2013

2013(Yep, I know, this is not what I usually do. But I loved My Little Pony when I was a kid!)

Yep, this is the end of the year and as many of us have done, it’s time to recap. I could honestly sort my projects in a very detailed way, like a post for every sewing/knitting/failed projects but I don’t feel like. As much as sewing and knitting have an important place in my life and sanity, this would not reflect this year.

I ended 2012 with a very nasty food poisoning, stuck all evening between the bathroom and the bedroom. As I wake up the next day, very weak, litterally empty, I had that amazing feeling that 2013 would be my year. And that I will finally get a job. Don’t ask me why or how, I just felt that way for a few days, I have no idea where this certainty comes from, but that was a great feeling. And fact is, 2013 has been quite a good year. Lots of things happened.

In 2013, thanks to a wonderful organization, I gained back my confidence and kept believing there is a workplace that will fit me and my unusual professional background. I met a handful of people who believed in me and pushed me in that direction.
I made a few friends. I finally took some American accent pronunciation class and I no longer need to repeat myself when I ask for half (20 years to learn the ‘l’ is silent. I can’t believe it!) a yard of fabric.
One of my close friends moved to the Bay Area and now lives 2 miles away from my place while we’ve always been living in very different places and countries. I spent the morning with her at the DMV, I am her lucky star, she finally got her driving license (after several attempts).
A couple of friends got married, it was a very beautiful wedding, the kind that makes you think how lucky they are to have such great friends and family. My cousin is expecting a baby for next April, the very first baby in my family, and I want to spoil that kid very badly!
Bad things happened too, unfortunately. My neighbour was murdered, it still upsets me. And one of my friends had her cancer returned. These unfortunate events made me realize how everyday moment is so important and helped me to put things into perspective.
I finally got back to work and though this is not my dreamjob and it’s temporary, I am thankful for that major change and feel really lucky. For the first time in my life, I work for a woman, a contractor (just like me), and I like it. It feels great to have a boss who knows what it is to be in my shoes!
In 2013, I also survived the Death Valley. I found out I like eating Brussels sprouts. I went back to the gym and became a gym junkie. I discovered Bloglovin (I guess it’s never too late to discover the magic of Internet!) and started using Kollabora. I got my Green Card. I watched all the new seasons of Doctor Who. And I still want a cat badly.

kitty1How can you resist this cutie?

That’s for my very personal 2013 recap. Now let’s have a look at my crafts.
I am very proud to say I made lots of progress and now my clothes don’t look like there are handmade. I mean they don’t have these unequal finitions, fit issues, weird choice of colour/fabric. My recent projects look like they could have come from a store. But it still takes me a long time to create them. I am definitely a slow sewist (sewing French seams takes much longer than finishing with a serger, and I still need to alter to fit my body…)
My knitting skills have increased too. I completed a lace project without any major issue! Yay for me! I feel like I could learn so much more, I want to go more technical, more challenging. I just bought a book to create your own pattern, let’s see if I can creat anything out of it.

I sewed 17 projects, including 1 jacket, 1 skirt, 5 dresses but 4 have fitting issues :S (the one I am wearing tonight hasn’t been photographed yet), 4 t-shirt (Renfrews!), 4 tops, 0 pants/shorts and 1 vest for Mr Hubby. I also finished 1 handbag project started a long time ago.
I knitted 1 pair of socks (for Mr Hubby, sigh), 3 cardigans (including 1 for Mr Hubby), 2 vests/tanks, 1 beret, 1 stole, 1 cowl and 1 baby cardigan (no pictures taken yet for the last two).

My favorite projects were:
– my asymmetric jacket! Of course, this is one of my last project, so it comes first in the list! I wear it all the times, it’s perfect!

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– The Ginny’s cardigan (another very recent project!). Same as the jacket, I am wearing it a lot (anyway, it’s so cold at my workplace that it’s either the Parcel sweater or this cardigan!). I am just a bit disappointed by the quality of the wool (Cascade 220 sport).

