the girl from ipanema

the colors of this outfit make me feel very tropical! where's my umbrella drink??

i worked on this blouse veerrry verrry slowly over my blog break. its my third (and final) of the rachel comey patterns i bought back in october, v1170. i'm not really sure why i didn't buy the fourth pattern from her that was available at the time. i think its because i really don't have much use for dresses in all reality. and also because those crazy style lines got totally lost on me in the leopard print. looking at it again, i actually think its quite cute. much more so than the new one - which is a bit unfortunate - but who knows! maybe that one will grow on me too! weirder things have happened...

this is another fabric from tessuti that i bought a while back. its a silk habutai called summer in italy and it was like sewing with butterfly wings. no seriously! this stuff seriously is so delicate and has no weight at all that i'd be holding it in my hands and i seriously couldn't feel it!  its very sheer, and very beautiful, i think. all the edges are  painstakingly hand rolled - which was no small feat because those sleeve ties are veeery curvy! i'll admit that my curved hand rolled hem started out pretty frightful - but by the last tie i got it looking pretty neat. the front of this blouse is cut on the bias, which added an extra element of delicate flimsiness! i was actually thinking of doing a post on my tips for working with extra delicate fabric like this - would anyone be interested?

i'm not going to sugar coat this - this is a bit of a strange blouse. i know a lot of you are on the fence about these rachel comey patterns, and i do understand why. this one was my least favorite of the bunch. its just a bit awkward to wear. there's a lot of fabric in odd places - like the armpits. actually the fullness of this top is controlled by gathers in the underarm which i find a bit strange. i actually played around trying to put pleats and gathers in other areas to reign in some of the fabric but it just made it worse. this top works best the way it was designed.

that being said - i'm actually quite surprised how much i like the way it looks in the pictures! maybe it was just worse in my head? if any of you were tinkering with the idea of sewing this blouse up, here are a few of my tips:

  • use a very very flimsy, drapey, droopy fabric (like my beautiful silk habutai!!). when i made my muslin of this top out of cotton it was really truly ugly. like, really. no exaggeration. a fabric with any stiffness will make the drapey bits stand away from your body in a really unflattering way. if silk scares you, something like a cotton voile would work too.
  • follow the gathering guides precisely for the underarm gathers. too much gathering and you won't be able to tie your sleeves. too little gathering and you get weirdly saggy armpits. and not in like a cool, dolman sleeve way. trust me.
  • fyi - this blouse is loose and boxy. making it from a sheer drapey fabric helps it seem not as much so. but regardless of that, it looks best tucked in.

just some views of the back button placket and the hand rolled hem - which will never see the light of day **sniff**

this top will probably not get a ton of wear. not because i don't like it, because i really do think its a pretty blouse (and it looks great with this oddly colored anthropologie skirt i've had forever and had no idea what to pair it with!) but because its actually very very delicate. between the sheer fabric and the hand sewing i'm a bit afraid that this blouse might not hold up too well with too many washes and wears. so it'll just get paraded out for the more special occasions! no harm with that...

this was the final make from my spring wardrobe. i'm pretty excited to get started on my summer wardrobe - especially since the humidity decided to set in today! hello texas summer! come on in, stay awhile (i know you will)...



feeling zen-like

not one of my most inspired haiku's (pfft!! as if i have haiku standards!!) but still... hiya haiku! nice to see ya!

that title is a lie. but ya know, whaddyagonnado? sometimes you just need to tell yourself those little white lies. "feeling globular" just doesn't inspire normal human functioning, does it? but "feeling zen-like" well! now we're talking... see! talking! human function! where was i??

i'm back! i've managed to make it through my stressful april and i'm now seeing the light on the other side which is may! please be good to me may! please oh please oh please!! it was actually a bit of a challenge to stay away from the computer. in the little bouts of free time i've had over the last 2 or 3 weeks i've had to remind myself to limit my computer time. turn the thing off. step away from the mouse. its for your own good. this didn't always work since i was also determined to stay up to date on my blog readers (i don't know what it is, but an overflowing reader makes me more stressed out than an overflowing email inbox!)

