Thursday, March 31, 2016

my 2016 making list (inspired by The Craft Sessions Stash-Less series)

I can't say enough good things about The Craft Sessions Stash-less series.  It is beautifully written & has been an immeasurable help and inspiration in reconnecting to the joy of making things from what I already have.  It is wonderful to see a trend toward more people thinking & talking about make do and mend, minimalism, sustainability, and mindfulness in making. 

The Craft Sessions latest challenge to draft a "making list" for the year is one of my favorites, so far.  Here's an excerpt. 

There is this tricky thing that happens in my head, and probably also in yours, whereby you sit with this overwhelming desire to make the things. Things you have thought of, and things you haven't yet thought of. You get excited as an idea flashes through your mind about some fabric you have in your stash or the shape of a garment you saw the other day that you know you could make. And yet.... there isn't enough time in anyone's world to make all the things. Everyone, even those people that do it for a living, have very limited time to make. And while we can sometimes achieve a lot in that time, we will never be able to make all the things!

What a revelation! I have so many projects that I want to make, there is no way they can all come to fruition.  This can be distracting or overwhelming, but formulating the making list creates some focus and structure in which to channel that raw creative energy. My list built on the work I've done to take stock of my stash and think about a curated closet... now I feel like I have a game plan to make more of the things that would really serve me in the year ahead from materials that I have, while also leaving room for fun and spontaneity.  

Another thing that excites me: If I stick to this general framework, I will work through a good deal of my stash this year to make space & save money for more mindful choices of new or new-to-me materials in 2017.  Without further ado:

Making List 2016

1.) wearable muslins from stash fabrics for Brumby and Lucie patterns, until fit is perfected. Brumby #1 & 2. Lucie #1 #2 #3
2.) make basic foundational pieces (fabric already ordered: Brumby in chambray dot done + Veronika in black linen.) 
3.) Finish Cormac 
added: 4.) Heather B. Stashbushting Sew-along  knit maxi dress/caftans (knit fabric as my "fabric fear") done!

Bonus projects, if there's time:
Brumby + sleevless buttoned shell set with vintage floral/heart embroidered denim from stash
Finishing husband's sweater vest &/or black cardi earlier

1.) Finish sweater vest before husband's bday
2.) Finish black version of  Bamboo Cardigan for summer
2.) Start Miss Lemon in aqua My Baby yarn from stash, if there's time
3.) Brumby + sleeveless shell (from vintage pattern & fabric in stash) separates set. 
4.) Work on muslins with stash fabrics for a well-fitted basic dress - maybe revisit Emery  try out Gertie's shirtwaist dress or buy Betty or Cami pattern? (Cami is a great fit!)

***********************edit to check in at May 24th***************************************************
My knitting is temporarily on hold because I ended up with Dequervain's disease (ironically from doing physical therapy exercises for my shoulder) affecting my left thumb in the beginning of May.  Still waiting to do the button band on my husband's sweater vest that was supposed to be a birthday present. and the Cormac is on hold, but I did finish my black summer cardigan before this occurred.

Sewing has been good in the last couple months.  In May, I have been slowing down and taking my time.  I made up the dot chambray and black linen into good summer basic skirts.  I tested the Cami dress pattern &, while I don't like the collar, I adore the fit of the bodice just exactly as it is designed, so I have a great base now.  This dress is what I was hoping for from the Emery a couple years ago that didn't pan out.  So nice not to have to make a bunch of alterations!  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect shirtwaist collar, though.  My next attempt will be a vintage pattern. 

I've also been struck with an unusual desire to make pants and shorts.  I got my Viking 6460 restored and it has a low gear and a lot more power than my 5710, so I think I could do denim justice. 

I've got my eye on:

Knitting will probably not be much of a reality till Fall, so I am going to focus on sewing this summer - both making things for summer and preparing for winter, as Me Made May has revealed that I don't have enough cold weather sewn garments. (Incidentally, nor I don't have enough warm weather knitted garments.)  

