…So let’s kick it off with a kid with a goatee!
If you aren’t thinking about Zach Galifianakis’s Five Year Old Who Complains About Having a Beard, you are missing out on the simple joys in life.
You have to admit, when it comes to sewing pattern envelopes, kids are just like LOOK AT MY NEW OUTFIT compared with some of the adult models who seem to be realizing their dreams of Naomi-level supermodel fame is fading with each sewing pattern gig.But look at these proud gals!!
Then again, some aren’t as excited as others:
Naturally, some know they are shining stars and are unhappy about sharing the spotlight.
Others enjoy the opportunities models offer:
Some kids are kicking off their modeling career, practicing their poses juuuust so…
While others are just dazed and confused….
When in doubt, just say AAAHHHHHH
All in all, nothing’s cuter than the Sewing Pattern Dapper Dons:
Life, man. It gets away from a person.
I just HAD to share a new dress that I made for
my birthday Valentines Day the upcoming Joanna Newsom concert (March 29!!). I have some other projects that I have not yet shared in cyberspace, so let’s get reacquainted!
My 30th birthday was in December and I was toooootally confident I could finish this dress in time for my cocktail hour, which happened to be occurring in…two days. Can’t say I’m proud of rushing through one of the rare times I make myself a SILK DRESS. In the end, I had to wear another ensemble but REALLY HERE, I had cocktails to drink so whatever.
Plus, it has a cape-like thing on the back and that makes up for any mistakes. Such as, the not-great yoke attachment:
I’ve pressed it a few more times so it’s getting there, but for now, most people’s point of view will be here:
Not too bad, Brad. It also helps that the front doesn’t matter much, look at this BACK:
[of the dress]
Not my most creative work as far as deviating from the pattern illustration. Try to guess which version I made:
I wanted to add some contrast, so I lined the inside of what I’ll call the cape-doublet (Frenchified!) with a gray kimono silk print that is just so delicate and lovely, I had to work up the courage to use even the small bits for this.
The pattern had the cape just dangling in the wind, and I thought that was just asking for embarrassment (let’s say, a gust of wind throwing it into someone’s face. Most likely mine and yes I think about these things). I decided I’d cut the dress a few inches shorter than the cape and baste the ends to the raw hem of the dress. I cut out a lining with the front and back pieces, a few inches shorter than the dress. Attaching the lining along the hemline and basting the necklines together, the hem was lifted into place and the cape curved around it. It makes just a hint of a bubble hem and just a fun photo opportunity!
To keep with the no-hem theme, I cut out a mirror-image sleeve and folded it over into a double-layer that I basted as one piece. In all likelihood, I’ll be very overdressed at the concert as Seattleites tend to wear North Face and jeans everywhere. But I like being overdressed, so I CAN’T WAIT.
I finished this last October or November when I was still working on my STOUT projects. I assume I never blogged about this one because…well it’s a skirt. It was easy, it has elastic, it has pockets and an attached tie belt. There.
I worked some pattern-mixing in. Both fabrics are very polyester stretch wovens, making them perfect for skirts (only way to keep things breathing).
I love the elastic panel across the back. The pattern includes options for pants and shorts, getting me closer to having the confidence to attempt pants or shorts again. Beginners: GET ON THIS PATTERN. You can do it!
I wish I had counted how many baby booties I’ve made in the last year. This is the only pair I crocheted. I’m currently on a shopping fast and am challenging myself to use what I already own instead of buying everything I think I need. I’m a firm believer that constraints make me more creative. But it doesn’t necessarily make things easier.
I almost went out and bought some new yarn, thinking I didn’t have anything that would work. I searched through my bits and pieces drawer (DIFFERENT from my yarn drawer!) and found these forgotten-about skeins: one is 100% cotton and the other is 100% silk. YES THAT BABY DESERVES SILK ON HER FEETS. I think the colors look great together and are not a combination that I would usually choose. See? More creative already.
There’s a sweet little Wednesday Addams-style dress I’m working on next. And about four saved drafts that I want to post. I suppose that means I’m back on blogging! Later!
