Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gang aft aglye

Yeah, yeah, the best-laid plans.... (I probably misspelled 'aglye'...it's that kind of day)
I had great ones yesterday, trouble is, I didn't have 42 hours in the day. I did get our budget nearly caught up; I think I'll finish it out today and we will be current for the first time in MONTHS, and I did get some experimenting done on that ski vest: Sharpie marker is not turning the blue part black, more of a midnight blue. So I'll have to pull out the spray paint and see what happens. If that doesn't get it black, I may have to just cover the thing with gaffe tape.

But I have an appointment with an endodontist in an hour and a half...don't know if I'm going to get much at all done today.

However, to cheer myself in the face of dental trauma, I discovered that sometime over the last few days I have somehow earned another 'star' on Pattern Review! That was a pleasant surprise!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Caught up to Cutting

I finished the skirt suit over the weekend (photos and reviews available at the 'My Reviews' link), so now my personal sewing is caught up to cutting out again.

But I have church sewing to do...two baptismal robes, and the funky vest for Pastor to wear Saturday. I did find a vest at Wal-Mart for less than 30 bucks...it's royal blue and black, so I've been asked to paint it black. The connectors are small and look like phone jacks; I'm still not sure how I'm going to put them onto/into the vest.

Anyway, I'm hoping to cut out the real SWAP jacket tonight and maybe the last pair of pants and a blouse. Sometime today, I need to at least get the necklines finished on those robes...and maybe run to Hobby Lobby for some spray paint?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pattern Expectations

There's an interesting discussion of this over on Pattern Review:
Pattern Expectations Thread

This is running the gamut from what we *expect* from a pattern to what we'd *like* to see happen with patterns to why do we even do this in the first place? And why aren't the pattern companies listening?

I'll plagerize my posting just a little; here are my expectations and my wish list:

I expect a pattern to:
Look like the photo/illustration on the envelope when it's made. I don't want to find that, what was portrayed as a straight leg, actually is tapered.

Pieces should match...corresponding seams should be the same length, notches should match.

Printed finished garment measurements should be accurate. I don't expect the pattern to fit fresh out of the envelope...but I do expect to be able to do some math and some adjustments and make it fit.

Directions should be accurate, reasonable, and result in a garment that looks finished. (at least, if that's the style...if it's supposed to have raw edges, that's another thing).

I'd really like for a pattern to have:

clear markings on all pieces for full bust line, full hip, and waistline. The bust point should also be marked.

Streamlined construction techniques reflecting advances in sewing equipment and notions. Some of the independants do this, but the Big 4 seems to be stuck in a 1950's home ec class much of the time.

Reasonable standards for what makes a pattern Very Easy, Average, and Advanced in the ability to make it. Many pieces do not make a pattern advanced; nor does lack of fitting make a pattern easy. I think Heather Claus did a huge survey back when she still had Patternshowcase going as to what we home sewing folks believed was 'easy, average,difficult'...that data should be somewhere and should be used by someone to make some standards.

I won't go into the 'lose the redundant pieces' rant again...I already did that one here.

It would be nice for the size ranges to overlap a bit...6-8-10 in one size and 12-14-16 in another pinches someone like me, who is an 8 in the shoulders and a 14 in the hips....

Finally, I'd like the Big 4 to keep popular patterns around a while...the original twist top pattern was one that Simplicity put out, but somehow I missed it and by the time it was reviewed and I realized I wanted it, it was gone. I've picked up the Kwik Sew version, but I'm going to have to figure out how to turn the horizontal twist into a vertical twist to narrow the 'v' at the bottom and hopefully get a less revealing top. But I digress...my point is, that pattern would've sold a lot more if Simplicity had not been so quick to discontinue it. At least the independants tend to keep their patterns around for a while.

Friday, January 27, 2006

You want WHAT?

Well...we had some interesting things happen while sewing the baptismal robes yesterday. No, they're not done, but I think Miss M and I can finish them up at home w/o too much trouble; the worst (the zipper) is done in all of them.

Anyway, we were scheduled to use the fellowship hall. Got there, got everything (sewing machines, serger, ironing board/iron) all arranged on tables and plugged in, pulled out the first robe and turned on my sewing machine...no power. Tried the iron and the other sewing machine. Also no power. The lights were on, mind you, so it was the electrical outlets that weren't working. I carried my serger around the room, plugging into various outlets. We found two that had power, but they were well apart (Found out later that, due to some electrical work being done in the sanctuary, some of the circut breakers had been turned off).