1.) Start or continue knitting Miss Lemon
2.) Muslins with stash fabric of woven tops - Sorbetto,  Nani Iro /Fancy Tiger, and stash patterns
3.) Use perfected basic dress pattern to start birthday dress with Cotton + Steel Tiger fabric 
4.) Make birthday skirt with pink Folklorico fabrics - based on Brumby pattern.  (skirt fabric became this dress, instead)

1.) Try to finish Miss Lemon sweater before birthday?
2.) Finish Birthday dress and skirt (skirt fabric became this dress, instead)
3.) Buy Nani Iro + make a woven top with perfected woven top pattern from June

1.) Use wool + corduroy and other winter fabric from stash to make some new skirts for fall. 
2.) Knit - a sweater from stash yarn/Ravelry pattern that moves me at the time

1.) Continue to prepare for transition to fall with sewing projects, as time permits.
2.) Continue to knit sweater(s?) from stash yarns

1.) Halloween costumes?
2.) Start making felt ornaments for library holiday sale
3.) Continue knitting sweaters

1.) Finish ornaments for holiday sale
2.) make present (secret!)

leaving space for holiday projects and to buy myself a present of some new materials 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

early spring curated closet: outfit roundup #3

The end of March is fast approaching, which makes a month of the curated closet experiment.  Here's what I wore as the month drew to a close.

Lots of bad selfies, lots of stripes, and lots of outfit repeating... (yes, I love the green cashmere with the navy/white stripe tee, and denim pleated skirt!)

I tried to mix it up a little by wearing my sea unicorn dress.  It's sleeveless, so it's a little cooler than most of the clothes in this capsule collection, but we were having good weather and I layered my navy cardigan and a scarf, so I stayed warm enough.  I also cheated a bit by adding in the new-to--me southwesty sweatshirt I got on my big Goodwill Superstore adventure as part of my athleisure theme.

My brain was working differently when I did this collage and it's actually going back in time from Saturday of last week toward Monday, with Thursday missing.  I forgot to add in my me-made day:

Oops!  It's another cheat - it was sunny and I just wanted to wear my new flowery skirt instead of wintery plaids and heavier prints. Also, I wanted my sweetie to get some pictures for my Veronika skirt post.

I'm wearing new-to-me pants that I got from my Naked Lady party - a pair of  Levi skinny denim jeans and Levi skinny black cotton velveteen pants. When I brought these in, I stored the jeans I previously had.

I wore two semi-cheats of outerwear sweaters that I sort of think of as coats for transitional weather... The dark green vintage one is for St. Patrick's Day, with matching vintage suede hunter green flats. The long pearl grey duster was the only sweater I had that layered well over my sparkle hi-lo tee, which I wore for a date day in Portland.

I really enjoyed wearing my new knitted tee for the whole trip, from the drive, to shopping and bopping around town all day, to going out for a fancy dinner in the evening.  It's easy and fancy at the same time.  I was quite happy with how it wore in a real life test.

Another cheat.  I bought a pair of shoes at Buffalo Exchange on Hawthorne Street - I went in just to look for Oxfords and I fell in love with these Vans leather saddle oxfords. Oxfords have been on my thrift wishlist and in my plan for shopping for late spring/summer, so I was excited to find some on our adventure.  They are a happy souvenir of a very happy day with my sweetie.

Clearly my will to stick with the current capsule has been waning as the weather has been slowly changing to spring and all the bold and somber winter colors/fabrics/styles started to feel heavy and depressing - especially after the funeral.

So... Easter Sunday, I spent the day sewing, reflecting, and reorganizing my closet. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from the minimalist zero-waste blog Jane+Jo+Julia lately, in how she edits her wardrobe by the month. I decided to evolve my plan to be month-by-month, rather than spanning over a full season.  Spring in the PNW changes too rapidly for that to work very practically.

I retired some things from the first capsule iteration that were feeling particularly heavy and brought out a few new things to lighten the feeling of my closet. Overall, I edited to have fewer things in the closet, which I considered a win.

I added in the rose babydoll dress I got on my Goodwill trip, in lieu of the heavier long floral dress. I rotated out all the wool/plaid/heavy skirts, leaving only my denim skirt and added in my two new Veronika skirts (yes, I finished another one this weekend - will be blogged soon!) leaving room for a few more me-made skirts to be added over this month, but overall paring down the number of skirts I have in my closet. I also added in the navy/white blouse and navy velveteen blazer, for which I traded out my yellow plaid & red silk vintage blouses, the southwest cardigan, and the buffalo check pullover.

I stashed my black turtleneck and added in a shortsleeve mint tee from storage and the short sleeve navy/white striped tee and cardigan from my recent Goodwill adventure, as well as my newly finished Twisted Grapes sweater.

