Friday, May 31, 2013

Me Made May: Wrapping Up Weeks 3 and 4

I have been doing amazing at Me Made May, I promise! You know what I haven't been amazing at? Pictures. But I swear I've been wearing and restyling my clothes! I mean, the restyling is having some issues... One day I buttoned my cardigan instead of leaving it open. That counts, right?

I was also planning on mending 2 items from my stack of items needing mending, but my sewing machine was out of commission for so long so I scrapped it, thinking I wouldn't be able to get to it. But I did! I don't have photographs, but I mended a seam in my yoga pants, I hemmed my Mad Men dress (if you recall, my machine broke as a I was finishing the hem), and I'm refashioning my Pushing Daisies dress (gasp, shock!) to wear during the summer.

I would say, as much as I didn't want to do MMM at all, it was a wild success. It was definitely a challenge. It broke me out of my style rut somewhat and gave me a kick in the pants to get on with my mending. Hopefully I keep the initiative and continue it!

Anyway, for something somewhat different, here's my 20s dress again. This time instead of a structured green jacket, I wore a purple cardigan. Completely changes the look, even though my jewelry choice stayed the same. Maybe I need a challenge to change up my jewelry?

And then we have the red vintage dress! I haven't really worn it since I made it because it's a bit fancy. The bf and I had a date though, so I figured now was my chance. As I didn't want to take the effort to take off my sandals, I decided to make it a casual look and wear the purple cardigan with it as well.

I think it makes a nice casual look, though I have been thinking of taking out the ties. Since the ties are very casual and the fabric is very formal, I feel like this dress has a bit of an identity crisis. It would be perfect to wear to a formal event outside when it's not quite summer, but when does that ever happen? Plus, I can't really wear a cardigan with it because of the bows/knots - from the side it looked like I had a massive tumor.

Anyway, more relevant to the picture: this is what my photos look like when I'm tired and exhausted and stuffed from eating too much fondue and I just want to change into something that isn't formfitting and WHY HAVEN'T YOU TAKEN THE PICTURE YET??

Note: Always photograph before you leave the house.

In case you couldn't tell, I went picnicking over the holiday last weekend and, yes, that IS a bunny in the stroller.

This girl had 3 other friends with her. They pushed Carrot around in his stroller and also built her a house of sticks and leaves. It was the most precious thing I've ever seen.

Did you enjoy MMM? I can't wait for next year! (Also I tried for a good 10 minutes to come up with something clever for June so I could extend my sewing vivacity, but all I got was Just Judging June and that sounds terrible.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

She Lives!!!!

Hopefully this isn't premature, but the shop says my machine is ready to go so I'm picking her up tonight and I'm so excited!

I don't know about you, but I was starting to get worried.

Plus, the absolute worst is having so many projects to start (or finish) and for once having some free time but with no working machine. (Parks and Rec marathon for the fourth time, queuing up!)

Remember how I said I wanted to name my machine after having weird affectionate feelings for the hunk of plastic and metal when I dropped it off?

Well, I've decided on the name Minnie for my sewing machine. The rest of my ideas reminded me of someone or something and I kept being drawn to the name Minnie for some reason. Initially I rejected it because I was afraid people would associate the name with Minnie Mouse, but then I decided we're not children anymore. Then I was like, "OH GOD MINNIE DRIVER." This is NOT named after Minnie Driver, but rather it's named after Ms. Minnie Pearl.

Does anyone remember her? I hardly do and couldn't tell you what she was on (until I looked it up just now), but she was a comedienne who satirized the south. Being from the south, and my parents and grandmother from the rural south, I'm sure it was incredibly funny.

I remember watching her with my grandmother who got such a big kick out her. I only remember that I couldn't understand why she always had a price tag hanging off her hat and I'm pretty sure my grandmother had to explain it to me every time we watched.

