Friday, May 31, 2013

My First NORMAL Tiramisu

It's the last day of May, if you're a Stashbuster get over to the link party and show us what you've been up to and maybe win a prize!

I finally, finally, made up my first normal tiramisu with fabric I bought last November specifically for it when Steph first started talking about Cake Patterns and Tira.

It went together so smoothly all my fears and worries were unfounded. Thanks to the previous Tira fittings I was able to cut this out and get it right the first go. I did make a few changes.

  • I cut the back on the center fold removing the seam allowance.
  • I cut the pockets from a woven fabric per Steph's suggestion

  • I cut the neckband 2 inches wide instead of 1 1/2 like the pattern. I did this for two reasons. One it's less fiddly for me to work with and two it brings the V neck up just a tiny bit more to where I'm comfortable.

Confession time. I admit to having some confusion with the stripe/stretch lines and the different cutting layout. (it didn't help that one of my knits does actually have the lines running vertically) All other knit patterns have you cut the neckband going with the stretch while Tira's neckband is cut lengthwise going with the least amount of stretch. That's why it was the exact length of the neckband and that's why my burgundy Tira gathered. I only wish I had had this epiphany before I got the dress sewn together... but I understand the Why now so I won't be making that mistake again.

Moving on, I wore it all day to let the hem settle while I watched my 3 not-nieces and 1 not-nephew. We swung on the swings, pushed the wheelchair down the gravel road, saw a muskrat, played with toys on the floor, took naps and went potty. The dress performed fabulously.
All you get though is a no gape photo of me with the kitty.

There is a wind warning out on that skirt though. Make sure you keep a firm hand on it so you don't end up flashing the mailman...
Swirly twirly, beautiful.

Since this was a very lightweight knit I decided to try the fusible or sticky tape to hold the hem in place while I sewed it. Unfortunately I was in a hurry at wallyworld and picked up some heavy stuff with a big, "DO NOT SEW" warning on the back.

But I had it, so I decided to go ahead and use it. Turns out the paper backing is heavier than the sticky and it didn't effect the drape of my hem. I'm skeptical of it's permanent stick claims but I'm willing to give it a try and see how it comes out after the first wash. I can always sew it later if I need to.

This concludes my review on Tiramisu. 

I made five garments out of stashbusted knits this month which makes me pretty happy. How much stashbusting did you accomplish?

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Are you feeling worn out or lacking energy to fulfill your stashbusting goals? Don't give up and go check out this post: Fabric Stashes A Cautionary Tale

Don't worry, together we can beat those fabric imps!

PS. Cation's link party is open for May's Knit Challenge. Go post your creations for a chance to win!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Me-Made-May Week 4 Roundup

Oooh it's almost over... but I'm not going to talk about lessons I've learned just yet. Time to see what I wore last week.
May 19th, Vintage top pattern for the bodice and my own experiment with
pickups/tucks/bubble skirt thing...

May 20th, beautiful rain so I stayed inside to craft. My shirt and trousers are both me made.

May 21st, more rain, and three me mades. My shirt, which you can't see my knitted sweater and a very pilly knit skirt. 

May 22nd, My second knitted sweater which is perfect for the change of seasons. Still more rain so I'm working on a long sleeve tunic.

May 23rd, New TOP!! and sunshine. My memade cords as well.

May 24th, my favorite unphotographable 50s dress.

May 25th, Crazy top again. It was one of my first knit tops and I need to go back and fix the neckline. 

So there's a bit of my fabulousness. You can tell I've gotten less creative with my photos. But it's been either busy or dreary this past week so I haven't been able to take any photos worth playing with...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Belated Bustier Top Stashbust

Hiya Stashbusters! Are you enjoying your long weekend? Mine started early when my family whisked me away to town to watch the latest Star Trek movie instead of blogging on Friday. So today I have something special I couldn't wait any longer to show you!
The only sailing I've done is through books.
My Mother picked up this red and white stripe rib knit remnant at the thrift shop haul she made for me last fall. I loved it from the beginning but it was so short I knew I'd have to add something to it so it would be long enough for me to wear. After searching all over the blogosphere for the "sweetheart neckline tutorial" I knew I'd seen somewhere I finally rediscovered it on Pinterest under the "Bustier tutorial" I knew it was on So Zoe's blog!!
I don't know why I procrastinate on the "drafting" pattern hacks. Every time I do one I think, "Whoa! That was easier to figure out than I thought!" I held my TNT knit top pattern up to me to get the curve placement in the correct spot then traced over those lines to make the top part of the pattern.

I don't know about you but a lot of my projects evolve as I work on them. Cake Pattern's stripe inspiration soaked through with the contrasting neck and sleeve bands which lay much better in real life than they do on the dress form.

