Sunday, March 22, 2015

Finished: Colette Zinnia

 I've been secretly hating on the bloggers who are all, "I see signs of spring and I LOVE IT," but only because I'm jealous and I can't wait for spring.

The temperature has gotten a bit warmer so surely that implies that spring is on the way; however these photos are a lie. It is still really cold, and it snowed the day after I took these pictures.

Anyway, onto the skirt.

I've wanted to make a wool skirt for awhile, probably since last winter. So it makes perfect sense that at the end of February, when the season is almost over, I pulled out my stash and set about making one.

Guys, I am so excited to say that I made this in an afternoon. Typically, I'd get distracted by my phone or computer, or discouraged when I'd have to rip something out... But I just started out by going, "Just cut out the PDF. You don't have to finish." Followed quickly by, "Just cut out the pattern pieces. You don't have to finish."

Anyway, I did it all at once, which is something I have never been able to say.

The skirt is made well, and it's my first finished Colette piece ever.

I feel a little weird about the skirt though because it seems a bit dowdy... but still fashionable. I feel very much like a hip mom in this - not in a bad way. Just like a should be carrying my children to fencing class or whatever it is moms do.

I really want to make another one in a lighter fabric to see if the dowdy factor is still there or if I created it.

Anyway, the boyfriend told me I looked like I just stepped out of a Young Republicans boating event, which means at least he doesn't see the dowdy! ;-)

Skirt: Zinnia by Colette Patterns
Top: The Gap
Cardigan: Banana Republic

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finished: Chevron Fingerless Gloves

So even though I've been in my winter slump, where I mostly want to cuddle up in front of the TV, I managed to finally finish these gorgeous gloves.

If you've been following me on instagram, you'll know I've been working on them since before November. And it's not that they take forever; they're pretty simple after all.

It's more that I had to work and rework the pattern and then figure out the proper size because I can't just make something for FUN, you guys.

But these were a lot of fun. I love the design, and it was a challenge to figure out how to convert the chevrons to working in the round. (And weirdly, I was trying to figure it out for awhile. I took these on a plane ride, thinking I'd have hours to really study it when it just clicked before we even left the runway. So simple, yet so hard.)

(My weird head shot pose - but the gloves are so nice!)

I had a gorgeous photo shoot all planned out in my head, but the sun didn't come out for days (weeks?) and then this past weekend, when the sun DID make an appearance, the real feel temperature was -13F (-25C). I wasn't going anywhere.

You can check out my Ravelry page here, and if you're feeling the chevron like me, you can use the coupon code WARMMEUP until February 25 to download them for free! Definitely let me know if you make them because I can't wait to see!

Hopefully you guys had a much warmer weekend than I did, and you enjoyed your Valentine's Day!

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted Spice Gingerbread
Dress: Susana Monaco
Cardigan: Banana Republic

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sewing in 2015!

Can you believe we're 15 days into the new year??

I have so much going on that I feel incredibly stressed and crazy, but at the same time, my schedule is freer than it's ever been and I'm loving how I'm able to schedule my time.

Also, I bought an espresso machine for the boyfriend for the holidays, and it's the best decision I've made in a long time!

Theodore helping me "organize" my stash.

But okay, let's talk sewing news and sewing plans for the year.

I thought a bit about sewing resolutions for this year, and I have to say I'm turning up empty handed because I really like all the resolutions I made last year. Even though I didn't stick to all of them... But I think they're all excellent goals that I'm going to continue to strive for this year.

So anyway, let's look at what I am doing for sure:

1. Stashbusting Sewalong. I know my stash isn't as large as most of you guys, but I have one and I hate it. I bought that fabric with an intention to use it, and instead it's just taking up space. Plus, I like shopping for new fabric, and I feel like I can't when I already have fabric in multiple boxes. So I'm sewing from the stash this year. And in fact, I'm hosting April, which is themed: vibrant color. I stick to dark colors and neutrals so my brights are stashed and I need to make them up. Just to note though, the monthly themes are optional.

I've also been thinking about selling some of my stash. I have some pieces of fabric that are beautiful, but not really my style, and I have no idea why I bought them. Do people prefer buying fabric more on etsy or ebay?

2015 Goodbye Valentino RTW Fast

2. RTW Fast. I did this officially last year as well. Unofficially I haven't been shopping in a few years. I really miss shopping, but I don't miss the ill-fitting clothes and spending lots of money so I'm joining again. My main goal for this year is to focus on a more cohesive wardrobe, and to sew more pieces that I'm going to wear every day rather than special dresses. So maybe I'll finally get around to making a desperately needed tank top...