I left a few pieces from this month's capsule that I didn't get to wear because it hasn't been warm enough yet & they don't work as layering pieces.  The mistake of adding these items into a March closet was a good learning experience - transitional season items must layer easily, so no full/poufy sleeves until summer!

All in all, I am refreshed and re-inspired by the update - it feels like a natural rhythm to edit slightly month to month and the changes didn't involve buying new clothes - just incorporating in a few mindfully thrifted items from the last month, updated jeans from the naked lady party, making some me-mades, and pulling out things I had stored.

However, cheat-buying the oxfords made me rethink my shopping plan of waiting until May to shop. I decided that I do better with gradually collecting & that I wanted to buy some fabric now to make a couple of key basics for later, so I don't want to make rigid rules about when to shop... rather, I can accomplish the goal at the root of my planning idea, by setting a budget for a defined period of time to conserve my own financial resources and be mindful of improving the sustainability & intentionality of my fashion-related choices.

I set a budget for now until July 1st that includes all fashion-related purchases both ready-to-wear and raw materials.  I'm counting PDF patterns for sewing and knitting, yarn, fabric, notions, shoes, clothes, and accessories - from thrifted, online, new, and resale sources. My goals are to try to make from my stash, thrift what I can't make, resale what I can't thrift, and buy new things only very mindfully from made in the USA &/or fair-trade sources.

I spent about 40% of the budget right away. I counted the saddle oxfords as the first purchase from this budget and I also bought a pair of resale grey suede wingtips on ebay; fabric for two neutral basic skirts, and a bias tape maker.

I'm pretty excited about making my own bias tape.  How fun will it be to make printed tape? And it will be a good way to use scrap fabrics too!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Twisted Grapes - closure.

Since I can no longer marathon knit the way I could in my twenties, I've been changing it up lately by picking through my mending/UFO pile and fixing up nearly completed projects when my body has had enough of the repetitive action of knitting.  It's been quite productive. The other night, I sewed a missing button back onto my grey/orchid cardigan and took a second look at my Twisted Grapes cardigan.

It was pretty much unwearable with it's flacid button band, but I wasn't in the mood to make machine-stitched buttonholes in ribbon, so  first I tried changing one of the buttons for a larger one. The result was not an improvement. There was no avoiding the need for stabilization, so I decided to keep the small buttons and do a quick-and-dirty ribbon button band by just cutting the holes directing into the ribbon and finishing with hand stitching.

It could be slightly more polished on the inside, but the end result was actually just fine on the right side and much faster.  I'm quite happy that the buttons now behave themselves and I actually have another really cute cardigan ready for Me-Made May.

I now, quite literally, have closure on Twisted Grapes! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

froggy friday

Last night, my hands needed a break from knitting but I still had some creative spark to expend, so I worked on taking stock of my yarn stash, inspired by the Stash-Less project.  I have some good stuff. Some things that I feel sheepish to say that I even forgot I had.

I have 2 WIPs that I am excited about finishing this spring besides the Cormac and one erstwhile WIP that has given me a lot of trouble. It started out as a trusty top-down raglan cardigan, but I couldn't get the stitches divided and the gauge right to create the fit that I wanted.  Every time I turned around, I was frogging and reworking parts of it.  My classicist husband started calling it the Penelope sweater because I ended up unraveling it to rework the fit again and again.

It was sucking all the joy out of my will to knit.  Like an albatross hanging round my neck, it weighed on me and I felt that I had to finish it before moving onto something more satisfying - I trudged on with finishing in & got everything but the front button bands and the sleeve seaming done before I lost all inspiration. I hated it so much that I stashed it away for over a year and pretty much stopped knitting altogether for a while.

Meanwhile, it lay dormant in the spare room, languishing and looming over me. What to do?  There was just one thing to do, really. Fortified by The Craft Sessions, I knew it had to be unraveled.

56 minutes later - the makings of something new were ready... I felt lighter and happier.  I felt free.
I am daydreaming of ideas for this now - In making the Cormac, I've realized that the chainette stitch and other openwork, makes this worsted weight Peruvian wool (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes - essentially identical to Cascade 220, as well) more wearable - it's a bit much as a pure stockinette cardigan.  It would be nice with lots of cables for an outerwear piece or with lots of yarnovers to let it breathe a bit for something to wear inside. Maybe I'll just make a second Cormac, if I like the way it turns out.

I have 10 skeins of Aurora Heather Wool of the Andes to contend with, as well.

