February Project Check In

We’re a little more than half way through the month and I’m feeling the pressure to get everything I had planned done. I knew going in that I was being overly ambitious with my projects for a short month, but I also didn’t except to not even get a chance to start on sewing until just before Valentine’s day.

Besides running around to a ton of hockey games (between my husband and step son, we had 8 hockey games in 3 days early on in the month) and work being crazy busy for both of us, we lost my husband’s Grandmother on 2/9/17. With all that was going on, I just didn’t have the time or energy to get started on any of my projects.

I had sewn up most of V’s Valentine Top back at the end of January and really just had to finish some hemming and putting the buttons on and managed to do that literally the night before I needed it done. Once I ha d that project done, I felt like I could get started on assembling my patterns and getting started on my intended projects.

So far, I’ve completed 3 of my planned 10 projects, all in the same week.

Up first, I completed the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater #2 in a lightweight white sweater knit. Of course, I didn’t get any photos of this in progress, but I did manage to snap a couple once it was completed.

This top has mitered corners on the vented side seams and I was a little intimidated looking at the garment and wondering how I was going to be able to pull those off cleanly, but the instructions were super easy to follow and I was really impressed with my ability to get a nice clean corner.

I wanted a lighter weight sweater for the spring months but I think this sweater would fit better and hold it’s shape with a thicker knit than I used. I ended up needing to add in some interfacing to get the slight mock turtle neck to stand. The fit of this is also supposed to be a bit boxy, but the knit I used likes to drape so the fit isn’t as great as I would like, but it’s still really wearable. I will be making this one again come the fall/winter in a thicker more stable knit.

 

Next up was The Gable Top. I did this in a nice double brushed poly from Sew So English fabrics  so it’s incredibly soft. I love how this top turned out and wish I had gotten some better photos of it- I’ll try and convince my hubby to take an actual photo of me the next time I wear it.

This was also really easy to put together and I was able to do the whole thing cut to finish in about 2 hours. The fit is very slim but it gives me a great shape. I loved it so much, I wore it the next day. This is one of the first pieces for me that I’ve finished and ended up loving so much that I just had to wear it out and about to show it off.

urtg1568

Finally was the Constance Top and Dress  from Sew a little Seam. I had planned to mash a couple of Patterns for Pirates patterns I already had- the slim fit raglan with add on pack and pencil skirt to get this dress. As I was prepping my fabric and working on mashing the patterns, I saw the release for this pattern. It was only $4 and all the proceeds go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation so I decided to just go ahead and add this to my pattern collection as well. I like that it has set in sleeves instead of the raglan, and it also had an option for a curved hem line which I was also going to try and mod on the pencil skirt anyway. This pattern also has options for a kangaroo pocket which I originally added on to my dress but ended up not loving the look/placement of it and ended up pulling it off this morning. I always love the idea of a kangaroo pocket but I have a mom gut and the pocket tends to highlight that a bit more than I’m comfortable with.

If you remember from my February Project Planning post, I had planned on using a different blue French terry for this project, but I saw this watercolor floral get listed on Sew So English and I couldn’t help myself- I bought up several yards. This fabric is so pretty and so soft, I may never take it off. Luckily I have enough left to get a pair of joggers out of so I may never have to!

After getting some of the knit fabric I had ordered online and my experience with the Toaster Sweater, I may end up scraping the other two thin sweater tops I was planning. I don’t think they will give me the end result I’m looking for. I may end up making a drapey cardigan out of one of them, but we’ll see if I even need it in my capsule once some of my other items are done.

I still have a couple of skirts planned, my jeans course starts on Monday (2/20), and my off the shoulder top to go for myself. I’ve also decided to replace the lightweight denim dress I’ve had for years. I love the dress, but it’s worn and really doesn’t fit well- it’s a boxier cut meant to be belted but it never ends up looking quite right. I have the fabric for that but I’m debating between a couple of patterns so we’ll see when I actually get around to it.