So, we moved the whole process into the main entry hall, where all the outlets had power, and set up shop there. Started sewing an hour late. I'd sewn maybe one seam, when my cell phone rang; one of the church secretaries asking me to make something for our Pastor for our first Saturday night Uplink service (fellowship meal followed by a 90-minute produced service; a rally-type thing. Not your normal church service-- which is a week from tomorrow). As she described it, he wanted a fishing vest with computer cable plug-ins attached for a visual that he would use in his illustrated sermon. I agreed to purchase the vest and see what I could do; our worship leader, who is also the all-things-techie person on the staff, would pick up the necessary connection pieces. All I would do would be attach them to the vest. I was sort of thinking I'd stick the connection things in the pockets of the sewing vest,make a hole in the pocket and just screw the faceplates to the hookups right through the fabric over said hole; at least, that was what I was going to try.

One seam sewn later, Pastor walks through the hall. "Hey, someone's going to call you about Uplink." I commented that Ms. Secretary had already spoken to me and asked for clarification. Um, no, not a fishing vest...something high tech looking...with some thickness to it that the connector thingees can be put into.

Um, I'm confused here, but got the impression he was looking for a black life preserver. I'll go look at Wal-Mart.

Then, about 10 minutes later, Mr. Worship Leader and Tech Guru walks through the hall and Miss M asked him about the connectors. Yeah, he was planning to get them that day. You know he wants a high-tech looking vest, right?

Um, it sounded like a life preserver to us. One that buckles?

No, something techie...something that closes with velcro...in silver, maybe. You know-- those sharp ones.

Well, we're not boat people so I really don't know and I'm still confused. But on the way home it hit me what he wants...one of those snazzy Jet Ski vests. That makes sense.

Now all I have to do is 1)find one...where does one find Jet Ski vests in January? and 2) figure out how to attach computer cable connectors to it securely and 3)finish the two baptismal robes I brought home.

At least I'm glad they ran into us...otherwise I would've done up a fishing vest from Wal-Mart!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Saga of the Baptismal Robes

Back in ...oh, I dunno, 2002?...the church decided to start using baptismal robes. We modified a pattern for an African Caftan, ordered three large bolts of blue polyester crepe fabric, had a marathon cutting day and cut out about 20, stored the rest of the fabric, farmed them out amongst various sewing ladies and were set...for a while.

In November of 2004, a number of robes suddenly disappeared. Ivestigation showed that they disappeared after the October baptism service and the conjecture is that they were, um, thrown away. Seems the lady who usually oversees the robes was out of town, so she told the deacons who were assisting with the service to put the robes in a large garbage bag, and another lady would pick them up to wash them. Well, when our laundry volunteer went looking for the robes she couldn't find them and assumed someone else had taken them. Our deacons verified that they had put the wet robes in the plastic bag as instructed and last saw them outside the restroom door.

Now, if you were a janitorial type person, and you found a large, heavy trash bag tied up outside the bathroom, would YOU open it up to see what was in it? Apparently our janitors didn't, either.

We have since specified that the used robes should be left hanging in the bathrooms on their hangers.

Anyway, we pulled down the remnaning partial bolts of the fabric and cut out and made about 20 more robes.

Because of the Scrooge production, we didn't have our monthly baptism service in December, so January's service was quite large. Two days later I got a call...we need more baptismal robes, especially in the very large size. I knew we had a couple of chunks of the fabric left; I estimated enough for seven robes. After measuring it, I dropped my estimate to five.

When we cut them out last week, we discovered that the fabric was damaged along one selvage. Apparently, someone 'borrowed' the fabric and stapled it to something, then pulled it down. So we couldn't cut quite as efficiently as we otherwise might've.

We got three XL robes and one XXL that we just kind of cheated to make by moving the main garment pieces away from the cf/b after cutting the neckline.

So, Miss M and I are going to haul our machines and such to church this morning for another sewing fest...four baptismal robes. The last four, unless they get some more fabric. It'd probably be easier to sew them at home than to haul all the stuff down there, but this way they'll pretty much all get done in a day. Otherwise I'd be looking at them until the week before the next baptismal service.