It's a lovely rich green and I am thinking of making it into a lacy cardigan one of these days.

I have a WIP sweater vest for my gentleman almost finished in Wool of the Andes Currant and I made my father-in-law the same vest in Midnight Heather for Christmas - I have a couple extra skeins of each color left.  I will eventually also have remainders of the Tumeric and Fjord colors after I finish Cormac and whatever the Fjord blue becomes, plus a random skein of heather grey Cascade 220 I thrifted for a dollar.

I intend, in a year or two, when all this knitting is done, to make a crazy striped sweater with all the leftovers. Something like this would be good because it's designed for Cascade 220... but I think I would like it more oversized and slouchy... maybe with smaller, more gradient stripes and perhaps mismatched stripes on the sleeves. We'll see what happens when the time comes. I'm not in a rush, but I am quite looking forward to that project someday in the future.

Also on the docket, down the road a bit - a couple of projects with Knit Picks Diadem fingerling yarn. This angora/silk blend is just lovely to touch.  I got two discontinued colors that were on clearance a couple of years ago. 3 skeins of teal that is enough for a sweater (maybe the Grace cardigan?)  and 2 skeins of royal blue which I intended for a shawl when I bought it. Revisiting the yarn on Knit Picks today, I discovered the Scrub Jay shawl pattern that looks like it is knit in my very color and requires two skeins.  Perfect.  It's in my queue on Ravelry now!
Two more sweaters-worth of yarn in my stash that sung to me were vintage yarn thrift scores - a vintage Bernat slubby worsted wool in a bright red and a creamy 100% Italian mohair.

I've been thrifting for a red cardigan for about a year now - I try at least one on every time I'm out, but have yet to find the perfect one.  Red is so glorious when it's right, and so bad when it's off.  This is the bright happy red I've been dreaming about and forgot that I had - about 12 ounces worth for $4.
I couldn't pass up the mohair, though I have only made one thing I liked with mohair in the past and that was only a little fair isle accent on a bulky weight sweater - about 12 years ago. I love the cream color and the fact that it's 100% - not blended with nylon or other synthetics.  I have 7 large skeins - all for $5.00.

I think it would be nice with this cream colored fingerling as the ribbing edges or even textural stripes. That would take some fussing to figure out... but I think it will be a fun project, maybe next winter?

I've got a lot that My Baby yarn - I went crazy with it on ebay one day on my phone while riding to dinner in the back of my father-in-law's car... I was trying to find one more skein to finish the Twisted Grapes sweater. I accidentally bought the wrong grey, so then I bought the right grey and and ended up impulse buying over a dozen more skeins in various colors, in the process. Ugh.

I don't really know what to do with all this yarn at the moment.  It's really soft wool/cashmere/silk and it is pleasurable to knit, but the colors aren't really exciting to me at the moment and I feel a little awkward about the weird impulse buy.  It's from China and it was selling for about $2 a skein with free shipping.  I went to look up the seller and the store is closed down now, but I think this is similar.

It's nice yarn, but the green and aqua both turned out to be a little off from what I hoped for - I was wanting that mint green that I am still coveting and have now found, so these seem like second best. Maybe later they will find the perfect use.  Or maybe I will find the perfect moment to give them away.  Who knows what the the future holds!? <3

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Veronika Skirt #1

Today I cheated on my curated closet and wore my new Megan Neilsen Veronika skirt. I haven't been able to bring myself to wear any of the wool/plaid skirts in my current capsule since wearing them on the funeral trip. They just make me feel sad and somber.  Especially since the sun is making a regular appearance and it's getting into the 50s and 60s... I wanted to change it up.

I packed away 2 plaid and one black wool pleated skirts in the spare room closet and I brought this one out of waiting a bit early. It was just the right thing to brighten up my spirits and celebrate proper spring being right around the corner.  I'm going to keep it in my curated closet.  I figure that trading three skirts for one isn't too bad.

One thing to watch for - circle skirts really catch the wind!  As you can see from this impromptu Marilyn moment... a gal's gotta keep an eye on her Veronika in the breeze!

And speaking of breezy - this pattern is a breeze to sew up.  It has a simple side zip that goes all the way up into the waistband.  I noticed that this is the same construction that a lot of off-the-rack garments use.

It's a quick & slick way to do the waist and it avoids that funny gap that can occur between the button tab and the zipper, if you make the waistband to close separately from the zipper.

