7.19.2021

A White Shirt for a Chilly July

 Our move to our lake house has been full of ups and downs...there are 40 steps to the front door after all!!!!...But the most frustrating thing has been our lack of reliable internet connection.  I used to love the fact that we could not be 'connected' when we were using the house for a get away.  But now that we are here full time it has been more than frustrating.  I am sitting in the coffee shop trying to get the pictures that I want to share from my phone to my computer.  It completely baffles me why pictures I took this morning are already in my photos file, but the ones I took last week are still wandering around in the cloud somewhere.  😩 It will probably take a long phone call with one of my bright spark sons to get this figured out!  Whatever....

I have been sewing and loving my new machine and my new lofty studio, the blogging and sharing have not been as seamless (pun intended!)

Let me start with my July White Shirt.  I was thinking that it would be a very light, summery number, but we have been having an unusually cool season this year.  I put the linen and lawn aside and pulled out a sport fleece and made myself a hoodie!




I can't remember if I have ever drafted a hood before?????  I must have at some point, but my memory did not help me on this one.  I incorporated the neck opening with the hood and put a 'ribbing' of the same fabric around the edge to snug it up a bit.  I waited until it was almost done before deciding whether it needed a drawstring...it didn't!  Here is the pattern piece I drafted.  It looks like a puzzle, but it worked out well.  I hope I can remember it the next time I want a hood. 😏


I also made thumb holes.  You can see how I did it in this article that I did for Threads Insider.  It's my favorite way to make thumb openings. 





So that's July...done and dusted as my British son says!

The pants in the last picture are another pair of Closet Core joggers.  I am so smitten!  I made a little cropped cardigan to go with them and, with our cool summer, I have been wearing them both...a LOT!  I hacked my woven T-shirt pattern to make the cardigan.  I think I will be doing it again, it turned out to be a great layering piece.



And finally...I am forever the optimist and made myself a very summery, eyelet romper!  This may count as my "too cute for it's own good" outfit for 2021!  I mashed together the square vest that I used for my patchwork linen top and my Merchant and Mills Eve pants.  It worked out very smoothly.  Now I just need some warm days to try it out.  




The neck edge is a bias binding turned to the inside as a facing, but leaving about a quarter of an inch unturned.  I tucked it in every half inch to make the little scalloped edge.  I used a creamy colored pearl cotton and I like the little twinkle it gives.



I am hoping that we will soon be more connected to the rest of the world and I can do a bit better at sharing my new sewing space and projects.  With all of the moving and shaking that has been going on for the past several months, I am sooooo glad that I have had a place to sew.  It has always been my "get away from it all" place and I have sure appreciated being able to tune out for a few hours now and then.  

I am also hoping that I will be making a much lighter white shirt in August....jeez!












6.26.2021

A New Baby (Lock)

This is a quick round up of a few random projects that I used to christen my new sewing machine!  Yeah!

I have had a Brother sewing machine at our lake house for 12 years.  Because I never did much sewing here it was fine.  But as I started using it with more substantial projects in mind, it just wasn't up to the job.  Last fall I had considered a new machine for Florida, but ended up taking my Janome to have there.  While I was shopping around I realized that I have had 4 different machines over the years with the whole shebang!  Monster embroidery units that I have never even taken out of their boxes!!!!!  I didn't want to do that again.  

My advise to people when they ask me what machine they should buy is always to get what you need and a smidge more to grow into.  Know the dealer.  And know where you will have it serviced.  I finally took my own advice!  I got a really lovely Baby Lock machine...sans embroidery, from the local dealer who has a service department right here!  Isn't she a beaut!


So far I am really, really pleased with my choice.  (Can you see me taking the picture in the side panel😜?)  I have had two different Baby Lock sergers that I have loved so I didn't go in completely blind.  It is very intuitive for the way I sew, so it has been a very smooth transition.  The dealer does have owner classes that I will definitely take to get the bells and whistles figured out.  But the basics have been easy to get used to.  So what have I been practicing on...?

I had a linen bias cut dress that I liked but didn't really wear.  I scrutinized it and realized that the fabric is a bit heavy, it is a decorator print, and the sleeves were just not right.  I decided I could take them out and make the dress cooler to wear and eliminate the whole sleeve issue!  

