Friday, June 30, 2006


Ok, today is my turn for that wonderful periodic women's health maintenance procedure known as the mammogram. I thought it would be appropriate to remind everyone to visit The Breast Cancer Site and click the 'free mammogram' button. There are sponsors who provide free mammograms to lower income women based on the number of clicks on the button...and everyone is welcome to click once a day. So check it out, if you haven't already.

This has been a public service announcement from your local sewing blogger. :D

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Zipping along

...although so far no zippers have been involved.

I can cross the Jalie T, the Kwik Sew Twinset and the gauchos for DD off the list; they're done! Next up is the khaki Oxfords, but I don't think I'll get them finished before we head north on Saturday. I really need to tend to things like housecleaning and budget work (budget is like laundry; I can get it close to caught up but somehow I never really find the bottom of the hamper and it overflows again before I know it). So we'll see.

I'll review the gauchos after we get back; since DD is in Indiana I can't try them on her for fit.

I have found about 4 fabrics that I think I can use to knock off the tiered skirt. But they're all kind of muted colors; I need something bright to make it pop. And I haven't even started looking for lace and ribbons yet. I may check the sale tables at Hancock's today; I need some McCall's patterns and they're 75% off so I've got to make a trip over there anyway.

We'll see if I can get in and out with just the patterns... ;)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

One Percent Inspiration

Older DD and I had a very interesting day yesterday after we left her younger siblings in care of their grandparents. The jaunt up from the designated meeting place to the VF/Lee outlet was a Good Thing; we each got some necessary lingerie, and I found two pairs of shoes at the Easy Spirit outlet in the same building (BTW, someday I want to take a picture of this location; it cracks me up every time I pull into the road that goes back to the outlet center because, at the intersection of that road with the street, there are traffic signs that say 'No Outlet', while the building that houses the outlets and all the corresponding signage is easily visible behind them. Just one of those things that makes me chuckle).

On the way back south, we stopped for a bit of a break at Cool Springs Mall in Franklin, TN. and DD found this skirt. It was reduced 40%, and, considering the amount of fabric and bother that went into it, and the fact that it was perfect for her, and finally admitting that I just wanted to study it, I got it for her. It is interesting in several ways; first, the tiers are all cut on the bias, which sort of surprised me. But I guess that would do away with the need to finish off the edges, even if it did require more fabric. Secondly, the ribbons that are at the bottom of some of the tiers are not appliqued on, as I expected, but they're actually inserted. That is, the upper tier is sewn to the top edge of the ribbon in a lap seam, and the lower tier is gathered, then sewn to the bottom of the ribbon in a lap seam.

I dunno if I will find enough remnant/scrap fabric, lace and ribbon to make a similar skirt for either me or younger DD, but I think I'd like to try....

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Road Trip

Off to Madisonville, KY...which happens to be just about half way between Huntsville, AL and North Salem, IN...and a lunch date at Ponderosa to meet my parents and hand them the two youngest DKids so they can have a few extra days with their cousins before we come up and start the whole drive around and see relatives thing.

Up and back...about 8 hours, plus time to eat...and visit the VF/Lee outlet store at the next exit up the Pennyrile... ;)

Monday, June 26, 2006

The First Project

The Cutting Marathon was a the time I put everything away on Saturday, 10 garments' worth of fabric...15.5 yards...had crossed the table. In addition to the projects listed Saturday morning, I also cut out La Fred's Athena Blouse from some nice olive green handkercheif linen, and one of Sandra Betzina's early Vogue Today's Fit tops (the assymetric one w/the cut on sleeves; the number escapes me at the moment) from a green poly/rayon jacquard. But the big project of the day was DD2's (age 9) First Project.

Her brother had been off at camp all week; she'd watched TV and played her Gameboy until she was tired of it, and as I was cutting Friday she found my scrap pile and began collecting the pieces, laying them out on the floor in odd patterns and trying to figure out what she could make for Molly (her American Girl doll) from them. I suggested that we find a pattern and some fabric on Saturday and she could make herself a skirt. She was really surprised that I suggested that, but she is the same age I was when I made that 4-H apron so I felt like she could probably manage a simple skirt, if I did the tricky parts.

The next day, before I was even properly wakened by my coffee, she was at my elbow. "Mom? Remember? Me? Sewing?" (Big grin).

