21 February 2012

sewing goals 2012

At the beginning of the year, Sarai of Colette Patterns posted her sewing goals for the year. I really love how she writes about sewing and style (for instance, most recently about simplicity and style signatures) and it's had me thinking a lot about my own personal style. I've always been a jeans, tshirt and pony tail kind of girl, without a lot of patience for fashion. But as I learn to sew more, the prospect of making clothes that really reflect my own personality is exciting.

So I've been thinking about the beloved staples of my wardrobe: the pants I wore so long that the corduroy rubbed off, the pleated skirt that makes me feel voluptuous (an adjective that rarely applies to my straight figure), the button-down shirt that fits perfectly and is somehow, miraculously, never wrinkly. As I plan my sewing projects, I want to think carefully and realistically about the kinds of clothes that make me feel good. Because that's what it's all about. I'm also going to be more purposeful in gathering clothing inspiration on a pinterest board. So far I'm seeing a lot of mustard, navy, and simple lines. So predictable! But that's what I love.

So here are some of my clothes-sewing goals for the year:
  1. Experiment with fabric. No more quilting cottons! I think I have enough stacked up to make a lifetime of quilts. It's time to tackle lightweight fabrics, silks, knits, wool, twill, etc. I also tend to buy small quantities of fabric, often less than a yard. I need to be more purposeful in finding garment-worthy fabrics that I love and then buying enough for a specific project. 
  2. Focus on wardrobe staples. And that includes pants. Pants! I will make pants this year! I also want to make a dirndl-style dress and a pencil skirt. 
  3. Use the patterns I already own. Sometimes I feel like my hobby is not sewing, it's buying sewing supplies--including patterns. I've accumulated quite a library of vintage and new patterns, most of which I've never opened.
  4. Think about fit. Every time. I'm usually in such a rush to finish a project that I don't bother making a muslin and I don't think through the simple adjustments that would make the pattern fit my figure better.
  5. Refashion existing garments. My closet is overflowing with clothes I don't wear. Some of it needs to go to Goodwill, but a lot of it could be reborn with a few adjustments.
I feel like I've made these goals before. But they are good goals. Looking forward to a great year of sewing!

11 February 2012

green stuff

I may have jinxed our mild winter because it's gotten quite chilly and gray the past few days. I'm paranoid about "jinxes" because Matt says I don't understand them. Not having grown up in a family where sports were paid much attention, I never learned that saying things like "Oh they're playing well!" or "They can't lose at this point, right?" is bad form. So now I am refining my jinxing abilities just to get his goat each time we watch a sporting event together.

Even if it's gotten a bit gray lately, though, we've still had a pretty sweet winter. And I've already started getting excited for spring, bringing bits inside to set on windows and planning what we'll do this year. (Must order veg seeds pronto.) 

Matt brought in some of the hellebore that's blooming outside. I love this plant. They're also called "Lenten Rose" because they bloom so early. They're the first thing to wake up every year and we've got quite a patch of them in the yard. Someone must have planted white and purple ones years ago, and they've spread quite a bit, so that now we have plants across the spectrum from purple to white. Their hardy evergreen leaves are also a staple in the garden through our hot humid summers and mild winters.

I've never considered myself very lucky with houseplants, but now I'm finding that, as with most things, it just takes a bit of effort and patience. And trying a lot of different plants. I planted these common succulents in tin cans on the kitchen window ledge and they're so easy to take care of. I just set them in the kitchen sink in a couple inches of warm water about once a month. That's all they seem to need.

A sunroom with wide windows and lots of natural light also helps. I honestly think just about anything would grow in our sunroom. I have been babying this maidenhair fern, spritzing it daily and keeping it nice and moist, and he seems really happy.

Matt bought me this foxtail fern last year. It sat on the front porch all summer, and has thrived in the sunroom this winter. It had gotten really potbound so I moved him to this large bamboo pot last week. He looks a little bottom-heavy but I think he'll fill it out quickly.

Happy weekend! We are going to see Todd Snider tonight, which I am really excited about. I hope he tells the tale of KK Rider. I can laugh until tears stream down my face.

05 February 2012

Matt's Gnome Quilt

Compared to last year, I definitely slacked on homemade Christmas gifts this year.  This quilt is the only gift I made, and I didn't even finish it until a few days after Christmas. Considering this quilt has been in the works for at least a year, Matt has been very patient. 

I had about a fat quarter of Heather Ross gnome fabric hoarded in the stash, so I fussy-cut each little gnome to live in the center of my log cabin squares. The other fabrics are a random assortment of prints. I was going for whimsical masculine, which kind of also describes Matt.

Twelve gnomes inside twelve squares. It's sized to be a lap quilt, about 50" x 60".

The back reminds me of the racing stripe on a sports car.

Around the time I was ready to quilt it, Alicia posted about her latest quilt. She used poofy wool batting and ties instead of quilting. Since the quilting step is my least favorite part anyway, I decided to follow her lead. I used green yarn to tie the quilt on each square and around the border. I also put one running line of hand-quilting along the ditch where the border meets the sashing (it's blue, look closely above).

I think the hand-quilting is a nice touch, and I do enjoy doing that kind of quilting. I mostly just don't like wrestling quilts through the sewing machine. Maybe I should add a long-arm quilting machine to my wishlist. You know, for when I win the lottery and have a sewing studio that is four times the size of my current one...

I did get a serger for Christmas, which is extremely exciting. Every time I sew a seam, I have to serge the raw edges. Even when it's not really necessary. Just because I can and it looks so dang cool. I have already made one very wonky t-shirt. Knits really are a whole different world.

Hoping to be back in this space more this spring. We have daffodils and quince and forsythia already. This has been the strangest winter. I'm totally cool with that. Let's move straight into spring!