I'm currently trying to get out of a sewing rut. I absolutely adore this fabric scrap that I have, but I can't figure out what to make with it. I wanted to make a miniskirt, but the scrap is so tiny that it will be VERY mini. Maybe I could do some color blocking or something, but I'm just feeling uncreative at the moment. We shall see.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finished: Knit Totoro Scarf and Hood

So two things for the die-hard Totoro fans before we even begin:

1. I know the leaf is on backwards. It was actually on correctly before we started and while I was ON THE ROOF, I was all, "Hm, I think this should be the other way." Of course, I was wrong.

2. The ears are no longer floppy! I thought I fixed them, and my lovely photographer had no idea that they weren't supposed to be floppy. As this was a gift, I had to fix the ears and ship them off with no time for a re-shoot.

Here's proof that everything is better:

That is my incredibly happy sister, who says she has not stopped wearing this since Christmas. Woohoo.

My sister had been dropping hints the last few months that she wanted an animal cowl hood type thing, and I didn't really get the hint until I was all, "Oh my gosh, I have no idea what to get her for Christmas."

Apparently, she wanted an animal cowl hood type thing.

I thought she was joking and continued shopping for her, but then one day I realized making a Totoro hat would be perfect for her.

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(Good thing, too, because when I half-apologized on Christmas she said she only wanted me to make her something.)

For those who don't know, Totoro is a loveable forest spirit that, in the words of my boyfriend, looks like a scary monster. It's a really cute kid's movie. Think of Winnie the Pooh in terms of his loveability.

I decided to make a scarf and hood combo rather than a cowl and hood combo because I tend to overheat with things wrapped around my neck. Plus, they can be itchy so it was a no go.

The scarf ends each have a bit of Totoro's fuzzy chest and design.

The ears were fairly simple to construct. I used an I-cord combined with increases and decreases to  shape them.

I really hated the point on the hood at first and I tried to figure out a way to get rid of it, but then I realized it was perfect for balancing the leaf and holding it up.

 The leaf was a variation of a few different leaf designs I found on ravelry. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the leaf isn't permanently attached, but I safety pinned it on in case she wants to take it off.

Overall, I'm super happy with this construct, and I can't believe how relatively simple it was to design.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Year in Review: 2014

I predicted earlier this year that 2014 was going to be a busy year, but I had no idea just how right I was going to be.

Perhaps every year is busy and formative and life changing, but we never stop to think about it and examine what happened (or at least I don't) so we just move on, thinking that another year flew past us. And really, this year completely flew by. Before I get in to some of the crazy ups and downs, let's start by addressing the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year:

Circle Skirt and Gray Wrap Top
Sewing Less. I definitely achieved this. I sewed a lot less than normal, but I am SO pleased with the results. I think my finished products are much higher quality than they would have been if I was just zipping through them. While I want to sew more next year, I'm pleased with how my garments turned out, and I like the whole going slow movement.

My cape!
Mend and Refashion. I think I mended zero things this year. BUT I did do one refashion. I was actually going to make a blog post about it - I took pictures and everything - but a few days later I decided I wanted to redo the contrast fabric in something else. I have yet to do it.

My one refashion!

If you recognize the fabric, it used to be this dress that was pretty shoddily sewn. To be fair, it was only my second project! Anyway, I used Vintage Butterick 6647 for the jacket and generally I love it and I'm counting it towards my Vintage Pledge this year. So why haven't you seen a blog post about it? Because a few days after I took pictures of it, I decided I wanted to change it. The gray cotton contrast is lovely, but it feels a bit too much like a robe. I want to switch it out with some charcoal wool to make it a bit heavier, and I'm thinking about adding some cuffs. So this finished object is officially a WIP!

My first knitting design!
New blogs. I started two new blogs this year. The first, Crunchy in the City, is all about food, fermentation, and skin care products I make. I want to do more with it, but I'm pleased with how it's coming along so far. The second, We All Knit Here, is dedicated to the beginner knitter, or anyone who wants to learn to knit from home. I think announced it in March, but apparently it's hard work to create online video courses - my first course launched this month, and you can find it here (and hey, it's half off for the holidays!). Enjoy my bloopers.

