Master Procastinator and Diving Penguins

For Christmas I made neckties for both my brother and boyfriend.  As far as I was concerned they were finished when I wrapped them up.  I was subsequently informed however, that ties are essentially useless unless they have that little loop thing that holds the back of the tie in place underneath the front of the tie.  Since we were up visiting my brother and parents and leaving in a couple days I was kind enough to add that little loop to my brother’s before we left.   I told the bf I would add it on his when we got home.

It’s now…March.  This thing had been hanging on my rack of in-progress-projects since the end of December.  But yesterday after promising to hem some pants for him and sew some missing buttons on a shirt, I was on a hand-sewing roll,  so I decided it would be the perfect time to finish that little f-er off (the tie that is, not the boyfriend).  So without further ado… drum roll… the Purl Bee Father’s Day Tie Christmas in March Tie!

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Although those may look like flying dolphins, they’re actually smug little penguins.

and THIS is the suspect loop:

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So small yet capable of holding the entire project up for months.

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I used this pattern from the Purl Bee: http://www.purlbee.com/fathers-day-ties/ which was free and pretty straight forward to follow.  The only bummer about this tie is that the interfacing I used was a little thick and so the tie doesn’t hang that well, it’s too stiff.  I had also wanted to cut the tie on the grain so the penguins would be upright, but after reading a bunch about neckties I learned that it’s important to cut them on the bias so the tie can knot and hang right.  So they became diving penguins. The lucky-duck boyfriend also got a pretty slick pair of pyjama bottoms out of this same amazing penguin fabric from Piedmont Fabrics.  Maybe I’ll get  him liquored up one day and have him model the combo…

Biker Brawl

Omg Omg, I finished the Larissa jacket I’ve been working on the last 2 1/2 months!!  DSCN2361

Majestic, isn’t it?

This project was a HUGE pain, I battled with this fabric for months.  Sometimes I felt like it was winning, but nothing a swift blow to the head with an empty beer bottle couldn’t fix.  Get it?  Biker brawl?  It’s a motorcycle jacket, I was fighting with the fabric… whatever, it’s done and I’m satisfied and have already worn it out of the house a number of times, which in my book is total victory!!

I learned a number of new techniques and got real friendly with hand sewing, which, is good, we had sort of a stand-offish relationship before.  For this project however, this fabric was so finicky there were a number of times I opted to hand sew because that seemed easier than machine sewing and would give a nicer finish.   That’s how f-ed up this fabric was.  EASIER TO HAND SEW.  You may be able to see from the photos that it has a bit of a sheen to it.  It’s a wool blend that I picked up in…ahem, PARIS… It’s really soft and beautiful but that sheen is caused by plastic.  Strips of plastic woven into the fabric. Gad.

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Any time I hit one of those strips dead on with a needle, the plastic would get pushed through by the needle and start causing all kinds of weird puckering and pulling of all the other threads around it.  I had to cut a new back piece because by the time I got done sewing the first one, it was a mess.  Even hand stitching or putting pins in would cause this problem, so I had to be very careful to wiggle sharp pointy objects and find the space between the plastic threads instead of ramming the needle right through them.  Stressful. I was so relieved to start working on the lining knowing how much easier the lining fabric would be to work with.  I lined it in a flannel backed satin, (I’d heard all these fancy sewing bloggers mention it and had to try it).  Totally awesome.  Especially since it’s still hovering around 40F here at night, I’m happy for the extra warmth.

I wanted to handle this fabric as little as possible, which was a little difficult considering I had to re-set the sleeves about 3 times and even then had to do some weird tweaking to get them to hang right AFTER I had already finished the sleeve seams thinking it was A-OK.  Also, I ignored my tailor tacks indicating the placement of the zipper and sewed the zipper on with the bottom abutted right up against the raw edge of the fabric.  Seam allowance for sewing the waistband on?  Who needs it.  I noticed my mistake early on, but I had already top-stitched the zipper down and didn’t want to undo those stitches, cause that was also a real b- with this fabric as well and decided I could work around that issue later.  Uh, no.  Wrong.  I got all the way to having the lining and facing all inserted and just needed to attach the waistband and snap and realized that anything I could some up with to work around the zipper issue would look wonky and lame and mean that I would never actually wear the jacket.  So instead of just having to unpick the zipper like I would have done had I decided to fix the problem when I noticed it, I had to take off the waistband I had already attached, undo the hand stitching on the lining, et cetera.  But I managed, finagled the zipper and moved it up 5 measly 8ths of an inch and finished this puppy up right.  Sigh.

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See how you wouldn’t be able to use the zipper if it were all the way down where the coat has to attach to the waist band?  Duh.

More detail shots:

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And the finished look:

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I’m pretty happy with it.

