Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring Travel Plans = Spring SWAP plans

Even though we've passed the spring equinox, our days aren't feeling very spring like.  The sun is shining brightly and longer, but it's still cold out.  Despite that, when the days get longer and sunnier, my thoughts turn towards spring.  And to me spring means a bright fun wardrobe.  I'm almost done the first phase of my current SWAP, with only two more items to go (a skirt and a jacket).  I've finished the pants but haven't blogged them yet.  BUT...I've also just booked plane tickets to go to Prague in June.  #soexcited

Travelling to me means SWAP or capsule wardrobe.  I travel with only a carry on bag, which means new SWAP is in order.

My first order of business when planning a SWAP or capsule wardrobe is always to browse - magazines, online, Pinterest, photographs, books.  In this case, I searched Pinterest for "Spring Wardrobe", "Spring Outfits" and "Prague Outfits".  When something catches my eye, I start my own board, specifically for that SWAP or season.  I keep pinning more and more outfits or photographs of anything that catches my eye.  When I have about twenty or thirty, I again take a closer look at what it is that catches my eye - in this case it was a combination of the colours coral and olive, and that the clothes were relaxed yet pretty and feminine.  Here's a perfect example of a colour palette I found on Pinterest:

Faded Floral. The chosen colors. Yay!!  Way better than your first idea kater.

The next step is to go digging through my stash.  My stash is expansive, so this always takes some time, but I always have so much fun stash-diving.  This time, I combined this with a bit of a sewing space clean out and donated/tossed some fabrics I know I won't be using (ever!).  I do the same thing with my fabrics as I did with Pinterest, just pull things that catch my eye, that fit the colour palette and fit the feeling of the collection that I'm going for.  I don't organize specific fabrics to specific patterns until later.  I found some good stuff:

The next thing I do to plan my travel wardrobe is to write the list of events I'll be attending, activities I'll be doing, as well as do a bit of research on the anticipated weather for the time of year I'll be travelling.  Am I travelling for work?  Am I travelling for pleasure?  Do I need certain clothes to do certain activities (swimming, hiking, biking, city walking, attending meetings or parties, etc.)?  I write an outline of the clothes I think I'll need - this is based off my travel  experience, my sewing experience with SWAP and a lot of research.  I have a standard formula of clothing items that seems to work really well (highlighted in bold below).  This formula can be suited towards any type of vacation, simply change the style of clothing required.  For example, the jacket can be either a suit jacket or blazer, or an athletic waterproof fabric, or a relaxed and cozy cardigan.

On this trip, I'll be doing mostly European city touristy/vacation type things - museums, in-town walking tours, art galleries, but I also like to dress for dinner, and there is the possibility of an evening reception or two.  So, I'm going for a business casual wardrobe with a dress or separates that can be dressed up a bit.

Here's what I'm thinking:

1.  Jacket, olive green cotton motorcycle style jacket, Kwik Sew 3764 (one of my Make Nine!)
Image result for kwik sew moto jacket
2.  Pants #1 - Tan textured cotton Lander Pants, view C (another #makenine2018)

3.  Pants #2 - Vogue 8330 slim cut jeans in blush stretch "denim"

4.  Skirt #1 in a solid colour - Vogue 7805 in olive cotton
Image result for Vogue 7805

5.  Skirt #2 in a print or check - I'm switching this out to a pair of cropped wide-legged trousers in an olive medium weight linen/cotton blend - I'm thinking if the Lander Pants above is a success, why not use the same pattern but the cropped length (view B) for these?

6.  Top #1 - blush pink rayon jersey drapey tee, Sandra Betzina Vogue 1291 OOP
Image result for sandra betzina top pattern vogue

7.  Top #2 - coral pink cotton/lycra jersey drapey tee with 3/4 length sleeves, M7249

8.  Top #3 - creamy white cotton/linen shirt, Butterick 5678
 & 9.  Top #4 - tropical print cotton shirt, Butterick 5678, sleeveless

Image result for butterick 5678

10.  Top #5 - ITY print in brown and cream, sleeveless tee/tank

Image result for new look pattern drapey top

11.  Top #6 - flow-y sleeve loose tee, olive jersey, New Look 6913

Image result for new look pattern drapey top

I'm also throwing in an easy jersey dress which can be dressed up or down, and a pair of leggings and a lightweight hoodie in brown knit technical fabric.  I'll need the dress for dinner out one or two nights, and the leggings and hoodie will be my pjs and yoga gear.   For the dress I've chosen the infinity dress pattern from Butterick, in an olive green jersey, which will give me lots of different looks.
Image result for butterick infinity dress
I have also found a cozy cardigan and a lightweight rain jacket to layer over everything are necessary items.  I have a really unique wool sweater knit fabric in an olive-y/tan/brown colour for a Blackwood cardigan.  I haven't figured out what fabric or pattern for the rain jacket yet.

