Monthly Archives: June 2012

*Okay, it was almost a one day project. So I cut it out a week ago, and blogged it after midnight. Hey, close enough!

I got an email coupon from my local sewing machine shop the other day for $10 off a regular service, which served to remind me that I have never had my machine in for service, and I really ought to do it soon, since I hope to spend all July and August SEWING A LOT. Really. Now, the service guy is only in every other Wednesday, which meant I had to drop my machine off this afternoon and not pick it up til tomorrow evening. Suddenly faced with a forced separation from my machine for a whole day (gasp!), I decided to challenge myself to complete a whole project today. As a further challenge, I decided it’d be cool to blog it today too (first time for everything, right?) Well, what do you know, it worked!

I’d been thinking about how to duplicate a friend’s RTW cowly knotted strap tank for a while, and last week I decided to give it a stab with McCall’s 6078, the totally awesome easy sleeveless cowl top pattern (which I had previously made as a top and frankenpatterned into a tunic). I had some leftover fabric from my Leap Day dress that I thought would work, and I cut it out last week at the same time as two other things (one finished, one not, blogged soon). So when I went looking for something I could sew and blog in one day, I pulled the (two!) pieces out of the cut pile and went to work.

This pattern is just about the simplest thing ever to put together. It was made slightly more complicated by my addition of the knots on the straps, but I was still able to sew the whole top start to finish in a little over an hour. Did I mention how much I love this pattern? I started by hemming the back neckline and the armscyes (I trimmed about 2/8 inch off the edges, then turned under 3/8 inch and stitched – easier than turning 5/8 inch, stitching and trimming after). I had to finish the front and back armscyes separately and before sewing the shoulder seams so I could tie the knots. And that’s really all it is – after hemming the armscyes I literally just tied a knot on one strap where it seemed right, tied a matching knot on the other strap, then sewed the shoulder seams as instructed. When I cut out the pattern, I extended the shoulder out along the neck and armscye line by about two inches, which, in addition to the deep cowl of the pattern, proved to be just enough length to tie a knot and end up just the right size again. I know, I was pretty shocked too.

Then I just sewed up the side seams and hemmed the bottom (twin needle). Done, with plenty of time to pack up my machine and get it to the shop. And it made me feel so productive today! I really should set myself little challenges more often…

I really like how this shirt turned out. It’s basically just like the RTW inspiration (which I can’t find any pictures of anywhere – I’ve no idea where she bought the shirt, or when), and pretty much just like I pictured it in my head. And I got something else out of this fab fabric from the crazy place. I’ve paired the top with navy blue shorts, which I like, but I look like I’m ready for a 4th of July picnic. Well, maybe I’ll wear it again next Wednesday.

My updated review of this pattern (where you can see my original review too) is here.

Now I’m excited to get my machine back all tuned up and see what else I can get done in one day!


Yes, I’m still here, though sewing came to a standstill again as I went through tech and opening this week at work. Luckily I still have some things to share that I made during my week off, all the way back at the end of May (feels like forever ago…)

When Karen hosted her pajama (or pyjama, if you speak real English) party a couple months ago, I thought it was a great idea, but pajamas were the furthest thing from my mind and not even anywhere on my project queue. Also, I had a perfectly good pair of pjs already. Well, that was until the weather abruptly turned to something resembling summer and said perfectly good (flannel) pjs were suddenly no longer perfectly good. Turns out I needed a pair of summer pjs, stat!

(As many other pajama-making bloggers have noted, Hello Internets! Also, it seemed somehow indecent to take these pajama pics out on my deck, so I did it inside… why does being in pjs in my backyard make me feel weirder than being in pjs on the internet?)

These came together in literally one day. I made the decision to make summer pjs while still lying in bed in my too-hot winter pjs, remembered I had bought Simplicity 2317 a while ago with the intention of making lounge pants for my husband (yeah, that hasn’t happened), and dug out this piece of random strawberry print knit fabric from Girl Charlee that I’d had for a while but hadn’t figure out what to do with. There was only one yard, so actually most of the day was consumed with trying to get all the pieces to fit in just a yard of directional fabric. I did it, though it took way to much time, single layer cutting, and other fanangling… and oh yeah, the strawberries are upside down on the back of the shorts. Hey, makes it easy to tell which way is the front when I put them on!

Don’t mind my totally ridiculous bike tan – can you tell most of my outside time is spent with my shoulders to the sky? (I will confess to having photoshopped the terrible bike shorts tan line just a bit…)

This pattern ended up being perfect for my summer pjs. I’ve never had a matched top-and-bottom set before, but I kind of like it, and the fabric is so soft and light. I made almost no adjustments, other than omitting the fake fly (I literally didn’t have enough fabric for it). I would probably have preferred a slightly longer length on the shorts, but, you guessed it, not enough fabric. I cut a size 10 in the top and a 14 for the shorts, and made no further adjustments. Hooray for knit garments you never wear out of the house! The waistband is actually a separate piece that’s folded lengthwise to make the elastic casing, and I narrowed it slightly since I had 1 1/4 inch elastic rather than the 1 1/2 inch that’s called for. I made a narrow twin-needle hem on all the openings. The neck and arm holes got a little stretched out from hemming them, but they shaped back up in the wash.

