Monday, September 10, 2018

A Baby Mini-Wardrobe

My gorgeous grand-nephew C.Q. "trying" on my gift.

Patterns usedMcCall's 8574 (OOP): T-shirt with overlapped shoulders, one-piece romper, nightgown, sleep sack, diaper cover, beanie, and booties. Sized for babies weighing 7 to 21 pounds.

Three FREE patterns: Purl Soho's Newborn Kimono Shirt and two patterns from Made by Rae, her Basic Newborn Baby Pants and Just Hatched Baby Leggings patterns.

Fabric: Luckily, I had some great fabric perfect for them. The best piece was a linen/cotton blend I scavenged from a pair of Target Mossimo pants that no longer fit. What a way to recycle, right?

There was enough fabric in them for a jacket and a pair of baggy baby pants plus probably enough for at least another baby garment.

I had enough fabric from the pants for the Purl Soho Newborn Kimono and was able to use the finished pant hems as the bottom of the jacket!

Unfortunately, it was too small for him even before I met him. He was a big baby, over 9 pounds at birth. However, it was the piece I was most proud of...just check out that itty bitty binding!

I was also able to use a shortcut when making the pants too. I was able to reuse the original factory finished side seams for the side seams of the baby pants.

Additional Fabric Used: One half yard each of three juvenile prints from the Doodles line at Joann's:  Little Dogs, Scooters, and Cowboy Owls in 100% cotton interlock ($2.50 each.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made no changes, the instructions were all great. For the knits, I pinked all the seams or did two rows of stitching and then trimmed the seams close.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would recommend each of these patterns, especially that workhorse of a pattern, McCall's 8574, even though it is out of print. Copies are available all over the Internet, so you should definitely seek it out.

Conclusion: These were great patterns and great fabrics. I not only made up these pieces for my grand-nephew but also some baby leggings for co-worker/friends who are expecting their own bundles of joy. The best thing about this project was the minimal expense, ease, and quick turnaround.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Clips and Pieces...

I found these fascinating video series during one of my unintentional Internet deep dives. Enjoy!

Gourmet Makes with Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit.
I discovered this a month ago by accident. Claire recreates commercially produced snack foods such as Oreos, Cheetos, Skittles, and Twinkies using her baking knowledge and the Internet. It's fascinating!

Home Primp decorating videos from Chatelaine on YouTube. These inexpensive quick space makeovers produced by Alexandra Gater are quite good and will come in handy once I get my own place again. They're not too fussy nor bland.

Refinery 29's My Sweet Digs. I've always been interested in the idea of  living in quirky apartments from New York City to St. Louis. The ones covered in these videos are listed by rent and location, from all over the country, revealing the range of apartments and living styles available at different price points.

I'm warning you though...I binged these all like they were Netflix series.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sewing For My Curves

Have you checked out the Sewing For My Curves series on the Curvy Sewing Collective yet? You should. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about other women telling it like it is and sharing the truth about how different every individual body is.

Well, I finally took the time to take new measurements and was surprised (once again) by what size I really am. Forgive me, members of the Collective, as I steal your format to map out my plans.

My Body*:

Upper Bust: 37"
Full Bust: 38.5"
Waist: 34"
Hip: 44
Height: 5'4"
Body type: Hourglass
RTW Size: I really have no idea, probably a 12.
Pattern Size: 16 on top and 20 on the bottom
Attributes: slightly uneven shoulders, high waist, narrow back, swayback/prominent buttocks, full thighs, proportionate hips

Pattern Adjustments I Make:
  • Use high bust to choose pattern size
  • Grade between bust to waist/and hips (which are the same pattern size)
  • Compare paper pattern measurements to my own
  • Shorten the back waist length
  • Add width to biceps
  • Attempt FBAs when needed

Where I Am Now

Since I turned 40, I have been putting on weight slowly, year by year. I wasn't bothered since everything was still staying in proportion and my clothes still fit. However, I have found that the gains are increasing so more quickly now. At some time I had gained 10 pounds without even noticing.

I have always had a proportionally small waist and unfortunately, that is where all my weight is going now. I hate the way it feels in my elastic waist skirts and looks in my slim fitting dresses. Therefore, clothing-wise, I am currently avoiding anything that obscures the waist because I feel the need to emphasize how slim I am there when compared with my fuller top and bottom.

A fit & flare silhouette is my go-to now and the way I will feel better in my clothes. For the time being no sheath or shift dresses and there has to be some waist definition, even if it's just the addition of a belt. The following patterns fit that silhouette.

Sewing Wishlist From My Stash:

Butterick 6316
McCall's 7415
New Look 6301
Simplicity 1560
McCall's 7432
Vogue 8665
Simplicity 1325

What's My Sewing Goal:

Create slopers that I will compare with all my store bought patterns. I will create two for the torso, one with McCall's 7279, a commercial fitting pattern (with Palmer & Pletsch instructions) and a second one drafted from the instructions in Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo. For my bottom half, I will create a skirt sloper with steps from the Cal Patch book, Design It Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified and I will use McCall's 7415 (also Palmer & Pletsch) to create a no side-seam pant (similar to the Persephone pant by Anna Allen) before attempting a more traditional pant pattern.

* As of May 2018.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's All In The Numbers

Riteaid stores have this thing called higi, a health and wellness kiosk that measures and records certain health data through a procedure that only takes 15 minutes. It records the blood pressure, pulse, weight, and body mass index of an individual.

When I first moved back to Hampton in 2014, I sat down at the kiosk for the first time and recorded my numbers. At that time, my weight was 142 lbs and my BMI was 24.42, normal weight. Two years later, I recorded my numbers and my weight then was 162 lbs with my BMI increased by 3.55 to 27.98. I was now officially categorized as overweight. Oh my.

Note that the weight gain occurred in the years I was working big-box retail. I was a depressive sloth with a strange schedule who had learned how to stress-eat my feelings until I finally escaped that job.

So, now, two more years later; after reaching a high of 170 lbs at 5'4" tall, my exercise routine has me holding steady at 165 lbs. So, I did keep gaining but not at the pace of that first increase and I am currently walking approximately seven miles a week outdoors in this southern heat. So, I'm doing pretty good.

My wardrobe has suffered. As I find things no longer fit or are no longer comfortable, I've been moving them over to one side of my closet. That side is now taking over! So many lovely things that I can no longer wear....

My exercise routine has to increase, despite this heat. I need to take my diet more seriously, eating less is not producing the weight loss, like I hoped. It also isn't that enjoyable. I need to also research more on anti-bloat foods (low FODMAP*) because my stomach is frequently betraying me when I start to think I can wear something cute again. Suggestions about that are very welcome.

One bright light I found is Rini Frey aka @ownitbabe on Instagram. I appreciate her philosophy about accepting your own body and not being too hard on yourself. It has helped.

* Look at the good-to-eat list first, most things can still be enjoyed, just in moderation.