Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring 2013 KCWC: Plans

As I mentioned, Cate really needs bottoms in her wardrobe, so that is what I'm focusing on for the KCWC this week.  I inventoried her wardrobe and came up with the following:
When my in-laws last visited, my MIL bought several things for Cate from Carter's*--mostly shirts, and a few capris.  So, Cate's summer clothes are pretty much the same colors as the Carter's summer line, though I tried to stay from the more brilliant neon colors.  Primarily, there's grass green, very bright yellow, dark blue, a little turquoise, and a little hot pink.  She's also got some grey and pink onesies that she got as a Christmas present.  Since I'm trying to make a small number of bottoms that will match any of the tops she has (both for space considerations and husband-gets-Cate-dressed-sometimes considerations), I'm going to go with neutrals:  denim and khaki.  I've got a small amount of a nice dark denim that I used to make a pair of BBB Pants (one of the two pairs of long pants she has that still fit) that I will use to make shorts or capris, whatever I can squeeze out of it.  I've also got a lighter colored denim that I will use to make a pair of long pants, a pair of capris, and a pair of shorts if I can squeeze that much out of it.  The rest, I'll fill in with the khaki fabric--a pair of pants and a few pairs of shorts.  Not the most exciting sewing there ever was, but really, really useful!

*I'm not sure the clothes from Carter's would fit into my ethical fashion guidelines, but I'm not going to worry about that in gifted clothes, primarily because I don't see my family understanding my point of view and in the interest of helping our budget (free clothes!) I'm not prepared to press the issue.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kid's Clothes Week Challenge Spring 2013

Next week is the KCW Challenge for spring and I've decided to participate!  I did the challenge last fall and I found it really productive.  The challenge is to spend an hour a day on anything related to sewing kid's clothes (tracing patterns, cutting fabric, etc. as well as actual sewing).

Since I'm swearing off cheap fashion, I'm trying to be a little more thoughtful about Cate's wardrobe and make sure the things I add to it are actually things she needs.  So, while I'd love to sew a few more cute dresses for her, I don't think that's in the cards for awhile.  What she really needs are pants, capris, and shorts.  It seems like every day I'm struggling to find a pair of bottoms that: fit, match her outfit, and are weather appropriate. 

While it's gotten quite warm in the Bay Area, the mornings and late afternoons/early evenings can be chilly (as they are most of the summer), so even if I'm putting a dress on her because it's going to be 80 degrees (as it was today), she still needs some pants to wear under the dress in the morning.  And, as we are still cloth diapering, it seems like the smartest thing to do is to make a bunch of variations of the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern--a pattern that is specifically designed for cloth-diapered babies. 

In total, Cate should have at least 7 pairs of pants or capris, because:
  1. She's wearing a pair for at least part of every day
  2. Her current eating habits preclude wearing the same pair of pants more than once before washing them
  3. We don't have a washer/dryer in our apt. or even in our building so we only do laundry once a week (as God as my witness, we will never live in another place without a washer/dryer EVER AGAIN).
The next step is to inventory Cate's clothes to find out how many pants she currently has and what color of pants she needs to go with her shirts and dresses.   (And then do the same to my wardrobe!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I really wanted to participate in Me-Made-May this year, but I don't think I have enough self-made pieces in my wardrobe to make that work.  I have a couple skirts, but I need some shirts or I will be wearing skirts for the entire month of May.  I'm not opposed to wearing skirts most days, but the skirts I have are mostly straight and not convenient for sitting on the floor with a toddler, which is how I generally spend my days.  It's my goal to make several A-line skirts, but I have limited sewing time and I don't anticipate having more than one done by the beginning of May.  I have several pairs of handknit socks I could wear, but seeing as how this week it's supposed to be as warm as 80 deg F and it's only April, I suspect that the time for wearing wool socks may have passed.  Maybe I could try making underwear, it would probably be relatively quick to make several pairs of underwear, right?  Probably would skip out on the outfit posts in that case....

