go to the Portland area this weekend for one of his bike rides, but getting there requires going through the Columbia Gorge, and the weather has been ugly down there.  Next weekend, we’re planning to go to Seattle for the annual Bike Swap, but the weather outlook isn’t good for that, either.  I’m feeling pretty whiny about things right now, but at least I have my lovely fabrics to cheer me up.

Off to finish that cardigan and dream of spring.

STH

An Elegant Ensemble

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Flowers as big as your head–YEAH BABY

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ALL THE COLORS

Finally finished up colorblocked fleece number 2, and it is great!

If you recall, the pattern I started with was this one, dated 1994:

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This should have been somewhat quick, but it sure wasn’t.

I had less than a yard of the very fabulous flowered fleece, and smaller pieces of the other fabrics, so it was back to colorblocking, this time in a more complicated way than I did for the Hello Kitty pullover.  I’ve been collecting inspiration for a while now, so I had things like this and this in mind.  Seriously, I’ve been thinking about this particular project for so long that I was kind of tired of it before I started work on it.  What finally got me moving to make the pullover (despite my lack of enthusiasm) was just wanting to tidy up–fleece takes up a LOT of room and I wanted that big bag out of my sewing room.

Cutting this out was a major project, what with all the different fabric sections to put together and arrange in a way that would actually fit the pattern pieces.  I thought I had enough of the black to do a solid back, but nope–that had to be pieced, too.  The entire process took a solid 5 hours of work.  Oy.

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Managed to get the collar flipped up here, but it’s actually pretty well-behaved.

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Bonus Pooh fluff, but I still didn’t manage to get that zipper pull to show up.

I cut out a large, the smallest size in my pattern, and I should have taken the time to grade down the sleeves and the top half of the front and back pieces.  I wound up having to bring the shoulders up 3″, take in the sleeves, take in the bust area, and cut 3″ off the bottom before hemming it.  On the plus side, though, all the trimming involved in those adjustments did mean that I was left with several long skinny strips of fleece, so I’m now set on Shelby toys for a while.  🙂

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In other news, the sew-along I’ve been running in the Sew-Alongs and Sewing Contests Facebook group is going really well!  It began on January 9th, and already we’ve had several amazing finished projects.  The theme of the sew-along is Ridiculous Prints and I’m completely lusting after so many of the fabrics the participants are using.  Seriously, why do I not have any dinosaur fabric??!?  Huge hot air balloons??  Monkeys with red-rimmed glasses???

Here’s what I dug out of my stash for the sew-along:

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MAKE WITH THE CUTTING HUMAN

And this fairly newish pattern, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while:

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The real challenge for me on this wasn’t finding a ridiculous print, but finding a large enough cut of one to make something for a fairly big person.  This fabric has been in my stash at least 10 years, maybe 15?  My sister and I both bought some; I used some pieces of mine for purse linings and other small things, while she used hers to make a shift dress that she wound up giving to me, as she didn’t like the fit of it.  So I had about 1 5/8 yards of fabric, plus the shift dress, for this blouse.  I searched and searched through my boxes and drawers for a complementary fabric for the center front of view B, but couldn’t come up with anything more interesting than a plain white poly-cotton.  And I couldn’t get to the fabric store because of this:

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UGH

The fabric is white, but it’s very soft and has a nice drape, so I think it will work well; it’s actually the center portion of a bed skirt that I bought at Goodwill over the summer.  So it’s not the most exciting choice for the contrast, but maybe that will be my excuse to use some sexy buttons?  Hmmm . . . .

And in the midst of this, I found myself volunteering to run another sew-along!  I recently joined the McCall’s Facebook group, then decided to join their Dinner Date Dresses Sew-Along in July, then the person leading that month’s project bowed out and they asked for volunteers and I wanted to make sure the sew-along would still happen ’cause the dress is really cute . . . .

STH

 

Sewing, Snow, and Stuff

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From today’s walk:  14F and enough wind to make the snow “fall” horizontally.  😦

Hello all, and I hope January is treating you well!

I’ve got some frosty pictures to show you, as well as some news, and, most importantly, sewing!

I participated in Friday Night With Friends last night, and did some work on another colorblocked fleece pullover.  Do you remember the wild flowered fleece remnant I got from SCRAP?  It’s now become this:

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It’s hard to see here, but I’ve put in a black zipper which I took out of a cheap and nasty waist pack.  I like the long zipper pull on it. 

I’m using an old pattern (dated 1994), also from SCRAP, which should win some sort of award for least promising cover photos ever.

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Don’t bother fitting–just make everything as large as possible!

The line drawings, though, show that this is a nice basic pullover that’s perfect for colorblocking (i.e., not a lot of seams to complicate matters).