So, we went through the pattern stash and picked out two patterns that were possibilities, had breakfast, then went up to the fabric stash in the attic. I pulled out three pieces of drapey fabric, and she picked the black-floral-on-pink rayon challis. Back downstairs, she decided a longer skirt would be easier to live in and picked Simplicity 5484's pointy-hem a-line skirt over a New Look knee-length yoked circle skirt.

First, she had to trace the pattern. She's a size 10 Slim in RTW, but when we measured the pattern and checked her measurements, it was pretty apparent that the size 7 would work for her. So I showed her how to trace it (there was only one pattern piece). After she traced it, I checked her work then she cut it out. I laid out the fabric for her...challis can be really tricky to get square, and this needed the selvedges folded into the center, so she had two folds. Then, I showed her how to pin on the pattern, and she cut it once. Then, she pinned the other side; I checked her pinning and ok'd her to cut out that side.

Suddenly, though, it hit me that this child had never operated a sewing machine. Ooops, Mom, better give her some practice. So I had her stitch w/an unthreaded needle on paper for a while, practicing going back and forth on the blue lines on a common sheet of notebook paper. Then I had her practice stitching 5/8" from the edge of a stack of strips of used computer paper (I stuck a small stack of post-it notes on the 5/8" seam line to help her see where she needed to stitch). Finally, I cut some more used computer paper into curves and had her practice stitching 5/8" from the edge on the curves (both concave and convex). Then we threaded the machine and I let her sew some practice seams on scraps. I didn't have her use the serger; just like I didn't have her use the rotary cutter to cut it out...I think she needs to get the eye-hand coordination thing working better first. So, after she sewed the seams and pressed them, I had her go back and zig-zag the edges to prevent raveling. When she'd done that reasonably well, I gave her the skirt.

She did get a little frustrated and tired, and at one point while zig-zagging she caught the skirt under the seam (good thing she wasn't on the serger...). I did her ripping for her, thinking it was more important that she have a wearable garment fairly quickly than to learn the details on ripping...which I'm sure she'll have plenty of opportunity to practice anyway...and I did do the tricky parts (pointy hem and elastic casing) for her. But she did have a skirt by the middle of the afternoon, and she's already talking about wanting to sew some I guess the experiment was a success. ;)

Here's the reveiw, if you want to see the finished product!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Don Potter/Morningstar Worship, Vision

On the Bookstand:Finished The Nine Tailors this week; still plugging away atWoman, You're a Kingmaker; Drawing Near; Fight Like a Girl and The End of the Third Age. Maybe I should just list those on the sidebar... ;)

Projects completed this week: Hm, let's see...two swimsuits, a tablecloth and a set of waterbed sheets. I also cleared the jeans-mending pile while I had blue thread on the machines.

On the Sewing Table: Yesterday was a Cut-a-Thon; I was hoping to get 10 yards cut out, but I hit a couple of snags and only managed to get 9 3/8...and I still have to cut out the interfacing for three shirts today. I didn't think about what I *needed* next, just started cutting with an aim to 1) finish out some remnants and 2) cut stuff I need in the near future. So, here's the list of what I cut:
-a Jalie 2005 short sleeve T; from the leftovers of blue stripe knit that I used for the twist top
- Gauchos for DD2, from the leftover doubleknit I used for my gauchos
- Kwik Sew's mock-turtle twinset, from pink cotton/lycra doubleknit
- Loes Hinse's Oxford Pants, from khaki Tencel Twill (the last khaki thing! Yeah!)
- Jalie 2111 Men's short sleeve shirt, from the lavendar/white cotton mini-check I got from Timmel as part of the SWAP prize
- Cutting Line Designs TownANDCountry Camp shirt, also from the lavendar/white check
- Kwik Sew 3168 Kid's Camp Shirt, also for DD2 and also from the lavendar/white check (and I've got 3/4 yd left)

I've got a couple more things I want to cut before I leave Cutting Mode; hopefully I can get them done today. Then I should be set for sewing for a while!

fitness program progress: (Hangs head in shame) I've lost my momentum and acquired a severe backache...dunno what from, which is aggravating. My goal right now is to just maintain until after vacation (about 2 weeks), then start again. At least the scales have ceased their upward creep, which is a Good Thing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Short Sheeted

So, yesterday I worked on the first set of waterbed sheets. I actually finished them up about 11 last night and updated the stats to reflect that the sheets were done, then I got up this morning and stripped the bed to put the new sheets on. As I was doing that, I was mentally writing a blog entry or review about the process of making them, and also deciding what I needed to get going for the Next Project.

