Friday, April 28, 2017

Me-Made-May 2017: plans and my pledge

I, Katherine of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item, not counting underwear, each day for the duration of May 2017.  In addition, I will devote all of my sewing and knitting time to making things for myself, with a focus on improving and expanding my work and cold-weather wardrobe.

I'm excited for Me-Made-May this year!  I've been in a bit of a sewing funk the last couple of months, partly due to limited sewing time, which paradoxically made me waste the sewing time I did have without actually sewing anything.  I've also felt kind of bogged down by several gifts I've been making for people - according to my blog, I've made exactly three things for myself in the last year: my Adelaide dress last June/July, the grey cardigan I finished last October (which I wear a lot but don't totally love), and the half-slip I threw together this Spring.

So I'm really excited to focus on making for myself next month.  I've been noticing a lot of gaps in my work wardrobe this year:  I'm set for slacks, but I don't have enough tops that I really like, and all of my dresses are short-sleeved or sleeveless.  First up on my list are a woven t-shirt and a long-sleeved lady skater dress, both in fabric I got from the Hancock's closing sale last Summer.  If both of those get finished next month, I'm thinking about a long-sleeved button-up in a beautiful light-orange voile I've had in my stash for a while and a sewn cardigan in a purple scuba knit (also from the Hancock's sale).

I'll try to keep a list of what I've worn each week.  I think this project will be helped by the fact that my semester is over as of this weekend, so I won't feel the need to be quite as dressed up at work (almost all of my work wardrobe is ready-to-wear, mostly hand-me-downs or purchased second-hand).  The one thing that could put a wrench in my plan of wearing me-mades every day is the weather - so far we've had a pretty cool spring, too cold for me to wear most of the clothes I sewed for myself in the Texas heat.  If all else fails I guess I'll wear a lot of sweaters!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Singer 66

About a month ago, Robert and I were visiting family during our Spring break.  His father and stepmother live just a few blocks from a street with several really awesome thrift and consignment shops.  I needed new-to-me jeans, so I walked over one morning to see what I could find.  I came home with not just the perfect jeans (long enough, not tight in the thighs, and with a waistband that doesn't gap in the back - the waistband facing is elastic!), but also two bread baking pans and a 1949 electric Singer 66 sewing machine!
The sewing machine was $85 and in good condition, with a new power cord.  It sews really smoothly.  It's my new everyday machine, and I'm enjoying it a lot.  It's a table model - its undersides are exposed, so you can't put it anywhere else and expect it to sew (it came with the table).  
I love that it has a really big harp space - it feels really luxuriously spacious compared to my old little Brother machine.  It has a low straight shank, so the darning foot from my Brother fits on it, and I've already done some FMQ on it.  It's a straight stitch only machine, although it does have a backstitch (apparently it was one of the first Singers to have a backstitch).  I'm hoping I can get a zig-zagger and a buttonholer for it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Modern Arizona Wedding Quilt

One of my best friends got married last June.  I wanted to make a quilt wedding gift, but what with my graduation last May, I didn't get it started until the beginning of June.  Of course, I didn't have time to finish it before their wedding (I think I got the top finished), and then we moved cross-country in July and then I started my new job, and I finally finished it in February.

I made up the quilt pattern based on a picture of a quilt I had seen online.  I like it because it looks sort of like a double-wedding ring, but without the crazy template piecing.  I used two jelly rolls of Arizona-themed fabric from connecting threads.  I picked this fabric because my friend and her now-husband met and still live in Arizona.  It was a happy coincidence that several of the fabrics are a kind of coral-ish orange color, since our bridesmaid dresses were coral/orange!
My favorite fabric is this adorable cactus print:
I quilted loops in each row of the quilt, and bound it with leftover jelly roll strips.

Here's my sketch of the quilt blocks.  It's a twin-sized quilt (I didn't measure it after I washed it, but the blocks finished at 30" by 30", and it's two blocks wide by three blocks long).

Friday, April 14, 2017


When we lived in Texas, I used to wear skirts almost every day.  But in the midwestern winter (even the mild one we just had), it's much too cold to have bare legs, so I ordered a couple of pairs of Smartwool tights.  They are wonderful, but almost all of my skirts and dresses are un-lined light-to-medium weight cotton, and they ride up when I wear tights. I only have one skirt that's heavy enough to wear with tights and no slip.

So I made myself a half-slip using some Bemberg rayon I had bought for another project that I'm not sure will ever get made.  I followed Gertie's tutorial.  I cut two rectangles, each 25" wide and 19" long (which is wider than the tutorial suggests for my hip measurement, but I was worried about wearing ease, and I think I made the right call - I need to be able to walk to work, climb stairs, and generally feel comfortable walking around while I'm teaching).  I used French seams and a double narrow hem at the bottom.

I used a bit of lavender picot-edge elastic that I had leftover from making several pairs of undies, and I didn't use any lace or bows.

The rayon is super slippery, and the slip works really well!  It was kind of difficult to cut and sew the rayon accurately, but given the non-public nature of this project, I don't think it matters that it isn't perfect.