But needing more robes, in this case, is a good thing... ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Registered!

The Louise Cutting and Peggy Sagers classes won the toss ;). Actually, I decided to keep my lunch hours as long as I could on both days and Shirley Adams' class was at 1. Sometimes logistics makes the decisions. It's probably a good thing I had to leave early; if I had had the option of classes Friday night and Saturday I'd still be trying to pare down the options.

So my Expo schedule is definitely class-heavy, I won't have time to be unduly tempted on the vendor floor but maybe I can squeeze in a 'Hello!' to fellow Internet sewing buddies!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Expo Planning

The brochures are out and the agony of decision is full upon me. Miss A and I have our hotel reservations for the Atlanta Sewing Expo the second week of March and I'm trying to figure out which classes to sign up for. We will only be able to be there for Thursday and about half of Friday, so it limits the options. No matter; I found a class in every available time slot that I wanted to take. I've decided that I will register today...sometime...so I'm going to have to make a decision. I definetly want Cynthia Guffey's Signature Seam sample sewing class...that's Thursday evening and counts as three classes. Then there's Cynthias three-session fit series on Friday morning and early afternoon (we'll have to scoot straight out the door after that last class to be back in Huntsville by 7 for a conference). I also want to take the 'Each one, Teach One' class on Thursday afternoon; if I ever wanted to do a sewing related thing for income, I think teaching would be it. So, that's seven classes right there, so I'm bumped up to the nine-class option...Two more classes to pick. There's a Louise Cutting class Thursday morning, a Peggy Sagers class on Thursday afternoon, and Shirley Adams on Friday afternoon, between Cynthia's second and third fit classes. I can take two out of those three.

Maybe I'll just draw straws or something. ;)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pattern Redundancy

There's been a bit of discussion here and there about wardrobing; how many of what kind of garments should be in Every Woman's Closet. But for a while I've been pondering a variation on that...how many pattern styles of what garments should I have in the cabinet? On the whole, how many skirt patterns do I *really* need? How many pants patterns? How many jacket patterns? You get the picture. There are a number of 'wardrobe' or 'ensemble' patterns that I have that have one outstanding feature -- usually the jacket-- and then a pair of ordinary pants or an unremarkable skirt, for which I have patterns out the ears. How many patterns of straight-leg back waist zip pants with a waistband do I need? Only one...or maybe even zero, since I don't like back zip pants. But because I like that jacket...and that jacket...and that jacket...I've got a bunch of back-zip pants and skirt patterns.

Nancy Erikson has an interesting concept with her Fashion Sewing Group patterns; she publishes basic patterns...a fitted jacket, a boxy jacket, a knit top and cardigan, a coat, a skirt and pleated pants (I'm forgetting something...)and then teaches how to alter these basics for various styles. She's published a couple of books, also printed some 'add on' patterns for the jacket, and frequently writes directions for modifying the patterns for different looks in the by-paid-subscription -only newsletter that she publishes every other month. So the sewing customer purchases and fits the basic pattern, then uses that as a basis for new styles, rather than buying and fitting another pattern.

It does have its appeal! I've got 4 of her patterns and have made up two so far (I still need to tweak the pants pattern a little), but I'm really not convinced it's less work to modify a pair of tapered, pleated pants with a waistband into a flat front straight leg contour-waist style than it is to fit a new straight-let, flat front contour-waist pattern, once fitting techniques are learned (and they have to be learned whichever way you go...unless both patterns would fit right out of the envelope). I hope to get at least one more of those patterns -- the fitted jacket -- made up and tweaked this spring. Right now, the holdup is that I *know* what I need to do to, say, a Vogue jacket to get it to fit but I haven't gone beyond generalities on what I will need to do to the FSG jacket. New pattern line, new fitting learning curve.... But I really believe that once I get over that hump, I'll use that jacket pattern quite a bit.

