Saturday, July 5, 2014

So, I Broke Down and Made an Archer

The day before my birthday this May, my husband and I took a day trip to Olney, IL.  Now, Olney's claim to fame is their colony of white squirrels. It's been on my list of places to visit for years now.  And, I was determined to finish and wear my new Archer shirt for the trip, a project that I began last fall.

I never considered myself a fan of button up shirts.  I think it's because they represent a combination of Catholic school repression (part of the uniform) or they're part of the dress code if I have to attend a trade show for work. I've admired them on other people but not something I would often choose to wear.

Enter the BeachComber reversible cotton gauze from Vogue Fabrics.  I saw this fabric last year during a Chicago blogger meetup.  I gazed at it and debated for a long time before not purchasing any. To me, it screamed to be made into a button up shirt - not my style

About two weeks later I decided I couldn't live without it and went back for some (which it totally my style!)

I sat on it for a while longer before deciding sometime last fall that I would succumb to the Archer pattern from Grainline Studio. I've seen so many cute versions out there and wanted to try it out. I was going to try to make a reversible shirt and use the smaller checks on the outside.

My original plan. This is also the best representation of the shirt's colors.

This took a while to make, through no fault of the pattern. I just hit a wall halfway through.  The side I was using just looked too "90s" to me and it was driving me nuts! I just didn't like it. I put it away for a while before deciding just to flip it and live with the fact that my buttons would be on the wrong side.

That made all the difference in the world!

Archer Shirt

I do have to say that for my first successful button up shirt project (there have been a few starts in the past, but nothing that ever made it to the buttonhole stage) - this fabric was a bitch to work with! It's a very loose weave and frays like crazy.  I'm lucky that I accidentally sewed the back pleat wrong to begin with, so it's perfect now. I was also attempting flat felled seams (or at least my version of them), but because there's so much fraying I had to go back over and hand reinforce them. Still, it doesn't really bother me and I don't think it's noticeable.

I cut a 6 at the top and graded to an 8 at the waist. Problems aside, I love it.  Sure, it could probably use a sway back adjustment (next time-and there will be a next time), the button band isn't perfect because it's technically the inside (but the print hides it, so who cares! And, the inside does look amazing.)

As for the Olney trip, we must of come at the wrong time, because we only saw one of the little guys! Still, it was worth it :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Resistance is Futile

See this fabric?

This is the fabric that made me give in and join Summer Stashbust 2014.

I suck at diets - the fabric AND food varieties.  I also was very hesitant to join because fabric shopping has basically been therapeutic for me.  And let's face it, there's been enough shit going on in my life that I need all of the therapy I can get :)

Well, enter this fabric. I picked it up on a recent trip to Vogue Fabrics. I saw it across the room, hanging in the remnant section. It was beautiful. It spoke to me. I knew right away that it wanted to be made into an amazing summer dress. I could see it in my mind.  I swooped in, snatched it up and brought it home.

And forgot about it.

I can't believe I did that, but I completely forgot about it.  I only came across it when hunting for another fabric I purchased on that excursion for a project.

Would you stop taking pictures so I can sit on this already?

Something needs to change, and I think it's best if I at least try out this stash diet.  Can't fail if I don't try!

I also found out that I can still go to the fabric store and still get the "therapeutic" benefits, just by purchasing thread or patterns or other things to help me work through the stash. It's just the act of going that does it for me.

I will say that all bets are off if a certain fabric that I've been eying up at Mood for months now goes on sale (I'm looking at you Ralph Lauren blue paisley silk chiffon). But until then, let the stash busting commence!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's Been a While....

I've pretty much fallen off the face of the blogging earth these past months. So much has happened, and unfortunately a large part is not good.  I tried to think of the best way to sum up everything since my last post - I even considered creating an infographic, but then realized it would be another 6 months before I posted if I waited for that.

The short story - when my mom passed away, we became caretakers of her cats.  All of her and my cats are in the senior age range, and many have health issues. We've been dealing with all of these issues, and it's been tough. Since February, I've learned how to give subcutaneous fluids, had to force feed a few daily, taken one to the kitty behaviorist (I like saying the pet therapist), had a newly diagnosed diabetic, and spent part of my birthday at the emergency vet for poisonous plant ingestion.

