Saturday, December 30, 2006

Laundry Day

We got into town last night and will have a couple of days here before leaving again...

I'm trying to get all the laundry done so I'm not washing clothes while we do 'Family Christmas' on Jan 1...(weird, I know, but it works for us...)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday break! I'm hoping to catch a few minutes for sewing while we're home,trying to get that 'fabric out' number a little higher. I fear it's kind of wishful thinking at this point. But, ya never doesn't take too long to knock out a couple of t shirts... ;)

Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve! We'll be home, fonduing and playing Trivial Pursuit with the offspring... it's one of our traditions ;)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We're off to Hoosierland...we'll be back next week, then off again. Then back, then DH has a business trip from which he will return the day school resumes.

So much for a nice, quiet, relaxing holiday....

But I expect to enjoy it nonetheless, with an opportunity to see dear ones and just get a break away from normal.

And we'll get some traditions that we miss when we don't make it home, like the candelight Christmas Eve service at St Paul UM in Elkhart...

(Note to self: take kleenex, you know you cry everytime we sing 'Silent Night')

DH will take a laptop, so I *might* get to check in, but if I don't, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and wadder-free New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do You Match Socks?

As I was doing laundry yesterday, matching and rolling socks for everyone, I happend to think of something DH had said the other day.

I have an odd sock basket in the laundry room...every sock that comes through and ends up mateless goes in the basket, in hopes that the missing one will show up sooner or later (I won't embarrass myself by revealing how old some of the socks in that basket are. Just call me an unbridled optimist....). Anyway, DH had run out of socks and I was behind on laundry, so I encouraged him to check through the odd sock basket and see if he had any in there. I think he found two pairs of his socks (good enough), but about 8 pairs of socks belonging to the kids.

"You ought to match those up once in a while" he commented as he took his socks upstairs. "I do," I replied, "I just haven't for a bit." (I usually do it when I can't put any more socks in's a small basket that fits on a cabinet shelf).

Now, I was stewing over this (just a little) yesterday, I thought of references to sock matching I'd picked up from the boards and various books. I actually considered designating a basket as the Sock Basket, period, and just putting all socks into it as they come out of the dryer and letting everyone turn, match and roll their own.

If there was a spot in the laundry/sewing room for such a basket, I probably would do it. Anyway, for the moment I decided to just keep doing what I've been doing and consider it a blessing to the family.

But I I in the minority? How does the rest of the world handle socks on laundry day? :D

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Faux Tails

I've been meaning to get some photos of the 'Tailed Coats' we used for Scrooge for ages; since I happened to have a camera with me while I was working w/costumes yesterday, I snapped a couple of quick shots. Most of the coats are dark blue or black; this one happens to be light enough that you can see what was done.

Disclaimer: this actually was not my idea; the guys' costumes that came in the donation from the church in Florida (including this one) were all done this way.

Anyway, what those clever Floridian seamstresses did was to
1)cut away the front of the coats from the waist down...from the front edge to the sideseams
2)Attach the cutaway portions to the bottom of the back of the jacket so that the finished edges met in the middle, and the cut edges were in the new seam and along the sides (Um, I just noticed that on this coat, the finished edges are the outside and bottom of the tails; they adjusted the cut edges to fit, turned them under, then met those edges in the middle)
3)finished the raw edges (bottom of the front, along the sides) with bias tape, or gimp applied over a serged or zig-zaggged edge.


This jacket is especially interesting because of the pockets...I believe it was, in its former life, a 70's 'leisure suit' type coat; it had flapped patch pockets. The flaps were retained on the front, and the patch pockets are, um, adorning the tails. Amusing up close...but barely noticeable on stage.

I've made costume tail coats from scratch and this way; I must say, this is a great quick-and-dirty answer to the guys costume dilemma.

I just wish I'd posted it early enough to help out ladies who are costuming Dickens shows this year....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Search For Christmas

Our live nativity turned into a multi-media family service, 'Blu's Search for Christmas' (um, Blu is a goofy blue gorilla puppet; he's one of the characters our children's pastor has used for years; I'm pretty sure he predates the popular blue dog) on Christmas Eve morning. We'll be out of town, but I went down today and helped pull some costumes for the kids who will be participating. You can tell how thrilled they are with the whole wait-for-lights-and-sound-and-etc-to-be-right deal as they waited to shoot the video version that will air on our tv spot Sunday morning.