This is a classic set of waterbed sheets; the bottom sheet has triangular pockets across the corners for the mattress, and the top sheet is sewn to the bottom sheet between the two pockets at the foot of the bed.

I found myself having problems getting the bottom sheet to lay across the bed right; that didn't make sense, because I'd laid the bottom sheet on the bed last night before I attatched the top sheet, just to make sure it would fit, and it had looked really good.

Then I noticed I had sewn the foot of the top sheet to the side of the bottom sheet. I was putting the bottom sheet on the bed 90 degrees off from what it should be.

So now I have an appointment with the seam ripper to get things apart and then back together, so I can't move on just yet.

But the pillowcases fit well.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Costume Musings

Ok, it's an extra post today; a true journal entry that has shown me some things about myself. I'm sharing it because costuming is what started the blog, and costuming will continue to be a large part of my discussion...

Time to do some thinking.

Yesterday, our co-pastor asked me if I was willing to take the official position of wardrobe mistress (well, I think that’s what the position is; we didn’t name it). It would still be volunteer, I think (although I suppose it could evolve into a paid position over time), but I would be under the authority of the church and therefore have some authority to make costuming decisions that I don’t have at the moment. In terms of what I actually do, I’m not sure anything else would change. But I would be the person really responsible for the costumes, instead of just the person who’s trying to help out with the costumes. She specifically said she wanted me to agree with it only if it was my heart and my calling; not just because I saw a need that no one else was filling. She told me to think it over and talk it over with DH before I gave an answer.

What is my REAL heart? What is the deep desire that makes me feel responsible for the costumes, so that when someone else uses them I will come behind and make sure they’re cleaned and put away? I don’t feel that kind of responsibility in other areas…for instance, I do not feel compelled to make sure the baptismal robes are tended, even though if they get lost or damaged I’ll have to help replace them. But I feel responsible for the costumes. Dear Husband said that was probably an indication that costuming was meant to be my job…and he’s ok with it.

But…am I passionate about costuming itself, as an independent thing? I really don’t think I am…as I think and look at what I’ve done, I think my passion is presenting the Gospel and all its truth to people in dramatic form…that includes writing, costuming, acting…and my heart is to do it with excellence, to the highest degree of ‘rightness’ that we can achieve. One of my pet peeves is that Christian drama…both on stage and on film…tends to be extraordinarily cheesy; with shallow characterizations that seem to move and speak and do what they do simply to convey some point, not because they are real characters responding in a manner consistent to their character in a real world situation. People puppets, if you will. And I think that cheapens the message.

Sometimes I write; but my writing is a sporadic thing and always in response to something that’s percolating around in my spirit, not necessarily something produced because I was asked for a piece on a specific topic. Writing, for me, is mostly cathartic. Whether or not anything I write is applicable/performable is kind of a moot point…I write it because I’ll bust a gusset if I don’t. We have other talented writers in the church; I can contribute here and there but I don’t see myself being one of the main writers.

I love acting, but I am not a Great Actress. I’m an OK Actress…I can fill in the corners around the people who are truly gifted and that’s ok. The corners need filling; even the extra characters must be in character at all times to make the main characters believable.

But sewing…I can sew. I’m reasonably good at it, and it’s not a skill that’s as common as it used to be, more’s the pity. Now, mediocre costumes won’t keep the message of a drama from the people, but right costumes will help cause the people to take the production seriously. Sets, costumes, lighting, sound…all those things that aren’t really part of the message but are the package the message comes in …do make a difference. If they’re mediocre, then the audience subconsciously registers ‘church play’ and they maintain a guard in their spirits, expecting some subtle or not so subtle sermonizing. Excellence in that package is part of what will achieve the transportation of imagination that lets drama into a place in the human spirit where teachings and sermons can’t go. So that is why I feel responsible for costumes; why I want to make sure the costumes are right for a performance, then make sure they’re properly cared for after the performance so they’re ready for the next one. Once we get our wardrobe built up and secured, costuming won’t be so much sewing as it will be managing, and it may be that at that point, I will be ready to turn it over to a manager, rather than a seamstress. But until the wardrobe is established, it’s going to take a team of sewing people to get it there, and it will need a seamstress (or at least someone who has a clue about sewing) heading it up.

