New Horizons Vermont Cardigan

I accidentally started a thing this year where every time I find myself standing in front of my peers at work presenting something, I’ve been wearing homemade.  I was scheduled to present on our first Monday back from break, and on Saturday I kinda flipped out and scrambled for something new to make.  The only pattern I had printed and ready to cut was the Vermont Cardigan, and I went all out and made the hooded, banded-bottom tunic length because I was gifted three yards of snuggly sweater knit for Christmas.

I made the cardigan in XL, though L probably would have fit.  With this soft fabric I wanted something loose and snuggly.  The pattern comes in xx-small through size 26, and I regret not tracing before cutting, because it would make a great gift.

As usual with a new pattern, I didn’t adjust anything for my first attempt.  I’ve sewn New Horizons before, and the tops tend to fit me well without alteration. I did leave off the buttons though, because yikes! On a sweater knit? Too hard!

This pattern, like the Riviera Raglan, has a huge number of options.  Hooded, crew, v-neck, in crop, hip, or tunic length with or without bottom band, belted or not, buttons or not, and various sleeve lengths.  The best little option – pockets!  And of course I choose those!

It took me about an hour to cut it out, both because the cutting layout isn’t exactly specific to the options I had chosen, and because I’d already used some of my 3-yard cut to make an infinity scarf.  🙂  I goofed and cut the front and back bodice pieces too long (I should have cut on the line for the banded tunic length, not the tunic length, and accidentally cut on the v-neck line instead of the crew neck line.  Luckily, there was enough fabric left for me to save myself, and now I know to watch out for that.

New Horizons’ directions aren’t always easy for me to follow.  I’m thinking specifically of how difficult it was for me to figure out how to sew the thumb-hole cuffs for the Riviera Raglan – it took me several failed attempts to wrap my mind around it!  The directions weren’t explicit enough, and the pictures didn’t make up the difference.  With the Vermont, there were places where the directions left out things like “with right sides together”, but the pictures filled in those gaps nicely.

In the end it took me a few hours from cut to finish.  As it started to take shape, I got giddier and giddier.  It is my favorite article of clothing made so far, and I actually wore it to work twice last week!  I clearly need to make a few more!

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What?!

I did a FB live video today of me opening a mystery box of fabric. Not something I ever thought I’d do, and I don’t know how I finally mustered up the courage to push the “go live” button! And you know what? It was fun! This is a strange hobby dragging me out of my comfort zone.

I’m thinking maybe the black and white could be a dress length LDT with black sleeves, but I want a higher neckline and I’m not sure how to go about it.

This one just seemed perfect for the Brazi dress. So soft and comfy and perfect for lounging around in summer… maybe…?

And these last two… I have no idea at all!

Week 1: Clean up your sewing room

For the challenge this week we didn’t technically have to sew something, but I think for some it might have been pretty time consuming anyway-we had to clean our spaces! My room stays pretty clean honestly, and anyway had a big clean up and reorg a few months ago when my husband gave me his desk. So I dusted and straightened my desk, and finally made a cover for my cutting “table” that will (I hope) keep the cat off my fabric. He’s always either on or cutting table adjacent (he’s behind it in this pic!) and it burns me up when he sleeps on clean fabric! 😡

Another part of the challenge this year is that you get two entries if you sew something from that week’s sponsor. So this was my entry this week:

Midnight Slippers

I persevered! Why? Because I believe in the power of yet? Because I’d never give up on a dream? No! I did it because Amazon accidentally sent me three packages of slipper gripper fabric instead of the one I paid for, and I’m not about to waste THAT! Also, I now match my dog. 😆

Here’s my review of this little freebie pattern – Midnight Slippers from Stitch Upon a Time:

Pros:  Love the name, made from scraps, really was about a 1 hour project as promised, free pattern, excellent directions, using knit fabric wasn’t really a problem

Cons:  Directions are written in Comic Sans (barf)

Meh:  Not sure if it’s me or the pattern, but they’re a smidge small.  I’m going to wear them anyway, but if I make another pair (and I will with all that cheap gripper fabric!) then I’ll size up.

Now that I’ve developed some trust for the company, I’ve bought their Brazi and Scrundies patterns.  It’s time to conquer my fear of unmentionables.

My first sewing failure of 2019!

Might as well get it out of the way early!

They were going to be slippers (and would have matched my hoodie! 😜) but the serger got stroppy with the layers of fluffy fabric and ate a seam. And since I’m not afraid of giving up, I totally give up. I’ll just wear socks.

Oddly enough, I thought my downfall with this one would be the knit fabric.  The pattern directions didn’t forbid knit, or anyway weren’t strong enough in their protests against it, so I plowed ahead. I wanted to use my purdy scraps.

2018 Recap of sorts

I know, I know, I know, I hate “New Years” posts too, but my plans to post this wrap up last night were thwarted when I became trapped under a pile of fraidy pants dogs.

So blame my lawless neighborhood and their fireworks, but don’t blame me! I promise reflections without revolting resolutions or promises to unveil a “new me”.  Seriously.

I started this blog a year ago thinking I could keep myself motivated to sew if I blogged about what I was making (See? Ridiculous resolution making!), but because that’s not the way the universe works, I managed to stick with the sewing but not the blogging.  I thank participating in a FB challenge to sew every week for keeping me motivated, but I’m honestly not sure why that worked.  There were prizes and opportunities for accolades, but I didn’t win anything.*   I enjoyed belonging to a community of sewists (double checking because autocorrect likes to change that one to “sexists”!), and seeing what they were up to every week.  Lots of inspiration!

