Finished: Pool Green Wool Half-Circle Skirt

Wow, this post is a long-time coming.  I started this skirt back in, oh September or so!  I was planning to bring it with me when we went home in the fall but, that didn't happen.  It was going to be my #SewGreenDecember project but, that didn't happen. It was going to be part of my SWAP but, that didn't happen either.

Top: J.Crew via ebay, Skirt: self-drafted, Earrings: Target, Shoes: Coach

That building in the background? It's our town's old textile mill :-) Of course I had to include a photo with that.
See, what had happened was... ok, the events aren't quite that ridiculous ;-) But, really, I was really excited to start this one after living in a Lilly Pulitzer 1/2 circle skirt all summer but, when I cut it out, I discovered I didn't have enough for the lining so, I had to wait until I could find/buy new Bemberg.  By then, I'd kind of lost interest.  (Ever get bored with the color/fabric mid-project?)  Then, when I did want to work on it, after my Brasilia Dress renewed my sewjo, I was sick and it took longer than it should have. Then, my beginner machine crapped out on me (but, you already know that).  Then, Brandon's frequent business trips meant it took some time before I was able to get him to help me level the hem.

When I finally did finish it, Brandon had to leave again on a long work trip and we didn't get to take pictures before I dropped him off for his flight so, I attempted to do them myself.  I spent what felt like a year setting up the tripod (which I didn't know how to do), adjusting the camera settings, framing the picture, and then, the darned thing ran out of battery!  So, I came home, cleaned the skirt, and planned to attempt it again the following week.  Odd thing is, either the skirt shrunk (yes, the wool was pre-treated) or the lining grew (but, the machine issue meant the skirt was left to drop for over a month!) as the lining suddenly peered out of the bottom.  So, I cast it aside waiting for Brandon's return so he could help me even things out.  Again.

Yeah, that's a lot of delays with one simple skirt. So, even when everything worked out and we were able to take photos, I put off writing the post (the photos were taken pre-surgery! that's how long).  More importantly though, despite all of those issues and my lack of interest in blogging it, I LOVE this skirt!  I've worn it rather frequently since I finished it and I think it's going to be a closet staple for quite a while.  The two fabrics paired together make this skirt so comfortable and swishy - it makes me happy just to walk around in it.  In fact, I love it so much, I've since sewn two additional half-circle skirts and I don't expect to stop there!

See? So swishy :-)
Now, after all this rambling, I really should tell you about the skirt itself but, being a simple half-circle, there isn't much to tell.  It's a lightweight wool suiting lined in Bemberg ambiance.  It closes with a hidden button-tab and an invisible zipper in the back.  I hand-sewed the hem of the outer (the lining is simply serged to conserve length after all the weird hacking) but, unfortunately, the thread got snagged before the photos so, it doesn't look at smooth as it should.  It looks better now after a bit of steam.

Enough text! How about I show what happens when Brandon just clicks away?  I know how much you all love bloopers!

Happy sewing! x

Project details
Pattern: Self-drafted half-circle skirt, $0
Year: 2013
Fabric: 1.75yds wool twill suiting, $18, Gail K Atlanta, 2 yards Bemberg Ambiance lining, ~$10 Jo-Ann
Notions: 9" invisible YKK zipper, ~$2, clear button and interfacing from stash
Time to complete: ~1 week, on and off over a few months
First worn: for an afternoon of errands
Wear again: already have, several times!
Total cost: ~$30

Me-Made-May '14: My Pledge

You guys!! It's almost May!! You know what that means :-)  Once again, Me-Made-May is going to sweep across the sewing world.  Have you submitted your pledge?

You may notice, I'm cutting my submission a bit close this year.  Machine problems and jaw surgery tried to rain on any sewing mojo I've had this year so, I wasn't expecting to participate.  However, I'm finally back up to 90-95% recovery-wise and my machine is back home (not perfect but, usable for now) so, I've probably spent more time in my sewing room this last week than I had all year!  As a result, I expect to have four new items to add to my Me-Made line-up!  With this extra boost, I've properly planned out my possible outfit combinations and determined that, even though I didn't succeed last year, I'm ready to up the ante! 

'I, Jennifer of msjennyhomemaker.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear five me-made items per week for the duration of May 2014.'

The most I've pledged before was four per week and I wouldn't call those attempts successful. However, I've been working on building my separates wardrobe, as past participation has shown me I should, and unlike last year, I'm going to allow repeats as needed. I hope not to depend on any items too much though.  I make this allowance simply so I can document which pieces I reach for often and should, therefore, make more of.  Despite the repeat option, I am also (loosely) requiring that I wear each of my me-mades at least once. If an item doesn't fit, it's excluded; however, if I just don't want to wear it, it's time to take it out of my closet and replace it with something I love. This year's pledge is less about forcing myself to wear all of my me-mades to participate and more about really learning what I reach for and love to wear.  My goal is to test all of my current wardrobe theories and fill in gaps so next year, I can pledge the full week.

Only two days to go! I'd better go finish my current projects!

Can't wait to see everyone else's posts!

Happy sewing! x

Finished: Spring Thicket Beret

Well, what do you know.  I really am capable of sticking to a plan.  Next on the list was "Thicket" by Alana Dakos from her new book, Botanical Knits 2.  This is my second pattern from Alana and, just as I hoped, it was a great pattern!  So well-written and easy to follow and the finished product is so pretty!  Still not quite a newbie pattern but, I'm relatively inexperienced and was able to follow it without any issues.  The only two things I changed were shortening the ribbing to conserve yarn and using the Magic Loop method when it came time to decrease.  I have such a hard time using double-pointed needles - they always fall out - so, I thought continuing on a cord would be better.  I still struggled a little bit, shown in some slight laddering in the last few rows but, overall, I do prefer the Loop method.

You know what I really love about Alana's hat patterns?  Rather than abandoning the design when it's time to decrease, she goes the extra mile to actually decrease the design, giving, in my opinion, a nicer and more professional finish.

This time, I used a yarn much closer in content to the suggested yarn than last time.  For one, I bought it as a souvenir last year in Savannah with no project in mind so, it was just sitting in my stash, pre-wound. I love practical souvenirs.  For another, I wanted the soft, pretty halo that the sample hat had.  The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk sport weight.  Having just used a dk Egyptian Cotton, the Alpaca Silk felt like knitting air!  It was an easy yarn to work with and gave me precisely the result I was hoping for. And, it blocked so nicely, making my knitting look much more consistent than it is :)

Now, can you guess what's next on my queue?  I joked on my recovery plan that I'd start on my Ginny Sweater and I'm actually doing it!  With a new hat or two along the way ;) (Can you say addicted?)  Also, my machine just came home from the shop so, I've got a few new sewing projects planned.

Any other Northern Hemisphere knitters still making winter accessories? (Head start on next year, right?) Have those of you in the Southern Hemisphere started yours yet? 

By the way, I find I have less to say about knitting projects - what would you like to see included?

Happy stitching! x