Blackwood Cardigan

Accessories will include scarves, a few cheap but gorgeous statement necklaces, hoop earrings in gold, and two pairs of supportive shoes (one casual pair and one dressier yet just as comfortable pair, perhaps sandals of some kind).

As you can see, this SWAP has absolutely nothing to do with my previous SWAP - the colours I've chosen aren't immediately noticeably cohesive with the previous capsule wardrobe I've sewn, but I think there will be the ability to mix and match some of them together.  Regardless, I am blessed with a large closet, a large stash of fabric, and loads of patterns.  And I'm sewing (and eventually wearing) what will make me happy.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Success in Greyscale

I am not sure what's happening to this month.  It's flying by.  Loads of major projects are happening at work, I took a day to go skiing, I had some wonderful family events that I attended, I had to go to court for the possibility of jury duty, yada, yada, yada. It never rains, but pours, right?

I haven't had much in the way of sew-jo lately.  I mean, I have loads of things I'd love to make so I can wear them, but I haven't had much in the way of energy or time to actually create them.  I've got a few things still in progress for my Queen of Dots SWAP, but they're not calling to me right now.'s my prerogative to set them aside for the time being and start something else, right?  I mean, isn't this what a stash is for?? 

So...I pulled out another Merckwaerdigh kit and my current favourite patterns.  I'm sure you can all name them by now...shout them out with me people - the Boylston Bra and the Ohhh LuLu Giselle Ruched Panties.  In theory these should be easy to sew.  I've nearly perfected the fit, to the point of both feeling like I'm not wearing anything when I'm wearing them.  Also in theory, I shouldn't have to read the instructions because I've made them both so many times before.  In theory.

I decided to put the mesh lining on the outside, for interest.   Well, I flipped the "good" fabric around, so now the right side is on the inside.  Fortunately, you can't tell.  #notunpicking

I also decided for some reason that the soft plush side of the channelling deserved to go to the inside, rather than the outside, which would be the side that goes against your skin.  I have no idea how will affect the comfort level when wearing, but again #notunpicking.

I learned my lesson with the last bra I made about using an appropriate needle for topstitching on the outer layer.  I started my project with a size 9 ballpoint needle.  I've now learned that this works well for topstitching jersey, but not necessarily for topstitching channelling in place.  Especially over previously topstitched seams and band elastic.  Yup, broken needle.  And #holeinyourmesh  Well, my friends, this is a bra.  And in my current relationship status, I'll be the only one seeing it.  So...whatevs.  If you can see it, letmeknow because I think it's pretty much not visible.

The Giselle Ruched Panties turned out well enough.  Except for the hole I snipped into the stretch lace at the waist when I was trimming off the underlayer.  At least it was at the back.  Yup, zigzag stitch is now my favourite stitch.  Mended.

I also ventured out to another pantie pattern, this one the Evie la Luve Lyla Thong.  I love the way the previous Evie la Luve panties I have made have fit, so I figured this one shouldn't be any different.  And I was right! 

I used the mesh lining fabric for the centre front panel of the thong, to coordinate with the bra. 

I also used stretch lace in place of the waist elastic.  It just adds yet another layer of interest.

So...regardless of all of the detours I took to get there, I'm chalking this up to another successful TNT make.  On to the next one...

Friday, March 16, 2018

I'm also a Knitter with a Capital K

My posts lately have been all about the sewing.  Sewing bras, my SWAP plans, my completed SWAP garments, my failed-ish attempt at lounge wear...but sewing nonetheless.  My goals posts usually have a knitting section, but I realized that I don't often show off my finished knitted garments/items here.

I've been a knitter for a LONG time, my grandmother taught me initially when I was around four (yup, 4), but I didn't become really prolific at it until my girls were born, so about 28 years ago or so.  Now, you will very likely find me with some knitting in my hands any time I'm sitting down and not at work.

Today's post is all about the socks.  I knit socks.  All.  The.  Time.  I consistently have a pair of Plain Vanilla socks on the go - plain vanilla for the uninitiated is just as it sounds - a pair of socks that are a plain stitch, which means I use only the knit stitch in the round.  This makes them great for knitting while watching TV, or in line somewhere, or at the movies, or as a passenger in a car, on a train or in a plane (in a box with a fox), but mostly it makes them great for using wildly crazy sock yarn.

