Several bits of amazing news. Most importantly I graduated with my Master of Arts in Teaching, and was hired to teach high school Language Arts!
I will be teaching 10th and 11th grade Language Arts in a town pretty close to my hometown. It is thankfully quite a bit larger though, providing oppertunities for bowling, fishing, and movie going. So far this summer I have been visiting my new school, and Wiley who is still in Anchorage. This summer I have forgone my usual insane work schedule and am only working four days a week in the evenings. I plan to spend my spare time hiking, fishing, knitting, sewing, and just enjoying the summer for the first time in years. Today I began cutting pattern pieces for a toddler size flannel shirt. More on that to come.
As for the knitting, I finally completed the lovely and simple Hermione’s Everyday Socks. Mine are aptly titled Nicole’s Job Socks. I began and completed my job search while knitting these. I even did a few rounds while waiting for several of my job interviews. I am confident in saying that they must have been good luck socks!
Above is a quick shot I took while waiting for one interview!
Finally for a peak at my next project, Hopefully Victorious Sweater. As I’ve mentioned I am devoted to the creation of a Victory Sweater, a vintage sweater pattern from the 40’s. Lovely, but poses a bit of an engineering challenge due to my chest size (42″) in contrast to the 34″ pattern. I am currently swatching and hoping to do this the right way!
Recently I’ve taken a break from my personal sewing and try my hand at shirtmaking. After making my shirtdress I felt comfortable with some basic shirt skills like yokes, collars, and arms. I’ve run out of knitted items to make for Wiley (that he wants, I could make him much more but I don’t think a sweater or vest would get much use), so a practical flannel shirt seemed perfect. I chose the Negroni pattern from Colette primarily because it was the pattern used by the amazing Peter Lappin’s Men’s Shirt Sew-Along on his blog Male Pattern Boldness.
The only pattern specifics that I opted out of was the flat felled seams along the sides. I completed the shoulder flat felled seams without much trouble, but the sides gave me so much difficulty that I gave up. I zigzagged the raw seams and then tried to sew them down for an external look similar to the flat felled version. This however did not work particularly down the arm. It was so difficult to stitch up the closed arm this way that the line ended up being far from straight and even. Giving up though on this particular element did not damage the result. The seams look much better without and I’ll save flat felling for my next attempt.
Along the way I sewed a few crooked seams and often needed the support of my seam ripper. As this was my first full-fledged shirt I am trying not to focus on the less than perfect bits. Overall it turned out wonderfully and Wiley doesn’t seem to mind these imperfections at all. I also switched the buttons out for snaps, which saved time, involved fun hammer time, and Wiley’s preference.
For my second dress I tried out Mccall’s 6696 shirtdress. I was inspired to start this envevorour after seeing beautiful results from Mary on Idle fancy, and the Curvy Sewing Collective, and through her Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses challenge.
I decided to wait to use the beautiful red fabric that I previewed in my last post in lue of this black fabric I’ve had sitting around for years. technically it turned out wonderfully, other than that its kind of meh. This is mostly due to the dullness of the black fabric. Before pairing it with some green it was kind of a black hole. Luckily my dear Wiley gave me this vintage brooch and clip on earings for valentine’s day. I had seen them at Pack Rat (a local vintage store) maybe a month ago and pointed them out, and to my absolute surprise he gifted them to me this morning! Wiley also took these quick photos of me before we left home to spend the morning running errands.
Back to the dress. It’s taken me about three weeks on and off to make this dress from cutting to finishing the buttons last night. This dress required so many new skills I felt intimidated about 50% of the time. Somehow though with the help of my seam ripper and an attention to details things just kept turning out well. I ended up making a standard size 16 with the D cup option since those measurements seemed to fit. As many other ladies have mentioned it is lovely that this pattern has different cup size options, and the end product did fit. BUT the result was several inches to spare at the waist and a bit of looseness at the arms and shoulders.
This is a bit confusing to me since on the package the waist “Body measurements” for size 16 say 30″ which is already two inches smaller than my actual waist? Being new to the complicated pattern world am I just reading the package wrong on what end measurements should be? I paid close attention to my seam allowances so I don’t think it was that. Another thing. I am not sure why the bust size says 38″ for a 16 on the package but on the chart below (from Mccall’s Website) the smallest chest size for 16 says 42″. Since 38″ is my high bust measurement should I start with that again despite the loose waist? oh the conundrums.
For my next shirtdress (because of course there will be another) I am going to do somethings differently. I am not exactly sure what I need to do to fix the waist problem or what bust size to start with, but I will report what I’ve decided after figuring it out.
If anyone has advice I would love to hear it!!
I am sure that someday when I am more than just a novice at dressmaking I will look back at the dress and cringe. Currently though as my first dress I don’t think it turned out half bad. I learned a lot making it, giving me some confidence for my new shirtdress endeavour!
The dress pattern is one of the sheath dress variations from Built by Wendy: Dresses. My only major complaint is the large arms. This dress what created in days before I became aware of what a full bust adjustment is. According to the size charts provided in the book I am a XL in the bust (really larger since I am a 42″ and the XL is 40-41″), a L in the waist, and a M in the hips. Being a novice I went for the typical mistake of going for me bust size. Also being new to dressmaking I totally forsake a consistent seam allowance, recommended fabric, and interfacing. Overall it was the muslin that saved me from a wretched dress. I made a muslin and realized that I had to add massively to the darts, straight-up subtract major waist inches, and do something about the arms. In the end the arms were the only obstacle I didn’t conquer. In the photo below you can see the back darts I added, modeled after a dress I one that fits well. In the front I also added the side darts above the chest to help with the oversized arms and shoulders.