Anyway, I think the Big 4 could learn a little from Ms Erikson...think of the reduction of printing costs if they stopped reprinting the same basic blocks for all those coordinate patterns and just printed the pattern for the garment that was truly unique. I probably wouldn't buy fewer patterns...I'd still get the fabulous jacket for which I have no similar pattern...but I'd have less redundancy in the cabinet.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The SWAP Jacket

In the original Stitches Magazine article that started the whole SWAP fest, the print element was to be a top and blouse set, and in my first two SWAPS (I found the photos of those: SWAP 2004 and SWAP 2005)I followed the recommendations and did make matching skirts/tops. But I didn't wear them together...it felt too busy. However, for the SWAP contest that Timmel sponsors, participants are only required to have one print object in the set...and anything that has more than one color in it can count as the 'print'...so it can be a stripe, a plaid, a tweed, etc. This time, I'm opting to use a tweed jacket for my 'print' piece and the whole SWAP combo has fallen into place.
This is the 'Fall Sky Texture' originaly offered by Nancy Erikson in her Fashion Sewing Group newsletter for Sept. O5. It jumped at me then, but I had just embarked on what is turning out to be a long quest to slash the stash and I didn't get any. I kept going back to that swatch over and over again, though, and when I found out this fall that we are going to wear blue and grey for choir in February I decided that if that fabric was still singing to me a year later, I needed to get it. So I got two yards...enough for a short jacket. My test jacket in the black plaid is going together nicely; I don't think I'll have to tweak it too much before I cut into this.

The truth is, this fabric is great. The colors are subtle and it has played nicely with every blue and grey fabric I've pulled out of the stash. I've got more options than I need for fabric that coordinates with it...which is really cool. I'm gonna love it, I do believe.

But I've got to finish the other one first! The skirt is done; I'll take photos when I finish the jacket.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Trivial and Purely Petty Hair Rant

Ok, this is one of those days that I'm Bugged. I was doing some, um, self-analysis yesterday and decided that I have a problem, and my problem is that I don't Feel Pretty. And one of the main causes is my hair. I've fought with my hair all my life; it's very thick, sort of coarse and naturally wavy, bordering on curly. You could say frizzy, as the waves/curls are neither symmetric nor flattering. My solution several years ago was to just let it grow out; at least I could pull it back and put it in a bun/hair clip and be neat. It grew so long that a couple of years ago I got it cut and sent an 18" ponytail to Locks of Love. I loved the short hair; it was easy to keep neat, although I did have to keep going to get it cut every whipstitch. Then we started doing Scrooge at church, and for the past two years I've been cast as a guest at the Fezziwig's...which means I can't hide my hair under a bonnet. The first year I used copious amounts of gel and many hairpins to keep my hair appropriately pulled back into a hairpiece that wasn't appropriate but was the best I could do. I got it cut after the show, enjoyed the easy hair for a few months and then started letting it grow in the summer. Went through the Really Ugly stage in August-September, and by Christmas it was long enough that I only needed a moderate amount of gel and a handful of hairpins for the front bit of my hair to pull it back into the hairpiece. I was looking forward to getting it cut again after the show.

But it hit me: if I get it cut now, I'll have to go through the Really Ugly stage at the end of the summer all over again. It would be nice for it to be long enough to be able to just put my hair into the right style for the next year's show...but I've got to live with it between now and then. Right now it's shapeless and still too short in the front to pull up neatly. Bottom line: I have frumpy hair and there's not a whole lot I can do about it at the moment. So, I just need to loose the frumpy attitude...and maybe pick up some more small spring clips... and make some fantastic something that makes me forget the hair ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Paralysis of Analysis

Don't we do it waaay too much? Overthink our projects? How many pieces of wonderful fabric have I got in my stash, waiting for the 'perfect' pattern? How many patterns have I got in my stash that have never been cut because I can't make up my mind which fabric to use? Wonderful stuff is not much good in a Rubbermaid bin or in a cabinet...it must be on the body to be appreciated by anyone other than the fabric petter or the pattern daydreamer herself.

I finished 2 months after the deadline in the first SWAP competition two years ago. I was also sewing up a slew of Bible costumes for the church Easter production at that time, but mostly I just kept waffling back and forth over which fabrics and which patterns to use. Couldn't make up my mind. Last year, the print dropped into my life and I used that to select fabrics, which more or less dictated the patterns. But more influential than that was the first Scrooge costume crunch. Very little time to do an almost overwhelming amount of sewing. The moment we arrived at a combination that worked, we were running with it. There simply wasn't time to second guess our decisions. That was great training for letting the gut instinct take charge. I had more of the same last fall; the main difference was that the first year, we were working with existing garments and changing/embellishing them and this year we were constructing costumes from scratch. But the decision process was much the same: look for what will work and go for it. The goal is to get something that looks reasonable and fits acceptably put together and onstage, not to get the most perfect garment possible.

