Friday, March 25, 2011

A little progress here and there

I had a pretty good week this week. The weather was rather balmy and sunny for this time of the year, I met friends almost every day and I made a bit of money... Which is always nice. :)

Concerning my resolution not to buy anything unneeded until Easter, I'm doing so-so. I did order two patterns from Colette (their Rooibos and Negroni patterns, which, incidentally, Ali is giving away this week so head over to her blog!) to take advantage of Sew Weekly's 15% off coupon and to save on shipping (my friend is bringing them for me from the US). I also stupidly broke my twin needle (by totally forgetting that I had my machine on zigzag before I started sewing with it) and had to get a new one, because if I don't hem my knit projects right away I won't ever do it (or at least not this year).

Apart from that, I have tried to keep myself out of the way of temptation. No window shopping, keeping out of malls and clothing stores and no browsing Amazon for cute new spring shoes... ;) That has been working rather well. I also found ways to get some things without spending money, like borrowing "The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss (part 2 of probably the best Fantasy epic since Lord of the Rings) instead of buying it and getting a haircut from a friend who's a trainee hairdresser (which turned out really nice, though it did take 4 hours).

In Me-Made March news: yay for spring!

Day 20: me-made strawberry skirt, refashioned lacy cardi and unseen black lacy tank

Day 21: me-made polka-dot skirt and unseen black lacy tank (most worn garment ever! ;)

Day 22: me-made black knit top, unseen lacy tank and red button necklace

Day 23: unseen lacy black tank, stripey knit top and refashioned red skirt
(also, new haircut. :)

Day 24: me-made blue polka-dot skirt and unseen black lacy tank

Now I really have to go and finish my grass-green knit dress/top, so I have something new to wear... What are you currently working on?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More March-Days

I'm back home and feeling so-so with the weather. It was nice and warm last Sunday but back to a gloomy cold on Monday. Yesterday was the first day since Portugal that I got to see the sun - a whole glorious day of it! But today it's back to uniform clouds. I think I need to buy some pink tulips, they always cheer me up. :)

In sewing news, I'm almost finished with a boat-necked long sweater/jumper in my favorite shade of green. It has been very frustrating, I originally thought I could be done with it in a couple of hours but first I had fitting problems with the raglan sleeves, and now my machine seems to have started a mutiny. It really doesn't care for knits, none of the elastic stitches work very well and the twin needle that worked alright until now has made a mess of things now that I'm almost done. Hmpf. I do hope I can finish it tomorrow, I'd rather like a bit of fresh wind in my me-made wardrobe...

In Me-Made March news:
Day 12: refashioned red skirt and you can actually see the lacy black tank top... ;)
Day 13: didn't get a pic, I wore the blue polka dot skirt and lacy coral cardi, though

Day 14: grandma-knit socks and unseen lacy black tank top

Day 15: refashioned red skirt and lacy black tank

Day 18: unseen lacy black tank and me-made button jewelry (earrings and necklace)

Day 19: lacy tank top and newish black longsleeve. Also, while the T-shirt isn't exactly me-made, I did design the logo in front (for my drama group) so I think it gets to count, too! :)

I'm getting a bit fed up with my limited wardrobe options, again... I think I need more skirts. Since I found out that I don't have enough navy twill for my Spring Palette sailor pants, maybe a nautical inspired skirt might not be amiss...

What are your sewing plans for the week?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sunny March Days

March 11
Portugal - or more exactly, the Algarve - is really a nice place for a spring holiday. The weather makes me happy, because even though we've had a little rain on most days, it's nice and warm from late morning until afternoon.

Warm enough to go without a coat, sometimes, and in the wind-shaded areas even warm enough to catch a little sun while wearing short-sleeves.

It is early enough that not many tourists are around, so the reddish yellow cliffs and the greenish blue sea form a quiet, beautiful contrast. I could walk the cliffs for hours and be blown through by the wind...

Even though most of my outfits are quite similar to what I wore last week, dressing every day has been so much more fun with the prospect of sunny, balmy weather outside.

Day 7: me-made striped longsleeve and lacy tank underneath

Day 8: me-made coffe-date ruffle top, lacy tank underneath and refashioned/shortened red skirt

Day 9: me-made strawberry skirt and lacy tank; also, my mom and sister :)

Day 10 : polka-dot Crêpe and new black longsleeve

Day 11: me-made blue polka-dot skirt, refashioned lacy cardi and lacy tank top

In other news, I've decided to give up shopping for lent. I'm not overly religious, nor am I Catholic, but I grew up in a bit of a Catholic environment and my family has always done some fasting/dieting/giving up for lent. Mostly for health reasons, like giving up sweets or meat or caffeine or alcohol - and spring is a good time for new resolutions. :) So, yes. I'm giving up shopping until Easter. Not grocery shopping, obviously, but "buying stuff". Clothes, shoes, trinkets, jewellery, fabric, notions, books... Anything I don't need.

