Saturday, January 26, 2013

FNSI - Progress on a Tira Bodice

I've been so excited to start sewing my Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns, ever since I started prepping the pattern and cutting out my fabric a few weeks ago.  When I saw that last night was the Friday Night Sew In, I knew it was perfect timing.  Bought a bottle of wine, tidied up my sewing space, and got to it.

Slowly.  Because that's my style now. 

Took me all night, but I got the bodice put together, with pretty contrast topstitching and no puckering in the binding.  So proud!

Once everything was together, I hand-basted the sides and tried it on.  AND IT'S TOO SMALL.  *wails*

Sorry about the blurry photos, it was tough taking a picture while keeping the girls from escaping.
This is me, stretching that front wrap as far as it'll go to cover my bust.  And it's not very covered.  :(  I cut a 40B for the front.  I thought it seemed wrong to cut a B cup size considering I wear a 36D bra, but I figured it'd probably still work.  The fit of the front bodice isn't actually that bad, the shoulder's are comfortable and sit nicely, I just need more coverage for the girls (maybe a 40C? I think a 40D might be too much).  And a bit more width.  But that's not the front pieces fault.

Look at me, blending into the walls. Haha just kidding, the walls are much darker than my fish-belly-white skin (thanks Dad).
The biggest issue is that the back piece is too small, or at least not wide enough.  I cut a size 35 for the back, but now I'm wondering if I traced the wrong size.  See howfar the back waist piece sticks out?  That struck me as odd at the time and I even double checked the piece to make sure I'd traced off to the 35 size, but I figured I'd just go with it.  Should've been my first clue that something was wrong.  If the back bodice had lined up to the back waist piece properly, the seam would've sat closer to where it should've been. I'll be going up at least one more size for the back. 

Luckily I have another half metre or so of this fabric, so hopefully I can eek out the pieces I need!


On another note, I've mentioned a few times in the past how photos make you look at your body from another perspective.  I'm not a thin woman, but those last two pictures just showed me that I'm not as big around the middle as I pictured in my head.  I hesitated before taking them for the purpose of posting in the first place but I figured eff it, it's fitting photos and nothing obscene is showing.  I was pleasantly surprised that they weren't as bad as I expected.  It's funny the fake image you get in your head about yourself.  I think that sewing has really forced me to confront that fake image, and accept the reality of it.  I can even go so far as saying that sewing has given me so much more self-confidence.

Anywho, I'm off to the shop, but then I'll be playing with my Tira some more tonight.  Hopefully I'll have a better fitting bodice for you guys tomorrow.  :D

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh Whatever Shall I Do With Myself

So I just got home from camp last night, and my boyfriend abandoned me for a hockey tournament in Dawson this weekend.

And I have this great sewing room ready to go (if perhaps a little bit messy from moving everything over before leaving for camp :D).


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tiramisu 30 Minutes a Day Sew-Along: Days 1-3

My office - seriously.
For those who didn't make it that far in my 2012 recap post or just plum forgot, I now work as a geo at a fly-in mine here in Yukon. I work a 2 week rotation, so please forgive me if I disappear for half a month at a time.  I've already pulled one rotation, and will be leaving on my second one tomorrow morning!

Despite this, I sort of signed up for Cake Pattern's Tiramisu 30 Minutes a Day Sew-Along!  StephC is doing a fantastic job of organizing it and guiding us along.  Wish I could follow along each day for the entire thing, but oh well, the posts will still be there when I get back.

Day 1 had us gathering up our supplies into a box or bag or basket, and then tracing the pattern.  I forgot to snap a picture, but I'm using one of the many wicker baskets I have laying around.  I liked this step especially because I'm in the middle of moving and my sewing supplies are scatted to the wind.  This lets me keep it all in one spot and ready to go for when I come back to the project.  Steph is a smart woman.

Day 2 had us cutting out the pattern from our fabric.  You can see my pile above.  I'm using a lovely denim-like knit that I surprising found in our severly lacking local fabric shop.  My cutting was fairly simple as I don't have stripes to match.  Since this fabric has a diagonal texture to it, it's really hard to match up on the seams, so I've opted to rotate the skirt piece and cut on the fold to eliminate the centre front and centre back seams.  I know this will effect the drap of the fabric, but Steph did the same thing on her polkadot Tiramisu, and it looks just fine.

