So Zo undies by Allspice Abounds - finished

After all the precise sewing on my Archer and a few busy weeks with not much sewing progress, I needed a simple, instant gratification project to get my sew-jo back.  I’m sure you can relate.  I decided to whip up a few more pairs of So Zo undies using some jersey scraps that I had lying around and a fresh batch of fold-over elastic.  I guess I was on a roll because I wound up making 5 pairs!  Yay for some new, colorful additions to my unmentionables drawer.  :)

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Grainline Archer of Many Details - finished

My Archer of Many Details is complete, and I have to say, I really like this one!  Not surprisingly, it’s the little details that make all the difference.  They take extra time, but to me, it’s worth it.  :)

Although I finished sewing this shirt about 2 weeks ago, I’m only getting around to blogging about it now.  Life has a way of getting busy sometimes, and sewing is usually the first thing to go when my schedule fills up.  Sad but true!  My sewing had been moving along at a glacial pace anyway, mostly due to me being exhausted after work lately, so I guess the last few weeks of low sewing productivity aren’t all that surprising.  Ah, life.  Anyway, back to my new shirt!

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Pattern Review Boston-area meet-up - group photo

 Group photo from MariaDenmark

Instead of showing you my finished Archer of Many Details, which is indeed finished but not yet photographed, I have a bunch of other sewing-related updates for you today.  Get ready for a somewhat random & gushy post.  :)

Boston-area sewing meet-up

This weekend I attended my first-ever sewing meet-up, the Pattern Review Boston-area meet-up at Grey’s Fabric.  Basically the best day ever!  :)  I’ve heard many bloggers say that people who sew are the nicest people, and I’m happy to report that it’s absolutely true.  Everyone I met was so down to earth, friendly, and kind-hearted, and of course everyone was so joyful and passionate about sewing.  It was such a pleasure to hang out with people who share my interest in sewing, chat about fabric and patterns, and simply meet such a wonderful bunch of women.  I think this was the first group of women I’ve ever hung out with where there was absolutely no drama.  How refreshing.  :)

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Gray Archer in progress - cut pieces and ribbon

The latest project on my sewing table is my third Archer, which I’ve affectionately dubbed “The Archer of Many Details.”  I’ve been meaning to try out a bunch of new-to-me shirt-making techniques, and I figured I’d give them all a go in a single project.  Two birds and one stone, you know how it goes.  :)

The main fabric is Robert Kaufmann pinpoint Oxford, a chambray with a crisp hand that presses like a dream.  It’s the same fabric I used for my first Archer, which I love (and actually wore today!).  It makes a really crisp, professional-looking shirt, which is exactly the vibe I’m going for.  I saw it at Grey’s Fabric and immediately scooped it up in a whirlwind of spontaneity.  I’m sure you can relate, ha.

Ok, onward to the “many details.”

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Bound buttonholes - two-piece piped method - large gallery image

Sew Skillfully Banner

To kick off Sew Skillfully, I decided to learn how to sew bound buttonholes.  Exciting!!  : )  The book I’m using (Reader’s Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing) details several methods for making the buttonhole and finishing the facing on the inside of the garment.  For my first attempt, I chose the following:

  • Buttonhole: Two-piece piped method
  • Facing: Windowpane method

To be honest, I chose these methods because they seemed to be on the intricate end of the spectrum, and I wanted to get the best finish possible.  Call me a sucker for detailed procedures!  I actually really enjoy sewing complicated things sometimes, and pushing myself to learn these more advanced techniques is exactly what Sew Skillfully is all about.  No shortcuts, at least for now!

I made 2 buttonholes using this method.  I’ll show you my second one first, because it came out better.  Not surprising.  :)  Ok, let’s dive in!

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Sew Skillfully Banner

I consider myself an intermediate sewist.  I’ve sewn a bunch of garments, most of them successful, and definitely feel that I’ve moved on from the “beginner” title.  Interestingly, I can easily see myself squatting in the intermediate category indefinitely, happily sewing a wardrobe full of garments that fit well and that I love wearing.  Advanced techniques aren’t necessarily required for sewing successful garments.  If my main goal in sewing is producing a wearable wardrobe, I think I have most of the skills I need at this point.

However, that is not my only goal.  I want to learn, push myself, explore!  :)  One day I’d like to graduate from “intermediate sewist” to “advanced sewist”… and perhaps even “expert sewist” somewhere down the line.  (A girl can dream, right?)  Enter the Sew Skillfully project.

