Friday, February 28, 2014

mixy matchy

I really love the Lisette line of fabrics at Joann. I think they're one of the few lines at JoAnn that's designed with clothing in mind, since there is such a wide variety of weights and fabric types, from voiles to bottomweights. Everything I've made from that line has held up really well, I love all the prints, the colors and the feel. They're a dream to sew on and unlike many Joann fabrics, they wash nicely and are on-grain! There is little more annoying to a sewer than getting a wonky cut of fabric, amiright?

So, I love it when I score a Lisette fabric during the clearance sales. I don't really even look for them, my eye is usually drawn to the print and then when it turns out to be Lisette, I say, "of course." Ha!

This cotton voile was one such fabric. I grabbed it knowing it was in my desired color palette and knew right away I wanted to make a basic woven tank from it. There are little turquoise dots inside the white dots, if you look closely.

I like it so much, I might have worn it two days in a row ... but I'll never tell ;)

It's great by itself and will be nice and breezy for Summer. I love cotton voile because it's lightweight, but not so much to require a cami unerneath! 

The best part is that it goes with two things I've made that are unique colors for bottom pieces and that I needed more to go with than a black tee. This might be my fave:
That's my yellow corduroy skirt I made almost two years ago. Still a favorite! 

AND, it goes with my green shorts I made last Summer! Also a Lisette fabric, incidentally:

It goes with several of my cardigans too. Like this great coral one:
I love the fit of this cardi, but it wasn't getting a lot of wear until I started pinpointing my color palette and focusing on a mix and match wardrobe.

One tank, many ways!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

basic black

I've been thinking a lot about wardrobe planning. If you've been following me here for awhile, you might know that we started a serious overhaul of our "stuff" maybe a year ago. I honestly believe at this point that we have pared down by half. It's a good thing, too, because the amount of junk we had room for in our old house would have made us crazy living here.

My wardrobe did not escape the purge. I recently did yet another clean out of my closet and gave two huge bags of clothes to a friend who wears them and loves them. Even a few of my handmade things--out the door. That was hard! But, she's wearing them and I wasn't. So, really, it's better.

That said, I think this is the smallest my wardrobe has been in my adult life. But, somehow, I feel like I have more to wear than ever. Isn't that funny!? Part of the reason is that I've been focusing on making pieces that go with other pieces. Having a color palette in mind, with a couple go-to neutrals (mine tend to be black and navy/denim) and then a few color genres. I gravitate toward two color palettes usually. One is a nautical look with blues, kelly green, some coral and white. Another is pink, gray and plum. Pinterest has come in very helpful in this effort to pinpoint what I like. Looking over your style board, you might notice some trends! My mom reminded me that wine is considered a neutral, which explains why that wine colored Stitchfix cardigan matches everything!

Anywaaaaaay, with all this in mind, I've wanted a basic black dress for awhile. Not a fancy LBD that works for cocktail parties, to which I have never been, but an everyday black dress that can be styled a myriad of ways. I finally landed a great knit at JoAnn's last weekend when all the clearance was half off.

I used McCall's 6744, one I've made a couple times before:
 After the dress was completely done, I had to take it apart to take huge chunks out of the sides. I think the bodice is supposed to drape, but this look was not working with this knit, it's too substantial. In the end, I'm glad I made the effort to get it right. The fabric is a perfect weight, with a crinkly texture.
 This purple wrap cardigan is one a made months ago and had literally nothing to wear it with. Dumb! It's such a soft rayon knit and I love the print so much, so I'm glad I finally have way to wear it.
 This button down plaid top is one I just made! I'm really proud of it and it matches several other things I've made, so I'll give it it's own post soon.
 I wore the dress with a simple cardigan yesterday.
I've been sewing fool this week! I whipped up a very simple top yesterday, can't wait to show you!

Cheers :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

makes and remakes

I am happy to say, after a brief hiatus, my sewing mojo is back. I have quite a little stash to sew through before my machines get packed up for a few months (!)

