handmade

My 2018 Make Nine Challenge Sewing Choices

2018 Make Nine, the artyologist

Not gonna lie, when I got to the end of 2017 and started looking at what I sewed throughout the year. . . I was a bit depressed to still be looking at a fabric stash instead of garments hanging in my closet. This past year I sewed four skirts, (only blogged one of them) a sundress, a cape, and refashioned a vintage dress. So, yes I did do some sewing, but considering the fact that there are 8,760 hours in a year, and only about 6,000-ish of those were spent working and sleeping, I didn’t really do as much as I could have. I don’t want that to happen again, so I have decided to take part in the 2018 Make Nine challenge hosted by Rochelle of Home Row Fibre Co. and the blog Lucky Lucille. The Make Nine Challenge is a sewing challenge where you choose nine items to make throughout the year, and is in her words, a gentle challenge. It’s not one that you can fail. It’s meant to be flexible, a tool you can use to evaluate your motivations and needs for working towards specific things as the year goes on. This is meant to be a challenge focused on learning more about yourself and your making habits while achieving goals. Work at your own pace and join in at any time. – That’s it!” She’s got all the details over on her blog post, so if you would like to take part in the challenge yourself, just hop over there to read all about it.

I’ve never joined in this community sewing challenge before, but I think that it is just the sort of kick-in-the-pants I need to turn my pile of fabric into actual clothes. I spent a few days this past week going through patterns and fabric, looking through vintage fashion books/blogs for inspiration, and evaluating what some of the gaps in my wardrobe are, and how I can fill them in a purposeful way.

I often get so inspired, and I see a pattern or garment and decide that I want to make it, but then I can’t decide which fabric to use, and so I get overwhelmed and end up going in circles of indecisiveness, because I have this ridiculous fear that if I cut into a fabric from my stash, I’ll realize that I should have made it into something else. . . and so I end up making nothing.

In light of that, this week I narrowed down all of the options and ideas I had into nine specific items I will focus on this year. I have decided to sew only garments with fabric I already own (what- no fabric shopping!?!?!?!) and the only sewing purchases I intend to make this year are for notions, lining fabric or other items that I need to complete one of these projects. Setting these boundaries for myself will ensure that I don’t get distracted (like a dog with a squirrel) and will instead end up with garments I’ve been dreaming about wearing for years. So, here, in no particular order, are my Make Nine choices for 2018!

2018, Make Nine, McCall's 6696, the artyologist

  • I have a million metres of smoky blue eyelet, and I do love a good shirtwaist dress, so I plan to make view A, only I’m going to make it floor length. I love long skirts, but currently don’t have any in my wardrobe. I also have some other fabric that I’d like to make into shirtwaists (knee length), so once I finish this, I’ll hopefully have a tried-and-true pattern, which will make the others go so much quicker.

 

2018, Make Nine, Princess Coat, the artyologist

  • Years ago, a lady gave me her aunt’s winter coat, since she knew I liked vintage styles. The coat is from the 1980’s and is an 80’s-does-50’s princess style out of green wool. Unfortunately it looks like someone along the way decided to throw it in the washing machine, and the fabric is completely ruined. However, the underside of the fabric is still lovely- so I am hoping to be able to take the coat apart and turn it, rather like the “turned silks” of the 1800’s. The coat is also a bit big, so I am going to alter it as I refashion it. I hope it works out, since a full skirted winter coat will be a wonderful thing to have!

 

2018, Make Nine, Simplicity 2154, the artyologist

  • The Simplicity 2154 blouse is so cute and classy and I’ve liked every one I’ve seen so far. I have some checked tan and navy shirting, which will be perfect for this. The colours will go with everything, and it’s always nice to have a variety of blouses. This one will be particularly nice for layering.