Here’s hoping I can keep up my current momentum and at least get a good chunk of my planned items done with the time I have left this month.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Valentines Day Top

I’m a bit behind on my blog posts as well as my sewing projects this month but wanted to share a quick post on the Made for Mermaid Holly Top I made for V for Valentine’s day.

img_0932

This was a fairly easy pattern to follow and it has a unique square neck. I’ve mostly been working in knits lately but put this together in a couple of woven cottons. I originally planned to make matching red leggings to go with this, but it got to be a bit much so I left them out.

I’m terrible at remembering to take photos as I go, but I did snap a couple of in progress shots.

 

The square neck on this top was surprising easy to sew with the easy to follow instructions included with the pattern. The bottom/skirt part of the shirt is gathered to the neck line and then a button placket is added to close it up. I struggled with the placket since I’ve never had to do one before and it turned out ok but will definitely be something to work on for the next time I have a garment that calls for it.

Knowing that this top would likely only be worn a couple of times because of the seasonal print, I didn’t stress too much over some of the little details and hastily topstitched the bodice. I like how it turned out for a one time wear and think this would be a fun pattern to try again for a more special occasion dress. V doesn’t wear a lot of dresses and I prefer things for her that can be easily washed…wovens always need an iron and really, what’s the point of ironing a 2 year old’s top? I’m not sure the bodice would work well in a knit, but this would be a cute one to try in a light chambray or linen like fabric that can be washed dried, and thrown on again.

img_0930

 

February Project Planning

Now that I’ve cleaned out my closet, I’ve determined I need to fill in a few gaps in my capsule. Over February and March I’ll plan to make 5 tops, a dress, a couple of skirts, potentially another cardigan and jeans.

I signed up for Closet Case Files Jean Workshop which kicks off on February 20th. While I don’t need jeans at the moment, the pairs I own are 2-3 years old each and I rotate through about 4 pair so they’re starting to get worn out and losing their fit and stretch. I’m picky about jeans (really what woman isn’t?) and have a really hard time finding jeans to fit my 5’3″, big booty and smallish waist body. I’m also no longer 22 and I’ve grown a person so my stomach isn’t what it used to be. I love a high waist, skinny jean cut but finding a pair that works well with my body shape is hard. The allure of being able to create a perfectly fitted pair of jeans in the exact style I’m looking for was too much to resist. I’ll be making the Ginger Jean and also got an add on pattern to make myself a pair of flares (fitting in with my ’70’s aesthetic).

I also have a few lighter weight sweaters on my list to fill in capsule gaps. Spring weather in Minnesota is all over the map temperature wise so I want to make sure that I have a few light sweaters to mix in for those cooler days. I’ve got a couple sweater knits in transit from Fabric.com – a lighter beige in an loose knit and a sheer metallic peachy knit. I also just got this white sweater knit from So Sew English that I’m planning on sewing up into the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater #2.  I’ll be working on a Lotus Blossom Blouse and Terra Tunic from Love Notions once my other knits are in.SAMSUNG CSC

The Gable Top is the perfect mix of comfy tee and structured top. I’ve got a fun floral from So Sew English picked out for this top and it should work for both spring and fall.

SAMSUNG CSC

I am also really excited for a top I have planned. I found a really beautiful, peachy gold fabric and am planning on using the Made for Mermaids Mama Daphne pattern to make an off the shoulder top and then modifying the sleeve to get a bell shape. Basically a top length version of the Free People dress below. This is really going to be one of the bigger statement pieces in my capsule this spring and maybe even into summer so I’m nervous and excited about how it will turn out!

 

Dresses aren’t something I really need either, but I ordered this great floral french terry from So Sew English before I jumped on the capsule bandwagon with the intent of creating a cute hooded dress that I saw someone else in one of my online sewing groups make. It will be a great throw on for weekends, errands, and days when I feel like laying around in a sweatshirt but actually need to leave the house.