but this self-imposed blog break doesn't mean that i haven't been thinking about sewing or blogging. au contraire!! part of the break was to help me organize my thoughts and get some action plans made up for the upcoming months. chief among these was preparing for me-made-may and the colette spring/summer palette challenge.

so where am i with all of this? hmmm. well when i say "organize" i mean "form coherent thoughts" so... don't get your hopes up...

lets start with me-made-may shall we?

my "mmm" oath reads a little sumpin like this:

i, sallie of sallieoh.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of me-made-may '12. i endeavor to wear one self-made article of clothing, and to mix and match said articles of clothing to the best of my ability, each day for the duration of may 2012.

so here's the tizzy - i have a pretty good self-made wardrobe built up at this point. its not great, but it does get a lot of wear. i plan on building onto this wardrobe (particularly my summer wardrobe) throughout the month. so that should be fun. but what i really want to get out of this challenge is a chance to remix my current wardrobe. i think by setting the boundary of having to wear a self-made article of clothing every stinking day i might be forced to get a wee bit creative. also, this is a chance for me to show off some of the things i've made before i started this blog - which are all generally poorly sewn but for some reason i love them. so that should be fun! stay tuned!

now! the colette spring/summer palette challenge! i approached this a bit different than i did for the fall one. in the fall i picked some images that were inspiring me and then tried to fit my fabric/garment choices around that. this time i tried to pay attention to what fabrics i was being drawn to and edit them to find a coherent theme, curating patterns to go along with them in the process. and this is what i came up with:

what can i say? i'm feeling blue! maybe its my yearning for some beach time - or something else, but i'm really craving cooling hues.  also, as a sort of continuation of my mini spring wardrobe, i'm also really trying to incorporate more prints into my wardrobe along with some classic solids. prints are the spice of a wardrobe's life, in my humblest of opinion, and so far my closet is like the cafeteria at a retirement home...bland.

i'll check back in soon with a more complete rundown of my plans and patterns and such and such! also, i have a newly finished garment to show off that i'm trying to get photographed either today or tomorrow - aaaaand  the me-made-may madness starts this tuesday!! ya'll are gonna get so sick of me...

till then,



breaking bad

the time has come. i always knew that april was going to be a doozy of a month for me. and now that its here.... well. its a doozy!

and so the time has come, my friends, for me to take a short blog break. alas! do not fret over my absence! for i only leave for to doeth the thingseth that needeth to get done. eth.

cough. see what being strung out does to me?? it makes me talk in bad made up 15th century melodramatic speak!! and it also makes me write sentences like that last one! (get a grip sallie! get a grip!!)

okay but for realz here. april is a busy month for me at work (and i haven't done my taxes yet!!!!!!!!!!! h&r block please stop emailing me because its making me stress ooouuuutttttt!!!!) and while i really like to pretend i'm one of those superwomen who get extra motivated by a full schedule and can do things like get to the gym at 5am (gym??! who's that?) in reality i just shut down and become a mushy slushy thing with two eyeballs peeping bewilderingly around me. yes. that is an accurate description. no i'm not exaggerating.

so things will be pretty quiet around here for the next week or two. my usual mode of operation is to just go all m.i.a. on you and then reappear and be all like "sorry!!!" but this time i decided to give you fair warning and be proactive about it. (see, self, i can be proactive about something!)

in the meantime, i am actually working on some sewing. i just started my final rachel comey pattern, v1170, which is a tricksy little pattern, but i'll give full details on that when i finish it!

and in other sewing world news... i've decided to participate in me-made-may 2012! i think may will be a much quieter month than april and i think i can handle the challenge.

i, sallie of sallieoh.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of me-made-may '12. i endeavor to wear one self-made article of clothing, and to mix and match said articles of clothing to the best of my ability, each day for the duration of may 2012.

i'll be outlining my goals for the challenge closer to may.

also! did you guys see all the new colette patterns?!? i'm sure you did. and did you see that they're hosting a spring/summer palette challenge!!? i loved the fall challenge and since spring here has seriously been a blip on the ol' radar i've already been turning my thoughts to summer sewing. i think this will help me focus and edit my plans which have been a bit erratic.