 

2018 Make Nine, turbans, the artyologist

  • I love turbans, and I’d love to make a formed one out of velvet. I don’t know if I’ll attempt a fan or a knot decoration like the ones in this picture- I might try out a simpler one to begin with! This will be nice for winter as it will be a good alternative to a toque.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 4403, the artyologist

  • The first project I am going to tackle this year is Simplicity 4403- a coat pattern I got for my 16th birthday. That was a long time ago and I still have a partially sewn coat out of a beautiful plum melton wool with brass buttons. I don’t even know if it’s going to fit me anymore, to be honest, but I’m going to give it a go. I am completely intimidated to sew this for some reason- but it’s either getting made now, or I’m going to get rid of it. So, because I can’t bring myself to get rid of it, I guess that means I’m going to be sewing it this weekend 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, skirts, the artyologist

  • I have some brown and plum coloured plaid “wool” in my stash that I am going to use to make a circle or 4 gored skirt. It’s not real wool- I bought it many years ago, but it’s got a tweedy sort of texture to it. I don’t have very much fabric, but I’m sure I’ll have enough for a skirt- I can always decrease the fullness if necessary. This will be a practical addition to my wardrobe, since I don’t have very many good winter weight skirts.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 3673, the artyologist

  • For years I have been dreaming of a jumper dress and jacket suit combo out of some wool-like fabric I inherited from my aunt. I have 2.5 metres of a blue and tan gingham, and 2 metres of a coordinating blue. I’ve never been brave enough to cut into it- but this is the year! I am not sure if this Simplicity 3673 pattern, centre view C, will work with the gingham check, but if not, I’ll hack the pattern to make something similar if not exactly the same. If I also manage to get a matching jacket done up, that will turn this challenge into a Make Ten instead 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, background dress, the artyologist

  • I would like a “Background Dress” as described in this Sear’s catalogue. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet, but it will be something that can be paired with a bunch of different accessories, sweaters, shoes etc. for endless options. I will use either a teal rayon or tan and black ikat patterned rayon, and I’d like the dress to have a similar 1940’s shape to it.

 

2018 Make Nine, Butterick 5748, the artyologist

  • Butterick 5748 is such a cute dress with that bow detail. I love early 1960’s dresses- they’d lost the fussiness of the 50’s, but hadn’t quite gotten into the psychedelic 60’s yet. I have a cream and brown calico cotton which I think would make a really nice sundress.

Whew. If I manage to get all of these sewn, along with all my other creative endeavors, I will be happy. Hopefully now that I’ve put it out here I’ll actually do it too- accountability works wonders! I might change some of my patterns along the way, but as long as I end up with nine garments at the end of the year, that’s good with me.

Have you heard of the Make Nine Challenge? Are you going to be taking part, or making any other kind of sewing related goals this year? What projects do you have planned? And, have you made any of these patterns before?

 

The Lost Art of Christmas Cards & a Free Christmas Card Printable

lost-art-of-christmas-cards-the-artyologist

Every year, at the beginning of December I start thinking about Christmas cards. Actually that’s not quite true, I start thinking about Christmas cards right after Christmas the year before, when all the Christmas stationery goes on sale! Every year, I go through the cards after the holidays, and pick out my favourite one for the next year. (That might be a bad habit to have. . . I’m a stationery hoarder. . . ) And then, fast forward to the first week (or second if I’m late) of December of the next year, I go through my address book and write greetings, and put a Christmas postage stamp on the envelopes and off they go, winging their way across the country!

In this era of texting and technology, sending Christmas greetings has become somewhat of a “lost art”, as has all mail, and it’s really too bad, because there is nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note in the mail, is there? One of my favourite parts of my day is stopping at the mailbox to see if there is anything in it. More often than not, I am like Charlie Brown, calling “hello in there” with no response, but nevertheless, I do still love it! I guess I’m a Victorian girl at heart. This might be because I read Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions at an impressionable age and ever since then, I’ve adored all of the old fashioned holiday traditions.