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The fit on this thing is SUPER weird, though.  It’s designed to fit some sort of busty linebacker, as far as I can tell.  In order to get those slightly-dropped shoulders, I had to bring the sleeves up a full three inches.  I also had to narrow the sleeves by 4″ so they wouldn’t be massive.  I took in the side seams, but I’ve still got all this room for the huge bust that I don’t have, and it’s now too tight at the hips.  More work to be done there, needless to say.

And I can use all the fleece I can get.  It has been SO COLD and SO SNOWY here–pretty unusual winter for us this year.  I haven’t taken many photos because it’s been way too damn cold to go outside much, but here’s another one from this afternoon.

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I’m starting to understand why “snowbirds” here travel south in the winter, while these obviously-not-very-bright geese and I stay here for some reason.

Partner and I took a trip to Portland last month and apparently brought the bad weather with us.  It was a bit warmer than at home, which meant the snow had thawed halfway and had the usual Portland rain on top of it.  :/

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BRRRR . . . I had packed for typical Portland weather, not this, so I wound up wearing many, many layers at a time.

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Always looking for color.

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A small part of the large stained glass window in the fire station near the waterfront Saturday Market.

In other news, you remember the sew-along that I was doing with the Sew-Alongs and Sewing Contests Facebook group, right?  Well, I won!  The prize package consisted of several indie patterns, plus a gift certificate for some fabric–WOOT!  And I’ve also been asked to run a 2-week sew-along in the group, to be announced tomorrow.  That should be super fun and get me to FINALLY use some fabric I’ve had forever.  Stay tuned for more on that.

I plan to focus more on quilting than clothing this year, though.  I didn’t feel inclined to do any sort of wrap-up post at the end of the year, but I did look through what I’d made in 2016 and realized I managed to not finish a single quilt!   I’ve been missing quilting and I want to get back to it.  I’ve pulled out my blocks for the RSC 2015 quilt and I would like to finish that up–it’s way past time that I finally made a queen-size quilt for our bed.  In addition to that, I’ve got a commission to make a simple baby quilt for a friend of my sister’s, and my niece will need one for her baby that’s due this summer.

So that’s the plan for the moment.  I’m really glad I don’t have to actually stick to these plans that I make, as they’re constantly evolving, but that’s the plan right now.  Until it isn’t.  Which could happen at any moment.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your January and keeping your feet warm (currently my number one goal).

STH

Just So Very Fabulous

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Proof that my inner child has excellent taste.

Yep, other sewing bloggers make Chanel-style jackets with all sorts of fancy tailoring, I make goofy pink hoodies with cartoon cats on them.

I LOVE THIS, you guys.  It’s so soft and warm (and I have been informed by a reliable source that I am extra huggable while wearing it), plus it’s bright and colorful and I really like how the colorblocking turned out.

AND it has this super-warm hood with EARS.

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Livin’ the dream.

When I started this hoodie, I figured it was just a fun, goofy thing that I’d wear around the house, but it actually turned out much cooler than I anticipated.

Here’s the pattern I started with:

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I omitted the front pocket and the bottom and sleeve bands (plenty of length without using the bands).

For the colorblocking, my arrangement of pieces was guided by how much fabric I had.  I had only one strip of the Hello Kitty fleece–11″ x 60″–and only one of its long edges was straight, so the strip went down the front and back with the straight edge toward the center of the pullover.  (I got really lucky and had just enough to make it all the way down both pattern pieces.)  I had lots of pale pink fleece, so that became a sleeve and part of the front; I was hemming and hawing about how much of it to put on the front when I realized the fabric had a stain on it.  So it was cut where it is to avoid using the stained part.

Here’s the process I used to assemble the front.

  1.  The pattern piece was meant to be cut on the fold, so I traced it and taped the halves together.

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2.  I laid the fabric pieces out and moved them around until the front pattern piece was covered.

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3.  I pinned the pieces together wrong sides together.  I used lapped seams to attach them, which I had read somewhere was a good way to do non-bulky seams on fleece and other non-raveling fabrics; you just sew the pieces together wrong sides together, trim down one seam allowance, and sew the other seam allowance down over it.  Similar to flat-felling, but easier because you don’t have to fold the edge of the seam allowance under.

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There is seriously nothing Shelby likes more than cutting out fabric.  This whole process took HOURS and she sat there and watched intently the entire time.  She looks relaxed here because I was taking pictures rather than cutting; as soon as I started working with the fabric again, she was up and studying what I was doing.