I had fun with the topstitching as well. But the pieces de resistance was when I remembered I had these buttons in the stash! Just in case you weren't sure of its nautical roots yet...

I forgot to take a picture of the V in the back. Needless to say it is fabulous too! I can't wait for summer and the fun I'm going to have with all my new tops.

How's the May Stashbusting going for you? Did you go with the theme or are you working on your own projects? Are you enjoying our long weekend? Getting any sewing done?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If You Give A Girl A Computer...

If you give a depressed girl with high blood sugar a computer she'll start browsing the new fabric website she found.
While she's just looking she'll discover the BEST PRINT EVER which only has two yards left before it's gone forever. She will HAVE to buy it now!

Refute me if you can!! 
As she adds it to her shopping cart she will remember she just went through her large stash, and realize she doesn't have any knit prints. She will have to search the website for all her favorite prints so she can save on shipping by buying them all now. When they finally arrive she will lovingly pet them, wash them, and set them on her shelf. When spring arrives she will bring out her amazing print and turn it into a lovely top!

Since she's part of the GLOBAL STASHBUSTING SEWALONG she'll use the rest of her yardage to make her mother a matching top as a belated mother's day gift.

Aww, aren't we cute!!
She'll be so pleased with her results she'll take pictures and want to blog about all the details.
Self drafted Peter Pan collar sewn wrong sides together and
topstitched down with zigzag stitch.
Still working on proper tension for the double needle. Thanks
to MoonThirty's tips it's getting better though.
To blog her successes to the WORLD she'll have to get on her computer...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Me-Made-May Week 3 No, you're not getting a more creative title than that..

Wow! It's over half way over!! I had so much fun seeing everyone's sewing spaces for last THEME FRIDAY so I decided to show you mine this week.
May 12th, Proportion seemed to be Sunday's lesson. If the white skirt had been a tich longer I think I could have pulled it off. I LOVE this tunic. You can see more pics and the story of its birth here.

May 13th, Me Made Polka Dot top and messy cutting table!

May 14th Me Made Patchwork skirt. Haven't worn it in eons and forgot how fun it is!

May 15th my trusty machines and new thread rack. I went to they eye Dr. and got told I looked springy in this top. Always a good day when you get compliments from random strangers!

May 16th One of my first knit tops.  Love this fabric and think it's time to repurpose this shirt. I didn't know you need deeper hems on knits so just serged the edges and topstitched down. 1/4 in. seam allowances don't stay put in knits. It also wants to bunch up above my bust. Not sure what that's about...

May 17th, THEME FRIDAY's Hat
I did a service to us all by discovering why our stashes seem to grow! We have Fabric ELVES!!

Practicing my model face, (or really bright sun) This was what I actually wore for May 17th. To read about how much I love this dress, see here. I'm so pleased with this stashbusted piece! 

May 18th, my trusty vintage dress form that I'm learning to use. MeMade Purple and green top.
That's all I've got for today! Hope everyone has a great week! 
Stashbusters, stay tuned, I've got some busted stash to show you!! Hope knits month is going well for you all!

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Dress and Photography Thoughts

When Steph mentioned you could use woven patterns for knits I knew exactly what my next project was going to be! (if you don't know what I'm talking about read her interview, part 1 and 2)
I decided to give my newly traced Lutterloh kimono sleeve tee a try in some thrifted knit my fabulous Mother picked up for me. I've got her trained well. :)
I really liked the simplicity of this knit with the stripe set on the bottom. I wasn't sure about the color on me but I wanted a comfy summer dress so that's what it was going to be!

It was a thin knit and curled like crazy and since I have yet to get spray starch to control this, I let it do it's thing and used it to my advantage. I didn't hem anything! I did bind the neckline to add some stability but let that edge roll up on the outside for a subtle design detail.
I ended up sewing the side seams twice in four short goes to get the fit I wanted instead of just making do with the first sew through. I'm pretty happy the stripes still match after hacking off about 6 inches from each bottom side.
I love it with this vintage scarf that I've had forever and never had anything to wear with. I feel like this will be a great travel dress since it is so comfortable and will be easy to accessorize for different looks. Plus this piece has now be STASHBUSTED!

Now we'll politely segue from the dress to photography...
What's the difference between clothing in real life and photographs? Why does something look good in the mirror but not so great when I take a photo for MMM? Today I discovered some reasons why my photos might not look as good when I look in the mirror. Angles, lighting, breathing.
Here's some examples from today's self photoshoot. (I set my camera on custom timer. 10 seconds then 5 photos)
Dress and body in motion, fabric is fluid and moves with us. Me striding along, is a brief second in time, yet captured on camera presents an unflattering wrinkled mess.

