Turkey Daze

I don’t know about you, but I still have turkey leftover in my fridge from last Thursday (it’s almost gone, though!), which I think has put me in a semi-permanent tryptophan-induced food coma. In other words, I’m behind in my blogging! I have several new finished projects to post, but today you get a repeat with a “twist” in honor of all that turkey. Okay, not really even a twist…but I wanted to introduce you all to my “turkey jacket”! It’s an Anthropologie jacket I got many years ago that has a pleated plaid “tail” in the back that reminds me of, well, a turkey :P. Paired with my Lady Skater cowl dres:

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Dress: handmade “Lady Skater Dress” by Kitschy Coo with cowl from Sewaholic’s “Renfrew Top,” Jacket: Anthropologie, Tights (that you can’t see): purple fleece tights from Saver’s, Boots: Clark’s

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Gobble gobble!

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All the Rage

Several months ago while on a shopping/research excursion with my mom, it dawned on both of us that peplum tops are pretty much the “in thing” right now. We thought the fad probably wouldn’t stick, so I figured I didn’t want to invest in a style that might not last long. However, many months later I’m still seeing them everywhere! I always thought they were cute, so I decided I wanted to join in.

And you know from a few posts ago that the Lady Skater Dress is the “in thing” in the sewing world right now. Taking things a step further, Lady Skater Modifications are super “in,” too. So, peplum top + Lady Skater Dress + modifications = all the rage – amiright??

Anyhow, I’ll cut to the chase. I used Amanda’s Lady Skater Peplum Tutorial to make my own peplum top, using the Peplum 3.0 skirt mod. Le voilà:

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Top: handmade “Lady Skater Dress” peplum top by Kitshy Coo, Pants and Belt: Banana Republic, Boots: Clark’s, Cardigan: LOFT

This is another wearable muslin, made from the scraps of my first Renfrew top. It’s kind of amazing how little fabric this takes! Of course, I didn’t have enough fabric for long sleeves, so I’m wearing short sleeves when it’s 40 degrees out (oops…), but it was a good pattern test. I think for my next one I’ll make the bodice and skirt an inch longer each – what do you think?

Since the fabric I used doesn’t have a ton of stretch, I shortened the armband pieces by an inch on the sleeves to keep their shape. I probably should have done that for the neckline, too, but didn’t remember at the time. I’m also still trying to decide if I like the size I used for the sleeves – I’ve been making a size 3 top, but I’m wondering about a size 2 armhole and size 3 everything-else. More experiments to come!

Blast from the Past

I probably should have saved this post for tomorrow since apparently “throwback Thursday” is a thing, but I couldn’t think of anything else to wear, so here we are. I made one of the pieces of this outfit while I was in grad school several years ago – can you guess which??

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Dress: Banana Republic, Sweater: handmade “Autumn Rose Pullover” by Eunny Jang, Tights: Savers, Boots: Clark’s

If you guessed the sweater, you were right! I still kind of can’t believe I was crazy enough to make this. It was knitted on size 0, 1, and 2 needles – so, basically, toothpicks – and I was changing colors literally every few stitches. When I described the process to my husband this morning, his response was, “oh, so that’s why you didn’t date in grad school!” Ha, very funny, sweetie :P.

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It took me about a year to make, but I’m super proud of it. And, of course, now that I’ve been remembering the process of making it, I want to do another crazy colorwork project. It was a ton of fun!

One other comment about today’s outfit: my tights are lined with fleece. This is pretty much a dream come true for me, since I love wearing skirts and dresses but HATE having cold legs. I found these while on a discount shopping spree with my mother-in-law in NH. They’re made by a company called “Leg Impressions.” I want one in every color…

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If at First You Don’t Succeed…

So you know how I keep complaining that it’s winter here? Well, today it’s spring :P. Seriously – 65 degrees and humid. I didn’t even have to wear a coat this morning. So weird! Not that I mind; I got to pull out one of my spring skirts! Yay for denial…

Since I’ve been in such a sewing frenzy, I managed to complete yet another project this weekend. I had enough fabric leftover after the dress to make a top. However, I already have two grey knit tops – one long-sleeved and one sleeveless – so I wanted to make sure this one was different enough to justify making it. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try out a new pattern and use this as a “wearable muslin” (i.e. an experiment that hopefully works out well enough to wear). The pattern I tried out was the Côte d’Azur top pattern by Hot Patterns. This was my first pattern from that company, and I had read variable reviews about the fit of their garment, so I wasn’t sure how it would work out. Here’s the result:

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Top: handmade “Côte d’Azur top” by Hot Patterns, Skirt and Tights: Anthropologie, Cardigan: LOFT, Boots: Clark’s

Yes, those are yellow stockings….I keep trying to come up with a clever Twelfth Night reference about them, but so far have come up dry. Anyhow, I’m very glad I made a muslin of the top! Not because it fit poorly – the fit is actually great – but because I made a stupidly obvious mistake that almost ruined it! I did the front gathers wrong – I misread where the gathers end, and ended up gathering way too much. I then tried to make some alterations to fix what I thought was a fit problem, which involved me cutting the fabric, so that when I finally figured out what I did wrong I couldn’t go back and do it the right way. Argh! I managed to make it work, though. The hem is kind of wonky, but when it’s tucked in you don’t even notice it. I really like the finished product, so I can’t wait to make it again *correctly*! I think I want to make a dress version of it for spring…real spring, not this faux get-your-hopes-up-but-it’s-actually-winter spring 😛

Skating Time!

