Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jstern Greys (the new khakis)

Dear readers,

I finally finished the Jennifer Stern Khakis pattern (in charcoal) that I cut out over 90 days ago.
 In the above picture I paired the pants with a charcoal jacket (that is similar but not exact match).
If you're a follower of the blog - you may know I'm a big fan of Jennifer Stern patterns.  In fact, my TNT Jeans pattern is Jennifer Stern - so I used that pattern to ensure that the sizing was correct and used the same crotch seam for this pair - so I knew I would have a good fit without a toile.   I made a mistake in the waistband (easing it in) but found excess material (unusual for me) to remake it without the ease.
 Pictures were difficult due to the Pixie and Paddy being a little too excited, Pixie above.
The fabric is a grey stretch charcoal denim-like material bought in the denim/duck/khaki section of Mood LA  -  I never wear khakis myself due to the similarity in features to the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin.  I had some execution problems with the zipper so you see it's not a perfect sewing production.  I didn't check it after really taking my time putting it in - I also seem to remember Jennifer has a tutorial on her website that I could have use.

I also used a button and put on belt loops (as I always need a belt by the end of the day seemingly no matter what pants I am wearing).  I apologize for the over-exposure but wanted to show details on the dark charcoal fabric.
 The obligatory shot, above - I'm quite happy with the fit.  They are ridiculously comfortable.
 And, from the side!
Paddy this time,  really??   Making this pair made me fall back in love with my Jennifer Stern red jeans below.  I'm wearing them again and loving the comfort.
 Wonderful fit.  If you haven't taken her jeans class, I highly recommend it - I took mine at the ASG (American Sewing Guild) National Conference.
It was hot last weekend so I got to wear sandals one day - now it's back to freezing.

I'm been sew productive - two more pillowcases, kitchen towels, and working on finishing two scarfs.

I'm not sure what is next  -  I think I want to do Colette's Jacket Sew-Along.  . . .

BTW, I am planning on attending the ASG conference in DC in August.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quick Fix: Roll Up Pillowcases

Dear readers,
     After my khaki/black jeans fiasco - and since my sew-jo was back - I needed a quick fix.  And, satisfied that itch by making roll-up pillowcases, a technique expounded by my friend (unfortunately a non-blogger) Francine. 
Please ignore the fact - these are indeed Christmas themed (and it's the end of January); we're not going to worry about that right now:)
After perfecting the technique - the pillowcases took less than 15 minutes each (the first took 20 - the second 10 minutes (if that).  I found this 7 minute You Tube video to be the best tutorial for my learning style:
Ridiculously easy with finished seams.   So, much easier than the pillowcases I used with other tutorials.  The Kerries do like them.  I bought new pillows to show off the cases as well.
I got my quick fix and am now hungry for other quick fixes:  Pencil cases, little Kindle cases - oh the anticipation.
I finally washed my quilt after four months, and I must admit I like the crinkled post-wash look much better.

What is your quick fix?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Fail (again): Waistband

Dear readers,

I left my wonderful tailored and cut out my TNT Jennifer Stern (J Stern) jeans/khaki pattern fabric out for about 3 months.  Last night, I attempted sewing them - wonderful.  The pattern went together wonderfully in just over an hour with just the waistband and hem to finish.   I decided to wait until morning.  The fabric is a black denim-ish stretch fabric from Mood Fabrics.    I don't wear khaki (I resemble Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, a bit too literally when I do).

What happened?   Well, I followed the pattern directions to "ease" in the waistband - although I have made her jeans and have never "eased" the waistband.   But, I did so in the morning.  Didn't try them on - wow.  Waistband way too tight.  So, I'm outta fabric - a trek to Mood in is order.   They fit wonderfully - and I can probably recover this fail (if I can find similar fabric).

The offending pants and waistband:
The pants, picture above, are recoverable.
The offending directions I normally don't follow, above.

Why did I not make them as I did for all my other JStern projects?  I don't know.  But I discovered my sew-jo is back with this project - and hurredly completed a "quick fix" project - two pillowcases.

I also fell back in love with my JStern red jeans.

Have you ever messed up your TNT pattern with execution errors?  I simply don't know why I did so this time.

P.S.  Update - on my way out the door today - spotted the leftover fabric (to my surprise) in my stash bin.  I couldn't remember having any fabric left (hurray!) - I normally don't.  So, this may complete faster than I anticipated!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yarn Color Fail...

Dear readers,

My first yarn bought (before I really learned to knit) - was three skeins of Liberty yarn.  I bought it after seeing similarly colored yarn in Sarasota, at A Good Yarn (where they have yarn based on the local beaches, coastal and littoral features, and sea mammals, fish and corals.  I loved the agua and blue colors - so I bought the skein of Liberty wool thinking it was merely blue, yellow and light green with a hint of pink.  It turns out it is mostly pink.
Just a hink of pink.
 A tiny little row of pink . . . 

No . . . mostly pink!
 So, I continued to make the Easy Cowl in Any Gauge - like my last very successful cowl.
I don't prefer the bright colors.  Even though the project turned out fine.  So, my friend Allyson volunteered to take it to her breast cancer fundraising store (hurray).  This yarn would be great for children/infants - but a bit too bright for my tastes.