I love the flowy drape of the circle skirt as a change to all the pleats I have been wearing lately.  This fabric is very well-suited to the pattern too. It's a small, all-over floral, so the bias parts don't look wonky.  It also didn't stretch or sag, so I didn't have to adjust it to do the hem.  

I have a second Veronika on a hanger waiting to be hemmed and it is stretching out a lot on just one side.  I will leave it for a couple more days, until I know that it has really settled, then I'll hem it this weekend. 
This is a happy make - to sew and to wear.  One more hit from Megan Nielsen.  Her skirt patterns are my all time favorites, so far... and Brumby is up next!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

never say never... Cormac beginnings.

So I thought I was over my obsession with mustard sweaters because it is a hard color for me to wear... but while I was taking stock of my stash, as inspired by The Craft Sessions, I realized my attraction to this color goes way back to early 2014 when I went wild for a Knit Picks sale and bought 6 sweaters-worth of yarn in an array of colors... one of which is tumeric Wool of the Andes.

I was drawn to this color before Taylor Swift's mustard color sweater became a Pinterest sensation, that I discovered through Dina's Days thrifting blog & suddenly started seeing everywhere online. I totally forgot about this impulse yarn buy, but now I have a chance to act on my color-crush with yarn in my stash.  I just have to give it a try.  Worst case scenario - I give it away and someone else can live my mustard tumeric sweater fantasy.

I must say that I really like how there are multiple pictures of TS wearing the same sweater dressed up and dressed down, with a variety of color combinations. It's easy to think celebrities never wear the same thing twice.

I'd been crushing on the Cormac Sweater since I saw it on Faithfully Geeky a few weeks ago and while I was browsing my Ravelry favorites for a good cardigan pattern for this yarn, I realized that the Cormac is knit at about the same gauge and in exactly the same color as my yarn.  I had to give it a try! Maybe I can get away with a tumeric pullover, instead of a mustard cardigan. 

It is a very enjoyable pattern to knit - it is mentally engaging but repetitive enough that you can get into a rhythm with it and after a few repeats of the 4 row pattern, it comes pretty naturally without having to look at the chart.  

I really enjoy the chainette stitch pattern.  I like the look of openwork, like the lattice tee I made a couple summers ago, but sometimes yarnovers can be my Achilles heel of knitting. If I get to chatting or watching something while knitting, I tend to miss them on the right side or drop them on the wrong side. This pattern requires more concentration that my usual vast expanses of stockinette.  I've found that a pattern requiring concentration is a different sort of therapy than a simple one & knitting is all about therapy for me. 

I had to frog a few rows here and there before I got into a rhythm with the pattern and learned what to look for to catch mistakes as they happen, rather than a few rows later. This pattern is so simple that one mistake will pop out and ruin the whole effect, so it was totally worth it to go back and do it right. 
I'm 13" into the back piece.  I'm really enjoying creating the individual pieces.  I am not afraid of seaming, so I don't mind stitching together.  I went through a top-down raglan cardigan obsession, but I think I am over it for now. It is the best pattern to use if you are trying to get rid of scraps or you don't know if you have enough yarn... but if I have plenty of yarn,  I like being able to block the individual pieces and experience mini-completion moments when each piece is finished... plus I have a smaller part to carry around if I want to work on the project on-the-go.

I'm looking forward to having it finished for next fall... though mustard/tumeric may be out of fashion by then, clearly my fondness of the color is timeless.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

finished object: knitted hi-lo tee

Ta da!  Another garment for summer!  The photos we took yesterday weren't great, but I was too cold to spend the time to get nicer ones.

This was a total therapy project.  Two huge rectangles sewn together.  I used 3 skeins of yarn that I got a thrift store with no band/labels.  They were $1.85 each.  The fiber is synthetic and summery. It's soft sort of like bamboo and has little iridescent sequins woven in.
If I had more yarn to play with, I would have made this in one giant rectangle binding off and casting back on for the neckline, like the Lattice Tee I made a few years ago.  As it was, I only had a couple feet of yarn scraps left at the end, so I knit two separate ones to control the length more carefully.

The yarn is somewhere between worsted and bulky.  I wanted it to be gauzy and somewhat sheer, so I knit it on size 17 needles - 56 stitches or about 26" wide.  The first 5 rows and the 5 stitches on either side seam are in seed stitch, so they don't curl & the rest is stockinette.

