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One thing that I've felt I struggle with is deciding what shapes will look good on me. I am essentially a column with extra out front, so I don't feel like most models get anywhere close to helping me visualize what it looks like on me. I finally realized this feeling of not knowing what it would look like was hampering my ability to start sewing because I didn't want to waste fabric on a shape that would end up making me look dumpy.

In order to solve this, I decided to make a croquis of myself to be able to try to sketch shapes or ideas to see if it will help me to get a better visualization of a shape and then be more willing to sew it.

I took several pictures of myself in "standard" croquis poses so I could turn them into line drawings. I use Photoshop and I followed a YouTube tutorial for it. If you don't do photo editing like this, you can always buy sketch books. Two popular ones are: Fashionary and the Curvy Sketchbook by Cashmerette. I've not tried either one personally (also not affiliate links, just ones I've seen around), so if you do go with one of those, I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Here's what I ended up with for me. (I took more poses than this, but I haven't taken the time to turn the other ones into outlines yet.)

Croquis - Front View
Croquis - Front View
Croquis - Side View
Croquis - Side View

It's been kind of interesting to see that when I sketch a shape on me, so far it's matched my preferences that I already know. For example, I don't like sleeveless that comes in too far or is super narrow strapped. When I drew that shape on this outline, I didn't like it there either. That makes me feel better about knowing that if I like it on the croquis, I'll have a good chance of liking it on me for real.

Another way it's helping me so far is that it is narrowing my focus on what I want to sew/draft next. I need some solid staples in my wardrobe and it's easy to find the shape I like for those staples.

Here's my favorite basic shirt and skirt combo so far. I'm going to start with these for my next attempt at pattern drafting.

V-Neck Shirt and Straight Skirt
V-Neck Shirt and Straight Skirt
Skirt and Shirt Base - Side View
Skirt and Shirt Base - Side View

Do you have a favorite way of trying ideas or do you just jump in and sew?

This weekend we got to spend with my husband's parents who about 2 hours south of us. That's not much of a drive, but between N's master classes and Baby Girl's just being a toddler, we haven't gotten down as much recently.

It was good to be able to see them and not have to worry about anything and get fed fantastic food. (Diet this week, anyone?) My primary activity was knitting. Roughin' it, right? 😉

In addition, I got to watch my two favorite people run and play together in their huge yard. I could never get enough of watching this little girl and her daddy.

Daddy and Baby Girl
I love these too with all my heart and soul!

So cute!

Baby and basketball
Baby and basketball

While we were away, there was a store back home with 80 MPH straight line winds. We were so blessed because we returned to a fairly large limb down in our yard, but not one bit of damage to the house. Yes, very, very blessed. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the downed branch, but here's what my dad's truck looked like after loading it (and a few little trees out of the fence. Hey, free brush dump by the city shouldn't go to waste!).

Brush clean up
Brush clean up - The branch that fell (and a few little trees that needed to be cleaned out of the fence)

On the sewing front, I'm working on the muslin for my next pattern attemp for OAL 2015: the Colette Pattern's Dahlia. First effort is: no FBA (will I regret that choice?), widening at the waist. Hopefully an update with pictures soon.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying life with this little family.

Family Selfie
Family Selfie! (Almost missed the baby completely!)

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I'm making great strides in my OAL 2015! Well, the sweater anyway. The dress... yeah, I'm struggling with that.

So to start with the good news, here's my progress on the sweater. I'm currently working on the Waist Decreasing section.

Vianne Sweater - Front
Vianne Sweater - Front
Vianne Sweater - Front Detail
Vianne Sweater - Detail of the front

I've made a few mistakes, most of which I didn't notice till several rounds later. Some of which, I fixed. The others? Well, this is my first sweater after all, and completion is my goal. Perfection is my enemy. Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself every time I look at the mistakes...

Vianne Sweater - Back
Vianne Sweater - Back
Vianne Sweater - Back Detail
Vianne Sweater - Detail of the Back

As for the pattern, I *thought* I was going to do this Vogue pattern, V8648, view F. I got this pattern as a part of a Craftsy class, The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje. I've been wanting to make it and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Dress Pattern - Option 1
Dress Pattern - Option 1, but have to find something else

Then this happened. I needed to do a 1.75" FBA on the bodice piece. But when I did, the armhole distorted to bad I didn't think I'd be able to set a sleeve in there. I thought about doing research and trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but with all the pretty dress patterns I have in my stash and the limited time I have to sew, I'm just giving the win to the Vogue pattern and coming back to it when I'm more experienced. It may have won this battle, but I will win the war!! 😛

Bodice Piece - Original
Bodice Piece - Original
Bodice Piece - After FBA Attempt
Bodice Piece - After FBA Attempt

Bye Bye Love Bag - Front View
Bye Bye Love Bag - Front View

This bag is the Bye Bye Love bag from Sew Sweetness. I modified the pattern a bit in order to have the two-tone color on the bag. I also switched the inset zipper to the inside of the bag instead of the outside. I'd like to say that's because of some brilliant inspiration on my part, but it's actually because I didn't read the pattern very well and I got the wrong color zipper. I probably could have gotten away with a pink zipper on the outside, but I wasn't feeling it. I just switched it to the lining instead.

