Recalculating – Once Again

recalculating me-made, Sewing

Every now and then I feel it is too much: I have too many clothes, everything is in a big mess, and I still don’t have all the garments I really need. I also feel I have too many patterns I didn’t use at all, or I didn’t alter enough to fit perfectly.

So I then stop and call “recalculating-me-made”.

I start organizing. I start planning. I alter and mend existing clothes.  I mainly recycle and upscale some garments. I feel all good about myself. But pretty fast, as if I’m on a sewing diet, the discouraging thoughts in my head starts howling:  “I am lazy for not using the machine for so long”. “My stash is not getting any smaller” and the worst one: “I will never conquer the pile of clothes I planned to recycle“.

So yes, I need to balance. After all, recalculating-me-made is not only about stopping to sew new garments. It is about taking the time to learn more techniques (craftsy here I come) so the quality of what I make will improve. It is about planning a wardrobe that I will actually use giving the non-dress code at work and the Israeli weather.

While on recalculating mode, I sometimes feel I have done “nothing”. But I realized, it is not true at all. What I did in the last month or so:

  • Added hanging loops to all my garments to better arrange my closet.

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  • I went through my closet and got rid of old stuff I never use. I also reorganized it.

 

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The t-shirt party! Belcarra Sorbetto and Akita

 

  • I made 2 new skirts out of old pants (got tons of compliments on them from family and colleagues). In addition, I also learned about construction and fitting through this process!
  • I mended some armholes and some zippers on old me-mades.
  • I cleaned and oiled my machine (I love doing it!)
  • I stopped my seamwork  magazine subscription. I still love their style, but I don’t need so many patterns. will probably go back one day.
  • I made pencil skirt sloper, tested it with cheap fabric and  also tried to make a knit pencil skirt:

Some (Jewish new year and birthday)resolutions

  • To use the fitting method both dresses and pants. (My brother arrives today from the US with the Create The Perfect Fit . I had a nightmare he forgot to pack it)
  • Pants trousers and jeans: I tried a few times with the Thurlow trousers  but it never worked . I also got this pattern McCall’s Perfect Jeans M5894  , and I think I even made muslin a while back, but then decided to use the denim I got for a simpler pattern.
  • To improve my waistband technique. I use waistbands all the time, and I suck.
  • To improve my neckline techniques for both woven and knits (I can’t make a coal collar every single time. Or maybe I can….)
  • To plan ahead. I don’t like the “fashion” part of sewing. But I will have to try a little harder.
  • Making knickers and bras. Come on, it is not that hard. I also need more Manila leggings and Savannah

 

 

 

 

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Recalculating My Me-Made

Sewing

I’ve been sewing a lot, and I learned a lot through it, and about it. But even though sewing made me more patient and I feel my skills are improving, I’m still too reckless and fast on the (sewing machine) paddle. So I am  taking some time off constantly sewing new garments in order to rethink my habits, my goals, my path. There are a few things I feel I  should change:

  1. Using all my scraps and reusing old clothes.
  2. Refashioning my old  me-made items. I already had to let go some of my first me-made items on the move back to Israel. Some were made with a poor choice of fabric when I had no clue what I’m doing. Some are just not practical anymore.
    I should plan my wardrobe. As much as I like spare of the moment choices at the fabric store, I should also balance them with planned color pallet and buy more solids, not just prints.
  3. Organizing my patterns,  and alterings the ones I know I should alter. I should also try and document more on Textillia
  4. Polishing skills. There are a few details I keep doing, and I keep doing poorly. It is time to tackle yokes finish and necklines, both with woven and knit.

Amber Trousers!

Pattern

I am so happy to be reviewing this awesome pattern by Paprika Patterns. It is actually a piece I needed for my wardrobe: a non-fitted pair of paints, for the hot summer. I already had the fabric, and planned on a different simpler pattern but I was happy for the challenge.