The front piece is 25" long and the back 29".  That was all the yarn I had.  I really wanted a hi-low hem. I stitched 8 inches on either side of the shoulder seam, leaving 10" on each side for the neck hole.

I measured down 9" from the shoulder for the arm holes and then stitched the front and back together at the side seam until the last 4" of the front piece, for a split side seam.

I am very pleased with how it turned out - super comfortable, casual with a little hint of sexy, a little sparkle. The sequins were surprisingly easy to knit with, but they were a bit challenging to seam with - if I had it to do over again, I would seam with a solid black yarn to save myself trouble. All in all, an easy and soothing piece to knit up & it should be fun to wear once the weather turns to Spring. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

finished object: Lucie dress from République Du Chiffon

One good thing about Daylight Savings Time... it is light when I get home from work now.  And today it wasn't raining! It was still cold, but we ran outside and my husband snapped a couple of photos of me wearing my summer garments.

First up - the Lucie muslin.

I made the largest size, but without any seam allowances added in.  It is a bit on the large side, but still wearable.  I think it will be great when it is really hot out. I plan to make another wearable muslin from stash fabric a couple sizes down, though - to perfect the fit.  I like the length as given.  I added some width to the skirt by just doing two 54" wide pieces, selvage to selvage for cheater finished side seams.

I was kind of worried about the slender French sizing and my decidedly pear-shaped American body... but I think I am getting it sorted for next time around and amazingly, though the bodice is oversized, it doesn't actually fall off my shoulders. It almost does, but no amount of wiggling and squirming around actually makes if fall off the shoulder - so that is a good thing, indeed.

It was too cold to wear as a summer dress today, but it looks really cute with a strappy black yoga bra under it, instead of my work shirt. It sort of works as a jumper, but it makes me feel like a six year old too.

My fabric is thrifted - 80s or 90s rayon, I think.  or a really soft cotton/poly blend. I bought it in 2014 when I was rebuilding a stash. It's light and floaty royal blue with black squares.

I did my own thing for the finishing.  I lined the bodice and left the skirt a single layer.  I sewed both the bodice and the lining separately at the side and shoulder seams, then slipped one turned right side out into one turned inside out.
From here, I stitched the neck and turned it right side out, then basted the shoulder bodice and lining together and finished the arm holes with readymade bias tape.
This was a pretty painless way to put the bodice together without having to turn everything though a little bitty shoulder seam.  I think for a thicker fabric that could manage as a single layer, I'd just use bias binding at the neck too.  This pattern came together very quickly and it was fun to make. I think it will be fun to wear, too... once it warms up! I look forward to making more and perfecting the balance between oversized and fitted.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the finished knitting project...

Monday, March 14, 2016

reblog + reflect: stashing & minimalism

This weekend, I was away from home and didn't have an easy knitting project to take with me on short notice, so I appeased my crafty mind by catching up on sewing blogs on my phone. One blog series that really spoke to me was the Craft Sessions Stash Less project.

If you are interested in mindfulness, minimalism, and getting more joy out of your making materials, this is a great series.  It explores a lot of inner motivations on why we stash away materials and how to be more thoughtful and intelligent about what we are doing - while leaving room for fun, spontaneity, and whimsy.

I intend to work through some of the thought processes that the author, Felicia, outlines.  There are some great exercises on examining why we do what we do. A big take-away on stashing is something she nicknames FOMA - fear of missing out.

I do this a lot - on sale items and one-of-a-kind vintage and thrift fabrics, yarns, and other notions that strike my fancy.  In this period of scaling back on shopping for all things fiber-related (from readymade clothes, to yarn & fabric) I have struggled with this a bit. To combat this fear cropping up, I've just unplugged from my "promotions" queue in my gmail and focused more on planning to use what I have to get through the feeling of missing out.

Another thing that comes up in the series and the comments (FYI: be sure to read all the comments on these - they are really interesting and people get really involved in reflecting on the same things as the author and providing additional insights) is emotional impulse buying.  One reader mentioned that she gives herself permission to stash impulsively after visiting with her mother-in-law.  This idea of rewarding yourself to assuage rough emotions really rang true for me when I read it.

