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Archers on Archers on Archers

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Oh, I've just been busy being a member of Archer-holics Anonymous. K, I guess it's not anonymous anymore since I am posting this on the World Wide Web. Oh well.

These are Grainline Archers #3 and #4 and while they may look basic to you guys, they are not basic to me. I sewed with plaid for the first time, sewed on buttons using my machine (why did I wait so long to do this?!? I'm annoyed with myself right now), and used the Archer expansion pack to make tower plackets. So, a lot of firsts that won't be my lasts.

It was super windy when my husband took these, so we didn't get many usable photos :(

I followed the directions for the original pattern as written until I got to the part with the tower plackets, then I switched over to the expansion pack instructions. Honestly, I was super confused with installing the tower plackets because I basically stitched it all wrong from the beginning and was stubborn about unpicking and wasted a bunch of time and hated my life for a minute. When I realized that I was being lame I got out the seam ripper and restarted from the beginning and had no problems. Don't you hate it when you realize that something is actually not that difficult, but you managed to make it super confusing? I'm the Queen of that.

There were a few adjustments made to the pattern (you can read about them here) and the only extra change I made was to shorten the sleeves an additional half inch, for a total of two and a half inches. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the fit, so I want to bust out a few more of these and have an Archer section of the closet. Actually, for these two I sewed them at the same time and didn't change the thread until the buttonholes. Two at a time sewing (and knitting!) is awesome until you have to do some unpicking/unraveling and have to undo twice the work which is unawesome. But it was super rad to have made these two in a week!

My husband is a big fan of Fred Perry and Ben Sherman shirts, in fact, that is exclusively what he wears to work. One day I was side eyeing his shirt and liked the contrast on the top of the pocket. So, I stole that idea from him. Thanks Fred or Ben! I also copied the top stitching and did tiny squares, but it's hard to see in the photo above because there is a pretty sweet cat hair situation in the exact spot I am trying to explain about :/ Cat hair, don't care.

Both fabrics were purchased locally at Picking Daisies in San Luis Obispo. I love the owners of that shop so much! It's great knowing them and going to visit them at work and it is so hard to leave that shop empty handed when there is so much fabric goodness everywhere! The polkadot face fabric is designed by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel. Quilting cotton is something that I rarely use for clothing nowadays, but those cute little faces were begging to be made into a garment! I'm not sure what the fabric makeup is for the plaid, but in comparison to the Cotton and Steel it was more difficult to sew. It was a little shifty for me and wasn't the easiest to match up the sides, but I did a pretty decent job! The lines on one of the sides is off a tinyyyy bit, maybe a sixteenth of an inch, which is good enough for me.

Have an Archertastic day!

Camden Cape

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I'd like to start this blog post out by saying that I am truly in love with what I've made. It's not everyday that Britex sends me beautiful fabric and lets me choose what to sew with it. And it's definitely not everyday that I spend more time on the details of a garment than on the actual sewing. I've been binging on knits the last couple of years and I wouldn't say that I'm hungover and not into them, but this project is a nice break.

The shining star in the photos is most definitely the fabric. It's stunning, right? Until this point I had never sewn anything like it. I kind of swore off sewing anything remotely like outerwear because I didn't want to put the time into making something that would only be worn a few times a year. But then I thought about how if I did make something it would be a quality and classic item that I loved and if I was only going to wear it sporadically it would probably last forever. Or for years and years. Or whatever. So that changed my mind and I chose to make something from the Amoeba fabric. And I'd like to pat myself on the back because it was an amazing choice in fabric.

The fabric is coat weight, easy to press (shout out to my clapper inspired by MarrieB), didn't fray much (I used interfacing on the buttonholes though, just in case), and went through my sewing machine and serger without a hitch. It's amazing what a nice quality fabric can do for a garment!

Leggings are an unblogged pair of Papercut Ooh La Leggings made from a ponte knit. I wear them almost every week and love them.

The lining is also from Britex and purchased by me. It's a black bemberg rayon which sells for $15 a yard. It would have been cool if I had taken photos of the interior of the cape, but I was so stoked on taking photos of the outside, that I completely spaced on having my sister take some of the lining. So you guys will just have to take my word, that the fabric is niceeeee.

The cape pattern is the Camden by Seamwork. We all know how much I like Colette Patterns and Seamwork, right? I've always had success with following their instructions, the line drawings are spot on, and it's very rare that I have made something by them that I have been unsatisfied with. Camden is no exception. Totally smooth sailing on this pattern. The actual construction was simple (for me), so I decided to jazz things up and made some additions that weren't included on the pattern.

