Sew Weekly Challenge #16


The Facts
Fabric: Semi stretchy satiny feeling flower print from Joanns 3 years ago
Pattern: Colette Iris
Year: 2012
Notions: pink zippa!
Time to complete: 3-4 hours
First worn: Today around the neighborhood
Wear again?  You betcha!
Total price: Under $20

Well now that I’m back, good luck trying to get rid of me! :)  It seems that last week was a serious reality check, and allowed me to work on bettering my time management. Since I had all the themes mixed up, I had to sit down for some serious planning. A few weeks back I had thought that I would be able to make the stash-busting deadline and had grabbed this pinkish flowery print that I bought nearly 3 years ago. The only trouble was that I was using a pattern from the 1940s that was at least three sizes too small.  I knew that I would need to alter the pattern, but somehow in the midst of watching one of my many Sunday shows I made a big mistake and cut the size as I had traced it.  Then I proceeded to try the same pattern out using a salmon colored broadcloth, but I messed that up two other ways on two separate occasions. I abandoned the fabric and the challenge. The infamous sewer’s block had set in. Thankfully the circle skirt helped me break through the block, and on top of that, I received the newest Colette patterns in the mail mid-week.  I didn’t think I would use any of them this quickly, but somehow Iris was calling to me.

I woke up early on Saturday knowing that I had very limited time due to an insanely busy weekend. I stood in the middle of my sewing room and just sighed.  I didn’t know if I should try the 1940s pattern again or if I should try something else entirely. Somewhere deep down I knew that the 1940s pattern wasn’t going work…that damn pattern represented all that I despised from the sewer’s block. I grabbed the skirt and the Iris pattern and got straight to work.  The pattern itself is so wonderfully straightforward!  A back panel, front panel, side panel, pockets, and waist band. Tracing and cutting was a breeze and the sewing was just as breezy.  While I didn’t finish on Saturday, I did wrap things up nicely Sunday morning before all the storms came storming on in.  J and I even got a brisk walk to Ronan park where we took our pictures.

All in all, I’d say the shorts turned out well.  I like the floral print on its own, but I like it even more concentrated on the short and accented by the peach cardigan.  I’m normally very anti-pink and felt uncomfortable at first, but the more time I spent in the shorts the more confident I felt.  I’m not sure if I’d try and rock this look at school, but there is a chance I’ll try it again on a weekend exploring the city. What I can say for sure is that there are many more Iris shorts in my future.  There are endless visions of gingham, seersucker and chambray fabrics dancing in my head.  Three more weeks until summer vacation means three more weeks until those visions become reality!

When I’m Down…


I think of my favorite poem:

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


It reminds me that there are those in darker places. I am thankful I’ve never been there, and in exchange, I try to make someone else’s day better.

Sew Weekly Challenge #15: Circle Skirts


The Facts

Fabric: Light-weight Home Decor from Michael Miller (???)
Pattern: Self Drafted! Yay!
Year: 2012
Notions: Elastic for the waist
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: Today to work
Wear again?  Yes! Yes! Yes!
Total price: Maybe $10 (???)

I love and hate this time of year.  I love it because spring brings all the nicer weather, longer days, soothing rain, and pretty flowers.  I love it because it signifies that my long, tiring, but very fulfilling school year is coming to an end.  I hate it all the same.  The nicer weather unleashes my inner procrastinator, leaving me with piles of papers to read.  The longer days are just an illusion as my workload increases this time of year preparing students for their AP tests and final exams. And don’t even get me started on those pretty flowers! The ones that give me itchy eyes and a sneeze face that even my grandmother would laugh at. Needless to say, my sewing has had to take a back seat to my job responsibilities, and up until Monday night I was really kind of depressed about it and felt as if I had lost all hope of being inspired.

Then I looked at the wordpress dashboard and noticed that I had the theme of the week wrong (I had thought it was the family inspiration).  Circle skirts?!?!?  That lovely, amazing, fantastical circle skirt!  I knew it would only take my a few hours and I knew that I had to have something in my closet that would work out fabric wise. Oddly enough, I didn’t have much except for this light-weight home decor fabric. I had purchased it originally in order to make it into some kitchen curtains, but our design went in a different direction. I thanked the gods that I kept it after my recent purge, I got my shiz together, and started tracing my measurements.  By the end of The Voice I had my circle skirt all sewed up and ready to wear to school the next day.