I’ve also got a couple of skirts planned. When I was quick glace through my Style Inspiration board trying to get some inspiration for pieces to include in my capsule, I kept coming across photos of pleated skirts. Lil Luxe Collection just released this amazing pleated skirt pattern and I plan to make it up in both a leopard print and black scuba knit. The black skirt will find a home in my Spring capsule and will work well for work or special occasions and the leopard print will likely be added to my work collection for the time being.

I should have my hands full with these items but I also have plans to do some sewing for my kids. There is some really fun Star Wars fabric set to arrive any day now plus several others that will turn into leggings, shorts, tops for my littles.

I also really ambitiously decided to make my husband this William Vest from Laela Jeyne and self quit the fabric. The color is a bit off in the photo, but this is an olive color twill and the flannel will be the lining.SAMSUNG CSC

I’m guessing with a docket this full, some of this sewing will spill into March, especially with the short month. I’ve luckily got several of the patterns I plan to use already assembled. I just printed out several of the others this evening so I’ll spend the next couple nights prepping patterns and cutting fabric (I like to cut several projects at once, especially if I’m using the same patterns).

 

 

 

Spring Capsule

I was able to start my closet clean out this past weekend and going through with a critical eye, I ended up tossing a lot. Honestly, I was really tempted to just throw out 95% of things and start from scratch.  No wonder I usually just end up in a concert tee or sweatshirt and jeans (if I bother to change out of my leggings at all)! The good news is that, for spring at least, I will probably be right around the more traditional 30 pieces for my capsule.

I sat down and made a general list of the number of items I wanted to include.

  • 5 jackets/cardigans
  • 10 tops
  • 7 bottoms
  • 5 dresses

That got me to 27 pieces, so I have a little bit of wiggle room to add in a few more items if I’d like, or I can just start counting shoes as part of my options.

What was interesting as I was weeding out my closet is how many more minimalist or tailored looking items I chose over the flowy, flower child items in my closet.

These photos are at different angles, but on the left is my “before” and the right is my “after”. It’s hard to tell, but I did pull out a lot of things. The after includes my work capsule, my special occasion items, and a handful of winter/fall items so it still looks pretty full.

I was able to save 4 jackets/cardigans towards my total of 5. Most of these items have been in my closet for years. The first is a cape style cardigan from Olive and Oak followed by a knit kimono cardigan from H&M. The denim jacket is also from H&M and is a cropped style. The olive bomber jacket is from Old Navy.

I was able to grab 5 tops out of my current closet: a thin knit olive sweater from H&M (not pictured), black top from H&M, denim button down from Cloth and Stone, a 1950’s vintage top, and a paisley print blouse from Zara.

For bottoms, I pulled several pairs of my everyday jeans (I didn’t grab photos of them because some are being worn, some are in the wash, etc.) I did add a me-made button close denim skirt and one pin stripe vintage skirt.

My dresses didn’t photograph well, but I currently have 5 of those added to my capsule- most of them are ones I made recently.

I’ll need to fill out with another cardigan or jacket, 5 tops,  possibly 1 more dress and another skirt.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about getting down to a more limited number of items. I stuck to a color scheme of olive, denim, black, white, and pinks or florals. I should be able to mix and match a lot of the items and will work on pulling a few accessories and shoes together to start making some more outfit combinations.

Capsule Wardrobe pt 1….Where do I even start?

I’ve been considering starting a capsule wardrobe for quite some time now. There are a few things that have stopped me:

  1. I love to shop just a little too much
  2. I “love” too many things
  3. My style is all over the place
  4. I live in MN where one day it can be 60 degrees out and the next day there will be a blizzard. Temperatures swing from -25 to 100 over the course of the year.

I’m going to try and finally jump on the bandwagon this spring with a modified capsule. This will be a challenge for me in a lot of ways but I think it will ultimately result in me looking more polished and put together, save me some money, and will make me feel like I’m being a good world citizen by helping to reduce clothing waste.

So now that I’ve made the decision to get on board, where do I even start?