RTW Fast. I pledged to not buy any ready to wear clothes this year, as part of Goodbye Valentino's pledge. I'm happy to say I stuck with that pledge with a few exceptions: I bought two pairs of leggings and a bra. In fact, I was actually really happy to have that as an excuse when I'd go out shopping with friends; otherwise I would have spent way too much money on items that I probably wouldn't have worn. It also really made me examine what I need in my closet and what I should be making, rather than just making pretty dresses. Even though I made mostly pretty dresses, ha!

My mermaid inspired skirt - for the Mermaid Parade, of course!
Stashbusting Sewing. I pledged not to buy anymore fabric until the summer, thinking that would make a huge dent in my stash. Or even a small dent in my stash. It did not, and in fact my stash grew. I was given loads of fabric by a few generous souls, I won some contests, and I participated in some sewing swaps. And then, I think in August, I bought some more fabric that I haven't used. I bought more fabric in November, but I'm happy to say I at least made something out of that.

One of my faves, buying this fabric was totally worth it.
More crafts. I failed. I did manage to find time to make art in Central Park this summer, but my goal of crafting once a month was a complete failure.

SO. Those were just the ideas I had for myself at the start of this year. Some stuck, some didn't (isn't that always how it goes?), but generally I'm happy with them. Of course, other things happened as well:

Ruffled Maxi

I found my soul sister in fashion, Ulyana Sergeenko. Are you tired of hearing about her yet? I hope not because I want to create more outfits inspired by her.

I actually have WIPs! Typically I don't move onto a new project until I'm finished, but I've been working on multiple projects at once and actually tossing some to the side.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
This, as you can see, was supposed to be my Halloween costume. I was much too slow to make that deadline, but as I continued on, I realized that it was much too large. Originally I was going to ignore the size and continue on, as a little extra room in a jacket isn't always so bad, but the arms are so gigantic that I have to go back and take a closer look at it, which I just haven't done yet.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
These are my Colette Iris shorts. The pattern seems easy and straightforward, but I really hate shorts on me. See, my thighs rub together when I walk and while that creates holes in my fabric when I wear jeans, hose, tights, etc, it makes my shorts ride up into my crotch. It isn't pretty. I thought maybe it would be different if I sewed a pair though. After some investigating, I read that if the shorts are longer that the fattest part of your thigh, they won't ride up. So I made these longer to avoid that, but I HATE how long they look. I could also make them super short, but who wears short shorts? Not this girl. They're also a bit large so maybe taking them in would help? I don't know.

On a more personal note, part of the reason I didn't make as much stuff this year was because I had quite a few ups and downs. I down want to label anything as negative because it's my belief that negative situations tend to be some of the best ways to grow and succeed. I quit the job I hated with every fiber of my being and took 6 weeks off to explore NYC with my sister. It was her first time visiting and we had a blast. It was much needed because I fell back in love with NYC again by the end of her visit. (I mean, I still want to move, but at least I can appreciate it now!)

At the same time, my boyfriend's heavy drinking got way out of control. While that is/was a terrible, awful thing, it pushed me to seek outside help, make new friends, and even take a bit of a spiritual journey along the way. I hope that doesn't sound too corny, but those aren't words I ever thought I'd speak, and I find myself coping with the stress and anxiety of life so much easier now.

And then, because I hadn't grown enough spiritually or something, the universe threw an autoimmune disease at me. I've unwittingly had symptoms for years, but my body decided this year was too much and suddenly I found myself unable to walk and remember how to form complete sentences and sometimes I didn't even have the strength to open my eyes. (PS - if you saw me at a sewing event in NYC this year and I was acting weird or seemed to avoid you, that's why. I promise I'm not angry or ignoring you!) I'm very lucky in that I found some great doctors and while I don't have a diagnosis yet, I am responding to some medications so I can function most days.

My gown - 2 years in the making!
I'm actually not too disappointed about the latter because I finally know what's been causing my weird symptoms all these weird, plus, as my body becomes increasingly intolerant to cold and hot days and as I can really only work part time, I find my dreams of retiring to a temperate climate, becoming an eccentric, and wearing long sundresses within reach. I've been dying to make a parasol for years now, and now I'll have to because I'll actually need to use it. Perhaps I can semi-retire and move to a beach town in Costa Rica next year after all... Or maybe California. We'll see.

Goodness me, this wrap-up is a bit long. Stay tuned for my goals for next year! (And maybe even another project, if I can fit it in this year!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Knitting Fail: Tempting Fate

Guys, I really loved this sweater. I REALLY wanted to make it work, but I don't think I can. (Unless you brilliant ladies can help?!)

