Old School Rickrack

So wikipedia just informed me that rickrack's popularity peaked in the 1970's. I'm sure my mom stitched it onto the clothes that she sewed me, although I have no physical evidence of this. Our living room at the time was on trend (avocado and vitamin pee yellow dominated the color scheme) so I'm sure she was hip to rickrack.

Hi! Yes, it's me! I started a new job at the beginning of March that messed with my blogging schedule and just generally turned my life upside down for a while. I had to choose between sewing and writing/reading about sewing, and I went with the former. I'm probably only writing this post because I'm on vacation this week (kids are with grandma, D and I are home alone . . .). But if feels good to write something more substantial about sewing instead of sporadically posting photos on Instagram.

If I do manage to blog about sewing again I have some fun projects to show. I made jeans for starters! And another Style Arc Marni jacket and some tops and other random things. But this post is about a skirt.

I've had a version of this skirt in my head for about three years. I wanted a flared skirt to replace a simple flared skirt that was damaged by some zinc oxide and never really recovered. I found an Alexander Henry quilting cotton that was a good reverse of the original skirt (that one was black with beige/white embroidery). But I felt like something was missing so it never got made up. This spring I worked on a skirt for a client and I found the inspiration I needed: rickrack! The skirt needed rickrack!

I drafted this skirt using the By Hand London quarter circle skirt tutorial (genius! circle skirts math simplified, with an app no less). I used the waistband from my skirt sloper, then measured the bottom edge of the waistband and used that as my waist circumference for the circle skirt. Well, this is what I did after I cut it out too small the first time. For the hem band, I rather haphazardly cut out and edge using the bottom edge of my circle skirt as a guide. I inserted black rickrack between the waistband and skirt, and skirt and hem band:

And I made the extra effort of using a hem facing, and I really like how this turned out (and it made hemming the circle skirt edge easier to do):

I lined the skirt with cotton poplin and inserted an invisible zipper through the center back seam (the only seam in the circle skirt!) and I was done. I'm glad I waited, because this is exactly what I wanted. I like how the skirt bells away from my body due to the crispness of the cotton, and I like that the embellishment makes it look just that bit fancier (if rickrack counts as fancy).

I hope all of you are having a fabulous summer with lots of fun sewing projects and plenty of summer cocktails!


Activewear for the Win! McCall's 7026

Hey folks! February sometimes does bring good news along with all it's never-ending snow and cold (and more and more cold with all the staying indoors with bouncy children that it brings. Mama's going a little crazy.)

I love entering sewing competitions. They help me meet a deadline, tackle a challenge, and do creative problem solving. I've never actually won any of the competitions . . . until now! I placed second in Pattern Review's Activewear Contest and won $75 to Mood Fabrics for my trouble (hello, new Mood Bag!).

You can see all the contestants here and the winners here. I really want to sew Fehr Trade's Surf to Summit Top after seeing the 1st place project by feldmanTcat and the beautiful color combo she chose.

What did I make? McCall's 7026 jacket that has been in my stash for a relatively short period of time (6 months). I found the fabric at Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago when I was looking for navy taffeta for another project (yes, I know, knits are nowhere near the taffeta. Got to be thorough when looking for the right color.).

I was able to sew this up on Valentine's Day when Devon took the girls out for an extended shopping trip (to buy presents and dinner for me, since the day after is my birthday - more February good times). Four glorious hours of sewing time on a Saturday, when usually I have to work or do chores or ferry children on a Saturday. Ahhhh.

I did not sew a muslin for this one because I figured I would run in it no matter how it turned out. I made just one adjustment - adding 3/4" between bust and waist - before cutting. I'm happy with the fit, and I'm glad the shoulders worked out (bit of a risk, but I don't usually need to adjust there on jackets/coats). Next time I'll add a bit to the length so that I can make a deeper hem, grade down to a size 12 from a size 14 at the hips, and interface the collar (pattern doesn't call for this, but I think it would look nicer). You can read my full pattern review here if you're interested in that sort of thing.

The thing I love most about this jacket is the back. Great design lines, right? I'll have to run fast so that I give everyone the back view.

Another great detail is the cuffs with thumb hole. If you have long arms (like me), you'll want to lengthen the sleeve if you're not adding cuffs.

My new jacket has given me a blast of excitement to keep running till Spring. And I needed that blast.

Can we get a break from the snow? Please?
So my first attempt at activewear was a success. Not sure how much of this kind of sewing I'll do (I'm too addicted to sewing pretty clothes), but it was a lot of fun. Would you use precious sewing time for activewear?

Yay. Snow.

Completely fake action shot.
I don't think it's possible to run like this.


Reclaiming Red + Green

I did some reading in color theory last fall, and I was surprised to see red + green mentioned as complementary colors for creating color combos. This combination is associated so strongly with a certain holiday, that it's hard to see how it could work. It's been in my head these last few months as a kind of personal challenge: Can I make this work in every day life without looking like a Christmas ornament?

I think I did it! As I mentioned in my last post about my new FAVORITE red skirt (review of pattern here), I had some jade jersey I planned to use to make a top. I wanted something fairly simple that wouldn't steal thunder from the pleating in the skirt AND something that I could whip up quickly since I was impatient to try it out. I used my deep cowl top pattern (tutorial here).

So the color isn't strictly green, more of a jade with more green than blue in the mix. It's a lovely matte jersey that I purchased at least a year ago (and maybe two) from GorgeousFabrics.com, so it's probably long gone. The skirt fabric is also from GF, a rayon doubleknit.

I'm going to count this experiment as a success! Have you tried experimenting with unusual color combos? How did it work out??


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