This weekend, I tried to convince myself to buy some mint green yarn to make a summer cardigan so it is ready by summer instead of starting it in May.  I really really struggled with this sense of urgency, desire, and manufactured sense of fear that I would not be a complete person if I didn't have this cardigan done for May 1st - but I realized that what I really wanted to do was get a little rush from buying something hopeful and springy to get a transitory release from all the grieving and stress surrounding the funeral and the dismal cold, wet weather that we've had.
let's talk again in May, shall, we?!
Instead, I read sewing and knitting blogs,browsed Ravelry & bought a PDF sewing pattern for a specific fabric in my stash.  I think PDF sewing patterns are the perfect antidote to the urge to buy emotionally - provided you have fabric in your stash that you can use right away to make something.  I got the Lucie dress. I've been wanting to make this dress for ages and I have the perfect fabric for a wearable muslin.

I buy the pattern, download it immediately and get to work assembling it.  At first, I hated this part of the process with PDF patterns, but I have come to really enjoy it. It's methodical and peaceful - like a puzzle.

instant satisfaction, the right way.
It gives a sustained instant gratification - so much more so that just sending off your PayPal info and waiting for a package to arrive later.  It takes advantage of the immediate urge to make and do that often prompts an impulse buy. The process also channels any troubling emotions creatively and produces tangible results that are more positive than a bunch of bills and packages later in the future.

One more satisfying and mindful instant gratification is shopping your stash.  Much like the "shop your closet" concept in minimalist wardrobe planning - shopping your stash takes advantage of what you already have in your possession.  What is more instantly gratifying than using something you already own?! Theoretically, we all stash things we love.  This isn't always the case and part of the mindful stash process revolves around letting go of what we don't love... but for the most part, we collect things to which we are drawn. What better place to start for inspiration, wearability, and joy?

I'm starting to shop my stash till May to create some new me-mades that will make stash-space for more mindful purchases in the future and give me something to wear for Me-Made May.  Yes, that's right... I have always dreamed of participating and this year is going to be the year for me.

During my planning month for my summer capsule, I'm going to create a mini-capsule of me-mades and wear something of my own creation every day.  I am really looking forward to it the process and what I can learn by taking part... as well as the fun of playing along with other sewing bloggers.

Till then, I'll be exploring my stash and my habits and creating some garments in the process. <3

week 2 outfit round-up

Sunday night:
new blue zipper sweater with zipper blue leggings, yellow/gray/white large silk scarf, metallic cloth flats
hang out with friends

black tee dress with black cabled cardigan, peacock blue tights, black oxford wedges

horse dress, yellow/gray/white large silk scarf, yellow cardigan*, black moto-boots
work & shopping 
*this is that weird cool tone of garish yellow that actually doesn't look bad on me.

vintage silk blouse, dark denim pleated skirt*, slouchy black cardigan, red tights, black vintage loafers
*this is the denim skirt that was baggy in the waist - it's fixed now.

longsleeve navy/white trapeze dress, green cashmere cardigan, yellow belt, peacock blue tights, navy vintage loafers
work + road trip

navy cardigan over navy tee, grey/navy plaid pleated skirt, navy tights, navy loafers,
memorial viewing

black turtleneck, grey/black argyle cashmere sweater, black wool pleated skirt, black oxford wedges

black/white short sleeve tee dress, black slouchy cardigan, black leggings, black scarf, new over the knee vintage boots
evening with friends

Friday and Saturday were hard days. I got something out of my storage drawers for the funeral, instead of staying in the constraints of my capsule. I didn't want to wear solid black because I don't think most people really do that any more. I just wanted to be appropriate & respectful. It was also in the mountains where it is still snowing, so I wanted to be warm, but my only warm sweaters are bright green or bright red buffalo check and that seemed too bright to me. I remembered this black and grey sweater I had stored & I thought it would be good. I am not being hard on myself for breaking the closet/wardrobe rules I set out for myself. Some things are more important and I just wanted to wear this sweater for this occasion. So I did.

I was anxious about what to wear since I was meeting a lot of people that I haven't met before and didn't know what to expect as to how formal or relaxed it would be.  As it turned out, only a couple of older women were dressed traditionally in all black, everyone else was just wearing nice church clothes, some darker neutrals and others with flowers and bright colors.

I thought about the past and I couldn't actually remember what I've wore to any funeral that I have been to ibefore.  I don't honestly think it really matters what you wear, it just matters that you do the best with what you have so that you look like you care enough to try - but maybe that doesn't even matter - the most important thing is just to be there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

me-made and new-to-me

I've been holding off on posting about a knitting project I completed for myself last week because the weather has been too rainy and dark to get good photos... but I am so excited to be making clothes for myself again. Except stretch clothes.  I made a t-shirt and I hated it. Straight up Gumpy Cat NOPE on stretch sewing, once-and-for-all.

