let's get movin'

OK, here we go.  Move on over with me to awfully nice - smunch will stay online but I won't be posting anymore, so change your bookmarks, readers, etc., whatever it is you do!  Thanks for reading!


real-life sewists!

Alright, I can't stand it.  I'm all blog-chaste and then I went to this AWESOME DC/MD/VA blogger/sewist meetup this weekend and met all these nice people (People who SEW.  They sew.  Did you get that?) and got all this good stuff and took a bunch of pictures.  And I also can't stand how long it takes to upload my pictures.  We'll see which impatience of mine wins out.

As you can tell, I don't know anyone in real life who sews, besides my mom, who used to sew (and recently I found out the only clothes she sewed were for me, never for herself.  Geez.)  This was so great.  There was a lot of skill and knowledge in the room and I have so much to learn!  For instance, hearing people talk so much about fiber content kind of makes me laugh because I don't have a CLUE about fiber content and therefore never know how to wash anything and probably often use the wrong fabrics for the job.

Alright, enough talking, here are some pics...

That's about all the pictures I can handle waiting for.  Check out Robin's (our wonderful host) and Cidell's posts and pictures, and Lisa (our organizer) should have more to come.  Ooh, I hope on day we do a NYC fabric-shopping trip.

So it's killing me a little to take this hiatus because I'm starting to accumulate a lot of good stuff to post!  I'll figure out something...  In the meantime, I think the blog is due for a big revamp and I'm not sure I want to continue with blogspot.  Any recommendations?


indefinite hiatus

I haven't fallen off the deep end, but my laptop has.  The hard drive fried 2 1/2 weeks ago and I'm mostly sort of loving being forced of the internet.  I started reading again!  (And I've only read my blog reader twice!  Whoa.)

Anyways, my only access is a 7-year-old laptop that is excruciatingly slow and most certainly can't handle uploading pictures.  When I can afford something new?  Who knows.  So the blog is on hold indefinitely, but hopefully one day I'll be back.

This is a bummer because this weekend I will be attending the first (that we know of) DC/MD/VA blogger meet-up.  But I'm kind of not a blogger anymore, just a blogger-poseur.  :(


where am i

Whoa.  Life has caught up with me.  A surprise super-long family visit (with guests staying in the sewing room!), a weekend away, a hurricane (although I actually got a little sewing done) and then a week of some flu kind of thing.  I'm going through some serious sewing withdrawal.

So to start catching up, here are some baby gifts I made for my good friend Kim to give at her baby shower almost a month ago.
(Obviously this is not Kim's baby - he's not here yet and obviously would not be that big if he was!  This is another friend's 16-month-old daughter who I visited earlier in the day.  She had, uh, mixed feelings about being my model.)

I love these bandana bibs from Purl Soho's tutorial - so much cooler than regular bibs.  I thought Kim's rockstar husband might approve too.

And a newborn hat/bootie set made from Sirdar Snuggly Bamboo.


handmade autumn

You may have heard me mention before... I have been stashing away all of my new handmade fall clothes like a layaway surprise wardrobe for when it finally (when?!) gets cool.  My mom and I are spending a weekend in Philly so it's the perfect chance to debut my fall stash.  You know, for the paparazzi who have been waiting to photograph my fall collection.

I covered a box with corduroy and threw in a few pairs of new shoes I bought, and then made myself "forget" about these clothes.  You know how they say people who delay gratification have issues?  I'm one of them.  And it was so fun to open this up and pack for my trip!

Funny story... you can stop reading now if you've had enough.  When I was about 6 or 7 I stole a gloworm from a playroom at a "mom" clothing store by slipping it in my little purse and then laying down on the bench in the playroom and trying to make myself fall asleep so I would "forget" that the gloworm, I don't know, fell in my purse and thus it would be an accident.  I was riddled with guilt and told my mom as soon as we got home.

This box was kind of like that, except a little more honest - "forgetting" and then having a great surprise that I actually knew about the whole time.  What a dork!


front pleat top

::sigh::... Back on the sewing machine...

I scored some GOOD fabric in the Pacific Northwest.  What is not to love about that place?

Pattern:  Burdastyle Front Pleat Blouse #103 A weird burdastyle pattern as usual, and I cursed the neck for awhile and then I got it.  (Warning, no pictures on the pattern instructions).  I did the pockets differently, as I learned to on the Chloe dress, attaching each of the four separate pocket pieces to the four edges of the seams prior to sewing the side seams, then sewing one continuous side seam and around the pockets, french seam style.  When all was said and done, I stitched another 2 1/2" up the side to shorten the armholes.

Fabric:   Awesome cotton fabric for, like, $2.50 from this AWESOME shop in Seattle (ohmygod they have a sewing studio sewing classes fabric store I died when I went in there please I wish there was one in Baltimore).

I like this shirt a lot!  It is a little baggy and you can look really funny at the right angle - it would be a good second trimester top (Kim - I think you're too far along for this one, but you can borrow it when you're ready for Round 2!!!)

And, uh, I actually did not have enough fabric to do it the right way, but I cut the back pieces separately and added a center seam allowance.  The opposing directions of the fabric are, in fact, not a creative design element, but no one has to know, right?!

Not enough fabric for the pockets either, so I used some leftover linen from this quilt.

 I swear to you I ironed it this time.


old news bag

Here are some terrible pictures of a bag I finished the night before our trip that's already become old news in my world...  I was too interested in photographing other things to give it much attention, but the bag came in very handy for hauling around a day's worth of stuff on vacation.

