May 31, 2012

MMM'12: the end times

Day 31! Done!

I totally lost steam sometime last week, and never really managed to regain it. The reasons for my decline can be attributed to me running out of me-mades and the fact that I'm not terribly creative when it comes to mixing and matching, so anything I wore again would (and did) just end up being worn in the exact same way. Not terribly exciting or worth documenting for all posterity. The presumption there being that ANY of this is worth documenting for posterity. The jury's still out on that, I imagine. I don't particularly enjoy self-portraiture, but other than that aspect this whole thing was a really fun exercise.

Anyway, on to the much-anticipated conclusion of Me Made May '12, as documented by yours truly:

I can't remember if I skipped Monday the 21st or if I just wore something boring and didn't take a picture. Either way, by Tuesday I guess I was feeling creative, and decided to break out this amazing skirt I picked up a few years ago at Anthro. I don't wear it much because I don't have anything that really goes with it, but I thought my new Simplicity 1808 worked quite nicely. Add some pretty blue patent leather shoes and I've got myself an ideal outfit for any number of occasions. Most of which would involve leaving the house and interacting with actual grown-up humans, I suppose, but who has time for that?

May 22

Exhausted by all the pulled-together-ness of Tuesday's outfit, I took a much more casual approach to Wednesday. I figured it was time to give Chevron Renfrew (the second) a shot at life outside the closet. Turned out that I didn't actually care about the stripe mismatch on the shoulder that much, and one of the other mamas at preschool even told me I looked cute. Guess it's a keeper, after all.

May 23

I think on Thursday I actually did wear something me-made, but I didn't take a picture of what it was. Friday I didn't wear anything me-made, but I sewed up my wardrobe contribution for the week, which I then wore on Saturday and failed to photograph. Sunday was spent, as usual, in pajamas most of the day, and since Monday was a holiday- that day was too. That brings us to yesterday- Tuesday- which I totally thought was the 31st when I woke up. I wanted to wear my newest make again, but it was still in the laundry from Saturday so I threw it in the wash with the intention of changing into it to finish up the month. Then midway through the day I realized that it was in fact only the 30th, so I decided to just save my new top for today. And guess what? It's ANOTHER Renfrew!

May 31

I picked up this cool knit fabric months ago at the local fabric outlet and I've been saving it waiting for the perfect pattern to show off the open lacy weave. When time kept passing and I couldn't figure out what that perfect pattern might be, I finally decided to just cut into it already and used the Renfrew pattern that was still sitting on my cutting table from last week.

I did make a couple of modifications this time around. Inspired by Steph's post about neckline modifications, I widened and scooped out the front a little bit more and made a v back. This light and airy fabric felt like summer to me, and I thought a more open neckline would complement it well. I used Tasia's directions for the v-neck option to sew the neckband on, just flipped the front to the back. And I kept the waist band, but didn't want the sleeve bands this time around. Instead, I just folded the sleeve up twice to make a little cuff and stitched it down with a twin needle hem. I think it would have been cute to add a little button strap to the cuff, but I haven't gotten around to it and probably won't bother if I'm being perfectly honest.

Try it, it's fun!

So MMM'12 is done, and I'm calling it a success. I learned a lot about what I like and don't about the things that I've made, and will be retiring a couple of things to the scrap pile accordingly. I also managed to make one item a week, as pledged, and hope to continue busting through my stash. I didn't get to the dress that I have in the queue, but I will soon.

Big thanks to Zoe for organizing this. It's been so much fun to see so many bloggers all over the world sewing and showing off their creations this way. Can't wait for next time!

May 22, 2012


I'm convinced now that those I-Spy books must have been invented by a mom, who found herself inspired one day by the big ol' pile of crap she dumped from her handbag onto the floor:

I spy, in no particular order:

  1. One wallet.
  2. One toddler fork and one toddler spoon.
  3. Six assorted pens, 1.5 pencils. Don't bother asking to borrow a writing implement, however, as I'm confident that I would never be able to find you one.
  4. One tape measure.
  5. One (me-made) brown zip pouch. Stuffed to the gills with Advil, hair ties, cosmetics, Band-aids, pens (yes- more!), feminine hygiene products, etc. 
  6. Two eyeglass cases. Both naturally devoid of actual eyeglasses. Duh.
  7. One lip gloss (organic, strawberry). One Carmex click-stick. No fewer than three more lip treatments live in the aforementioned brown pouch.
  8. One fabric scrap.
  9. One pack of gum.
  10. One tin of ObamaMints (yes we CANdy).
  11. One hair tie.
  12. One Covergirl pressed powder compact. Possibly probably broken into a million-billion pieces.
  13. One receipt.
  14. One Babies 'R Us shopping membership card. Two kids and one million "no thank you's" later, they finally convinced me to just accept the damn thing.
  15. Three travel-size tissue packs.
  16. One toddler sock, unworn. To me, this is perhaps the most perplexing item in the mix. Why? Wha? Oh- nevermind.
  17. Two binder clips.
  18. One paperclip.
  19. One DSW postcard advertisement with a coupon for a free tote bag. I will not redeem this, nor would I ever carry the bag even if I did. But I had to put it in there, justincase- you know?
  20. One notebook to record my brilliant ideas for posterity. 
  21. A handful of panty-liners.
  22. A couple more panty-liners.
  23. Two business cards: one from small business development consultant guy and one from commercial real estate guy. I have a dream, yo.
  24. One atomizer of Poo-Pourri.
  25. One empty credit union ATM deposit envelope.
  26. One (possibly expired) coupon for Shredded Wheat. 
  27. Two (absolutely expired) JoAnn sale flyers. In a true money-saving coup, I managed to get on the mailing list twice. I just laugh maniacally to myself when I hear the ladies in line ahead of me say that they signed up a few months ago, but the coupons never come... mwahaha! I have them ALL!!
  28. One badge from the best burger joint in the area.
  29. One half-eaten roll of Tums.
  30. One envelope full of coupons, shopping lists.
  31. One (relatively) small pile of garbage, dirt, crumbs.

Sadly, I did not invent a million-dollar book/game/puzzle enterprise via this exercise. I did, however, score a brand-new super cute (blue) leather handbag at the thrift store for $15. That'll have to do.

What's in your bag?

May 19, 2012

MMM'12 week three recap

And so it goes. Week three of MMM'12 done. More fun with PicMonkey had. Such an exciting life I lead!

Monday, May 14: nice and sunny. I pulled out a refashioned shirt from a Spring Top Week of yore. Yes, it used to be Spring Top Week, not the month-long extravaganza that it is now. But I digress. I paired my former man-shirt with some comfy cropped khakis and basic sandals for that laid-back, beachy vibe. I project serenity and effortless beauty, no?

Anyway, this top is okay. Despite the way it looks in the photo below, it's relatively well fitted and I don't feel like a total slob in it. Although the elastic gathers in the sleeves really do start to bug me by evening time. A nice plush elastic would be nicer, or a casing perhaps. I do like the slightly wider neckline and the keyhole, and overall I think this one's alright. Not a contender for MVP, but a healthy member of the team nonetheless.

cross process effect + photo corners

Tuesday I had a doctor appointment to get a lump in my breast checked out. I was down to only two tops and a skirt before I had to break out the repeats, and one of the tops (worn below) needs to be safety pinned to my bra straps to avoid wardrobe malfunctions. Didn't think that would be terribly convenient considering my day's agenda. The other top I don't really like and may never wear again, and the skirt needs a post-partum adjustment. So, RTW it was. No biggie, it was still early enough in the week that I knew I could still meet my three-day-a-week goal. Also: I had an ultrasound, I'm totally fine. It's likely just a plugged milk duct or maybe just a normal bumpy part of me. Nothing to be concerned about. Phew!

Which brings us to Wednesday and the aforementioned top. This is a chocolate brown copy of a RTW knit top that I own (and wear the hell out of) in black. I did some miscalculations on the pattern for the copy, and I ended up with a really wide neckline, hence the safety pins. I should really add some of those lingerie snaps to keep things together in a more official way, but for now I just slide a pin through the shoulder seam and over my bra strap. No more peekaboo straps! Despite this drawback, I wear this top all the time. Definite winner.