When I looked at this picture I was horrified!!!  Had I really worn this out in public!?!  The big brown leaf with the spot in the middle in exactly the WRONG place....OMG!  I was about to scrap the whole thing!!!  When I calmed down I realized that my dress form is a bit 'perkier' than I am at this point so when I put the dress on it wasn't as much of an issue.  Whew!


I took the sleeves off...and added a bit of elastic to the back waist seam to pull it in a bit, which gives it a little more definition at the waist.  Much better.  I'm much happier with the dress and think it will come out of the closet this summer, finally.






The second project I tackled was another pair of Merchant and Mills Eve pants.  I love this pattern!  I made them in a mid weight army green linen.  I love linen!  What can I say...they are great!


I do make one major modification to the pattern when I make it...it doesn't have pockets!  What!?  Right?!  So I incorporate slant pockets and hide the opening in the left hand pocket bag.  The original pattern calls for a side seam zipper, but because the opening is hidden in the pocket, I don't even bother with a zipper.  The button at the waistband moves forward a bit and I like making it a bit of a feature.

...And the last little project in this round up is a patchy linen top.  I did mention that I love linen didn't I?
and, yes, I had all these bits and bobs of linen scraps in my stash!  I lined it with a very soft Liberty of London lawn so it is still very light weight.  


...and I love my new buttonhole foot!

Now that I have eased into a few simple projects, I will see if I can get out of second gear over the next month and try out some of the other features of my new Baby...Baby Lock!

6.17.2021

Movin' On Up and a May White Shirt

My May white shirt is finally done!  We will ignore the fact that it was actually made in June and move on.  May was spent loading boxes and laundry baskets of stuff from our home of 25 years into the car and carting an hour to our summertime house that is now our everyday house, in preparation for selling the aforementioned 25 year home!  The run-on sentence is kind of how the whole process felt.  What are we doing today?...loading the car and carting stuff up 40 steps...what about tomorrow? ...loading the car and carting stuff up 40 steps!!!!  If you think I'm kidding about the steps...


Anyway, since my sewing stuff spent the month of May in boxes and laundry baskets I did not have a chance to make my May white shirt, so we will pretend that it happened in May and hope I can get the June installment in books before July!

Before I get to my shirt, let me show you my new sewing 'cupboard.'  As part of our move to our former summer cottage, now everyday house, I said good bye to my sewing room and moved into a large closet on the third floor.  The loft room was planned as a multipurpose room so some days it's my sewing room and other times it is the yoga studio, or an office.  So all of my sewing paraphernalia is now on wheels and rolls neatly into the closet when I finish working.  I am liking the discipline of cleaning up after a project and starting with a clean slate.  It seems to make sense in my new downsized lifestyle.

Good bye old sewing room....



Hello new sewing cupboard...everything folds and rolls...



When it's time to sew, my treetop loft becomes a lovely sewing oasis...


At the end of a project, it all folds back into the cupboard to make space for whatever comes next...



So that is where my May (ahem...June) white shirt happened!

I really liked the Closet Core patterns that I tried in March so I got them out again.  My plan was to make the sweatshirt, but with a little wiggling I managed to get a pair of shorts and a tank top as well.  I got a really lovely rayon French terry in a creamy white and a matching rib knit for the bands.  It is soooo luxurious.  It has a bit of sheen and amazing drape, I feel very special when I wear it.



The tank top is a self drafted pattern.  Basically, I cut arm holes into the sides of the circular ribbing fabric.  It was a bit of an experiment, but I am happy with the results.  I like the neckline of the tank under  the sweatshirt which has quite an open neck edge.




The patterns are quite oversized and while I like my new shirt and pants, I think I might go down a size or even two for the next go round with these patterns.  They feel a bit overwhelming!  I really like the way the pockets and side seams are done on the pants.  It was a bit of a head scratcher the first time, but once I figured it out, it was very slick.  I'm not sure how many "lounge" outfits I'm going to need now that we are coming our of Covid hibernation, but for now I am loving these cozy pieces.  ...on to June!



















4.22.2021

Time Flies, and So Do Snowbirds!