So that's getting applied to SWAP competition planning. I tried to do a story board but, um, got bored. Once I knew what I wanted to do, drawing it out was taking up sewing time. I just made an Excel spreadsheet with the garments and patterns listed and columns to check off as different steps (pattern prep, fabric prep, cut out) were completed for each garment. That was enough to keep me on track. And I not allowing myself to look for the 'perfect' pattern for the fabric. I'm asking myself questions like 'What neckline will work for a top worn with this jacket? Do I want sleeves or no? Tailored or relaxed fit for this fabric?' Once that criteria is established, I look for only patterns that meet it. Any of those would work. Pull them out, look them over, let it simmer while I make things I've already decided on, then when it's time, pick up the one from among those options that appeals to me the most at that moment and cut it out...and don't look back. Ok, it may not be the absolute *perfect* choice...but it will work just fine.

Don't think too much...just sew. :D

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Two more down

Finished two more of my SWAP tops yesterday, now the only cut out project is the black plaid skirt suit, which is technically not part of the SWAP, although the jacket is the test for the SWAP jacket, so that's why it's in the queue. I'm ambitiously hoping to have them done by the end of this week or the first part of next week.

So all I have left to do, other than the jacket, is three white/cream tops, one of which will be made from the fabric from Timmel that's still working it's way down from Canada, and a pair of pants.I'm waffling now on which pattern to use for those. Since I have the skirt morph, I don't have to make them from the altered New Look pattern. I really think the legs on that are wider than what I want for gray flannel, so I'm trying to decide between Loes Hinse's Oxford Pants and Nancy Erikson's Fashion Sewing Group Pants. The FSG pants will need to be altered; I haven't corrected the pattern since my first pair. But, that's something I really want to do, so that pattern is useful, so maybe this is the time to do it. I'll probably change my mind about 4 more times before I get the skirt suit done and can get back to SWAP sewing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

OOP to the Rescue

Today's topic: Picking the pattern from which to make the top that matches the blue morphed Gore Skirt. I had some criteria for it...number one, I had to be able to make it out of 1 3/8 yards of my fabric or less. Number two, it had to have a neckline that would work with the jewel neck of my Chanel-style jacket. I really debated that one, as I don't have a similar jacket in my stash (yet) to check collars against. I finally decided that 'no collar' would be the safest option at the moment. Finally, it had to work for a drapey fabric...therefore, it couldn't be too tailored. With that in mind, I headed to my pattern cabinent and started looking. I'd pulled out a couple of 'maybes' before I spotted this one:

The copyright on this pattern is 1993, which was when I had last made it. Actually, it was one of my earliest attempts at a pattern morph; I used it to try and knock off a wrap blouse w/cap sleeves...actually, just wide shoulders that approximated cap sleeves. I laid an extended-shoulder/cap sleeve pattern over it, traced it and made it. But it never really worked...the shoulder line was so wide that it bound up when I tried to move my arms. But looking at it during my pattern search, I decided it was time to try it again.

I still wanted a sleeveless top, since the armsceye was so low I didn't think it'd work under a jacket without a major overhaul to the sleeves/armsceye. But I was optimistic enough to just try it without the sleeves...just turned-and-stitched to finish the edge. Oh, and I've gained a little weight after 13 years and two more babies, so I added an inch at the side seams. I had to take 5/8" of that addition back out at the underarm/bust level, but it looks like it'll do. I've still got to put the ties on the inside and the snap on the overlap, but with any luck (and a willing photographer) I should have a review with a photo posted by the end of the day.

Monday, January 16, 2006

SWAP Progress, Part the First

I've got 4 out of 11 garments finished; thought I'd test Yahoo photos with a SWAP album. So here's the first four items:

SWAP Album

I've got two more tops cut out...and about 1/2 the skirt suit fused. Progress is good!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Curve musings

Still sort of mulling over fitting the crotch curve on pants...