Look at the detail! I was so proud of my color work here. And guys, these are MOTHS. Putting moths on yarn sweaters is so brilliant. I was so pumped to make this.

If you recall, I had trouble early on because the size 34 was wayyy too big on my size 34 chest. There were also no decreases in the waist so when I went down a needle size, I added in decreases. They weren't enough so I started over again with even more decreases. I thought I had it all worked out, but look at this.

I'm touching my shoulder. And this is not supposed to be a turtleneck, or whatever kind of neck this has become.

I tried blocking it a couple of times. The last time, this past weekend, I took measurements for everything and pulled and pinched just so, but to no avail.

I mean, has this ever happened to you before? Is there anyway to fix this?

I don't really want to frog this sweater, especially since I've spent so much time on it, but it's unwearable.

Ravelry notes here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finished: Ursula Inspired Dress for Sew Disney

This may sound strange, but I have wanted to do a Disney inspired outfit for a couple of years now so when I saw that the Sewcialists had November for #sewdisney, my procrastination skills kicked in. "Oh, good," I thought. "I can wait until the end of the year."

And somehow I've finished BEFORE the deadline! I mean, I still have several days left in the month! This is huge for me, you guys.

So let's talk Disney. I love the parks, the princesses, and especially the non-princesses. The villains are usually pretty amazing as well and arguably better than the heroes, but isn't that usually the case?

But something happened when I watched the Little Mermaid as a child. Sure, I rooted for Ariel - who wouldn't want to leave their family and marry into royalty on a French colony in the Caribbean? (That's what was happening, right?)

 Anyway, my innocence was shattered when Ursula had her moment because while part of me was thinking, "No, Ariel, don't do it!!" - the other part of me, most of me actually, was in shocked awe. WHERE DO I SIGN UP TO BE A SEA WITCH?! (For a while, my sister only answered to the name Ursula, so clearly it runs in the family.)

I kind of forget until some point in college, when I rewatched the movie and I realized how many truth bombs Ursula drops in her song. While I don't necessarily agree with manipulation and tricky contracts, she's pretty amazing. (She's also my inspiration for this dress, in case you weren't sure why she's the focus here.)

The hardest design part about Ursula is that she's an octopus. This is only a problem because most people can't see past that, and most dresses have weird bits of fabric hanging down. Like, I'm not trying to look like I have 8 legs, people, thanks.

So I focused on her. She has purple skin and accessories, dresses in black, and oozes sexiness and confidence. She knows what she's about, and she goes after it.

So obviously I had to go for it as well! Party dress in black and purple. I was actually going to buy lace, but the sequins just spoke to me in the store.

And can we chat about sequins? I was panicking about sewing with them, similarly to how I panicked the first time I sewed with lace, and it was fine. So fine. In fact, I didn't even pick the sequins out, just sewed over them. My machine didn't break. My needle didn't break. I did not require a trip to the ER to remove parts from my eyes. (Though I did wear sunglasses, just in case.) I was told that if my machine could handle wool and/or denim (it can), then sequins would be fine (it was).

To be fair, originally I didn't want to chance a broken machine/needle/eyeball, and I sat down with some scissors, seam rippers, and my fabric, and I was going to start taking everything apart, and then I was all HAHAHA NOPE.

So yeah, sequins on mesh and crushed silk.

I used McCalls 6460, view C, and I adjusted a bit. I brought the yoke up, as reviewers complained that it was dangerously low. This also brought my hem line up, and I forgot to adjust for that, which was disappointing as it's a bit shorter than my liking. I didn't want to use bias tape on the sequins, so I underlined everything, which worked out beautifully. I also didn't think a zipper through sequins was smart, so I made the zipper stop with the silk, and attached the sequins at the neckline with a hook and eye.

Because of the neckline/my small ribcage/my ability to stand up straight I had to bring in the back 2 inches so it didn't droop - or I could have slouched, which kind of irritated me. It still gaps a little, but it's SO much better.

Also, I added pockets.

Anyway, I'm incredibly pleased with how it turned out, and I kind of want to make a second one, but I don't know if that'll happen anytime soon.

Bf review (while making it): Why are you asking me? You know I don't like sequins.
Bf review (after): Wow, this is my favorite dress yet! Except... why did you have to ruin it with pockets?

Just for fun, here's Ursula's song. It's messed up in the middle, but stick with it as the second half of the song is clearly superior!