Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gifts, Mending, and New Projects

After my first successful hummingbird top, I had a little bit of a difficult time deciding what to sew next. I was afraid if I started another hummingbird right away I would rush through it and not do a good job. The hummingbird skirt (orange version) seemed a little bit daunting for the amount of sewing time I had available. My mother suggested (several times) that I revisit some gifts that I had been planning on making and for which I already had fabric. I was so excited/distracted by making clothes for myself that I was a little annoyed that she brought this up, but she reminded me how much satisfaction I would get from completing these gifts, and of course she was right. At this point, I already had a plan for my best friend’s birthday gift, which I’ll write about later when the final garment is complete.

I don’t think the friends on the receiving end of these gifts will see this blog any time soon, so I think it’s safe enough to post. I made some napkins for two of my friends and their husbands for their wedding/first anniversary gifts. I had so much fun making them, and I used this tutorial for mitered corners for cloth napkins. The tutorial was clear and very helpful. I am sure that I’ll use it again, and highly recommend it! I used quilting cotton for both sets of napkins, and made the napkins reversible. The double-layer of fabric makes it difficult to end up with perfectly square napkins with no ripples (I swear, I measured twice!), but they still came out really nicely. I chose the fabrics based on my friends’ wedding colors. I really hope they like them…I think there’s a lot more napkin-making in my future.

I also finally finished these baby blocks for my best friend Erin’s daughter. I started these last December as an intended first Christmas present, but learned an important lesson: December is too late to start construction of multiple handmade Christmas gifts. These turned into a first birthday present instead. I always pictured Gwennie crawling toward them, but crawling isn’t her primary mode of transportation anymore. Still, I’ve been informed that both Gwen and her older brother William play with the blocks and they were definitely a big hit with Gwen’s mommy. I am really glad that I finished them. When this idea first came into my head, I surfed the web a bit and looked at quite few block tutorials for inspiration, but I didn’t end up following any tutorials, and I didn’t keep track of what I looked at. So, thank you, all you bloggers who posted about fabric baby blocks, and sorry to not give more specific credit!

With Bimini Biological Field Station
friends in 2006.
Amidst my gift-sewing and field work observations, I managed to mend one of my favorite shirts: a dark blue peasant top that I bought when I lived in Wilmington, NC.The side seams started falling apart when I still lived in Wilmington, which means that I moved an unwearable top from Wilmington to two apartments in Gainesville to two houses in Tallahassee…ridiculous! The sides were constructed with French seams, so I tried unpicking them to re-sew them completely, but discovered that the viscose fabric was fraying so much that it wasn’t worth worrying about the French seam. I ended up just stitching straight up alongside the seam. This decision, along with the fact that my body has changed a little over the years, makes the top a little bit tight, so I have to take it on and off pretty gently, but at least I can get a little more wear out of it. I also replaced the elastic in the neckline, which had completely dry-rotted. The new neckline turned out really well and only resulted in one safety-pin deep into the thumb incident.

So what do I sew next? I have traced two of the three pattern pieces for view A of McCall’s M6612. I intend to make view A in a sage colored cotton jersey and view B in a paint spatter print cotton jersey from Girl Charlee Fabrics, both purchased with a birthday gift card from Erin (thanks, Erin!!). Neither of these fabrics seem to be available anymore, so I am really glad that I bought some cheap knit fabric at JoAnn’s the other day to make a test garment. I hate buying fabric just to make a test garment, but frankly, I really don’t expect to get this right the first time. At least the patterns for view A and B are so similar, I should get a lot of mileage out of my test garment. I also made use of a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s to buy a bolt of muslin for myself. No excuse for not making a muslin now!

I am making this dress in a size 14. Do all my measurements fit into a 14? No, of course not. I chose this size based on my upper bust measurement and my hip measurement, but according to the chart, my waist needs two sizes larger! Can that really be? When there is that much of a discrepancy between all my measurements, I feel like my size choice is just a shot in the dark. I wish I had the experience to predict what size would be best and what pattern modifications I would need. Maybe one day!