Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pretty in Pink, McCalls M7561



My daughter was invited to a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic for close friends of hers.  I love sewing for my girls, and offered to make her dress for her.  She picked out a few inspiration photos from Pinterest of dresses with fitted tops and floaty skirts.

Inspiration from Pinterest for bodice of dress
Inspiration from Pinterest for skirt of dress

I had some sparkly pink stretch lace fabric in my stash (I have no idea where I purchased it from or how long I've had it) that was just waiting for a special occasion dress.  I found McCalls M7561, which is a knit dress pattern to accommodate the stretch lace, and I went with a mash-up of views.  I used the front and back necklines of View B, but went without sleeves to match the inspiration photo.  The pattern uses the same front and back pieces for both the sleeveless and the sleeved version so I didn't have to make any adjustments at the armscythe while cutting out.  We also decided on the shorter length of View B to match the second inspiration photo.
Photo credit: www.mccallpattern.mccall.com
I headed to my local Fabricland to search for some fabrics in order to create the rest of the dress.  I was absolutely lucky to find a very soft rayon/lycra jersey that matched the pink of the lace.  I was even luckier to find it on clearance for $3/meter!  This became the base of the dress, as underlining for the lace and as the bottom layer of the skirt.  It's so soft and will keep her very cool.  It took some playing to get the rest of the fabrics skirt right as I couldn't find just the right colour chiffon for the floaty skirt.  The staff at Fabricland were excellent with their help and came up with the suggestion of layering a peachy colour chiffon under a dusty rose colour chiffon.  The peach was too bright on its own and the dusty rose was too muddy on its own, but layered together, they coordinated almost perfectly!  I was a bit hesitant to use a chiffon over the very stretchy jersey in a knit pattern, but I figured with all of the gathering at the waist, it would support the waist seam without being be too stretchy.

Concept drawing and playing with fabrics in my Sewing Journal
I constructed the underlining and the lace bodices as separate units at the shoulder and side seams, then basted them together at the neckline, armholes, and centre back before continuing with the bodice as one unit.  I stitched the side and back seams of the skirt layers separately, using French seams for the chiffon layers, and the serger for the jersey layer.  I based all three layers together at the waist seam and gathered them as one unit before stitching them to the bodice.

Another variation I made from the pattern was to add a centre back invisible zipper to ensure that the waist seam wouldn't have to stretch to get the dress on and off.  This also offered another area I could use to ensure the fit would be spot on.  I used a tricot interfacing on the seam allowance area near the zipper to keep it from puckering or stretching out.  I've adapted this method for almost ALL of my zippers no matter the fabric type, and am much happier when I do.  I hand basted the zipper in before sewing it in by machine.

During our first (and only due to weather, holiday, and travel time constraints!!) fitting, we decided to narrow the shoulder seams to make more of a cut in shoulder/tank style top. I narrowed them from the armscythe side as opposed to the neckline side, making more of a cut away shoulder line, tapering to the original underarm height as drafted.  The straps are still wide enough to cover her bra strap, but don't cover the entire shoulder.    And finally, the last change was to use 2-1/2" wide cross-cut strips of the rayon/lycra jersey to finish the armhole edges and the neckline, folded in half, then stitched on the right side of the bodice like you would on a tee shirt.  I then folded the binding completely to the inside and hand stitched to keep them from showing on the outside.  I think that simply binding the edges would have been too casual considering the rest of the dress.

I found a 1-1/2" wide silky look ribbon of an extremely close blush pink colour to add a finishing touch to the waist.  I think it turned out beautifully, and my daughter couldn't be happier.








She has promised me pictures of her wearing it on the day of the wedding, and I'll post them when I've got them from her!

