Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mini Project Week - Tuesday - Library tote

Ok, we'll call it the increasingly late mini-project week...

- Toronto is going to start charging $0.05 per grocery bag, which is an excellent thing for the environment, and one I support wholeheartedly.

- And I also finally went and became a member of the library.

- Plus, its getting close to the 4th of July.

- And finally, I have a lot of fabric.

All of the above led to this tote, which I am planning to use for groceries/library books/general errands around town. It is a nice large size, and I love the colors.

That's it for mini-project week, folks. This one is late, I just finished it.

I made 5 things - all very easy, some of them were UFOs, some of them were really simple things I'd been planning for a while, and some of them were projects designed just to use up supplies. Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun with this. I'm not giving up garment sewing, of course, but on an ongoing basis, I'm going to sprinkle in the odd crafting project to mix it up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mini Project Week - Monday - Using up remnants, with a little help from Anthropologie

More inspiration from Anthropologie, this time, this pretty scarf, which is actually fairly reasonably priced at C$21. Still, I did have all the ingredients at home...

Summerset commented about me already having supplies, but that's actually the big inspiration for this week. I have a lot of supplies sitting around, and I'm trying to use it or lose it. It does not help that I'm a packrat, and parting with anything feels like heartbreak (see this project, for example).

The fabric is a very sheer synthetic chiffon-type, left over from a sewing project (another 2-year old UFO, which I should make a note to finish), the trim I bought over a year ago at a thrift store in Michigan for 40c. Simple hemming, and sewing the hem on - about 30 minutes of work, tops.

And the result is that I have a fun summer accessory, and I've used up a tiny, minuscule portion of the supplies. Win-win.

Mini Project Week - Sunday - Finishing a UFO from 2 years ago

(The Biscuit had to participate in the photo shoot.)

(Once the photo shoot was over, she decided to guard the corridor against intruders. Because, you know, she's ferocious.)

And now, for those that want it, Biscuit-free commentary:

All these pj's needed was hemming, and yet, they've sat in the UFO pile since April 2007. I was cleaning recently, and found the PJs, so perfect mini-project.

(Full confession, work + social life has been crazy, I'm falling behind mini project week. This was done today, but I've labeled it Sunday, since I still hope to catch up with the rest of the week.)

Rather than hem, I decided to make them a tiny bit more interesting by using a coordinating bias-trim at the hem edge (the picture below). This project literally took me 10 minutes. I'm off to do another mini-project now, and try and catch up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good stuff - summer vacation plans!

Summer sewing is going to be very slow going for me. I'm going to be insanely busy at work (I'm traveling to 4 provinces in the next 4 weeks, enough said.)

But, better still, I have a bunch of travel for fun I'd like to do - I'm planning on driving the James Bay Road one weekend, I'm going to be in Montreal next weekend with a girlfriend (we are going to drink beer the entire weekend, good times!) and I want to go away to Europe in the August/September timeframe (I've been lusting after Barcelona, especially after watching Vicky Christina Barcelona... so maybe there?) My job can involve a fair bit of Canada travel, so I'm sure I'll toss in Vancouver in the mix, as well as Quebec City - I've never been to either place, and I'd love to go to both.

I'm excited about all of this, but most especially the James Bay road. I'm a bit nervous about doing this by myself (no gas stations, no cell phone reception, kind of out of options if the car breaks down or something) but also, really excited. Here's a bit of an excerpt from the James Bay Road info site.

The James Bay (Baie James) region of northern Quebec is located in northeastern Canada along the eastern side of James Bay. It is a vast wilderness area of taiga/boreal forest, reached by a single road - the very remote James Bay Road (Route de la Baie-James) - 620 km of forest and taiga and not a single town along the way!

I've a big map of Canada in my office, and I keep looking at it, and dreaming of these vast stretches of openness. I'm a very city girl most of the time, but I really do enjoy the remote, middle-of-nowhere road trips. I think Radisson, which is my northern destination, is as far north as you can go by road in Canada. And then, there are no roads, at all, which is a fascinating concept for someone who grew up in densely populated India. (Where there are bad roads, but still, roads.)

And, just to keep this from being yet another picture-less post, the picture above was from early April, I did a bit of a whirlwind visit to Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. (That's my buddy Dave in the picture, we went to school together, and I totally used his apartment as base camp. Bad Reethi.) I had a total blast!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mini Project Week - Saturday: Quick & Easy Placemats

Way back in the time tunnel, JoAnns was clearing out a lot of its home-dec sample squares, and I bought about a million of them to make bags.

I don't really make a lot of bags anymore (although that's my mini-project for today), so I pulled three vegetable-themed samples together, and cut them out to make placemats. (Quick UFO reality check - I cut these out in March, they were for a friend's birthday - also in March. Finally sewed them together yesterday. Is it strange to give someone a birthday present 2 months late?)