IMGP9786– even though I didn’t wear it much this year (that’s what happen when you are always 6 months behind any trend), I look forward to warmer days to wear my Datura blouse. IMGP8968– another project I didn’t wear much (too late in the season) but I look forward to wear it again is the cable back shell vest. Sure, I hated knitting it but it’s very nice to wear.IMGP8984– in 2013, I also sew and knit for Mr Hubby! I am very proud of the vest he wore for the wedding of his friend. I have some fabric remaining and I am thinking about sewing a vest for me too 🙂like a sir

Now, on my not-so-great list…
I am very frustrated with my versions of the Cambie dress and Belladone dress. Major fitting issues. Huge lesson learnt. Now I need to find time to correct my mistakes and re-do it correctly.
I made several bad choices for my knitting projects. I picked the wrong wool for the Saturn cardigan (grr), the Chicane cardigan and for the Seashell tank (and my modifications were a bit funky for this last one). But hey, you live and learn!

Overall, 2013 has been a good year, and I look forward to see what 2014 will bring. More awesome projects, more people, more challenges, more adventures!
Wishing you all the best for this Happy New Year! 🙂

Claire

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The asymmetric jacket

Hey there!

You may remember me talking a few weeks months ago about sewing a jacket, biker style (I wrote “perfecto” which is how this style is called in French, and since then I realized it means something really different in English. Forget about the cigars, and let’s talk about jacket!). I finally made it! I finished it during the Thanksgiving holiday and have been wearing it since then, very proud of myself 🙂 It is by far the more advanced item I sewed.

IMGP9829Tada!

Yep yep yep! The fit is great, it looks good on me and it’s made of grey wool, just like I wanted! 🙂

Lucky me, about a week after I finished the muslin, the quilting store close to my home had an amazing sale. They sold an important stock of wool fabric they had in a warehouse(yes, it’s a quilting store with an amazing selection of quilting fabrics and sewing machines [ask Odile ;)] but they also have a small selection of apparel/fashion fabric of pretty good quality), 50% off or more. I came home with a lovely camel wool for the jacket ($20/yd instead of $40/yd), but also a beautiful Italian wool challis for an Anna dress (50% off too, and I think the original price was about $60/yd!!!). It was worth waiting! But the dowside of having such a beautiful and great quality fabric was analysis paralysis. I was so afraid to do a mistake and waste the wool that I thought a lot before cutting every piece of pattern! :S

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As for the pattern, I picked Burda pattern #116 from the March 2012 issue. You may already know that, I don’t like Burda. The fit is not great on me, the instructions are unbearable (too much text, no explanatory sketch), some unecessary details. And you need to add the seam allowance before to cut 😦 But to my own surprise, this time the fit was great, I picked the last size, a 42 while I am a 40. Still, I skiped most of the explanation. Since I wanted to be able to wear a sweater with the jacket (my Parcel sweater has been used as a reference), I did a few minor alterations:

  • I removed the front dart, because it was unecessary. I don’t need it. Unfortunately, I realized it too late and had to recut and resew the lining :S
  • The sleeves and the bodice are 0.5″ longer (almost the right length! :)),
  • No pocket. I was afraid putting my hands in the pockets would deform the wool,
  • I added ease to the lining. For this, I highly recommend you to read this from University of Kentucky. All these informations are unvaluable.

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The result is great, and I am very happy since I put a lot of effort in details and construction. Every seam is top-stitched (that was the only way to get wool seams lay flat), including the lining (made of cotton fabric and polyester for the sleeves). I added a piping to contrast with the lining. The sleeves slits are modified, they are closed with a fake lapel and buttons.

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All these details took me a lot of time, but one really drove me crazy: the 18″ detachable grey zipper. I looked everywhere in the Bay Area but couldn’t find anything in any store (well, apparently I forgot to check one place). I finally found the perfect zipper at Zipperstop (great service. A family business established in New York. The bill was hand-written, I haven’t seen that in a really long time).

This jacket is so nice to wear, I can wear sweaters, pants, skirts with it and it still look nice enough to go to work. I love love love this jacket. The only detail that bothers me is my bare neck but that’s just a good excuse to wear a scarf or to knit a cowl 🙂

IMGP9796One last picture to enjoy the details!

