Feeling Myself: Leopard Print Wrap Dress

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When I found this leopard print poly knit on a shopping trip with friends in August 2015, I knew it HAD to become a DVF style wrap dress using my previously made Burdastyle from October 2011.

That time we bought all the fabric #latergram @rollingincloth @cubanitacose @karen.heenan

A photo posted by Renee (@missceliespants) on

It’s funny I was drawn to this, because I tend to avoid animal prints (I read a study in college about how black models were more likely to be photographed in animal prints and said ‘F that noise’). That said, I also LOVE this leopard print dress I made in 2012.

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Give me *all* the 70s

 

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I had this Burdastyle pattern cut out by the end of September 2015. But, life happens, I became obsessed with machine knitting and I lost my sewing mojo when a very expensive fabric order from Mood was stolen off my front porch (Yeah. Seriously.) We’ve had a string of package thefts and this one made off with $200 in dove gray wool coating from Mood. And, I’m sure he just threw it away.

Video Evidence:

Luckily, because it was purchased on my Visa, they sent me a check for the fabric (which I didn’t bother replacing). And, now everything gets delivered to my office:-/

After some time, I finally picked this dress back up to get it off my sewing table in March. And, I love it. I feel like a total fox.

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You can tell I am just FEELING myself.

Rather than sew facings this time (which I despised) I used a narrow knit binding treatment. The binding is cut 1 inch wide on the bias. It is then sewn on doubled, along the 1/4 inch seam allowance, and folded again creating a strong binding that is the width of the seam allowance.   **technique well explained and photographed in Singer’s ‘Sewing Activewear’.

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The fabric was a little thin so I underlined throughout (except for the sleeves) with black tricot. I underlined rather than lined as I wanted it to be treated as one piece. And, it was a terrible, terrible mistake. I tried to hem the dress. But, the underlining and fashion fabric hung differently making it a lumpy saggy mess. So, I had to hack off several inches, trim the bottom evenly and go with no hem. Overall it’s shorter than I would like, but again: FEEL. ING. MY. SELF.

After my last project’s failure, I ended up wearing this out for my birthday dinner in Santa Fe with Jordan. Rawwrr.

Not All Sunshine: Simplicity 8013

I don’t really subscribe to the Birthday Dress trend in the sewing community. But, I’m turning 32+8 next week and taking a little mini break to Santa Fe with Jordan.  I thought it would be nice to have something fabulous to wear to dinner. I chose Simplicity 8013 because it’s stunning. But, also because it’s a 70s pattern. I was born in ’76 I love a little joke whenever possible.

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The reviews for this dress aren’t extensive.  I noticed that several were baggy in the bust or low enough that people wore chemises underneath. With that in mind, I made up the 12 bodice (which measures 37 at the bust), made my 1.5 inch FBA and pinned it onto my dress form (which I padded out using these instructions from Dritz).

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Paper Fit #1

I felt pretty good about the fit and decided to make the lining first so I could test it out. After sewing up the the bodice lining (not shown) I decided to add  another .5 inches to the FBA  (this is drafted for a B and I’m a G/DDDD) and raise the neckline by 1/2 inch.

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Muslin #2

For good measure, I of course tried it on myself. Not bad, eh? I thought I’d raise the neckline another 1/2 inch to keep the girls covered and and another 1/4 inch FBA based on the muslin below.

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Muslin #3

So, I confidently cut into my fashion fabric and was rewarded with a hard slap in the face. What in the hell is this gapey mess? I feel like I’ve been betrayed.

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I don’t know what happened. But, once I cut into my fashion fabric the bodice was horrible. Too much fabric, yet not enough bust coverage and weirdly small bodice too.

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Gah. It looks like Sadness from Inside Out.

 

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Seems like this will be a Christmas 2016 dress rather than the milestone dress I planned. Luckily, I have just enough fabric to try again. But, I’m clearly going back to the drawing board.

