Rumi + Toaster = Roaster Sweater Tunic Thingie

I did it! I figured out the tripod/wireless remote situation with my new camera and new photo wall! I just realized that all my shots are a little crooked but I’m out of practice with this whole selfie thing, so let’s take it slow and easy. The new camera was a reluctant purchase. I managed to somehow drop and break both my nice Canon and back-up Canon cameras a few months ago (sob!) and after lamenting the losses, I decided to take this opportunity to try out an Olympus mirrorless camera. I have to say, I’m lovin’ it because it’s so compact yet takes sharp, lovely photos.

Here I am, testing out the remote. I have about 7 jillion blurry photos of me from this single test.

Anyway! Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve been sewing.

This here is a hybrid of sorts of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater and the Cali Faye Rumi Pullover. The fabric is a polyester/cotton blend (well, I’m pretty sure it’s polyester/cotton, but don’t quote me on it) that I purchased years and years ago. I bought this with a vision of a roomy, cozy, cocoon-y turtleneck sweater and spent eons searching for a pattern with no luck. I was on the verge of just self-drafting a pattern when I remembered how much I love wearing my Rumi Pullover. The Rumi is very roomy (maybe that’s why it’s named that way?). But it is not a turtleneck. Luckily, I had stored the Toaster Sweater pattern with the Rumi pattern, so I figured it was kismet and I could just double the height of the neck piece and call it a day. It worked!

The other modification I made was to slim down the silhouette of the bodice a touch and tapered the hem for a subtle cocoon shape. I also added 5” to the length and reduced the front neckline about an inch to accommodate the turtleneck piece.

I loooooooooooooove it. It’s exactly what I had in mind. I could eat buckets of roasted chestnuts and drink gallons of hot cocoa and no one will ever notice my expanding waist. My kind of sweater! I’m calling it my Roaster sweater. Or maybe Tumi is better?  I’ve paired it with my favorite Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Patterns; this pair is in constant rotation and they’re holding up spectacularly.

There’s a lot of grey going on here, including my hair. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I stopped coloring my hair about a year ago. It was — much to my utter shock — one of the most life-altering experiences I’ve had. I was SO self-conscious, it was nuts-o. As my roots grew out, I felt increasingly insecure and couldn’t figure out why I was making such a big deal about it. It was adolescence all over again! It took a good six months for me to get accustomed to the grey. I know that it’s a little tricky to see all of my silvery strands in these photos, but trust me, they’re abundant. The funny thing is, I love the grey/silver now. It is, after all, my favorite color and the way my hair sparkles and shimmers in the light is pretty awesome. And just plain pretty, I believe. The other day I saw a stunningly beautiful woman with silver locks and I was so inspired. If I can look half as chic as she did when I go fully grey, I’d be golden…or, uh, silver in this case. Though I miss my wonderful hair stylist who not only made me (artificially) feel youthful but also patiently listened to my dronings-on, the upsides of going naturally grey are innumerable. I don’t have to deal with stained pillowcases, I’m not shelling out $$$, I’ve reclaimed the time spent sitting in the salon chair, etc. etc. These days I can’t imagine going back to coloring my hair.

Oh, I’ve missed blogging. I derive so much pleasure from just sharing my thoughts and things I’m working on or playing/experimenting with in this random, carefree way. It feels so good to be typing this little post up. There are many, many exciting things happening behind the scenes, which is a major part of why I’ve had to put some of my favorite pastimes on the back burner. Maybe I’m being too optimistic and ambitious, but after pondering various options, I think I’ve come up with a fun way to incorporate everything I want to do. I have some news and more sewing that I’ll share over the next few weeks along with a personal project that’s been brewing in my mind for…oh…years.

Alright my friends, it’s time for me to get more sewing done. I hope you have a cozy, Roaster sweater-y type of weekend (if you’re in a cooler climate range, that is) and just an all-round good time!

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday + OCS

Happy Friday! What’s this? My fourth Ginger Skinny Jeans on my cutting table? The crazy thing is that I just finished Gingers #3 last week:

I’ve got a serious case of OCS, my friends. That would be Obsessive Compulsive Sewing. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you probably saw a level of prolific output that hasn’t happened in years in terms of sewing. I completed that indigo chambray Grainline Archer shirt last week as well. And the white linen Archer shirt below flew out of my sewing machine just a few days before the indigo one. The sleeves are a tad long for me, but since I roll up all my long-sleeved button down shirts anyway, I’m not too concerned. Like this:

Oh, it’s been an incredible joyride now that I’m sewing again. Of course, part of me is well aware that this is just another one of my “productive” procrastination tactics since I’m in hardcore deadline mode and need to have the next book done by the end of the month.

Sorry for the photo quality — the light’s been dimming as autumn settles in and I’m trying to find spots in my house that I can use for blog photos now that a humongous credenza occupies the white wall that was formerly my default background. The search hasn’t been too promising yet, but I’m ever hopeful!