Sorry about the dark crummy picture. The lighting in my sewing room sucks right now.
Day 3 (today) has us pressing our neck and sleeve bands in half and ironing on strips of fusable interfacing to the shoulder seams and pocket openings.  I should be packing up today so that I can cuddle with my boyfriend tonight without worry; instead, I did the day 3 chores PLUS then played with stitch options. 

See, since I'm using a demin-like fabric, I want to use some denim-like seam finishes, and that includes possibly a flat-felled seam along the side seams.  It worked out decently on my test scraps (although I got distracted part way through and my needle wandered off), but I'm not sure if it'll work well as a side-seam on a knit dress.

I also tested out using a double needle with the thicker gold topstitching thread.  I'm going to have to really crank up the tension to make it work, since the stitches pull through to the underside of the fabric.

I don't know, what do you guys think?  Ever use a flat-felled seam on a knit before?  This knit has some weight to it, but I had to steam the crud out of it to get it to fall flat again after stitching the seam.  (But then, I had to do the same with the double needle seam too.)

ETA: The reason I want to do this is two-fold.  I want to carry on the look of denim jeans in the dress, and since jeans have the flat-felled seams on the sides, I thought it'd be perfect.  But more importantly, the diagonal texture on the front and back skirts will be meeting at nearly perpendicular angles (much like the picture above).  Having the flat-felled seam there would obscure this more than I suspect a regular seam would.  But a lot of you have mentioned the weight of the seam, so I think a bit more investigation is needed before I attempt it.  Thanks everyone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Project Planning Yo!

I am itching to sew, it's a little bit ridiculous.  Well, I guess not considering how little of it that I've been able to do lately (Hitchhiker's Jacket just wet my appetite).

I'm moving today.  Tonight, I'm setting up the basics of my new sewing room (more info on that later), and tomorrow (hopefully), I'm sewing my own version of the Tiramisu!  I'm so jealous of all of you who have been making it lately. 

It'll be made out of this denim-like knit.  I'm actually surprised to have found it in our local fabric store, since their knit fabric selection fits on one 3 foot shelf (and there's a lot of rib knit and polyester on that shelf).  I took home the last 2.5 m of it.  I don't want to think about how much it cost me, thanks.

AND, I bought wool to start knitting myself a sweater.  Uh yeah, today was not a good day on my bank account.  Haha oh well I HAVE A JOB NOW.  Anywho, it's Cascade 220 Heathers (\o/), in a lovely burgundy with blue fibres spun throughout.  I love it!  Also, it was one of the only colours that had enough skeins for my project.  I'll share more about the pattern another time.

So yay, creating again!  I'll keep you posted about the Tira progress tomorrow.  :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review 2012: A Year of Big Changes

Hello lovelies!  I'm sorry for the long absence.  My life has consisted of a bunch of big changes lately, and I've been a little reluctant to share much of myself.  And while I've been crafting all this time (knitting, to be exact), it's mostly been Christmas gifts for family and friends, and thus stuff I can't post on here until they receive it all.

I've been thinking a lot about this past year, and I realized that there have been a lot of big changes for me in 2012.  Some of it external, a lot of it internal.  I thought it'd be nice to review some of those changes, along with my sewing (and knitting) projects completed (or nearly so) along the way.


This month found me settling into my new apartment in Manitoba, working a job that I really didn't like, but was the first semi-related-to-my-education job I could find.  It was paying the rent and bills.  And allowing me to buy pretty things.  This was a really freeing time for me, because it was the first time that I'd had regular, full-time, grown-up career-like job after being a student for 9 years.  I loved having my own apartment (where I thought I'd be for years to come) and the ability to afford the little things I couldn't afford on a student budget.  My favourite thing in this place was my semi-dedicated sewing space, which was starting to look super cute!

I did actually manage to do some sewing.  I made up a version of McCall's 8408, which looked much better when made up 3 sizes smaller than my measurements indicated.  I'm sad now, because I have no idea where this cardigan wound up.  Might be at my Mom's place in Manitoba?