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See?  Exhausted bliss.  I’d never done a collar like this before or zippered pockets or a full lining with facings or that thing with the piping between the facing and lining or really anything like this!  Also I know I must be getting better at this garment construction thing because I could easily follow the Burda pattern instructions!  Only a couple made me scratch my head, but they were easily figured out.  And actually I really like this pattern.  I left off the tabs it was supposed to have on the back waistband because, let’s be honest,  I had forgotten to cut them out and wanted to be done with this mofo.  But I like the shoulder tabs and the elbow patches and this pattern actually had separate pieces for the lining and with that pleat in the back for ease of movement!  Ooh, which reminds me, it has these shoulder pleats in the back:

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(Don’t know if you can really make them out here, but they’re there, trust me).  I wasn’t too sure I liked the look of these at first and almost took them out of the pattern, thought it might be too dude-ish, but they’re great for sticking your arms out to reach your bike handlebars, they spread with your shoulders! No tightness!  Genius!

But the best part about this jacket is… it’s kitty-approved:

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Good Night!

Ep-pauling!

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Egad, bad pun and bad planning!  This, I might be able to blame on the kittens, because it definitely looks like something without opposable thumbs tried to shove these through a sewing machine and that’s what came out.

But perhaps I should back up and start from the beginning.  I’m in the middle of working on this jacket which calls for these epaulets.  This was the first set I made and unfortunately got all the way to hammering in the snaps before I realized how totally out of whack they were and decided to start over.  With the second pair I decided maybe having the sewing line marked would help and created a little template from the pattern to use:

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I actually just pinned it on the tabs and sewed around it to make sure both were uniform.  The result was much better! Imagine that.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the 2nd pair of tabs separately, but here’s the jacket so far

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(Those little green threads are tailor’s tacks.  First time using tailor’s tacks and boy what a pain, but SOOO worth it.)

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Now on to getting those sleeves squeezed in…

Knitting for Boys

Here are the pair of fingerless gloves I’m working on for the bf.  It’s been crazy cold here in Oak-town and I feel bad that’s he’s riding around in the really holey pair I made for him years ago.  So, I’m putting MY knitting projects on hold to do something nice for someone else.  Look at me go!  I let him choose the colors then immediately regretted having asked him.  I tried to dissuade him by reminding him these are probably the colors of numerous sports teams (and trust me, he’s not a sports fan), but… nuthin’ doin’,  blue and orange it is.

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It’s okay, it’s what he wants.  Get over it Jessica.

This is my first time doing actual um, finger tubes, shall we call them?  We’ll see how it turns out.  I’m vaguely following this pattern I found on Ravelry: Men’s Fingerless Gloves

I’m pretty much planning on making 3 gloves, assuming this 1st one isn’t gonna really be wearable, but I’ll then know what not to do for the next ones.  And then he’ll also have a janky back-up glove in case he loses one of the wearable ones!

Jessica vs. the Computer

I thought I had published my first blog post ever last week, but now it’s nowhere to be found.  At least, it’s nowhere that I can find… Usually I blame missing things on the kittens, but them stealing my blog post would involve a lot of weird sci-fi scenarios that I’m not really ready to accept yet.  Although, I did just finish IQ84, so I could imagine some weird shit…  Anyway, I’m just gonna keep tryin’ and see if I can get this thing rolling and win my battle against technology… Grrrr.

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New Year, New Blog

Ooh, I think I found it, the missing Introduction post… Take two… (Also, two things: 1. I know that when I originally tried to post this, we were a couple weeks into the new year.  Now we’re even farther into that year, but really, this is generally how I roll: slightly behind the times. 2. Sorry if this did actually get published and now I’m just re-publishing old news.  See above.)

Hello Internet Dwellers! So this is the year I finally throw myself out into cyberspace.  It’s a little frightening because technologically savvy I am not and socially awkward I am.  But, life is about pushing yourself to try new things.  Right?

So, to get down to the nitty gritty, this blog will mostly be about sewing.  I love sewing and I love clothes.  I wanted a forum to organize all the projects I have going, cuz man, it gets a little messy in this here sewing room.

I also wanted to reach out to the sewing community more, because generally I like to do things on my own.  But this sewing thing can be HARD.  And there are people out there with things to teach! And I’m wiling to to learn!

Also this year I have challenged myself in the following way:

If I decide I need a new article of clothing in my wardrobe.  I either have to be able to make it for myself or it must have been made by someone else in this country or another country with decent labor practices.  Preferably someone who cares about the clothing and quality construction and realizes that it is an art form.  So I will be using this as a forum to share these kinds of companies and brands I come across and of course to write about all of the sewing/crafty projects I take on as well.

Bear with me while I figure out how this whole blogging thing works, how to upload pictures and link to stuff and all that snazzy business that I never really learned how to do because let’s face it, it’s been 10 years since I was in college and sh*% done changed since then!

Later I’ll snap some pictures and start talking about the projects I’m working on now but for now, I’ll leave you with this:

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