Details, details, details:

I made the white Archer shirt in linen (so luscious) and the indigo version is made of the same lightweight chambray that became the Charlie Caftan, another excellent Closet Case Pattern. I cut the size 10 and didn’t make any alterations. What a fun, fun pattern to sew!

But even more fun is stitching up jeans. In fact, my OCS might just turn into OCJ (Obsessive Compulsive Jeans-making). I shared my first successful pair of non-muslin Ginger jeans here. The muslin version I’d made before that one was definitely wearable, but the zipper busted on me and the denim wasn’t quite as stretchy so they weren’t as comfy as the black pair. I ended up cutting a size 6 and made a bunch of alterations to make the black pair fit the way I like.

Taking the altered patterns sheets (see all the notes I have scrawled on there?), I sewed up my third pair and this newest addition to my Ginger collection is pretty much perfect in terms of fit. So much so, that I immediately cut out another pair. I’m not sure what the denim content is, but it has a good amount of stretch. Probably 2-3% lycra?

Look at my oh-so-Pacific-Northwest pocket linings! The fabric happened to be within arm’s reach, and the plaid cotton is a nice nod to my rugged, outdoorsy region.

Regardless of having sewn the jeans multiple times, I always consult the Sewing Your Own Jeans E-book that Heather put together. It’s so comprehensive and helpful! I know she has video courses now as well, which is pure genius. That Heather, she’s going places. I love her and I’m sort of in awe of her. She’s brilliant and warm and hilarious and truly loves to help people create beautiful clothes that feel wonderful to wear. She’s exactly the kind of person I want guiding me to make body-hugging jeans which can be such an emotional thing, you know?

Anyway enough sewing talk! More watercolors! Books! Yes, that’s my focus right now! Wait, our staircase is looking really dingy. A quick lick of white paint would do wonders…right after I finish Gingers #4, naturally.

Have a delightful weekend, all!

Happy Friday + Style Arc

Happy Friday, my friends! Good news: I’ve been sewing. Not-so-good-news: I’ve lost my white background wall where I used to take all my photos due to furniture re-arranging, and the outdoor light is perhaps not so complexion-enhancing. K says I always look tired and these photos support her claims. Ah well, let’s move on.

Through the grapevine, I’d heard that Style Arc patterns are quite flattering, so I browsed through their impressively large collection. The Daphne Duo Tunic seemed like a breeze and right up my alley stylistically, so in it went into my online cart. I used a pretty pale blue linen and stitched up the size 12 as per printed measurements.  The pleats added a twist to an otherwise plain over-sized tee silhouette.

You know what? I don’t love it. The pleats detail is sort of interesting, but my v-neck is decidedly a u-neck that refuses to lay flat and I think the linen is a little too weighty for this pattern. Something a little more drapey and floaty would have been more suitable. I also think (and I seem to write this over and over), I could have gone down a size and lengthened the whole thing.

Though I might not be smitten with it, it’s not bad. Maybe I’ll warm up to it. Time will tell.

I also sewed two versions of the Sunny Knit Top, also in a size 12. K said, “You look like you’re wearing Daddy’s t-shirt.” Oh, it’s so comfy! But I see her point. This tissue weight navy knit is super soft and I wish I could recall where I got it from because I’d like to get my hands on some more.

Version #2 is made out of a crinkly, quasi-sheer stretch black material that my mom gave me eons ago, which I posted on Instagram here. I felt like there was a sufficient number of photos of me in loose, shapeless tops for this post so I didn’t take the two extra minutes to snap pix of me in the black version.

The Sunny Knit Top is lightning fast to sew up and though I’m not sure I’d call it flattering, it sure is an easy top to wear.

In other non-Style Arc news, I’m working on an Archer shirt right now and I’m having a grand time. Lovely, lovely fall…how I’ve missed  this energizing season!

Well, have a wonderful weekend friends!

 

 

Happy Friday + Closet Case Charlie Caftan

Helloooooooo! I’m in a tizzy, my friends. After two wonderful trips, I’d been floating in the timeless, comfortingly clueless zone known as jet lag. Then suddenly, a monster to-do list attacked me and I woke up. My next book is launching NEXT WEEK. I’ve gotta get my party hat on and get promotin’. For any of you locals, Queen Anne Book Co. will be hosting a launch party on Sunday, August 13th at noon — would love to see you there! We have super fun activities planned for the kiddos (and kiddos at heart). And yes, there will be Japanese snacks. How can you not come when Japanese snacks are involved?

My book, of course, has nothing to do with the awesome Charlie Caftan I’m sporting up there. I love this new pattern from Heather’s collection inspired by the one and only Ms. Wensley. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed it in a lightweight indigo chambray.