Could I tell our pastor that I don’t think I could do this, then sit back and let someone else run with it? How would I feel if they’d asked someone else to do this? Honestly? Even though I said ‘It really doesn’t matter who does it, as long as someone does,’ and tried to mean it?

Ouch. For good or not, I really feel like it’s my baby…at least for the time being.

So here goes.

A Two Dollar Tablecloth

Strolling by the dollar a yard table at Wal-Mart the other day, I saw perfect tablecloth fabric. Since I was in need of a new tablecloth, it followed me home and, after a trip through the laundry and 20 minutes of hemming, it's on the table.

Since the fabric was only 54" wide, I didn't have to trim the sides and left the fringey selvedge as it was; I just narrow hemmed the ends.

Looks good for two bucks, doncha think? I could use a couple more; I think I'll check the dollar table again in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Finished Swimsuits

Haven't decided if I'm going to be brave enough to post a photo or not...Maybe I'll do like Patti Palmer in Fit for Real People and put a paper bag over my head. ;) There's nothing wrong with the fit of the suit, but I'm not pleased with the body that's in it. 9 weeks of mediocre commitment to a fitness program has only stopped the upward creep of the scales; after our upcoming vacation, I'm hoping I can collect my scattered determination again and give it a uncompromised effort, but in the meantime, well, meh.

Anyway, the suits I made were Kwik Sew 2962 for me and Kwik Sew 2606 for 9 YO (well, almost 10) DD. There was nothing remarkable about the suits or their construction; KS has such good instructions. I did put a swim bra in mine, which helps a lot, and, since DD is a RTW size 10 Slim, I cut her suit as a size 8 in girth and size 10 in length and it fits great and she loves it.

She doesn't even mind that it's a match for her mother's...something that would embarrass her 20 YO big sister right out of the swimming pool.

Oh, and the best part is that my suit was less than $10 and hers was less than $5 (fabric, elastic and swim bra were all on sale...). :D

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sewing Grandmas, Part 2

Grandma H. (1914 - 2001) was my Stashing Grandma. Widowed in 1977, she had her house to herself for 24 years and, although she usually split the year snowbird-style between Hendricks County, Indiana and Leesburg, Florida, I'm sure that freed her up to accumulate fabric and sewing doo-dads to a larger degree than she would have otherwise. Plus, there was a fabric store in Florida called 'Fabric King' that she frequented during her stays there; I have inherited several stapled - together flat fold pieces with Fabric King tags from her stash that have rust spots where the staples were. Most of Grandma's stash is still at my mother's, but I have a box or so of things that came from her and the occasional reference in a review to fabric from my Grandmother's stash is a tribute to Grandma H.

But she was the truly creative Grandma who sewed because she enjoyed it. She liked creating things and sometimes would just put kind of odd combinations of materials together just to see how they looked...and frequently it looked surprisingly good. She made a lot of her own clothes, and her stash included several UFO's that she'd started but probably lost interest because she just didn't feel physically up to completing them. There's a lot of polyester in her stash -- it was cheap, Grandma H loved a bargain as much as Grandma R -- and there were quite a few odd pieces that I'd love to know what she planned for them. Of course, she may just have purchased them because they were intriguing and she put them in the stash waiting for inspiration to hit (a trait I've been known to exhibit now and then...).

Grandma didn't just make clothes, though, she enjoyed doing home dec projects and frequently revamped her living space by making new curtains (not lined drapes...usually just gathered priscillas or cafe-style tabbed panels). After I got my driver's license, it became standard practice for my sister and me to stop by Grandma H's house on our way home after a shopping trip to Indianapolis and show her our new Cloth World or JoAnn's or SoFro purchases. It was kind of a standing joke that she would always feel the new fabric and, no matter what it was (even a shimmery blue jersey knit), comment 'Oh, that would make nice curtains!'

