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January 10

Contributing to Sew Weekly

I don’t think I’ve blogged about it yet, but I’ve signed myself up to participate in the Sew Weekly Themed Challenges as a contributor.  Mena, the Sew Weekly creator, was initially going to let a limited number of people be contributors on her site, but somewhere along the line she decided to open it up to a wider group.  So there officially are around 150 contributors who have signed on to try and make a garment ever week.  Felix is quite amazed that such a large group of people would be willing to put themselves through the stress of making an item every week for someone else’s site. heh  I think he’s just missing out on the fun though.

All last week I was doing some blog posts, knitting, and in general taking it easy on my first week back to work.  Ultimately, I was waiting around to hear back from Sew Weekly as to what the theme was going to be and when the deadline was.  Little did I know, the weekly theme was in full force, I was 100% oblivious as to what it was.  On a whim I decided to log into the blogging dashboard on Friday and saw to my horror that our weekly creations were due on Sunday night.  (In haste, I initially misread and they weren’t actually due until Monday night.)

You can imagine how frantic I was on my subway ride home trying to figure out what I was going to sew within a day that would be cute and go with the weekly theme.  Hello Stress!!!  I should mention that contributing for each and every week isn’t mandatory.  But since it was the first week, I felt obligated to give it my best shot since I did sign up for this.

The weekly theme is “Accessorize“; we were to sew a garment/outfit using any type of accessory as inspiration.  Off the top of my head I know I have a pair of leopard/alligator heels that I have yet to wear and thinking I could design something around them.  I took to my stash and found nothing that would go good.  Then I thought next about all of the cute hats I have yet to be worn (all three of them.)  :)  It was the perfect accessory to design around.  I then took to my fabric closet to find some suitable fabric to make something out of and this time I had the perfect fabric; a large remnant from my Minoru Jacket.  Next came the pattern.  Since I was on such a time crunch I felt it best that I remake something I’ve already fitted on myself before so no muslins were needed and I could focus on sewing.

Long story short, I cut my fabric on Friday, sewed all day Saturday, took photos and make a contributor blog post on Sunday, and to my utter surprise I was featured on the Sew Weekly site on Monday!  It’s been such a whirlwind of stress and fun and excitement!

Don’t you like the title of my outfit:  The “OMG One-Day Challenge?!” Pinafore.  heh

This soo made my day today (and most likely my week).  Felix and I went out and got drinks to celebrate once we got off work.  He does deserve lots of the credit, after all he is my photographer.  :)

I curled my hair for the occasion.  My curling skills are still a work in progress, but the curls held a lot better than they did the first time around.

As I said before I used the Jenny Skirt pattern, the same as my Floral Bouquet Skirt.  Unfortunately I failed to take decent notes the first time around so I had to do a bit more fitting for this skirt.  I made Version C with the suspenders, and I also made a higher waistband than my original.

Just like Gertie, I decided to crisscross the straps on my pinafore.  Since I have such narrow shoulders, I figured this was for a design aesthetic as well as the additional security so that my straps wouldn’t fall down.

One thing that really pulls my outfit together is the velvet trim I added onto the waistband.  I had this skirt nearly complete at 10pm on Saturday evening, but I felt like it was missing something.  In a moment of serendipity, I remembered some old velvet trim my mom gave me from her stash which would be the perfect trim that would pull together my look: the vintage, felt hat with my Black and white tweedy pinafore.

Let talk insides…

I think a rational person on a serious time crunch would have just made the garment.  Since I am not that person I included some stay tape at the top of the waistband, added lining, used Sunni’s new great tutorial for adding a back vent, reinforced the whole back seam with silk organza like I did here, and stitched my hem by hand.  I could have been done in half the amount of time if I decided to omit all of these details.  But ladies, I truly felt like if I wanted to wear this out I had to do everything in my power to make it a decent, sturdy pencil skirt.  I am really happy with the result, but I think for these weekly challenges rubber is going to meet the road soon and I may have to compromise some of these things.  I hope it doesn’t come to that since I’m really committed to making my clothes as nice on the inside as they are on the outside.

Hem Detail:

Since I was on a rush I just did a basic catch stitch all around the hem instead of making it invisible.  I’m sure it’s all right.  :)

And here’s my fancy back vent:

Well, it’s not really fancy as much as it is basic and professional.  But Sunni is to thank once again for teaching me how to do this.  :)

And lastly an image just for fun:

Felix was teasing me and he made me laugh.

All in all I’m over-the-moon thrilled I was chosen as one of the first contributor creations that Mena featured on her redesigned site Sew Weekly.  I know I was on a time crunch and I was stressed for part of Saturday, but I really like the idea of sewing based on a theme.  It’s a completely different way of approaching creating garments than I have been doing in the past.

Before I’ve always pick a pattern I want to sew, then I pick my fabric and any techniques and embellishments to add on at the end.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with how I approach sewing since there are loads of patterns in my stash I really want to make.  But with the Sew Weekly themes, I first start with a concept and let my own imagination take me where it may.  Even though it’s only the first week, it’s been really refreshing to me to approach sewing this way and I like not knowing where a given theme will take me.

I wonder what I’m going to do for next week….  :)

  1. Melizza / Jan 10 2012

    Congrats on being featured. It’s well deserved. Your whole outfit was adorable. I love that even though you rushed the skirt it looks as if you took your time.