I have set a goal for myself to knit 20 pairs of socks in 2018.  Last year I managed to finish 17.5 pairs.  I only finished the first sock of the last pair during 2017, and completed second sock of that pair in the first week of 2018, but it's a weird pair that straddles the years so I'm not really counting it in the 2018 goal.  Anyway, I've been knitting like mad since the new year.  I have a million skeins of sock yarn (well, only a close exaggeration, but not far off) and wanted to use them instead of buying a new sock club (where sock yarn shows up every month or two in your mailbox and you don't know what colour its going to be until you open the package), so I asked my daughter for her help.  I set her loose on my sock yarn stash, and gave her twelve paper lunch bags and asked her to choose 12 skeins, one for each month.  She wrote the month on the outside of each bag, put the yarn in and then sealed the bags.  I have no idea what colour I'll be getting or what yarn for that matter.  Voila, my own personal sock club.

In addition to the PSC, I routinely knit socks for my family for each of their birthdays, plus at least six more pairs for Christmas presents, and that adds up to quite a few pairs.

Somehow this has turned into bragging about how many pairs I can knit, but what I really wanted to show you was what I've already accomplished this year.  Without further ado, here are the seven pairs I've already completed in 2018:

#1 - I knit this pair for my youngest daughter's boyfriend.  I somehow screwed up the stitch count on the pair I made him for his birthday last year and they were a bit tight on him, so I told him to give those ones to my daughter, and with much haste (and embarrassment, though my daughter was very pleased) knitted him a new pair.

#2 - my first pair from the Personal Sock Club (PSC), January edition.  I just love the bright colours in these.  That's also why my daughter picked this particular yarn, because our winter can be dull and dreary and she wanted to brighten up my day.


#3 - I have had my eye on this yarn for a while, so when I finished my PSC for January, I just couldn't wait to cast these on.

#4 - February PSC socks - this colourway!  this yarn!! so soft.  This is where I started deviating from the Plain Vanilla socks and added a bit of texture.  But the textured pattern I chose for this one is easy but super cool!

#5 - I affectionately call these the Love Sick socks.  I cast them on on Valentine's Day as a gift to me, but then promptly got sick.  I was so sick I didn't even knit.  That's super sick as anyone who knows me will tell you.  As I started getting better, I finished the pair while confined to the couch, watching the Olympics.

#6 - Easter Egg Birthday Socks - these are for my mom for her birthday.  I'm giving them to her after her actual birthday, but I don't think she'll complain ;)

#7 - Moar Birthday Socks - my dad's birthday is less than two weeks after my mom's.  That makes for difficult knitting deadlines, but again, I don't think he'll complain that he gets them after his birthday either. 

If I can keep up at this rate (my math says its average of 3 pairs per month, but I've also been known to get math horribly wrong), I'll be at my goal by by the end of August, with time to spare for more Christmas knits.  I do want to get a sweater or two done this year too though, so who knows how many I'll be able to accomplish.  I'm already half way through two more pairs which I'm absolutely loving (YASSS!!!)

Pairs in progress:

You can see all my knitting projects on Ravelry, my name there is Tonia2000.

What about you?  Are you a knitter?  Are you on Ravelry?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Disoriented SWAP'ping (FO - Vogue 7827)

So, sometimes my SWAP plans get a bit disoriented.  In this case, I had a party that I was going to and I wanted a new top to wear, as one does.  And while I'm really trying to be disciplined and stick to my SWAP plans, I'm down to the last two items in my main SWAP, which are a glen plaid jacket and a matching glen plaid skirt.  I've been holding off on the glen plaid, because, well...plaid.  Matching isn't my favourite thing.  Anyhoo...back to the party.  I had pulled this fabric and pattern for the next phase of my SWAP and thought Vogue 7827 would make the perfect party top.

I chose View B, and used a black chiffon with tiny white polka dots.  I cut my usual size 16.

There are only three pattern pieces for this top - a front, a back and a guide for the elastic.  It seems relatively straight forward - the front and back are basically rectangles.

BUT...said rectangles are cut on the bias.  With narrow hems.  ALL AROUND.  And this is chiffon.   So...yup, it suddenly became a labour of love instead of a quick throw-together top.

The drape is fantabulous.  

Directions are important.  After stitching the basting stitches, gathering the area where the seams will go and then adding the narrow elastic, I promptly stitched the seams right sides together.  Because that's how you normally sew a side seam.  BUT...that left the lovely drapey sleeves on the inside.  GAHHHH.

Since it was time for the party, and I had a billion-ty stitches to unpick on black bias cut chiffon, I decided to wear something else to the party and come back to this later.  Truthfully, my initial thought was "How much do I really want this top?" but when I came back to this later, I decided I really, really wanted it, so I tediously unpicked every stitch, and then stitched it the right way 'round.