She enjoyed dolls, too, making dolls and dressing dolls and displaying unusual dolls, although she didn't really collect them. The only Grandma H.-made item I've got is this doll, which I think she made in the early '80's. I think this was supposed to be Holly Hobby, but I could be wrong:

So...frugal fabric recycling on one side and creative stashing on the other; how could I help but sew?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sewing Grandmas, Part 1

Actually, the roots of these ramblings are in The Sewing Divas call for thoughts on Ritual Cloth. I fully intended...deeply write about a crazy patchwork shirt that is in my possession that was made by my paternal grandmother in the mid 1970's...but, while said shirt fit me when she made it and for a goodly number of years thereafter, it has been quite some time since it buttoned decently and it has been relegated to sentimental storage. We've moved twice since I last knew exactly where it was, and though I hunted last week through the boxes I thought likely to contain it I failed to find it. So, no picture and no Ritual Cloth post.

But I did spend a lot of time thinking about my grandmothers and sewing. My Paternal Grandma, Grandma R. (1905 - 1986), was primarily a gardener. Sewing was something she did in the winter months when she couldn't be outside. She was a creative lady, but I'm not sure she really enjoyed was something her frugal nature required. I remember four garments that she made for me as I grew up.... The first I remember was a winter coat (red coating trimmed with brown velvet) and matching brown velvet drawstring purse. I was six; I didn't really note the origins of it but my mother told me years later that Grandma had cut that coat out of an adult coat that had worn or was no longer in style...I don't even know if the coat came from her closet, one of my aunt's closets or if it was something she found at a garage sale. The second thing I remember her making would've been a Sunday dress when I was about 12. The fabric was teal taffeta w/black flocking...again, recut from an adult's dress. The dress had a gathered skirt, short puffed sleeves, a Peter Pan collar and white lace trim. It also had a black velvet pull over vest that zipped up the side with two rhinestone hearts sewn on the upper left of the front. I wore it, my younger sister wore it...after that, I don't know what happened to it. When I was a teenager, Grandma began to enter her 'pieced fabric' phase and she made long gathered skirts for all her granddaughters. These skirts were simple in style; 'Maxi' length, cut straight and gathered to a waistband. It was the fabric that was unique...cotton print feed sacks. Honest. I don't know how long Grandma had saved them or where they originally came from, but she cut the fabric into 4 or 5 inch squares, pieced them all together and then sewed the skirts from the resulting yardage. During that same time frame she made the shirt that I can't find; again, she cut up scraps of cloth into squares or rectangles and sewed them onto backing fabric (which was likely old sheets), then cut the shirts from them. She made a number of these shirts for her grandkids; I think the one I have was actually intended for my sister and I to share, but since it fit me better I got it.

While she was still in piecing mode she discovered carpet remnants, and began to use her creativity to make rugs from the remnants. I don't know if she ever sewed garments after she started playing with rugs. She'd buy remnants cheap, chop them up and hot glue them together in her's a photo from the fall of 1977, my dorm room at the University of Evansville, actually, with the rug she gave me:
She won ribbons at the Indiana State Fair with her rugs in the late '70's, and I kept that one until the glue deteriorated and cracked and the rug came apart.

Perhaps Grandma R.'s influence is what makes me so determined to salvage wadders today... ;).
Tomorrow, Grandma H. and the curtain material...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

To all dads, but especially to mine!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker and Christine Dente, Along the Road

On the Bookstand:I had to take the two younger kids to the bookstore to (finally) use gift cards they'd received for Christmas, and I couldn't leave without a book or two following me home. Years ago, I read Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy, but I was surprised to learn that she wrote a fourth book years later, Tehanu. It was an interesting read; not quite along the same lines as the earlier books...a little more mature in its subject matter and a little more feminist in its handling of them. I don't think I will recommend it to 13 YO DS just yet, although he has read the other three. I also picked up Dorothy Sayer's The Nine Tailors, which I understand is about church bells, not garment making. It's one of the few Lord Peter books that I haven't read, but I have read *about* commentator noted that Ms. Sayers could've had a graduate degree in campanology for the research she did for this book; she was reputedly invited to become vice-president of the Campanological Society of Great Britain, according to this same commentator (Carolyn Heilbrun, originally published by The American Scholor in spirng of 1968 and reprinted in Harper & Row's collection of the Lord Peter Short Stories). Anyway, our local library did not have this book and I'd been looking for it for quite a that's Next Up.

