Friday, February 5, 2016

The Stash

Well, short of the stuff I've had since high school and just retrieved from my mom's attic, my stash is all counted up and cataloged.  It's a good feeling, even if the number is a little scary at... gulp... 317 yards.  Not counting Fat Quarters.  Or Scraps.  Or anything currently in progress.  But, I am happy to say there are some goals and plans, and I am officially sewing along this year as a Stashbuster.
In January, the goals were revolving around organizing stash and sewing space, and there were some great blogs written and posted about organizing.

So the other thing I am supposed to do for January is to make my goals and plans for the year.  I want to...

-Do the mending.  Simple things like buttons and hems have sat... and sat... and sat... in the WIP basket, and I want them to hang and be loved in the closet instead.  I want the mending basket to be empty when I switch clothes over for spring/summer, and again when I switch things back over for fall/winter.

-Keep the Progress in WIPs.  In the process of organizing my fabric and cataloging everything, I opened up a steamer trunk and a plastic tub... both of which contained half-started things.  Some of which were started in high school.  And I am proud to say I chucked 21 things, making them forever UFOs(UnFinished Objects) to get down to a manageable(ha!) 15 bags/pieces of clothing and 4 quilts... And I'm really good with the variety of these projects.  As I was tallying them up, I made a separate list of things that will take less than an hour.  I want to complete at least one of these a month, and finish 2 quilts this year.  

-Use yardage I have for a project, if at all possible.  If something old will work, why buy something new?

-Finish 3 things a month.  At least 1 WIP.  

So I, Rev. Sarah McBrown, promise to do my very best to meet these goals, and check in monthly as to my progress in these matters.

Oh! January finishes:
-mending a shirt
-a new wallet- will blog soon.
-cataloging the stash.  It took up a whole Saturday, and then some, so it counts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Queue: Revised

Looking at that long list of projects, I realized that I have about a million things in the Work-in-progress bin, and a lot of them are likely to be declared UFOs- unfinished, never-to-be-finished objects I need to up-cycle or let go.  But some of these things really are worthy things.

Part of what the Stashbusting Sew-Along, which I joined on Facebook, encourages is setting some yearly goals.  I think one of mine is to come to grips with the giant WIP bin, and be realistic about what I find there.

So, with that and my current life in mind, I present my Wardrobe Queue, to be placed back on its page, only a day late.

Wardrobe: Items that will work with at least 4 things I already have in my closet, which fill specific needs, and which fabric and pattern already exist for.  A mix of quick projects and things that will take a little longer.  Properly finishing seams as much as possible.
Thurlow pants, by Sewaholic in Hunter Green They're cut, and in a color I've had on my pants wish list.  Everything is together for them.  Just gotta do it to it.
Charcoal dress and jacket.  I have fabric and lining, and even a relatively well-fitting pattern for a professional dress... I just need a simple jacket pattern to accompany it.
 Moji pants, by Seamwork in black. For those nights when I'm teaching or have meetings.
Already have fabric.  I know I will wear them. Without the drawstring but with the cuffs, I think.
Scout tee by Grainline, in red and(if I like it and if/once it fits well) in Liberty.  Heck, if the first one fits well, I'll make several!
Blue Moneta knit dress(Colette), or Mesa knit dress(Seamwork).  Will transition nicely to Spring, and work for some of the same situations the Moji pants will.
Pencil skirt trio in blue, red, and camel wool, all from the same vintage pattern; to be assembled assembly-line style where possible, which will require lots of hand marking.
Anna Graham's Envelope sleeve dress from her book, in red chambray
Thurlow shorts in twill
Tiny Pocket Tank by Grainline in several cuts of rayon I have waiting for this pattern, also sewn up assembly line style
Easter Wrap Dress in crazy rayon

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Queue:

Friends, I have made the choice to start a new leaf.

It's a new year, which is giving me motivation to re-write the sewing queue I have kept for years... But I think I am going to take the old queue and place it here for posterity's sake... When's a better time than throwback Thursday??

Looking back has me thinking... And the new queue, with a post to explain, will go live on Monday.


Gwen over at After the Dress inspired me with her queue posts, which are added each Wednesday.  This is the place I'll keep a running list of upcoming projects, and the blog entries they will(I hope, one day) link to upon completion.
Not everything will come to life, and definately not in the season the idea is posted, but I figure this is a way to begin to keep track of what I'm doing.  And let my imagination come up with all the things I could be doing.  Strikethroughs are the things that don't quite make the list anymore, what with all the new inspiration coming my way.  I'm not completely erasing them because they're part of the journey though, you know?