Anyhoo, this is pretty simple sewing. Make placemat-size front, cut placemat-size back, sew right sides together, leaving a bit to turn; turn it through, slip-stitch the opening and iron well. (I might need to re-iron, since the placemat in the picture looks a bit wrinkled. I also opted not to use interfacing, but that's mostly because I didn't want to cut it out.

Of course, I didn't make just 1 placemat, that would be a sucky birthday present. I made a set of 4, and will give it to my friend when I see her this week.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mini Project Week - Friday: Copying Anthropologie

I'm copying Amanda - and am going to try to do one mini-project a day this week. I've a ton of half-finished projects/easy craft projects, etc, and I'd like to take a stab at paring that list down.

Yesterday's project was copying the Gentleman Juggler necklace from Anthropologie. I love Anthropologie, and now, they even have a Toronto outlet. I, however, do not love their prices, and when I saw this felted bead necklace, I knew I could rip it off fairly easily, and significantly cheaper than the CAD 120 they were planning on charging.

I burrowed around - I conveniently had both copper chain as well as felted beads sitting in the massive pile of craft supplies, and I got to work. I threaded copper wire through the beads, and attached a bead on every link of the chain.

And here it is.

Other project details: My total cost - about $5. Total time taken - about a hour, while watching Law & Order reruns on TV.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sewing review - Simplicity 2896

I've been going through a greens & blues phase - all the fabric I'm attracted to are in these hues... I've three dresses finished that are in this color family (one a disaster, the other two I love) and best of all, I was wearing a green scarf the other day, and some friends told me that green is a really good color on me.

Bringing me to this dress, the dress pattern in Simplicity 2896, my new favorite dress.

Fabric: A remnant from Joann's, bought when I crossed the border to stock up on patterns - 6-8 months ago? About $3, I think, and I have enough left over to also make a top, so I'm very happy.

Simplicity 2896.

Pattern adjustments: I cut a size 10 on top, and a 12 at waist and hip - this is my standard Simplicity size. I took an inch off between bust & waist, and then enough length off so the dress would hit just above my knee. These are pretty standard adjustments on me.

Oh, and I completely left out the back darts - I just forgot, until the dress was almost done. Ah well. Here's a photo of the back - yes, there is some ease there, but I don't think it looks terrible.

And also, I didn't even open the instructions, so I've no thoughts at all on whether they are good or not.

Time taken:
One evening's worth of work, so 3-4 hours. I'm a slow sewer - this is as straight forward as it gets, really, no sleeves, no waistbands, nothing that would slow things down.

Good things: I really like that the pattern has a combined neck & armhole facing - so, no fiddly bias binding. Also, I just love how this dress fits me, it skims rather than hugs my body, so I loved what they did with the sizing and the ease on this pattern.

Bad things: Really, none at all.

Love it! Love it so much, I have already cut out the next version (using this red fabric.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gratuitous Cat Shot

I couldn't resist. Biscuit is adorable. (Even when I found her asleep on my stomach at 5am. She's adorable, but heavy.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sewing review BWOF 02-2009-108

Finally, the camera batteries were charged, I had some spare time, so time for pictures and review.

The Feb 2009 BWOF issue rocked! I wanted to make almost everything in this issue. So far, however, the only thing I've made is this 1.5 dot t-shirt, so I better get cracking.

Fabric: A Joann's buy, from forever ago. I've used portions of it before, but I had enough left over to squeeze out this t-shirt. I don't know how much I paid for it? Probably $3-$4 a yard. Only problem - this fabric is really sheer. I'm wearing this tee with a tank top underneath, for modesty's sake.

Pattern: BWOF 02-2009-108.

Pattern adjustments:
I cut a size 38, my standard BWOF top size. The only thing I did was sew the shoulders together, and then finish the neck edge, rather than finishing the neck edge and then sewing the shoulder.

Time taken: Pretty quick - this is a basic t-shirt, and it doesn't take long to sew up. 2-3 hours?

Good things: I love the boatneck tee, this is a nice basic, and it fits well.

Bad things:
Bleah, the hem. I know I'm probably the only person that would notice that the hem is stretched out, but I do notice it, and I don't like it. Ah well. I'll still wear it.

Conclusion: I do like this style - it is a nice basic, and I'll make more.

Monday, May 04, 2009

This last month...

flew by.

And sigh, the dress didn't get done. (Actually, the muslin's sitting in half-finished state as well.)

What did I do this last month?

- Went to Phoenix and the Grand Canyon on vacation.
- Turned 36.
- Sewed a tiny little bit - one McCalls dress, the BWOF boatneck tshirt that everyone's made with great results (mine's good but not great), one Butterick tank-top like thing. The camera batteries have been dead since Phoenix though, so no chance taking or posting any pictures.
- And a whole bunch of hanging out with friends and family, which is all good, but also busy and doesn't leave that much time for posting.

So, in May, I'm going to try to commit to staying home and sewing a bit more. I'm aiming for balance, either I sew far too much, or far too little. I'd like to shoot for just right.