On the Sewing Table:The current cut out projects are all taken care of; I've got to sew some patches on DS's Royal Ranger dress uniform for the leadership camp he's attending next week. Then, I'll be cutting out swimsuits.

Projects completed this week: The last 10 altar blankets (I squeezed two more out of the yardage; dunno quite how that happened, but, well, ok), the stretch poly charmeuse shell, the pink twin set (sort of, anyway, see yesterday's post on wadders...)

Body-For-Life progress: I'm beginning to think I should quit calling it 'Body for Life' and just call it Fitness Program; I'm still having difficulty getting the whole schedule worked in right. But, enough progress has been made that there have been a few people ask if I've lost weight. Only 3 lbs; I think the difference mostly is from the exercising that has tightened things up a little. At least I'm not gaining weight any more...that's something....

Friday, June 16, 2006

...and she concedes defeat....

I don't do wadders.


I *hate* investing time and money in something that gets tossed, even though I know all the philisophical comfort words like 'oh, it was worth the effort because you learned something.'

Yeah, I know.

I still hate wadders.

I have a whole arsenal of anti-wadder techniques. I've been known to completely unstitch a serged and topstitched garment so I could recut it to fit better and then sew it back, just to get something that I'd know I'd wear. I've removed entire garment pieces (sleeves/pockets) to get something wearable. I've taken the bodice of a dress and turned it into a top, then recut the skirt portion into a (pieced) shell top.

You get the idea.

So when I say that the pink jacquard knit cardigan is a wadder, I ain't just trying to move on. I made a big boo-boo on the selection of the fabric and it simply is not wearable and nothing I can do will make it wearable and I'm not wasting any more time on it. So there.

The shell top is not wonderful, but I did finish it and put it in the closet. It *might* get worn, since it's made to be a bottom layer and the ripply hem likely will not show.

I decided this fabric was meant to be lingerie...and it would make lovely bras...and turning it into a twin set was violating the Great Chain of Being and would result in horrible consequences.

But...I didn't throw the cardi away; I put it in a bag with the rest of the remnants. Just in case I get an urge to emulate Rusty Bobbin and try sewing bras someday... ;)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Mom, How Long 'til it's Done?"

One of the most recent fabric aquisitions was a piece of swimsuit lycra blend from Hancock's. My last swimsuit purchase...a suit from Lands' End that has never been worn in the 3.5 years since I bought it on clearance...was not a fitting success. I discovered that, yes, I really do need more support than a shelf bra provides, and this style had DARTS at the bustline, which made very prominent points, even when lying in the drawer. Not an attractive look. But, I'd pulled the little paper strip off and threw them in the drawer; I'd gotten suits from LE before and knew it would fit; it was October and I didn't pull it out and try it on until the following spring. I possibly could've sent it back, but since it had been, oh, six months since I'd purchased it I thought I'd just fix the darts and wear it anyway. So it laid in the drawer another 3 months or so. When I finally pulled it out, I discovered that the darts had been trimmed away; I couldn't just unstitch them and ease it back into the seam, which I'd planned. Grumble. Well, we only were going to swim in my in-law's pool anyway, and I didn't have time to do anything about a new suit, so I took it when we went home for the summer visit. But it was chilly in northern Indiana and I never even got in the pool. Last year, we didn't go home. Hence the royal blue suit has never been worn.

So, anyway, I decided I'd give up on that one and make one for off to Hancock's when the swimwear lycra was on sale a couple of weeks ago. I got a pretty black floral print, and enough to make a suit for DD2 from it, since her's was getting embarrassingly small on her at the end of last summer.

Now I'm hearing on an almost daily basis 'When will you finish my suit? How much longer will it take?'

I traced the patterns...hers and mine...on Monday but haven't even cut anything out yet. Guess what's next up on the sewing queue ;).

Incidently, I didn't realize it at the time, but when I pulled the suit patterns out I couldn't find the one I intended to make for DD that I had made for her older sister, so I pulled out another one that I'd picked up somewhere along the way. As I was tracing them, I realized both Kwik Sew patterns were for racer-back tank suits.

So we'll have matching suits. Fortunately, she's still young enough that she's not going to cringe over it. I hope... ;)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Time out for something fun

Yesterday, I dropped the Important, Must Finish sewing to make the new Simplicity twist top:

Twist Top Review

It's a fun top, and I'll likely make it again with a few minor tweeks (dart out a little length in the neckline to keep it pulled in and add some length). But I gotta wear a cami under it, I think. ;)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pink Knit Blues

I've got the pink twinset done to the topstitching (i.e., hems and front edge finishes) and I'm really wondering about the wearability of this set.