Happy Monday to all of you and thumbs up for Mister Hubby who took really good pictures today!

Analysis paralysis

Definition: State of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome
Example: Mr Hubby playing tactical boardgame and perfecting his strategy for the next 5 rounds. (I am barely exagerating)

I am the kind of person who lives in action, in movement. I move forward, I hate to feel stuck and worst, I hate to go backward. But sometimes, not very often, I got stuck in contemplation and I hate it. This is what is happening to me at the moment. I have so many projects in mind that I don’t know which one to pick and where to start.  So I’ll do what I usually do in this situation, I’ll write it down! Basically, I will share with you my inspiration / to-do list.

Let’s start with my knitting projects. That’s easy because I am pretty reasonable with that.

At the moment, I am knitting a pair of socks, the Herbology socks! Yes, Herbology like in Harry Potter! 🙂 Of course! Because the pattern comes from a little gem, the “Unofficial Harry Potter Knits” from Interweave, special issue 2013. Look at that! Lots of great projects!

Have you seen the cardigan in the cover (the Ginny’s cardigan)? This is my next project! This is so cute! (and I still need more cardigans in my wardrobe).

So as I told you, knitting is under control.

Sewing is a different story! I am crumbling under all the projects I would love to sew! I don’t knwo where to start and let’s face the truth, I don’t need so many dresses for the upcoming season! :S

First, there is the Anna dress from By Hand London. Beautiful dress either in long version or short version. Look at Tasia’s version! I like very much the short version, I am sure it would be great with my wax fabric coupon but at the moment, what I need is a fall dress, not a summer dress. No fabric in stash for it, so first I need to go fabric shopping 😦

(Source: By Hand London)

I have a jacket in boiled wool I need to refashion because it’s too big. Well, the size was not a problem back in France because I needed to wear big sweaters to not be cold, but since there’s nothing in California that we can call cold winter, I need to downsize it.

And speaking of refashion, the French readers might have heard from the last Thread & Needles’s challenge: the Extreme Sewing Makeover. I am usually not into challenges, but I am really tempted to participate to this one. And this is a real drama for me since I don’t know which cloth to refashion. I have a pencil Suede skirt that I would like to recycle. I have this lovely skirt that I wore just once for Christmas years ago. I have this shirt that doesn’t fit me. Arrgggg. I can’t reach any decision and this is driving me crazy!!! So I might just end up not participating :S

If you understand French, love sewing  and never heard of Thread & Needles, well, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!

I still have some copycat projects in mind. Ahem. Like the Pine all mine dress. Yeah, I know I first talked about it last year, some readers asked me for advices and patterns, and so far, ahem, I haven’t done anything. But I really want to sew it and I believe it’s not too complicated. I need some fabric, but first and foremost, I need to correct my Cambie dress muslin (remember my fitting problems, like I can’t expand my ribs when I sit??) because this will be the pattern to tweak.  So lots of work!

Modcloth has also released another beautiful dress, the Tea Time After Time Dress. While I am not a fan of the zipper construction and the poor design of the bow, I can totally see a little back dress in it. I could use New Look 6000 as a base pattern (which is a pattern I like a lot but haven’t buy yet) and tweak it a bit.

(Source: Modcloth)

I want a lovely jacket for the fall days. Something warm, comfy and fitted. In fact, I want a perfecto.

I fell in love with Clara’s look in one of Doctor Who’s episode and now want a perfecto. A grey one in wool (yeah, now it doesn’t have much to do with Clara’s one). And the good thing is: Burda has a lot of perfecto patterns. But the bad things is: Burda and I are not really good friends, I am afraid it would get messy.

Burda model 116, March 2012

So now you see the drama, how I am stuck between all these beautiful projects! I want to sew them all!! But I have limited time and only one machine and two arms! I think I will go for the perfecto first… Or maybe for the wool jacket refashion! I don’t know, we’ll see what will be my next post 😉

Edit: I made my decision: the next project will be the wool jacket, because morning are getting cooler, and also because my office is freaking cold!!!