Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bravery required....

The Alabama State Royal Ranger Leadership retreat was the last weekend in October; always a nice break to get away to the state AG conference center...which is a beautiful spot a couple hours south of us.
Every year, missionaries come in to share their ministry; this year, we had both home and foreign missions represented....including a young couple working in India.  One of the areas they are working in had a lot of women with very little opportunities, so they began a small business, employing the ladies to sew from home making Kantha quilts.  They taught the ladies how to sew the quilts and now these ladies actually have a marketable skill and can help their families.

They  had some small and medium blankets with them for sale, plus scarves and headwraps.

I got excited.  I'd seen so many GORGEOUS projects made from Kantha quilts.  It was quite a challenge to go through the pieces they'd brought to find something that I could use.  The largest blankets they  had with them were medium, which are about 40" wide and 6 feet long.  I could get a jacket front and back from one piece, but I needed another piece for the sleeves.  Finally I found a medium blanket and  a  small blanket with comparable pinks and close-enough greens.  The  larger piece is 5 saris thick (two outer ones plus three layered inside) while the smaller one is 3 saris thick (only one inner for batting).

They have a website, with quilts available, as well as a link to meet their artisans and learn their stories:

 ReMade India

The blankets have labels with the names of the ladies who made them.  Whatever I make, the labels are going to be part of the finished product.

First issue:  deciding on a pattern to use
Second issue: Placing the pattern on the quilts to best use the fabric design
Third issue:  Being brave enough to cut into it.

Not sure when this is going to happen...but I gave myself the challenge to finish it so I can wear it to next year's conference. ;-)

Monday, November 19, 2018

A little charity sewing...

One of the featured elements of any gathering related to Alabama Royal Rangers (Boys ministry program similar to Boy Scouts, only more faith-based) is an auction to raise money for missions.  Items range from gear for the 18-century frontiersmen auxiliary group to Ranger collectibles (patches, etc) to home decor and jewelry (because we need something for the ladies, too) if it's a wives-included event.

The annual sectional Thanksgiving dinner is one such event, so I made a TSW Tamari Apron for my contribution:

It's terrible to can't hang it up, because it's worn on the diagonal....head and right arm through the loop on the right side, and it ties to the other end in the back.

The fabric was leftover from my first attempt at a circle table cloth, so it's upholstery cotton canvas.  Which means it's Scotchgarded and stain resistant...perfect for an apron, yes?  I made the ties out of bias tape instead of the canvas, which I felt was too heavy to tie easily.

It got $25 at the auction (I did pull a friend up to model it, lol).  A fair price.

I'm off from work this week, but not much sewing is likely to get done. Too much pre-holiday housecleaning to do.

The Actor is coming home for Thanksgiving (maybe I should change his moniker since he's not that involved in theater...still, children's ministry IS largely performance art, so maybe it still works...) and the married kids will be with us this year.  We're totally traditional...the Macy's day parade, turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  No football here...we watch the old black and white Miracle on 34th street to usher in the holiday season.  I may even start pulling out Christmas decor this weekend, even though it's still November.  Next weekend is booked up, as is the weekend after, so, well, this may be the only chance before the middle of the month. to see how much cleaning I can get done in the next two days. 

Wishing all my US friends a blessed feast of Thanksgiving, however you celebrate!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Hit a sale....

What possessed me to click on Fabric Mart's website a couple of weeks ago?

And discover that they were in the midst of a 60% off everything sale.

So lookit what landed on my doorstep last Thursday...

4 pieces...the most expensive of which turned out to be $6.04/yd, after taking into account the discounts, the generous cutting, and flat rate shipping.

Gray cotton/poly/lycra suiting...for next year's wardrobe, the gray is good with the scarf, as is the creamy white of the denim-like stretch cotton/lycra twill.  Spring/summer, probably, as light as the colors are.  The royal blue and white was a bit of a's REALLY thin and sheer.    Not sure what I'll be able to do with it.  Not what I'd planned, that's for sure.  But the brown/white/blue print is a nice weight rayon jersey.  Haven't put it up against the scarf yet to see if it will work with the colors, but even if it doesn't it will be a good knit top.

And that's pretty much all the sewing anything I've gotten done in a month, lol.  Well...not quite.  We did a scene from the Gospel According to Scrooge at a small town 'tree-lighting' celebration last Friday, and it was, well, chilly for these parts.  I found the renmant of the army blanket I'd whacked ironing board pads from, squared up the dangly bits and made a stout wrap to keep me somewhat warm whist we haggled over Scrooge's fine linen shirt and bed linens wot we took off 'im whilst 'e was lyin' I also found one of the first attempts to make skirts for the charladies...a straight draw-string skirt that didn't work for the era...and sewed up the bottom to make a bag for 'aulin' th' spoils'....So maybe I did get a bit done   Kind of appropriate as last week (the 4th, actually) was the 13th anniversary of the day I logged on for the first time to talk about costuming the 2005 production of  Scrooge.  The plan was to just do the scene for the Friday night event, but rumor has it that we will be doing it again for a Sunday morning service in December as a 'teaser' for the revival of the show in December, 2019.

Hm.  I may have blogging material again. LOL.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

SWAP 2019 -- Pre-swap musings

The Stitcher's Guild 2019 SWAP Challenge Rules are up, pretty much anything goes.  I mean, well, there are some guidelines but they shouldn't be hard to work with. a cohesive wardrobe of 11 garments. (For the unfamiliar, SWAP = 'Sew with a plan')

So long as you start with an inspiration piece...artwork, photograph, natural object, or...scarf...