So many instructors talk about crotch depth, crotch length, crotch width but for some reason very few mention crotch shape. The above photo is of two pants back patterns; the left one is the Sewing Workshop Plaza Pant, which fits me pretty well, and the one on the right is Loes Hinse's European Pant, which I have to work on. The Plaza pants are drafted for a rump in which the fullness is low, the Euros are drafted for a rump that has higher curves. No amount of length added anywhere to the Euros is going to make them fit like the Plazas...the Euros are going to have to be scooped (sort of like lowering the bust point).

But scooping removes fabric that is needed to fit the circumference of the low hip. So fabric must be added...not where the leg joins the body, because that doesn't add to the hip circumference of the pants. Fabric has gotta go on the outseam, cause that's the only place left to add so that the total hip circumference is the same. But the jodphur look is not one to pursue here, so the extra needs to be added all the way up to the waist...which means that much needs to be taken from the crotch seam, all the way up to the waist, so the pants don't end up way too big at the waist. But if I just trim evenly up that slanty back seam, then I've basically just moved the same crotch shape further into the pattern. Somehow, for the Euros to fit me, I've got to
1) rotate the dart that's in the back crotch seam (that slanty seam functions as a dart) so that that seam is on grain; that'll probably mean adding another back dart; at the very least it will mean enlarging the one that's there
2)scoop the back, taking it all the way up to the waist and
3) add the amount I removed back on to the side seam so I don't loose anything on the total hip circumference. I may also have to add a bit to the back crotch point, but we'll see.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Maybe after the SWAP is done I can try it out. I've always just sort of taken the 'try this' approach to fitting pants, without really thinking about what is happening to the pattern, and I've only had so-so results.
So now I've actually thought through the process (about time!). If I can make that curve on the Euros fit, I think I can fit anything... ;)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Good Intentions

Finally got the scanner to work; here's the plaid that is option one on the SWAP. One of those taupey looking threads really is pale pink...honest!

I will I will I will cut out the interfacing for that jacket and skirt today...and maybe go ahead and cut the rib knit tops from the fabric that is lying on my sewing machine table as well.

And finish the laundry and get the budget caught up and clean the kitchen and....

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Skirt Inspiration

I saw the coolest skirt yesterday. It was a knit print, in colors I really couldn't wear, but the lines of it were very interesting. From the front, it was a basic, narrow single panel A-line, but the back panel had a horizontal seam 8 -10 inches up from the hem, and below the seam was an assymetric flounce (at least I think it was assymetric; I might be misremembering there), which draped below the front hemline.

Got all my morphing thoughts going; I may use the LH Gore Skirt pattern to approximate this for the morph requirement of this years SWAP...in the blue/black crossdye to go with Jacket 2. Actually, I have patterns that would be easier to morph into that style than the Gore, but since I've already made the Gore for the SWAP that's the one I'd have to morph.

I'll try and get some visuals...if the scanner ever decides to come off of 'GO'.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Almost started...

Spent last night cutting out the fashion fabric for the skirt and test jacket from the black/grey/white/pink plaid. I tried to scan in a fabric swatch, but the scanner has just sat for 20 minutes, blinking at me, with 'starting scan' in the little status window and I gave up. Maybe tomorrow. Anyway, I cut the lining out Monday evening, so all I have left is the interfacing. But, as it's a boucle weave so I think I will use the fusible as an underlining on both the jacket and the skirt...on the jacket for support, and on the skirt for stability. So I've basically got to cut the whole thing out one more time.

It was quite a challenge to cut out, as it's an uneven plaid and that's not something I have a great deal of experience working with. Actually, if the truth be told, I usually avoid uneven plaids whenever possible. Sandra Betzina included 'plaid placement lines' on the pattern, though, which helped tremendously in lining things up on the horizontal lines. I don't know if what I did will work for the vertical lines...or if anything will really work for those vertical lines...or not. I barely had enough fabric; in fact, I had to shorten the skirt flounce by 3" to get it all on the fabric. I don't think I'll mind that too much, though...the flounce looked a little overly long in the envelope photos anyway.