After realizing that my uniform seems to consist of one of three pairs of jeans every day with a different knit top, I decided to mix it up a little bit and pulled out a skirt. It's a basic A-line linen from Old Navy with a nice diagonal print. Add metallic bronze gladiator-esque sandals and I look relatively well pulled together. You would never know that I spend my day cleaning up spit-up and tripping on blocks.

urbane effect + paper scrap overlay

Thursday was spent lounging with Lincoln, who had been up half the night coughing up a lung. I actually did wear my me-made brown jersey Pina top (my first repeat!), but I paired it with holey black yoga pants and my slippers, and never ventured further than the back yard that day. I did not document that outfit for posterity, you'll just have to use your imagination.

I was able to get in a little bit of sewing time Thursday afternoon while Lincoln was passed out in a drug-induced coma slumbered peacefully, and I decided to revisit the Renfrew. I used half of one of the pieces of knit that I bragged about yesterday and used the same scoop neck as the chevron versions, but added three-quarter sleeves. And I know everyone in the sewing world has already said it, but I will too: this is simply an awesome pattern. It's quick, basic without being totally boring, and so versatile.

I did the same frankensizing this time that I did before, cutting a four everywhere except the front bust area, which I cut at an eight. The sleeves I cut in a six. This fabric is much more stable than the soft jersey that I used before, but I still think the fit is pretty much perfect. There will be more Renfrews in my future, for sure.

And since Friday was a grey and chilly morning, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to wear my new creation. Back to my mama uniform of jeans, flats, and a knit tee. I did finally replace my hair dryer, but I did not put on lipstick. I don't even own anything that colorful. Thanks to PicMonkey though, I can pretend!

infrared effect + lip tint

So hooray! Three weeks down, two to go! And I did meet my goal this week; wearing me-made four days and adding one item to the arsenal. I'm still hoping to have a chance before the month is up to put together a dress, and I want to try to make a dent in that to-be-refashioned pile that is taking up so much space in my sewing room. I almost cut off the sleeve of one of the chevron Renfrews yesterday, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Four-thread serging is no fun to rip. And the fabric is so soft I know I will make a hole (or many). I'm going to try to wear one as-is and see if I can just get over it. The non-matching sleeves on the top I made this week don't bother me at all, but it is a much busier stripe. Oh well. Whatever. Onward!

Oh, and just in case you're wondering about the weekend- I often don't get out of my pj's until I (sometimes) shower around dinner time. I know, I know. No judgement! Of course, if we leave the house it's a different story, but the last couple weekends have been mostly pj days. And since I didn't participate in the Pyjama Party this time around, I have not been wearing anything me-made on Saturday or Sunday. Next time!

And again, if you want to see the un-weirded out versions of these photos, just click and be taken to the original on flickr.

May 18, 2012

Friday stream-of-consciousness

Another Friday means week three of MMM'12 is nearly in the bag. I'm almost out of me-made attire, so it's time for repeats and possibly some re-makes to get me through the rest of the month. I have a little ginormous stack of items in a to-be-refashioned basket that are either too big or too small or were formerly maternity wear that I think could be useful if I could ever get around to figuring out how to fix them (and then actually implement the fixes). There's even a pair of maternity jeans in there that are actually pretty cute, but they have that belly-band waist thing. I don't know if it would be crazy to just cut it off and try to make normal jeans from them? My frugality and my "I can sew that" attitude tend to get me in trouble in terms of parting with things that are maybe just better sent away...

On that note, turns out that there are plenty of people that are better at parting with their stashes than I am. I recently discovered the SewItsForSale yahoo group, and holy goldmine- it's awesome! I mostly just peruse the listings out of curiosity, but I caved the other day and scored a lot of 17+ yards of various knit fabrics for $30. That's a LOT of Renfrews, right there. And tees for Lincoln and Junebug too, of course. But first, a Renfrew:

This is high quality fabric- it's nice and thick with great recovery. This shirt feels a little like an Ace Bandage, actually, but it's snug in a good way and I can tell that it won't stretch all out of shape and bag out unattractively like some of the junky knits I've picked up at JoAnn can tend to do. The sweet little old lady (in my mind- we haven't met IRL) whose stash these came from obviously shopped at quality stores and probably paid much more than the $1.76(!)/yd that she charged me. Score! Anyway, you should absolutely go check out the Yahoo group- you do have to sign up to be a member- if you're into the idea of thrifting or estate sale-ing for fabric and patterns but don't want to actually leave your house to do it. There are also LOTS of nice fancy sewing machines for sale, and I've seen many that are brand new or very gently used but the owner decided to upgrade to an even fancier and more expensive version. This is no shady internet dealings, these are serious sewing ladies with good stuff! Wait, actually, don't check it out- that leaves more finds for me!