The fabric itself is very pretty to look at; it's a shimmery sort of single knit w/a floral jacquard pattern. It's very thin and I had to cut the shell double just for, um, security. snags if you think 'rough fingernail', and, when I tried it on, I discovered that it has the worst no-breathing-here-polyester characteristics. I dunno why I didn't think of that when I was looking at it. I guess I was hoping it had some rayon or breatheable microfiber in it; the fabric content was labeled 'miscellaneous' (well, it was off of Hancock's $2.95 table), if I remember right.

I'll finish it up and see how it really works once it's all done...but it may be a very short-lived set, since it snags so easily (and I mean a noticeable snag on the least little catch; it's been tricky to handle on my beat-up sewing table). Now I'm wondering what one WOULD make from this fabric; for all that it's so pretty, I'm thinking it's just too impractical for real life.

Which may be why it was at Hancock's for $2.95.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Twist Top is Back!

Simplicity has just released a reincarnation of the Twist-top pattern that appeared in 2003, then went OOP (out-of-print) just about the time it started getting rave reviews on PR. It's Simplicity 4076 and it just so happened that Hancock's had Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.99 last week. I ran over on Saturday afternoon to see if the new patterns were in stock yet; they weren't in the drawers but a clerk was moving the patterns to make room for them. I asked if the patterns were in the building...the boxes were in the stock room and since I had a list of the patterns I wanted she brought the box out so I could get them. Wasn't that sweet?

So I got the twist top pattern, and a piece of $2.26/yd stripe lycra/mystery blend fabric to try it out in.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player:Hillsongs, All Things are Possible

On the Bookstand:I picked up Madeleine L'Engle's The Irrational Season this week and began re-reading it. It's probably my favorite of her Crosswicks Journals.

On the Sewing Table:The stretch poly shell, the pink LH Sweater Set, 8 altar blankets.

Projects completed this week: Finished DD's capris last Saturday and the Burda WOF skirt yesterday; I'll try to get the review updated, since I made a slight design change on that pattern, but I need to wait for a photographer ;)

Body-For-Life progress: Marginal improvement. Actually, I'm back to where I was before all the graduation festivities began...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Voting for the RTW knock-off contest

Pattern Review ran a contest in May to knock off RTW garments; I didn't get to participate in that contest, but there are some really striking entries. Voting is open now to choose the winner...even if you don't vote (and if you're a PR member, you really should...), have a look at the entries:

RTW Knockoff Contest

It says at the top of the page there are 25 participants...but that's just the number of folks who signed up. There are actually only 13 entries; you need to read the reviews to find photos of the original garments the reviewers are knocking off. There's some excellent work there, and it was hard to vote for just one.

Go be inspired! ;)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More Wardrobe Gaposis


I haven't acquired a new pair of shorts, a really, really long time. For the last couple of years, I made do with capris, but there really are some occasions where shorts are desired.

Like engaging in the regular aerobic conditioning activity during the summer months in Alabama.

I have some knit 'sport shorts' from Lands' End clearance that are something like 5 years old; two pairs, to be exact, and I really could use a couple more. But I refuse to spend significant money on them, and there is nothing similar on clearance at the moment, so I suppose I'll have to (sigh) make some.

And I think I just missed Hancock's sale on cotton knits...wonder if I've got anything useful in the stash?

And I wonder when I'll manage to work them into the sewing queue?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Need an at-home week.

Yesterday was a run-around day; so is today. It's hard to accomplish stuff that needs doing if you're dashing hither, thither and yon...

I managed to get about 30 minutes of sewing squeezed in; worked on the khaki sateen skirt and got the back darts done, the pockets on the front and the front seam/box pleat in; it's ready to connect back-to-front as soon as I get a chance to sit down at the sewing machines again.

Mostly, I cooked yesterday. Bone-in chicken breasts and ground sirloin were on special at the store this week; I cooked up and deboned two packages of the chicken and browned up three packages of ground beef. Dinner should be a little quicker for the rest of the week!