I spent a lot of January and February working on my Wooly Coat.  I'll note that while I still have the coat, it's still not finished.  All it needs is buttonholes and the sleeves hemmed, and that's it.  Sadly, I've been stumped on the buttonholes since I neglected to do bound buttonholes, and while my dear sewing machine can stitch beautiful buttonholes on this fabric, the material is actually way too thick to cut through easily without also cutting the stitches.  I might have a solution for that though, so maybe I'll have a me-made winter coat someday.  Probably in time for summer.  Again.

I also (finally) finished up a Christmas present I procrastinated all over for months.  This crochet hook holder was my own design and I was damn proud of it!  It was for Heather over at FussWorks, and it seemed to be a success.  Woo!  I mostly worked on it with the sewing group we created after PR Day 2011.  Aw, I miss those awesome ladies now. :(

This was a tough month for me and the source of several Big Changes.  My Mom found a lump the previous December, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, and had her Lumpectomy on March 9th.  While it was caught really early, it brought back all sorts of fears and memories from when my Dad battled cancer, and eventually lost his fight on March 8, 2006.  My Mom is my best friend, and this brush with her mortality effected me deeply.  I chose to wear my Think Pink blouse as battle gear on the day of her surgery, and it must've helped because it went really well.  Of course, my ENTIRE family was there and took over the waiting room(s - there were a lot of us there) and then the cafeteria when most of the unruly bunch got kicked out of the waiting room(s).  I'm glad to say that Mom is now past the radiation and chemo and is doing great; she's working really hard to grow back her hair and quit smoking!  :)
Sewing is a great distraction, so you'd think I'd've done lots of it this month.  Alas, the month was full of failures and puttering around.  The highlight of the month was a Heather-Is-Getting-Old Birthday Giveaway, which was a lot of fun!  In desperation to sew something, I whipped together the infinity scarf above at the end of the month, which took all of 20 minutes to make.  Phew!

In April, I discovered a sudden and deep love of yellow, finally hemmed a polka dot blouse I'd made and been wearing for months (left picture), and even sewed a RTW-inspired blouse for a PR contest (which I still love and wear to this day - right picture).

And then I got fired from my job.

Getting canned wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  I didn't like the job, and was pretty relieved.  See, back in March, I decided to make a big change in my life.  I've been in an on-again off-again long-distance relationship with someone that I was more than a little crazy about.  I decided then that I'd take the risk and move to the Yukon and see what could happen when we were both in the same time zone.  I was planning on waiting until the Fall, but 2012 decided to take matters in it's own hands and moved the date up.  So May was mostly spent doing a lot of thinking (about where my life is going, and even where I've come from, including an interlude on how I learned to sew) and a lot of packing.

I managed to finish up a crocheted pillow, just in time to start selling/tossing/donating/packing up my well-loved, pretty little apartment.  I think I was projecting my anxiety and sadness about moving away from my family and friends, because I'd start crying over getting rid of the silliest things.  I thought I'd have more time to spend with my Mom and Brother and everyone else before I left, and it added a sad note to the adventure of moving to another province (or territory, in this case).
The only sewing project that I managed to make before packing up my sewing stuff (and as it turns out, the last completed sewing project for 6 months) was Baby's First Straight Jacket which, sadly, never made it to it's recipient.  :(

Mid-June, I crammed in everthing I could in my brand new '96 Sunfire (bought for me by my Brother for $800) and drove 3200 km from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Whitehorse, Yukon!  It was an awesome adventure and an absolutely terrifying drive through the mountains by a prairie girl who has never driven through the mountains before.  Once here in Whitehorse, I got settled into the room I'm renting from a friend of the guy I followed up here, and then realized just how little sewing I was going to be able to do due to lack of space.  In fact, with one thing or another, I didn't actually blog this month at all (the 'Hello from the Yukon' post was actually written in July).  Whoops.

I spent a lot of time this summer exploring my new home.  Whitehorse is a beautiful little city, and what it lack in shopping options (particularly it's derth of garment fabric options), it more than makes up for in outdoor recreational options.  Where else can you go hiking on trails or wilderness, on the side of a mountain, within city limits?!  I went hiking and mountain biking (!!!) all summer, and even went to both the Whitehorse and Dawson Music Festivals (so much fun).  All in all, I spent a lot of time getting to know my boyfriend and my new home.  Time very well spent, in my books!