And speaking of the awesome online sewing community, I decided to try posting a classified ad on Pattern Review in search of an out-of-print pattern that I've had on my wish list for a while. Within a day, I was contacted by someone who was willing to part with their uncut copy, and she didn't charge me a dime (not even for shipping) to send it to me! Amazing! I'll have to find way to pass that love along somehow.

How about a few outtakes from today's photo shoot:

Lincoln insists on being in charge of the camera remote when I take my pictures. He likes to sit in his stroller just off camera and direct the scene. Then after a few shots, he wants to take some of himself, of course. He insists that we say "cheese".

Lincoln is blessed with a wicked combination of my hair (cowlicks) and his dad's (prone to random bouts of crazyness) and this morning his bedhead was so insane I had to investigate further.

Juniper, meanwhile, sits just off camera, mostly oblivious to the whole scene, but occasionally cooing at us to get our attention. It always works.

Also, this morning I called Juniper "sister bear" and was informed by Lincoln that she is NOT sister bear. Sister Bear is only in the book we read at naptime. Juniper is only "Juniper Bug". Okay. Noted.

Toddlers are so awesome.

May 12, 2012

MMM'12 week two recap

At Oona's insistence, I did, in fact, go try PicMonkey. I lost an hour of my life messing with these photos, but at least you don't have to look at boring old un-fancified pics of what I wore this week*. You're welcome.

On Monday I broke out my bamboo burnout tank by Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity. I wasn't sure if it would fit, but with a little *ahem* arranging, the back zipper slid into place. I can see now that a full bust adjustment would probably make this fit much better, but when I made it the top was actually a little gapey. Thanks nursing! As if fitting clothes over boobs isn't complicated enough already.

With tranquil effect. I'm so zen.

And this outfit, while quite cute, turned out to be a ridiculous choice for this breastfeeding mama. To feed Junie, I had to pull the  strap off my shoulder to get the cup of the tank down, and slide my undershirt up from the bottom. It worked fine once I figured out the logistics, but those shenanigans would not be fun in public. Fortunately, me and "the public" are not forced to interact all that often.

Tuesday I decided to give myself a break and chose to wear something that was actually designed with a nursing mama in mind. My first Pina top, designed by the lovely and talented Megan Nielsen, has an elasticized neckline to facilitate breastfeeding with ease. Throw it on over a white tank top and yesterday's jeans, and voila! Dressed.

With boost effect and a paper scrap overlay.

Things did take a turn while drying my hair, however, when I started to smell something reminiscent of toasted marshmallows. Or maybe... maybe it's melting plastic? Is it just me, or does the electrical outlet look a little black? Lean in to get a closer look, why don't you?
End scene.

Which brings us to Wednesday: hairdryer-less. Fine. Whatever. Me-made Butterick 5495 rescued from the (clean) laundry pile. Jeans. Cool necklace to distract from untamed locks and un-ironed clothes. This top's a little frumpy, but it's comfy and I like the color. I will continue to wear it despite its potentially unflattering character, citing my casual Pacific NW surroundings and hey- at least I'm wearing proper shoes and not socks with Birks.

With daguerreotype effect at 60%.

Thursday. Still haven't replaced the hairdryer. Need a haircut anyway, so just throw it back in a barrette (again) and call it a day. Wearing my Swedish Camo top and fave casual lace-front chinos from Banana that only suck a little bit in that they have no pockets. I feel like the shoulders and sleeves of this top make me look unnaturally wide, but I don't care and wear it all the time anyway. This is one of my me-made items (along with the green top above) that has seen the most use since its birth. Also a bit of a challenge to nurse in, but not enough to dissuade me from keeping it in consistent rotation from laundry to body (an admittedly slow process around these parts).

Polaroid film effect. This could totally be a photo of my mom!

Friday. Have moved the dead hairdryer from a stack of crap by the front door to the actual garbage can. Progress, indeed. Wearing the newly minted top from Simplicity 1808. Casual, comfy, pink. These are a few of my favorite things. This one will be worn a lot too.

Fancy focus effect, AKA artfully blurry. 