I used the Soft and Stable that Sara (of Sew Sweetness) recommends in the pattern. This was my first time sewing with it and it was interesting. For those who haven't sewed with it before, it's a stiff foam that is about 1/8" thick. It gives great body and support to the bag without overwhelming it. I'll definitely use it again with a bag like this that benefits from the structure. Due to the price (it's not too bad, but can add up if you're using this for many bags), I may experiment with interfacing and headliner foam from Joann's. I'll update if I do that and do a comparison.

Bye Bye Love Bag - Inside View
Bye Bye Love Bag - Inside View

This bag was more challenging than I thought it would be. In addition to using the Soft and Stable for the first time, I used the vinyl for the accents and upholstery fabric for the green and the lining. The pink lining fabric frayed horribly and I had to use my serger and a zigzag and it was still disinigrating around the edges. Beautiful, though and worth the hassle.

Because of all these challenges, I make more mistakes on this bag than I had on some of my other more recent bags. I chalked it up to a learning experience and am pretty pleased with the results overall.

I gave this to my sister-in-law for her birthday as I thought the colors would be perfect for her. Also, she's nice enough to look past some of the construction mistakes. :)

Have you gifted things to loved ones even though they weren't perfect? Or do you keep all the mistakes for yourself?

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Knit Dress - Full Outfit
Knit Dress - Full Outfit

My first finished to post to the blog! I'm so excited that I have a successful project to post about. :) This knit dress is McCall's M6073. It has a V neckline in both the front and the back and has three lengths: knee, midi, and maxi length. I wanted to use this fabric from my stash (it's a poly blend from... Fabric.com, maybe?) I only had 1.5 yd. and it was 45" width, so I eeked out as much length as I could, but couldn't even quite make it to the knee length. When I'm standing and there's no wind, it's not too short. :) Also, the fabric is sheer, so I have to have something under it. Therefore, there will be leggins worn with this every time.

I wasn't sure about this pattern at first because it seemed very loose and I wasn't sure if I'd would like it. However, it actually did flatter very nicely. I think that's mostly due to the drape of the very lightweight knit and the help of the elastic in both the shoulders and waist.

I did have to do a few alterations for this. Although my fabric was knit, it didn't have a great amount of stretch. I did a size 22 in the bust, grading to 24 for the waist and hips, then I did a 2" FBA. The fit was great overall. The FBA did give me a lot of gathers; in the future I may do a smaller FBA or none at all and let the deep V of the wrap take in some of the difference.

Knit Dress - Front View
Knit Dress - Front View

The photographer (aka: Mom) decided this was my "I'm a little teapot" pose. No one has ever asked me to model, can you believe that?! 😛

I struggled with the binding of the V neck because the pattern instructions made. no. sense. I was procrastinating utilizing last minute energy to finish this dress so I didn't want to take time to Google the "correct" way to do it. I found a way that worked and looks nice from the outside, but really kind of bad on the inside. I'm adding binding a V neck to my list of skills-to-learn.

Knit Dress - Back
Knit Dress - Back

To update my skill building for this post, I thought I show how I did the bust gathers for this piece. Gathering is basic skill, but when done unevenly, it can definitely add to the "home made" vs. "hand made" look.

I used a technique that I like to think of as "window curtain gathering" (yes, I totally made that up, if you couldn't tell) that helps me get more exact start/end when gathering between two points. Basically, I use two threads, knotted at the end to baste the gathers. One thread starts at the left and the other starts from the right. That way, I can pull on the unknotted ends, now on opposite sides of the gathered section. By doing it this way, there's no ungathered sections near the edge of the gathered sections.

Bust Gathers
Making Bust Gathers

Hello all! Welcome to the inaugural post of Fabric and Yarn Follies!

I'm so glad to be writing here and sharing my creations with you. I want to tell you a little bit about what to expect from me here. Primarily, I'll be sharing completed work with you and showing interesting bits of the construction process. In addition, I'm going to be building a skill list and trying to make things that help increase my knowledge and abilities in those areas.

If you'd like to help me build the skill list, please go here and leave me a comment with the skills you think I should practice! I'm open to anything, from foundational sewing skills to intricate or challenging skills.

If you'd like to know more about me and my crafting passion and history, please feel free to read my About Me page.

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