Accepting the Inevitable

Muslins.  I’m beginning to see the value in them.  I mean, up front, it seems like a total waste of cash to buy fabric to make a practice garment you can’t even wear.  Right up until you do just that with fabric you really really want to wear.

I’m not a huge fan of skirts/dresses (well, scratch that–when I find one that fits, I’m a huge fan, but apparently I’m a wonky shape because those are few and far between!).  I really wanted to love maxi skirts when they showed up a couple years ago, but I tried many on, and it was a complete no-go.  Those were my pre-sewing days, so I just wrote maxi skirts off as breezy but not for me.  Fast forward to this summer and I found a pattern.  A very cute pattern–A-line maxi with a yoga-pant-style waistband.  What’s not to love about that?

I had some light-weight wool knit in a pretty turquoise that I picked up at a garage sale–wasn’t sure if it was 100% wool, but it was pretty and soft and at $1/yard, I really couldn’t go wrong, right?!  So I cut out the closest size (rounding down as the pattern suggested since I was between two sizes).  And it was beautiful.*  I should have taken a picture.  It sewed up in less than 2 hours (probably a record for me!), and was super cool and comfy.  And then it went through the wash.  And I forgot to tell the laundry elf that it needed to go in with the woolens.  And now it’s a size too small, rather felted, and calf-length.  Disaster!

*I did take a couple of notes while wearing it that one, glorious, day.  The waistband got a bit over-stretched after prolonged wearing and didn’t really recover (the term “recovery” had heretofore been rather mysterious to me as an infrequent sewer of knits, but now I know…).

Well, what’s a girl to do but get more fabric and try again?  I picked up some cotton blend jersey chevron fabric and had another go.  Except it must have shrunk a bit in the pre-wash because the 2 yards I ordered were about 8 inches shorter than planned when I went to cut it out.  No matter, a knee-length skirt would be nice, too!  Since I had some waistband sagging issues, I added some clear elastic to the top of the waistband and the seam where it joins the skirt (the pattern listed these as “optional” so I’d skipped it the first time ’round).  I also made the waistband a little taller (and thus about 2″ narrower) for this iteration.

Can you guess, kids, what the disaster was this time?  Yup.  Too tight.  And uber-high-waisted.  Sigh.  The elastic does give it lots of structure, but the higher (and thus smaller circumference’d) waistband made sitting a rather unpleasant experience.  Standing was OK, as long as I wasn’t really invested in breathing.  Which is a shame, because I really really want to wear this to pieces.  It’s adorable.

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Iteration #3?  Why of course there’s a third attempt (and of course with my “good” fabric, because I have not yet learned my lesson).  This attempt was actually not too problematic fit-wise, but fabric wise, a whole different ballgame.  This iteration was sewn up in a very squirrely jersey stripe.  To further complicate my life (because that’s how I roll, yo), I decided to cut this on the diagonal and match all those lovely stripes up at 4 different seams.  For funsies, really.  But I did cut out a size larger than the super tight chevron attempt (and then threw caution to the wind and used 5/8″ seam allowances instead of the proscribed 1/4″).  I also ended up basting every seam together before sewing with the zig zag due to the fabric’s sheer cussedness and refusal to feed evenly through my machine while zigging or zagging.  

The results?  I’m pretty happy with this one.  It’s comfy around the waist (I did use the clear elastic again for stability).  It’s the proper length, and it’s pretty comfy.  The fabric is super drapey, so it’s quite flattering.  And I really like the colors.  Though my hubby was quick to point out I could totally wear it for Viking pride day (blech…I was not intending to make an NFL-appropriate maxi, for sure).  Apologies for the crappy phone pics–we have a DSLR somewhere, but I think hubby may have taken it to work, as it’s evading me at the moment!

  

Just lookit those stripes, all matching up…(and no, I did not spend 30 minutes sitting on my floor matching stripes as I cut…whatever would give you that impression?).  Oooh…and did you see the sparkly?

If a bear blogs in the forest…

Or, more accurately, if a blogger stops writing her blog but barely has any readers, does the hiatus count?  Meh, I say.  I was doing stuff, you were doing stuff, too, I bet.  In any case, it’s been ages since I posted anything.  Not because I haven’t been doing anything, but because my blog was starting to feel like a chore (one of those self-imposed chores that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of your day…like making the bed.  Sure, do it if you like, but you’re not changing the course of history or anything!). And I feel like the (admittedly self-imposed) pressure to post on a somewhat regular schedule had turned my blog into a discordant unfocused barrel of fish.  And birds.  And bossy paperclips (it’s a thing, folks).  Things that do not necessarily belong together.  Or at least it felt that way to me.  I also found myself doing how-to post after how-to post.  Because it’s an easy format, no?  But man, did it feel know-it-all-y (at least from my side).  And unless you’re trying to fix a bike or make cherry dill pickles, there are probably more knowledgeable folks out there.  Find them, report back.  We’ll all learn something, I’m sure! But I do want to keep track of my sewing and knitting and pickling and woodcarving and who knows what else crafty adventures.  It’s nice to have a searchable diary, you know?  So here I am again!

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Speaking of crafty adventures, I have a couple things underway at the moment.  And that’s what you’re peeping in the windows to see, right?!  Right!  First up is a Cthulhu Baby Cardigan.  Because what better to stitch into the back of a cardigan for a newborn than a creepy tentacled monster?  I knew you’d understand!

A spiffy side-button front…rather unassuming from this angle! 

And here’s the insides…sooooo many floats!

And the star!

A little unusual, sure…but my dear friends are into most things nerdy, so I’m hoping it’ll be a hit.  And if not, the kiddo will quite likely outgrow it soon enough anyhow!  I’m using some Cascade superwash, and while it’s no Malabrigo (does anyone else have the insane desire to use Malabrigo for every single project ever?!), it’s super soft and is looking pretty good!  At this point, it just needs buttons (going on an excursion to find matching green buttons this weekend–wish me luck!) and blocking.  Good thing, too, since it’s intended recipient is due to arrive in a few weeks!

That’s all I’ve got for now, kids.  I’m working on perfecting a summer maxi skirt (knit fabrics with different levles of stretch are making my life…twitchy…at the moment), so I’ll be back with thoughts on that I’m sure.  And just to prove that I’m not a complete bear for leaving my blog in the corner so long, I leave you with a photo of Herbie The Cat cuddling with aforementioned knitting.