Sunday, April 21, 2013

An Ill-Timed Minoru

A confession: my title isn't very accurate.  While it seems inappropriate to make a jacket in April in North Carolina--with 80-degree-days staying through September--I am going to Chicago in less than three weeks (where are my party emojis when I need them?) and I usually am the same size year in, year out, so chances are pretty good that I'll have this jacket longer than a season.

What can be said about the Minoru jacket by Sewaholic that hasn't already been said?  The Chicago trip was what gave me the final push, but I've been wanting to make one for months now and just never found the right fabric.  I can't tell you how many times I've looked at fabric online, added some wool or twill to my cart, and then closed out of the site, unsure of my choices and decided to procrastinate than buy the wrong fabric.  As if there is such a thing.

Once there was a deadline--May 9!--I had to get my ass in gear.

I finally decided on organic cotton twill from  Does the organic matter?  I'm not sure--it's cotton twill, not a strawberry--but the price was right and I wanted charcoal gray, one of my favorite colors, which wasn't available in the "regular" cotton twill.  The last time I sewed anything resembling twill was during the Great Shorts Experiment of 2012, which, coincidentally, was also the last time I used a Sewaholic pattern (I think).  Every time I use one of Tasia's patterns, however, I'm reminded of how good they are: they fit so well and, while the instructions are sometimes lacking, there's so much on the internet (between sewalongs and personal reviews) that I never have a problem.  In fact, I don't think I even used the written instructions for this jacket--I followed the sewalong and that was enough.

The lining is Edenham from Liberty of London.  Yes, it's Tana Lawn.  Yes, I know, it's a lining.  This was not an easy decision to make, despite how quickly I fell in love with it.  The price, first of all, was a major staller.  Spending that much just on lining fabric would render a me-made jacket less economical than buying one from Macy's.  Second, this wasn't a tried-and-true pattern, and as I mentioned in my last post, things could have gone horrible wrong.  Was I willing to risk 2.5 yards of Liberty?  Apparently I was feeling optimistic, because I bought it (from Pink Chalk Fabrics--I love their selection, even if it's smaller than Purl) and it arrived and now it's a lining, so whatever.

As a note, it sewed up beautifully, as expected.

The beginnings 
I made a straight size 8, no alterations, though if I were making one for winter I'd probably make a 10 to accomodate layers.  I don't plan on wearing more than a light sweater or a shirt in Chicago, which makes this the layering piece, and lightweight at that.  It's in the 60s here today, so it wasn't sweltering when I dragged Nick outside to take pictures, but I think it'll make a nice coverup for breezes and chilly mornings walking to the donut shop.

Nick, thankfully, overdoes it when I make him take pictures, so have at it:

Nick mentioned it looked like a trench coat from the back.  I can see that!  My elastic didn't bunch as much as I expected, which is totally fine.  I love how it fits.

In every single picture it looks like my hems are uneven.  I promise you, they aren't.

The sleeves are a bit long, but I think I can always roll them up if I need to.  Honestly, I'm so happy with this, and am so pleased with how easily it came together.  The only part I swore during was inserting the elastic, because elastic never has been, and never will be, my friend.

So that's that!  In other news, we have a final count of 31 containers in our garden:

This is only one side of the patio, but I've shown them all on Instagram.  That little red one that looks out of place is my cousin's; I planted sweet pea and zinnias for her yesterday and haven't been able to get to her house yet!  It's a neat little deck planter.  Hopefully it doesn't fall!  I'm also giving her my desk succulent, because I smothered it with love and it rebelled, choosing to wilt from my kisses and water.  Fine.  Suit yourself, loser.

I hope spring is coming your way soon!  And I hope Nick mows the lawn soon.  Good god, we're that house on the block.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April Sewing Progress

T.S. Eliot once wrote, "April is the cruelest month," and I believe he was speaking of his spring sewing plans, too.  Perhaps he overcommitted himself as well, and things were coming crashing down around. Maybe he also had spent a small fortune on fabric and was afraid he'd just ruined a nice cut of Nani Iro Pocho.

It's totally plausible, but no, these things have happened to me.

I had pretty big plans for April.  I was going to make an April Rhodes Staple Dress, a Colette Laurel (for the contest, natch), and a Sewaholic Minoru.  And I had to design my do.Good Stitches circle's quilt this month.  And those were just sewing plans--let's not discuss personal or gardening schedules.

Things have been falling apart pretty steadily, however.  First, let me say how much I dislike PDF patterns.  I know they're convenient, and I know they're really inexpensive for small pattern companies.  I love small pattern companies and support them wholeheartedly (and always go to them first before the Big 4), but oh my goodness PDFs are the devil.  I had problems printing and assembling both the Staple Dress and Laurel.  Eventually I assembled my Staple dress (only to watch Puddin' eat it days later) but I gave up on the Laurel.  My printer spat out half the pages at an 85% scale for no discernible reason, and I took it as a sign.  Besides, I was only going to make the dress to be in the contest, and after reading about armscythe problems and being concerned about the length, I decided it was time to call it a day.

I did start and almost finish my Staple Dress, however.  I bought a really nice piece of Nani Iro polka dot Pocho from Miss Matatabi and imagined myself wearing this to farmer's markets and on vacations and doing all these things that I never do because I have other things to do instead.  The double-gauze was a bitch and clung together, stretched itself out, what-have-you--just enough to make me want to cry at my kitchen table.

I also had major fit problems.  I have narrow shoulders and a short waist as it is, but I had to repeatedly adjust the pieces to get something that didn't fall off.  I guess I should have made a smaller size, but seeing as how my measurements fit the medium, I thought I was safe?  Learn from me, kids: make a muslin.  I am terrible at that.

The final straw was when I noticed my shirring was having little-to-no effect on the shape of the dress.  Knowing what battles to pick, I gave in and grabbed my seam ripper.  Thankfully I can salvage the fabric and turn the skirt into an actual skirt or something, and the bodice that has been shirred can always be incorporated into a quilt.  It isn't ideal, but it's the silver lining.

Boo, you whore.

My Minoru has been a source of constant stress as well.  I had altered the pattern because, according to my measurements (which were begrudgingly taken by my helpful fiance), the jacket was about four inches too long and the sleeves would be hanging off my fingertips by six inches.  After folding, marking, and taping (but thankfully not cutting!), I had my mom check my lines before I dove right into my Liberty lining and organic canvas twill.  Yeah--I didn't need to alter it.  It would fit fine, maybe an inch too long.  So awesome, right?  All that anxiety for nothing.  I'm glad I didn't cut, but damn, it's no wonder I haven't been sleeping lately.

I do plan on cutting out the Minoru tonight.  I leave for Chicago in t-less than a month, and I need to get going.  

However, despite all my sad sewing news, I have been rocking in the garden lately:

Cucumbers!  We planted these six days ago.  I need to get a trellis for each!

I read that radishes should be kept in a bowl of cold water.  Is this correct?  The greens look...sad.

So I guess you can't be awesome at everything all the time.  Lesson learned, Emily, and take it slow.  But it is time to clear off the table and start on my jacket.  It won't cut itself...(unless things start getting more depressing with my progress, and then I might join it!)
Images by Freepik