Conclusion: I owned MMM'12 this week. Not only did I manage to dress in me-mades on five days (+2 over my pledged goal of three), but I completed a successful new item (for about $5) that will be welcomed into my closet with loving arms. And unlike last week, I actually like all of these me-made items and feel like myself in them.

Thanks again to Zoe for founding this whole Me-Made month business. It's totally fun, and for me it's been a great exercise to identify what I'm sewing that works and what I'm sewing that I've sewn just for the sake of sewing something. I know I totally do that, and maybe now I'll be a little more cognizant of it and make smarter choices. Also- you should definitely stop by the flickr group and see what everyone else is wearing. Not everyone lives in Seattle and wears boring mom knits and jeans everyday. Or maybe they do live here but don't use that as an excuse. Overachievers. Anyway, the point is that there are some seriously stylish women out there!

*Just in case you do want to look at the original, boring old un-fancified versions of these pics, give 'em a click and you'll be taken right back to basics. Bonus: Thursday's photo has a fun little game of "find the former president" if you're looking for some entertainment Where's Waldo? style.

May 11, 2012

pattern review: Simplicity 1808

Week two of MMM'12 is nearly over, and I've completed my goal of making one new item. I whipped up view B of Simplicity 1808 yesterday in a couple of hours, with a few breaks for baby-tending and toddler wrangling.

I wanted a quick and basic knit pattern that I could use to build my me-made wardrobe in a practical way. I live in knit tees and jeans, so I figured that spending the $.99 for this pattern was worth it, even though I'm sure I won't make those charming elastic waist shorts or pants. I might make up the dress view though if I can find a heavier knit in a print that I like. But enough about the pattern, here's my top:

I had some lightweight rayon jersey that I picked up on super clearance for $4/yd, and I thought this drapey style would be perfect for it. It's hard to see, but you can tell in the mirror that the back has a slight v-neck, which I think is a fun detail. Otherwise, this is just a super simple and quick-to-make tee that I could make in a dozen colors for an instant me-made wardrobe boost. And I just might!

The pattern calls for the sleeves to be elasticized, so they end up with more of a cap-sleeve shape. I do like a cap-sleeve, but I'm not a huge fan of elastic around my arms, so I decided to leave it out. The resulting sleeve is nice and fluttery, and I think it works just as well this way. In a heavier jersey, I would probably use the elastic, but my rayon is so fluid it drapes really nicely.

And look how versatile! If I had one of those grown-up jobs that required me to leave the house and look respectable, I could dress it up like this:

Too bad the bottom is all blown out and you can't really see my cute pink bow pumps. They're ancient, but I love them.

Anyway, official pattern review is here. Weekly MMM'12 wrap-up is coming tomorrow. Happy Friday! Bye for now!

May 8, 2012

Straight Stitch Society

Have you seen the new pattern collection by Liesl? I'm sure you already know her as the genius behind my beloved Oliver + S pattern line, and the Lisette collection for Simplicity. Now there's Straight Stitch Society- a collection of four patterns (so far) that are simple and fun, and designed to get you out of a potential sewing rut and bust through that stash.

As Liesl said on her blog:

We wanted to make some sewing patterns for little, fun projects. Projects that wouldn’t take a lot of fabric and might even allow you to use up some of your stash. (I know you have one.) Sewing patterns with an attitude (because I know you have one of those, too–don’t play all innocent with me). Sewing with the patterns would feel a little bit like attending a Friday night sewing club with your girlfriends. You know those nights when you get together, open a bottle of wine (or something a little stronger), and get busy making whatever excites you that week while you blow off a little steam.
I'm just in love with the little Apples to Oranges sewing kit, and the Feed the Animals coin purse. I think these little babies all sewn up will make perfect gifts for Lincoln's teachers at preschool. In fact, I'm so smitten with the whole collection, that I ordered some up for the shop 'cause I know you'll love them too.

And please, go check out the SSS manifesto. I'm sure you'll agree that it's brilliant. I'm totally printing off a copy to hang on the wall in my sewing room.