Luckily the fabric was very forgiving and conveniently covered most of my mistakes. I am not sure what sort of fabric it is or it maker to be honest. I received maybe three yards of this fabulously thick and stretchy 60’s looking fabric about six months ago. It was apparently a cast off from the Anchorage opera, and in the last six months I have been itching to make it into something.
In the few weeks since I finished this dress I have worn it pretty much as often as I could. This semester I’ve been completing my final semester of student teaching internship for my Masters of Teaching. I’ve been teaching eighth grade this semester and I love the confidence I’ve felt wearing this dress! In other outfit details I am wearing my new vintage doe pin on my chest, stockings from Nordstrom, and the shoes are Fosil.
As for the wardrobe Challenge part of this post, I will be participating in Kristen’s Wardrobe Architect Challenge found on the lovely Coletterie website.
Splitting up a bit challenge like this, especially for a new dressmaker like me is essential! Here is the month to month breakdown direct from Kristen.
- January – Find your core style and explore shapes
- February – Clean out your closet and take inventory
- March – Review and finalize your spring/summer sewing projects
- April – Plan colors and shop for spring fabric
- May & June – Sew for your spring/summer capsule wardrobe
- July – Review and finalize your autumn/winter sewing projects
- August – Plan colors and shop for autumn fabric
- September & October – Sewing for your autumn/winter capsule wardrobe
- November – Review and refine
- December – Show off your wardrobe!
Obviously I’m starting a little late with the challenge so I am going to wrap up my thoughts on January sometime this week. I love the idea of being the architect of my wardrobe and style and not merely a consumer. I’m signing off this post with one last photo. My sister Kalani caught me looking patriotic, but I’ll adapt it to a solemn commitment to my 2015 wardrobe pledge!
After the relative success of my first dress (I’ll post pictures eventually), I am ready to once again try my hand at dress making. I feel confident (mostly) in starting the adventure of making McCall’s 6692, thanks to the amazing tutorials from Mary and the Curvy Sewing Collective. I will definitly be using their full bust adjustment tutorial for this same pattern. One of my largest difficulties with dressmaking and even dress buying is the fact that my figure isn’t a standard size. I’ve read that comerical patterns and clothes are made with a B cup in mind, so given that I have a 32 HH bust ready made dresses and patterns aren’t exactly made for my figure in mind. If I were larger all over, then simply sizing up would be an alright option (which is what I do with store bought shirts and dresses), but this usually leaves me with a huge waist and baggy arms.
My measurements for reference are…
Upper bust: 38″
Below is the lovely fabric and buttons I bought today for this dress! Hopefully I will have the pattern ready to start a muslin in the next week.
Wish me luck!
For three days Wiley and I enjoyed the hospitality of Clemens Cabin near lost lake. We ventured out of a warm Seward on the morning of the 27th and returned to a sopping Seward on the afternoon of the 29th. We returned early to spend my birthday (the 30th) with my parents. Luckily 1500 feet above town it was the snowy wonderland that we have been waiting for at sea level. Clemens Cabin is kept by the park service and available for reservations at 45 dollars a night. Propane for the heater is provided and the cabin stayed snug once the heat began to flow.
Wiley and Luna during one of our breaks
To reach the cabin we hiked up the very steep but pretty short 2.2 mile Lost Lake Winter Trail. It only took us (puppy included) an hour and a half to make it up despite many rest breaks. Aside from reading, cards, and puppy cuddles, I took a nice long snowshoe with Luna towards the lake on our full day up there.
Clemens Cabin from the top of the Winter Trail
During the winter months the winter trail from lost lake subdivision and the Primrose trail are used for snow machining into the hills near Lost Lake. Due to little snow cover on the trail and presumably similar conditions on the Primrose side of the trail we did not encounter any snow machine traffic though.
It was an amazing trip and makes me want to up my winter camping and hiking game!
Finally after many months of knitting all of my projects have found their homes! This is a little bit of a round up for my christmas knitting! I gifted a least double the projects I am featuring in this post, but either I forgot to snap a photo before gifting or the fo turned out a bit meh. I’ve been in beautiful Seward with family for more than a week now including a stay at Clemens cabin for several days. All of that loveliness will have its own post!
Green Hat: Stratford
Made for my niece Malia. Nice and cozy slouchy hat. Modeled by Malia. I made two of these, the other is hot pink and was gifted to my darling maggie.
Purple Scallop Lace Hat: Scallop Lace Hat
Made for sister Kalani. I loved this patten so much that I made one in the same yarn as my Hufflepuff Cold Pine for myself!
Momma’s Ramble On Mittens: Ramble On
Ravelry Pattern Link
These mitts finalized my christmas knitting; I finished them on the drive from Anchorage to Seward.
Susan’s Eleanor Cowl: Eleanor Cowl
I definitely learned a bit more about lace charts with this small cowl. It turned out great and now I feel confident to tackle any lace chart thrown my way! Sent off to Wiley’s stepmom in California.