Completed: Nurmilintu Scarf

My knitting output has really slowed, mostly due to the fact that I don’t knit it as often I as I used to.  So I’m kind of excited to have a finished knitting project to share.
Scarf

This is the Nurmilintu scarf.  It’s a free pattern, available on Ravelry.
Scarf

This is a pretty easy lace pattern.  It’s knit entirely in garter stitch, so there’s no purling.  The nice thing about this is that the scarf ends up reversible.

Scarf
Scarf

The pattern calls for sock weight yarn.  But I used lace weight held double. It’s Knit Picks shadow lace yarn in the Opal Heather colorway.  I’ve had this yarn in my stash for maybe 3 years, or more.

Scarf

In my pre-sewing days, I used to knit lace all the time.  So it was nice to go back and do a little lace knitting again.

Scarf

Completed: Lady Skaters

Hi!  It’s been a while. Sometimes after not blogging for a time, it feels awkward to break the silence and get back to posting.  So, rather than think about it too much, I’m just going to jump back in here with a couple of new dresses.
Lady Skater 1

A couple months ago, I was getting ready to pack for a trip to NYC.  Pretty last minute, I decided knit dresses would be a good addition to my travel wardrobe.  Enter the Lady Skater pattern. This is another one of those patterns that has been around the blogosphere for a while, but was new to me.  I’m sad I waited so long to try it.  It’s a great pattern and was easy to sew.

Lady Skater 1

I made two versions, one as drafted and one with a gathered skirt.  The fabrics for both came from my stash.  Unfortunately these are mystery fabrics because I can’t remember where I purchased them or exactly what kind of knits they are.

I sewed this gray dress first, and it is my favorite.  The knit is pretty thick and has good stretch recovery.  It’s like a high quality t-shirt.
Lady Skater 1

The only real problem with the dress is the is excess pooling at the back.  I plan to fix this next time I sew the pattern.
Lady Skater 1

I top stitched the neckline with my twin needle.  But, sadly my needle broke right after this, so dress #2 doesn’t have nice double top stitching.
Lady Skater

I also used clear elastic to stabilize the waist.  It works, but sometimes when I move, the seam allowance folds down, and the clear elastic feels itchy against my skin. I picked up some thin cotton-ish elastic in NYC that I’m going to try next time.

Lady Skater

ETA: Here’s a pic of the elastic I got.  I think it’s really for bras, but I’m going to try it anyway.

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For the second dress, I chose a green knit.  I’m not loving this one so much.
lady skater 2

The fabric is really stretchy, so the waist ended up sitting very low — even after I cut a couple inches off the bodice.   It’s also clingy and wants to show every lump and bump.

lady skater 2

To make the gathered skirt, I cut two wide rectangles and then gathered them using the clear elastic.
Lady Skater

Because this dress is clingy, I will probably always wear it with a sweater and tights. I like it much better covered up.
lady skater 2

Here’s a couple of flat shots of each.
Lady Skater
Lady Skater

Lady Skater
Lady Skater

I think I’m an official fan of casual knit dresses now.   These are comfy and were great for traveling.  I’ve definitely got plans to make a few more!

I Said a Hip Hop, Hippie to the Hippie, the Hip, Hip a Hop…

So, the Blog Hop.  You’ve seen it around lately.  Well, the lovely and talented Margo from Creating in the Gap kindly nominated me a few weeks back.  (Thanks Margo!)  But being the procrastinor that I am, I’m just now getting around to writing my own Blog Hop post.

Around the Studio

~ I wasn’t quite sure what photos to use for this post. So I snapped some shots from what’s currently happening in my studio. ~

Why Do I Write?

I started my blog during the Sew Colette sewalong in 2012.  I really enjoyed participating in that challenge, and it made me realize I wanted a place to keep track of my progress, and an avenue to connect with others in the online sewing community.  I’m also naturally a shy person, so blogging was a way to push my boundaries I guess you could say.

From a more technical standpoint, the blogging platform gives me a place to write for myself.  My work involves a lot of writing.  But it’s never in my voice.  So this lets me practice a different writing style.

Around the Studio

~Projects lined up on my shelf and waiting for attention.~

What am I working on now?

Right now, I’m sewing a pleated skirt, using Butterick 5613.  The next big project I have planned is Vogue 1419, aka the Ralph Rucci coat.

Around the Studio

How does my blog differ from other sewing blogs?

Content wise, I don’t think my blog is wildly different from a typical sewing blog.  I make stuff and then post about what I’ve made.   Sometimes I do tutorials.  I’ve got a career that I love (and that supports my sewing habit), so I have zero interest in turning my blog or my sewing into a job or business.  But I admire the ladies that are doing this!  I think it’s gutsy and awesome that they are working hard to bring more options to our sewing tables.