I’m not sure how long these will last, since the knit is pretty light and twin-needle hemming is not always the most durable, but  if they wear out before the weather goes cold again I’ll just have to make another set!

(Pattern review here.)

Well, I guess I ought to make a Me-Made-May update, since, you know, it’s a week into June… Gah. Somehow my new, less-hours less-commute job has mysteriously translated into less time to blog than with my old job. I think what is happening is that at my far-away-job I was stuck away from home on dinner breaks with just my computer, but now with more time to actually sew and do other things in my house I’m loathe to spend my time sitting in front of the computer in my living room. So good news: I’ve made some things to blog about!

But first things first – the rest of MMM. I did successfully complete my me-made-month, without any problem actually… other than the whole photographic evidence thing, that is. I tried this time to take “action shots” rather than posing every morning in my house, because I thought it would be easier and more fun. But because I am not actually brave enough to ask strangers to take my picture, and also because I am easily distracted by, um, my daily life, I either have terrible long-arm phone pictures or no picture at all. And since the latter part of May passed in a job changing blur, I don’t quite remember what I wore when… but here’s what I got.

Days 12 and 15(?):


Here are two bad long-armed skirt shots. On day 12 I called my last show at my old company, so I snapped a picture of me sitting in the booth at the podium (you can see the script in the binder). The skirt is my twirly Simplicity 3881. I like this skirt a lot for when I need a quick dressier-than-usual outfit, but the elastic waist makes it really comfortable. Day 15 (I think that’s when this was) was taken in my car before I started my long commute home for one of the last times! I do love my car (a Prius), but I have to say I’m glad to be in it a bit less now. This skirt is my go-to easy jersey skirt, charcoal version. I love this skirt and I wear it all the time. I also just saw basically this exact skirt for sale at Old Navy, so I’m glad it’s at least somewhat in fashion.

Days 18 and 19:


Day 18 included an unexpected evening off, so I met my other half for dinner at our favorite brewpub. I am enjoying “The Pope”, which is their flagship IPA and probably the best IPA in the world. Seriously, this beer is amazing. I’m wearing my Simplicity 2593, Boden version. Day 19 I was backstage supervising all day during the student showcase shows, so I grabbed this mirror shot in the green room (which is neither green nor a room, actually) when all the students were onstage. The skirt is a simple elastic waist gathered rectangle affair I made during Self-Stitched-September from a cool border print. I clearly have no other shirt to wear with it, still.

Days 20 and 21:


Day 20 was graduation (not mine – I attended as faculty and handed out flowers to the graduates as they received their certificates), which was my last day of my old job. I didn’t manage to get a solo picture at all, so I have cropped out a very dear, very very tall colleague from this shot to show that I wore my Lonsdale dress (instead of the dress I made for the occasion). As it turned out, polka dots were quite popular that day, and there were a lot of graduates wearing dotty dresses too! Day 21 was the first official day of my week off, so I wanted to capture a relaxation moment. This skirt was my first easy jersey skirt, and only other picture of I have it was taken in this same chair also (I have no imagination). This is my day off skirt, for sure. The empty cocktail in my hand was a Pimlico (bourbon, orange juice, lime juice, mint), and it was delicious.

Days 23 and 27:


Day 23 was a Wednesday, the night of Pub Quiz at our favorite local bar. You play on teams of no more than 6 people, there are four rounds of 10 questions each, and if your team wins a round you get a free round of drinks. It’s really fun, but I don’t go as often as I’d like because of work. But here I am at Quiz, wearing my Anthro knock-off tank. Day 27 disclaimer: I am not actually wearing anything I made in this picture (unless you count the little case I made for my phone so it doesn’t get all sweaty in my pocket on the bike, which you can actually see me holding in the picture), but I’m sharing it because it was taken at the completion of my first ever century (100 mile) bike ride! A friend and I rode the Great Western Century in Paso Robles. It took 8 hours, but I felt great afterwards and it was really fun! And I did fulfill my MMM obligation too – after showering I put on the wearable muslin of Vogue 8571, which I had finished just the day before (and will post soon). I of course did not manage a picture of it (while eating a giant hamburger as a post-ride dinner – awesome).

And finally… The Rest:

It’s my Me-Made-Laundry-Pile! Here, on the 3rd day of June, I sorted all my self-stitched garments for the wash. Here are all the things I wore on the sad, no photo days. Ah, well. There aren’t any surprises here anyway – I wore all of these items in September, I think. And that’s really what disappointed me most about MMM: nothing new. I guess that the weather in May is basically the same as in September here, so I wore all the same things I featured then, and not any of the things I’ve made in the meantime since they were all for colder weather. Might I suggest a me-made-cold-month next time? The other reason for the duplicates is that same old cake-frosting debate – I have a lot of fancy dresses that don’t get worn that often. So while MMM was ostensibly a success, I guess it wasn’t a very interesting success. But thanks for bearing with me on the terrible iPhone slice-of-life outfit photos (the ones I remembered to take, anyway), and stay tuned for the fruits of my hey-I’ve-got-a-little-more-time-to-sew week off!