Crafting

2015’s Project: Learn. 

Twenty Crafteen is almost over, friends. This year I made (deep breath): coasters, tote bags, crayon rolls, aprons, circle skirts (I miss wearing you so very much), a misshapen dress, baskets, zippered pouches, wine totes, pajama pants, pajama shorts, a nightgown, and baby blankets. 

I didn’t make everything I wanted to make. I was so hoping to make a dress that a) fit and b) I liked, but that didn’t quite happen. But. BUT. 

I started 2015 by texting my amazing friend a picture of my machine’s deconstructed bobbin case with the caption: “what is this and what did I do.” I cried over that stupid bobbin case. 

I started 2015 not knowing how to sew a straight line. 

I started 2015 with no handmade clothes in my closet. 

I started 2015 a less patient person. 

To really stick with a new skill, you have to be patient with yourself and forgiving of yourself, things I’m not sure I have ever done. Past Me had visions of the Wondrous Creations that would fly from my machine with no effort at all. I got frustrated when I realized that this would not be the case. I thought I was failing because I was inherently bad at sewing. 

I changed my expectations, but I still pushed myself to try more challenging projects. And now, at the tail end of the year, I have skills I didn’t have before. I’m proud as hell. And maybe a bit more forgiving of myself?

At the very least, my bobbin case doesn’t make me cry anymore. 

April’s Project: A Human

Hello, friends. I disappeared there for a while, but I have a very good, tiny reason. 

*drumroll*

I’m pregnant! I’m due mid-April 2016, so for much of late summer and early fall I felt like garbage. I’m back to feeling mostly normal and my sewing projects will resume (with baby-related themes, sometimes) ASAP. 

Look for new recipes and sewing posts to start this weekend. (We’re really excited!)

August’s Project: The Zaftig Housewife

I’ve been absent for a while…. There’s a good reason for that. Remember when I talked about Project Tango Zulu Hotel?
I opened an Etsy store! It’s called The Zaftig Housewife, and it went live about five minutes ago.

This is a nerve-wracking new venture for me. As you all know, I only started this year-long sewing project eight months ago. I’m certainly not as experienced as many other sewists, but I know that the items I’m offering (for now) are high-quality and fun. Eventually I’m going to offer custom circle skirts, totes, and zippy pouches.

Everything is colorful, functional, and fun. Functionality is really important to me; there’s already so much clutter in our lives, so if you’re going to invest in something new, it should fit into your daily routine and make your life better. (I sell wine totes.)

My first goal with my shop is to make enough money to buy myself a new sewing machine that has embroidery capabilities. Everyone seems to love a monogram! My longterm goal is to sustain my sewing habit with this shop. I’m not going to be a millionaire, or even a thousandaire, but I might be able to break even.

 

And don’t fret, friends. I’m still continuing on my sewing journey. Next up: a cute knit top.

Thank you for all of your support and feedback. It means the world to me!

July’s Diversion: One-Hour Basket

July’s project is technically “more dresses,” and I technically completed another dress (but it needs tweaking). After finishing the zipper, I tried it on and immediately sighed because the bodice is nowhere near big enough for my bodice region. 

After sighing and cursing and sighing again, I took off the dress and started making one of these baskets. It uses techniques I’ve used in making tote bags and zippered pouches, and the finished product is large enough for a myriad of items. 

  
I love it. I think it only takes an hour if you are a super beginner and cutting the fabric is the most annoying part. I’m going to make a bunch of these and use them as catch-alls around the house. This one now holds patterns. 

  
Get to basketing!

June’s Project: DONE 

Owwwww. My hands hurt. My brain hurts. I hate knits. I hate pins.

I finished my first dress (ever!) and it has some issues. The bust area is a little tight and the hips are a little loose (I always have the opposite problem, so this is weird). I think I can fix it… another day. 

  
For now, I’m going to stick to dresses with flared skirts–I have too much junk in the trunk to deal with fitted patterns right now. And now I’m going to take a relaxing bath. Oof. 

June’s Project: More Dresses (An Update)

I am absolutely determined to finish this dress before the end of the month. It will get done. 

 

Butterick 5554, view A

It’s a knit pattern, which means it’s OBNOXIOUS AS HELL. I have not mastered the wily ways of knit the way I’ve mastered the simple, non-stretchy proclivities of woven. This dress also has a zipper in the back, which should be interesting. 

I’m making view A, the sleeveless version. And of course, I’m making it in leopard print (the middle section) and jade (the outer sections). I showed the fabric to Mr. Something and he said, “Well, that’s perfect for you.” This is something that I love about sewing my own clothes; I can make them in my size and in my favorite colors. 

