life lately–10.22.14

by Nicole on October 22, 2014

This picture has nothing to do with the post, but we found this teensy guy outside our house recently! So cute, right?!? I wish I could have added him to my miniatures collection (and yes, I truly do have a miniatures collection).

doing

I first learned about the Headspace app on this blog. I’ve always been somewhat interested in meditation, but thought it was only for the spiritual or the “woo-woo”. Well, I’m on day 18, I’ve purchased a year’s subscription, and I have to say I CANNOT IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT IT NOW. For a while I was doing it during my lunch break, then before bed, but now I’m doing it when I wake up in the morning. It’s so hard to explain how awesome it feels, so why don’t you just go ahead and sign up for the free 10-day trial (you can also check your smartphone’s app store). (BTW–this is not sponsored by Headspace in any way; I just really really like the peace and clarity the app has brought me.)

sewing

I’m currently working on my fourth and fifth iterations of the Plantain t-shirt. In stripes! I’d say five plantains officially makes the pattern a TNT for me.

Not sure what’s next… I just got the entire Deer & Doe collection for my birthday (which isn’t actually until 11/9). Their patterns are my absolute favorite and are exactly how I picture my future handmade wardrobe.

Also, have you seen the sneak peek of the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans? HOT HOT HOT. Jeans are probably beyond my current skill level, but I’ll definitely have to try them when the pattern is released.

I’m also loving Colette’s new Dahlia dress. But I don’t really see myself in it? A lot of their clothes feel too elegant/sophisticated to me, and I’m more of an “everyday dress” type of girl. Any ideas on how to make the Dahlia feel more casual? I might still end up buying the pattern anyway, because it would be great for board meetings.

reading

Just got Sean Brock’s cookbook, Heritage. We haven’t been doing a lot of “real” cooking lately (hello, rice, beans, eggs, tacos, & smoothies), but that hasn’t stopped me from reading cookbooks like novels. Watching Sean on season 2 of Mind of a Chef completely changed my perception about Southern cooking. I pre-ordered his book immediately afterward!

Alllllmost done with Dreams and Shadows, my first foray into “urban fantasy/sci-fi”. I love the world the author created, and while I really liked the plot of the first half, the second half has been a bit slow to me.

Sped through Where’d You Go, Bernadette? in one weekend. Really fun read, and a really unique way of telling the story.

On my to-read list: graphic novels Habibi and Seconds (Darius just read both), Lena Dunham’s book, a memoir by a former NFL player (half-way through), Confessions of an Atheist Buddhist, and a true crime book about Ted Bundy. And probably like ten others things I’ve sent as samples to my Kindle that I just can’t remember off the top of my head.

listening

Heard this song on the local public radio station and fell in love. Sadly, I don’t love the other songs from the band, just this one, but to say I’ve had it on repeat is almost an understatement.

 

What are you guys up to lately?

badass babes cambie a.k.a. the boobs on boobs dress

by Nicole on October 12, 2014

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This is my first Cambie, and I made it to wear to the opening night of a film festival we go to every year called Fantastic Fest. The festival focuses on all kinds of genre film, and this fabric seems very “B-movie” to me, so it seemed perfect. Except I actually didn’t finish it in time, sooooo it will have to wait for next year. The fabric is a little bit outrageous, so I definitely can’t wear it to work, but I’m sure I’ll end up wearing it on the weekend a lot.

The local sewing bloggers were teasing me during a recent meet-up about how hilarious it is that I don’t wear my tap shorts often because I feel like everyone’s staring at me in them and I sometimes don’t feel “cool enough” for the shorts, but then I wear stuff like this in public and it doesn’t even occur to me that people would stare at me for this.  Doesn’t make sense to me either!

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They also loved the pattern placement of the front bodice–Jenny commended me for the boobs on boobs and Dixie named it the “Cambie of Amazeovaries”! Doesn’t get classier than that! Anyway, I think these ladies are total badasses.