On a positive note, my Chantelle bra matches my skin tone really well -_-

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Good lord that’s hideous.

 

Machine Knit Vest (or sleeveless pullover)

Today I present my very fist machine knit garment: a men’s sleeveless pullover.  Now, I know this is like the least exciting thing in the world to knit. But, I wanted to make something for Jordan as a thank you for turning our dining room into a knitting room. It came out so well! I. Can’t. Even.

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The inspiration for this pattern is from a 1969 machine knitting magazine. It was a good first project as I got to work increases and decreases, binding off for shaping, ribbing bands and seaming the garment on the knitting machine. Yes, you read that right: I can even seam the garment on a knitting machine.

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I can’t take all the credit for this, blog reader Jeannie hooked a sister up. Turns out she’s an avid machine knitter and lives just three miles from my house. When operator error prevented me from getting anywhere near gauge, she told me to come on over. Do you know how incredible it is to find a machine knitter in biking distance????  She showed me how to measure more accurately and how to use Design A Knit software to tweak the pattern.

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I told Jordan to pose like a 1960s dad. He clearly went the authoritarian route.

DAK is MAGIC.  While I loved DAK, it was too rich for my blood and isn’t native to Apple (that said, I did use VMware to create a Windows environment and run a demo version on my iMac). But, I also don’t have a laptop which would make the in screen knitting much more user friendly.  So, for a birthday gift to myself, I bought Garment Designer which also drafts for sewing patterns. More on that in an upcoming post (although, I seem to be a liar about things I’m going to blog about so please don’t commit this to memory).

I used a wonderful cashmere/merino/silk blend 4 ply yarn from Colourmart.  It’s an inky navy blue with flecks of baby blue and white. The color name is Galaxy. And, the resulting fabric really does look like a night sky full of stars.

The shoulders (as drafted) are a little wide for modern times and the V came out three inches longer than drafted too. Jordan’s also much broader at the shoulder/ back area than through the torso so I’ll have to accommodate for that the next time.

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End result, a not terrible vest for Jordan. I need to get better about my finishing and weaving in ends (I have a sewing mentality of just knotting things off. Doesn’t work the same…) I think I’m going to knit the same pattern in a 40 chest for my dad with my leftover yarn. This time, I’ll try some new techniques like short rows for the shoulder seams.

Boring, long and droning Ravely notes here.

 

 

Butterick 6244: In Which I Conquer My Fear of Plaid

I love plaid so hard. I have so much plaid in my stash I could open a kilt shop. But, I hardly ever sew plaid because I’m terrified of matching.

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Forgive my pigeon toes. Please.

I was inspired to make this waterfall coat for two reasons. I have too much coating fabric that’s not getting sewn (eight cuts and counting). And, I saw a very cool Burberry poncho that I couldn’t afford. I made my friend Sheryl go to Burberry with me to try this on. It was flawless. I also tried on a duffle coat and had small tears in my eyes when I put it back on the hanger.

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Said poncho is $900

This fabric (ostensibly Burberry) was $5 or a yard during my ‘trench coat with wool liner’ phase about five years ago. I never made that warmer but the fabric remained. I in fact have it in a second camel color way (that will hopefully become a poncho next season).

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I sewed this coat in bits and pieces over two weekends. Which is really good for me. It allows me to not mind techniques taking a bit more time. I thread traced my darts instead of just marking (or eyeballing) them with chalk.

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I actually did all the flat fell seaming with my terrific Bernina foot.  And, for all these small touches, it made a big difference in my construction process.

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It was very windy

Because I don’t sew Butterick often I wasn’t quite sure what size to go with. Based on the finished measurements, I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 in the thighs. I did baste the side seams to make sure I had a fit I could live with. I also decided to forgo an FBA because the coat isn’t meant to closed and there’s a ton of drape / ease here at the front. Overall, it’s got a very modern blanket coat vibe and I could have probably gone down one size.