Friday, January 19, 2018

#makenine2018

I wasn't originally going to take part in the Make Nine project this year.  Despite my love of SWAPs, I don't really like being tied to specific patterns as I am more of an intuitive sewist - meaning I sew how I feel.  If I feel like sewing a bathing suit in the middle of winter, then I'll sew a bathing suit.  If I feel like sewing a parka in the middle of summer, I'll do that too.  Then, this morning, while scrolling through my Instagram account, I totally got caught up in all the beautiful plans people are posting and the next thing I knew, I had a list in my bullet journal of the nine patterns I want to include in my sewing plans for this year.

#1.  Toaster Sweater, Sew House Seven (found here)

The Toaster Sweaters (PDF or Paper Pattern)
photo credit: www.sewhouse7.com

I have seen so many beautiful comfy looking makes of this pattern that I just can't help jumping on this bandwagon.  I need to improve my lounging game from flannel pants and a ratty old sweatshirt and this fits the bill nicely.  I already own this pattern, which is a plus.  My first planned version of this will be in grey heathered terry.

#2.  Ultimate Trousers, Sew Over It (found here)

Ultimate Trousers Sewing Pattern
photo credit:  www.sewoverit.co.uk
I am a huge fan of Lisa Comfort, and I've sewn a few of the Sew Over It patterns in the past. In fact, there are very few patterns from SOI that I don't own.  These have been on my list for-EVAH.  2018 is the year I'll finally get around to sewing them.

#3.  Ella Blouse, Sew Over It (found here)

Sew Over It Ella Blouse Sewing Pattern
photo credit:  www.sewoverit.co.uk

Read what I wrote for #2.  Ditto.

#4.  Fenway Bra, Orange Lingerie (found here)

Image result for fenway bra
photo credit: www.orange-lingerie.com

I've owned this pattern since it came out too, and I've been putting off sewing it because of the perceived  angst I'd have to go through in order to get it to fit just right.  I'm now envisioning all of the lovely pretty lingerie I could have if I just got over the angst-y part of it.  I'm also riding the high on my recent success with my Boylston Bra makes (view here) so I figured I should give it a go!

#5.  Lander Pants, True Bias (found here)

Image of LANDER PANT & SHORT (PDF)
photo credit: www.truebias.com

I don't currently own this pattern, but I'll gladly go off my self-imposed pattern buying ban because...LOOKIT those pants.  Every pair I've seen have been SO cool.  And the options for a cropped pair and shorts!  And I want to do the #landerpantsdance!!

#6.  M7387  McCalls Shirt Dress (found here)

photo credit: www.mccallpattern.mcall.com
View C with a shirt-tail hem, in light blue chambray, please!  Seriously, I've been fantasizing about a chambray shirt dress for a very.long.time.  Am I the only one to use the word "fantasize" when referring to sewing dreams?  Ahem...anyway...

#7.  Beverly Twisted Bikini, Named Clothing (found here)

Image result for beverly bikini
photo credit: www.indiesew.com

Every girl needs a cool bathing suit.  One that makes her feel comfortable and sexy.  And wearing something different than everyone else on the beach.  This looks like it has a lot of potential for meeting those needs for me!  I own this pattern already, which is also a plus.

#8.  KS3764, KwikSew (found here)

photo credit: www.kwiksew.mccall.com
The Iconic Moto Jacket.  I've been dreaming about this one too.  I even have the red faux leather (vegan leather?, pleather?) in my stash awaiting it's moment.

AND...last but not least...

#9.  Renfew Top, Sewaholic (found here)

Image result for renfrew top sewaholic
photo credit:  www.sewaholicpatterns.com

I have a lot of self-made tee shirts, from a lot of different pattern companies.  While I adore my most recent makes from my beloved Agnes tee pattern, I have had this pattern kicking around and want to use it too.  While I'm typing this post, it has gone from heavy rain to freezing rain to blustery snow, and version C with it's cuddly cowl is calling out to me!  This is another pattern that will span the seasons, so it doesn't matter what time of year it is when I get around to sewing it!