Addition 1: fabric covered buttons. Never made them before, but thought, "why not?" They weren't difficult to construct at all (you can check out the tutorial I wrote for Britex on their blog) and I think they add a polished touch to the overall look. And honestly it was probably cheaper to make them than buy them! I bought the button parts from Wawak and at $1.55 I'd say it was a good purchase.

Addition 2: bound button holes. I had never made them before either (yay for learning new stuff!) and despite being nervous about it I took the plunge. Honestly, they weren't as bad as I made them out to be. I closely followed the tutorial over on the Sewaholic blog,  which was the online tutorial that made the most sense to me. That's not to say my bound buttonholes are perfect (far from it!), but I am still really proud of how they turned out and super excited to add a new skill to my toolbox.

Thanks to my sister for taking all these photos at her home. She said that if I didn't credit her on my blog she would sue me. She was joking, don't worry.

These extra additions definitely added to my sewing and prep time, but even without them this project was a lengthy one. There are a lot of pages to tape together (it's a pdf pattern) and I definitely went through a few glasses of wine while taping and cutting (not complaining, it was an excellent Zin). There was a lot of pressing of the wool and of the lining and some hand stitching along the pockets and along the base of the lining. Honestly, there is no way I could have everything done in three hours, but that said, I am a slow sewer. It is quick, just not three hours quick (for me).

How do you guys feel about sewing outerwear? Is it something you do often or is it more of a rare occurrence?

Stowe for a bag obsessed lady

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I never thought that I would become a bag lady (and by bag lady I mean someone who likes sewing bags), but I think that is what I have become. I recently bought a book of bag patterns, the Walden Cooper pattern, and the Grainline Stowe pattern. Out of the three I decided to make Stowe first.

Random side note: my sister totally thinks I have a bag problem. We recently went to a Kings hockey game at the Staples Center and security had to search through my purse, my makeup bag, and my knitting pouch. I explained to the woman searching my stuff that the little pouch carried my sock knitting project. My sister thought that as soon as I said that security should have just waved me through hahaha!!

Back to the pattern, this is the large version of the bag sewn up in some fun Cotton and Steel fabric. I don't have a ton to say about the construction, as it was a breeze to make and I had no issues or confusion with the instructions from start to finish. From what I understand there were some questions regarding the last step (15), but Jen (the designer) made a how to video for those who needed a visual.

 A view of the inside pockets. They are very spacious!

Here are some of my random thoughts:
1. These would make great gifts. I'm using mine to store my knitting, but it could be used as a purse, a grocery bag, something to carry your yoga stuff, or a diaper bag.
2. Consider adding a lining. If I made a purse version I would do this to cover the exposed seams.

Hey, let's pretend this is one of those magazine articles where the writer asks a celebrity what is in their purse, only this will be more fun because this bag is full of yarn and not chapstick and mints. Oh, and I'm not a celebrity, duhhhhh! So, here is what I tote around in my Stowe bag.

 See, you can haul around a LOT of stuff! That said, I always carry more than necessary because I like being prepared and like looking at/using yarn and books. And I'm just weird.

Sooooo what should my next bag sewing project be?!? Are there any patterns that I need to be aware of?

Archer madness


Well, well, well. Look what we have here, a Grainline Archer from a girl who swore she was going to make her second version over two years ago. Oops! I've been getting jealous of all the cute Archers I keep seeing on Instagram, so I decided to get my life out of the gutter and start sewing.

The first version I made rarely got worn and here is why: it looked like an over sized shirt that a kid stole from her dad's closet. I'm not hating on the pattern at all, just hating on my own sewing decisions. Changes needed to be made. Badly. For my second Archer I made the following adjustments: took in the shoulder by an inch, shortened the sleeves by two inches, and added 3/4 inch to the sleeve cap because I changed the shape of the shoulder. Over time I have realized that these are common adjustments for me and my T-Rex arms and luckily the changes worked out great! I'm happy with the fit and stoked on how smoothly the sleeves went in. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that it was my cleanest sleeve insertion ever. Yeah!

It might be hard to see in the photos, but the fabric I used has a herringbone print, which I love. It is a Robert Kaufman chambray purchased from Picking Daisies (my local fabric shop) in San Luis Obispo, California. For casual everyday shirts that can be worn to work I really like sewing with fabrics that can be thrown in the washer and dryer and don't need any special care. I find that with a lot of my clothing I end up washing it on cold and hang drying because I am afraid of ruining or shrinking the fabric. Then I get annoyed/run out of time for ironing and garments don't get worn as often as they should. What I'm trying to say is that I like the fact that this is dressier than a t-shirt and I can put this in the dryer, so I'm pretty happy with my life choices right now.