But, this year I started thinking, when did Christmas cards come into popularity? The Victorians “invented” Christmas as we know it today. Many of the traditions that surround Christmas came into popularity in the 1800’s, such as Christmas trees, which had before then been found mainly in Germany. And Christmas cards are another one of those traditions that became popularized in the Victorian era.

gift wrapped, the-artyologist, free christmas card download

So, after a bit of reading, I discovered that what started the tradition of Christmas cards was actually one man’s laziness, and ingenuity. Traditionally, at Christmas, people used to send Christmas and New Year’s letters. In the 1840’s with the advent of an economical postal system (the “Penny Post”) people started taking advantage of the mail system, and sending out their Christmas and New Years letters with abandon. This was great, but in Victorian England it was rude to not reply to a letter you had received. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole started receiving tons of letters- he was apparently very popular and was in the position of having too many friends. Feeling overwhelmed by the pile of letters stacking up, he devised a way to reply to the senders, with the first ever “Christmas Card”. He commissioned an artist to create a card for him, with the message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you” written on it, and then, he simply wrote each person’s name on it and sent it out. It took a while for Christmas Cards to catch on, but once they did, they skyrocketed in popularity and today we can’t imagine Christmas without cards. Although the popularity is waning these days, I do still see plenty of stationery and cards this time of year, so many people must still enjoy this tradition. If you want to see the first card and history, you can read more here.

free christmas card download, the-artyologist

So, all that to say; I love Christmas cards, and any kinds of cards really, so I decided that it would be fun to do a free Christmas card printable! This is an illustration I did last year, which I have made into Christmas cards and present tags, since I know that many of you don’t need cards. Print these out on some nice cardstock, and voila!

Download the Christmas Cards Here

Download The Christmas Tags Here

And, while I’ve got you here, I’ve not found Christmas cards to do very well at sales in the past, but is that something you would be interested in me adding to my shop for next year? If so, let me know!

Do you enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards?

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist

I think a common misconception about sewing your own clothes is that by sewing your own, you can achieve a perfect fit each time and you will end up with a closet full of clothes you love.

In theory that is true, but I think every seamstress has, at some point in their sewing life, sewn something that has turned out terribly wrong. A complete failure. A dud. The fit is off, it’s too small, it’s too big, it has wrinkles where there shouldn’t be any, the armholes gape, you loved the look of the pattern, but once you put on the finished garment, you realize that you don’t look quite like the model. . .  I could go on.

Making your own clothing is incredibly satisfying, when you end up with a garment you love, but incredibly frustrating when it turns out badly. While making a muslin, or tried and true patterns are helpful, sometimes despite all of your careful preparation, you end up with something that doesn’t turn out like you thought it would. This recently finished dress (Vogue 8789) that I’m sharing today, is one such example of dress that went wrong, but I was able to salvage and make something new out of.

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hat-and-blossoms

I sewed a dress out of this fabric four years ago, based off of a pattern I had made for another dress I have. I loved the other dress, and really liked the fit and style. It had a fitted waist, like Vogue 2962, but with a regular sleeved top, not a halter. It was, I thought, a tried and true pattern, so I decided to make another out of this striped cotton. However, when I finished the dress, the bodice ended up too wide, and the neckline gaped. It looked OK, when I stood still, but, as I don’t usually stand in one position all day, it was rather ill fitting and uncomfortable. I wore the dress two times, and then promptly removed it from my closet and threw it into the box of shame (aka- box of unfinished sewing projects) where it sat for four years. 🙁

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, portrait-1

This past October, when I took part in Slow Fashion October, I made a decision/ pledge to use up my stash and finish up my UFO sewing projects, before I started embarking on too many new projects and buying new fabric without any plan of what I was going to make with it. And, when I saw “The Vintage Fashion Challenge” prompt on Instagram for today was “Me Made Style”, I knew that it was finally time to tackle this dress. And, as I wanted to highlight the stripe design, I decided that it was a perfect time to try out Vogue 8789.