May 5, 2012

Me-Made-May: week one recap

As I think I mentioned before, one of my goals for participating in Me Made May '12 was to take a good look at my modest me-made wardrobe and get an idea of what I like, what works for my lifestyle, and try to make intelligent choices for planning my sewing time moving forward. I have lots of patterns and a growing stash of apparel fabrics, but I find that I'm drawn to pretty dress patterns and fabrics that may not be the best choice for my everyday. Love that frosting! Fortunately, I'm pretty slow to act, and I already tend to focus my actual sewing time on things that I think I will actually wear in real life, but I'm not always successful at creating items that I adore. Anyway, here's what this week looked like:

For Tuesday, May 1, I selected an unblogged brown jersey Pina top that I made at the end of my pregnancy. I never blogged about it because when I made it it barely fit over my enormous girth, but I just HAD to sew something and I was planning to use it for a nursing top postpartum anyway. I actually wore it home from the hospital with Junie, but then I noticed after it came out of the wash that there were a couple places where the seam wasn't closed due to my frantic and therefore crappy serging job. I threw it on the table in my sewing room to be tended to, and it just recently resurfaced. I fixed the holes and returned it to the closet where it could finally see the light of day.

This was my second go at the Pina, and this time I played around a bit with it. I have forty-million miles of pink stretch lace that I found at the thrift store, and I used that as a detail on the neckline instead of the fold-over and gather with narrow elastic treatment that the pattern calls for. I like it! It's feminine and easy to wear, and obviously great for nursing, as that's the whole idea. I also prefer the straight, non-elasticized sleeves on this top to the first version that I made, but I don't love all the extra fabric in the front belly section. In planning this for post-partum, I should have eliminated some of the excess width so it doesn't hang so unattractively and feel so frumpy. I didn't feel super pulled-together on Tuesday, and that was partly due to the frumptastic feel of this top and the khaki capris that I don't love. More to blame is the fact that I didn't bother to shower though, and it was a typical crazy day around the old homestead wrangling the crazy, boundlessly energetic Lincoln and the occasionally wailing newborn. This is lazy mom gear for sure.

By May 2, I was already feeling inspired by all the action in the flickr group and decided to break out the recently completed Cowgirl Camp Counselor blouse. I haven't worn it in real life yet, just for the photos I took during the Spring Top Sewalong. I'm still not entirely enamored with this blouse, and I can't really pinpoint why. It's comfortable, and I like the detailing and I'm particularly proud of my plaid-matching. I don't really like the colors though- it's much more muted than the shades I'm typically drawn to. I think that untucked, it's more casual and more "me" but I honestly don't think this is going to get a lot of wear. I do still have the pattern pieces out so I can attempt another in a different fabric, but I can't decide if I think it's worth the time.

On May 3, I woke up feeling a little under the weather with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose, and I knew the day was going to be a challenge anyway due to Lincoln's early morning dentist appointment (his first). I almost skipped it (MMM, not the dentist), knowing that I had only pledged to participate at least three days and I still had time to spare, but at the last minute I decided to buck up and threw on a simple striped tee that I had made early in my pregnancy. Topped with a brown cardigan to combat the dreary rainy Seattle weather and paired with jeans and flats, this is pretty much a normal go-to outfit for me anyway. This top is basic and easy to sew, and I think it would be smart to stitch up a couple more like it in different colors. I haven't though, because it's just *so simple and basic* and I want to spend my sewing time trying new things and expanding my horizons. It's another example of the battle between cake & frosting. My heart wants frosting, but my head knows that cake is a better use of my time. I think most of the time, I just go off the rails and end up making inedible banana bread anyway.

Having completed my goal for the week, I decided to go for extra credit on Friday. I broke out my Lisette Portfolio- yet another make that has been unworn and unloved since it's completion. I think I like the idea of this top more than I like the actual garment on me. I like the fabric, I love the pockets, and I like that it feels a little bit mod thanks to the overall shape and the neckline. I do not like the way it makes me feel like such a rectangle when I'm wearing it though. I already have a rather unpronounced waistline, and since this has such a sack-like shape, it does nothing for that. I know I won't make this pattern up again, and I don't think I'll likely wear this top much in the future, either.

So- week one is a wrap. I think I purposefully chose the items this week that I like the least, in a (mostly) subconscious effort to "get them over with" and move onto things that I feel more comfortable in. Unless I'm super productive this month, there will have to be some repeats though, and it will be interesting to see if I reach for any of these garments again. And as for the second part of my pledge to sew one new garment each week this month, I was only partially successful. I did make chevron Renfrew the second this week, but in it's current state it will not be worn.