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I made only one alteration which was to shorten the shoulder seam. Of course, I shortened it after I’d sewn in the sleeve:-/

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One main sewing tip if I may. If you have a walking foot, use it. I think nothing will ruin the lines of this coat more than waves / wonkey narrow hems. Plenty of steam and a walking foot will keep the bias under  control.

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I’m feeling pretty accomplished that I sewed a revered plaid coating. I didn’t get the plaid quite right at the front (sad trombone). But, I figure in movement it’ll be hard to tell.

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l’escargot bleu scarf and Butterick 6244 WIP

I caught a glimpse of the (free)  l’escargot bleu scarf by Escape Tricot while on Ravelry. If it’s mostly stockinette with stripes, I’m totally in to it. Plus, this works as a blanket scarf which everyone seems to be wearing these days.

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This scarf is shaped like a snail (although the typo in the directions read ‘sail’ which also made sense to me). I copied their colors and made one of my own on my standard gauge knitting machine. I’m still using super inexpensive acrylic from Michael’s (Loops and Thread). I made two of these. The one on Ravelry is straight stockinette. But, the one here has a 1×1 ribbed border. The original uses garter stitches at the end.

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On a knitting machine, you can make ribbing by latching up on the main bed. Or, by using a ribber. Luckily, both my machines came with ribbers. And, I finally tried the ribber out and it works! I’m terrible at it (loopy edges, blech). But, it works.

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My next knitting project should be a garment. I promised Jordan a vest and I’ve been practicing the techniques. I’ve ordered some yarn from Colourmart and expect it next week. I am of course terrified.


 

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My current project is sewing related. After two hours on the floor matching plaids, I’ve cut out Butterick 6244 the Lisette waterfall coat pattern. I also think I have never actually sewn a plaid garment before. And, I LOVE plaids. But, I’m terrified of matching. But, I bit the bullet and dug into this one.

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There’s a helpful sew along on Lisette’s website that I’ll follow. And, I can’t wait to use my *awesome*  8mm flat fell foot on my Bernina 830.

Here’s hoping I finish this while it’s still winter!

Bali: Surfing Lessons on Kuta Beach

Jet lag is SO REAL! We got back from Bali on Monday morning and I can honestly say it’s taken me the last five days to recover. I was a zombie in the offie Tuesday and Wednesday and finally started understanding the spoken word again Thursday and Friday.

Oh. Hey. #instatravel #travelgram #bali #indonesia #baliwestin

A photo posted by Renee (@fussbudgit) on Jan 23, 2016 at 6:29am PST

 

I have a ridiculous amount of things to say and photos to sift through of my trip. Especially the fantastic textile tour and awesome cooking class I took. But, there’s laundry to do, braids to take out and post-snowstorm stuff to manage (you didn’t know? It snowed two feet while I was gone! We need new gutters and some other work on the house thanks to ‘Jonas’).

For now, I will first leave you with photos from my surfing lesson along Kuta Beach. Umm, no one told me surfing was HARD. While I don’t like playing sports, I was always pretty athletic and decent at them (without trying hard) and picked early on for teas. So, I felt like I was athletically inclined. Turns out I AM NOT.  Surfing felt like learning to walk.

These photos pretty much sum up my surfing.

Extreme confidence during the on-land group class (and loving my Jalie Swim Shorts. They asked me to wear their rash guard so it was easier to spot me on the beach/ in the water)

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Marked determination (and smug that I can still do a full-body push up)

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The painful reality that I can’t stand up on a piece of floating plastic.

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After 2.5 hours of lessons, I am happy to report I managed to stand up two times (out of 15 or so attempts)!

 

And you can see a video clip below

 

I posted some photos of my trip on my Instagram. And, will be reposting them here with more in-depth explanations before the weekend is over.