Winter 2013-2014
Corduroy blazer
Quilt for J.
Bag for Mama
Jewelry roll for KDB
Purple plaid kindle cover for my baby brother
Big brother backpack for a little cousin
Fancy dress for a feisty fancy girl(and her baby doll will need one too, of course.)
Slippers for dad

Fall 2013
Colette Juniper wearable muslin
Sewaholic Thurlow wearable muslin
Pleated yoke shirt in floral print
Colette Laurel? Eucalypt tank dress? Something.

Spring/Summer 2013
Red TNT skirt for baseball season
Red stole completed 2016
Knit tees. With cute details.
Navy stripe mystery fabric skirt
Crazy floral pleated skirt
Border print pleated skirt
Bag for my BFF

Winter 2012-2013
Blue cord skirt
Green knit shirt
White knit shirt(Spring 2012)
Red patterned woven top
NICE black or navy pencil skirt
Pink patterned woven top

Fall 2012
Red cord skirt 
Brown woven skirt:  Kickpleat, pencil-ish, pockets
Stripy dress… Maybe just a top? Wide band at the bottom and sleeves in the shot cotton? Just to get it done without more fabric…
Green linen-blend skirt:  Big pockets! Not much trim, A Line.  (Completed 1.12.13)

Nana’s dress tried on again, none needed
McCall 5801 Dress… Or just make it a (lined) skirt, but make it wearable! With pockets!  Maybe divert from the princess seams till I have a block? Work them out with a fitting buddy?
Deep red dress... Hemmed and belted- Completed 2012

Spring 2012
breezy white woven top
another woven top: moda half-moon paisley in grey in an OOP Simplicity pattern
grey pleated skirt from Winter that was not Completed Aug 2012
White topper- half-sleeve in white twill
white tee with fun neckline
lavender tee
Spring Refashions/alterations galore:
Restore Mom's white eyelet dress to former awesomeness Completed July 2012
red skirt Completed 4.3.2012

Summer 2012…
Brown bike-able skirt… maybe knit, maybe a bubble.
Scraps of the purple-white floral dress to a bike-able skirt
Rie dress- eyelet and dotted swiss
Shirtdress- blue Oxford cloth
sky blue knit top
royal blue gauze skirt

Spring/Summer Refashions/alterations galore:
Re-work Easter 2011’s dress for better insides and fit
Finishing touches on the Easter Dress of yore- M5801
…Pinstripe dress of yore needs bindings and a cowl.  Do it to it!
See 2011 list… Do those

Winter that Was Not 2011-12:
Coat liner
Pop-of-color dance skirt- Completed 2.10.12
Refashion purple plaid skirt
Winter schoolbag
3-season grey twill bikeable skirt…pleats? Pockets for sure…- Completed Aug 2012
Grey button-back man’s shirt refashion- half-sleeves

Winter Alterations galore:
Cobalt dress- take it in (gave it away instead, it's three sizes too big now)
Purple/grey tweed dress- take it in
2 pairs of pants… take in
Cardigan refresher

Fall "6PAC" 2011
      filled out with the sweater from Feb. 2011, and the red dress from April 2011.
brown multi-gore swish skirt
brown herringbone pieces:
     pencil Skirt (February's suit skirt)
     vest (instead of February's suit jacket)

Alterations galore:
Rose dancing dress
White vintage eyelet dress
Easter Dress
red pencil skirt
Vintage green shirtwaist dress

April 2011:
Red dancing dress completed 1.4.12
Re-work print dancing dress
Add gores to black dancing skirt
Easter dresscompleted 4.24.11
March 2011:
Print dancing dress - completed 3.18.11
Elastic belt-completed 3.18.11
Black dancing skirtcompleted 3.14.11
refashioned men's shirt to sailor shirt-completed 4.6.11
February 2011:
Suit jacket
suit skirt
refashioned sweater
January 2011:
-A dress w/  Burda turtleneckcompleted 1.21.11
-a half-circle skirt with bias strips- completed 1.24.11
-a makeup bag
-elastic belt- completed 1.23.11
December 2010:
-Burda Turtleneck- a long-sleeve version
-Burda Turtleneck- a half-sleeve version wadded 1.19.11

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New....?

Well, new lots of things.

I'm trying to write and create more as disciplines, I owe y'all a tour of my new sewing room, and I REALLY want to write a project list and set some self-imposed deadlines.

My new year's resolutions?

Sew more.
Post more.
Finish 6 quilts.
Finish the fabric catalog.

Oh boy!

