Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Books are Expensive

If you, as a stranger, were to walk into my apartment, first you would ask why we don't replace our crappy Ikea rug?  (Answer: because Eleanor scratches it up and it's preferred she do that there than on the furniture.)  Then, you would notice the sheer amount of books we have.  Along one wall of our teeny living room, there are three seven-feet high, five-shelf bookcases, each one filled, with books stacked on top.  Along the back mirror (oh yes, we have three mirrored walls, aren't we lucky!), there is a three-shelf unit holding the record player, amp, and...more books.  There's a nine-square cubby in the dining room, which holds all of our cookbooks, more smaller books, and fabric.  Finally, there's a shelving unit next to my sewing machine which houses patterns, notions, paper towels, and sewing-related books.

So, even imaging that mental tour, it's pretty clear that we're at no loss for reading material.  I haven't read it all, but I've read most of the books, and I'm not going to give them away or sell them just because they're unread.  In fact, I'm here to tell you I'm going to do the opposite: add more to my collection...once I have money.  If someone could go ahead and buy things from my Etsy shop, I'd really appreciate it, because sister could use some cash.

However, I'd like to point out that all three of these books are patiently waiting in my Amazon cart, where I can click "Place My Order" once I get paid Saturday.  Pay periods are a fickle bitch.

First up is Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

I've read a few reviews and this book looks like a great resource for patterns and techniques both--kind of like the Colette sewing book.  I didn't do Gertie's Bombshell class, so I'm not super familiar with her instruction style or the fit of her garments, but from the reviews I've seen, I really can't wait to get this book!

Next is a book I have mixed feelings on, in that I really want it but I really don't need it: Heather Ross Prints.

Like any warm-blooded sewist, I love Heather Ross.  Naturally, I want access to her artwork and creative process.  However, I can't draw a stick figure, and I am not artistic in the least.  This would be a book I open up, pet, and then put back on the shelf--but I must have it.

Finally, I'm lusting after Little Stitches, by Aneela Hoey.

The embroidery designs in this book are so sweet I just want to die.  Little girls, birdies, hexagons, what have you, and all on transfer paper, which, really, is the best thing ever.  I want to embroider aprons, towels, bags with these.  And I want that pink everywhere.

Are you craving any new books right now?  The list could really go on for me: Stitched Gifts by Jessica Marquez comes out in a month, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof will be released in October, and there are plenty of books already out that I want, but I just haven't gotten around to buying yet.

Also, I'd like to note that I made the preliminary project list for 2013 today!  It seems so early, doesn't it?  But I have a feeling the last few months of 2012 will fly by, and I'll need to have a jumpstart.  Phew!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project 19: Simplicity 1779, and a New Look

Before I jump into my latest project, I wanted to talk about the new look of things around here.  I was dealing with some itching to change things last week, so I went for it!  It isn't perfect, but I like how it looks for now.  I think some things need to be tweaked, but I'm not a graphic designer, nor do I know anything about anything.  I considered (for about five minutes) learning CSS to change some stuff, but that was a little too ambitious, and I'm a little too exhausted.

Onto the pattern!

Do you realize we're more than halfway through August and I haven't completed a resolution project yet?  That's unacceptable, in my opinion.  Granted, the resolutions are dwindling down, but that's no excuse, especially because I've had this fabric--specifically for this project--since June.

According to Pinterest, thirty-three weeks ago I pinned this shirt onto my Sewing Inspiration board:

From Anthropologie, so I'm sure it cost a million jillion dollars and was bad quality.  At the time, I thought it could be a modified Colette Jasmine, but I never got around to it and just let it sit on my board forever.

In June, Denver Fabrics was having another great sale, so I picked up some cotton lawn.  Considering it's about $4 a yard, it's pretty good quality: silky, it doesn't fray excessively, and if I make a mistake I don't fret as much.  I remembered this blouse and decided to buy the supplies, even if I didn't have the pattern.

Then Simplicity released 1779 for fall and I thought it was cute enough and close enough to give it a whirl.  So this is my version.

Pattern Description
Button-down blouse with various collar styles and sleeve lengths.  This is view C.