I meant to print the print-shop version and I editP1030662ed it with Illustrator to include only size 6 and to save some paper as I was told by an employee in the shop that they use a 105 cm wide paper. So I took the bus, got there, all proud of myself, just to discover they run out of that width. I came home defeated with the A4 version…

My natural waist is 32.5’’ and my hips are 42.5’’ so I chose size 6 and printed it from the 1-7 block. However, my waist is actually 28’’ and I probably needed a size 4 or 5. Yes, I should have made a muslin, I know that now.  But since I got the pattern on Friday morning I stressed myself to finish by Saturday evening and I skipped that important part. Big mistake.  Don’t skip it, and at least fit the yoke. I spent too much time fitting and adjusting the trousers and lost some its shape and parts of the pockets. Conveniently  enough, I printed all sizes and not only size 6 as I planned, and the smaller sizes all contained within the larger ones, so I can just cut it from pattern 6.

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Other than that part, everything went really smooth. The instructions are clear and indicated exactly where to baste and understitch – I like it that I don’t have to guess or google those small details. Trousers construction can be tricky, but the Amber comes with great illustrations. I would only add pattern piece numbering to them, for even better comprehension. The pattern is great for advanced beginners, as it does not require high sewing level and can teach you some new skills if it is your first time tackling trousers. I for example finally realized how to add the invisible zipper to trousers with a yoke or waistband!

The pattern has some nice details, as the pleats and simple pockets. As advertised (in the instruction) the V-shaped yoke actually does gives a smooth tummy, a problem I encountered with callouts. I was not sure about that feature at first, but it is actually really nice. This pattern also looks great from the back!

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I can’t wait to make this pattern again, now that I’m older and wiser, and will probably make the muslin pretty soon.

I have received the pattern for free in return for my honest review. I was not compensated  by any other means.

How sewing changed me?

body image, Sewing

I have a craft, I have a super power. I am now the gal how sews her clothes

I never had a craft, never considered it part of what defines me. Most people remembered I liked to bake and cook, even when stopped. If anyone asked for my hobbies, I would reply “I don’t know, maybe baking?”  But now, people don’t have to ask. They knew I sew. I talk about, I brag, I bring it up all the time.

I wear dresses. I have a cardigan.

I have never bought those things. A dress was something I looked for only if I had a special occasion coming and I never considered it for work. But with sewing I dare more, and I realized that dresses are way more comfortable in the summer heat and humidity, they are easier to match (== no match required) and they fit my body well. When it comes to cardigans, I always felt the absence of them, but they look so weird hanging in the store, so I never bothered. But when it comes to sewing, it makes sense to dare.  The same goes with so many other things: floral prints, mustard colors, bottom down shirts. I just never dared. I guess that in the shop, I will always play it safe and will not experiment.

As an engineer, I just love finding the trades off of sewing. I need to balance between new adventures and well-proven pattern. I need to balance between planning what I need in my wardrobe and t enjoying spontaneous adventures. I have to find my comfort zone between my own voice, and outside inspiration.

I love my body, and I’m not alone on that

I love my body. It is no longer an obstacle. It is what it is, and there is so much I can do with it. It was not intentional, but a wonderful empowering by-product of this hobby. The sewist blogosphere exposed to so many women, with different body types and at different ages, each so lovely and real. I no longer wish to have a different body, narrower hips or flatter tummy. If anything, I might wish I was a little curvier, so I can make Cashmerette Patterns’ Washington dress…

I’m visible (or the RTW big mistake, huge)

The RTW fashion industry doesn’t see me. I am a 33-year-old woman, with an average body size and shape, and a wallet full of money, but if I happened to find clothes I like in a store, it is pure luck. In return, I don’t see the RTW industry. Looking at the advertisement, I see ridicules trends and weird styling. Ofer the feminist can’t stand the way women are depicted in those ads.  The practical woman in me can’t imagine herself in most clothes out there. The sociolect in me can’t give in to buying expensive clothes, the kind I’m supposed to be looking into given my age and status. I ended up not caring much. I was frustrated when I didn’t have what to wear, but I just didn’t try anymore. While living in the US I was buying my clothes mainly from Walmart.