But anyway, this dress is about more than crazy fabric! It’s also about….friendship. *Cue corny music*

I made up my first muslin in a size 16 with a 3″ FBA (followed the Emery FBA tutorial, which I think is really clear and helpful). Normally, I do all my fitting on my own, asking my husband to pin here and there in the places I can’t reach. But with only a week to make my dress, I decided to just take the bodice of my muslin to sewing club for help. In less than five minutes, the two Susans had my muslin marked up and the fit looked really, really good! The darts on my first muslin were pretty “nipple-y”, so they suggested I lower both the front and side darts (side dart was created by my FBA). That one was at least pretty easy for me to tell, and I would have made the same changes had I done the fitting on my own. But then the back was still all sorts of gapey/wrinkly, plus it dipped down too low. My solution would have been to take a deeper seam allowance at the top of the zipper, and to chop off the bottom of the bodice. But the two Susans were way smarter than I was! They said the problem was actually excess length in the back because my shoulder seam was sitting too far back. They pinned out some of the front sleeve (which explains why I always have excess fabric above the bust), and then they added some darts along the back neckline. This got rid of all the wrinkles and gaping, and then the back bodice was sitting at exactly the right spot! I’m so glad to have had their help, because I think it will really help me with future solo fittings.

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After making up my final version and attaching the skirt (which is quite heavy because of all the gathering) , I did notice that the back waistline is dipping a little low still. Any tips from anyone on the best way to fix this in future versions? I guess I could just chop off the bottom of the back bodice, but not sure if there’s a more proper way to do this.

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Oh, and obviously I omitted the waistband from this version, purely because the dress is already so busy that I thought the waistband might make it look even busier. I probably should have increased the length of the bodice slightly to account for this, but I still think it looks fine.

Surprise, surprise, I also decided not to line this dress and instead used bias binding for my finish.  I think I just really have a thing against lining (and facings too, for that matter), even though I know it looks way more professional. I hate having to buy extra fabric, plus the concept of what kind of fabric to line with still eludes me most of the time, and to me, an extra layer of fabric is just plain hot.

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And check out my first-ever attempted at pattern-matching! Not perfect, but not too bad. It looks better at the top of the bodice, so I guess my fabric was a little crooked when I cut out. To be honest, cutting something perfectly on grain is still a bit of a mystery to me, so that’s probably why it happened.

wpid-20141012_150040.jpgMoral of the story: even if you’re an introvert, GO HANG OUT WITH SEWING PEOPLE ANYWAY. You will become more comfortable in time, you will have a blast hanging out with like-minded people, and you will learn a lot from people who are smarter/have more experience than you! I say it pretty much every meet-up, but I am SO happy to be part of such an awesome community.

a blog hop and a GIVEAWAY!

by Nicole on October 6, 2014

Andie from Sew Pretty in Pink nominated me to join the latest blog hop that’s been going around. I recently discovered Andie’s blog after she commented on one of my posts, and quickly added it to my Feedly. The girl loves circle skirts and Bollywood as much as I do, so how could I not?!?! I really enjoyed reading her blog hop answers, because it’s clear that she takes a really thoughtful approach towards sewing. And I love her emphasis on community, because that’s a big reason why I blog!

And now, for some answers of my own…

How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Pudge and Nico is really more of a personal blog than a strictly subject-specific one (I’m Nico, and my husband Darius is Pudge). Fun fact–our blog actually started out back in 2009 as a cooking blog called Feast Your Eyes! Now, I mostly post about the sewing projects I’ve completed, as well as anything going on in our lives that I feel inspired to write about.

My blog will always be pretty honest and slightly odd, because that’s how I am in real life…awkward and random, but fun. My hobbies change a lot, and this blog is a definite reflection of that. It’s safe to say you might find posts on any of the following: sewing, knitting, cooking, baking, cocktails, Champagne, craft beer, movies, books, feminism, atheism, Bollywood, tennis, basketball, college football, Austin, my cat, and who knows what else.

Why do I create, and why do I write?

I love to cook, sew, and knit because I love to try new things and enjoy hobbies that allow me to grow. I love that I can challenge myself by learning new techniques, or can make something easy that I’ve made many times, and either way, I will feel accomplished. Also, I can’t deny that the end-product is a great motivator. Why eat crappy fast food when I can make awesome meals at home? Why settle for poor-fitting clothes when I can make my own, in exactly the fabrics I want?

I blog (or Instagram) my creations for a few reasons–to keep a log of things I’ve done and tried, to keep in touch with family members and friends, and to make new friends.

How does my creative process work?