**Appendix for things I can't say "No" to:

A.  I also desperately want to make a fedora-style hat.  We have a local hat shop here in my town that offers classes, and it's been on my list of things to do.  WILL.DO.

B.  The Esplanade Bra by Orange Lingerie is also on my drool list.  As a strapless bra, it goes beyond angst-y to down right scary in my world of perceived fitting anxieties.  If I can accomplish my first nine, maybe I'll give this a go.

Image result for esplanade bra

There you have it.  #makenine2018  Somebody remind me of this post when I'm making my millionth Boylston Bra.

Monday, January 15, 2018

FO - McCalls 6873





You Guys!!!  I've forgotten how much fun sewing for kids can be.  My daughter and her boyfriend are taking my grandson with them to the Dominican Republic for a wedding next week.  There is absolutely no way they'll be able to find a dressy, yet cool for the hot temperatures, outfit for my 11 month old grandson, that won't be terribly expensive and take forever to find at this time of year.  I offered jumped at the chance to sew an outfit for him.

McCalls 6873
photo credit:  www.mccallpattern.com


I found McCalls 6873, which has a cover photo that shows a cute little kid in a very cute little vest and cuffed trousers.  While at my mom's house (yeah, she's a great-gramma!!) over the Christmas holidays, we found the exact match to the fabric in her stash and she very graciously gifted the piece to me for this project.  The fabric is a lightweight cotton seersucker, in white and blue.

Photo credits:  www.mccallpatterns.com
Based on my experience of sewing a few things for him recently, I traced off the size medium for both the trousers and the vest.  I made the vest first, lining it in a white linen to help keep him cool in the hot climate.  I did the lower "welt pockets" (fake) but left off the upper one as I was worried it would be too much for his small frame.  It was an extremely quick project - I'd forgotten how quick making baby clothes can be since all the seams are so much shorter than those needed for adult projects!

The trousers were just as quick to put together.  He has a 9" inseam! I giggled a little when we took that measurement.  The trousers have an elastic waist, and the cuffed hems are straightforward.  The part that took the longest for this project was having to go to my local fabric store to get more elastic to replenish my stash!

I don't have a photo of him wearing it yet, so you'll have to settle for a photo of it on my cutting table but I promise to update this post when I've got a picture.



A preview of what's up next on my cutting table:




Friday, January 12, 2018

Tadaaaa!!! Boylston Bra

My first finished sewing object(s) of 2018 is the Boylston Bra by Orange Lingerie.  The pattern can be found Here.  I have sewn a number of Marlborough Bras (also by Orange Lingerie) previously and have tweaked that a little pattern each time I made it.  I decided to start off making those same tweaks to this pattern as it is by the same company, so I assumed they used the same block to draft this pattern.

Let's step back in time for a little history of my fitting process behind the Marlborough bra.  Somewhere I remember reading that you should start off by using your "normal" RTW bra size. I use the word normal kind of tongue in cheek because really how normal is normal from one manufacturer to another.  Anyway...I digress.  So I started with a 34DD, based on my standard RTW size and when I made my first Marlborough, I found the band size to be way too small.  I added about 3" to the band pattern piece (meaning I added a total of 6" around).  Some of the bras I've made since then using the altered band piece are still a bit too tight through the band size, and others are perfect, depending on the fabrics and elastic I use, I guess.  I also added 3/8" total to the fullness of the cup over the bust apex area by splitting the cup and pivoting each piece a bit to add some fullness but leaving the underwire seam length the same.

So...back to the Boylston bra.  For the first one, I used a zebra print lightweight georgette crepe-y fabric (yeah, technical term, that) for the cups, bridge, frame and fabric portion of the straps.  I was worried it would be too lightweight without any underlining, but it worked out fine.  I'm still worried it may not handle well over the long term, but as this was only to be wearable muslin which may or may not work out, I wasn't too concerned about the long term.  I used black powernet for the back.  The elastics were from my stash.