Around the Studio

~The Butterick 5613 skirt in progress.~

One thing I’ve made a conscious effort to do with my blog is to leave negative body talk out.  I had an experience in a sewing class where several women spoke poorly about themselves and others, and it was exhausting to listen to after a while. So, when I write, I try not to talk about my body (or anyone else’s) in a negative way.  To be clear, I don’t think sewing bloggers are sending out bad messages regarding body image – in fact I think it’s the exact opposite!  It’s because of sewing and the blogging community that I’ve developed a much healthier attitude towards my own body.  No longer do I go into a dressing room and pull on a pair of ill-fitting pants and think the problem is my legs, or butt, or whatever. Now I diagnose the problem as an issue with the pants.

Around the Studio

~The Vogue 1419 coat pattern waiting to be traced and muslined. ~

How does my writing process work?

My process is very unstructured.  If I’m in the mood to write, and if I’ve got pictures, I’ll draft a post.  I never write in the morning.  Usually it’s later at night or occasionally on a weekend afternoon.  I don’t write posts in advance.  And I don’t have a schedule for how often to post, or a plan for what topics to write about.  As for picture taking, that’s also pretty lax.  I use a tripod and will either take pics in the morning if I have time, or in the evening after work if I feel up to it.  I suppose this makes me a bad blogger, but it doesn’t bother me.

I think that I used to write more “in progress” type posts.  But over the past few months, I’ve moved towards Instagram for that type of content.  So if you want, feel free to follow me there.  My username is marrieb.  :)

As for the nuts and bolts of my writing, I typically look through my photos and flag/edit the ones I think I want to use.  Then I write the text of my post.  After that, I go back and insert the pictures.  Nothing earth shattering here.  :)

Around the Studio

~An abandoned knitting project.  It’s a cardigan, that just needs the second sleeve.~

My Nominations.

Because it took me a while to get to this post, and because the Blog Hop has made the rounds pretty well, I think I’m going to skip the nominations.  I know, lame.  :{

So, instead tell me, what’s currently on your sewing table?

Around the Studio

~Mine is stacked with fabrics and notions from my trip to NYC.  I need to serge the edges and wash these so I can put them away.~

Completed: V-Neck Emery Dress

Guess what, I made another Emery Dress hack!  I know, I’m surprising no one with this.

V-Neck Emery

But this dress is special because it’s NYC bound!

V-Neck Emery

Yep, next Saturday, I’ll be shopping in the garment district!  I’m so excited, and can’t believe the trip is only a week away! Broadway shows are also on our agenda, so I wanted to make a new dress to wear.

V-Neck Emery

For this version of Emery, I re-drew the neckline into a v-neck, and added the skirt from Simplicity 2444.

V-Neck Emery

I found the fabric at a local shop.  I’m pretty sure its 100% poly, but I liked the texture and color.

V-Neck Emery

Because the fabric is pretty heavy, I knew gathers wouldn’t work.  So that’s why I used the Simplicity 2444 skirt. Now that the dress is finished, I’m wondering how a half-circle skirt would have looked.  I also made a tie belt, but am not sure if I like it.

V-Neck Emery

I stabilized the v-neck with twill tape, and it worked well.  It doesn’t gape, which is nice.

V-Neck Emery

I kept the finishes pretty simple.  The bodice is lined per the Emery instructions.  I finished the armholes by sewing them on my machine using this method from Colette patterns.

V-Neck Emery
V-Neck Emery

I also used lace hem tape.  I haven’t used this stuff in a while and I forgot how easy it is.

V-Neck Emery

The other bonus to this fabric is that it’s wrinkle resistant, and with the crinkly texture, any wrinkles it does get won’t really show.  So it will pack well.  Speaking of packing, I’m trying to plan strategically so I have enough room in my bag to bring fabric home!

V-Neck Emery

Along those lines, does anyone have tips or suggestions for the garment district?  I’m putting together a list of stores and a list of fabrics I want to look for. I plan to wear comfy shoes and am prepared to be overwhelmed – hopefully in a good way! :)

*Also, if any locals feel like venturing out for some fabric shopping, shoot me an email, we’ll probably start at Mood around 10 a.m. on Saturday.*

Completed: Machine Repair Class

Whew, the past few days have been exhausting.  A couple months ago, I mentioned that I’d picked up an old sewing machine and was going to take a repair class.  Well, last week, the time finally came, I packed up my machine and flew to Portland for the class.

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Waiting for the plane. Security will give you a funny look when you travel with a sewing machine in your carry on.

It was a very intense three days.  I’m not very mechanical by nature, so I really had to pay attention.  The class was taught by Ray White, who is truly an expert when it comes to machine repair.  He’s also a great teacher.   I had so many lightbulb moments, and I feel like I actually understand how a sewing machine works now.  I’m also not afraid to open one up and poke around inside.

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Since I had flown in for the class I was only able to take one machine with me.  So on the last day of class, when we were set loose to practice what we’d learned, one of my fellow students lent me this old Singer to work on.

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It was pretty dirty inside when I started.

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But it cleaned up nicely, and it works!  This machine actually belongs to a charity thrift shop, so it will go back there, and hopefully now can bring in a little higher price than before.

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It’s hard to boil what I learned down to a few tips, but one thing I learned was the importance of a new needle.  You would be amazed — seriously amazed — at how important this one little thing can be.  So, before your next project, go put a new needle in your machine, it will thank you for it!