We are in the final few weeks of the house renovation. It's exciting to see everything come together, but everything is still in complete disarray. In fact, this week is almost the worst of it because the painter did the living room/hallway and Anya's room, ceilings included, which means we had to get everything but the large immovable pieces of furniture moved out. There isn't a room in my house that isn't piled with boxes, reeking of paint, or covered in two layers of sawdust. It's basically impossible to get anything done and there's nowhere to escape except the bathroom...and I don't particularly want to hang out in there.

I just need to hang in there for another couple weeks for the work to wrap up, and then we can put everything back into place and return to normal life. It will be great.

With the house in general upheaval, it's been hard for me to concentrate much on making. I did finish that Plum Wine test knit and it turned out really well, but I don't have good photos yet. I have another test knit to start that I'm pretty excited about, but I just don't have the brainpower for it this week. For one thing, I've spent every spare minute staining and varnishing what feels like a thousand pieces of trim for the house (wood finishing is the one thing I can do to contribute to this remodeling project). For another thing, the local colleges/university started a new semester this week so I'm back to work, sporadic though it may be. And for another thing, I am the sort of person who has a hard time engaging in the creative process when there is mess and clutter all around. 

Somehow, despite all the mess and distraction, I did get a pretty nifty sewing project done earlier this month. I alluded to it in that Snapshot post from last week, so I thought I'd share a few more details now while I'm waiting for my mojo to return.

The kids have a piano recital in a few weeks, and Anya needs something fancy to wear for it. If you know Anya at all, you know that she is singularly uninterested in the dressy clothes generally available for girls. She won't wear pink, purple, dresses, skirts or anything with ruffles. Right. So that eliminates about 98% of what's out there, and that's fine with me because I also don't much like pink (though I think purple is ok if it's the right shade) and I rarely wear dresses or skirts and never ever ruffles. 

But Anya does want to be fancy for the piano recital, even though it's a fairly low-key affair (see what I did there? yuk yuk), so I said I'd make her something. Last time she needed something fancy, around when she turned 7, I made her a red satin top that she wore with black pants, and she really liked that. We had a look through my patterns and this time, Anya chose the Sailboat Top from Oliver & S. When we went fabric shopping I kept thinking "please don't choose satin, please don't choose satin, please don't choose satin" because man alive, is that stuff a pain in the ass to sew.

So of course she chose satin. No pink, no frills, but this child likes her fancy clothes to be shiny!

Considering that this was a pattern I hadn't made before, and that I was working with pain-in-the-ass tricky fabric, it went together pretty well and quite quickly. 

But see how pleased she is? Totally worth it.

Anya wanted to help with the actual making of the top, but I had to tell her no. The fabric is just too hard to work with. She was allowed to choose the pattern, the fabric, the buttons and - most fun of all - a decorative embroidery stitch on the machine to embellish the cuffs and make this top extra special. (I had silver metallic thread leftover rom the last time.)

A few comments on the pattern itself: as always, the instructions were clear and easy to follow. I personally think the instructions alone on Oliver & S patterns make them worth the money.

Even so, I somehow got the overlapping of the front and back shoulders mixed up; I think the front is supposed to overlap the back and I did it the other way around. 

Oh well.

There was one relatively minor problem with fit, and that was that the sleeves were a little too short, or would have been once they were hemmed. In fact, I had to add cuffs to the ends of the sleeves instead of a regular hem. The extra fabric and interfacing I added to the cuff helped stabilize for that dense embroidery stitch, so it was just as well, but this is at least the third time I've had strange fit or size issues with an Oliver & S pattern, so that's a little frustrating. I know that we picked the right size because the top fits her perfectly in the shoulders and overall length; a bigger size would have been a sloppy fit.

Following up on this project, I have a couple more posts brewing. I realize that I have learned a lot about sewing in the past year, and along with that I've learned about my habits and tendencies as a person who sews. I think I will write a longer post on that topic another day, but suffice it to say here: A little self-awareness can go a LONG way in preventing frustration. I have also figured out a few tricks for staying sane while sewing with satin, and while I'm far far from being an expert, I should share a few of those things here once I can take pictures for demonstration. I thought about it while working on this top, but the messy basement and poor lighting were not conducive to picture-taking. At all.

I know I might sound a little discouraged here, and I'm actually not. I am a bit overwhelmed, but mostly I'm really looking forward to everything being done so I can put things away and have my workspace back. This has been going since the week school started, so I think I can find a bit more patience and ride out the rest!


Una said…
I'm with you. The downstairs part of our house has been gutted and renovated. My world has decreased to staying in the bedroom all day. I think we will be finished by the end of February, or at least that is the time limit I have set on this upheaval. My craft projects have had to become small enough to hide from the dust. I'm impressed you managed to sew a top and the shoulders look fine to me.
Jodi said…
Beautiful blue dressy shirt! What a lucky kid to have bespoke clothing for her recital.

Ugh, chaos makes me nuts, too. Some people thrive amidst upheaval, but I find myself frustrated and almost paralyzed. We just moved to Michigan over New Year's, and with a 2-year-old, a 4-month-old, 2 full-time jobs, and 2 cats, it is box central around here. Not easy!

Popular Posts