I also used cut and sew foam for the cups.  I've found with my Marlborough bras that don't have any padding, you can see if I'm cold, ifyaknowwhatimean.  This is okay if I'm wearing a heavy sweater, or giant scarf over my chest, but I'm not comfortable with the possibility of the "headlights" look generally (12-year-old-boy-from-the-1980s reference that!) Digressing again...In any event, I've decided for the most part, my bras will have cut and sew foam in them.  I followed Beverly Johnson's Craftsy class on sewing bras with foam (found here), Emerald Erin's videos on YouTube (found here)and Cloth Habit's tutorial to draft and construct the foam cups and covers (found here).


My first Boylston bra turned out quite well.  I'm wearing it today, and it's a tad tight through the cups and the band and the strap placement at the back feels a little too far off centre, but otherwise, it's a lovely bra, and way better in the fitting and comfort department than the RTW bra I was wearing yesterday!



I've already completed a second Boylston bra, adding another 1/2" to the band pattern piece (another total inch to the band - this would be 7" added in total).  I also moved the back strap placement about 3/8" towards the centre back, and added a little more to the cup seams at the apex on the inner and outer lower cups as well as the upper cup.


For this one, I used a leopard print georgette for the outer cup fabric, and a kit in brown from Bramaker's Supply (found here) that came complete with Duoplex for the bridge and frame, powernet for the band, elastics, rings, sliders and back closure.  Somehow, I managed to mangle the cup foam a little during the process and it rolls to the outside on the upper cups a bit.  I think I must have been a bit careless while cutting the foam, and I took another look at the pattern for both the cups and the foam pieces that I had redrafted.  I adjusted the pattern for the upper cup fabric piece, by adding another 1/4" to the seam allowance of the upper cup fabric pattern piece to allow for turn of cloth.  When I cut the next one out, I paid particular attention to cutting out the foam in order to see if it makes a difference.




















And the third time is a charm!  My latest adjustments worked , and the fit on this one is pretty darned near perfect.

The outer cup fabric, bridge, frame and straps are lightweight cotton seersucker (from my mom's stash), the bridge and frame are covered with stretch lace from my stash, the band is powernet, and the inner cups are from cut and sew foam.  The cut and sew foam, along with the powernet are either from Bramaker's Supply or Emerald Erin (so sorry ladies - I've purchased these items from both of you in the past and can't remember where these exact ones came from!).  The rings and sliders definitely came from Bramaker's Supply.  The elastics came from my stash.




















Next up on the sewing table, a summer "suit" for my grandson, and a dress for my daughter - they're going to a wedding in the Dominican Republic and need some fancy duds!




Friday, January 5, 2018

Goals Check In & January Goals

So I totally missed my goals post for December.  It was a very busy month - I had the majority of my house painted, we moved our office from one city to another about 100 km away, I reorganized the majority of the two main levels of my house at least three times, and I had to dismantle my yarn room to make way for a home office.  Plus, Christmas (need I say more?!) and I had a lot of family and friends visiting - which I absolutely loved but takes time away from the other things I like to do.

So, I'll do a bit of a time warp.  Here’s a wrap up of the goals I was aiming for in November (the extra month really gave me an edge on finishing them!):

Knitting
1.  Finish Christmas socks for Steve & Sara  Done!

2.  Start and finish a Christmas sweater for Deklan (my cutie patootie grandson who will be celebrating his first Christmas this year) I have the yarn wound up and the pattern picked, but didn't get this started.  It will be my next cast on after I've finished up a few other things currently on my needles.

3.  Finish heels in the remaining three pairs of socks  Done!

Sewing
1.  Order fabric for the family Christmas flannel pants (I'm cheating a bit on this one, because I actually did this yesterday).  Did you know you can order online from Fabricland (my local chain fabric store)?  It's actually their head office in Quebec, but shipping is super cheap and no worries about exchange rates or customs fees for us Canadians!  I can justify ordering online because not many places have 15 meters of the same flannelette available!  Done! 