It's a giant box with a flat bottom and top and a heavy-duty zipper.  It's lined with plain gray fabric from this shirt and has a simple inside pocket.  Oh, and a patch where my iron melted a hole in the lining and I could not bear to make a third lining after the first one had been too small.

I used interfacing which I thought I would hate but helped keep the bag sturdy.  Now I regret not putting interfacing in the strap which has probably grown 50% by stretching out.  I may or may not fix it.  Man, I get so excited to make something new but when I have to make repairs, I drag my feet, maybe for years... like slippers I made my friend Cara for Christmas two years ago and just sent back with the holes patched two weeks ago.  Oops.


pacific northwest

Ugh.  I love it out there.  We've been back for days, but I've been too busy feeling sorry for myself for the simple fact that we're back, to acknowledge it here with a post.  Poor me. 


This was my first tiled picture - I know it's not very good, but I just figured out how to do it in Picasa and I'm very tired so that's it.  I'll keep practicing.



Hello blogsphere.

Does anyone out there have any recommendations for must-visit yarn and fabric stores in Portland and Seattle?

Tell me, tell me, tell me!

(Alright, OK, I'm not actually there yet, this is me in Seattle last year - and not one craft shop visited!  Aah!)


swingback scout tee

Scout tee, by grainline, altered to swing back version following grainline instructions, vintage plaid cotton from What Cheer?.  Sized my pattern down to a small (my last scout tee was a medium).  Next time I'm going to add more curve to both the front and back hems.

Not good at photographing the swing back for you.  Sorry.  I should say I'm not good at modeling it - Mr. Smunch tried his best to photograph it.  What is wrong with me here?!


photo touring

Back in April I took a street photography tour with Photo Tour DC and I LOVED it.  And it scared the heck out of me too and I never got the courage to do more on my own.  Last weekend, Kim and I did another one, this one a little more basic so we could get to know our cameras better.  Our teacher caught me though - I had to admit I hadn't tried again since the last class.

This did help me start to learn... but wouldn't you know it rained halfway through!  We were all stuck in the Lincoln Monument and after clicking away so much I found myself drawn to the people again.  I'd like to learn to have a better eye for non-people subjects, but people are what I'm drawn to (as I think most people are). 

This one is my favorite... makes you think there's more to the story, you know?

 Look, it's Kim!

 OK, I did a couple non-breathing subjects too... I just didn't like them as much.

Not as overexposed as last time, but this time a little dark (well, it was dark in there). I've got a lot to learn about technique, but I love playing paparazzi.

Probably the biggest piece of advice was to force myself to more purposefully spend time taking pictures.  Realistically, I'm going to start with an intentional hour every two weeks to go out on my own.  And I'm saying it here so I can live up to it - another helpful piece of advice.  Will you be seeing any more pictures from me?...  (Uh, I started a daily drawing journal in August and haven't done it for almost four weeks.  We always have the best intentions, don't we?)


slouchy jane

OK, OK, so I know I was just knocking "trendy" hats, but I have to admit I love the slouchy hat trend.  I got this beautiful cotton yarn from The Yarn Spot.  It's Mariposa Organica and it is organic and fair trade and so soft and probably the nicest cotton I've ever knit with.

This took 3 skeins and it has a nice weight to it.  The pattern is Jane by Jane Richmond - I've since discovered that she has a lot of nice patterns, including several good slouchy hats, and I actually might have made a different one if I caught that first!

By the way, a couple of dresses I have made have caught someone's eye!  My Chloe was chosen as one of the Best of August 2012 and my Kooky Gabby was featured on Tessuti's blog!  Sooo cool!  I know I was lamenting not being worthy of their blog - I actually just have to be PATIENT.  Along with that not-so-gentle-with-my-sewing problem, I have a patience problem.  I sound like a scary person, huh?!  I promise, I'm not ;)


my first, last, and only quilt

Phew!  These things are a lot of work!  All the quilters out there are probably chuckling right now - I have a newfound respect for you guys!  I made this quilt for my cousin's wedding (in July, but this took me a while) and it is pieced with scraps from our Nonna's fabric stash (she passed away in 2003).

I am ashamed to admit that it took me a minute to contemplate parting with those scraps, but now I'm glad I did so that I could share something of hers, hopefully something that my cousin and her husband will pass to their kids as an heirloom.  I'm also ashamed to admit how much I began to really not enjoy making this, but that is how much I love her I guess!

OK, you're really going to laugh now.  All my moaning and groaning?  This quilt is like, 45"x 60".  Uh, it's really small.  Like lap blanket or baby blanket.  88 4"x"4 patches with a 5" border and thin bamboo/cotton batting.  It felt like a king size battle!

Since the patches were kind of all over the place with colors and patterns, I attempted to use a checkerboard pattern with darks and lights to make it somewhat cohesive. 

I think my cousin likes darker pallets and I didn't want to make it too cutesy, so I used a gray pinstripe linen and an olive binding.   I have to say I'm really pleased with the colors and contrast.

Hated:  Cutting the squares, sewing the binding (I machine stitched it), and jamming the thick parts through a machine that didn't want anything to do with it.  And the length of time I spent on this project!

Loved:  Connecting the pieces, making the sandwich, and sewing the quilting.  Aside from the corner above, I did a decent job aligning seams.

OK, I guess it wasn't all bad.  But this is my favorite part:

I hope they like it!  Because they will be the only ones in the history of man possessing a smunch-made quilt!