My first Colette pattern! Considering I wrote a guest post on the Colette blog before ever having completed one of their designs, I’d say it’s about time.
I can see why people like them so much! Easy pattern, clear instructions, cute results! I needed a low-risk pattern for this luscious jersey knit I bought back in 2006 while I was studying in Paris, giving it sentimental value. I had juuuuust enough yardage (er… pardon, métrage) to cut out the Moneta, so any f-ups and I’d be an inconsolable heap on the floor.But I found success! I lengthened the waist by about an inch and took a bit out of each armhole and it fits like a glove. I might have been able to finish the entire thing in a weekend, but with the 90-degree days we’ve been having in Seattle, I can only handle so much time in my hot sewing room. Did the collar call for a 3/8″ seam allowance? I used the usual 5/8″ and it turned out a bit narrow, requiring occasional adjustment to keep it looking flat and neat. NBD.
I was hoping to learn how to use a double needle for the hem, but for the life of me, I could not get it to look right. Take a look at my practice scrap…If it looks like nothing but a jumbled mess to you, exactly. I changed the bobbin tension, upper thread tension, stitch length, pressure foot pressure and could not get that god damn tunneling effect to flatten out, no matter how many tutorials I went through. Almost every one mentioned the zigzag stitch as an alternative, with the caveat that it would make my garment “look handmade.” Why are we serious crafters so worried about our handmade items looking handmade? I USED A ZIGZAG AND MY DRESS LOOKS GREAT!
You know how sometimes, you’re doing some interneting (inebriated or not), and you see something that requires a second look? Sewing patterns are GREAT for that. Here are some patterns that just did not compute at first glance.
Admit it, when you saw the girls on the Butterick pattern above, another image came to mind:
Creeped out yet? How about this creepy AF pattern?
Try imagining this: you arrive late at your AirBnB and go straight to bed. Later, you wake up and go snooping around at night only to see a bunch of kids standing in the corner. CREEPED OUT NOW?!?! I give this pattern a NO THANK YOU.
Moving along…dododododooo….just some boxers…
Ok, so I did see an armless, headless female torso that only a serial killer would appreciate.
Her head can be found on the censored version, not doubt designed to appeal to prudish American sensibilities:
This next one made my stomach drop as I was scrolling:
OH GOD NO YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT!!!!
Sometimes I just don’t immediately get what the concept is meant to be. What is this girl holding? A potato? And how is she holding it with her fingertips like that?
Now I see it. DUH, it’s a mid-hit paddleball with a red ball RIGHT OVER THE GIRL’S RED SHOE. Ughhhhhh….why did this shot make the envelope and WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME SO MUCH THAT THEY DID?!!!
Here’s a secret (not really) for you: you can make the vest yourself with vintage Simplicity 9261 (figure out how to make the baskets by Googling “crochet baskets tutorial,” natch). Realized halfway through that if I had lined the white lining to make it less transparent, I could have made a reversible vest (DUH!!). Please take advantage of my lesson learned.
More important to me than having my own Etsy store/clothing line is to encourage people to just make stuff. The ability to make things with my hands feels so freeing from the constant temptation to buy buy BUY. Although some might argue that I’ve only concentrated my blatant consumerism to a particular interest (I did recently admit to having almost 400 sewing patterns), I do find it easier to keep my money in my pocket when I’m out shopping with friends when focusing on finding sewing inspiration, therefore giving less of my money to some rich homophobe and/or encouraging the cycle of exploitative labor. It’s my way of fighting for the Big Issues in my small, individual way.
That being said, I also feel that sometimes a person just wants to see what a garment looks like IRL before jumping in and sewing. In my fantasy world, I would be able to shop off the rack AND sewing patterns at the same time. WOULDN’T THAT BE AWESOME??!!! Imagine all the times you’ve tried something on and it fits great but is made from the most awful print. What if, next to the rack is the same pattern on sale so you can sew it up instead? The closest realization of this fantasy I could find is The Makehouse in Victoria, B.C. which holds a sewing pattern borrowing library and is making physical samples of the patterns for folks to thumb through (WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT??).