But today is another 'outside the house' day, so likely the continuation of the project will have to wait a little longer. Once I can start sewing, though, I think it will go pretty quickly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"It Figures"

That's a direct quote from DH in his reply to an email I sent him at work yesterday...which was a reply to an email telling me that he'd learned at the men's leadership team planning meeting that our church was sponsoring a marriage conference. That's a good thing...it never hurts to spend a little time on the relationship.

The snag is that it's the same weekend as the Atlanta Sewing Expo, which I was eagerly anticipating.

Hmmmm...what to do, what to do. Miss A and I were planning to carpool over together; we'll have to see what works out.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Looking for Cutting Time

It almost seems to me that when I get a garment fully cut out, it's half finished. It seems to be such a trial to get a good chunk of time to cut, since I have to use our dining table to do it on, I either need to start soon enough to be done by mealtime or wait until after we've eaten. Cutting is not a 'do a little here and there' sort of job...ya gotta take over the space and you can't quit till you're done. So sometimes just waiting for cutting time holds up the whole sewing queue. Like now....

I've got three patterns ready to cut out...the skirt and jacket for the black plaid, and the Hot Patterns Cadeau top, which I'm going to make from very stretchy, very transparent, very pill-prone cream knit from the dollar a yard at Wal Mart, just to check the fit. I've noticed several tops in the last few days with ties at the bottom, much like the Cadeau, so that will be kinda fun to try out. I decided to cut a six through the shoulders and a ten at the hips; we'll see how that fits in the 'muslin' fabric before I try it in the black/white rayon/lycra stripe.

But I can't seem to get the stuff to the table to start cutting. I've got a major dental appointment this morning. Maybe tonight after dinner....

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday's Off

Ok, after running the blog for a couple of months or so, I've made an executive decision: I'm going to give myself Sundays off. It was very late afternoon before I could even get to the computer today, and I don't have any earth shaking sewing news to deliver, so I think I'll follow the example of one of my blogging inspirations, Rustybobbin and just not even stress over posting on Sundays.

Everybody needs family time, right? ;)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The SWAP is Semi-Set

I ordered my fabric Thursday from Timmel Fabrics, so I'm officially 'in' for the SWAP 2006 challenge. I ordered 3 meters (about 3 3/8 yds) of what looks to be a very nice shirt weight cream linen, which will be a blouse of some kind...at the moment, I'm thinking La Fred's Athena Blouse, but I may change my mind when I actually touch the linen. We'll see.

But the bulk of the SWAP is set...and I'm still not sure exactly which direction I will go. See, I have some gorgeoriffic blue/black/cream/grey tweed that I got last fall to make a jacket and, since our choir colors are blue and black for February, I need it by then to wear in the choir. But I haven't tested the pattern yet (Vogue 8043 from Sandra Betzina) even though I did try on samples at her seminar back in April and decided that a size C, with a little more ease added, would fit pretty well.

Anyway, the 'test' jacket...to see if my 'C with more ease' will work...is to be made in the black/grey/cream/pink plaid wool blend suiting that is in the sewing nook photos. Now, aside from the pink in the test fabric and the blue in the tweed, these fabrics have the same colors. So I have two options with the SWAP. For both options, I can use the black RPL pieces I made the last week in December, the cream linen, a cream silk jacquard I got from Vogue Fabrics at Expo '05, a grey rayon/lycra rib knit, a white rayon/lycra (finer) rib knit, and my morph piece will be to 'LH Europeanize' the New Look pattern I used for the black RPL; add darts and a zipper to the waistline...and possibly cuffs to the bottom of the legs...out of grey wool flannel. If I go with the test fabric, I can use an already-in-the-wardrobe perfect pink mock-t shell for the last top; if I go with the tweed I'll have to make a skirt and a blouse out of a black/blue rayon cross dye I got from Textile Fabrics a couple of years ago. But it's all do-able, and, except for the linen from Timmel, it's all from stash. Yippee!

So I guess I'll just see which jacket wants to be used before I go on. But I'll probably end up making all the pieces, anyway, just not sure which ones will get photographed for the 'SWAP'. It may just come down to how much time I have.

Friday, January 06, 2006

So That's Why They Moved 'Em

Back on November 8, I posted about the costumes disappearing from the back hall at church. No biggie, we found 'em pretty quick, and figured that some VIP must've been coming to the recording studio that is on that hall and so the costumes were, um, relocated so as not to give the impression that the studio was through the closet.