The sad news is that we lost three members of our furry family within a relatively short time span - one to cancer and two within a week of each other to kidney failure. One of those was our beloved Kiko, one of the three whom my blog was named for. His was the most sudden (one week from diagnosis to his passing) and probably the hardest to take.   I just wanted to take a moment to remember how much love and laughter they all brought to my life.




In the midst of all of this, there has been some good news. I started a new job that I love but one that's been keeping me extremely busy! And, I've been indulging in a ton of fabric shopping retail therapy. With all of this going on, I just didn't feel like blogging.  Having a messy house with no place to take pictures and no time to clean didn't help matters. I'm only now starting to want to rejoin the blogging world.  I've still been sewing a lot. The job gives me a place to wear all of my dresses, and an excuse to make more. Sewing has always been a great way to try to take my mind off of things. 

I've also been quietly lurking on other blogs, soaking up inspiration. I just want to say thank you to everyone out there. Whether you know it or not, reading other bloggers posts was a big help to get my mind to a happier place.

So, we'll see where this goes.  I have a lot of projects to share, and hopefully will find the motivation to do so. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Placemats for the Furry Monsters

I imagine many new home owners go through this, but I'm a bit concerned about money lately. There's so much new responsibility now, and I'm looking for ways to cut back a bit. Fabric purchases are one place I can scale back (especially if I am going to stick to my stash diet). Paper towels are another.

It's not as random as it sounds.  Every mealtime, I place paper towels down so that my herd of cats don't mess up the floor. That adds up after a while. Instead of doing that, I decided that I should sew placemats for them.  They are reusable, environmentally friendly and much prettier than paper towels!

To make these, I used two layers of fabric from my stash. The back is upholstery fabric and the front is quilting cotton, also stash supplied.  (The blue and cream floral fabric was originally purchased for this project, and the purple was a fat quarter from Joann's that I can't even remember why I purchased.)

I cut 13" x 11" rectangles, a breeze now with my new cutting board! These were sewed right sides together with 0.5" seam allowance, leaving a small opening to turn them right side out. Then, I stitched around the perimeter and quilted the front.

This was the best shot of the backing upholstery fabric and my quilting stitches. This isn't my favorite one, or the best example, but at least it gives you an idea of how these were made. I've never really done this before and it was fun to try out different designs. My only minor regret is that the stitches aren't always that visible. Next batch I'll have to use a contrasting thread.

My final placemats measure 12" x 10" and are perfect for keeping the little monsters' messes under control.

Placemat in action, graciously modeled by Kiko.

I ended up with six for now, but plan to make a lot more. I'd like to have a large supply and be able to swap them out easily whenever they get dirty, but not have to rush to clean them before the next meal. I'd even like to sew some larger, fancier ones for the house's human inhabitants.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A New Beginning

It may be a bit late to say this, but I'm very happy to see 2013 go. It was a year where the negatives outnumbered the positives, and I'm looking forward to a new beginning this year. I don't plan to do a project roundup, I just want to keep moving forward and start creating new things again.

There have been a number of changes here at Chez Makizy, the biggest being that we have inherited a house. I've also become the owner of a "few" more cats. I'm sure they'll be making appearances on the blog from time to time.

This is Teddy, also know as Bear and yes, he is judging you.

I'm also ready to sew again. I have a house to decorate and organize and clothes to make. To help me on my merry sewing journey, my wonderful husband purchased cutting mat and rotary cutter for me for Christmas. How did I ever live without one of these?  LOVE IT!!!!

I'm also joining the Stash Diet party!


Seriously, what a great idea!  If you're not familiar with this, head on over to Today's Agenda for details.  I've decided not to be hard on myself and set a fixed goal.  Come on, a girl needs some retail therapy every now and then.  Instead I will be realistic and will pledge to do my absolute best to only sew from my stash. I will try to only purchase fabric if necessary to complete an existing project, or if it's needed for a gift.  Let's see how long it lasts!

Finally, I wouldn't really call this a New Year's resolution, but I'm going to try to not let photos hold me back from blogging. I love blogs with great photography, and do my best to try to do the same on mine. The problem is that I currently don't have ideal conditions to photograph projects and I've let that hold me back from posting. Well, this blog is supposed to be fun and my creative outlet, so there will be a lot more cell phone photos this year :-)