I hope (hope hope hope) to have this done by this weekend so I can wear it out. Photos to come! 

May’s Project: Dresses (Another Update)

Guys. This dress is proving to be pretty annoying. Bias tape can bite me, and sewing buttons is the worst. 

I might not get it completely done by the end of this month, but it’ll get done eventually. Ugh. 

The other thing I worked on this month was an adorable tiny tutu for my friend’s 3-year-old daughter. It is so itty-bitty! Working with tulle is heinous, but once I figured out that it’s a pain, it got slightly easier. Just another thing to add to my sewing resume. 

There’s another dress pattern I want to tackle… once I find it in my sewing table monstrosity. 

May’s Project: Update

I’ve been battling a spring cold, so I haven’t been super productive the past few days. Despite that, I’ve managed to put together my dress!

For my first dress, I’m making a Butterick pattern from 1952. It slips on over your head, and the back skirt pulls forward to snap at the bodice. It gives the effect of a sheath and overskirt. It’s so cute.

I had to learn how to sew darts, those lines sewn into clothes to give them shape; in this case, boob-shape and waist-shape. This tutorial was very helpful! 

The rest of the sewing has been very easy, which matches up with the “Very Easy” labeling on the pattern. Slightly curved seams and straight seams. Piece of cake.

The next thing I did was… take (nearly) the entire thing apart. I slipped the dress over my head and tried to close the front, but it wasn’t overlapping enough to add the snaps or be worn comfortably. I took the skirt off the bodice and separated the two skirt sections, then cut a small piece of fabric and added another panel to the skirt. If you’ve got a big booty and wide ribs, sometimes you need to swallow your pride and make your dress bigger. Whatever. It fits really well now!

The next step is to hem the skirt and add the bias tape. I’m holding off on this for a few days because I’m waiting on the delivery of my new narrow hem foot. It should make hemming a breeze. 

More updates soon!

May’s Project: Dresses

I thought it would take me the majority of the year to build my skills to Dressmaker Level. However, I think I found a pattern or two that I can try now (even though it’s not May yet). 

My first attempt is Butterick 4790. It’s a retro pattern from 1952! I love retro dresses, and ones from the ’50s usually have just the right shape for my curves. This dress is really neat; it goes over your head and then the back snaps at the front waist, creating a sheath and overskirt look. 

Of course, I chose bright, bold fabrics because I can’t bring myself to wear neutral colors. 
 

The feathery fabric (L) will be the back and overskirt; the floral will be the bodice and front skirt.

Yeah. I like color. 

I cut my pieces out today. There are only three pattern pieces (a total of four fabric pieces) to this dress, so they are all huge and obnoxious to cut. Tomorrow I’m going to tackle darting! Stay tuned. 

Broken Needles, Bird’s Nest Bobbins, and Other Sewing F*ck Ups

Oh guys. Today was not my sewing day. It started out fine–I was just making a mini zippered pouch for myself, so nothing I haven’t done before. Then I sewed over the metal zipper teeth and broke my goddamn needle. Sigh. Of course I don’t have another regular needle, so my project will have to wait until tomorrow when I go to the fabric store. 

This shit happens a lot. We don’t really talk about the fuck ups in Sewing Town, but between broken needles and Bobbins Gone Wild, sewing can be super annoying. But no, we take pictures of the final project with all the extra threads snipped and the messy parts covered up. Because seriously, it’s embarrassing sometimes. I know to avoid sewing over metal because in middle school sewing class, our teacher specifically said, “Hey, don’t sew over metal, small idiots.” And then a boy in my class sewed over his fingernail and we forgot all about her sage advice because blood is fascinating. 

You might notice that I’m using more colorful language lately and that’s intentional. From now on, this blog won’t be a cleaned-up version of my thoughts; I’m going to curse and be annoyed sometimes. That’s who I am. I’m salty. I curse a LOT. If that isn’t your jam, goodbye, friend. Authenticity is pretty great, I’m pretty great, and sewing can be great (except when you want to throw your machine at the wall). 

Here’s another sewing foible I encountered the other day. I bought the last bit of this gorgeous fabric I’d been eyeing for a while with the intention of making yet another circle skirt. Then I fucked up cutting the fabric and now I have three-quarters of a circle skirt cut out and no way to salvage it. Goddamnit, guys. I actually hid the pieces I cut under another yard of fabric because I didn’t want to look at it. These are the times I make a low growl and eat a bunch of jam out of the jar. 

So hello, friends who like a bit of pirate language in their lives, and so long, friends who prefer “gosh” and “dang.” Here’s to better sewing days!