So how did I like this pattern? I did end up sizing down and that worked, although I think that if I ever make it again, I will actually size down once more, and do a full bust adjustment instead for a better fit. The muslin for this pattern worked out really nicely, but (again) when I sewed up the bodice there were many fit frustrations. I couldn’t get the darts to lie nicely, and they kept having bubbles on the ends of them that (to put it rather bluntly) were quite, um, nipply. I did so much research about darts, consulting sewing blogs and books and reading about how you need to keep them 1-2″ away from the bust apex, etc. but nothing was working. Finally, I read in one of Gertie’s old posts about using two small darts, rather than one large one, as a large dart will always end up being pointed. One of my sewing books recommends never doing a dart larger than 3/4″. So, I took out the dart, marked the apex and then drew two new 1/2″ darts, and the problem was instantly solved! If you have ever faced difficulty with pointy darts, I would definitely recommend using two small darts!

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, v-detail

As for the rest of the dress, it went together quite well and I finished it up (even matching my centre back zipper perfectly). And they all lived happily ever after, right? Wrong! I tried the dress on, and it was too big! At this point, I despaired of ever having a striped dress, but I resolutely picked it out, and then refit the bodice, with my mom’s help. And then I sewed up the rest of it, and it was a success this time.

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, back

When I look at this dress, I see all of the problems with it. There are wrinkles on the back that shouldn’t be there. The skirt seam ended up being on the front. The waist seam over the zipper doesn’t match up exactly. But, overall, those are just nit picky complaints, and ultimately I have ended up with a dress that I love. I have worn it once already and I know that it is going to end up being a new favourite. I am also glad that I was able to save this dress, and make something “new” from it. So, the moral of the story is, when you turn out a new garment and it ends up being a failure, instead of despairing, see if you can turn it into something new. Although, maybe don’t wait for four years to do so 😉

Have you ever made a garment that was a complete failure? What did you do? Were you able to save it, and turn it into something new? Have you ever tried Vogue 8789?

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, blossoms-2

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, back with branches

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, me made style

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hem-and-purse

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, blossoms-1

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, portrait-and-blossoms

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hat

Rural Holiday

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit

I do love a good Instagram community challenge! Last year I took part in Me Made May, but this year I decided not to take part. I just don’t have enough homemade pieces in my wardrobe right now to make it significantly different from last year, and though I am sure no one else would have noticed, I would have gotten fairly bored with it. Thus, I was excited to see that there was another challenge being hosted this month, called “The Vintage Fashion Challenge”. (It’s nice to see a vintage focused event on Instagram). This one is being hosted by Carla of tinyangrycrafts, jennylee.knits and iliveinmylab and these three ladies came up with different prompts for each day of May. I have not been posting every day, but have been taking part when I have something for the prompt of the day. At the beginning of the month, as I was looking through the monthly overview, I saw a couple of prompts that I would need to sew something for. One was “Me Made Style”, (which I will be sharing next week) and the other was “Movie Style: A Film Inspired Outfit”. I decided that I would combine some of the prompts with blog posts, and to finish in time, I have been doing a fair bit of sewing this month- maybe at this rate I will be able to take part in Me Made May next year after all! 😉

I was quite excited about the “Movie Style” prompt, and started brainstorming for that one, before the challenge had even started. I love old movies, (actually I love new movies too!) and one of my favourite things about movies is the costumes. Costumes can make or break a film, don’t you think? It can be a great story, but if the costumes are off, it just ruins it. Conversely, sometimes I watch movies just for the costumes- even if the storyline isn’t that good. 🙂 I always enjoy good costumes, and then dream about “someday” sewing similar pieces for myself, but rarely do I ever actually end up creating those pieces. Having a challenge to create a specific film look was great, as I knew that it would force me to actually come up with something. (If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you might sense a trend here- I need deadlines in order to finish things- otherwise I procrastinate!!!)

Before anything else, first came the hard part of deciding which film look to recreate. So many old films, feature elaborate garments which I don’t have the skill or resources to create, and I also wanted to find a look that would be a valuable addition to my wardrobe. I mean, I do love the costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but where am I going to wear a sapphire blue evening gown or a leopard cape and muff.  Ok, never mind- if those were in my wardrobe, I would find a reason to wear them! But, while so many costumes from movies are extremely glamorous and elegant, they aren’t very wearable for my lifestyle. Thus, I started combing through old movies, to find a film inspired look that would be both useful and versatile to wear, and reasonable to recreate. When I came across Roman Holiday, I knew I had found what I was looking for!