Suck it in, let it out, Oh look I'm a MODEL! hehe
(Self timer gives you some interesting shots to work with)
A picture can be a great evaluation tool but I don't think it should be our determining factor in garment suitability. I took 100 photos of this dress today and you can see how many actually turned out decent.  Maybe we need to hold our photos in an open hand realizing how that moment looks might not really matter and in the minutiae of life our clothing is just a covering helping us live every moment well. Maybe what really matters is the attitude we clothe ourselves in...
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

INTERVIEW with StephC Creator of Cake Patterns Part 2

Hey Ya'll! Stashbusters take note! This is the part where I ask Steph for her tips on sewing knits and get her advice on decreasing the stash. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, go do it now! So picking up right where we left off, 
Reversible Cabarita RiFF
Blog Post

Any tips for building sewing time into a busy day?
Get a timer.  Set the timer.  Sew for the duration- 15, 20, 30 minutes.  Stay organized- get a box for your project and put everything you need into it because being disorganized is a massive waste of time and energy.  

Tip for those who co-habitate: Being a wife/mother/girlfriend/carer does not mean you are a domestic slave.  Spending a portion of time every day doing something you want to do is not selfish.  Let everyone you live with know you’re sewing until the timer goes off.  

If they want to interrupt, teach them about personal boundaries by pointing to the timer and smiling broadly while reminding them you’re sewing until the time is up.  Even very small children can be taught to respect this, and it will make them better adults when they grow up.

Do you think sewing can impact a woman's self perception in a positive way?
Absolutely.  Everyone wears clothes, and many people have had the experience of shopping for clothes only to find nothing that fits/looks good.  In a retail clothing setting, if none of the clothes suit you it’s easy to assume that you’re unsuitable.  When someone learns to sew, I see something change in their perception- it’s the understanding that clothes are just pieces of fabric that have been manipulated into a shape that can be used to cover a body.

That changes everything.  It marks a shift from the person thinking of themselves as being somehow unsuitable to the understanding that it’s the clothes that don’t suit.  Further, sewing is a skill that anyone can acquire with enough practice and patience. 

It’s like “Hey look- I just took this pile of thread and buttons and fabric and made it into a shirt!  With my own hands!”  Sewing itself is an achievement to be proud of outside one’s physical attributes. It’s healthier to think of oneself in terms of skills and achievements than in terms of appearance/size.

Especially for the Stashbusters: 
Do you have a stash? How do you keep it under control?
No, I don’t, except the odds and ends of de-stashed fabric that my friends give me.  I used to have a stash (because that’s what you do, right?) and I found the guilt rather crushing.  So I spent a year sewing it down and haven’t gone back.

I tend to buy all of my fabrics for a “collection” at one time, and coordinate the colors/textures.  I almost always buy fabric with an Intent- I have an idea how I’ll use it.  Sometimes that changes, but I nearly always sew a fabric within a few months of buying it.

Why should we sew with knits?
A few years ago, when I spent countless hours fitting wasp-waisted 1950’s dresses to my girdled frame and tailoring 19th century menswear for my husband, I scoffed at the thought of “wasting” my precious sewing time on knits.
blog post
Eventually, I realized that it made more sense in terms of my time and money to make clothes that would see the most wear in my wardrobe.  I can use high quality fabrics and finishes for the garments I wear all the time, and I like the challenge of exhibiting my personal style through “wash and wear” type garments.  Sewing knits well is a skill just like tailoring is a skill, but I think it’s often dismissed by sewists as either “too hard” or “not worth it.”
Pavlova Wrap Top in Crinkle Linen Gauze
Pavlova in Action
I also have a huge problem with the ethics of clothing manufacture.  For example: If I go into a store and pick up a shirt for $4 (or even $14 or $24), I know that the fabric alone probably cost more than that.  And what about the labor?  There’s no way to sugar coat the truth that if I buy a shirt for $4, someone is getting screwed somewhere in the production process, and it’s most likely to be a fellow sewist. 

I don’t want to be a part of that system of oppression.  Sometimes it seems like there’s no way to escape these systems of oppression as a part of modern life- but this is one way I can abstain.  I wouldn’t keep a slave in a shed in my backyard sewing my clothes, so why would I buy clothing that was made under similar conditions?  After the most recent (and continual) textile factory tragedies in Bangladesh, it’s even clearer to me that “ethical” oversights by retailers don’t mean anything and that it’s extremely difficult to buy clothes without buying oppression.
bangladesh final embrace
Source Link
It’s a deliberate choice I make every time I sit down at my sewing machine- I will not prey upon poorer-than-me people so I can wear new clothes.

If I could build a better retail clothing system, I would.  But for now, I sew and wear my clothes without guilt.