But for the sewing industry, especially the indie patterns companies, I AM the target. I am constantly exposed to styles I can relate to, that inspire me, that I think ’I can pull this off, fashion wise and sewing wise’. When a pattern company launches its campaign, it speaks my language. When a company chooses models of all sizes and colors and ages, they are not just marking the V in “diversity”, but also showing me how this pattern might look on me. When a designer sends her patterns to bloggers for testing, it is not just a publicity stunt.  It allows me to get an indication of the pattern quality. So I buy (too much, see below), but at least I feel I know who gets my money, and what they did for their business.

Fashion revolution

I am a privilege to make my own clothes: I have the time, the money, and the peace of mind. Sewing my clothes is a personal revolution: I wear comfortable clothes, I love my body, and I’m in control. But it will not change the world. I consume more than I did before. I want more than I have. More fabric, more patterns more clothes. Before I started sewing, clothes were insignificant, a source of constant frustration.  But now, when I enjoy them, I am just another capitalist consumer that buys too much. #Whomademyclothes ? #imademyownclothes. But I didn’t make the fabric. I didn’t mine the coal to import it from oversea. Also, most people around me are not privileged enough to make their clothes. They work too hard to make a living.  #I amprivilegetomakemyownclothes

So I’ve been sewing a lot…

Pattern

but just didn’t have the time to blog, and mainly taking pictures.

I finally got a Seamwork subscription, and already tried:  Lisbon ( I think I got the bias cutting all wrong, the back was huge!),  Camden (didn’t get the lining and face to be just right, and I still need to hem and add buttons…),  Wembley (use one of the two every day!) and the  Mesa tunic dress (my new uniform. Well, it was, until it got too hot). I also got the Brooklyn but didn’t get to try yet.

The Mesa is great (made 4 in a month!), but I had to merge a size S, XS and L together to make it fit right. I also made  all of them 1” to 2” longer, and in some case also made the sleeves longer. My favourite it the black version, where I added the  Renfrew top‘s great collar! it is the great hack , combining two great patterns.

Now, it is time for summer planning. The summer in Israel is just around the corner (already had really hot days) and I need to work-appropriate  clothes. Should add: work clothing in Israel, especially where I work, is VERY casual. So it has to be heat and humidity friendly, light, comfortable, and easy to wash… and to match with my other clothes.

I used light viscose and a dressed-hack of my favourite pattern, the Belcarra blouse, to make 3 summer dresses.

 

I also made a  denim sleeveless  Sandra dress, by Salme Patterns. The fabric choice was inspired by Colette’s Phoebe

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Sleeveless Denim Sandra Dress

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My Dream Sewing Room is Alive!

Sewing Room

So after a week in Israel, that included endless errands of all sorts, I also settled in my sewing room. I chose the best room in the apartment, with 2 windows and a big closet. I had a big plate for the cutting table, and smaller for the sewing machine. I still need to find a higher trestle (maybe Ikea’s finnvard).

The best part was getting the sewing machine. I got a used Bernina Activa 145, from Markovich in Hadar, Haifa. It is exactly what I looked for, electronic, not too fancy and a good brand. I hope it is in as good condition as the dealer claims. I was also pleased with the service: I took the bus to get to Hadar (to avoid having to find parking there), and planned for my husband to pick me up later. The dealer kindly suggested he will take the machine to his place, 10 minutes away from my place, and I can pick it up later – it was perfect! A special thanks go to my parents, that got me the machine as a “Welcome Back” present! TODA IMABA!

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I got all the other essentials to start sewing at the same store, including a 36”X24” self-healing mat. I really needed/wanted/dreamed of a bigger mat and I am very happy I got it!
Finally, I wanted to get some fabric at Rothbaum Fabrics. I got some mustard knit for a Renfrew and some gray cotton for the Thurlow trousers. I started working on the Renfrew even before I got the room settled, in the dining room, since I just couldn’t wait!

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Goodbye Davis!

Pattern

This is my last post from Davis CA before I head back to Israel after 3 years. I still need to sell my sewing machine and I am not happy about it.

I finished another pair of pants (McCall’s M9113) that I am happy about, with a super colorful flower prints. This time I added back pockets, based on the Granville ones. They are always fun to make.