Regardless, I think she's the perfect namesake for my machine. I don't really remember my grandmother sewing, but she definitely had strong maternal sentiments and I remember her knitting, crocheting, and drinking sweet tea while sitting on the front porch with her friends, probably complaining about the heat. (Really, it's all I aspire to do in life, as well.)

So I think Minnie would be a good name for my sewing machine. Southern, thrifty, a bit sassy, and of course, handcrafted originality.

I wish I could find a picture of my grandmother keeping us children when we were little as she was my sitter every day for the first four years of my life, but one of the problems with moving several thousands miles away is that you no longer have access to things like that. So enjoy this picture of us almost 10 years ago.

And hopefully Minnie and I can get back to work pronto!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week 3 of MMM

I just barely made my challenge this week, but I wore 2 outfits!

(I'm giving up on the second part of my challenge, which was to fix, tailor, or alter 2 items from my large pile of stuff that I could wear if I ever got around to fixing, tailoring, or altering them because my sewing machine is STILL in the shop. Sigh.)

So first up we've got this lovely self-drafted 1920s jersey dress I made last year... and haven't worn since the photo shoot. But since part of my challenge was to, you know, challenge myself and wear my few me made pieces with other, different clothing, I've been lazy and I've reached for other things I've made.

So I think it still counts since I wouldn't wear it otherwise!

Anyway, I didn't make the seams large enough so they roll. It doesn't look awful, but it's not something I like.

And luckily you can't tell because of the jacket! Woo!

And next I've got my blue skirt we've already seen. Did I mention that I hate it but wear it at least once a week anyway?

In trying to think outside of the box - since I normally wear either a black button down shirt or a black tank top with it, I decided to go with the opposite - white! And other than my black belts, I have red and silver sequins so I figured red might be best for the office.

It looks a touch patriotic, but oh well.

Weirdly, I really love this look, and I feel awesome in it, but the skirt balloons when the wind blows and I HATE it. So much.

I want to add weights to the bottom of this skirt so hopefully when I feel the wind pick up I don't have a jerk reaction to grab the ends of my skirt and hold on for dear life.

The boyfriend suggested I wear pants.


It's like he doesn't even know me at all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 2 of MMM and other thoughts.

You guys! I made my Me Made May challenge super easy, but I'm still slacking.

I have reasons!

1. I've been running late in the morning so when that happens I tend to just grab and go. Since my challenge was to restyle my few pieces, I'll just grab something else that I don't have to think about. In other news, I am finally working some of my other clothing items that usually stay stuffed in the closet into my regular rotation. So, I guess that's good news.

2. The weather is not cooperating. How can I wear a bright yellow sun dress when it's cold and rainy? Also, when can I stop wearing my winter coat?!

3. I have been working like a mad woman! I think I'm going to quit my full time job (and keep my part time job since it pays about as much as the full time job) and look for another part time job to supplement the other. (Ahem, anyone looking for a personal assistant in the NYC area for 2-3 days a week? Let me know!)

4. I finally gave up on fixing my sewing machine myself. I packed her up in a little tote and lugged her to the repairman. The sky was clear when we left, though thundering, and the bf and I stepped inside the shop just as the skies opened up. The place was dark and I swear for a minute I thought no one was in there, but then the owner popped out of the shadows. I showed him the problem and he carefully inspected my baby. He said he thinks I might have damaged the bobbin case, which is why the thread was catching on the bobbin raceway (or whatever the terms are!). He kept her and told me he'd call me when she was ready, maybe on Monday or Tuesday.

You guys, I've never gone to a sewing machine repair shop before! There were so many sewing machines lined up. He sells old refurbished ones, which were in the window and very cool to see, but I also thought it was cool to see everyone else's machine. They all had their own personal touches and I sort of felt like I was in a hospital looking in the nursery at everyone's babies. And I really wanted to wait around and meet the parents!

Sorry, I'm weird, I know.