Sew Skillfully is:

- A fun way to challenge myself to learn more intermediate and advanced sewing techniques, without necessarily incorporating them into a specific garment project.

- A way for me to document my progress, ask questions when I get stuck, report on any interesting findings, and share tips and recommendations with you as I come across them.

- My own small contribution in advancing the sewing blogosphere beyond content focused on absolute beginners, an area which has been fully saturated, in my opinion.

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Summer Blazer by Allspice Abounds - Simplicity 2446 - front

After about a month of work, I’m thrilled to show you my finished Summer Blazer!

Summer Blazer by Allspice Abounds - Simplicity 2446 - showing lining

Isn’t she a beauty?  :)  Made of breathable cotton and fully lined in silky Bemberg rayon, this light jacket is the perfect companion for summer days with just a hint of a cool breeze.

Project Stats:

Pattern: Simplicity 2446, a classic-cut, fully lined blazer in 2 lengths.  This is the cropped version, more or less.

Fabric: The shell is a medium weight cotton print, and the lining is Bemberg rayon (my absolute favorite lining fabric).

Modifications: A bunch of fitting alterations, made for my first blazer.  For this version, I chopped 4.5 inches off the hem but left all my other modifications in tact.

Level of crafty satisfaction:  I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty smug about this one.  :)

Before I throw a bunch more photos at you, a few quick notes:

  • I wrote two in-progress posts about this blazer (Part 1 and Part 2), featuring close-up photos of all the details and diving into construction and finishing techniques.  Check them out for all the nitty-gritty.
  • For all my posts on Simplicity 2446, including my first blazer, click here.
  • The white fabric is a killer to photograph outdoors, but I’ve included some indoor shots at the end of this post so you can see the details of the print.

All right, it’s picture time!

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Spring Archer repairs - pocket unfolded

This weekend I decided to tackle a little project that had been on the back burner for quite a while: repairing one of my handmade garments.  I don’t know about you, but making repairs and alterations is not one of my favorite things to do!  However, my Spring Archer had some serious problems that needed attention, and I wanted to breathe new life into this much-loved shirt.

The problems

  • My two-layer pocket idea was a total FAIL.  After a few rounds in the washing machine, it became apparent that I hadn’t properly catched the underlayer in the topstitching, and it kept flopping out as you see above.
  • The sleeves were too long.  This cotton seems to stretch vertically over time, ugh!
  • The sleeve cuffs were too wide and kept sliding off my wrists.  This is no doubt due to the extra width (about 1 inch) added to the sleeve when constructing the tower plackets, a fact which I only realized after it was too late.
  • The tower plackets were too long, and therefore, kept gaping open during wear.

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Summer Blazer progress 2 - compilation

My Summer Blazer is moving right along!  Today I have more in-progress photos for you, including construction of the infamous notched collar and finishing the sleeve cuffs.  I’ve been really enjoying working on this project and love all the detailed work, and I’m excited that this blazer is nearing the finish line!  Pretty soon I’ll have a classy jacket to pair with all my summer skirts and dresses.  : )

To recap, this is Simplicity 2446, a fitted, classic-cut blazer from the Amazing Fit series.  I cropped the length a bit compared to my previous version.  The jacket is constructed in a cotton print and fully lined in Bemberg rayon.

Like a proud mama, I took lots of photos of my baby.  Enjoy!

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Forest Mushroom Mittens - right mitten finished

I knit a mitten!  Emphasis on “a”, since there is only one mitten so far.  : )  I didn’t get any sewing done this past week due to my back injury, but all that time sitting on the couch was a great way to bring back my knitting mojo, at least temporarily.  These are the Forest Mushroom Mittens (on Ravelry) by Elinor Brown, published in November 2010.  I started knitting this mitten in December 2011 and just managed to finish it now.  It sat in a drawer for almost the entire time in between, how sad!  What can I say?  When I got my sewing machine, my knitting took a back seat!

I’m quite pleased with how this mitten turned out, even though it’s not my best knitting work.  (BTW, have you seen Tasha’s latest colorwork cowl?  That woman is a fair isle ninja!)  The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in brown, white, and red, and I used US 2 (2.75 mm) double-pointed needles throughout.  Lots more photos below, and full Ravelry notes here.

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