Pattern sizing
True to Big 4, this is available in 6-22.  I made a 14.

Did it look like the drawing on the envelope when you were done?
Yes, I believe so.  The drawing had better lighting--stupid rainy days messing up my photos.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, there were just a ton of them--39 steps total!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the range of styles available in one pattern, and I like the more modern fit.  So many button-downs available in patterns are made like they're only for old women.

Fabric used
Aqua and navy cotton lawn from Denver Fabrics

Pattern alterations or any design changes made
Not a lot!  I did use a 1/2" seam allowance through the body.  But that was it!

Would you sew it again?
Yes!  I'm loving the Liberty quilting fabrics, so if I could make view A in one of those, I think it'd look great.

Don't wait for a rainy day to take pictures.  Ugh!

So while it isn't identical, it's close enough for me.  I hope my Colette Sencha arrives this week, because I'd like to make that in time for the Savannah Craft Brew Fest at the end of the month.  And then I really need to focus on fall sewing--Beignet, here I come!

What'd you sew this weekend?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I've been ridiculously lucky lately.  It's not like my life has been on the line or anything, but for smaller matters, things have been happening and I'm not used to it.  I normally attract bad luck; if someone will get stuck in a rain storm, fall in the middle of a crosswalk, or lose her keys, it's me.

I think, in the sewing blog world, we have a crazy amount of giveaways.  Normally, I don't seek out bloggers who give things away, because I don't really care and honestly, what are my chances?  But it's nice when companies have a contest and the contest doesn't require you to comment and tweet about it and like them on Facebook and call three people and give them a pint of blood.  If all I have to do is leave a comment, then I'm good as gold.  I also make a rule that I only enter contests for items I truly want, because I think people tend to have a finite amount of luck, and I don't want to waste it on an old Cabbage Patch Doll with homemade accessories when I could get something I really want instead.

In July, I left a comment on a Pink Chalk Fabrics post about Denyse Schmidt.  I love Denyse Schmidt.  Her improv quilts aren't for everyone, but the woman is trained, talented, and seems like the nicest lady ever.  I also like that she kind of shies away from the spotlight--while she does tours and such, she's certainly not dressed head-to-toe in her fabrics and throwing them in everyone's faces.  Anyway, from the Facebook post, they were choosing one person to win six yards of Chicopee, her new line.  So of course I entered, leaving a little comment, whatever.  A couple days later, I saw that I had won.  I mean, I was seriously over the moon, and the worst part is, I was at work when I found out and no one here cares!  So I just texted my mom and Nick (he has to care, it's part of our relationship) about it and kept my excitement hidden.  I was thrilled to receive it, too: six one-yard cuts of the Morning colorway, which I've already started using (as you can see here).  I was so excited.  I'd never won anything in my entire life!

Last week, I saw Generation Q was holding a giveaway for Quilters Take Manhattan tickets.  Side note: does anyone else picture the Red Hat Society when you hear "Quilters Take Manhattan"?  Anyway, the tickets were for a lecture at FIT featuring, yep, Denyse Schmidt.  We're about four hours from New York, so I entered, but figured more people would enter because it seemed like a big deal, at least to quilters.  It's a four-hour lecture and there are goody bags, door prizes, what have you.  I checked over the weekend to see what my competition was, and by Monday morning (after the deadline), there were nine others besides me.  Not bad chances, but still, I had work to do, so I stopped thinking about it.  A little after lunch yesterday, my mom excitedly texted me asking if I was the "Emily" who had won.  What?  I'm working!  I don't know!

Sure enough, I was.  Holy moly.  I was going to meet (quote-unquote) Denyse Schmidt.  I would get to see the quilts she's made.  I invited my mom to join me, but as of today, she's  unsure, so I might go alone and Nick will join me on the trip just to go record shopping and get some food.  To make it even better (as if that wasn't good enough), I found $8 while I was outside talking with my mom.  It was just there.  There was no one around, but that money just seemed to fall from the sky.  I mean, $8 is $8, so it's not like I'm a millionaire, but it's very strange.

