Selfless Sewing: Christmas 2021

Christmas is over, which means now I can share my Christmas makes with you! I have done completely Handmade Christmases in the past. Mostly because I didn’t have money, but I did have time and yarn. As I started to earn more over the years I also started being more strategic about which gifts to buy and which to make. Some years I didn’t make any presents at all. This year I decided to sew gifts for my two sisters.

My middle sister does the most incredible Jack Sparrow cosplay. It seemed obvious that she needed a pirate shirt in her life and repertoire. I used the same basic pattern and instructions as for my own pirate shirt, but with a few modifications. My sister’s shirt is made in a mid-weight linen, where mine is made of handkerchief linen. I also made her shirt slightly narrower – the entire shirt circumference is one Width of Fabric. I did a lapped shoulder seam on her shirt, where mine has no shoulder seam at all. And I sewed her shirt on the machine with French Seams.

Most of the visible stitching, such as at the collar, hem, and cuffs, is done by hand. The buttonholes are done by machine. Doing so much of the work by machine made this shirt MUCH faster than mine, which I sewed completely by hand. My sister was beyond thrilled, and that made me happy.

For my youngest sister I made a pair of plaid pants. Truth be told, I started these for her birthday in August, but then I got bogged down with fitting, and gave her something else for her birthday. It was nice to pull these out a few days before Christmas and have them almost done already! I based her pants off my modified pants pattern (which is based off the Cigarette Pants from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual), and then adjusted them to her measurements. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby. I really wanted to make pants from this fabric for myself, but I had already made myself a pair of grey plaid pants earlier in the year, and two pairs of plaid pants in one year seemed like overkill. The pants turned out fantastic! I accidentally cut them too short for a double-fold hem, so I finished them with black fold-over elastic instead.

Do you make Christmas gifts or do you prefer to buy presents?

A Trio of Adriennes

In January I had the opportunity to visit my family for my grandmother’s funeral. It wasn’t the reason I wanted to see my family, but I took the opportunity to enjoy their company and make some good memories together.

I have mentioned before that my sewing machine only sews straight stitch, which limits me somewhat in what I can sew. I had recently acquired the Adrienne Blouse pattern from Friday Pattern Co. and wanted to sew myself a few tops. The Adrienne blouse is made with knit fabric, which requires a stretch stitch for the sake of longevity and comfort. My mom’s machine is fully functioning, so I brought the pattern and some fabric with me and concocted a devious plan to sew with my sisters.

The pattern is written to use a knit fabric for both body and sleeves, but I wanted to make my sleeves with woven fabric instead. I had the perfect amount of cotton flannel left over from a pair of pajama bottoms I made at the end of last year, which I paired with a green knit for the body. I love how the sleeves are somewhat poofy here. Anne Shirley would be so pleased.

I also brought a light blue floral knit fabric, which I paired with a white lightweight polyester woven fabric. The difference the fabric makes in how the sleeves look is incredible! I love how this blouse is whimsical and romantic.

My youngest sister also wanted an Adrienne blouse. She went for a very romantic look with a pink floral woven fabric for her sleeves, and a mustard yellow knit fabric for the body of her blouse. You’ll see that we moved the wrist elastic up to the elbow for my sister’s blouse. We left the full sleeve length so she ended up with the most darling sleeve ruffles. I almost wish we had put lace on the sleeve edges, but that might have been over the top.

Overall, the blouse was very easy to make and to alter. The pattern sizing will give you a more fitted blouse, but my sister and I both wanted a little looser fit. For this purpose we measured the body pattern piece and chose the size closest to our measurements rather than going by the size recommendation. I would also say that the elastic length you choose is extremely important for this pattern, so take the time to get this part of the fit right. Neither of my two shirts is perfect, and it bothers me every time I wear them: the shoulder elastic on the blue one fits perfectly, and the wrist elastic on the green one fits perfectly. I may address this at some point, but I’m the meantime, C’est la vie.

My middle sister didn’t feel that Adrienne would be flattering for her body, so she chose to sew another pattern that I had brought with me: the same pattern I used to make my hobbity corset top. I am so proud of how well this came out for her! The top is reversible – green and yellow on one side, and a teal-ish blue on the other. Doesn’t she look fantastic!? For the record, sewing this top in garment-weight fabric works SO much better than using super thick upholstery fabric like I did.

It was wonderful to see my family, even though it was under difficult circumstances. I am so happy to have these new pieces in my wardrobe. They truly are a joy to wear!

Sisters

You know that song and dance routine from White Christmas where Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen play two inseparable sisters? I may be a little farther away from my sisters, but we still think alike.

My littlest sister is a fiber artist, and I am pleased to say I taught her to knit. When she was here for my wedding she gave me a pair of adorable cat washcloths.

cat-cloth

In contrast, my middle sister is a visual artist, specializing in drawing and sculpture. The Lord of the Rings was my earliest fandom (something I have passed on to her), and I incorporated some elements from the movie into our wedding (our ringbearer was dressed as a hobbit). Accordingly, my sister drew my husband and I a movie-esque poster as a wedding present.

lotr

I come from a talented family.

Sisters –  Irving Berlin

Sisters
Sisters
Sisters
There were never such devoted sisters

Never had to have a chaperone “No, sir”
I’m there to keep my eye on her

Caring
Sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing

When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress and I stayed home

All kinds of weather
We stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Two diff’rent faces
But in tight places
We think and we act as one

Those who’ve
Seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us

Many men have tried to split us up but no one can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And Lord help the sister
Who comes between me and my man