Why? Well, I'm a bit of a thrifty person and don't like to spend huge amounts of money on things. But I'm a bargain hunter and it's really difficult for me to withstand a good deal. As you all probably know, lots of bargains accumulate and at the end of the month, my wallet is considerably lighter... Well, I've spent quite a big amount of money in the last six months on my journey around the world, both for travelling expenses and for the little things - trinkets, souvenirs, stuff I liked... (which reminds me that I still want to post pictures of all the lovely little treasures I found). Combined with the fact that I had to give up my tutor job for the time I was away, and they currently have no openings for me to start working with them again, I'm a bit low on available cash right now. Not dangerously so, since my parents are nice enough to cover my living expenses while I'm still studying. But there isn't going to be a lot of spending money until I find a new job.

This resolution is also partly inspired by some movements around the blogosphere, like Ali's Fashion on the Ration challenge, Sarah's Thrifty 356 and Zoe's thoughts about consumerism. I'd like to know if I can stand 40 days without buying stuff I'd like to have. And if I can manage not to buy it all up the minute I'm free to do so again... ;) What do you think about posting updates about my success? Like, posting a list of the things I have managed not to buy (yet), even though I wanted to? There are three things on the list already: Colette's Rooibos and Ceylon patterns (and I may give in on those, because of Sew Weekly's 15% off coupon for March and a friend that is going to spend some time in Boston, which could save me the International shipping cost...) and an invisible zipper foot.

I'll leave you with the treasures I managed to buy in Portugal before Ash Wednesday: the cutest rose-print leather laptop bag, three belts, a pair of earrings and some very nice, lacy blue tights.

Are you currently giving up anything, for lent or other reasons?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the first few days of march

March 6

Today was the first time in weeks that I have actually felt excited about getting dressed. Possibly the first time since getting back from my world trip, 4 weeks ago. This may have been partly because I finally finished my first Spring Pattern Challenge (and sewalong) piece yesterday: the gorgeously wonderful red and white polka dot Crêpe! This pattern was such a joy to work with (especially after Burda 3477, which, incidentally, is also almost finished and just waiting for some hand sewing to attach the lining at the zipper and shoulder seam). And it turned out so beautiful! I'm seriously in love with it, both the pattern itself and how it turned out. I'm already planning to make another one, maybe in a light rayon for the height of summer. :)

The other reason for me to get excited about getting dressed today is probably that I left cold and dreary Berlin (which has had pretty much freezing temperatures for the past 4 weeks) for warmer-by-at-least-10-degrees-and-also-mostly-sunny Portugal today! While I wished I had put on legwarmers this morning on my way to the airport (after 1h of sleep due to a birthday party last night), I actually walked around coatless and just in my Crêpe dress and a cardigan this afternoon, without freezing! It was so lovely, sitting in the sun...

I was seriously frustrated with the first couple of days of Me-Made March, mostly because my uniform for the past weeks has pretty much consisted of thermal tights, usually layered with leggins for warmth, a demin skirt, tank top, long-sleeve and one of three knit pullovers/cardis I deemed warm enough for the weather. (I think I'm a bit more sensitive to the cold this year, after having spent the first half of winter on the summery southern hemisphere...) It doesn't make for very exciting outfits, especially since I don't have very many weather-appropriate bottoms (except for a quickly refashioned=shortened&hemmed red skirt) and my me-made tops get covered up by heavier cardies.

Me-Made March, Day 1

Me-Made March, Day 2

Slightly more frivolous: Me-made petticoat and mask on March 3

I also think that while Self-Stitched September motivated me to sew some much-needed basics, like the lace tank top and knit tops, I could really do with a couple of more fun pieces. Frivolous dresses, after all, were the reason I took up sewing in the first place! And while fall seemed an alright time for the more somber and less exciting pieces of my wardrobe, spring is becking me with new and exciting garments that want to be sewn.

Me-Made March, Day 4

Me-Made March, Day 5

Which may be why I'm so totally in love with my new Crêpe. It's a dress! It's red! It's got polka dots! The neckline is so lovely! :) I think I could wear it and smile all day. (Which doesn't mean I don't think I can improve on it. While the muslin solved a couple of fitting issues, I still think that the bodice would be nicer on me if it was about an inch shorter, and I'd love to lower the neckline a little bit)... I think it may be the most beautiful and perfect thing I've ever sewn. The facings turned out lovely, even with the way they are curved. I pressed and pinked all seams religiously, used the correct weight interfacing, the hem turned out ok and there were no zippers to botch! And I made my first muslin, of course. I really do think I need to make a second Crêpe dress... :)

Me-Made March, Day 6 - in Portugal :)

What is your favorite piece that you have ever sewn?