August 31, 2012

Wiksten Tova: Just One Yard

I had a yard of fuschia cotton fabric in my stash for months. I found it in the remnant bin at Bolt when I first started sewing and I was still using the One-Yard Wonder books. Soon after I bought the fabric I progressed to more complex books/patterns, and realized that it's hard to make an item of clothing that I would want to wear out of just one yard of fabric.

Fresh off the success of my Wiksten Tova (short sleeves), I realized that with a little creative pattern cutting and skipping the sleeves (which I had trouble with anyway) I could just squeeze a sleeveless version out of one yard.

As you can see, I skipped the standard collar, but this wasn't because there wasn't enough fabric. This was because I apparently cut the pieces too short (how?) and they wouldn't fit around the opening. Instead I had to use the pieces to create bias tape (though not cut on the bias) and finish the neck opening that way. For the armholes I zig-zag stitched around the opening and then folded it over once and topstitched around the opening.

I took the pattern in a little bit around my bust because I thought the first one was a little loose. I think it was a mistake because this feels a little too tight now. I'm also still having some trouble with the gathers around the front piece at the corners. I'm going to try and remedy that in the next version.

It's a happy color. And I'm happy because there's a little more space in my fabric bin; which I can go fill up again now that I've just discovered the wonders of Rose City Textiles.

August 28, 2012

33, that's me

I turned 33 last week. Hard to believe since I still get carded when I buy beer, have skin like a 17-year old, and really, really enjoy toy stores.

I took the day off work to celebrate, and spent the day sewing a green Washi Dress; an activity that I had been looking forward to all summer. 

I managed to "finish" it only 15 minutes after Mike came home and told me it was time to leave for dinner. I still have lots of further tweaking and comments on the dress, which I'll save for a future post.

My dinner date

Mike took me out to dinner at Toro Bravo (my favorite) and for dessert at Papa Haydn (my second favorite), where I got to partake in Cassata Cake and macarons.

We continued the birthday celebration this last weekend with a trip up to Mom and Mark's house. On Friday we spent a glorious afternoon on the boat tooling around the islands, trying some fishing off Cypress Island and grabbing dinner on Orcas Island.

We kicked it off with chilled Bud Light & Clamato Cocktails

Captain Mark

Saturday morning we got to see Aidan's first football game of the season (they won!)


And that evening we took to the water again for a pre-dinner kayak paddle off the dock.



We ended the evening with dinner around the campfire.

I feel blessed.

August 25, 2012

Sara's Birthday Top

When Sara visited in July she saw the Amy Butler Long Top that I had made and requested one for herself. Since her birthday was this week I was happy to oblige (who am I kidding, I would have made one for her even if it wasn't her birthday - any excuse to sew!)

She picked out some fabric from the Mill End store - the perfect color for her - black and white.

I was a little nervous that the fabric would be too heavy, but it was actually perfect for the pattern. It's a loose weave and has great drape - much better than the cotton I used for mine.

I had to use a different fabric for the lining because a I made a wee mistake when cutting out the pieces. The result was that I didn't have enough fabric, and the back pieces had to be sewn together from 4 pieces instead of 2. However, it all matches up, and Sara would probably never know if I hadn't just announced it. I made a few changes from the first version:

1) skipped the pleat detail on the straps because I don't think it adds anything and they're a bitch to match up.

2) the facing is really short at the bottom of the armhole opening and I hate how it flips up on my shirt. So I ended up top sewing around the armholes as well. If I remember in future attempts, I'll make the facing longer.

Sara's 37 weeks pregnant, so I didn't think the top would fit her for a few more weeks. I was wrong!

Happy Birthday Sara!

August 21, 2012

Kitchen Project Update

It may not look like it, but we've come a long way on the kitchen
since I last posted about it in early June.

In July, Mike redid the electrical and plumbing.

Earlier this month we had the drywall installed.

And a couple of weeks ago we painted. 

 Now we're in the process of installing the subfloor
in preparation for installation of our oak flooring next month!