I pulled several things out of my closet that needed changed or mended. They were handmade things that I was just not wearing and I wanted to figure out what would make them wearable. This skirt came from that effort:

This was actually the bottom portion of this dress. It only got worn once because those sleeves were just too much. They broadened my shoulders and they required a cami under the dress, which I don't love for an easy Summer dress. I really love the fabric, though, and the shirttail hem and the cute orange buttons. So I cut off that bodice about 5/8" above the drawstring. I serged around the raw edge and turned it under and hemmed it, leaving a cute tiny ruffle at the top. So the skirt now slips on and has a drawstring closure. I love it, I've already worn it three or four times because I have several styles of tops that go with it. Since it's pretty high waisted, it even looks cute with a knotted tee. 
So glad I didn't give up on this! Mission accomplished. 

 Next up, I have some fabrics that my friend Jenn shopped for on my behalf. I was lamenting my lack of fabric store choices here and she offered to go to her awesome store in Reno and we could have a texting/shopping session and I would pay her back. It was super fun! This is one of the knits she found.

This is one of the new Simplicity patterns, 1463. I liked it for the back, I thought it was interesting and I love interesting backs of garments :) The top is a little shorter than I'd like though, so when I put it on with jeans, I just wasn't comfortable. I'd be afraid to lift my arms! I was bummed. But, I tried it on again  a few days later, this time with my New Look 6228 black sweatshirt knit skirt that I never blogged (super soft and comfy and goes with everything, I highly recommend that pattern) and since the skirt is high waisted, the top worked much better! It also works with a denim skirt I have. It might not be my favorite still, I think it maybe broadens me a little in the back. Am I wrong? I am surprised at how much a like the front, though, since I usually really hate dolman sleeves. But these are conservatively dolman, haha. 
 I was lucky to have enough fabric left to whip up my favorite tank (A frankenpattern that I made myself out of wrapping paper). I've already worn it twice in the last week and look, it even goes with my Stitchfix cardigan, surprise, surprise, hehe. (Weird sun flare, sorry).

I have some more to share soon! I made the best pj pants EVER over the weekend, just wait til you see. And I'm working on a black knit dress that I finished and then took completely apart to take the bodice in like five inches. Grrr. If I didn't really want a simple black knit dress in my wardrobe, I might not have bothered. But, I think it will be worth it. 

Annnd, just for grins: 

 Happy Monday!! :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My first Stitchfix

Stitchfix is SO FUN! I have been wanting to try this service for quite some time now. I finally made the plunge and scheduled my first fix, just to see if it lived up to what everyone says about it. If you haven't heard of Stitchfix, it's an online service and after you pay a styling fee of $20 (which goes toward your purchase later) and fill out a fun style profile, including a link to your Pinterest style board if you have one, a stylist sends you five items to try on in the comfort of your own home. You keep and pay for what you want and you send back what doesn't work in the prepaid envelope. Easy.

This being my first try, I wasn't expecting it all to work out and I was right. I only kept one thing, but that's all I was really aiming for, so I was happy. I didn't take pics of myself in the clothes like many reviewers do, sorry. Here's the cute little style sheet that was in my box, though:
 I ended up keeping the wine colored cardigan. The rest I sent back-one top I just hated (although Casey LOVED it, lol!!), the pants were awesome, but a bit too low-rise, one silk top was a little big and the other was a big snug. I left plenty of feedback, though, and if the reviews I've read are any indication, each box will get better!

Back to that cardigan, though. This is a color I never would have bought for myself! I don't know why, it's a pretty color on me! I like the 3/4 length sleeves and the fabric is soooo soft. I can tell that it's high quality and won't pill like my other cardigans from other places (ahem, Target and Old Navy).

While I was debating, I walked into my closet just to see what I had that it would go with. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it goes perfectly with a ton of my handmade things!!
These are not all, but I got tired of taking pics, ha! These are all dresses and tops that I've made.
This piece was just what I needed to carry me through these last weeks of winter! I'm not ashamed to say I've worn it four times already and I just got it last Friday. I lack basic pieces and this opened my eyes to what one good quality basic can do for my wardrobe!

Bottom line, this is AWESOME! I don't have very many shopping choices where I live right now. And I'm a bit of a quality snob (as people who make their own clothes and know good fabrics when they see them tend to be ;) I thought it was something I'd just do once, but I immediately scheduled my next fix--for 2 days before the packers come, eek! Time is fleeting.