Despite the lack of sewing (or possibly because of), I was still itching to create stuff.  I bought some lovely Cascade 220 wool from an adorable little natural fibres yarn shop here in town (I think it might make up for the crap fabric store we have here) and crocheted the divine toque.

And then I taught myself to knit.  And that basically sums up most of the rest of the years creative endevours.
owl coffee cup cozy
owl toque - sent off for a teenaged head in Australia :)
Oh yeah, and then I helped yarn bomb an airplane.  Good times.  :)

Apparently to make up for the lack of posts in June, I blogged a lot in August, from winning a fabric and pattern giveaway, to project and wardrobe planning, reorganizing a potential sewing space in my bedroom (which never actually panned out - too tight of a space being used for too many things), making up a set of pattern weights (which are, it turns out, worth their weight in gold), and absolutely spazzing out over a line of Burda Magazine patterns (which is relevant later on), it was an interesting month.

I haven't mentioned it, but during all this, I was hunting for a job.  I was on employment insurance all summer, but I knew my benefits were running out and I was starting to get desperate.  It's pretty demoralizing though, to send out so many resumes and meet with so many companies, and only get silence in response. September wasn't a good month for me, and I started to regret both of my seemingly useless university degrees.  I did, however, keep knitting.  I even tried sewing a top, but I lost steam on it pretty quickly.  Oh the WIPs.


In October, a few things conspired to grab ahold of my sewing mojo and give it a swift yank.  Finding a gorgeous if well loved Danier leather jacket at a garage sale, and the PR Refashion Contest.  Just like that, I was off finding a wool jacket to combine with the leather to make one of the Burda jackets I spazzed out over back in August, and I started tracing the pattern from the magazine.  In which case I learned that Burda Magazine patterns are a living hell.  I even sewed up a toile of the jacket to check fit.  OMG SEWING!!!

(I also knit up my first pair of mitts [okay, fingerless mitts].  I LOVE KNITTING!)

Due to an overdose of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (in all sorts of forms), this jacket became the Hitchhiker's Jacket!  This is, honestly, my crowning achievement in sewing for the year, and I am so proud of the finished result.  Despite the issues involved with working with limited material and working with leather, I managed to finish this just in time for the contest to close mid-November.

(There was lots of Christmas presents made from October to December, but I still can't show those yet.)

And then, soon after that, I basically fell off of the blogisphere.  The reason for this was I finally had one company interested in hiring me.  This was excellent timing since my EI had run out and I was running on financial fumes.  I enthused all over a mining company at a Trade Show, and they practically jumped me when they learned about my education and experience.  Which is funny, because they weren't that interested the previous 3 times I applied with them.  Oh well.

AND THEN my thesis supervisor arrived in town and got me an interview with an environmental consulting company in town.  I expected the usual 10 minute chat and 'we're not looking for anything right now but we'll be in contact if something comes up', and then never to hear from them again.  I got a 2.5 hour interview and a lot of enthusiasm.


AND THEN I basically had two job offers at once.  Eight months of searching with zero interest from anyone, and I had two places interested at the same time.  But since the environmental place didn't even know if they had the budget to hire me yet, I chose the mining company.  Plus it was a really good offer!
This dawn is sort of how my future feels right now: bright and full of promise. /cheese

The only caveat was that I'd start on Dec 13 for two straight weeks in camp (it's a fly-in camp on a two week in, two week out rotation), so I'd be working through Christmas.  Considering that I couldn't afford to get back to Manitoba anyways, I was mostly alright with this.  Plus it's almost like I got a career for Christmas, one that, as it turns out, I already love (despite getting the Camp Plague 4 days into my rotation).  So not only have I been busy getting employment worked out, but I've also done a rotation in camp already!  

To top it off, I'm also moving in with my boyfriend.  Yeah, things are going well.  So like I said long time ago at the beginning of this post, lots of big changes lately!

This year has had a lot of ups and downs, and some unexpected 90 degree turns.  I'm so thankful to have an outlet like sewing, knitting, and blogging.  While I may occasionally disappear from the online sewing community when things get too overwhelming, I can't explain how much I appreciate that we have this excellent community to come back to.  Thank you all for your patience and kindness this year.

I wish you all the very best in 2013.  I can't wait to see where it takes us!
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