Where are they now: Archer edition

Where are they now - Archer edition

Do you ever wonder what happens to handmade garments after their initial blog debut?  I do!  It’s one of the reasons I always enjoy Gillian’s year-in-review series where everyone confesses which garments didn’t quite live up to their expectations.  We all put so much work into our garments… but then what?  Are we still wearing them a year later?  Did our tastes change?  Did the garments survive the wash?

And why am I talking about failed garments and my beloved Archers in the same post??

Well, I have a confession to make.  As the long winter drags on, I’ve realized that I haven’t been reaching for my Archers anymore.  It’s not that I don’t love them.  In fact, I’m actually kind of sad that they haven’t been making the rounds lately.  So what gives?

People, IT’S COLD.  So cold, in fact, that a loose-fitting woven top just doesn’t cut it in the warmth department.  I’ve been layering with close-fitting tops and sweaters that hug my body and keep in the heat.  The lightweight cotton of my precious Archers combined with the generous cut (read: plenty of room for cold air to seep in!) are just not a good combination for winter.  There, I said it!  I’ve come to the conclusion that my Archers are 3-season garments.  Perfect for transitional weather in spring and fall, and even great for summer in all those air-conditioned buildings.  But winter?  Not so great.

Some of you may recall my grand plan of sewing Renfrews to match my Archers, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  It turns out that getting a long cotton sleeve to fit into another long cotton sleeve produces almost enough friction to start a fire, and if you do manage to squeeze into those sleeves, it’s pretty uncomfortable to wear all day.  Womp womp.  I am crying a single tear.

So where are my Archers now?  Hanging in my closet, being neglected, and waiting for warmer days when I can wear them with a tank top.  Until further notice I’ll be living in my huge puffer coat and covered with a down blanket.

Do you have any handmade garment confessions to make?  It feels good to let them out.  :)

The insanity of machine quilting

Tulip quilt - folded on table

Are you a quilter, or a Quilter?

quilter (noun): A person who casually makes quilts.  Might also enjoy sewing garments, knitting, and other creative pursuits.  Enjoys the company of other human beings, a furry companion or two, and generally leading a normal and well-balanced life.

Quilter (noun): A person who considers quilting to be serious business.  Tolerates, and perhaps even relishes in, the absolute insanity of machine quilting.  Has the massive upper body strength required to wrestle a quilt into the all-too-tiny opening in the free arm of the machine.  Most importantly, has the mental fortitude to restrain oneself from jumping out the window during a long session of quilting at the machine.

Friends, I am saddened to inform you that I am decidedly NOT a Quilter.

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A new look for Allspice Abounds

The new look of Allspice AboundsWelcome to my updated creative space!  This blog was in desperate need of a facelift after several years of the old design, and I wanted to breathe some new life into this space from which I derive so much enjoyment.  I can only do so much in terms of re-design with this 100% free WordPress.com blog, but I’m happy with the new, more modern look.

The first thing you probably noticed is that everything is BIGGER!  My eyes still aren’t used to the huge change in scale, but it seems that blogs have been tending toward larger scale designs lately, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  The larger text is easier on my eyes (which don’t seem to be getting any younger, LOL), and I like having more width in the content area to display larger photos.  I’ll have to experiment with how large is too large for my less-than-professional photos, but I hope you’ll bear with me as I figure things out.

I also updated my Finished Project Gallery with larger photos, which I think is a welcome change from the thumbnails I had previously.  The page is now much longer in terms of scrolling, but it’s nice to be able to see the images a bit more clearly.

I’m still tweaking a few things here and there, so please let me know if you encounter any bugs or formatting issues.  I’m not an expert in blog design by any means, but I’ll do my best to fix any issues that arise.

I hope you enjoy the new look, or at the very least find it easier to read!  Have a great weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day!  :)

Three Renfrews in Laguna jersey and Art Gallery knit

Three Renfrews in Laguna jersey and Art Gallery knit by Allspice Abounds

The fact that I’m sewing basic t-shirts and couldn’t find any time to photograph them in natural light pretty much sums up the state of my sewing right now.  Such is life!  With that said, I find these simple knit tops extremely relaxing to sew, and I wear one almost every day in the winter, so this is total win in my book.  Hooray for my everyday wardrobe!  Plus, I have some thoughts on my first time sewing with the new Art Gallery knits, so hopefully you’ll find something interesting in this plan vanilla post.