SO, if you want to give Stitchfix a try and wouldn't mind using this link:
I get credit when you sign up for a fix! Which will make it even more awesome, obviously ;)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finished Objects and Chick-fil-a

I do not usually keep unfinished projects lying around. I'm a finisher! A few years ago, though, I ambitiously thought I would just love to make this Birdie Stitches block of the month quilt. Silly Nikki. It took me almost a whole year and only the first three blocks to realize that embroidery is just not really my thing. It's too fussy, with the constantly changing colors and threading and rethreading and pulling the strands apart, etc., etc. It sure is beautiful when finished, but I don't enjoy the process.

But, I'd made three blocks already! And one even had the border already! So I stashed them away, thinking I'd maybe make seasonal pillows. A few months ago, though, I had the idea to turn them into little mini quilts for seasonal wall hangings. So I've spent a few minutes here and there for the last few weeks finishing them up. I'm so glad I didn't give up on them and found a way to showcase their cuteness (and my hours of handwork!)

I hung the Valentine one up in the nick of time :)
I still have to handsew the back of the bindings of the other two, but here they are anyway:

 I'm pretty darn happy that I finished these!

Unrelated tidbit: Our town here is getting a new free-standing Chick-fil-a, opening tomorrow. If you're unfamiliar, every time a Chick-fil-a opens, the first however-many customers get free Chick-fil-a for a year. Also, if you're unaware, the storm that has Atlanta looking like a ghost town today is headed up the coast and is expected to hit Virginia pretty hard (granted, it's hard for this Colorado girl to take any "major storm" prediction here seriously, as the past two have been what I would consider very mild, but for which Virginians get out of school for a week). Anywaaaay,  so today I went to Target for groceries, to avoid the nightmare that the commissary becomes when snow is predicted, and observed that there are tons of tents set up in the Chick-fil-a parking lot.

SO, the very people who shut down businesses, get out of school and stay home for days when it snows one inch, have nooo problem camping out overnight in a parking lot during the biggest ice/snow storm of the year when the best chicken in the world is at stake.

Moral of the story: Chick-fil-a rules and everybody knows it :D

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oh, Baby

It was my absolute joy to photograph this beautiful baby last week! It was equally fun to edit them on the new software Casey bought me :)

This was my first ever baby shoot, so I was glad it was at my house, with a friend, so I could take my time. It also helped that this baby is the happiest baby I've ever seen. Also, she's five months, not newborn, which is probably easier too.

Here are my favorites:

 These were her great-grandma's pearls :)
 My favorite:

So, awhile ago I was talking about the free trial of Photoshop Lightroom that I was thinking about buying. I never did. It's just too labor intensive and SO hard to figure out. (And expensive). Even the simple things, I kept having to look up online. I don't doubt that I could have learned it, but I just wasn't excited about taking the time to do so. It was more than I needed Secret: I really don't like the over-edited look that I see a lot of around the web. I want my family to look like my family in our pictures, ya know? Anyone else feel that way? I don't like to see a great photo, but know that those eyes or that too-creamy-to-be-real skin were definitely "photo-shopped". Let's be real, people.

So anyway, I've been researching other options because I have just simply outgrown iPhoto. I decided on Apple's Aperture because I have never had any problems with any other Apple software. We are Mac people all the way. I love the ease of use, the click and drag anything and everything and as a visual person, I think Apple designs for visual people. Not spreadsheet people, which might be who Photoshop designs for, ha!

Aperture uses my iPhoto library. No importing or reorganizing necessary. It's awesome!!! I still have some learning I want to do, but I was able to jump in and play with these photos with zero prior knowledge of the program. You can save a set of edits as a preset to apply to other photos or upload presets, just like in Photoshop, but it's made simple. (It took me an hour playing with Photoshop to figure that out). With Photoshop, I even had to google "how to get photos off of Photoshop" because I could not get them back into iPhoto full-size! I never did figure it out. I could only transfer them to a hard drive, which I then had to plug in every time I wanted to blog. Grrr!

Needless to say, I am thrilled. I had told Casey I'd decided what I wanted and told him all about it. Then I went out that night and when I got back, he'd bought it and installed it. What a guy!! (It helped my case that it's only $80, half the cost of Lightroom).