It's interesting; all our stashed kids' costumes are for kid characters...that is, they're for the Easter production in which the kids play first century children. For this project, the kids were to be adult characters... Joseph, Mary and shepherds. I really had to scramble to get them costumes that were long enough without swallowing them whole, and find head drapes that sort of worked. I'll readily admit that we have severe clashing of pattern and color going on...but as it's just kids and puppets(i.e., obviously not intended to be realistic) we can get away with it. Sort of.

So, I suppose at some time we need to make some kid-sized adult character costumes. I'll put that on the 'To-Do' list...

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Holiday Treat

Just in case someone hasn't already heard it, if you want a real holiday treat, check out Gorgeous' Things blog for today -- Gorgeous Things' Blog: Joyeux Noel!

Not only is Ann a Sewing Diva extraordinaire, she sings like a nightingale...

She made me cry. ;)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Excuses

Ok, last year I was behind on Christmas shopping/baking/house cleaning/decorating/etc., because I was sewing 60 hours a week for Scrooge. Somehow, though, I did have my cards (well, the annual family Christmas Epistle) in the mail by this time last year, Scrooge or no Scrooge.

This year, I only did a pinch of sewing for the Nightmare on Scrooge Street knock-off; I've been shopping off and on and I only have a couple of more people to pick up things for and I'm done.

But the Epistles still aren't mailed; neither is the package that's going to DH's brother in California. And we've got one day short for mailing this year; it's gotta be there by the 23rd, since the 24th is Sunday.

I didn't realize that until yesterday.

And we even talked about mailing all the other gifts, too, just in case the flu or a nasty winter storm hits anywhere in the family; that way, we could just batten down the hatches and stay home. But, since I don't have everything that would need to be mailed, I guess that's not an option. Or, at least, it's not an option that would work by Christmas. We could still send the stuff...they'd still get it before New Year's Day....

That is an emergency back up plan only.

And I refuse to go the the malls this weekend... ;)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Must Mend

DD came downstairs today wearing the same jeans she'd worn all week (eww). Turns out her other two pairs are both in the mending (my bad). I tried to get her to change into her dressy pants, but she fiddled around until it was too late to change. So, she went to school in those same jeans...again....

Looks like I'm going to be patching jeans again. Immediately.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Two tops done

When you've got a bad cold, it's hard to do anything much. Budget takes too much concentration. Cleaning house takes too much energy. Even addressing Christmas cards was beyond my focus.

But I can sew. Dunno why I can do that and not the other stuff. So, I carted some lotion-coated tissues to the sewing nook and cranked out two tops...the Jalie 2005 for DD and the Vogue 8323 princess t for me. I did reviews (see the link on the sidebar...the Jalie review is an update from 2004)on them, if you're wanting details.

Today I have to do some Christmas errands, cold or not. I'll try not to breath on people. ;)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Choir Skirt

I finally got a photo of DD in her stretch velvet skirt after last night's Christmas program...I posted the photo and review at PatternReview. She was pleased with her skirt, but doesn't like the fact that she *must* wear a slip with it or static electricity causes it to adhere like a wet t-shirt. It's an elegant looking skirt that I think cost $9, and, if I'm careful, I *think* I could still get a cap sleeve T for her from the remnants, which would (another reason for the currently cut-out cheapo knit test of the Jalie t in her size).

But I need to photo document the flounce drafting process next time I do it; I've had two or three questions about it in the review comments. I've drafted flounces/circle skirts with plain 'ol geometry several times; It really isn't difficult...just needs a good calculator, an accurate compass and a little patience ;).

This made such a nice skirt for DD that I think I'll make a couple more from some interlock I've got hanging around it the stash...probably after Christmas.

ETA: (By request).... Here's the link for the photo: Choir Skirt.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday Night Fiddling

DH has rather faced the facts and recognized that 1)He's got so much on his plate that he either needs to drop some things or get another plate and 2)He is not dedicating any outside time to his BSF class and so is getting very little benefit from it. Consequently he has decided that, in the interest of maintaining sanity, he needs to withdraw from the Monday night BSF class. I'm sorry that it's come to that, but I can see that he is not getting nearly the benefit from the class I did...he just doesn't have enough time; especially as he has church commitments on Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights and every other Thursday night. Freeing his Mondays will give him just a little breathing room.

Now, I could still make it a point to have dinner over and out of the way by 6, as if everyone were leaving to go to Bible Study, and then still use Mondays as my 'Kitchen Table Sewing' nights...the nights when I trace/alter patterns or cut fabric, but, well, we'll see. We're normally done w/dinner in the neighborhood of 7; but the table is normally in use for homework virtually all evening. So last night may have been my last regular pattern alteration/cutting night.