Basically, I just want to be transparent about how I make what I make. I’m a librarian by trade (if not in practice at the moment), and we’re all about the beauty of sharing. We’re also all about navigating fair use.
If you’re left wondering whether or not selling a vest made from a vintage Simplicity pattern is copyright infringement, I would argue that my decidedly non-legal but informed research shows it is not (at least in the States):
…copyright protection for the designs of useful articles is extremely limited. The design of a useful article is protected under copyright “only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”
– Statement of the United States Copyright Office before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat072706.html#N_13_
A more readable interpretation of patterns and copyright is provided by the University Libraries of the Ohio State University. I encourage you to read more if copyright fascinates you as much as it does me.
I just love making shit. It’s pretty much all I ever want to do. I love matching a fabric with a pattern or choosing a yarn or finding some cool beads at a thrift store. I love watching my hands create something useful and pretty. And I want to share that with as many people as possible, whether it’s through encouraging others to create for themselves or making something for someone else to enjoy. Sewing is way more important to me than selling. So, hopefully through Etsy and this blog I can give someone the motivation to start being a producer instead of simply a consumer. At the very least, I have a virtual space that allows me to just keep going about my nerdy endeavors.
After god knows how many cumulative years of experience making things with my hands, I am now FINALLY trying to capitalize on my “gifts.” JK– working this new seamstress job over at Wai-Ching has invigorated my creativity. I’ve feared that turning what I love into a job would make me start to hate what I love and really the opposite has happened. So I welcome you to my little etsy shop: JonnieAnnaliese. I’ll keep adding items about as haphazardly as I post to this blog. Please use ANNASFRIENDS for a 10% discount!
/shameless self promotion over
Here is my first finished project to be created under my previously invented STOUT tag (Sewing Things Only Using Tractables). As I start blossoming into a shacked up 30-year-old, I blossom into my midlife body as well. So I’m trying to spend the next few projects focusing on elastic waistlines, drawstrings, roomy ensembles, etc. that can follow me anywhere! Because what else am I going to do– cut down on beer? AHAHAHAHAHHHHAAAAAA YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL
Anyway, this is a lovely buttery soft jersey from my last Fabric.com binge. I made the dress for a very stylish wedding I attended in LA a few weeks ago for a very stylish friend from grad school at a very stylish brewery in Glendale, where many guests consisted of stylish creatives so I really felt the best look I could hope for is “fits and is comfortable.” Luckily, in more casual situations, I can definitely pass for stylish. Or, with the right stilettos, a well-educated suburban principal on her way to church. I haven’t stopped creating dress personas since I finished The Secret Lives of Dresses.
Construction could not have been easier. The fraternal twin pieces of the lining and the fabric are sewn together for the elastic casing (no need for silly fabric casings!). I realize details aren’t easily seen through the lens of a blog, but the reason I think this is a STOUT staple is because the casing is placed low on the dress so you can hike it up to where it sits comfortably on you and the bodice will drape over the casing to conceal the elastic. Nice touch, McCalls!
I use my serger on knits as much as I can since I don’t like the stretch stitches on my regular machine, but the hem is hand sewn. For anyone interested in sewing with knits, this would make a great beginner pattern.
The tricky part was my original idea to add pockets. Now I have to file it away in my sewing memory database that slippery knits make slippery pockets. The pockets were a constant burden as they were never really IN the dress and would often fall out with my hand. Maybe it’s the dark taupe color of the fabric or the way I just described it but, there was something about the pockets that reminds one of certain gratuitously ill-lighted anatomy slides.
I just didn’t want to have to keep adjusting a sloppy pocket on each hip. What girl would?
You can see my new pocket-free confidence shine through.
On a final note, I just love to include little tidbits about my photographer/stylist/muse/stinkface. A few months ago, on the way to something or other, Emily wondered out loud When am I going to see some snails? As night fell and we were walking home, I said “Maybe you’ll see a sna—” CRUNCH. Emily hadn’t exactly seen it, but instead can say she’s stepped on a snail. Which is something I cannot allege. After taking this post’s photos (ON LOCATION OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT BUILDING), I saw a snail in the garden and Emily yelled “SHOW ME WHERE IT IS” before she would walk through so she didn’t step on it. He survived.