Buttons. Buttons were stolen from Archer V.1 and put onto Archer V.2. I liked them and I wanted them in my life. Hem. I pulled a Rochelle and used bias tape instead of the suggested fold twice and stitch method. For me using bias tape is easier, I like the fun pop of color, and I don't lose extra length.

For V.3 I might get wild and make a plaid version with some flannel I have been hoarding. Let's just hope that it happens before 2018! :P

2015 and 2016

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Two at a time socks!

It's hard to write about the new projects I am working on when I never really wrapped up what I made in 2015. When it came to blogging in 2015, let's be real, I was pretty terrible. So many "life" things came up (buying a home, moving, the busiest year I have ever had at work, knee surgery for my husband, etc.) and updating my blog was definitely low on the priority list. Sewing and knitting still happened, just not as frequently, and when I had free time I spent it spoiling my niece, traveling to Stanford 327846923423 times for my husband's doctors appointments, reading, and hanging out with my buddies. Taking a mini break from my blog felt great, but I'm ready to get back to it and start posting!

I'm totally that aunt that won't stop talking about how cute her niece is!

So, let's talk about 2015, the year where my goal was to challenge myself each month. It started out strong with a scrap quilt, learning to knit socks, knitting two at a time, and thennnn nothing haha. Well, learning a new way of assembling a log cabin quilt from Luke Haynes and figuring out how to install grommets was pretty cool, but I did not reach my goals :( :( :(

In 2016 I would still like to (unofficially?) challenge myself, but I'm not going to have a meltdown if I don't reach a certain predetermined number. This year I would like to knit more socks because I am obsessed with knitting socks and it makes me happy, make more active wear because it makes working out way more fun, fit a pair or two of pants (Ginger and Thurlows I'm coming for you, watch your back), and be fearless when it comes to projects that require ordering extra parts. This sounds lame, but when patterns require a lot of things I don't have in store access to (fancy twill tape, rivets, snaps, whatever) it is almost a turn off for me because I don't enjoy hunting down extra parts. Am I lazy? Probably. But I'm being honest and I want to change.

Rochelle started the "2016 Make Nine" and I'd like to make some, if not all of the projects in the image above.

A positive that came from 2015 was that everything I made gets worn. Because I wasn't sewing as much I was more thoughtful when it came to choosing projects and only made things I was 100% stoked on. Sewing less wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it actually helped me realize that I really enjoy sewing with knits, don't wear dresses or skirts all that often, and need to make more separates.

So cheers to the new year and let's make some awesome stuff in 2016, ok?!?!

Knitting Life

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When I'm not sewing I enjoy spending my time reading or knitting, but I'm bad about having a balance. I'll be reallyyyyy into reading and knock out a couple of books in a week and neglect knitting to the point that it takes three months to make a pair of socks :/ Right now I'm kind of in the opposite phase (knitting and no reading), so I thought I'd share my current knitting project as well as some of the other things I have made this year.

Right now I am working on a sweater, the first one of the year! When I first started knitting I was all about sweaters, but rarely got to wear them. When I make something, whether it be sewing or knitting, I want to make something that will get use and not be chilling in my closet all day, everyday. You have heard me complain about the heat a billion times now (almost as much as I complain about assembling pdf patterns), but when the last time I wore a coat was in December 2013 (I'm not joking) why would I dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to create something only to look at it on a hanger? That said, I'm really really hoping for the cooler weather we are supposedly going to get which is why I am breaking my sweater knitting ban and making the Tin Can Knits Gramps Sweater. I'm using the Cascade yarn in the photo above for the main sweater color and will use a pale pink for the collar and elbow patches.

One thing that I have been addicted to making this year are socks. Beanies and scarves don't ever get worn (insert another complaint about the heat), but socks DO get worn on a regular basis and I really really enjoy knitting them. I love that I can throw the yarn and needles in my purse instead of lugging around a project bag of supplies. I love that I can knit two at a time using magic loop and not have to constantly measure the length and hope that they come out with the same amount of rows. Oh, and of course I love shopping for yarn. I'll splurge and spend $20 - $35 on sock yarn because socks only need one skein. Some online shops that I like to lurk and purchase from are Haute Knit YarnRepublic of Wool, and of course Jimmy Beans Wool.

So, let's talk socks. Are there any patterns that I need in my life? Any yarn places I need to check out?