Sadly I haven’t gone ice skating yet this year, but whenever I do I’ll have the perfect dress – my new Lady Skater Dress by Amanda from Kitshy Coo. This pattern came out in June, and I’ve been reading so much praise for the dress from other bloggers that I had to try it! And it does not disappoint – this is definitely my favorite dress pattern so far, and I plan to make many, many more!

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Dress: Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo, Belt: Ann Taylor, Tights: Banana Republic, Boots: Clark’s

I’m really liking the fit, but I did end up having to make one alteration – I shortened the top by about 2.5″. When I put together the dress with the top as-is, my prominent tummy and bum were, yet again, a problem…grr! But I quickly realized that raising the skirt up would allow the fullness in the skirt (a nice, swishy partial circle) to cover up those problem areas. So, after a little seam ripping and cutting, the problem was fixed!

I’m starting to develop a new understanding of and appreciation for my body shape now that I am sewing more. I’m getting a better sense of which patterns works for my shape and which don’t. And just because a particular cut isn’t flattering doesn’t mean I’m “fat”! It just means I need to make a change or two (or maybe look for a different pattern). This is helping me find a healthier, more realistic way to think about my body. And now I realize why I love high waists and full skirts so much!

Stuck on Repeat…

I know I just wore this skirt two posts ago, but I have several good reasons!

1. It’s warm
2. It’s comfortable
3. I’m (hopefully) going to the fabric store today on my break, so I can show it off!

And everything else I’m wearing is different, I promise…

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Top: Banana Republic, Sweater: LOFT, Skirt: handmade “Chardon” by Deer and Doe, Tights: Gap, Boots: Clark’s

Another thing that has been “stuck on repeat” in my life is my sewing/crafting. I’m becoming more and more obsessive about it, to the point that it’s starting to feel a little out of control. So, a new goal of mine is to find balance in my sewing “habit.” I’m also curious to know – how do others create balance with this sort of thing? Do you have a serious hobby (not necessarily craft related – anything) that you find yourself struggling to keep in balance? How do you do it? I would love to hear other people’s stories!

Flannel to the Rescue!

It just keeps getting colder here in Boston!! So this week, instead of sewing more knit-fabric garments, I finally came to terms with the dropping temperature and decided to sew a flannel skirt. I made another Chardon Skirt with one of the beautiful cotton flannels that recently found its way onto the shelves of Grey’s Fabric and Notions. I have to confess, as much fun as I’ve been having sewing with knits, it was a nice change to sew with a heftier, more stable fabric that doesn’t change shape on you every few seconds!

The finished product is nice and warm, and was also super quick! I didn’t line this one, so it only took me one cutting session and two sewing sessions to complete (to compare, my first Chardon took me almost a month!). Oh, and did I mention it has *pockets*? Here it is in today’s outfit:

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Top: Banana Republic, Jacket: Anthropologie, Skirt: handmade “Chardon Skirt” by Deer and Doe, Leggings: Banana Republic, Boots: Clark’s

And without the jacket, so you can see the pleating and belt loops:

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And lastly, at only $10 a yard, this skirt cost me under $30 – compare with this similar skirt from a high-end retailer that’s over $100. I’ll take that!

Winter is Coming!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little Game of Thrones reference, since today’s post is about preparing for the cold. One thing I realized when I moved to Boston was that I really needed to find a proper scarf! Since I’m a knitter, though, I felt guilty just buying one when I could make it, which inspired my latest knitting creations – two cowl-neck “scarves”. I chose cowl necks because they will keep my neck and chest warm without adding extra bulk under a jacket or coat. Also, my mom got me the patterns as a gift, so I had to try them out! Here they are:

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Pattern: Shawl Collared Cowl by Alana Dakos, Yarn: “Homespun” by Lion Brand (color is “Edwardian”), Buttons: from Bead + Fiber, my local yarn and bead shop

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Pattern: Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer, Yarn: merino wool from Dirty Water Dye Works, a local yarn maker, also purchased at Bead + Fiber

I love both of them, and usually end up wearing one of them pretty much every day. In fact, yesterday was warm enough that I just wore the cowl without a coat!

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I know that colder days are coming, but I think I’m ready!

Santa Fe Adventures

Before you ask, no, I didn’t go to Santa Fe, nor do I have any plans to in the near future. However, I did spend my weekend making this awesome Santa Fe Dress from Nancy Zieman’s new knits series, and so far I’m loving the result! Here it is in today’s outfit:

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Dress: handmade “Santa Fe Dress” by Nancy Zieman, Cardigan: LOFT, Belt: Banana Republic, Leggings: Banana Republic, Boots: Clark’s

The dress took me one evening to cut out and one afternoon to sew – not bad! It’s made from a soft, drapey bamboo/Lycra blend, which was a pain to work with (hence one whole evening just to cut it out!), but wonderful to wear. The pattern ended up being a little too full in the back for my taste – some sewers had commented that the dress tends to fit like a nightgown – so I added ties to the back. I didn’t want to remove any of the fullness through darts or a back seam because I knew I needed the extra fabric to cover my shapely bum, so I think the ties are a nice solution for me. Folks without my tummy/bum shaping might find other solutions are better for them.

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The detail that attracted me most to this dress was the folding in the top. It was really fun to sew, and it looks like something you’d buy from a trendy retail store. Win win!

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One last comment about the dress – it cost me $38 to make. $35 for the fabric, $3 for thread. That might not seem super cheap to you, but 30 seconds of online research showed me that bamboo dresses tend to run about $80-$120 retail. So not bad after all!