Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mommy-brain strikes again!

I was going to post a massive expose on how the Vogue pattern company lied and lied and lied about V2975, but in the process of breaking down the madness I realized I can no longer add. As deceptive as the photos on the envelope are, the measurements ARE correct as published.

In my own defense, how can anyone consider fractions when this cutie pie is smiling at you?

Later I will post what I did with the pants and the progress made...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

V2975, or Maternity leave is almost over and I have nothing to wear

Can you believe 3 months has almost passed? I am in awe - both of how little time 3 months really is and how much Adriana has grown! Just look at that sweet little face - Adriana still continues to hold claim to "the most beautiful baby ever" title. And she shamelessly milks it, too, the little monkey - looking up at me with those big eyes and smiling so brightly. How could any mother resist? Even when she sleeps I just want to shower her with kisses!

Alas, as week 12 approaches, I must prepare myself for the inevitable return to the world, er, I mean workforce. While I have lost the majority of the pregnancy weight, I still have about 15 lbs to go before I can wear my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. This literally translates into "I have nothing to wear" as the early pregnancy and maternity wear swims on me or is not nursing/pumping compatible. So, what to do but sew up a few wardrobe essentials?

Any new clothing items will have to be nursing and/or pumping friendly, tops that are easy to maneuver open and closed or up and down, dresses with bodices that open, and bottoms that fit.

First on this list is a pair of pants from V2975, an out of print wardrobe that was purchased when I had ambitions of sewing a maternity dress and before I realized I had no energy to do so.

The pants are wide legged, contoured yolked, with slant-front pockets and cuffed. Unsure of myself with my new breastfeeding measurements and mindful of the Big 4's notorious use of ease, I cut the 16, whose finished measurements correspond with mine, used 1.25" seam allowances on the inseam and outer legs (just in case)and added the usual 3" in length.
I chose a lovely silvery grey cotton stretch sateen - thinking it looked an awufl lot like the fabric of the modelled clothes. Notice, for a moment, the pictures of the pants on the model. This does not show 4"+ of ease through the hip. Rather, it appears the fullness really shows through the knee and lower leg. On the model, they appear quite fitted actually. Just what I was hoping for...

Excuse me while I vent for just a moment:

Dude. WHY do these pattern companies LIE?! I mean, why do they draft with SO much ease that it makes it virtually impossible to just sew and wear the freaking clothes? These pants are so huge that they approach clown pants. I was skeptical that the 16 was going to work, actually, thinking it may be too small, but OMG, they won't even stay up on my 44" hips! I don't know that I will finish them because of the limited time I have. I may just cave and go to the GAP like average Americans and live with the ill-fitting, over-priced, too-short, crappy fabric pants available.

There, I feel better now. I am going to *try* to post a photo once I attach the waistband and turn up the cuffs (there is a whole lot of fabric at the bottom getting in the way and affecting the drape without them).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Introducing Baby Adriana


My sweet baby Adriana was born July 26th at 4:32am, weighing 8lbs 2oz, 21" long and a head FULL of dark hair. It's been a week and a half and I am utterly enthralled by her every expression, coo, and reflex. And, while I know every mother says this, but isn't she the most beautiful baby you've ever seen?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nesting as "my time" approaches...

I think the so called "nesting instinct" has kicked in. Finally! Why "finally," you ask? Well, I am 38 weeks + and only just getting around to organizing and preparing for a nursery. Does everyone procrastinate like this or is it just me? I am expecting the furniture to arrive next week some time and in anticipation of this, coupled with this new found energy, I find myself eager to sort out the closet situation. What does this have to sewing? Read on...

You see, I live in a three bedroom house and up until this point, I've had a dedicated room just for sewing. Since we are going to have a little one very shortly and I am blessed with parents/in-laws who are willing to stay and help for a spell, I figure I need to make space to accommodate all new comers. In my mind, this has become a shared sewing room/nursery and separate guest room. Anyone who is willing to come and stay for one month+ to help with a new baby deserves their own room, don't you agree? I want them to be as comfortable as possible so they don't leave hastily, cursing me on their way out :P

This means also a shared closet for the stash/sewing supplies and the baby items! In going through all of my sewing stuff, I am worried I won't have enough room! What to do, what to do! Like everyone else in the Phoenix area, storage space is in short supply, a bi-product of building homes without attics or basements. On a side note, I still remember commenting when we first moved here 5 years ago on all the self-storage places around, thinking it was due to apartment living. This ranks right up there with my assumption that there simply *had* to be a train between Phoenix and Tucson. LOL! Sadly, the Southern Pacific rail is only for freight containers...My east-coast naiveté amazes me still.