Soooooo….does anyone else own enough patterns to necessitate pattern cataloging?
Considering there is an app for that, I take that to mean I am not alone in the struggle for premium pattern organization. I purchased the original Sewing Kit app about two weeks before the HD version was released. Not only did that leave me a little bitter that my $9 was wasted on an “old” app, but I also wasn’t impressed with it enough to convince me to drop another $9 for the HD version. And from the looks of it, the HD version isn’t too great, either.
I’ve looked at the ways others have adapted database systems to suit their pattern cataloging needs. Virtual organization could simply come down to personal preference. Sarai at Coletterie uses Tap Forms, Lula Louise has her system using Evernote, neither of which appeal to me for no good reason at all (mostly, that I don’t want to spend a lot of time cataloging and I can never remember my Evernote password).
Instead, I use Pinterest and now the world knows I own at least 385 sewing patterns (I’m sure I missed one or two).
My cataloging system is fairly rudimentary in that the main appeal of this system is pretty pictures. Plus, I didn’t have to take any of my own photos– I just Pinned from the pattern company’s page, etsy or the Vintage Patterns Wikia.
What I like best about my virtual catalog is the ease with which I can match my inspiration with its coordinating pattern. Just type in the pattern number, limit the results to My Pins, and any Pin matching that (usually) unique number will pop up and I can scroll through ideas for that pattern, even if I Pinned it on another Board.
For example, if I search for “5894,” for Butterick 5894, and limit the results to Your Pins…
…the Pin from the Patterns I Own Board appears as well as a similar dress that I Pinned to another Board and labelled as 5894 and I can look at both at once.
What if I want to search for particular garments? Since Pinterest doesn’t have an option to filter search results to just one Board, I labeled the patterns using plurals (“dresses”) with the assumption that most of the Pins on my other Boards are labeled singularly (“dress”) and will thus not show up in my search results.
Here is a visual: searching for “dress”
Searching for “dresses”
The Pinterest system only works OK for garments with no singular such as, say, “pants.”
Regardless, I like that I’m not limited to the usual categories. I can create my own labels, such as “open source” (y’all know your BurdaStyle patterns are Open Source, correct?) and scroll through those.
It’s nowhere near a perfect system, but considering how much time I spend on Pinterest, at least I can gain from the convenience of my pattern catalog being in the same virtual space. What I really want is a LibraryThing type website & coordinating app for all sewing patterns– new, vintage, and out-of-print. You could make lists of patterns you have, you want, that you’ve made, see pictures of what others have made, tag them…I really should have taken that app class in grad school.
I hope that is helpful to someone out there! And please let me know if I can explain any better (my writing skills have gone downhill since writing my FORTIETH cover letter).
Any pattern hoarders out there want to share your cataloging system? Or try to convince me of the greatness of Evernote? I’m open to convincing.
I’ve been suffering from a case of the old writer’s block– the antidote of which seems to be WRITE! OR DON’T! As I’ve been doing so much of the latter, that has left me with time to finish some other creative projects.
The beret– a classic hat, easy to knit, and only takes a little finagling to get that perfect I-Just-Threw-This-Thing-On type of slant. The pattern actually called for blocking the thing on a plate, thus once again subjecting my SO to the mysteries of crafting (actual quote: “sooooo, why is there a wet hat on a plate?”). After all, a beret is basically just a slouchy plate on your head.
I was originally planning on knitting this beret in a novelty knit I got on sale at Joann, but decided to go a little sleeker with the Sahara in Natural. Probably the most exotic hair I’ve worked with to date, it is listed as 65% Camelhair and 45% Merino (wait, that doesn’t add up). The family friend who gifted it also gave me a skein containing Yak! These are the things knitters get excited about.