I also made this light pink knit dress (McCall’s M9116). I cut a size 14 and 18, and it was huge! I eventually almost completely just modified it, which was easy, given it is knit…I tried to iron a hemming tape, but it ended up all wrong and I just wanted to be done with this dress. It was supposed to be simple, but due to errors I made and the sizing issue was a little too much work for such a simple project. The gathering in the back is cute, but I am not a fan of the shoulders gathering. Also, the collar  looks a little off, and I prefer the Renfrew collar.

Très facile pants

Pattern

So I took time off from the Thurlow trousers and tried the ‘Très facile’ Simplicity M9113. It started from a visit to Walmart, that ended up with a few patterns and some interesting prints that I couldn’t resist. The result: comfortable and useful pants that I will probably use for work again and again, and a pattern that I will use forever.

I’ve cut a size 18, and then adjusted it a lot in the waist and side seam, and added darts in the back. It was much easier than trying to fit the tissue ahead of time. Already have the fabric for the next one, but will add pockets! I should make some Renfrew tops to go along with it!

The Dress(es).

Uncategorized

I hardly wear Dresses. Sometimes going out, and back home while visiting my in-laws and going to synagogue, But still, I made about four lately. I bought two patterns: The Dahlia dress by Colette and Sandra dress by Salme. Basically, my main issue with any dress is that I usually need to merge two sizes together.

The Daliha first version was made with a beautiful fabric I found at Walmart, with a contrast green yoke from Walmart reduced priced section (how low can I get?). I put a lot of effort on fitting the yoke right, and it paid off, but I still had some problems. First, I cut a size too big, so I had to make it narrower here and there. It also had a few issues that many people complained about around the neck opening being too wide or doesn’t sit right. The second time I tried to do an SBA AND made it a size smaller. It ended up being even wider around the neck, and hard to get in it. I think I will try again once I find a suitable fabric that will scream “D-A-H-L-I-A” but by then I should fix the pattern to a regular size 6. One hesitation though. I suspect that this kind of pattern is not right for me. It hides my waists, which I shouldn’t hide and put emphasis on my small bust. I’ll see with next change…

The Sandra also started with some cheap but beautiful fabric, but I don’t remember where I got it. The pattern doesn’t include the seam allowance, and the first time I added 5mm everywhere, but some places asked for more. It fitted nicely, until I bent over for my shoe one day and heard it ripping in the center back… didn’t fix it just yet.

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The second time I tried to make into a top, but it ended so poorly, that I rather no talk about it. It involved me making alterations and forgetting the seam allowance.

For the third time I made it, I prepared the pattern again adding the proper seam allowance everywhere it is needed. And viola, it was a much better fit. It was made out of more fabric from my Mom’s friend fabrics. It was very pale peach, and I would have never gotten it myself. I made the yoke from a light pink fabric to add some color next to my face. I considered not adding the sleeve as it looked good without them but chose to add them after all. Sleeves will make the dress more useful while visiting my in-laws on Shabbat and going to the synagogue with them. However, as I suspected, it looked nicer sleeveless. This pattern is more flattering to my body type as it put emphasis on my waist. I should try and eliminate the little “belly” it adds me, but overall it is a good pattern for an elegant and fitted dress that I am likely to make again someday.

As I wrote, I have my eyes set on those: Moneta Harwood,  and Anna. The last one is the type that I just love but will wear once a year at best…the first two I might wear to work so…

Let’s get to the button of this – the button down shirt: Granville

Pattern

Oh, how I love the Granville. It fit great, no alteration needed.

The first one was a long sleeve version, with tons of errors around the collar stand and the cuffs. The second and forth are sleeveless, that fit the summer in Davis, (and in Israel) and I wear the, all the time. The second have mid length sleeves that end with simple cuffs. It also doesn’t have a collar, just the stand.

made the last 3 from simple and classic shirting fabric from Joann, which makes them suitable for the washer and dryer. However, it means that I should finish the seam better since it didn’t really survive. Since the pattern is so good, next time I will try a French seam. Also, it will be fun to try with floral prints. Finally, I need to practice the collar stand positioning to get it right.