Anyway, here's my only MMM outfit from last week. As mentioned, I was going to wear one over the weekend to get it up to 2 days/week, but then the weather changed. Boo. I'll try and wear 3 this week to make up for it.

You might remember this dress from the first Mad Men challenge. It was a refashion and I rushed and rushed to finish it by the deadline (and I was still a day late). Tellingly, my blog at the time was called "I Think I Just Screwed It Up" and this dress definitely has issues, but you can't see them thanks to my cardigan! Even the hem has some issues, but you can't tell unless I'm perfectly still and have the problem area facing you. And even then, because of the fashions nowadays, there's a chance you'd be all, "Hm, maybe it's supposed to look like that." (Also, if you're curious, don't bother clicking on the link as I tried hard to hide all my mistakes for some reason.)

Hopefully my machine will be out of the shop soon and I'll step up my MMM game!

(Also, I have a contest going that ends Wednesday - enter if you want!)

(ALSO I sort of feel like I should name my sewing machine - I didn't realize I felt this strongly about her (or that it was even a her) until I wrote this post. Thinking Belinda, Thelma, Zelda, Hazel, Pearl, or something like that...)

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Giveaway: Simplicity 5584

Aren't the Mad Men dresses over at Julia Bobbin just AMAZING? I'm so in awe of everyone that competed, especially the ladies who don't have blogs so I can't go directly there and tell them how amazing they look! (Hopefully they already know!)

In the spirit of the Mad Men challenge, I wanted to host a giveaway with a Mad Men inspired sewing pattern. I know what you're thinking: Gosh, this would have been a much better giveaway BEFORE the challenge ended, but... I don't have that much foresight. So you get it now!

But first, I'm not sure if you guys have checked out The Hollywood Sew or not, but Rachel has a contest going on at her new site. She's making a dress inspired by the Khaleesi and she's looking for votes on which dress to move forward with. Winner gets a Game of Thrones prize, but the contest ends tomorrow so get to voting!

And check out even more giveaways at Sew Mama Sew!

So my giveaway is Simplicity pattern 5584. It's a size 12, bust 32. The pattern has been cut, but there are extra patterns for the ladies who are taller or shorter than average. I'm a little confused as to why the length means extra pattern pieces, and honestly it took me forever to realize that's what it was, but they seem to be there so you can experiment away!

To enter:
Leave a comment telling me where you'd wear the blouse or jumper.

For an extra entry, follow my blog! And leave an extra comment saying that you do.

Edited to add: Giving away another entry if you follow my new facebook page!

Rules and Such:
I'll ship worldwide. Three entries per person. Content ends at midnight on May 15th. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

Congrats to Jane! Check your email!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

First day of MMM and the Liebster Award

It's my first Me Made May outfit! And look, I also figured out how to make a collage! Don't worry, I'm sure I'll get better at them.

The blue skirt is actually the first thing I ever made and while I don't love it, I don't hate it either. (And seriously, I wear this at least once a week!)

The outfit as a whole I don't really care for. I adapted this skirt into my "office look" complete with a gray cardigan because it's a bit chilly where I'm temping. The belt is added because the seams are fraying (oops), but you can't tell as long as I cover it up.

On the right I've lost the cardigan and I'm going to let loose! Just kidding. I do love this black shirt because of the large puffy sleeves, and I think it gives a nice balance to the fullness of the skirt, but no one ever gets to see it because it's never just the right temperature.

Also, I really hate the leggings with flats look. Everyone wears it, and obviously I'm rocking it above, but I think it looks awful. I don't know what to wear in its place though. Tights would be too warm I think. Bare legs too cold. I hate pants. Any ideas?

In other news, my little blog has been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award from both Ashley at Craft Sanctuary and Stephanie at Mabel Makes! I'm beyond honored and I'm still a little surprised that people read and like some of the things I'm creating.

The Liebster Award was created to reward and promote excellent and interesting blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules tend to vary, but generally 11 small blogs are nominated and you ask them 11 questions about their sewing or I suppose anything.