August 18, 2012

Wiksten Tova: short sleeves

As part of my daily perusing of the internet I bookmark sewing patterns that I think look interesting (yes, I still bookmark - not really on board for the whole public display of Pinterest), then I wait until an online sewer/blogger makes the pattern to see what they think of it (hopefully saving myself the expense and strife of buying a pattern I won't like). 

After seeing Noodlehead make a Wiksten Tova on her blog I was sold on the style. I bought a light, heather gray cotton at the Mill End store, purchased the online pattern and cut out the pieces for a size Medium. I didn't make a muslin or any adjustments to the pattern pieces, and it generally all worked out. I would say that the pattern is pretty easy to follow, includes pictures and only took a few hours to sew up. My only dislike is that the sleeves are supposed to be gathered where they meet the shoulder, but the gather is so slight that it looks like they just puckered during sewing - more like a mistake than an intentional design. I'll fix that on the next go-round.

After I made it I felt like it was kind of bland, so I added a couple of black "pearl" snaps to the placket. I also tinkered with the sleeves A LOT. I just couldn't find a length I liked so I kept rolling them up. I think I'm happy with this length.


August 11, 2012

Survival bracelets

Have you heard of Survival Bracelets. I hadn't – until Susanna introduced me to them as part of her latest hobby.

Made from paracord, a material that can support up to 250 pounds of weight, the bracelets are meant to be styley and useful.

Colorful Paracord

The bracelets are essentially made using macrame knots with lengths of paracord and a plastic buckle or clasp. The premise is that in an emergency, you can unravel the bracelet and fuse the ends together (with a lighter) to create one long length of rope. And if you use real paracord, then that rope can hold up to 250 pounds of weight (even with the fused ends)! Susanna made some paracord bracelets for Mike and Aidan when she was down in June, and then she also made several using thinner cord because the color choices were better and the resulting bracelets were a little more feminine (though we're assuming their strength will not be as great).

Aidan's bracelet in his football colors  –  white isn't the best color for a boy.
I love my bracelet because it reminds me of the friendship bracelets that we made each other as kids at camp; the bonus is that I can take it on and off at my discretion, as opposed to waiting until it rots off like those friendship bracelets. Susanna also had some ideas about making belts with this stuff, which is another awesome idea. I wouldn't mind one of those... hint, hint.

August 4, 2012

Sara visits Oregon

In July Sara made her bi-annual trek from Ohio to the Northwest to visit family. After her Veggie Garden baby shower at Mom and Mark's house, she and Mom came to visit us in Portland for a week before we headed out to Pacific City.  We immediately kicked off her visit with a Grace Potter concert at the zoo.

Not only do our feet all look the same, but we bop them to the music the same way.


We had beautiful weather;

Then a rainbow appeared;

Then the rain arrived.
10 minutes later it was back to beautiful!

Sara didn't let the rain slow her down.

After a week in Portland we headed  to a rental house in Pacific City, where we met up with the rest of the family for three days of relaxing on the beach.

Mom, Mark, Freya, Remi & Sara

Aidan brought his skimboard; he's definitely improved since he first tried 3 years ago!
 I tried it again too; I did not improve.


Mike also got him out on the longboard. Aidan was much more at ease in the water this year, and got the hang of surfing very quickly. He spent two days in his wetsuit, switching between the skimboard, surfboard and bodyboard. He even climbed the dune again in his wetsuit.


The waves were small, but Mike still spent 5 hours out on the water the first day.

Those who didn't get into the water managed to fill their days with sunning, reading, beach walking, shopping and dune climbing.

Poppy brought his newly finished canoe and we took it out on the Nestucca River.


Sara's whole visit went too quickly. We didn't do half of what we wanted to, but I guess it doesn't really matter. I just loved having my sisters and parents all together, and it was so fun to see Freya interact with Aidan (she adores him!). Can't wait to see them both with their new cousin at Christmas.

I love this family vacation tradition we've started and I hope we can keep it up, even as our family continues to expand. In the meantime, we're looking forward to visiting Sara, Bobby and the new baby bean Sprout this fall.  Thanks for a great visit Sara!

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