Plans are in the works.  Hold me to them, folks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Checking in

Anybody there?

I think I win the prize for erratic blogger.  It's been a busy couple of months- but let's be honest- when is it not?  I think part of that must just be part of where we are right now- starting a marriage and 2 careers has left little time for blogging, although some sewing has happened.

I'm quilting a bit- and I start teaching a BOM(block of the month) in a couple weeks.  It's very exciting! I love my chosen colors...

And I am participating in some fun swaps through Instagram...

And my new sewing room is making my heart happy and my soul sing.  It's as if, when September rolled in, my creativity just took off.  I have been making time to sew more days than not- which is reminding me so much of how necessary creativity is to my happiness and my life.  

So I will hopefully be posting more regularly too- look for a quilty roundup after each class, and some new professional clothing as I navigate the gaps in my wardrobe and a change in seasons all at once! Huzzah!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Finished Dress

Throwback Thursday once more- one you all have been waiting for!

I can't remember where we left off... But I can tell you life happened.  I really have intended to write this post for a long time, but there are big things happening in life offline that have pulled me away from the blog-o-sphere.

I was gonna give you all more of a blow-by-blow of the ending fiddly bits- and the meltdown they almost caused.  This last bit is, I think, the thing I would do the most different, and where the best of plans ended up falling through with even better results...

All the buttons and the hem were done, by hand, on my living room floor, with the dress sitting between me and a dear fitting angel on the Wednesday before my bachelorette party Thursday and the weekend of wedding adventures. Those hours of help were filled with great conversation, wisdom shared, and oh, the stories... I'll always be grateful for the best of folks sharing their time to make this dress and this wedding happen.

My aunt and my cousin steamed the dress on the farm the morning of the wedding while my amazing bridesmaids and I were all getting hair done and having too much fun with makeup.
 Another aunt put together a veil from some tulle when I realized my grandmother's from 1952 had been left at home, 4 hours away.  I made a bow tie the morning of the wedding from some lovely Liberty of London lawn, backed with scraps from my wedding dress.  It was wonderful... The whole wedding was a great big child that the village raised, and my wardrobe was really just one illustration of that, even as last minute as it was.

 Last minute is in my blood- There's a picture of my mom ironing the Mother of the Bride dress that her mom wore to my aunt's wedding with a clock in the background, showing that the wedding started 5 minutes later.

Accessories:  If there is interest I can pull better pictures of everything.

-pearls from my grandmothers were made into my tiara, which also included a pin from my Nana, who passed away in July(she taught me to sew, and was able to help me re-make the veil I originally planned to wear).
-I wore an heirloom pair of chandelier earrings with raw diamond centers to flowers, which were first worn by my great-great-Godmother- they're over 100 years old!
-My pearls were a gift- I think from my dad's mom, but I can't remember which ones I went with in all the crazy.
-The wrap was from a professor- she brought it back from me from India as a surprise gift!

But I'm going to hush and give you pictures because they are what you really want.    The silk really glowed in the light and fell beautifully- and I'm kind of still in love with how it all turned out, despite how last minute some of it was.  I posted a couple of shots  of us practicing our first dance just so you could see how well the dress moved, and because my bustle made me really stinking happy.

Thank you thank you thank you for all of the comments, the support and the encouragement you have shared through this process.  I have always been told that whether or not you can imagine every detail of your wedding after the fact, you will always remember how it felt... and it felt wonderful to have all of my family and all of the food, and the love in one place for one magic night.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Vintage Revived

This is no April Fool's joke, y'all!

On a recent jaunt to Goodwill, looking to expand my professional wardrobe, I found this dress.  It's handmade, y'all, with the tiniest of stitches.  It fits like it was made for me, but to look at it I would place it somewhere in the 1940s.  The button plackets are reminiscent of sailors, and the side closure is made with snaps instead of a zipper.  If I can manage to get the small makeup stain off the collar, this will be the best bargain I've gotten to date at a whopping $6, and in constant rotation until I can't wear it anymore.

It'll take some stain removing prowess of the gentlest kind and the making of a lovely slip to make this the summer gem it deserves to be.  Since the whole dress is off-white, and cut on the bias, and vintage, I think a slip really is a necessary, and I've wanted to figure out how to make one so I am taking the plunge.

The dress is floor length as it is right now, and I would love to wear it more, so I am taking it up to knee length, but that leaves enough fabric and an intact hem for a whole second skirt on the bias!  When I buy fabric to make a slip, I plan to get enough to line the skirt too.  It's all making me VERY happy!