But I am happily nearing completion on a wearable muslin of Megan Neilsen's Veronika skirt. It's a simply beautiful circle skirt pattern that is quite easy to make and... it's free to download!

I love her Kelly skirt so much that I made 4. Well. actually, I made, like, 3.75.  I still have to do the buttonholes for the vintage yellow corduroy one... over a year later. :(  But it is on my list, for real now. Kelly is a great skirt, but I am not a huge fan of making that many button holes. Nor am I a fan of how they start to get a little out of shape after a year of frequent wear and start to become less-than-secure closures.  After two summers, my Kelly skirts are on their way out and I would love some me-made cotton skirts for this summer's curated closet.

So I definitely got excited when I saw that Megan Neilsen has come out with some new skirt patterns since I lost steam for making buttonholes, lo these many months ago.  I got really excited about the dirndl-style Brumby pattern, but I decided to make the Veronika first, since it was a free download. I just wanted to ease back into sewing for myself to be sure I really wanted to take the plunge before buying a new pattern.

Here's a little sneak peak of the Veronika in a small primary colors floral cotton.  I think the fabric is from the late 70s or early 80s. It feels like childhood-era fabric to me. I love the high waist and the fullness of the circle skirt. The waistband finishing was also clever, easy, and sleek. It's waiting on a hanger for a couple days before hemming, to let the bias in the circle skirt get sorted, then it will be ready for summer. Ahhh, just look at that snug high waist! This is such a joy to me. I forgot, after a winter of not wearing any skirts I made, how badly off-the-rack skirts fit my pear-shaped figure. What a luxury to make & wear a perfectly fitted garment. 

I got so mad at my ready-to-wear denim skirt sagging down below my natural waist today that I impulsively bought the Brumby pattern on my lunch break to make a replacement. I am really happy that I bought this pattern, but once home for the evening, I thought better of ditching the current denim skirt before trying to fix it. As it turns out, I was able to alter it without too much trouble and it now fits at my natural waist.  Here is the offending extra waist fabric, post-excising. I had to rip out quite a lot of stitching to open it up enough to cut this bit out, but I think I put the skirt back together pretty well. 

I was eyeing a lovely dotted chambray for a skirt and then I thought it would look so cute with the Brumby pattern.  Turns out someone else had the same idea and it was a really *good* idea. I will shamelessly copy Carly in Stitches, I just wanted to be sure to mention that she did make it first and her photos only make me want to make it more!  But I will wait until May to buy the new fabric. 

Till then, it's wearable muslins and stash-busting with some favorite wild and crazy print fabrics that I have had tucked away since my big summer of sewing in 2014. 

I also had a big thrifting adventure last night. I know, I know... that's twice in less than a week and I am supposed to not be shopping much, right?! This was an anomaly. I went to the mall to return the sweater that I was debating about returning. Since we had to go out that way and I had a gift card to Goodwill that I needed to use up in my own county... (FYI: Goodwill giftcards are not good at all Goodwills, only locally.) we decided to visit the Goodwill Super Store near to the mall for a shopping spree.

I'd had the card for over a year and felt it was getting down to a use-it or lose-it situation. It was an older style of card that wasn't scanning in their system any more, but fortunately they keyed the numbers in and we were able to finish out the card. Whew! Now, no more shopping till April. 

I found practically a whole capsule collection of navy and white tops, a cute sweatshirt to feed my athleisure casual obsession, and a cute babydoll dress that could be worn across a lot of Oregon seasons. I also got some amazing boots, plus some Cole Hahn loafers and books & movies for my husband too. 

l to r: Ann Taylor longsleeve, Kenneth Cole Reaction shortsleeve, I Love H81 cardigan

l to r: Talbots blouse, J. Crew blouse, J. Crew velveteen blazer.

Modo B sweatshirt
H & M dress

And the boots!  The boots are vintage over-the-knee cognac leather.  Made in Brazil. With pockets!  I wanted brown boots to wear with leggings.  They were on my list... but I thought ankle boots or combat boots would look good with leggings.  These -as it turns out- also look good with leggings. I really like them!


I'm so happy with everything that I found and with the approach of shopping while keeping my list in mind. But I am also really relieved not to have any more shopping trips or buying decisions to make for a while, so I can just relax and settle into making some more things for myself in the weeks ahead. <3