4.  I placed the pattern piece on my newly-pieced fabric, pinned, and cut.

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The piecing on the back is simpler, in large part because cutting this out took forever and I was tired and ready to move on by the time I got to the back piece.  As I wrote above, at this point I wasn’t really taking the project seriously and trying to do my best work on it.  But my view of it changed when I tried it on after putting the black band on the neck edge.  It just all seemed to work much better than I had expected.  I had been planning to do a white hood and skip the ears, but it suddenly seemed very important that I make a black hood with ears.

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This is a double layer of the leftover Blizzard fleece from my partner’s cycling jersey, so it is WARM.

Side note here:  between my scrap quilting and my adventures in colorblocking items of clothing, I think a lot about how best to combine different fabrics.  The issue for me is that I love to use scraps to make things–it’s cheap and fun and creative and interesting–but I don’t want the things I make to look “scrappy” in the “scrappy quilt” sense of the word.  I want them to look put together and coherent, not random or disorganized.  And one way to do that, I’ve found, is to use a very limited set of colors, as I’ve done in this hoodie.  So I decided not to include the white and orange fleece remnants I had.  And I kept the sleeve colors the same as the front pieces they were next to so that they would look connected, not random.

As for the pattern, I sized down a bit as it was pretty oversized, and the fit is fine.  I’m always a little bit wary of unisex patterns because they usually involve some weird fitting issue due to the pattern company’s attempt to fit everyone in the world with one pattern.  Usually it’s linebacker shoulders, but in this one the only problem I have is that the sleeves are a little bit looser than I would like.  I get a draft up them, so I might try to overcome my aversion to mending and narrow them a little from the elbow down.  ETA:  I did take in the sleeves, and the fit is MUCH better.  I tapered from the shoulder because a whopping 3″ needed to be removed at the wrist and the look and fit of the entire sleeve is much improved.

I’m really happy with how this project came out, and I’ve been wearing my new hoodie pretty much constantly since I finished it.  I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the last colorblocked fleece I make this winter.

I hope you’re all staying comfortably warm in fun and colorful ways, and I will be back soon with some nature-y pictures I’ve been accumulating and some fun news as well.

STH

ETA:  I have linked this post up to Scraptastic Tuesday over at She Can Quilt.

More Adventures in Fleece

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I CAN FEEL THE EYES UPON ME . . . .

Friday night was another Friday Night With Friends, so I got busy with my pliers and zipper repair kit and put new top stops on my partner’s fleece cycling jersey zipper.

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Oh, how I labored over that zipper!

I wasn’t able to find a repair kit for the kind of big chunky zipper I’ve got in here (I don’t know the correct name for this type, but it’s the kind that’s labeled as a “parka” zipper), so I ordered the #5 kit and hoped for the best.  As I feared, the only way to get the stops on was to put them parallel to the edge of the tape, rather than parallel to the teeth as they usually are.  They seem secure enough, though, and I sewed a stop with thread below them just to be sure.

I am proud of how that zipper came out, though, and that the collar seams match up when the zip is zipped up–probably the first time I’ve ever really managed that.  Hand-basting the zipper in made the difference, though removing basting from fleece is not a task designed to make you happy.  😛

The pattern I used is Jalie 2216, and this is the third version of that jersey.  For this one, he wanted a warmer, thicker fabric, so we chose Joann’s “Blizzard” fleece, which is really nice stuff.  Dense, thick (but not so thick that it’s hard to cut or sew), and very soft.  (No, I am not a paid spokesbot for Joann’s, but my opinions can totally be purchased with fabric.  Call me!)

He also wanted the back pocket extended a bit on both sides so that he wouldn’t have to reach so far to access it.

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BTW, getting better results when photographing black things by putting them on a darker background, overexposing them, then darkening the pic as needed.  Would be even better with a model in it, but he is busy napping at the moment.

The ends of the pocket are supposed to be enclosed in the side back seams there, but I’ve extended them a few inches and just sewed the raw edges down.

He also asked me to change the way the elastic is attached to the wrists of the jersey so that it would be fully enclosed.  Jalie’s method for attaching elastic is to have you zig zag it directly onto the raw edge of the fabric on the wrong side; then you fold the raw edge under and zig zag again.  The problem is that the edge of the elastic inevitably sticks out a bit and can irritate your skin.  So I simply added 1/2″ to the sleeve length and folded the edge under twice before zig zagging.

I’m very happy to say that this version of the jersey came out infinitely better than the first one, and much better than the second.  The recipient loves it, I’m happy with my work on it, I actually got it done BEFORE the season in which it will be worn, AND I had enough black fleece left over to use it for the hood on my Hello Kitty pullover.  WIN.

Also, I finished the pullover yesterday–I AM WEARING IT NOW–and will get pics for you ASAP.

SO VERY FABULOUS, my friends.

FAB.  U.  LOUS.

Have a very excellent week, folks, and I will yell at you again soon.

STH