I felt so domestic.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wardrobe Gaposis

I'm missing a wardrobe basic...a short sleeved white shirt.

A white shirt (not sleeveless or tank) was the wardrobe requirement for the joint choir in the city-wide prayer service on Sunday, which was at the baseball stadium. I thought I was good, but, when I went to the short sleeved white shirts.

Then I remembered that they were all getting just a little tired looking and I'd retired them from the closet last fall, with the intention of making a couple of new ones.

I forgot.

So, I made do with a long-sleeved linen shirt (which may have been wiser from a sunscreen perspective anyway), but I've got to put the short sleeved shirts...probably a t and a campshirt...on the To Do Soon list.

It's always sumthin'...

Monday, June 05, 2006

The To-Do List

I need to make one. Helps keep things in focus and all that. So, for this week:
Catch the budget up (I've got to get that done; DH is beginning to grumble)
Finish the garments that are cut Burda WOF skirt, the champagne shell, the pink twinset.
Make the last eight altar blankets.
Clean off the computer desk (the main Hot Spot of my Endless incoming paperwork)
Mop the kitchen floor...the little Wet Swiffer job just isn't cutting the mustard; I need to haul out the bucket and the mop and the Serious floor cleaner.

If I get all of that actually *done* (or at least caught up to mostly current) amongst the unscheduled spontenaity of summer, I'll consider it a successful week ;)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player:Scott Brenner, The Kingdom and the Power

On the Bookstand:I actually re-read Frank Herbert's Dune this week; boy that is a complex book. I thought so when I first read it almost 30 years ago and I still think so now. Unfortunately, I don't think the rest of the books in that series quite lived up to the first one, but I haven't read the newer books that Herbert's son has collaborated on.

On the Sewing Table:The stretch poly shell, the pink LH Sweater Set, the Khaki Burda WOF skirt (I do have the zipper applied to the proper pocket piece; I did that the same time I put the zipper in the pocket for my Daphne pants); 8 altar blankets and capris for DD that only need the waistband elastic applied. That'll probably be all I get done today; she has to wear them tomorrow. I also measured my favorite aging set of waterbed sheets so that I can get the two 6-yard chunks of extra-wide cotton fabric turned into sheet sets sometime soon.

Projects completed this week: Finished the knit gauchos last Saturday and my khaki Daphne pants earlier this week.

Body-For-Life progress: AAAIIIIIEEEE! Why did I put this on the Snapshot list??? I'm increasing my fitness...I'm going farther on the aerobic training, and I've got to bump up my weights before I do my upper body training today, but the scales...I gave both DH and myself a mini-lecture on the need to Eat Right. But we're having problems with that as we don't have a good dinner time in the evening; or at least, we have been busy every night for the last couple of weeks...makes firing up the grill for some nice lean protien harder than it should be. When we can finally get the eating kicked in, I think we'll see some progress.

Off to the Rat Race... ;)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Busy Weekend

I think this is the last 'booked up' weekend for a while...this weekend happens to be Pentecost, so there is the Global Day of Prayer event in our city; we are part of the combined congregation choir, so there is a rehearsal mid-morning tomorrow and the event itself at the local baseball stadium on Sunday (thankfully, our weather forecast is for pleasant weather...or at least as pleasant as it gets in Alabama in June). But it's also the first Saturday of the month, so we have dress rehearsal tonight for the Uplink service tomorrow night. And Saturday morning first thing, there's a meeting for folks who are small group leaders at church (which includes DH and I).

I may not get a Snapshot posted tomorrow...we'll see how the day goes. :D I've got to get a pair of khaki capris sewn for DD by Sunday...she's in the kid's choir, and they're dressing the same as the adult choir, in khaki and white. Unfortunately, her khaki capris from last year won't zip this year. But it's a TNT pattern that's quick to make, so I think I can get it done.

So, Monday, I'm going to take a Deep Breath...and see what Normal is like.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Preppy Shoes

DS2 needed some new sneakers, so while we were at Shoe Carnival I decided I'd look for the 'classic Keds' I wanted to wear as the overbooked wife of the overbooked husband in the skit for the Saturday night Uplink service...and lookit the Keds I found:

Aren't they a HOOT! And the best part was that they were on sale...and w/SC's 'buy one get one half price' thing, they ended up costing me all of $5.

I may even wear them after the skit's over... :P