Somehow or other lurking in that community is what finally persuaded me to try a PDF pattern and to buy fabric from an independent website.  The first clothing pattern I downloaded was a freebie of course – the Love Notions Laundry Day Tee.  That happened after a series of utterly failed attempts to sew from Simplicity and McCalls.  Nothing ever fit me!  I know, go by finished garment size printed on the pattern, account for ease, yadda yadda.  I tried and failed.  And failed.  And failed.

But the LDT and those directions!  I had faith, gave it a whirl, and came out a better sewist on the other side.   Oh, that’s how you get a perfect neckband every time?  Got it.  And this week I whipped one up for my sister like it was no big deal – out of ITY no less!

From there I got bold and downloaded more.  Some I actually paid for!  I’ve made Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs, Love Notions Sabrina Slims, and New Horizons Riviera Raglan in all it’s different forms, including FIVE hoodies!  (I gave some as Christmas gifts, and really couldn’t tell how the recipients felt.  Maybe one was a smidge less enthusiastic than I was expecting.  She didn’t see me watching.  Oh well.)

I took lots of pictures this year… but not of everything.  I learned from a whole lot of mistakes this year… but I didn’t bother to reflect or write down what I changed, so will I even remember what I did?  Really regretting some missed opportunities there.  I know you’re thinking I couldn’t have forgotten everything, right?  But for real, I learned how to whip up an infinity scarf without looking at the directions… two weeks pass and I have to rewatch the tutorial video again?!  What happened???

Here’s what I did retain… I learned how to say no to people who want me to do alterations (“NO!”).  Or how to respond when someone wants me to make a quilt (“Here’s the name of a retired granny with a long-arm machine and her own FB page!  She’s got time and needs the money, do the right thing here, friend!”).  I stopped saying, “I would, but I don’t know how!” because people don’t accept that answer for some reason.  They think I’m being modest?  Cause for real, I have no idea how to make pants fit your butt, I can’t even make pants fit my own butt.

I learned that despite earnest promises, people rarely pay me back for fabric I use to make things for them, and I’m not generous enough to use my limited sewing budget on anyone outside of this fam, no matter how much I like ’em!  “Buy this amount of this type of fabric from this store, and have it shipped to me,” followed by, “Oh, yes (batting eyes innocently) you really do need that much!”  That’s my plan anyway.  Wish me luck.

My goal in 2018 was to sew an item a week for 52 weeks, and though the cat toy week was an obvious cop out, I actually stuck with it – and then some!  My final total was 75 items (yes, I counted his toy!).

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • 1 pair of slipper socks
  • 4 dresses
  • 2 button cowls
  • 3 aprons
  • 24 shirts
  • 6 skirts (one for a table)
  • 3 pairs of lounge pants
  • 1 pajama top
  • 1 cat toy
  • 2 bags
  • 4 doggy bow ties
  • 2 quilts
  • 1 pillowcase
  • 5 pillows
  • Endless patches for uniforms
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 baby blankets
  • 5 hoodies
  • 1 doggie dragon costume
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 dog jacket
  • 5 infinity scarves

Here are the 52 items I entered into the challenge.

So that’s a wrap.  I am definitely participating in this challenge again for 2019 (It’s not a resolution!  It’s a CHALLENGE!) it’s just that I probably won’t write about it here.  🙂

*OK, fine.  I did win something.  I happened to be watching one of the quarterly drawings live when my name was announced.  You should have seen my face when I gleefully skipped on over to the website to see what my prize was.   Other people were getting gift certificates for clothing patterns and even fabric, so I knew it would be good!  What was it?  A pattern for cloth menstrual pads in the shape of my choosing – bats or witches or even Christmas trees!  For real.  I know that these things are valued by many, and maybe one day I’ll want to make my own, but it was such a let down!  (Ungrateful crybaby?  Yep.)

2018 Totals

I think I’ve sewn more this year that in the last 20 years combined!

So far…

1 pair of slippers

3 dresses

2 button cowls

3 aprons

13 shirts

5 skirts (one for a table)

2 PJs

1 cat toy

2 bags

4 doggie bow ties

2 quilts

3 pillows

1 pillowcase

Endless uniform patches

1 pair of pants

1 hoodie

Three months!

That’s how long I stuck with this blog before forgetting it exists. How sad. 😜

Here’s a project recap:

The most exciting new development is that I sewed PANTS. The whole reason I started sewing 18 years ago – to get some pants that fit! – and I was finally brave enough to try!  I used the Sabrina Slims pattern from Love Notions, and a ton of black ponte de roma from various stores.  I got myself all prepared to fail spectacularly… and then didn’t.  The first pair I cut without any alterations (because I had no idea where to begin!) and the fit was incredibly bad all over.  Luckily, the directions anticipated this and had a really well written and illustrated section on all the alterations I needed.   I had to remove 2″ from the front and back rise, adjust for a gaping back, add length, and let out the inseams… and if I’m 100% honest I still haven’t gotten this part exactly perfectly right, but I’ve got another pair half sewn now and it’s promising.  In any case, they’re wearable with a long enough shirt and that makes me pretty happy!