A former roommate abandoned the not-quite-neon-green yarn along with a pair of needles and Vogue Knitting Quick Reference (!!!). At least I assumed she relinquished her knitting supplies when she moved out, but there’s no need to start questioning that now. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t know what the yarn is.
As happy as I am to be back in the Pacific Northwest, I do miss the occasional celebrity sighting that I got in LA. I’ll be returning in May for a wedding but like true love, celebrities never appear when you are searching for them. Sigh. At least I can experience a similar moment of EEP! when I am looking through vintage sewing patterns. I never watched Lizzy Maguire, but I do own a few patterns from Hilary Duff’s McCalls line. It is really hard to imagine some of the newer Disney princesses designing a line of sewing patterns. But looking at some vintage patterns, I guess it wasn’t quite so unusual to see familiar faces in the catalogs at Joann. Surely most vintage-pattern enthusiasts have seen a Brooke Shields pattern or two: Lauren Hutton shows up pretty often as well: Christie Brinkley had a line of Simplicity patterns that are just-eighties-enough to look retro and not too dated: Then again, some are extremely eighties: If you are in the market for extremely eighties patterns, look no further than the Dynasty line: Of course, Diana Ross works in any decade: Never forget… The eighties do seem to dominate when it comes to celebrified sewing patterns. The earliest example I could find was this one, with Loretta Young playing the part of the perfect sixties Catholic many in her day
pretended to be (OOF– my apologies, I never knew the rest of the story): Marie Osmond represents the seventies with this I’m-Taking-A-Women-Studies-Class-at-Cornell look: Kathy Ireland brings it into the new millennium with this pattern from The Year 2000: Oh and, according to the envelope, the new millennium does not consider bag E to be a fanny pack, but a “body contour bag.” When in LA, there are also times you THINK you see someone famous, but your eyes deceive you. Sometimes it’s just someone very good looking, and others are just a visual trick. Once, when Emily’s mom was visiting, I convinced myself Penny Marshall was walking into the restaurant where we were lunching. I get really excited when visitors get the chance to see the famous. It was bright outside, so her face was hard to see, but the hair, the gait. Definitely her. I wanted to wait until she entered the restaurant to point her out. A young woman with a clipboard (CLEARLY her assistant) left the car first and waited by the door. Finally, she walks in and…is not Penny Marshall. Oh well. Other times you’re just not paying attention. There was the time Norm from Cheers was sitting behind me at a bar. Emily spotted him and took a stealthy picture of me. I was like “why did you take a picture of me on my phone?” because I’m vain or something. Then, she was like, no, look BEHIND YOU. Anyway, back to the patterns. If you look at this one with the corner of your eye, it SORRRRTA looks like Jennifer Lawrence (or am I pulling a Jon Stewart?) Corey Feldman?!?!– oh no, that’s a woman. Is that Taylor Swift picking her butt?Then there’s the mystery Tommy Lee Jones pattern. This is the only picture I have and I can’t confirm the number (but it does look like the Simplicity logo). The etsy seller has listed the item as unavailable. Does it actually exist? Is it really him? What do you think? Can this one count as a Sewing Pattern Celebrity Sighting? Anyone I’m missing?
EDIT: I was recently pointed to the mystery TLJ pattern. It’s Simplicity 9994 from 1981, but I’m not totally convinced it’s him. Even for the eighties, the guy on the pattern doesn’t quite have the same juts on his jowls. But Maybe? IS IT HIM???
Before I get started, I want to let y’all know I recently did a tongue-in-cheek guest post titled How to Prevent DIY Anxiety for Coletterie. Welcome, new readers! And thanks to Sarai for taking a chance on a little-known vanity blogger. I’ll let the conversation on that piece continue on Coletterie because today I wanted to talk about the chubs. I feel so cliché when I talk about my weight. I also find it next to impossible to actually just talk about my weight without advice, reiterated diet myths, or being told I’m not fat as if that was all I was looking for (I realize it’s well-intentioned). It is of course, not the end of life as I know it. I realize I’m still the person I am, no matter what size. I’m also not a lazy public health crisis. I don’t feel unattractive to my partner or ugly. I do admit being humbled when, as a thinner person, I extolled the virtues of confident double-digit-sized women, and then find myself thinking too long and too hard about that unflattering angle a photo caught me in. To be honest, I knew it was coming and I’m not interested in trying to stop the tide. I’m perfectly happy with my life and I’m not going to waste my time counting calories and running on a boring-ass treadmill. I already tried that anyway and I hated it far more than I hated finding another dress I was unable to zip. It’s just a fucking dress, now hand me a scotch and some chips.