Lawsy, lawsy, if I don't participate in the SWAP next year it will be a shame, as I'm going to spend the year making a wardrobe based on a scarf.

I think I've decided to go with the hummingbird scarf.  It has more options, including gray and royal blue (which I didn't swatch...I swatched the denim-y blue), which are not in the fox scarf.
The colors in the photo are quite muted, compared to the actual scarf, so the tiles are muted, too, but at least that is something to work with.  And I may not use those accent colors....those are just some I pulled for the practice of it.  I hope to get a better that really shows the color saturation...and then I can pull the swatches better.
Now, sewing the 12-months-12-outfits, I would only have about 8 garments by the end of April...and that's if I make EVERYTHING.  Now, the SWAP rules do allow for one purchased garment, one garment made prior to, well, this week, and one garment made between now and the official start of SWAP sewing, Dec. 26.

This is going to be way more structured than the last SWAP wardrobe I did...which was all about sewing fast.  This one...I'm going to have to do some real planning and disciplined sewing.

Not my strong suit, but, well, I need clothes, so we'll see what I can manage.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Scarf Number Two: The Sassy Fox

Ok, even though I broke my piggy bank for the hummingbird scarf, I still kept an eye on the first scarf that got my attention.  There was just something about it....and when it went on sale for 30% off, I found some more quarters hiding in the corners and ordered it, too. 

It got here today.

Y'all. The colors on this one were better than I expected, too.  That's a really nice garnet red on the fox.  And the flowers that look corally are actually shades of pink.  Much better for my closet.

So now I have two superfantastic scarves to choose from.  I think every color in the fox scarf shows up in the hummingbird scarf... so if I started w/the fox scarf, I could wear the hummingbird scarf with any of it, right?

But I'm more likely to already have colors in the hummingbird scarf in the closet. And it does have royal blue, which is my, like, most favorite color in the whole world.

Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Fitting Fail

Ok, item number one on the denim cotton knit...

I decided to go with McCall's 6844, the popular cardigan from a few years back.  I'd made the long straight version and the short peplum version  with some success; I'd done a cheater FBA on it just by adding a bit of length to the front but, um, well, the scales have crept up again so I decided I'd do a real FBA, since I was going to do the short, straight version and I didn't want to mess with the shaping on the bottom.

And, you  know, FBA's are not that tough.  I did, however, mark the bust point at 1.5" below the pattern marking because, well, that's what I do routinely on McVoguerick patterns.

Or at least on Vogue and Butterick.  Maybe I need to rethink McCalls.

After I got the jacket assembled to the hems, I tried it on.

Now, mind you, I'd done the 'hold it up and check' thing several times and was expecting a very nice fit.  But...well, obviously I wasn't holding it up at the right spot.

The arrow points to the end of the (very nicely executed, I might point out) dart.

Which is a good 2" below my full bust.


Now, I thought about wearing it as is, on the assumption that 90% of the folks I encountered would just register the cardi as being slightly frumpy.  But, you know, I think I can rotate the dart up a bit.  Might not fix it entirely, because, well, you know, fabric was added  at what I thought would be the place it was needed, but at least it will be in the right line.

But as it turned out, black is allowed as a base color this month, along with the denim and mustard gold, so I'm not in quite the wardrobe dilemma I thought I was in.  Generally, we don't wear black in October because it looks so Halloweeny, but this year we had a change.  So I wore black with my jeans and some gold jewelry and I was ok.

So I'm doing some frog stitching (rip-it, rip-it) today and I'll resew the darts and have another go later.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Scarf Arrived

It's bigger than I expected; I read the dimensions but it just didn't look that big on the retail site.  Maybe you can get a sense of its size, laid out on the king size bed, lol.

And, wow, omigosh, it's GORGEOUS.

So. Many. Colors.  And all of them SO much more vibrant than they looked on the retail photos. Turns out there's a lovely denimy blue, and quite a bit more brown than I thought.  The gray is more of a taupe; I do have a drape front cardigan sweater that color that I NEVER wear looks brown when I try to put it with gray garments and gray when I try to put it to brown garments.  So maybe I'll figure out how to pull it into the rotation now.

But, I gotta tell you, that scarf is intimidating.

"Do not wash.  Do not tumble dry. Do not dry in direct sunlight.  Do not use products containing bleach.  Dry Clean Separately only.  Warm iron on wrong side"

All of which I take to mean the colors are prone to bleeding.

Aaaiiiieeee...Imma gonna be skeert to wear it....

But there's a very good chance I'll use this for the wardrobe basis next year. And I've been thinking about the Plan.

Janice posts one complete outfit...clothes and accessories...per month, based on the Hermes scarfs she's selected, as an exercise.  So, here's what I'm thinking:

Look at the posts that come out on the first of the month.

Whatever she's posted (ie, pants, t-shirt, cardigan or skirt, sweater, scarf or dress, necklace, shoes, etc) is my assignment for the month.  Obviously, I'm not going to make every bit of it.  Things like jeans, sweaters, outerwear...not gonna try to make those.  BUT, since the desired end result is a coordinated closet, I WILL allow myself to select items I already have that fit.  But I can only use each item once throughout the year.  So, say I use a pair of black jeans in January...if jeans or pants come up again before the year is over, I can't use the same pair of jeans.

So I'm not really going to sewing a bunch of stuff each month; some months I'll make three things but some I'll only make one, I'm sure.  If I don't have it and can't make it, then I'll go shopping.

And I bet I have an easier time making things than buying them.  But we'll see.

I kinda doubt I find a scarf I like better than this one but I will keep looking.  You know, just in case.