The flutter sleeves turned out amazing.  Totally worth the unpicking in my opinion.  This is a pretty distinctive top, so I'm not sure I will make it again, at least for the foreseeable future, but I've made a pretty giant note to myself to make sure I don't sew it the wrong way round again.

Now all I need is a party to wear it to...

Friday, March 9, 2018

TNT Patterns - Boylston Bra

My lingerie drawers are busting at the seams (see what I did there?!), but I can't. stop. making.  I've been reaching for my foam lined cup Boylston Bras on a regular basis.  I like everything about them - they're so comfortable, I like the shape they give me, I like the way they look under my clothes (no obvious seam lines, etc.).  So what's a girl to do?  Make MOAR!!! This has definitely become a tried and true (TNT) pattern for me.  I think it takes me less time to make a bra now than it does to go shopping for one! 

I chose the outer fabric, lingerie mesh and elastics from a Merckwaerdigh kit that I had in my stash. The foam for the cut and sew foam cups came from Emerald Erin and the black power net came from Bramaker's Supply.  I made a minor adjustment to the pattern this time around from the last ones I've made. I've found that the band elastic has been rolling under the cups, so I trimmed 1/4" off the bottom of the frame pieces under the lowest part of the cups before attaching the band elastic.

Here's the finished bra:

Inside view, showing the foam cups, along with the apple green lingerie mesh I used as a stabilizer for the bridge and frames:

My topstitching on the cup seams wasn't the greatest, until I switched out the sewing machine needle to a smaller ballpoint size.

And of course, if one makes a bra, one needs matching panties.  I pilfered the leftover pieces from this bra kit and combined them with stretch laces from my stash to make two matching panties.  The first pair I used the Giselle Ruched Back Pantie pattern from OhhhLuluSews.  I didn't have enough of the main fabric to make the required height of the back pattern piece, so I added a piece of navy stretch lace before I did the ruching.  Here's the back:

 I also split the front pattern piece to add a separate crotch piece using the height of the crotch lining piece as a guide, so I could squeeze out the pieces from the remaining fabric I had.  The fabric print is so busy, it's hardly noticeable.  Here's the front:

For the second pair of matching panties, I used Evie la Luve's  Esme Panties pattern.  I used a coordinating stretch lace trim at the waist instead of fold over elastic.

And for the final pair, I made a coordinating stretch lace pair of Evie la Luve's Bella Lace panties out of a blue stretch lace - I'll be honest I cut these out a few months back and have no idea where the lace came from.  I'm just happy I didn't lose any of the pieces.  
As luck would have it, they coordinated with this bra!
I think I need to go through my lingerie drawer to make some more room, because you know these won't be the last ones I make!

Monday, March 5, 2018


Here's another project that has a bit of a turn from my original plans.  I knew I wanted a fitted shirt/blouse in my SWAP, but I just couldn't find the fabric I wanted to use.  Instead of stressing about it (because really, I sew to try to reduce stress, not create it!), I went on a stash-dive and found some beautiful cupro fabric I had purchased WAY back when Timmel Fabrics was still in business (boy, do I miss Julie and her beautiful fabrics!).  Cupro is super soft.  A quick Google search shows cupro is a cellulose fabric, similar to tencel or modal, and feels very soft like rayon or silk, and is similarly drapy.  My fabric looks like a jacquard or cross woven fabric, with beige and black and has a raised pattern to it.  It has a slight sheen to it, not super shiny but you can see from the photograph that it does have a bit of a "glow."

I chose Butterick 5678 for the pattern.  I've used it before (in a different size than I am currently), and it comes with different cup sizing, which is a huge win in my books.  This semi-fitted shirt has a collar and collar band, with princess seams, and sleeves with cuffs.

Image result for butterick 5678
I couldn't find this when I did a search on the Butterick website, so maybe it's out of print?  That's too bad, because it's a great pattern.

Details like the collar, collarband, front placket, sleeve vent and cuffs take a bit of time to do, but add such a nice touch.  Originally, I didn't add the stitching line to the button placket, as I was hoping to keep it simple with the busy-ness of the fabric, but ended up going back to add them because the buttonholes just looked...weird, in my mind, like they were too close to the edge.  I also didn't use the bust pockets because I wanted to keep the fabric as the focus. 

I've made this pattern before, but have had to size up, so it was like I started fresh.  I did a 3/4" sway back adjustment and added 1" to the length of the sleeves.  I also used the size 16 D cup.

The final result fits very nicely with my other SWAP garments.  It wasn't what I had originally planned, but I absolutely love the finished item.  It also uses up some really deep stash yardage, which is a big win in my books!