 It's time for this snowbird to migrate back to the northern nest.  It hardly seems like that should be true, but we have been here for 5 months and it is getting dang hot and spring is springing back in Michigan, so off we fly!  Both of us have had our vaccines so traveling this time doesn't feel quite as scary.  

I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit this season (what snowbirds call "winter" wherever they land.).  When I arrived in November with my sewing machines and a nervous cat I wasn't sure I would actually get much sewing done at all.  But with the help of the USPS, FedEx and Amazon, I managed to get myself set up quite nicely in my lofty sewing space and completed several fun projects.  


I wanted to finish up a couple of things before shutting down the Southern Most sewing space.  A knitting project that I started when we first arrived back in November and a 'house dress' made from a cotton beach towel that I found at the local farmers' market.  Kind of on two ends of the spectrum...a fuzzy warm sweater and a loose 'touch as little as possible' dress!  Both ended up being practically zero waste projects as well.  

The idea of 'zero waste' has been interesting to me since I am in a brand new space.  I'm not sure I want to fill it up with boxes of small scrappy bits.  Being more conscious about what I am really using and what I am just stashing away is easier with a clean slate in front of me.  My penchant for having 'almost enough' fabric is actually serving me well in my quest for zero waste.  It does require a bit more head scratching and engineering somersaults, but that's fun too.  But I digress....

If I had kept all of the stitches that I knitted on this sweater I would have about three sweaters! I kept starting and unknitting and trying again and unknitting, I just couldn't figure out the gauge or the style.  To look at the finished product you wouldn't think it would have been such a trial.  I think I just got worn out and needed to get it off the needles before the yarn was worn out too.  I do like it at the end of the day, but it was a wandering road to the finish line!  I can't even imagine putting it on right now, it is close to 90 degrees!!!  But when I started it in November it seemed like just the right thing for January evenings, so next season I think it will get some wear. (I think I will be ready to see it again by then, too)




...and this is what was left!  Whew!

My last project of this first season is a dress that I imagined for the hot days we are having right now.  I wanted something that touched as few body parts as possible!  I started with an old sheet and cut out a piece the same size as the towel I bought at the market.  I draped and folded it until it more or less was a dress shape and then transferred the idea to the towel.  I used the cutouts that I made for the armholes and neck to make the pockets and used a scrap of linen to make bias for the edges.  It literally touches my shoulders and that's it!  It is definitely not a going out of the house dress, but it sure is comfortable in April in Key West.





I love 😍the gigantic pocketses!!!


It's still early days in this new snowbird life style, but so far so good....see you back in Michigan!




4.18.2021

Spot On for April!

 I'm on the third month of my white shirt challenge and it's April and it's getting pretty warm in Key West.  It's definitely T-shirt weather!

This white shirt starts with two T-shirts.  I found some really light and really soft T's at the Gap store.  I got a white one and an ivory one in the largest size they had so I would have maximum jersey real estate to work with.  My plan was to do a 'slow' sew' project ala Natalie Chanin.  I love her embroidered garments with the all over designs, I just don't have the stamina for them and it was already mid April, I certainly wasn't going to get anything terribly elaborate finished in two weeks!  

I carefully took apart the shirts thinking I might want to use the ribbings.  I cut two fronts and two backs out of the white and one front and one back out of the ivory.  


For one side of the shirt I layered the two colors and stitched my design through them and then cut away the interior of the shapes.   On the other side I appliqued the design onto a single layer.  I wasn't sure how well the concept was going to work because the two fabrics were really close in shade.  Once I got it together I think the idea became apparent.  

Because I was using circles, I was particularly careful about the placement of the design, especially on the fronts.😏 I cut out a bunch of paper circles and scattered them around to make sure I liked it before I started stitching.


I used a double running stitch to make the center, side and shoulder seams.  I was standing in front of the mirror pondering what to do to finish the edges and decided I WAS finished.  I left them raw.  The fabrics are so light weight I was afraid that too much stitching on the edges would just make them droopy.  I also like that they echo the raw edges of the appliques.



I was half thinking this would be a 'car project' for the drive back to Michigan, but now I'll have to come up with something else.  I'm glad I have it to wear right now...it is nice and cool!  




That's the April installment, a white on white tank top....now on to May!