2.  Sew said family Christmas flannel pants (I have five adults and one baby to sew these for).  I usually use a production line style of sewing for these so it doesn't take more than an evening for one or two pairs. I finished all of them, and they all fit with the exception of my grandson's pair.  I have a bit of flannel left over and will make another smaller pair for him to be able to wear now.

3.  Choose dress pattern for Christmas work party dress, and pull fabric from the stash.  Totally rocked this one.  It was so nice to have a friend to help me with the fitting of this dress

4.  Make a list of Christmas events that I will be attending, and figure out what I'm wearing (note to self:  be realistic here with what you can actually sew for these events!) Rocked this one too!  I made a pair of red jeans to wear with a Blackwood cardigan and an Agnes top for one event, and I made a pair of sparkle-ly skinny jeans and a black off the shoulder/cowl top to wear to another event.

5.  Make one Blackwood cardigan Done.  In fact, I made three!

6.  Make one Toaster sweater Nope, haven’t done this one yet.  

Reading

1.  Finish Darkness Falls by Frank Tallis Done, another great book in this series.

2.  Finish Knight's Crossing by Christine Kling not finished, but I'm close!

3.  Choose next fiction book (probably the next Louise Penny book in her series I've been reading - I bought the Kindle version of this a while ago and really want to get back into this series)

4.  Continue reading Crucial Conversations 

I posted my 2018 goals earlier, and will keep those in mind when I'm picking my goals for January.

Knitting

1.  Finish Autumn Woods socks - first sock is finished, casting on the second pair today.
2.  Finish Rikke hat.
3.  Finish Henry the Chipmunk.  All I have to do is the eyes, but for whatever reason it's been sitting on my shelf not finished for A-G-E-S.
4.  Machine knit a sweater for Deklan (my grandson)
5.  Chose and spin one braid from my stash.

Sewing

1.  Sew another Boylston bra (kind of cheating since this is already cut out and ready to sew)
2.  Sew a Fenway bra
3.  Chose a pattern from Burda magazine for lounge wear (I change every evening after dinner to flannel pants, and I think it's time to upgrade).
4.  Plan and post my late Winter/early Spring SWAP plans.
5.  Trace and sew one Toaster sweater.

Reading

1.  Finish King's Crossing by Christine Kling
2.  Finish Crucial Conversations
3.  Finish You, Inc.
4.  Chose next fiction book
5.  Start reading Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris
6.  Start reading Leaning In (received this one for Christmas from my Dad)

Health/Fitness

I've changed this title from original title of Physical Health/Fitness, because I need to pay attention to my emotional health and mental health too.

1.  Yoga with Adriene at least 3x/week.
2.  Go to bed at 10 pm.
3. Decrease alcohol intake during the week.
4.  Meditate 3x/week.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy New Year!!

Welcome 2018!!  On reflecting, 2017 wasn’t the best year for me. There were a lot of really great things that stick out in my mind (like the birth of my grandson, a trip to Newfoundland for my daughter's graduation with her second undergrad degree, a trip to the Netherlands with family, for example), but overall I really struggled with a lot of upheaval and changes, and as one who likes to plan and have some control over where things are going, it was a very difficult year in that respect. I do have to remind myself of all the many, many things to be thankful for.

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2018, but I have made a few goals I’d like to achieve throughout the year.   It's a bit of a lengthy list, but I wanted to keep everything in one place to keep me organized and on-track.
 