What is your all time favorite knit to work with and why?
Linen!  I love linen jersey, and despite the info out there about dry-cleaning it I have found it’s a really great fabric to toss in the washing machine.  Linen fibers are tough.  Linen is cool in humid climates, it’s easy to handle and it ages into an unbelievably soft fabric over time.  It’s delicious!  

What are your Top 5 Tips for working with knits? 
  • Don’t be afraid.  It’s just fabric, and you’re the boss.  Start with something cheap, but try to avoid slippery knits at first.
  • Use ballpoint needles.  The tips of the needles slip between fibers rather than stabbing them (stabbing breaks the fibers and makes runs/ladders in the fabric). This also eliminates skipped stitches.
  • Use a knit construction stitch. A narrow and long zig-zag is ideal.  A serged/overlocked seam is not sufficient on its own, and a serger/overlocker is not necessary for sewing knits.
  • Fusible webbing is your best friend.  It holds hems and other seams in place and stabilizes them to prevent rippled stitching without adding bulk.  It’s fantastic.
  • Woven patterns can often be used to sew knit fabrics without any alteration, but it’s not a good idea to use knit patterns to sew a woven fabric.  

What's next or what's the latest for Cake Patterns? Can we get a sneak peek?
Cabarita Post and Bonny Post
Well- I just released a new line of patterns, the RiFF range.  This has been on the back burner for a few months, it’s so exciting to finally start RiFFing out!  RiFFs are a single garment pattern with explicit written instructions and minimalist packaging.  They’re intended for intermediate to advanced sewists, and share the same sizing and aesthetic qualities as other Cake Patterns releases.  
I can produce a RiFF in a fraction of the time it takes to create a full Cake Patterns release- all those detailed illustration cells don’t make themselves!  Though Cake has an artist team to create the illustrations, I work closely with them at every stage of the process to create the illustrations.  We spend more hours on edits and refinements than I want to admit!  It’s really labor intensive, and while it’s helpful for beginners and visual learners, many people who sew don’t need that kind of instruction- just a few crisply written guidelines.   RiFFs are for them.
Are you drooling with me? How does she know to pick
my favorite colors?
The next “big” Cake Patterns release is Red Velvet- another nifty remake-able knit dress based on the Tiramisu cup-propotional sizing.  It has a wide circular neckline that can be faced (optional petal collar!), a secret challenge pocket, midriff section, and a scissor-pleated skirt.   I’m playing around with proportions and fabric choices, but the idea is a day-to-cocktail cut which is adaptable depending on the fabrics used.

If you NEED to purchase some of Steph's patterns all the links are here. If you've got any questions on what Steph has said let us know. She hinted there may be more blog posts on some topics if there's interest. Thanks Steph for taking the time to let us get to know you a bit better. Keep up the amazing, inspiring work!

There you go stashbusters! Some extra special motivation for our Knits month. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of the Hummingbird and Cabarita.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Me Made I Spy Week 2!

Welcome to Round Two of Me-Made-May and Emily's I Spy Challenge! I think God knew what He was doing when He said to rest one day a week. I try to stay off the computer on Sundays and I'm always ready to go Monday morning! So good morning ya all! Now on to the clothes!

May 5th, This is one amazing silhouette on me! I made this dress in high school and it was one of the first
projects where I nailed fit. Unfortunately I've grown a bit since then and it's a bit uncomfortable for
prolonged wear. I think this needs to move on to another's closet. The store bought jacket always was too small
and I think my skills have grown enough to where I am ready to tackle jackets.

May 6th, this top has become my casual go to top! I love
how the bright colors perk up my attitude. The trousers
need to be made up in something other than corduroy
since it finally decided to get warm around here.

May 7th, a work from home day in all me mades! Found out this old skirt has a hole. I think it's time for repair or a refashion...
Closeup of the top neckline. For full post see here.

May 8th, Rainbow day?? Another work from home day trying out my new green pants. The jury's still out on these.
The turquoise shrug is half finished. I'm trying to decide whether to leave the sleeves open or add cuffs to trap warmth.
Any thoughts?

May 9th, Me made pink top and earrings. Love the style of this top. Need to make more! Also, don't take pics while
watching Once Upon A Time. You'll be too busy watching Bae fight the shadow and confess his love to Emma to
notice your pics aren't turning out correctly.

May 10th, Theme Friday was our sewing space which was fun since it was our local sewing day. Wearing my green pants again with a me made top. The top is going to hit the road. You can't see it in the pics but the neckline flaps all over the place IRL and while I like sleeveless dresses I don't like sleeveless shirts.

May 11th, wearing my tiramisu again. Love how easy it is to wear.
So far Me Made May is showing me I need to do some mending on old favorites and some things need to go. Nothing like a good closet cull. Can you find what is hidden in May 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th but not in the 6th, 8th or 10th?
What has MMM been teaching you?