I've been putting off doing this, especially since I've been dreading picking out only a handful of blogs to highlight since you know I love you all (and especially because I'm sure I'll forget someone!), but since my sewing machine is still broken, I figured I should definitely use the time to spread the love and maybe introduce everyone to their maybe-new-favorite small blog!

Ashley's Questions:

1. Do you have a favorite pattern? (Sewing, knitting, crochet, whatever.)
Hm, actually I don't think I do. Maybe! I really love the pattern I just used for the Mad Men Challenge, McCall's 6449 and I plan on making it again so it might become my new favorite.

2. What was the last thing you made?
The dress for the Mad Men challenge. It's also currently the favorite thing I've ever made!

3. What is your favorite print? (dots, stripes, floral) Or, do you like solids better? If you like solids, what's your favorite color?
I love solids. I don't know that I have a favorite color, but I tend to gravitate toward blues and reds.

4. What is a typical day like for you?
There is no typical day! As a freelancer, my day changes a lot so I could be off work, working from home, or working on site somewhere.

5. Where is your favorite place?
At home with my kittens and boyfriend!

6. What do you do when you're feeling down?
Drink tea, take a bath, read a book, eat cheese or chocolate or anything, really.
I also try to take a few minutes to cry and feel sorry for myself. For some reason that helps.

7. What is your crafting space like?
I've taken over one of the living rooms in our apartment. I'm trying to decorate it in a vintage way, but it's not finished since I don't go out and buy things for it. I wait for them to come to me. I suppose it could be described as eclectic for now.

8. Which blogs do you look to for inspiration?
That's tough because I have so many blogs I love for all different reasons. I especially love when someone has a strong point of view, even if it's different than mine, because there's a lot to learn there. I also love some of the bloggers who have been sewing for years. They have so much to teach.

9. Would you rather live by the sea or the mountains?
Psh, why can't I have both? I guess if I had to choose, it would be the sea... But really mountains behind the house, with a forest, and then the sea out front. That would be nice.

10. What's your favorite meal?
Anything with fruit, vegetables, bacon, and an amazing butter or cream sauce. And cheese! Can't forget the cheese.

11. What makes you happier than anything else?

Stephanie's Questions

1. Tell me a few things about you and why you sew or knit?
I love to try anything once! Within reason of course. I think that's why I started sewing. From there I loved being able to build and create the clothes I wanted rather than what was available to me for the right price in the store. I started knitting because I wanted something to occupy my time while I watched tv.

 2. Why did you start your blog?
I wanted to join the sewing community! I had been following along with a few blogs and after a few months I felt more and more encouraged to try and sew myself. I really wanted the love and encouragement that exists within the sewing community online, especially since most people I know don't sew in real life!

 3. What is your fashion style? Does it match your handmade style?
Before this, I tended to dress somewhat preppy. However in creating my clothes, I lean towards a more vintage style. They're both arguably 'classic' looks, which is really what I've found I enjoy. Timeless, classic looks that could exist in a variety of eras.

 4. Where do you get your inspiration for projects from?
Recently it's been television shows. There was a time when I used to be very inspired from runway looks, but I'm not as into that anymore.

 5. Where did you learn to sew/knit/crochet?
Mostly I taught myself from the internet. I did take a sewing class where we made a bag to learn the basics, and I had a 2 hour lesson to learn cabling (and figure out why my purls sometimes looked very odd).

 6. What is your process – for sewing do you make a muslin, for knitting do you make sure to swatch? Or do you just make it up as you go?
No, I just make it up and go. I feel like knitting is more forgiving because you can always unravel it whereas once you cut fabric, it's done.

7. Where do you buy your fabric or wool?
Local shops mostly!

8. What technique or item of clothing are you afraid to make?
I'm afraid to make things with a lot of layers or a lot of pieces, like jackets and coats and whatnot.