Surf’s Up/ Bottom’s Covered: Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts and Burdastyle Rash Guard

While in Bali (one week to go!)  I plan to take two or three surfing lessons (with a likely needed massage in between).  A friend who did Fulbright in Bali warned me to take a rash guard for lessons. After googling ‘rash guard’ I figured out it was just a tee shirt from swim fabric. I was always so confused when I saw people in tee shirts swimming. Turns out they are great for sun protection and you want a rash guard for surfing so your skin doesn’t get roughed up on the surfboard.

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Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the Burdastyle 7/2014 #113  bike dress pattern I used on my  biking honeymoon to the Netherlands. It has the look of a raglan / sporty style. And, is blessedly already altered for me. I say blessedly, because the last thing I wanted was to feel like I had an ace bandage on my bewbs and this was already FBAd. To make it a shirt, I overlapped the skirt portion and the bodice at the waist, and marked off an additional four inches into the skirt. I think for a ‘traditional’ rash guard that also provides full back sun protection, I needed an additional 8 inches.  Mine is a little too short and shows the white waistband I used on my shorts which tends to make it look like a maternity bottom.  But, for a few days of surf lessons and tubing on vacation, this will more than suffice.

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Alterations: I eliminated the center front zipper (don’t think I’ll need the venting) and didn’t have a more ‘sporty’ zip on hand. For the neckline, I skipped the one as drafted by Burda and used the fashion fabric to make my neckband. I needed this top to be a bit snugger than the cycle dress version, so I was just really generous in the sew line vs seam allowance. Oh, and I shortened the sleeves a bit from my dress version.

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I’m wearing a cup sized bikini top from Freya underneath (god bless you Europe and your 34F sized swimwear). I think I could also easily wear  a non-cotton sports bra and be fine too. Other than being a a little too cropped, I’m pretty pleased with this top. I think it’s also a totally legit coverup option too while at the pool or beach. And, being in a Muslim country (ETA: Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is mostly Muslim) and not feeling 100 about my body, I’m more comfortable in this than my two piece.

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I am an unabashed lover of the Jalie  9796, Multi Sport Skort. I made several a few years ago when I biked to work and ran on a semi-annual basis.  When I knew I wanted to take a surfing lesson in Bali, I figured the Jalie 3351 swim shorts would be cute and coordinate nicely with a rash guard.

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I made a size Z at the waist and graded to a BB at the hip. As I’m really measuring for hip measurement at my thighs (where I am widest) I wish I had gone down one more size at the waist, slightly slimmer at the hip and made a sway back adjustment based on my muslin. But, for some reason I ignored it and just plowed on through. For my actual version, I did shorten the crotch length by 1/2 inch — possibly too much?

The shorts have built in, full-coverage briefs, which I made out of white (with the knowledge that in MILLION years I wouldn’t need the fabric to make a white swimsuit). The waistband uses elastic inside unlike the skort. So, it seems a bit more secure in the water (drag, water weight)

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Usually in shorts I get chub rub with the inner thigh riding up. I don’t have that problem with these. While I like the pockets, I can’t see myself using them for swimming. I suspect things would come out. But, as running shorts, those pockets are legit.  I would also make these minus the briefs as athletic coverups for poolside activities. I think this pattern is a real winner.  Together with the rash guard, I felt appropriate for a Muslim country,  good for water sport activities and doesn’t feel like I had on my mother’s skirted swimsuit from the mid 80s (it was HIDEOUS). Lord have mercy. I just realized I AM my mother’s 1980s age!! Sigh.

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I found myself looking at more swimsuit fabric online when I was done with this outfit. Then I remembered I’ve had this Roxy fabric for at LEAST five years.  My stash runneth over because I still have red, black and some gold swim fabric! That said, a good reason to keep a stash. You can have everything you need when you want it!

PS: We had a “Latkes and Rum Punch” holiday party back in December and my tripod got swept up in the CLEAN EVERYTHING movement. So, selfie stick and cell phone camera are at work here.