It comes together quickly and the only fiddly part for me was the panel insertion at the waist. I love everything about it, except…

I sort of wish I’d chosen a darker fabric for the pocket lining. The polka dots are cute, and I always like to use cute fabric for my pocket linings, but I didn’t think about how the lining peeks out quite often and the white is a bit jarring for me. I used polka dot fabric for my Endless Summer Tunic as well, but the grey blends in perfectly (I wear this tunic all the time, by the way).

But that’s a minor detail that I can easily rectify when I have a few extra moments. Chances are good that those few extra moments might happen in 2020. Fingers crossed. If you look closely, you can see a rainbow on the bottom right corner of the image above. K snapped these pix and she did a good job, no?

So some other details: I cut a size 8 in view A. According to the measurement guidelines (particularly my bust size), size 12 seemed a wiser choice, but having sewn up the Ginger jeans and Morgan jeans, I’ve figured a few things out and sized down. So glad I did! I’m looking peaked in these photos because they were taken the day before we left on the Japan trip…I was a wee bit stressed.

It’s a winner, my friends. I promised Heather that I would take a photo of Charlie in Tokyo, and I am nothing if not a promise keeper. Here I am, rockin’ it at Meiji Jingu, sweaty as all get out.

I wore the dress twice while in Japan (the second time was in Himeji when K and I went to visit relatives), and it was a fantastic addition to my travel wardrobe! Love love love. Heather, you’ve done it again — brava!

P.S. Furoku members, the August edition has gone out and it’s so full of images, I had trouble sending it. Please let me know if you haven’t received it, and I apologize if some of the images look distorted! Gah, technical issues…

P.P.S. I will be drawing the name for and contacting the giveaway winner this evening!

 

Happy Friday + Morgan Jeans

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So. Shall we talk about the brilliance that is the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns? I happen to be one lucky gal and am real life friends with both Heather (who created the pattern) and Morgan (who is the muse for the pattern). When the energy of two women that I adore converge into a singularly stylish and comfortable jeans pattern, well, I flounder for the right word to describe the magic. Maybe fizazzlepizzazzle?

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I took my time with this one, friends. I lovingly traced the pattern pieces. Slooowly cut them out. I carefully ironed on the interfacings. So on and so forth. And you know what? It was AWESOME. I was enjoying myself so much while making these, a casual observer might have assumed I was on some mood-enhancing drug. Nope, just a natural high from creating the most professional-looking pair of jeans.

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From start to finish, it took me seven hours to make these jeans. Yes. Definitely an investment of time. But I paced myself and worked on it over three days and it truly felt effortless. Would I do it again? No question.

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The one rub: I think I cut one size (or possibly two sizes) too large. This is a size 8, and I knew from the instructions that the non-stretch denim would expand in size over time and based on the measurements the 8 seemed like a safe bet. I took the photos as soon as I finished them and the fit was perfect, perfect, perfect. Snug, but not tight around the waist. Casually slouchy but not ballooning around the thighs and calves.

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I don’t have pictorial evidence, but by the end of the day of the third wear, the jeans looked like they belonged to a hefty bodyguard three times my size.

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I’m going to toss them into the washing machine and hope they shrink up back to the amazing initial fit. If not, that’s okay. I’m not one to shy away from too loose jeans.

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It just means I’ll have to size down, which means less fabric to cut and hey, that sounds like a win-win to me. On a side note, I went with the cropped version but due to my legs that have the DNA of wiener dogs, they don’t look as cropped as I’ve seen on others. I like this length a lot though!

Spurred by the success of my Morgan Boyfriend Jeans for which the instructions are excellent, I decided it was high time I made K some skinny jeans again. I’m afraid the lack of pictorial evidence is deliberate this time. I used the Blaverry KoKo pattern (the company no longer seems to be in business) and maybe I was exhausted and double-visioned from already making grown-up sized jeans, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of the zip fly insertion instructions. I completely flubbed the whole thing, but K wore it for a full day anyway just because I had spent so much time on it (a speedy 4 hours compared to the Morgan). But in the end, she had to admit that the jeans were terribly uncomfortable. If I get around to it, I’ll add the photo of the finished KoKo jeans here at a later date — it actually looks pretty good at first glance, but oh, the zip fly (suck in breath through teeth here)…it ain’t pretty.

Upon reflection I’m certain that I messed up K’s jeans because I felt rushed and through no fault of her own, K’s eager expectation added some pressure to the experience. With the Morgan jeans, I thoroughly and leisurely enjoyed the process of it and didn’t really focus on the end result. With the KoKo jeans, it was all about the end result. Hm. Thoughts to chew on. Have you made the Morgan? Was it as fizazzlepizazzle for you too? What about the KoKo? I’m sure it’s a great pattern and that all errors were just from my misreading the instructions.

Anyway. I have another deadline next week so I better focus on that. Have a delightful weekend, everyone!

Jeans are fun to make
Even if they don’t fit well
Just gotta make more

P.S. I almost forgot! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

P.P.S. I’m wearing the Linden sweatshirt in the lovely french terry I mentioned a few posts ago.