9. What was the first thing you ever made?
This circle skirt! It was supposed to have scallops, but I hadn't really mastered the whole concept of turning fabric while stitching on the machine so no scallops for me.

10. What is the best thing you ever made?
My latest Mad Men dress. It's still not perfect, but it's the closest I've come to loving the finished product AND thinking that it can really last awhile in my wardrobe.

 11. Do you work in a creative industry? If not do you plan to eventually make a business out of your crafting or do you want to keep it a lovely hobby?
Sort of. I work in the entertainment industry, which is definitely a creative industry, but I'm attempting to move into a non-creative industry due to lots of reasons. I'd love to turn my blog into a business because I love working on projects for myself, but I'm not entirely sure I want to create for other people just yet. Too much pressure.

My Nominated Blogs (in no order!)

Nessa's Place - I found this blog during Sew Grateful week and I just love her dresses - especially her period pieces. She's also an excellent knitter and I'm still a little in awe of the lunchbox she made!

My Vintage Visions - Though she mostly does 18th century period costumes, Emily loves all things vintage. The photos and music she posts always inspire me in some way!

The Hollywood Sew - Rachel normally blogs over at Layer Stitch Repeat where she shows off her beautiful dresses (and presumably soon enough she'll have adorable baby clothes!), but she just started the Hollywood Sew, a blog that takes television and movie costumes and turns them into wearable outfits. Right now she's taking votes on which dress to make from Game of Thrones. Can't wait to see more!

Cuckoo Chanel - Shelley is an amazing seamstress and makes the best clothing. I showed off her adorable Pushing Daisies dress, but a quick search through her blog shows you how talented she can be! One of my personal favorites is this flowered blouse with collar. Fantastic!

Sent from my iRon - MrsC sent me the ring pin cushion that I rave about (and will continue to do so) so really that should be all you need to know! But in case you're still curious, she's been a bit busy opening up her second shop, but check out her lampshading skills here and the awesome Steampunk convention she went to.

The Cute Kipepeo - The website doesn't entirely appear link-able, but BlogLovin' still has this site up and says you can follow it so I'm not sure what's happening. Regardless, I love this site because Njeri makes gorgeous cards (and shows you how to do it!), but also makes the most beautiful clothing for herself!

Vintage Follies - Cherise runs a vintage blog out of Finland and I love everything she does. Just look at this sweater! And this coat! It's all great and inspired by the 40s and 50s!

Tiffany's Notions and Knits - Another newbie like me, Tiffany runs her blog out of British Columbia. She knits and sews, among other things (like martial arts!). Check out these cool Batman socks! I also saw some Doctor Who crafts on her blog, but right now she's focusing on a sewalong for this shirt - her first ever shirt!

SweetFrenchToast - I searched and searched but couldn't find the number of followers so hopefully this one doesn't break the rules! I just discovered this blog through the group Stitch Once Rip Twice and Sabrina seems to do more than just sewing. This girl bakes, crafts, and takes some of the best pictures I've seen in a long time! Check out these awesome shorts she just made for the Black and White Challenge (that, ahem, I'm a bit behind on...).

My Questions:
1. How old were you when you started sewing?
2. What compels you to create something?
3. What is your favorite medium to create? (e.g. sewing, knitting, painting, writing, etc)
4. What is your best memory of sewing?
5. Is there a time period or style that you create within?
6. Is there a time period or style you're drawn to but never work within?
7. Do you have any insecurities regarding sewing/crafting/etc?
8. If you make vintage inspired or period clothing, how often do you wear it?
9. What's your favorite thing you've made? (Not exclusive to sewing.)
10. If you could give any piece of advice to someone that you've learned about anything, what would it be?
11. What's your favorite dessert to bake?

I sort of hate that these are meant for only my nominated blogs because I'm curious about what everyone's answer is so feel free to answer below or on your blog or wherever. Also, I may have delved off the sewing subject a bit by the end so hopefully that's okay. Thanks for indulging me a bit!