It’s funny how all the ups and downs of daily life can squash all inspiration, create writer’s block, and destroy ability to move forward.  I would have never ever guessed in a million years that a simple lil’ circle skirt would be my remedy.  AND I forgot the best part: all day–this damn dreary day–I couldn’t pass a single person without them commenting on how cute my skirt and or outfit was.  Talk about a well needed pick-me-up!

Sew Weekly Challenge #14


The Facts

Fabric: Rayon Blend Jersey ‘Knit Squiggle in Pink’ and Black Hemp Rayon Jersey Blend (
Pattern: Top, McCalls 5207 & Pant Skirt, Vogue 7384
Year: Top, 1976 & Pant Skirt, 1968
Notions: Elastic for the top
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: Last night for a mini yoga session and today for pictures
Wear again?  Probably not, in their current forms
Total price: A bit less than twenty smackers


Well hello there, everyone. Long time no talk!  Despite having grand plans to sew a bunch of items ahead of schedule over my spring break, life had other ideas.  I still won in the end, as I have a house that is now fully painted and all the ‘stuff’ that took up space has been eaten up by the alley trolls.  It was a spring break that epitomized the idea of spring cleaning, and I love it!

So, to the challenge! When it comes to city inspiration, there is a lot in my mind to kick around.  In my short life I’ve been lucky to have lived in a few different places; Milwaukee, Chicago, Kingston Upon Hull, and (very briefly) New Orleans.  Usually when living in those places I made sure to make the most of my time, exploring other areas close by.  Since I am still somewhat new to Chicago, I figured that I would tap into the amazing neighborhood vibe of the city for this challenge. When it came down to crunch time, though, I just couldn’t find the inspiration that I was craving.  Then I went to my photos and found the picture to the right of La Boca, in Buenos Aires Argentina.  I went there for while studying for my graduate degree in July of 2009. I loved this area of Buenos Aires, it was so vibrant and full of character. I found fabric very easily, although had to switch colors last minute when the original blue version of the pattern was oversold.  No biggie, it was still bright and full of squiggles that I thought perfectly characterized La Boca.

I wanted to make a maxi dress for this challenge with summer fast approaching, but then I realized that I didn’t have a pattern for a maxi dress.  So I went to my amazing insane quite large pattern stash and found two patterns, a late 60s pant skirt and a mid-70s top that paired well. I counted my lucky charms that I found these two and they were so basic in regards to the construction. With the easter weekend and piles of papers to grade, I didn’t have a lot of time to spare.  I was able to trace and cut on Saturday morning, go off to my martial arts class in the afternoon, and then sew up the pants after class before friends arrived for dinner. Since I stayed out a bit too late, I wasn’t able sew up the top prior to driving north for family stuff which made me very nervous.  Thankfully we made it home with few hours of sunlight left. I got straight to work and the top was done in, seriously, 15 minutes or so. Because of time and because I never legthened the shirt (which I knew I should have, ugh!) I skipped a few steps that would have sinched the waist with elastic, but that would have really only taken another 5 to 10 minutes.  I will absolutely sew this top again. It has nicely placed darts, elastic synching on the back facing, and I used some sassy black lace for the straps. The pants, on the other hand, will need some work.  They were a size 10, and I would probably have needed a size 14 in this vintage pattern. Even the tweaks I made (no zipper, adding about an inch to either side) didn’t quite make the cut.  I probably needed to add just a smidge more for a comfortable fit.

As you can see from the photo, I don’t have a maxi dress at all. Instead, I have a good set of yoga pants, which is something I had originally thought about when contemplating this challenge.  Since they are yoga pants, I felt I had to rethink my city inspiration as La Boca didn’t have all that much to do with yoga.  Somehow, I had the perfect place. I almost wish I would have thought of this place originally, because it is so near and dear to my heart.  New Orleans.  We spent half our summer vacation there in 2009 (before I left for Argentina) and we seriously contemplated relocating permanently.  Each morning I would go out for a run and a lot of the times after I would finish in Washington Square and watch the people practice their Tai Chi.  I always wanted to be part of it, but I was shy and didn’t want to interrupt them to figure out how to get involved. Instead, I would walk home and do some light yoga on our wrap around porch. Since a lot of the houses in our neighborhood were brightly colored like they are in La Boca, it just made sense that this formerly titled maxi dress transformed itself to yoga pants inspired by the same bright buildings and the city’s very unique and equally amazing character.