Monday, February 18, 2013

three out of three including two firsts

(Note: My legs are not actually on fire in these photos. But wow, they look crazy.)

Count 'em. My outfit today consists of three handmade items, a rare feat for me. Three -- how can it be? Renfrew cardigan, check. We've seen that one. Black skirt? Yeah, looks home-sewn for sure (more on that later). But what else? Did I sew my own tights? Ick, no.

I knitted my first ever scarf. My first ever anything! Boom. This is the same project I started when I was home for Christmas without my sewing machine and with a whole lot of time. I saw the GAP-tastic Cowl (free Ravelry pattern) that Kelli made, and decided to go for it myself. It's just a seed stitch, knitted in the round, but I had to completely start over four or five times because I didn't know how to fix my mistakes without doing so.

I very nearly surrendered to it, but I saw a friend wearing the exact store-bought GAP cowl that this pattern is based on. Just like with my sewing, I wanted to prove that I could make my own, in the USA and with my own little lobster claws. Take that, GAP. The yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in charcoal, which you can find anywhere. I know this because I ran out of yarn halfway through binding off (hey, genius) and found some more on

I will talk about the skirt, too, because we're all here for the sewing, yes? And I like it! It's another first: my first PDF pattern. I finally got a printer so it's opened up the world of Burdastyle online patterns to me, which means I can now enjoy even more curse-inducing sewing-related headaches, I guess. Just as they (you) say, Burda PDF instructions are basically worthless. When it comes to skirt-making, though, I can make educated guesses. Not sure I could tackle a tailored coat with them just yet.

This is the Burdastyle Mini Pleated Skirt 05/2012. I've been wanting a zip-fly skirt for awhile; I like the casual look of it and already have far too many button-up skirts. The Grainline Moss mini skirt is pretty darn cute, but it sits lower and fits straighter and tighter than I typically like. This Burda one popped up on Sophie (Cirque du Bebe)'s Pinterest, and I decided it would be a good start to my PDF pattern adventures. It's only 15 pages total.

The Burda instructions did not show illustrations for any of the steps, so I needed some help with the fly zip. I consulted a tutorial I've had bookmarked for awhile: Debbie Cook's tutorial for a jeans fly, from the year 2001. WHAT? Sewing blogs existed in 2001? In 2001, I think I spent the majority of my time dancing maniacally to 'NSync CDs in my bedroom. I had the "Bye Bye Bye" dance memorized. And what's your greatest accomplishment?

Anyway, I've looked at a lot of fly-front tutorials, and have even done one myself (on my Thurlows, after a struggle), but somehow Debbie's made the most sense just reading it before even trying it. It was very straightforward and even easy... but since it was for a jeans fly, my fly ended up opening to the right even though I guess most non-jeans zipper are supposed to open from the left? Meh.

The fabric is a boring black linen blend from JoAnn. The only other black skirt I own is a thin elastic-waist jersey thing I chopped from a dress. I wanted something structured that could be tucked into if need be, so my new Burda mini baby was born. 

Who knows what's going on with this skirt angling. Call it my sassy bell-swing hip pose.

Now, don't be fooled. I'm not going to get any closer because the back "welt pockets" are not welt pockets at all! This is the second time in two weeks I've come across this same weird faux-welt construction -- the first one was on a Simplicity Amazing Fit pants pattern, which surprised me. It's just a folded rectangle sewn on the back of the garment then pressed up and stitched at the ends. Normally I don't protest faux-anything because I'm pretty lazy, but this technique is queen of the lazy. Queen E-lazy-beth. I'm sure there's a better way to make easy faux-welts that still look halfway-functional. Right? I'll save it for a less lazy day.

Despite how utterly sick I am of winter, I'm feeling pretty good about these new monochromatic additions to my wardrobe, both of which I've already worn a few times. I like keeping it diverse around here: mixing in the neutral basics with the flamingo dresses, you know. 

What are your recent crafty "firsts"?

P.S. OK kiddos, don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for the Beginner Serging Craftsy class, if you're into that. You have until Thursday! I'm rooting for each one of you.