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, skirt detail

I haven’t seen the movie for ages, (if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it) but I knew that Audrey’s Roman Holiday outfit would be perfect to recreate as all I needed was a circle skirt. The colourized photo versions of the costume show a blue skirt, but I found this image which shows a tan skirt. I believe that the original costume was tan, which for some reason was colourized to blue in the photos. Tan is a great colour for my wardrobe, so I decided to make a tan circle skirt, though I thought that if I couldn’t find any suitable tan fabric at my local shop, I would make it out of blue chambray. I did find fabric, but since I really like how this skirt turned out I might end up getting some chambray anyways. I have been wanting a circle skirt for a while and this tan circle skirt has proven to be a great addition to my wardrobe already. It goes with everything. I made it out of a tan slubbed cotton/poly fabric. I wish that it was 100% cotton, but they didn’t have any nice cotton fabric, and so I decided to just go for it anyways.

The skirt took me a few days to sew up. I sewed it in one evening, left it to hang for 24 hours, and then went to finish it two days later. Of course, despite all my meticulous measuring, I ended up having to take 1.5 inches out of the waistband. I hate having to pick things out, and it took me a while to redo it all, but I still ended up finishing this project relatively quickly. The most time absorbing part was the hand stitched hem- this is how I prefer to finish my garments, but it sure is time consuming! I hand stitched it with lace hem tape, but did it while watching movies (over two evenings), so it went relatively quickly, and at least I got to enjoy a movie at the same time 🙂 I also made a separate slip to wear underneath as the loose weave of the fabric is slightly sheer. I decided to make a separate slip, rather than just lining the skirt, so I can wear the slip with other dresses and skirts.

All in all, this turned out to be a very quick sewing project and the only part left was to style it as a Roman Holiday look. I didn’t want to take this outfit literally, and copy the shoes, the belt, the scarf etc. exactly as it was in the movie, but rather took the basic formula to create my own look.

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, roman holiday outfit, portrait

I chose this tie front blouse, which is actually quite similar to the one Audrey wore, with the rolled sleeves and collar, because the colour of tan in the leopard print pairs perfectly with the colour of the skirt. I think that this shirt goes so well with the skirt, and as I haven’t had much to pair it with so far, I am excited about being able to wear it more often.

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, shoe-detail

Next was the shoes. I have these brown shoes which used to have a zigzagged elastic which made them into a slip on shoe. However, by the end of last summer, the elastic in one of the shoes had stretched out, so I had been thinking of replacing the elastic with proper tie laces. This look is quite trendy right now, but is quite a vintage look too, as illustrated by Audrey’s look in Roman Holiday. For these photos, I used black shoe laces (that’s what I had), and tied them around my ankle for the same look. I am planning on getting some shorter brown laces, and not wearing them looped around my ankle. (I don’t think it is the best look for me, though it was fun for this outfit)

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, detail

The final touch to this movie inspired Roman Holiday outfit, was adding a vintage off-white sheer scarf. In some of the pictures you can see I’m wearing it tied around my neck, while in others it is under my collar. I decided after a few photos, that it looked like a neck brace in some of the photos, and having it tucked under my collar looked better 🙂

The only thing left to do to finish my Roman Holiday outfit, was to bring out my bicycle. As I don’t have a vespa, like in the film, a bicycle will have to do for my own “Rural Holiday”. 😉

Have you seen the movie Roman Holiday? Have you ever watched a movie and then wanted all of the outfits? If you were going to recreate a movie look, which would outfit would you choose? Share in the comments, so we can all look up your favourite movie costumes. . .  and then add them to our own lists too 😉

 

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, sunny-standing-beside-bicycle

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, scarf detail 2

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, riding bicycle 2

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, tie-shirt

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, riding-away