So, do I sift through the stash and contemplate giving some of it away? I don't know if I can bring myself to do so. I have been very good in the past year, however, in that I haven't acquired much new fabric, just the baby dedicated yardage in the most recent months. I'd rather give away older clothes than my yards of fabric! I've already culled what I can and stored clothes I know I won't be wearing for at least the next six months (suits and my skinny dresses and such).

Here's the layout for the room so far; this is to scale.

The room is approximately 12.5' x 12.5' of usable space and is currently the guest room - containing a queen sized bed, 4 drawer dresser and night table. The closet has become our catch-all clothing storage for woolens and blankets, etc, that are hardly (err, never) used but too valuable to me for donation. These items are all going to be swapped into my current sewing room, which is slightly smaller.

In this layout above, there should be enough room to occasionally roll out the collapsable cutting table I bought a while back from Joann's that is my favorite sewing work surface. As a bonus, the table is narrow enough to roll away and fit in the closet or even in the laundry room (if it comes to that!) . There are actually sliding doors on the closet, but the program used didn't have that option. The shelves I use for the stash fit right under the closet rod and there is *just* enough space in that little corner for the wooden cd-storage/pattern shelving unit I currently use. The shelves next to the closet are currently where I store my notions, Burda's, sewing essentials, etc, but I don't know how that will realistically work in this space. It might make the room feel too crowded. I plan on allowing half of the closet for miscellaneous baby items and clothing.

Well, I had my break and now I must return to my organization attempts. More later and, possibly, some photos of my current endeavors...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reason #183 to stash...or me at 32 weeks

Hey there friendly readers! So, what have I been up to? Well, currently I am what I have come to think of as *seriously* pregnant. Almost 35 weeks along and counting the days, that's for sure! Lately I find myself feeling every ounce gained thus far and, dude, creating life is exhausting work. But, truthfully, I can't really complain. Thus far it's been fairly easy going and I am feeling pretty great overall :)

So, even though I haven't sewn up very much, I have been fairly active in the use and contemplation of fabric (but what sewist isn't, really?). I had decided early on in the pregnancy that I wanted to capture the, err, magic of pregancy on film. Now, I happen to have a good friend that is also a talented photographer! Convenient, no? She came over and we set up the studio in my bedroom, making awesome use of the stash, I must say! We draped a length of black stretch poplin (5 yds worth) over the frame of my four poster canopy with dramatic results! Not only that, we draped and clipped a 1 yd piece of poly shantung for this lovely result...

There were others as well, but this one is my favorite, using a rose from the birthday bouquet my husband gave me. Now, the only thing left to do is decide what to do with it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Back in the saddle...BWoF 08-2008-124 tunic invites reader participation

Hey there folks! I think my blog silence is now over - I've had an interesting 2009 so far, but very little sewing going on.

So what has me so preoccupied that I can't find the time for my favorite creative outlet? I'm expecting! Thus far, it has been an easy pregnancy (knock on wood with me here, people) with very little to disrupt my life except for the usual symptoms. We don't know what the sex of the baby is yet and, frankly, we're not sure if we will be finding out - so few surprises left, I say :-)

It's all very exciting and now that I am approaching the 5 month marker, I find myself growing out of my regular clothes. I don't know about any one else, but, man oh man, is it hard to find attractive maternity clothes! I am on the taller side - 5'9" and prefer a 34" inseam on my pants - and this made it near impossible to find decent jeans that were long enough! The only pants that had enough length were close to the $200 mark, which is really out of my budget, never mind the fact they didn't fit quite right in the rear. Apparently, the market for designer jeans does not include rear ends so the labels must accommodate. Who knew? Anyhow, I discovered Gap Maternity does come in long lengths, but only to 33", which means flats only, no heels. I bit the bullet, found the right size on-line and live in these jeans pretty much from Friday to Sunday.