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Patience is a Virtue (which I lack)

Cate and I go for a lot of walks.  Actually, I walk and she strolls (on account of being in a stroller).  Sometimes I listen to an audio book while we wander the neighborhood, but mostly I just kind of let my mind wander.  Today, as we were out and about, I happened to be thinking about my recent commitment to buying and wearing ethically made clothing.  When I started down this road (so to speak), I knew, and accepted, right away that such a commitment would mean that I would be buying clothes less frequently.  First, because I wanted to buy new clothes that were more responsibly made and these would naturally be more expensive and I didn't have the budget to impulse shop at that price point.  Second, because I also wanted to look more into secondhand clothing and I was going to be really choosy about what I decided to buy--I wanted it to be well-made and flattering--which meant I might spend a lot of time scouring secondhand stores until I found something I wanted.  Today, though, I realized that the same ideas should apply to my handmade garments as well.  

I would say I am a product sewist, NOT a process sewist.  I sew almost entirely because I want the finish object.  For this reason, it is difficult for me to sew in a very careful manner with lots of attention to detail, especially any detail that would not routinely be seen--seam finishes, for example.  I just want to wear the skirt, already, not be sitting at the sewing machine unpicking the waistband because it looks wonky,

Knitting is different.  I knit both for process and product.  I knit because I find it relaxing and because it gives me patience.  I can sit in a waiting room for a pretty long time as long as I have my knitting with me (sadly, I can't use this to my advantage in sewing since it takes someone with more skill than me to sew and knit simultaneously).  I have to want the finished product too, of course, I'm not one of those people who knits exquisite lace shawls that they never wear because while they enjoy knitting lace shawls, they don't enjoy wearing lace shawls (not that there's anything wrong with being that type of knitter, it's just not the sort of person I am).

Today, though, I realized that one of the overall goals is to have a wardrobe full of high-quality, well-fitting clothes, both because it will improve my appearance and because high-quality = longer-lasting = fewer clothes in the landfill.  This is just as true of my handmade clothes as my store-bought clothes.  Therefore, if I can accept that accumulating high-quality store-bought clothes is going to take longer than accumulating cheap, poorly-made clothes, then I should also accept that accumulating high-quality handmade clothes is going to take longer than accumulating poorly-made handmade clothes.

Ultimately, what I need to remind myself as I sit at the sewing machine is that the goal is quality, not quantity, and that if I make poorly constructed clothes as a result of impatience (rather than inexperience), then I'm missing the point.  It's not going to be easy to remember, but I will try.  Perhaps I should have Quality Not Quantity engraved on my seam ripper?

Friday, April 05, 2013

Easter Dress!

Well, I finished Cate's Easter dress and didn't even have to stay up until 3AM to do it (unlike last year)!  I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  There are a few things I'd do differently if I was making the dress again, but overall, it's just what I envisioned for her Easter dress.

I used a vintage repro pattern from Simplicity and the fabric is quilting cotton from the Robert Kaufman Mingle line called Spring Pebble.  I like to think of the print as Jelly Beans.  :)  I also used some pink grosgrain ribbon and a flower button from Joann's for the waistline detail and a tiny pink bow, also from Joann's, at the neckline.

It was so beautiful outside on Easter Sunday!  It was exactly the kind of weather you want for Easter--sunny, warmish, and springlike.  It's also the kind of weather I rarely saw on Easter, growing up.  You can't really count on spring arriving in Iowa until late April, long past Easter-time.  This did not stop my mother from dressing me in cute spring dresses anyway.  There was one memorable Easter where it snowed and I wore my short-sleeved dress and sandles anyway.  We always spent the weekend of Easter at my grandparent's house so there wasn't the possibility of last minute wardrobe changes.

I took these pictures of Cate while we walked around our apartment complex.  Taking posed pictures of toddlers is...challenging.  I have enormous respect for people who do it professionally.  Getting Cate to sit still at all is a minor miracle, let alone convincing her to smile and look at the camera.  Candids are equally challenging because as soon as she sees me with the camera, she either stares at me with a, "What are you doing?" look on her face or she tries to grab the camera.  Pleas of, "No, no, keep playing," go unheeded.  It's easiest to take a picture when she's not looking, such as when she's walking away from me.

I had envisioned making a coordinating skirt for myself and a tie from the jelly bean fabric for my husband, but I would have had to have started several weeks earlier to accomplish that.  I still like the idea for getting family pictures taken, so maybe I'll still do it.

I hope all of you had a lovely Easter Sunday (or just a lovely Sunday if you don't celebrate Easter)!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013