Work(horse) Separates

Yikes, it’s been a long time since my last post!! I blame Christmas sewing :P. In my defense, though, I’ve almost completed all of my handmade gifts, which hopefully means no stressful last-minute crafting! Or, at least, less…a girl can dream. Anyhow, several weeks of “secret sewing” have meant that nothing bloggable has come from my sewing machine in quite a while.

Luckily, I had some separates I made a month or so waiting in the wings, so here we go! I’ve been noticing a distinct dearth of “real” work clothes in my wardrobe recently, and decided I really needed to remedy that. I have lots of full/poofy knee-length skirts paired with casual-ish knit tops or knit dresses, but no “serious” work clothes. Granted, in my line of work, you can really wear pretty much whatever you want, but since I’m still on the young side and since looking “twee” doesn’t really encourage people to take you seriously, I decided it was time for a change.

Since my altered Mabel skirt had been such a hit when I first made it, I decided not to mess with success, and got right to work on another. This time I used a striped ponte – actually, leftovers from this dress – to make it again. I made a few little tweaks to the fit, mostly just taking the center back in a little more and lowering it a bit for a sway back adjustment. It’s still not quite perfect, but I’m getting there.

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The top is also a new make. The photos are a bit overexposed so it’s hard to see, but it’s the Seamwork Astoria cropped sweater. I used a very spongy polyester sweater knit to sew it up, which created more than a few fit challenges. Although the fabric had the necessary stretch percentage for the pattern, it also has rather extreme recovery, making it fit much more tightly than a more regular knit “weave” made from a natural fiber or blend. To give myself a little room to play, I cut the pattern with larger seam allowances (I think it was 5/8″ instead of 3/8″). I’m very glad I did, since my basted together version with the original seams was skin tight! I ended up using 1/4″ seams for the side seams and bottom band, which added back the necessary circumference.

I also added 1 1/2″ to the length – I found it was just *too* cropped as-is, and I couldn’t raise my arms without flashing people. The fit is definitely still wonky, but it’s wearable. Next time, I plan to make this out of more forgiving fabric to see if I can fix some of those issues.

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So there you have it – two new pieces that have already turned into real wardrobe workhorses. Now back to Christmas sewing!!

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The Missing Link Hollyburn

Well, folks, the struggle with perfectionism continues. I still have yet to finish a single sewn garment in 2015. Argh. The good news is, I am three buttons away from finishing a major project from last year, so at least that’s something! I’m thinking this sudden perfection paralysis is the result of working through my perfectionist tendencies as a musician. I tend to find that my music and my crafting go hand-in-hand in terms of helping me work through creative struggles; in this case, as I am working to find freedom from perfection in my music making, my inner perfection beast is rearing its ugly head in my sewing world. Ah, well, it is what it is. I’m working through it, and that’s what matters!

That being said, today’s garment is another from the end of 2014. I made it when I was full-on stress-sewing the week before leaving for my holiday travels – I ended up making almost a garment a day in my frenzied excitement! (Which is also probably why I’m having such a hard time getting back into things!) This is my fourth Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt – definitely a TNT pattern at this point! The fabric is a lovely bronze cotton twill from Mood, and is actually left over from the aforementioned major project that is almost done. I’m so glad I’ve finally gotten around to making so many neutral skirts – this one especially has really filled a “missing link” in my wardrobe!

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This time around I added belt loops, which in my opinion really makes the skirt. Sometimes it’s those little details that make all the difference! I’ve also been finding that I need to modify the size of the waistband depending on the type of fabric I use with this pattern, since it’s so close-fitting at the waist. For this skirt, I added about 3/8″, since the twill is a tighter weave and therefore has less give than other fabrics I’ve used in the past. It’s still a tad on the tight side, but very wearable!

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These pictures were taking during a lovely day trip to Philadelphia near the end of my visit with my parents. It was a surprisingly warm day, and we took a fantastic walking tour of the city, including a stroll through the University of Pennsylvania campus. Definitely a highlight of my vacation!

How is your 2015 sewing so far? Are you still getting back into it, or are you already stitching away?