Knitting
  1. I’d really like to make 20 pairs of socks this year.  I rocked out 17.5 pairs in 2017.  I feel as though with a bit of effort, 20 pairs is totally do-able for me and I’d really like to use up some of my very extensive yarn stash.
  2. Speaking of yarn stash, I’d really like to be more intentional when I’m buying yarn.  I have so many beautiful yarns in my stash already.  This was made very apparent to me when I had to dismantle my yarn room late in 2017.  Trying to store my stash throughout the rest of house made it very clear exactly how much yarn I have, to the point of it being overwhelming which is not how I want my yarn to make me feel.  I would like to do most of my knitting from stash this year.
  3. I also have a few works in progress I’d like to finish up - a least three sweaters (M’agatha, the Armande/Mackenzie sweater, Iced and I’m sure there’s one more but I can’t think of which one it is right now!!), a lace poncho type garment and a doll.
  4. I’d also like to do some more knitting for my grandson - I’m thinking sweaters and little cables vests.  I'd like to get at least three sweaters done for him this year.
  5. Get back to machine knitting (this will also help me use up my stash!)  I'd like to knit at least four sweaters on the knitting machine.
  6. I’ll include spinning here too, since it's fibre related - I’d like to use more of my handspun yarn for my knitting this year.  I have a large quantity from a combo spin that I did two years ago (where did time go??)  I'm envisioning some type of cardigan with a lovely cuddle-ly collar.
  7. I would also like to spin one braid/bump/batt a month (4 oz).
Sewing
  1. Sew 12 bras.  That's one a month.  I have a huge lace stash, and a huge stash of bra kits from Merckwaerdigh that need to be appreciated instead of being stuck in a bin somewhere, hidden away.  And speaking of bras, I’d like to use the patterns I’ve already purchased but haven’t used.  I would like to make the bras from Orange Lingerie.  I’ve made the Marlborough bra a few times already and own ALL of Norma’s other patterns (Boylston, Fenway, Esplanade and Berkeley) but had put them on the back burner due to the fitting process I knew I’d have to go through (absolutely nothing to do with Norma's patterns, and everything to do with the human body being like snowflakes and different from everyone else!).  To start 2018 off I decided to make the Boylston Bra, which was a wearable success, and I’ve already made a few tweaks to the pattern for the next one (which I already cut out today!). 
  2. And speaking of stash, this is another stash that has grown beyond my comfort level.  I would like to sew mostly from stash this year.  I'm not limiting myself to NOT buying fabric, but I have so many fabrics all stashed away already. It’s not easy to access the bins (or the fabric), it’s a pain in the ass to go through the bins to find what I’m looking for and now my stash is now generally taking over my sewing space (and my crawl space is full).  Again, not how I want my stash to make me feel.  I would like to be more intentional when I’m purchasing fabric.  
  3. I would like to sew at least one pattern a month from my Burda magazine collection.  I’ve had my Burda magazines kicking around for years - since 1990 in fact.  I don’t have the complete collection from way back then, but I do have A LOT of them.  There's a lot of variety there, and I find the Burda pants fit me really well without a lot of adjustment.  So many possibilities!
  4. I've also got a general idea of some of the particular patterns I'd like to sew, and love the concept of #MakeNine.  I'll do a separate post on my next SWAP wardrobe plans soon.
Reading
  1. I’d like to read 36 books this year - one a month in each of the following categories:  fiction, business and self-improvement. I don't currently have a list, but I have an extensive library both of physical books and Kindle books that I'd like to work my way thorough.  Please let me know of your favourites!
Physical Health/Fitness

I would like to improve my level of physical fitness this year.  The last quarter of 2017 saw me do very little to increase my fitness level, in fact, I would have to say I worked very hard at decreasing it!  I’ve started my yoga practice again (today, in fact) and felt very accomplished after I had finished.  I’m following Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga - I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and really like Adriene as a yoga instructor.  Plus the videos are free on YouTube - her channel can be found here:  Yoga with Adriene YouTube Channel  I'm a huge fan of a yoga practice - it's great for my body and I find I'm better mentally and emotionally when I practice regularly.
  1. Do yoga 3 x/week (minimum).  Ideally I'd like to do yoga everyday, but sometimes that's just not feasible.  Mornings work best for me and help put my mind in the right place to start my day.
  2. Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night.  This means going to bed by 10 pm for me, lights out!  It cuts into my sewing/knitting/spinning time at night but makes me a better person and more focused and productive during the day.  Plus it helps me get up earlier so I can do my yoga practice!
  3. Decrease alcohol intake during the week. I wouldn't say alcohol is a problem for me, but I found that during very stressful times this year I was turning to it to relax more than I would like.  So, I'm aiming to not drink alcohol during the week.  Alcohol is also empty calories, which will help me whittle my waist a little too!
There you have it - my goals for 2018.  I'd love to hear from you.  Do you have any goals for this year?  Do you make resolutions?  How do you improve your chances of achieving your goals?  