  2. Sarah / Jan 10 2012

    I just love this pinafore and I’m so happy to see that you have already been featured! Congratulations!! You’re a brilliant seamstress and I’m looking forward to seeing what you create this year. :)

    I’m contributing to The Sew Weekly this year, too, but I am only planning on one challenge per month. It’s a better balance for me. :)

  3. Suzie / Jan 10 2012

    WOWZERS!!! You made that in ONE day??!! I have had the Jenny skirt half made sitting on my desk for a couple of months. Man do I feel bad now! All I can say is congratulations, you have made a gorgeous pinafore – with all the trimmings – in record time!! Love it!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Thanks so much Suzie. Don’t feel bad about your sitting jenny. I do have plenty of other projects that are waiting my attention.

  4. Michelle / Jan 10 2012

    Good luck with your 52 week challenge! I love the SewWeekly, and I look forward to seeing you featured there throughout the year! I agree that it’s far better to produce a “finished”, well-made garment, rather than waste time and precious fabric on something less-than. Hopefully, you’ll be able to maintain throughout!

  5. Emma / Jan 10 2012

    That’s awesome! The velvet trim really does make the whole outfit come together.

    I have enjoyed following Sew Weekly for most of 2011, so I’m definitely glad there are crazy, devoted, creative, talented people out there doing this… but for my own part, I’m with Felix on this one. I can’t imagine putting that kind of pressure on myself and spending all that money for someone else’s site. But I guess the nature of the themes is often such that the challenge is what you make of it.

  6. Lauren / Jan 10 2012

    Congratulations on being featured, btw! That’s so awesome!

    I signed up for the Sew Weekly but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to actually meeting a deadline – like you, I’m pretty hardcore about the quality/construction of a garment, and sometimes it’s just not possible to sew something up in under a week! Not if I plan on wearing it again, anyway :P Fortunately, it looks like the challenges themes are posted ahead of time so it would be possible to start one of the later challenges and spend a few weeks working on it before it’s due… and just not submitting every single week.

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      I too am hardcore about the insides looking nice. I really don’t want to have to sacrifice the construction just to get something done. I’d rather have a few nicely made pieces than a closet full of junk.
      That said, I’d love to see what you make for a weekly challenge. So far it’s fun way to sew (with the themes…not the deadlines). heh

  7. erin / Jan 10 2012

    Congrats for a great start to your Sew weekly contribution! Your pinafore skirt is seriously cute :) it fits you perfectly and you look great in it! That velvet trim is the perfect final touch, it gives the skirt that extra something special. Good luck for next week :)

  8. Qui / Jan 10 2012

    that outfit is fantastic!! and I’m so impressed with the inside details–very professional. I admire that you took the time to make the inside nice. I fear making something in one week would result in very sloppy clothes for me–I don’t need that kind of pressure. Seems to me that a garment worth making is worth taking the time to finish nicely.

  9. Kerry / Jan 10 2012

    Wow! You did a brilliant job to produce such a lovely garment in a short time period AND finish it so beautifully AND get such lovely photos. It looks great on you.

  10. Amanda D / Jan 10 2012

    Very exciting to be featured the first week! I signed up too, but right after I submitted my intro post to Mena I was offered a job in New York so that throws my participation off until I get settled. I also love the insides of garments looking as pretty as the outsides so go you for keeping that attention to detail even with the tight deadline!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Wow! How exciting. Congrats! Don’t worry about participating, we have 51 more weeks.

  11. Paunnet / Jan 10 2012

    Congrats on being featured! Like you I discovered the first challenge had alreasy been announced on saturday, so I had to let this one go. I have decided I’ll try and participate at least once a month, every week would be madness for me!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Once a month sounds doable. That way you could pick and choose which themes you’re most excited you want to sew for. I doubt I’ll be able to do every single one, but I’d like to try and do as many as I can manage, without too much stress. Sewing is all about creating something you’ll enjoy and for fun. No point in making it a chore.

  12. Suzy / Jan 10 2012

    Congratulations!! And fantastic outfit!! I love a good inside shot and one of my unwritten pledge/ goal/ aim is to do the inside of a garment as pretty as the outside.

  13. Karen / Jan 10 2012

    So super cute!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Thanks Karen and Suzy!

  14. Amy / Jan 10 2012

    Yay! I was happy to see you up there on Monday. Isn’t it a fun surprise? Mena sure knows how to make someone’s day. I love your skirt, and I’m so glad you put in the effort. It’s too bad you lost a whole Saturday instead of an hour here and an hour there, but I’m glad you didn’t skip any corners because of it. I see a cute forever skirt. Bravo!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      It was a complete shock that I was choosen. There were so many other wonderful projects, I don’t know how Mena can even choose between them all.

  15. Casey / Jan 11 2012

    Congrats on the Sew Weekly feature–how exciting! :D I love how the skirt turned out too–really cute. I definitely think the “extra” touches and time you took with this project paid off; I know the few skirts I’ve taken more care with have ended up being workhorses in my closet. ;)

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Thanks so much Casey. I wish I had more time to make the straps removable so I could get more use out of the skirt, but I do really love the suspender look.

  16. Gina / Jan 11 2012

    That’s wonderful! By the end of the year your skills will be off the charts, although you already get an A+ in my book. All your garments are just beautiful. Good luck this year, I’ll be cheering you on.

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      Awww, thanks so much Gina.

  17. Clare S / Jan 11 2012

    Aww, you look so cute in your photos! The skirt/pinafore is lovely – I don’t know why but shoulder straps just instantly take a skirt to the next level. Congratulations on your feature – may it be the first of many! (And I love the innards of your skirt. Lovely!)

  18. Natalie / Jan 11 2012

    I love the skirt. I don’t think I’m bold enough to wear suspenders, I fear I’d look like I’m 12. But it looks great on you!

    • Liz / Jan 12 2012

      I’m sure you could rock the look, Natalie. I think the high-waisted skirt really helps pull it off without looking like a school-girl. I felt like a chic librarian all day at work instead of feeling like I’m 12. heh

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