Conclusion: I'm calling week one only kind of a win. I pushed my boundaries, and technically met my goal, but it wasn't a terribly satisfying week. I have thoroughly enjoyed perusing the MMM'12 flickr pool though, and keeping tabs on what everyone else is up to. I've been posting my photos there daily and will continue to do that along with a little wrap-up post each week here on the ol' blog. Here's to a more exciting week two! Are you playing along?

May 4, 2012

Is this my punishment for being such a shameless copycat?

So here's the deal: I saw Lauren's chevron Renfrew and I immediately knew that I needed one of my own. I had recently procured a remnant of navy and red wide striped jersey and it was clearly destiny. Lauren made hers in February, but I was a little busy (and hugely pregnant), so I ordered the pattern and waited patiently for the right time. Baby comes, time passes, blah blah, fast forward to last week, and finally the time had come! I assembled my supplies and traced my pattern. Like Lauren, I found that the proportions weren't going to work in regards to my bustline, so I used her handy suggestion of blending sizes, rather than altering the pattern with a FBA. Worked like a charm! I traced a four everywhere except at the bustline on the front piece, where I blended out to an eight. I also made size eight sleeves. I used a much slinkier and stretchier knit than the pattern suggests, but I knew it would be okay since I was following in the footsteps of Lauren before me, and she totally rocked it.

Photo borrowed from Lladybird

I didn't pay much attention to how I cut my sleeves, but I decided to cut them off-grain with the stripes running down my arm instead of around. I thought that would be more flattering, as my arms are largish anyway. And I flipped my chevrons over, because I didn't want to be a total copycat, and I also thought maybe the V's would be slimming to the hip region. Anyway, enough set-up. Here's my top:

Renfrew the first

And it's not bad. But the sleeves! By not paying attention to the pattern matching, I inadvertently matched one side but not the other. And it's sort of jarring, isn't it? It's like a check mark or something, instead of having a nice pattern flow.

The offending sleeve.

It doesn't help that the red and blue stripes are slightly different widths. And actually, the red and blue meeting on my left shoulder is almost perfectly matched at the top of the stripe, which is nice, but the blue and blue meeting on my right shoulder is slightly skewed. Anyway, it annoyed me. And the thought of ripping all those serged seams didn't sound like my idea of a fun day, so I decided to just cut again. This time, I looked at Lauren's top again and decided that maybe I would try cutting the sleeves on-grain, and run my stripes around my arms like hers did. Her stripes don't match up perfectly, but it's not as distracting as the way mine line up, so I figured that would be the answer.

Renfrew the second
And... almost. Again, I didn't really try to match the stripes, and I figured that the mismatch would be okay. But it comes SO CLOSE to matching that I actually find it more distracting than if it didn't match at all. This time, it's the right shoulder that bothers me most:

The offending sleeve
It occurred to me that maybe the whole problem is the fact that my chevrons form V's instead of peaks. If they were the other way, the matching at the shoulder line wouldn't be so almost-achievable, and therefore less obnoxious, right? I don't know. I think Renfrew the second make me look super-wide on top thanks to the giant V running from shoulder to shoulder. And I don't know if that's a good thing (makes the waist look smaller in comparison?) or a bad thing (makes me look like a linebacker?).

So now, I'm nearly out of fabric. I have enough to recut the sleeve(s), and it looks like no matter what, I will have to rip some serged seams and fix something one way or another. I think the potential options are:

  1. Recut one sleeve for Renfrew the first. I'm actually leaning toward replacing the right sleeve, so that the red mismatch stripe appears on both sides. Or, I could replace the left one, and form a distinct "M" shape with the blue stripes.
  2. Open the right sleeve seam on Renfrew the second and try to ease the navy stripe (down on the sleeve, up on the body) to match more closely, forming a more accurate "V" shape. Deal with the appearance of wideness.
  3. Wear one or both of them as-is, and quit being such a whiner/perfectionist.
  4. Throw them both in the bin/chop them up for kid's clothes/donate them to Goodwill.
  5. Recut two new sleeves from the navy ribbing that I used for the back and bindings. There will be no more matching drama, but more ripping and resewing is required.
What would you do? Help me, please!! These will just languish forever unless I get some guidance from someone wiser.