Monday, March 30, 2015


It's a beautiful labor of love, and how I spent a good chunk of my week last week.
9 tabs in a spreadsheet.
176 pieces.
223 yards.

We're going to ignore the fact that I have yet to count the linings or the interfacings or the net/tuelle/crinolines or the flannels and just marvel at all the pretty fabrics now.  They're lined up on a shelf where I can see them, wrapped around tiny bolts made from comic book boards.  It's been a 2 day process, but I think it'll be worth it if it means I can see my fabrics, I stop buying duplicates, and I want to sew more... which is what it's all about, right? If I can see my stash I can sew my stash.

This process is part of the complete re-organizing and un-cluttering of my sewing space in the guest room.  As I cataloged the fabrics, I folded them the width of the comic book boards, and stored winter fabrics that way until after we move.  Summer fabrics, knits, bag fabrics, and quilting cottons all went onto the shelf.  Decor fabrics were put away till it's time for curtains/slipcovers in our new house, folded in their own bin, and I have yet to find the solution for cuts of fabric under 1 yard(mostly quilty stuff) so it has its own bin, where everything is neatly folded and arranged vertically in rows so I can see it all.

Now I'm off to drool at fabrics and finish the rest of the room... Maybe I'll come up with some sort of grand reveal to do here on the blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stitching, fitting woes and SO CLOSE

This is another post in my new(ish) Throwback Thursdays series.  I've used this spot as a way to highlight the process of sewing my wedding dress over the past few weeks, although a bad cold kept me away from the computer for a couple of weeks, and a new computer means this is a post without pictures.  Read on for the latest steps in the journey!

So I overcame fear of the machine, and it was smooth sailing because of all of the hours of basting.
And it was a big moment when I finally got to put the dress on... and a good bit of shock too.  In the 2 and a half weeks between un-stitching the muslin and putting real stitches in the silk, I'd lost nearly 3 inches at my bust and probably an inch at my waist. Thanks, stress.  And thankfully, a good bit of the excess pinched out at the sides pretty easily, and with the addition of foam inserts at the bust, the shape was maintained without messing with the hand-sticthed, carefully clipped princess seams.
 This was not a welcome surprise, but I unpicked the join of the lining and the dress at the top, berated myself for not trying it on sooner, stepped away from the dress overnight, took in the side seams, and put everything back together.

I used organza selvages to strengthen the curve at the neckline, and all the way around the dress, which really helped the integrity of the silk when the top had to be un-stitched and re-stitched. The straps went in the front at this point, to be pinned to the right placement in the back.

This is the point where I needed to go to the fitter/hemmer who is a friend of a friend and get the back marked for all the tiny pearl buttons, and for the accompanying tiny button loops.  She also pinned the hem in place, and I was very proud of myself, y'all.  I left it with her for her to hem. I let my baby- the project that had consumed all waking, non-working hours for some time at this point- in the hands of an almost complete stranger.

She had the horsehair, and the silk thread, and the dress, and I'd see it in a week to sew on all of those tiny pearl buttons and the bustle.  Cue a sigh of relief and the simultaneous biting of nails...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SWAP 2015

Y'all, I really like this year's rules for SWAP... Sewing With A Plan. Given my new job in a business casual environment, my desire to do something creative and use some color after acres and hours of sewing white, I think I am going to dive in.  A capsule wardrobe fitting the SWAP model would go a long way toward giving me a cohesive work wardrobe, and as a young professional I need all the help I can get.

If you're unfamiliar with the SWAP format, here's a run down:

Stitcher's Guild specifies you must create the following in an 11-garment format:
5 tops
3 bottoms
3 "wildcard" items

For this year's focus and twist, one garment has to reversible, multifunctional, or upcycled... making something new out of something old(which is right up my alley!!!) You are allowed one garment finished before the start date of December 26, and one purchased garment.  Wild Cards may not be accessories.

The deadline is April 30.  I think I'm in!

5 tops:
grey oxford cloth tee in TNT pattern
blue swiss dot Jasmine tie blouse by Colette Patterns
woven white envelope shoulder tshirt(will riff on TNT)
1 knit top using Renfrew by Sewaholic Patterns
1 cowl neck knit top in royal blue (likely also Renfrew)

3 bottoms:
upcycled purple boucle skirt with shaping and black side panels added??
Purple herringbone wool skirt??
black TNT skirt, add a pocket
grey pencil skirt with pockets

3 Wild Cards
Grey sweater knit dress
Fuschia Sweater knit dress
cardigan/jacket tie-together TBD, probably already in my closet.