Now you may be thinking, “Carolyn, didn’t you mention something about drafting your own pants a few weeks ago?  Why are you showing me boring t-shirts when you could be writing a juicy post on pants?”  Umm, ok, you’ve got me there.  Let’s just say that the pants have been sitting in the corner of my cutting table, patiently awaiting the day when I have enough brain power to revisit them.  The fact that this post is about t-shirts should give you a clue about the brain power I’ve been able to dedicate to my sewing lately.  :)

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Graduate student in transition

Fabric for Fashion and other sewing books

It’s been a hectic month.  I just got back from a week on the west coast of the US, and while the trip was a great success, there was a ton of work that went into it.  I’m going to hijack my own blog for a bit and talk about what’s been going on in my life outside of sewing.  I hope you don’t mind!  If you do, consider yourself warned and feel free to skip this one.  I promise I won’t be offended.  :)

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Updated view of my sewing space

Updated sewing studio by Allspice Abounds

Today I’d like to share with you an updated view of my sewing space.  As I mentioned in my Highlights of 2014 post, I’ve been slowly working on setting up a permanent sewing studio in my apartment, and I think I’m at the point where it’s just about done.  It’s been wonderful being able to sew without having to move any furniture or machines around!  Everything now has its own permanent place.

As you can see, my little sewing studio is quite modest, but it’s home.  :)  I live in a tiny studio apartment in a crowded part of the city, but I think I’ve done a good job of making the best of the limited space available to me.  I’m very fortunate to be able to set aside this dedicated space for my sewing, as I know not all of you have that luxury.  With that said, however, I definitely wouldn’t classify my living situation as anything close to “luxurious” in this tiny old apartment!

Anyway, let’s take a tour of my updated studio!

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A Big List of Welt Pocket Tutorials

A big list of welt pocket tutorials by Allspice Abounds

After sewing my first welt pockets, I found myself ravenously blood-thirsty for MOAR KNOWLEDGE on this absolutely fascinating subject.  It turns out that Googling “welt pocket tutorial” results not only in a ton of tutorials, but a never-ending rabbit hole of welt pocket awesomeness.  There are SO many tutorials and SO many different techniques.  If one were a crazy sewing lady, one might find oneself in welt pocket heaven.  Just a warning.  :)

Anyway, I found myself mentally classifying all the tutorials I came across into various categories based on technique, and it soon became too much for my poor little brain to handle.  Then I started writing it all down in a big list.  Then I thought, maybe some other crazy sewing ladies (and dudes?) might also enjoy a categorized list of glorious welt pocket goodness.  You see where this is going…

Allow me to humbly present:

A Big List of Welt Pocket Tutorials!

Single welts, double welts, zippered welts, welts with flaps, the works!

A few disclaimers: I haven’t tested out any of these tutorials.  I didn’t include video tutorials.  There are WAY MORE welt pocket tutorials out there!  I got wiped out and stopped after about 50 Google hits.

With that said, enjoy!  :)

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Sew Skillfully: Welt Pockets 3 Ways

Sew Skillfully - Welt Pockets 3 Ways by Allspice Abounds

Have you ever sewn a welt pocket?  I hadn’t until recently, and let me tell you, they’re not nearly as tricky as I thought!  If you can follow directions and sew precisely, you can make a beautiful welt pocket.  As part of my ongoing Sew Skillfully project, I tried 3 different welt pocket techniques in an effort to (a) teach myself the general approach, and (b) compare and contrast a few different methods.  And as usual, I had so much fun in the process!  Today I’ll share with you what I did and my thoughts on the various techniques.

This won’t be a detailed tutorial, but a quick Google search for “welt pocket tutorial” will lead you to an absolute plethora of options.  If you’d like to follow along with exactly what I did, you can find complete directions in the Reader’s Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing, my favorite sewing reference book (no affiliation, I just love that book!).  All right, let’s dive in!

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A delightful surprise!

Thank you from Carolyn and Maggie

Just a quick post today to say thank you!  I was just browsing through Maddie’s runoff for the Best Sewing Blogs of 2015, and I was quite surprised and delighted to see that someone had nominated me for “Blogger You’d Most Like to Meet.”  Well, what a treat that was!  :)  Thank you so much to the lovely person (or people) who submitted my name, and as always, thanks to everyone for stopping by, reading, and supporting my little blog.  And if you live anywhere near Boston, we should totally meet!

Check out the runoff for a huge list of new-to-me, and perhaps new-to-you, blogs to add to your reader.  I’m excited to “meet” some new sewists and see what I’ve been missing!

My first attempt at sewing pants: Named Alpi Chinos

Named Alpi Chinos - cover photoAll right, sewing friends.  The time has come.  I MADE PANTS.  And now I’m going to talk about them… a lot.  Sewing pants is something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time now, and I took the opportunity to dive in during my long holiday break from work.   I desperately need a new pair (or three) of pants in my wardrobe, and stubborn girl that I am, I absolutely refuse to buy them.  Why buy when you can sew it yourself, right?  Cue maniacal music…

Before I dive into the details of my ill-fated pant sewing adventure, let me start off my sharing a few lessons learned:

  • Sewing pants is easy.
  • Sewing pants that fit is NOT easy.
  • Sewing pants involves a lot of staring at your own ass and poking at your crotch.  Be warned.

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?  :)  You may have figured out by this point that I don’t yet have handmade pants that fit, but I’ll share with you my journey thus far.  Please keep in mind that I have no idea what I’m talking about and am total pants noob.  Advice very welcome!

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