Sunday, November 5, 2017

November!

Oh my gosh, you guys, it has been an insane month.  I had work trips to Chicago, Alliston, London (Ontario), Smith’s Falls, Ottawa (and another 500 km route around the area in one day), then Kitchener.  I think I slept more in a hotel room than in my own house!  I am so happy to be done with the Fall Tradeshow season, and really focus on a few things within the office, as well as my home.  As a result, I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked for my own personal goals.  Don't get me wrong - I’m not disappointed with myself - I’m getting better with being realistic and self-care! (Also maybe because I’m too tired, haha).

Without further ado, here’s a wrap-up of my October goals:

Knitting

1.  Finish the heels in at least two pairs of socks.  Christmas is coming and these would make perfect gifts.  BOOM, nailed this one!  I finished heels in FIVE, count’em, FIVE pairs of socks.  It feels so good to get them off my WIP list!!  



2.  Finish the Armande cardigan sweater I'm currently working.  It goes really well with my Chicago wardrobe mentioned above.  And who can resist being wrapped in Malabrigo Rios?! I haven’t even picked this up.  I got started on my Christmas knitting so this took a back seat.  I think I'll put this one over until all my Christmas crafting has been finished.
3.  Make a list of Christmas gifts and start working on them. How's that for a specific goal? LOL  This will consist of slippers, socks, hats and mittens, but I have to figure out which patterns, which yarn and which recipients.  I’m well entrenched into my Christmas knitting - and loving it!  I have so much fun planning and making things for my loved ones!
4. This is a spinning goal, but I'll include it here as it is yarn related.  I have two braids that I've spun for two separate coordinating two ply yarns that I'd like to finish plying.  These won't likely see any knitting action until the new year when all my Christmas knitting has been finished, but I've been using my spinning time as my meditation in the mornings lately.  Well, this hasn’t gotten much love either - I’ve been spinning for a few minutes here and there when I need a break from my knitting :)

Sewing/Wardrobe

1. Update my casual wardrobe for fall/winter

  • go through my closet and toss/donate old, dated/aged or unworn items
  • make a list of "holes" that need to be filled
  • start sewing these holes
    • I already know that one of them is a jean jacket
    • another is casual pants
    • and a hooded vest
Well, I’ll be honest with you - my sewing has taken a back seat this month.  I miss it, and will hopefully be getting back into it in November!  Knitting is a lot easier to take with you to a hotel room!  I'll also be honest with myself in that I'm going to have to put this off until my Christmas crafting is done.
2.  Decide on a winter coat pattern and pull fabric and notions from the stash nope, same reason I haven’t gone through my casual wardrobe.  I am holding off on this one as well until my Christmas crafting is done as well.
3.  Make a dress for work/office wear, wool crepe I started this, and made my usual adjustments.  The front of the dress looks amazing, but the back, despite pinching out 3/4" for my swayback adjustment, still needs about another 1-1/2" pinched out.  I will rip out the zipper, and put in a "faux seam" at the back (basically sewing in a horizontal dart) and re-insert the zipper. Since this is a sleeveless dress and since my plate is a bit full with Christmas sewing, this will wait until my Christmas sewing is done.
4.  Make a pair of trousers for work/office wear, wool suiting yes!  I made a pair of a navy blue tropical wool trousers.  More details to follow in another post.