Tops are another story all together, and this brings me to my latest endeavour: Burda World of Fashion 08-2008-124. It is a tunic style top with a drawstring at the empire waist line.

Overall, it's an interesting look. I'm about 80% completed - just permanent stitching for the sleeves (still basted but as the hard part of setting in sleeves is done, this will be quick work), hems and the drawstring left. Frankly, I'm on the fence regarding the success of the top. Typical Burda, it's super low cut - just above the line where decency would be called to question. And with the wide neckline, the shoulders have a tendency of slipping. This could probably be helped by adding bra strap holders, which might also control the neckline a bit more.

What do you think of it belted? I'm on the fence as to whether to even go through the trouble of adding the drawstring and just going with a belt for now.
I'm leaning towards the less complicated option of belt loops and calling it a day. With the belt, I think the top is quite fetching - pretty darn close to the model photo and I'm actually pregnant. I am convinced that the majority of maternity clothes are modeled by regular models with the false preggo-belly strapped on. I've been forced to conclude it's a big conspiracy to make normal women feel totally huge and inadequate in our obsessed-with-being-thin society. But, I digress...

Conversely, I could just leave the waist out all together for when I get really big.

What do you think? Drawstring, belt, or waistless smock? I have created a poll on the side bar. What say you, my public?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pattern Review: Snuggie Baby Wrap Blanket

My former supervisor and friend had her baby shower today. Not too long ago, I used one of my 20% off coupons at Border's to purchase Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. This book has been reviewed by others and I have to say, believe the hype! The patterns are adorable and witty, smart and sophisticated yet incredibly charming. For my first Amy Butler pattern and first baby shower (yes, it's true! I'd never been to a baby shower before!) I decided Shawnna would be the lucky recipient of a new swaddling blanket. She had two on her registry, but they were sad imitations of the Snuggie Wrap Blanket indeed. Read on for more info...

Pattern Description: A swaddling blanket that wraps around your baby, with a nifty hood and tie to keep him/her nice and warm.

Pattern Sizing: 0-3 months (approx 28" square) and 3-6 months (approx 33" square). I made the larger of the two since babies grow so fast!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? One thing about this particular patterns is that the book didn't include clear visuals of the wrap blanket. All you could really see were the upper half of the infant in the photos - very cute, yes I relied on the line drawing mostly. It did resemble the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they spelled out every step very clearly, with a single exception. There was only one snafoo - I had issues with the hood. The instructions tell you fleece sides together, but it wasn't 100% clear how the layers went together so the hood ended up on the exterior. For future reference - you make the blanket sandwich as follows: cotton right side to fleece right side with the hood between, hood fleece to blanket fleece, hood cotton to blanket cotton. It could be that I was tired during this phase of construction or perhaps spatially challenged. Or, that particular direction sucked like Burda World of Fashion usually does. Either way, the fix inv0lved getting nice and personal with my BFF, the seam ripper. It took me a few tries, but I finally got it right and it looked wonderful - just like the pictures!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the hood on this blanket. The inclusion of the hood takes the design to a whole other level, in my opinion. Sure a blanket is functional, but the hood makes it truly snuggle worthy.

Fabric Used: After searching the local Joann's for suitable fleece, I decided what they offered was just too scratchy to use against the tender skin of a newborn. I left the store disappointed but decided to shop the stash instead! Lo and behold, but didn't I have just the perfect fleece already? Last year, I had purchased a few yards of Malden Mills Polartec Classic 100 microvelour in chocolate brown. Perfect! This fleece feels like silk velvet against the skin and was the perfect weight for winter here in the Phoenix desert. The exterior is a Moda quilting cotton picked up a local quilt shop that matched my fleece perfectly.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: No changes - how can you mess with blanket perfection?

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan on making this again, most likely for myself when the time comes. Also, there are many other babies on the way and this one received quite the reception at the baby shower, so I'll probably make it again. It's going to be hard to find something equivalent to the Polartec Fleece, but flannel would probably make a good substitute.

Conclusion: A great baby blanket all around. I highly recommend. Plus, I can imagine the possibilities as the baby grows into childhood and decides his favorite blanket must also double as a cape, which handily has a hood! Hopefully, it will last that long!