Friday, July 29, 2016

august to august austerity...

Soooo... the stash-busting sewalong month totals kind of made me anxious. And the themes were hard for me too.  I always make dresses and dress month came around - I have made zero dresses.  (But I did make a pair of shorts and two skirts.)  During the unselfish sewing theme of June, I just ended up doing a bunch of projects I wasn't that into, for other people. It wasn't bad. I tried my hand a pattern testing for a designer who I really love and I sewed a bunch of super-boring (but much needed & appreciated) stuff for some people from my church.

Overall, thinking about my consumption and creation habits as a zero sum endeavor is seriously anxiety-producing though.  I lost my "sewjo" for a while and only got it back a bit when I thought of cutting into the beautiful tiger fabrics I've collected for my birthday and International Tiger Day - which is today!  May all tigers be well and happy! <3

I realized, when I was making things from these special fabrics, that I have a lot more joy sewing the special stuff & I have squirreled away quite a lot of special fabric... so I'm going to sew my favorite things - skirts and dresses - and maybe try some fun new experiments... but for the next year, I am really, actually going to attack my stash. Not the thrifted-for-muslin stuff. The *good* stuff.  The beautiful prints and the vintage treasures and the silk and the wool.

I want the joy and the pleasure of making and wearing things that are special and I have some patterns that are just always go-to winners for me.  I will experiment with my pattern stash too... but in austerity of acquisition, I mean to make room for total decadence of using up the good stuff.

Life is short.  Time is precious. The time is now to get into the treasures.

In doing so, I also hope to have enough fun to curb mindless spending and acquisition and replace it with total freedom to raid my own coffers of things I've been saving.  I'm sure I'll need some thread and some zippers (no matter how many vintage zippers I get, I often seem to lack the color or length I want... sometimes I get creative, but sometimes that won't do.)

But I think I have pretty much everything else for a bang-up year of the fanciest made-do & mend fun.

Hello August, bring it on!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Michael Miller Tigers

One more tiger fabric garment... this was fairly quick and dirty because the print (Michael Miller "Growl") is large and I didn't want to make a lot of details that would compete with the large print.

I decided to make a side-zip dirndl skirt and just use selvage to selvage, which was almost a print match. (more on that later.  I wanted to at least match the rows of tigers. It was really close to perfect from selvage to selvage... I just ended up with these cute little cyclops tigers at the side seams.

I didn't really want to make the waistband in tiger.  I had a proper Brumby skirt waistband in the striped ticking from my last tiger-pocket skirt... but when I looked at the fabrics together, they didn't look very good.  I thought maybe some plain creme colored denim would be good.  It was exactly the same as the background of the tigers and a nice heavy thickness for a sturdy waist.  I cut four front pieces of the Brumby waistband to make a fitted side-zip waistband.

I'm not so sure now that it's made up if I really like the solid creme, but it is late in the game to fix it. I do reserve the right to make this into the skirt of a dress at a later time or some other inspiring waistband, if I so choose.  Maybe even with the bodice in this creme denim... but I also reserve the right not to care if it isn't perfect... because - tigers!

I got several compliments on the skirt from a wide range of people at work (all non-sewing people who just liked the print.)  Lots of library folks were pretty excited by the "cats". (Hello - they are tigers, not housecats!) My husband likes it too & he isn't even fond of house cats!

I hand-picked the zipper, in a vintage metal zip that is sort of a dark cantaloupe color. I didn't have a white/creme one of the correct length... so I decided to contrast. Just for my own sense of matchy-matchy, I also finished the inner edge of the waistband with vintage double-fold bias tape in a nearly identical color.

I also made a nice thick Brumby hem, one full tiger... I'm loving these little beasties!


Monday, July 25, 2016

tiger time.

Where has the summer gone?!

I've barely had time to sew, much less blog... but I have been making things as time allows.

I wanted to make something special for my birthday, which was last week - this year, I really wanted to make something with a tiger print because I love tigers and July 29th is also International Tiger Day.  Tigers are very endangered in the wild and frequently mistreated in captivity - they really need advocacy and support to be able to come back to thriving & they are such noble and exquisite creatures that I fiercely wish to see them be protected and flourish.

I had some lovely Cotton + Steel tiger fabric from 2014 that I've been afraid to use till now.  I just didn't quite know what it wanted to be.  Then I saw another tiger print on sale on that I could imagine making into a sun dress.  Then I happened across some Michael Miller tiger fabric on ebay for a steal. Then I saw some other Cotton + Steel tiger/heart fabric... and well... this happened.

But then not a lot else happened after that to make garments. Last weekend, I knew it was now or never... I just wanted one tiger thing ready to wear on my birthday... so I made the one thing I had in my head that I new I could trust - a Brumby with tiger pockets.

More on this later, when I get some proper photos together.  I forgot a lot of little details about how to cut the Brumby to my favorite length and put it together, so I got a bit organic in my problem solving a few places along the way.  It's more of a Brumby-inspired skirt than a Brumby-proper... but it has those perfectly lovely Brumby pockets.

I forgot to add 3 extra inches to get the wide hem and the length that I like for work... so I added a little strip of the selvage edge on the bottom and added a row of tiger fabric inside to create the hem.  I also forgot that the zip is installed into the skirt & the waistband... so I did a beautiful job of handpicking and topstitching the zipper in... then I realized that lovely wide waistband was not included in the fun, so I used the remaining strip of selvage that I'd cut for the hem, to make a thin waistband.  I actually really like the play of the vertical and horizontal stripes... so I'm okay with letting things happen.

Bad Selfie of my Birthday Skirt taken at work on ny b-day.
I also have a great Brumby waistband cut out already and enough of this ticking left for those big beautiful pockets, so I can make another contrasting Brumby with some plain cream denim I got at a thriftstore in Ukiah, CA on a trip earlier this month... so I am looking forward that too.

I've had a pretty stressful July, but things are winding down and I plan to enjoy some relaxing this week - so I'll be making more tiger garments... stay tuned for some proper pictures too. <3