I've been trying to be more positive lately: I joined an MQG to make friends, I'm trying to enjoy the time we have here because it won't last forever, but I know some days are harder than others.  Regardless, thinking about the positive instead of focusing on the negative seems to be working for me.  Of course, I don't want to tempt things, and I hate the thought of entering any other giveaways (of which there are bazillions) because I've won a lot lately.  I don't know, this is just a conflicting thing for me.  I've also been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Though it isn't my favorite book, and I'm not attributing a ton of changes to it, it's hard to be negative while reading a book on how to be happier.  Have you read it?

I don't want to tempt fate by getting too lucky and taking it for granted.  I'm unbelievably excited about New York next month, and now I don't have to buy an extra day's pass for QuiltCon in February!  (I'm only going to lectures on Friday, not Saturday, but wanted to see Denyse's keynote.)  Part of me wonders if this is because I'm putting myself out there, applying for things and offering my services to blogs, and the other part wonders if it's just the power of positive thinking.  Who knows, but I do like it.

Are you lucky?  On the flip side, do you want to go to New York with me next month?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Me, In Other Words

There hasn't been much going on to post lately.  I've been kinda sewing, we have a houseguest, and I've been working.  Boring!

So, here are a few places you can find me in the meantime:

Squaring Up, my blog with the great Ariel.  We're tackling our beginning adventures in quilting and I made a quilt top!  Go check it out!

Wild Olive, run by Mollie, who needed some stitching help this week!  I embroidered the lyrics (from a Disney ride, perfect for me) on a cotton towel and she provided a free pattern--available to everyone!  So go take a look already!

Pinterest!  I pinned so many things last Friday that Pinterest asked me if I was a bot.  Um, no, just highly organized.

Okay, I promise I'll be back soon with something interesting.  Hopefully.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fall Sewing, or, I'm Rushing the Season Yet Again

It's August, so basically that means all I think about fall.  Technically I've been thinking about fall since spring ended, except for a week where I was excited to wear shorts, but because we're so close now--so so close!--I'm just ready to start preparing.  Sweaters?  Check!  Pumpkin decorations?  Check!  Candles that smell like leaves?  Check and check!  I'm also starting to think about what I want to sew for fall.

Don't act surprised.  You knew we were getting there.  It's all I talk about!

Besides the quilts I have planned (oh yes, go to Squaring Up for more on that!), I have lots in store for clothes.  My closet is already bursting at the seams; it couldn't hurt to add in a few more things!

First off, has everyone seen the Alma blouse from Sewaholic?  It was released yesterday and mentioned in the newsletter earlier this week.  Here it is:

Beautiful, right?  The Peter Pan collar, the notched neckline, the darts!  Wonderful.  I'd love to make this in a Nani Iro polka dot, but at $20 a yard, that most likely won't happen.  But maybe I can find a different polka dot instead?

Ah yes, my old friend Rooibos.  I meant to make you last August...and then last February...and now here we are again!  I still have wool gabardine and lining in my stash.  Maybe I'll finally get around to it this year.

But we also have Beignet!  I have seen so many adorable versions of this skirt on Flickr lately, and every time I see it, I say, really, I'm going to make it now!  Have I yet?  Nope.  I bought some charcoal gray corduroy--but like a herringbone wale, if that makes sense.  Whatever, it was from Denver Fabrics--last fall and have enough to make this.  I'm a little worried about the high-waistedness.  Have you made it?  What did you think?

The only thing stopping me from making this right now (or this weekend, I guess) is that I don't have matching thread.  I have fabric, buttons, interfacing.  I'm hoping it will turn out okay; otherwise, I'll probably wish I had made another Jasmine!

I'm sure this list will grow as more patterns are released for fall.  Isn't that always how it is?  I also know I'd like to make a Sencha after seeing Trudy Campbell on a second-season Mad Men wearing a back-button blouse.  But I don't own that pattern yet--even though it's on my wishlist!  It will be mine soon enough.

What are you thinking about?  Any other fall diehards out there?  Let's glitter some pumpkins together!  (Done it before, I'll do it again)

Images by Freepik