lately

I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts, but not for lack of making things! I just don’t have any “finished” photos yet, so I thought I’d post a quick roundup of what I’ve been working on, reading about, and dreaming of:

Making:Blocking Ondawa in Radius YarnMy first Watson bra, which is a muslin for sure, and I probably won’t do a full post on it because the inside stitching is really kind of embarrassing. But I will definitely be making another! For this one, I upcycled an old american apparel spandex-y dress and purchased all the elastic and components at Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley. They have quite the elastic aisle! I really like the strap elastic, but the scalloped edges make it a bit of a struggle to adjust. Once I had the pieces cut out,  the sewing only took one weekend morning, and it was my first project using a new-to-me vintage Visetti sewing machine (a refurbished giveaway from  my boss – score!). The machine is beautiful and stitches much more consistently than the all-plastic Kenmore that I have. It has quirky vintage dials for adjusting the zig zag length and width, which I thought would be great for the bra since you have to switch back and forth between narrow and wide zig zags. The zig zagging was not the problem — I think I incorrectly assumed there was a ball point needle in the machine! Oops. The messy stitching doesn’t bother me because the fit is ideal. I made view B and can’t wait to make more.

IMG_3395I have a few treasured Feral Childe textiles in my stash from their Oakland studio sample sale, including a super funky “thieves” print cupro. Cupro, the designer (Alice Wu) explained to me, is a woven fabric made from the woody parts of cotton plants, so it’s a bast fiber but very silky. It’s completely machine washable and apparently a good silk alternative for vegans. I had planned to make it into a sutton blouse but then A Verb for Keeping Warm released the Nell shirt and it seemed like the perfect fit. It’s a versatile popover style and a great take on the classic collared shirt. I love the shape and can’t wait to make a cotton or linen gauzy summer variation.

IMG_0039I think I’ve been bitten by the Brooklyn Tweed bug. My first sweater took me probably close to 6 months to finish (with a hiatus for holiday gift knitting) but since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Ondawa by Michelle Wang. I spent a long time considering different yarns because I had a vision for a camel hue, but still wanted a tweediness. Then I discovered that Knitterly was expanding their local yarn line and featured some luscious worsted weight options, and I became obsessed with the tan/cream marl variation, an alpaca and wool blend from Windrush Farm. I’ve been furiously knitting this pattern and it’s truly a joy. I’ve been worrying off and on that the cabling and stitch pattern will be lost amongst the marled coloring, but I still love it so I stuck with it and just have the seaming left to do. I think the marled cables will either look crazy or crazy good.  Above, a photo from blocking it (on an old yoga mat, which seems to work pretty well – does anyone else do this?)

alder shirt detailAn alder shirt in a chameleon-colored linen-silk blend, with tiny turquoise glass buttons. This is just about done! I need to make some bias binding and finish the inside waist and lower side seams. This is actually my second alder and oh how my topstitching abilities have grown! My first alder is a view A dress, so I wanted to try view B as a shirt, but I think the combination of the stiffness of this fabric and the fact that it’s a tad shorter than I was envisioning makes it an almost peplum silhouette and I’m not positive that it really fits with my style. I’m also on the fence about the color of the fabric, so I may overdye it with indigo at some point. Lastly, there’s a slight fit issue with the bust, which is a combination of my french seams going slightly wider than the seam allowance and, well, some hormonal fluctuations leading to a more ample bust… I think I’ll wait that out a little, and if it’s still too tight I may unpick the seam and stitch it more narrowly.

Reading:
Design*sponge on being nice on the internet (can grace Bonney do any wrong?! I think not)
This is moonlight on solar natural dyeing (on my list of things to try for the One Year One Outfit project!)
Fast Company on “alternity” wear for androgynous pregnant folks  (this makes my heart swell! someday I’d like to write down my thoughts on queer/LGBT visibility in the land of mom blogs)

Dreaming:
Turia dungarees look like a lot of topstitching but oh, how I want them.
Rachel comey esque patchwork top from closet cleanout scraps
All the new linen & khadi at AVFKW
Me made may !
A new post — on my first sweater! Should probably get that together before I finish my second sweater…

In the meantime, you can find my writing over on the Fibershed blog, where I had the pleasure of interviewing local weaver & inspirational community member Ama Wertz.

Happy weekend!

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Jess

making things & asking questions

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