I didn't write this goal down, but I had it in the back of my mind as Halloween approached.  I made a costume for my grandson - I didn't make any promises as I wasn't sure how things would go, but when I was in the Fabricland in Ottawa, I formulated a plan and got the things I needed to make this:

What does the fox say?
Happy Halloween!
Cutest fox EVAH!!

Reading

1. Finish reading The Highland Witch by Susan Fletcher. This is a historical fiction novel about a woman in Scotland in the late 1600s.  It is completely opposite of the saccharine book I read last month.  I'm finding it well written, very engaging and I'm totally absorbed into the story.  I highly recommend it so far!  You can find it here: The Highland Witch at Amazon.ca

You guys!!! I LOVED this book.  I was sad when I finished it, in part due to the story/plot line but mostly because I wanted to keep reading it!
2.  Finish reading Knight's Cross by Christine Kling, the third book in The Shipwreck Adventures trilogy I've enjoyed this series as well, easy to read yet enough believable plot twists to keep me interested I haven't finished reading this one yet, but I have picked it up again.
3.  Chose the next fiction book to read. I am reading Darkness Falls by Frank Tallis - the 5th (?) in a series of murder mysteries set in the early 1900s in Austria.  This is a great series, and an easy and intriguing read - I've been reading this before bed each night.

November Goals

My goals for November are primary Christmas focused.  I think it is so special to give something that has been hand-crafted specifically with the recipient in mind.

Knitting
1.  Finish Christmas socks for Steve & Sara

2.  Start and finish a Christmas sweater for Deklan (my cutie patootie grandson who will be celebrating his first Christmas this year)

3.  Finish heels in the remaining three pairs of socks

Sewing
1.  Order fabric for the family Christmas flannel pants (I'm cheating a bit on this one, because I actually did this yesterday).  Did you know you can order online from Fabricland (my local chain fabric store)?  It's actually their head office in Quebec, but shipping is super cheap and no worries about exchange rates or customs fees for us Canadians!  I can justify ordering online because not many places have 15 meters of the same flannelette available!

2.  Sew said family Christmas flannel pants (I have five adults and one baby to sew these for).  I usually use a production line style of sewing for these so it doesn't take more than an evening for one or two pairs.

3.  Choose dress pattern for Christmas work party dress, and pull fabric from the stash.  

4.  Make a list of Christmas events that I will be attending, and figure out what I'm wearing (note to self:  be realistic here with what you can actually sew for these events!)

5.  Make one Blackwood cardigan

6.  Make one Toaster sweater I'm justifying to myself that I need these last two to stay warm in this weather and I'm missing a few colours to go with my current wardrobe.  Also, I've just watched a pile of YouTube videos this morning where people have made Toaster sweaters and they look so warm and cozy!

And, in the interest of being completely honest, I bought a pile of fabric at the Ottawa Fabricland (despite being a chain store, each Fabricland seems to have slightly different stock, so I always make a point of checking out the stores when I travel if I have time) that I really want to incorporate into my fall/winter wardrobe.  I have pre-treated some sweater knits, and I have a gorgeous faux textured suede fabric in burgundy that is waiting to be turned into a jacket.  Maybe while I'm waiting for the flannelette to arrive??  this is more of a dream than a goal, but I figured I'd put it in here anyways :)

Reading

1.  Finish Darkness Falls by Frank Tallis

2.  Finish Knight's Crossing by Christine Kling

3.  Choose next fiction book (probably the next Louise Penny book in her series I've been reading - I bought the Kindle version of this a while ago and really want to get back into this series)

4.  Continue reading Crucial Conversations 

Well, it's a dark, dreary, damp and drizzly Sunday morning here, but after taking a full rest day yesterday, I'm ready to go - energized (sort of) and dreaming of sewing projects, so I'm heading down to L'atelier Tonia for some sewing!!

What are you sewing/crafting for Christmas?