That being said, I feel like I’ve developed a strange deterrent from starting a new sewing project. Why spend the time, energy, and (already spent) money on a new dress, only to outgrow it after only a few wears? Which seems very counterintuitive at first. Sewing is supposed to be a way for a person to create clothing for an individual shape. So surely, I hold an advantage as a sewist in that I don’t find myself sized out of some brand that doesn’t believe in the mythical being called the Size Twelve. But, mind blown, no matter how great my hand-hemmed, fit-adjusted-three-times, waist-nipping dress fit over the months I was creating it, after a year and a few more pounds, it no longer fits. Now, I have to not only think about the fit in the present, but also the fit a hypothetical twenty pounds from now. My usual hourglass style doesn’t work so well without the hourglass shape.
At the same time, though, I’m surprised at how much of a relief it is. Like I said, I knew Getting Fat was my genetic and/or cultural destiny and now that I’m no longer delaying the inevitable, it’s actually a little freeing. Like I’ve spent the last fifteen years as a fat wolf in a thin sheep’s clothing (yes, I was the Fat Friend, and no, I am not getting into that on the Internet). So now I’m a chubster and I’m still happy. Happier. And I secretly feel like a badass when I wear something I “shouldn’t” and don’t make any excuses for it. I imagine all the times I pointed out flaws in myself for doing things like Sitting While Wearing Pants and try to imagine what I thought would happen if I didn’t say anything. Did I expect someone to say it for me? Wouldn’t that make the Fat Fink the jerk? Hyperbole aside, others are fatter than me and others are thinner than me, so who cares? My weight is my business.
But, with this new-found fat awakening, I still care about comfort. So bring on the elastic waists! In fact, I’m planning on spending 2015 Sewing Things Only Using Tractables (new tag: STOUT). I might need to work on that acronym. But I’m trying to be more open to seeing the potential in the non-fitted.
If you ask me, this is a prime example of look-at-the-technical-drawing-not-the-illustration. Look at that envelope! It looks like a fever dream set in an 80’s office!
But there was something about the pencil skirt and the black a-line skirt that caught my eye. Pencil skirts have always been uncomfortable to me, but I can’t resist the sexy secretary look. A pencil skirt with stretchy sides, though? In a print to take the edge off the elastic waist? BOOM
No zipper necessary, making this an excellent beginner pattern. PLUS, only one yard of 60″ wide fabric. The print fabric has a bit of a stretch, which also helps the comfort quotient. Can’t get enough of this skirt!
Bonus points, it’s the skirt version of a hat I made for my dad.
The pattern includes a kick-pleat in the back, but I decided to sew it up “for that streamlined look” (don’t know why that requires quotes, but it felt right).
Looking at these pictures, you can see exactly on the seam where I decided “Screw the kickpleats!” so I might go back and readjust the back seams to make it a little more consistent (that’s not being perfectionist, right? Just detailed?). My S.O. assisted me in the photography for this post and of course, as I’m looking through the images, I come across this number:
I get the help I ask for.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to making the a-line version. Highly recommend! It’s just about as comfy as a new set of slippers…
Not much more to say here than what I said the first time I made these. I do have to say the marled look was not the original plan and instead a happy result of Shopping My Stuff. Didn’t quite have enough of any one yarn to knit these and used two instead. I’m loving my new (relatively) frugal self.
Since I’ve never been good at conclusions, especially when I start writing about something as personal and contentious as weight, I’ll simply offer a St. Paddy’s Day toast: To a cozy STOUT year!