Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Daytripper(ing) at the Gates of Hell

This pattern seriously took over my life for about two weeks. All I could think about was making Daytrippers to wear all the time. I wear jeans all the time, which was why the Just Add Jeans collection really drew me in. I searched for a solid week to no avail to find a tribal-ish aztec-ish print like the pattern model is wearing. I gave in ordered this print from Girl Charlee, only to forget that I was also pre-ordering the triangle arrows fabric and would have to wait OMG TWO WEEKS?!

So I did what I always do and immediately drove to Joann and was underwhelmed by their knit selection. I mean, unless you want their insanely expensive Southwestern collection, you're basically stuck with insanely expensive "designer" knits geared towards preteens or solids.

Ok, I could deal with solids. I need more basic tops to wear to work, and I can't wear obnoxious prints every day. I guess. This is how I rationalize everything.When I see an obnoxious busy print I think "I can wear obnoxious prints to work every day!" and then immediately buy at least 3 yards.

Anyways, I made the first Daytripper out of solid purple cotton knit and white cotton ribbing.

My parents' dog Chevy wanted to be in all the pictures.

That hair!

 I finished this on a Friday and lived in it until Monday. It's like a sweatshirt, but I can totally wear it to work without people thinking I'm wearing a sweatshirt to work. I'm really happy with the length on this one. A lot of hi-lo hems hit me in a really unflattering place in the front aka FUPA, so I prefer my hi-los to be a little bit more lo-lowers. Plus, I need some extra fabric in the back to cover all that junk.

But then the unthinkable happened:

My idiot dog jumped on me and ripped a hole right in my favorite shirt. OH NO BETTER MAKE 5 MORE. You know, to replace that one with the hole in it that I still totally wear all the time, like even as I sit here writing about how it's ruined?

I ended up getting a gift card to Girl Charlee for my birthday, and the fabric I ordered got here before my first order, so I wound up getting to make a tribal-y shirt in a spring-appropriate color. And instead of cotton ribbing I used this delicious rayon/spandex ribbing. It's so soft and wonderful, I bought so much of it! But it's also a lot more drapey than I thought it would be (no shit, Sherlock, it's rayon). It works really well for the coral fabric (I think it's sold out), but I think a plain cotton ribbing would have worked better for the more stable red cotton knit.

These tops are perfect for cardio activities like chasing chickens/ducks out of your photos.

I lengthened the hem on this one by about two inches, but kind of regretted it. This fabric is realllly stretchy so the shirt kind of grows throughout the day. I also was in too much of a hurry to even think of pattern matching which is kind of embarrassing. I needed shirts, dang it!!

I attempted to make 3/4 length sleeves but, being me, just kind of eyeballed it and hacked off a couple inches of the sleeves. It would have worked if the shirt didn't have the kimono style sleeve caps, because the sleeves ended up hitting an inch above my wrists. So it fit like a RTW long-sleeved shirt! Ugh. These sleeves will always be pushed up to my elbows.

 The neckline on this one gapes just slightly, which is just madness since this was number four and none of the others had that issue. I maybe was worried about stretching the ribbing too much and then having unsightly waviness even though I know it would press out? Maybe it's the rayon ribbing fighting with the stable cotton body? I have no idea.

This one (also no pattern matching!) actually ended up staying at my mom's house because she loved it so much. I made her a leopard print one so she can be a cougar, but I never got a good picture of it. This one was the perfect length for her to wear with leggings and the sleeves were long enough to cover any bingo-wing action that may or may not be going on as she ages. Sorry Mom :)

That was a lot of pictures! I hope you all appreciated the scenic background. I went out to my mom's farm so I could use her DSLR, but the battery was dead and we only had about an hour before sunset. Luckily I had brought my point and shoot as a backup, but after only two pictures it died too! Cripes. My mom's iPhone had like 2% battery, so we ended up having to use my cell phone for all these. Hopefully my next pictures are better, but I don't think these are bad at all for my Galaxy S3.

I'm working on a couple more shirts for MMMay, which is coming up fast. Good thing I don't have to work this weekend. Anyone else feeling like it's crunch time?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Me-Made-May '14

Since I started sewing avidly again in December, I've been looking forward to May for this reason. I think I stared at fellow sewists' MMM posts for 7 hours during a work day when I should have been doing other things like working, but that's neither here nor there.

So I took the plunge and signed up. I plan on weekly round-up posts and hope I can steal my mom's DSLR for the month to spare everyone cell phone mirror pics. I modified the standard pledge thusly:

I, Erika of Trial and Erika (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least 5 handmade or refashioned garments for at least 3 hours each week for the duration of May 2014

Five days a week? At least 3 hours? What is this nonsense? Well, you have to understand that place where I spend 40 hours a week. I work in a manufacturing plant in an industrial park that, among other things, excels in producing dirt. Not dust, though it initially appears this way. It's straight up dirt. I can leave something out in the plant for 5 minutes and it's covered in a fine film of dirt. This dirt gets all over my hands, stains my clothes, and aggravates my allergies.