I’ve always said that I’m not very creative, which is true in the sense that I don’t often just come up with great dishes out of nowhere, and you’ll never really catch me sketching out some new dress that came out of my imagination. Usually, I see a pattern made up in a way that inspires me and I get obsessed with the idea (for example, I am completely smitten with all of the Deer & Doe samples). Sometimes, I’ll straight-up copy the original inspiration, and other times I’ll just riff on it. I’ve noticed when I start with the pattern, not the fabric, I”ll typically go for solids that show off the pattern more.

Other times, I’ll buy fabrics I love, and then will keep them in my stash until I find just the right pattern. These usually tend to be crazy printed fabrics, so they might sit around for quite a while. I’m trying to do this less and less, as I actually don’t like having much of a stash sitting around.

The question of what I end up making usually depends on if I have any events coming up that demand a certain outfit, and if I don’t, then what I make is dictated by what I feel like wearing lately. I don’t really stick to a “to-make” list, because that’s just not as fun to me.

What am I currently working on?

I’m just finished a Cambie in a super crazy print (post coming as soon as I take some pictures). I also have another Cambie idea which would allow me to play around with stripe matching and placement (which I’ve never done before), but I’m not sure if I’ll start that next or not. Like I said, I keep my planning fairly loose and go with whatever I feel like in the moment. This helps keep sewing fun instead of stressful.

I also bought fabric over the weekend for an Anna (the green dotted rayon challis) and two knit shirts (probably Plantains).

Lately, I feel like my tastes are changing somewhat, but that’s not really being reflected in the clothes I’m sewing because I keep sewing crazy printed garments in retro silhouettes! But really, right now I’m feeling basic separates in pretty, saturated colors (and florals, always florals). I want circle skirts and tights and boots in pretty, vintage-modern, grown-up combinations. And cute lounge clothes that look stylish (i.e. NOT yoga pants and a tank top). Nettie and Hudson and Zinnia and a Flora skirt a la Heather Lou are high on my list right now. (And I’m hoping to get the entire Deer & Doe collection for my birthday in a few months!)

Knitting-wise, I’m currently working on the Knitbot Effortless Cardigan. It’s not exactly my style, but it will help me develop my skills further and who doesn’t need a wearable blanket!?!

Cooking-wise, right now I’m really into vegetable-driven meals, authentic Chinese cooking, and low-country cooking.

A few of my favorite bloggers

I’ve cheated a bit and nominated more than two people. I’m lucky enough to live in beautiful Central Texas with all of these awesome bloggers, and I couldn’t pick just two!

First up is Jenni from Family Holloh. I may be a little biased because she’s my sister-in-law and an awesome friend, but her photography is absolutely gorgeous. Her composition is excellent, and I feel like each picture really tells a story. And how freaking cute is my nephew Rowan?!?

Next is Susan from Moonthirty, the first local sewing friend I made! Susan is the queen of knits and stripes, and is always willing to give advice on anything you need help with. She’s also one of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. And I have her to thank for pushing me to join the local Austin sewing group!

Another member of the local sewing group is Dixie from Dixie DIY. I’m always amazed at her skills, from sewing historically accurate costumes to designing her own super-cute patterns. And apparently we lived just a few streets apart before I moved this summer. Ugh, wish I would have known then!

And last, but not at all least, is Mary from Idle Fancy. I finally got to meet her IRL this past weekend, and it was every bit as exciting as I’d hoped. She always has the prettiest, most well-made dresses, and is also super smart and sweet.

Be sure to check their blogs on 10/13 to learn more about each of them!

I’m so glad to be a part of the local sewing community. You guys are all awesome! Pictured above–top row: Angela, Melissa, Mary, Jenny (visiting from Boston), Lauren, Susan, bottom row: Dixie, me, Susan.

And now for a giveaway!

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wpid-20140927_131244.jpgI recently finished knitting Andi Satterlund’s adorable cabled beret in this cream Berroco alpaca-wool. I love how it came out, but after trying to style it a million different ways, I’ve discovered berets just don’t look good on me. So if you’re a beret wearer (or you aspire to be!), leave me a comment to win this lovely hand-knit beret (and make sure to leave me your email or blog so I can contact you if you win)! Your comment can either point me to a pretty winter hat pattern or to one of your favorite blogs (in any genre). I’ll randomly choose a winner on 10/15. Shipping to US only, sorry!

Giveaway is now closed. Winner has been contacted.