Right now, my style is a weird mix of preppy/classic, edgy and boho. My closet is packed with flowy dresses, kimonos, vintage, leather, flannel and lots of sweaters. Finding a cohesive set of clothes is going to be like an episode of Chopped and making a meal out of the most random set of ingredients you can hand someone. For that reason, I’m going to allow myself 40 items instead of the traditional 30 and exclude shoes from that total. (I have a ton of shoes but seriously live in like 3 pairs throughout the year so it’s not cheating that much)

I also have to think about how things will work for my lifestyle. I’m a work from home mom of 2 in my early 30’s so most of my morning prep time is spent getting the kids dressed, their lunches made, and making sure they get out of the house on time. Then I have to make sure the dog is let out and fed, maybe make myself a quick cup of coffee and use the bathroom before I have to log into work. Evenings are spent picking up the kids and depending on the season making sure my step-son gets to his sporting event, chasing my daughter around, making dinner, and generally making sure the kids are alive. My current reality is that I end up wearing sweats all day and then quickly change into jeans and a concert tee so I can run and pick the kids up. That means I need pieces that work well for chasing children (and the dog) around, hide stains, and don’t look like they’ve been crumpled up in a ball on my closet floor even if that’s really the case.

Minnesota weather is weird. Not only do we have all the seasons, but some weeks decide that all the seasons will be present during the week. We had a weird December that was warm and rainy and then suddenly bitterly cold and blizzarding.  This probably goes without saying but winters are cold. Spring is very similar to late fall with the warm weather and then odd snowstorm. Summers start off comfortable and then turn into days where the temperatures hit 100 with like 90% humidity. I’m going to have to cycle through capsules every couple of months rather than having a Spring/Summer wardrobe and a Fall/Winter wardrobe or even a year long capsule like I’ve seen some people do. I think having an expanded number of items in my capsules will help me ensure that I will be dressed appropriately during our weather swings.

A few other “rules” I am playing by:

  1. Work wear- I will have a separate small capsule for work wear. I work from home but at least once a month do need to go into my office for meetings and also have the occasional face to face meeting with clients so I need to have professional clothes for those situations.
  2. Vintage- I have a lot of vintage clothes, most of which would be considered special occasion wear. I will try and incorporate vintage into my capsules as much as possible but I will not be cleaning these items out of my closet unless they just don’t fit or I don’t think that I’d be able or willing to alter them to fit.
  3. Basics/layering pieces- I have a lot of t-shirts and tank tops. Most of them are used for base layers under sweaters and things (see MN weather is weird) so that I can add/remove layers as needed. I do not plan on counting these items toward my 40 pieces since I wear them under pretty much everything.

If you’ve made it this far, you may be saying “that’s great Jenny but I thought this was supposed to be a sewing/craft blog”. That is my goal- but as I found myself sewing all the things and buying fabric like it was going to be the new currency in our post Trumpocolispe world, I decided I needed to focus on sewing with a purpose rather than just making things for the sake of making them. I plan on trying to sew or make a portion of my capsule each season.

So what’s next? Time to work on cleaning out the closet. I do regular purges of my closet- the last was this fall- but I plan to focus this purge on spring/summer items to get down to key pieces and figure out what I need to fill in the gaps.

I have several sewing patterns printed and assembled already with the intention of sewing them up as part of the spring capsule but before I start cutting fabric and sewing up items, I want to make sure that they’ll fit in with my ready to wear (aka store bought) pieces before I go too crazy and end up with a mishmash of clothes that don’t actually make outfits.

Hello There!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog! My name is Jenny and I live in Minnesota with my husband and two kids. I’ve never met a craft project I didn’t like and wanted to start a blog to document all of my projects.  My craft of the moment is sewing- but I also knit, love working with silk flowers, and have been known to dabble in card making, painting, and basically just attempting to make a lot of the things I see because “I could totally make that myself0 (with $96 worth of craft supplies)!”

I’ll be sharing my projects as I create them as well as using this space to document my attempts at creating a capsule wardrobe (one that I plan to sew a good chunk of).