Also, my job requires sporadic bouts of manual labor. At any time on any day, I might have to climb mini pyramids of plastic rolls in order to fight my way to a sample (that is covered in dirt, of course). Just yesterday I ended up sweating my ass off moving heavy things from one side of a room to the other and then lifting them to hang from hooks. Did I mention the room is generally 85 degrees? It was the worst.

Oh, and did I mention that I am one of maybe 10 females out of over 300 employees who work in the plant? A large majority of our workers are on work release from prison. They make incredibly reliable employees and are always willing to work overtime, but the sausagefest of deprived convicts is not an ideal situation for a 24-year-old female.

So needless to say, fancy things are out. Dresses and skirts are definitely out. Garments that I've sewn that I'm attached to are worn with extreme caution. I've been known to go home at lunch and change into something more suitable to manual labor.

My Archers are on pretty much constant rotation, as are my Meissa blouses and Daytrippers (which I still need to blog). I wear jeans to work every day, so there will probably be lots of tops. Hopefully if it warms up I can wear some of the dresses I've made and plan on making (have you seen the weekly themes for this season of Project Sewn?).

Bring it on, May. Commence frantic sewing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joann coupon hack

Okay my fellow Joann shoppers, I learned a trick today at the checkout that I'm sure you'll all love (if you don't already know it). As soon as I left the store I called my mom and was all "OMG guess what I just learned?!?" and we both gushed for about 5 minutes. And then lamented over the fact that we had each just spent $50 there less than a week ago.

My mom and I are frequently guilty of going to Joann multiple times a day to buy one skein of yarn or cut of fabric with a 40% off coupon. Generally, once on lunch break and once on the way home from work. But seriously, hobbies are not cheap and a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. It's only embarrassing when the employees notice and comment. Not that that's ever happened 6 times in the past or anything...

If you have coupons and the codes end in different numbers (i.e. 508 and 405 on the coupons above), you can use them in the same transaction! I was able to use one 50% off coupon and three 40% off coupons in one transaction today, and it was awesome.

I just have to let the world know (hopefully I'm not years late to this party). Hopefully it will help somebody else avoid buyer's remorse at the checkout when you realize just exactly how overpriced everything was.

Happy shopping :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A salty start to spring

So the whole buttonless shirt dress for my birthday didn't really work out. It's not so much that I dislike the pattern, besides the fact that I had to add seam allowances. It was mostly just a lot of bad choices that compounded into one dissatisfying dress.

The questionable fabric I bought from the red tag section of Joann probably wasn't the best choice. It seemed to have some stretch to it, which just didn't seem to work for this dress. I don't know why it puckers at the center front seams, but it makes me want to light myself on fire every time I look at it.

Thent I forgot to add seam allowance to one side of the front piece because I thought I was supposed to cut it on the fold. I tried to compensate for this by adding a continuous placket instead of just following the directions and folding in the edges twice to make front placket. The results were just okay. And then I put the belt loops about 3 inches lower than where I wanted, and had to take out about 4 inches on each side on the hips.

Also, what the hell was I thinking? This was definitely not a "Hey I'm turning 24 let's go bar-hopping" kind of dress. It's more of a "Hey, cover me up with a cardigan and do some office work" frock.

On a happier note, I made a Sewaholic Saltspring Dress and I am absolutely in love with it! I cut a straight size 12 and love love love Sewaholic's sizing. I usually have to grade out two sizes to fit my hips into my garments, but not today. Damn you, hourglass shape! Needless so say I will be making up a lot more Sewaholic patterns.

The fabric is a wonderfully drapey rayon challis from Hancock Fabrics. The flowers are just the right size and I'm in love with the colors. This was your typical "I just need a zipper OMG LOOK AT THAT PRINT" impulse buy. Wait, is there any other kind of purchase in a fabric store?

I decided to forego the back zip at the last minute. Mostly because I got lazy but also because I ended up not needing it. Double win! I think I used up all my ambition putting pockets into the dress and just couldn't be bothered inserting a zip. I usually skip pockets with wovens because serging all those round edges gives me heartburn. In the end it wasn't that bad and I'm really pleased that I added them. They're so cute!

I think that when I make this again I'll do two straps on each side, or maybe go with thicker straps. I just feel like I'm putting all my eggs in one basket with those thin little straps. 

This dress is a big success for me, and I can definitely see myself wearing it a lot this spring/summer. It's super flattering a I'm in love with my fabric choice.  I may have to wear some spandex underneath on windy days (read: everyday in SD) because this dress is definitely breezy!

I have a lot of tops that I need to make because I may or may not have signed up for Me Made May. I'll probably do a separate post for that though. I have a lot of things to talk/freak out about!