well, lets close out this post and get this blog break started. final questions:

what do you do when you feel like your life is out of balance?

will you be participating in me-made-may? and if so, what are your reasons?

whats your favorite new colette pattern? mine's hazel.

and from the department of random - what do you think of hats? i've been really craving some hats lately...

well friends, i'll see you on the flip side...



projects for lazy days

anytime i rush to finish a project by a set date - like my birthday dress - i always end up feeling burnt out afterwards. while i feel like i'm capable of churning out nice results under (self induced) pressure, i never like what it does to my mental state. throw in a busy work week and a whirlwind trip to dallas (my husband had an exhibition opening there) and i'm couch potato fodder.

but after a week or so of avoiding my sewing machine i decided it was time to get back in the saddle. however i was still feeling the mental fatigue and the thought of tackling my next rachel comey pattern had me feeling...meh.

enter my birthday present from my mom and dad (thanks guys!!). many of my favorite sewing blogs have already done some pretty great posts on bra making - in fact it was seeing the beautiful creations by verypurpleperson that first got the old wheels a-turning. after i kept running into posts on the coletterie, cloth habit, and dixie diy that featured this pattern from pin up girls and the mention of "kits" and "quick and satisfying" sewing - i was a goner!

really it was the promise of "quick and satisfying" that sold me. i'm so often drawn to labor intensive projects that get drawn out for weeks and weeks and feel like some epic struggle through the finish line that i forget the joy in starting and finishing a project all in the same day.

when i first started sewing i was all about one day projects. if i couldn't get a new outfit by the end of the day i wasn't interested in doing it! but slowly i got lured in by the process, by the joy in learning a new technique, and frustrated by my sloppy sewing and awkward results. and so i began making muslins to perfect fit (adds at least a day) and integrating hand sewing to finish edges and hems (a couple of hours at least) then i got interested in hand tailoring, and pattern drafting and all of a sudden i have to block out at least a week (2 good weekends and various weeknights) to get something finished!

this first bra was really just a tester. despite the assurance that sewing a bra was easier than it looks - i was pretty skeptical. i've never really sewn with elastic before and i only just discovered i had a three-step zig-zag stitch on my machine! i made the pin up girls "classic full band bra". i think it was amy that said that the finished bra looks a bit "medical" and unfortunately i couldn't agree more! her wise assessment did have me chuckling the entire time i was sewing it up, however.

according to my measurements i'm a 32A. now... i must have done something wrong because there ain't no way in heelllll i'm a 32A!! my entire adult life i've worn a 34C - but somewhere in the back of my mind was a niggling doubt, egged on i'm sure by some glamour article i read somewhere saying that something like 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. so i compromised and cut a 32B. teeheediddlyhee!!!

32B!! pfft!! who am i kidding??!? surprisingly the band fit pretty comfortably - but there was so much top and side boob spillage it was almost comical!! i looked like i was trying to squeeze into a training bra...

so this bra will not be worn - obviously (incidentally, if you have a daughter or niece or something that needs a pink - albeit matronly - bra - give me a holla!) but i am pretty pleased with the construction. all in all the thing looks pretty well made to my eyes! i didn't use underwires for this one (because i had no idea what size to get) but i was pretty amazed at the amount of support just the underwire channels gives! even when my cups runneth over...

i have one more kit. now the decision i have to make is if i make it in my standard bra size (34C) or try something new... like a 32D - since the band on the itty bitty guy seemed to fit okay.

decisons, decisions... if i get a wearable bra out of this second kit i just might treat myself to some pretty lacy kits from merckwaerdigh.

also, i would be remiss if i wrote a post about bra making and didn't link to dixie's awesome big fat list of bra suppliers. seriously indispensable if you are new to this whole bra thing! and even if you're not - its amazing to have all the good stuff in one spot. thank you dixie!!!

aaannd because i'm all about ending my posts with some random pictures - here's me with some longhorns from our trip to dallas. seriously you guys - why are their horns so long??!?