I think I found out who the VIP was...it's a good guess, anyway. The worship team at church is recording a studio worship CD and last night the choir went into the studio to do the background vocals for four of the songs. On at least one of them, Bob ('Butterfly Kisses') Carlilse had recorded some vocals. The time frame would've been right, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was the VIP for whom the costumes were moved.

And what a hoot! I'm singing background on a CD with Bob Carlisle! It was quite an interesting experience for this little back row alto to wear the headphones in the sound booth, let me tell you...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Posting Pictures

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things
Of ships and shoes and sealing wax, and whether pigs have wings...

and what to do about posting photos for pattern reviews.

Since I started posting reviews in '02, I used Photoworks to host my photos. Load them to an album, select one or more photos from the album to link to a review, email them to myself and post the link. It was a little awkward, but it worked. Then in fall of 04, Photoworks decided to revamp their whole site. My photos were hostage to the conversion for something like 6 - 8 months, and of course all the old links no longer worked. (I'm still in process of re-linking the old reviews...previous to Nov. 04...it's a long and tedious business). But now I cannot link a single photo to the review, I can only link 'albums'. Consequently, I have a BUNCH of albums with one photo in them; and I can't put a 'see this HERE' type link in any review. It's cramping my style. It doesn't work for me anymore.

So I decided that, with the new year, I'd look around and see if there are any more review-friendly photo hosting sites out there. Um, maybe I'd better rephrase that: I'm looking for FREE review-friendly photo hosting sites. I've got access to Yahoo, and I may end up with that, but I know Yahoo gets aggravating from time to time, too. I am a 'Friend of PR' and have an album there, but at the rate I sew I'd fill it up in no time flat so I'm sort of using it for the backup. I've probably got a week or so before I get the First Review of the Year done, so I need to make up my mind pretty quick.

So I'm soliciting opinions...anybody got a favorite free photo hosting site? :D

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to Routine

School starts today; I guess it's time to take down the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. The house is going to seem rather bare.

And I'm itching to start a new project in my nice, clean, orderely sewing nook ;) Unfortunately, today's schedule has me running hither, thither and yon so I'm not likely to accomplish much of anything at home. But the Next Project will be, I think, Sandra Betzina's Chanel-style jacket made from the wool blend lying on the sewing chair. Unless I change my mind.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Numbers don't lie...right?

Discouraged that I hadn't *quite* made fabric parity for last year and muttering to myself about doing better this year, I went over to my Excel spread sheets where I keep track of such things to start new sheets for '06. Suddenly, inspiration hit. It was August of '04 that I really began the effort to curb the accumulation (moving and seeing all the stash in one large pile...watching my family's reaction to the one large pile...no doubt had a part in that decision). So I went back to August 1, 2004 and looked at the numbers. Lo and behold, from Aug 1, 2004 -Dec 31, 2005 I had acquired 132.5 yards of fabric, but I had sewn up 134.375!

I'm winning!

Monday, January 02, 2006

January Priorities

I'm not done with the costumes yet...they need to be sorted (washable vs. dry clean) and sent off to the cleaners, then put away once they're all done. I'm hoping we can even get the cleaners to launder the washable stuff instead of hauling a load a week home and doing it; one of the church administrators told me that would be ok so I'm hopefull that once I get them sorted out it will be in the cleaner's hands for a while. Then I get to figure out how we're going to organize and store all of it, but I'll deal with that when I get to it.

Meantime, there's my own sewing space to deal with. It's a mess. So I'm going to try to postpone starting any new projects until I get all the stuff that got hauled off to church and brought back put away and some order restored out there. I'll give myself up to a week ;)

Then...well, I've got a couple of jacket patterns that I've been wanting for ages to get made up and tweaked to fit. January would be a good time to work on those, I think. Plus the annual SWAP competion sponsored by Timmel Fabrics and discussed on Sewing World is singing to me, too. I haven't made the required purchase from Timmel yet, but I've got a list of 'maybes'. I'm finding myself reluctant to make the First Purchase of the year before I've got a little stash used up. Oh, well, I have until the first of March to order. I could use the black knit things I made last week as part of the SWAP if I decide to dive in.

I'll get the sewing nook restored and see what is inspiring me at that moment.