Yesterday I took Knit Fixes I - which teaches you to easily fix your mistakes (even very very late in your project).  I loved the class and I do think it will be worth it.

Dear readers, has this mistake (the wrong yarn) happened to you?  This mistake drives home that these knitted projects are heavily dependent on the correct yarn selection.

Off to my next project!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Visit to LA Mood at the new location

Dear readers,

I made a visit to Mood last week on my day off and it was brilliant - not done yet (so I didn't take pictures) but much easier to get to (off the 101 in Hollywood and then South on Vine, take a right on 3rd, and a left on La Brea and Mood is on your right.  It was much larger and had about 30 percent more fabric and notions.  I loved it.  I bought these fabrics:
On the left, some seersucker (for a shift dress), in the middle, some vintage-y fabric for the button down shirt Craftsy class (tailored shirt) and more cotton for the class.

Very unlike me - I wanted to splurge on some wools and knits.  But I didn't.  I was fiscally efficient (sadly).  But, what a wonderful location and fabulous store - more to follow.

Over Christmas I made many more washcloths below (the patterns are Here, waffle knit dishcloth and Here):
 Unfortunately, one blue curly Kerry was too interested in these items:
 What? Dog Toys?  Yeah!!
Apparently, knitting equals dog toys!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I am taking the Seamless Pledge

Dear readers,

I decided to take the Seamless Pledge for the next six months (until the July 4th weekend).  I'll reconsider over the 4th.  I don't really buy vintage/thrift (I'd like to  - no patience - and I live in thrift heaven "vintage Ventura").  So, I guess I'm gonna be sewing and knitting!
Here is the pledge:


  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
  4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your kntting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!
  5. Get involved! Join in on the Flickr group and like our Facebook page. Elena will be looking to feature pledgers on the blog in the future. Elena would love to see your second-hand finds, refashions and hand-made creations!

I don't "need" anymore new clothes - and I have a wonderful stash and access to one of the best fabric stores in the United States less than an hour from my house.  Some people are taking a pledge not to buy anything new - I'm not taking that pledge but I like the idea - I just don't think I'm that disciplined*(yet).  And, really I had to wait until my sewing skills were up to par to do this.

By the way, I made a trip to Mood (the new location on La Brea avenue) yesterday and it's fantastic - three times as large at least and a LOT MORE FABRIC!  Wow!  I will do a separate post on this!

Hope your New Years is shaping up nicely.


P.S.  I'm flying to DC on Monday and took my flu shot (apparently every on the East Coast is getting it).   I highly recommend it - I got my at Walgreens (and my insurance paid 100 percent - even without it is a small charge).  The flu shot is amazing close to the actual flu strain this year.  And, I'm completely paranoid about getting sick (I got one of the early cases of the Swine Flu when I visited Japan) when I travel.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Five Goals for 2013

Dear Readers -

I didn't do so well in 2012 on my Planned Project Goals (where you can see how little I accomplished)   I completed only three projects our my fifteen planned (if you count cutting out a pattern as one, and a rather large quilt for one) my success rate is small - 5 percent.  5 percent?  really? really.

But, I did learn to knit and had an extraordinarily busy year at work - which curtailed my sewing results.  So, this year is going to be different, I tell you!

So, I am limiting my goals for 2013 (I'm "goal'd out" in other parts of my life).

1.  Expand my knitting skills.  I'd like to knit fingerless mitts (learn to use DPNs), a hat, socks, and eventually a sweater like this one.
 The above pattern is free, Susie's Reading Mitts, available at Ravelry (Thanks Tanya of Sew Sassy Again for the link to this pattern).
The pattern is available for free at Garn Studio, and here is the link to the Celtica Shawl Cardigan from DROPS. .

I've also bought a Craftsy online class (when they were on sale), Celtic Cables, from the talented Irish Knitting Designer, Carol Feller, whose blog is stolen stitches, to learn to do a Aran sweater (yes, my obsession with Irish culture continues).
2.  Perfect a button down dress shirt.  I purchased a craftsy course:  The Classic Tailored Shirt by Pam Howard. I plan to make my own pattern with my sloper.
3.  Make a tailored jacket - like the Colette Patterns, Anise.  This will take some hand tailoring skills.  Sarai of Colette Patterns has a wonderful Anise Sew-Along.  I love Colette Patterns.
4.  Sew at least one Wearing History/Decades of Style/Hotpatterns' garment.  I'm not sure which but one of the below!  Although I've owned these independent designers' patterns for awhile - I've never taken the plunge to sew them up!

5.  Stash and Pattern Busting.  Bust some of my stash and get through some of the fabulous fabric I own waiting to be made up into a wearable garment, either from my slopers or my abundance of patterns.  This is not my current stash below, believe me - it's much more crowded on those shelves now - they are definitely overflowing!!
So,  I'm keeping it simple this year, I think.  But, hope to have greater sewing and knitting successes!

I am eager to hear your goals and have enjoyed reading those who have posted. . .

Happy New Year and I hope everyone makes exactly what they want this coming year.


P.S.  I am considering taking the Seamless Pledge.