But I did do a fair amount of work; first I played around with my Cadeau T pattern; I marked on the front where I want to put that bow (1/2 way between the side seam and the CF), then measured the tie ends and marked them so that I would, in effect, be stretching the ties about 15% when attaching them to the bottom of the get the blousing effect that shown on the line drawing. Then I traced new neck band/facing pieces, pivoting them so that the shoulders are 1" narrower than the original. Finally I walked the seams on the top/sleeve joins and narrowed the sleeves so that the seam length and the notches match.

The next pattern up is the princess-seamed T, Vogue 8323. There are a few reviews for this pattern up; they all say that the sleeve cap is low and has too much ease. So, instead of doing my normal 8-in-the-shoulders-morph-to-bigger everywhere else hassle, I traced a size 14 for both view A (surplice) and View C (scoop), but only rough cut it around the shoulder and armsceye, leaving extra tissue. Then I marked the side front/side back seamlines on the scoop neck view front and back, and the side front and back pieces (the side pieces are the same for all convenient!). Then I overlaid the side front/front and side back/back pieces at the seamlines (a little tricky, owing to the curve, but doable), and pulled out my TNT Loes Hinse Cowl Top pattern. Matching Centers and shoulders, I traced the shoulder/armsceye/underarm from the Cowl Top onto the Vogue tracing, blending where the lines were the same at the neckline and upper sideseam. The result was that the armsceye was moved up and in about 1", and, conveniently, all the changes were on the side front/side back. Then I just traced the sleeves from the Cowl top...I'll use those instead of the Vogue sleeves. When I'm using a less complicated pattern (i.e., one that doesn't have curvy seams to deal with ), I'll take a couple of pictures of the process. Anyway, that should make that top fit...unless I need to lower the bust point. But on a stretchy top, that's kind of hard to determine. So the first top will be from a cheap knit, just to check that.

I got that far when DH and the kids got home last night, but DD had some homework yet to finish, which she'd spread out over the family room floor. So I decided to just keep going. Earlier this fall, I'd picked up a mystery poly/lycra knit print from Hancock's for $2.95/yd. I'd originally intended it to be a wrap dress, but last night I pulled out the wrap dress pattern and looked it over good and realized that I'm a good 10 pounds over what I'd want to be to wrap myself in jersey knit. So, I put that pattern back. There will be fabric available when I'm down to size (I believe, I believe....) Instead, I laid the knit out and cut out the Cadeau and the Scoop neck view of the Vogue pattern, w/the cap sleeves from the Cowl Top. There was a bit of fabric left, and I'd traced a DD-sized copy of Jalie 2005 about 6 months ago, so I went ahead and cut a t out for her from the remnant...I added 2" in length to the top; it looked a little short (it has been 6 months).

DD finished her homework just as I had one tabletop's worth of patterns laid out and ready to cut, but I went ahead and started cutting and finished up around midnight. I may have just given myself an excuse to put off sewing the thank-you gifts a little longer, but I did want to get these things tested out. Fabrics that are wanting these patterns are in backlog...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Overdue Thanks

In August of 2004, 5 dear ladies from church showed up at my house to help me pack up the household goods on very short notice...shortly thereafter I purchased some fabric to make them appreciation gifts. But life didn't give me a break in which to put said gifts together.

That's one of those long-delayed projects that I'm using the available 'down' (as in no major sewing projects due) time to catch up. I've got four cut out...they're all the same pattern...but the fifth is different and it'll wait until the others are done.

I don't *think* any of these ladies stop by here, but just in case I'll hold off on what they are...for now...

I'll post photos after they've been distributed.

Oh, it will feel *SO GOOD* to have finally taken care of that!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nightmare on Scrooge Street

We just couldn't leave Scrooge alone; last night's skit was a complete parody of the original production and included a ranting, shrewish Pegarty (Scrooge's maid); an absent Angel 1, The Queen of the Trailer Parks for Angel 2, a Southern Belle who collected donations for the poor and beat Scrooge w/her purse, an Animal Trainer who couldn't get her collection of birds to speak with a British accent and the afore-mentioned pint sized Angel 3, who appeared to be from the Island of Perpetual Tickling (a reference to Veggie Tales)...not to mention a kilt-wearing Scrooge who spoke w/a thick Scottish brogue. The final song was a parody of the much-repeated song at the end of the true production, modified so as to be meaningful to the deacons...and it just so happens that our church elder, who is over the deacon ministry, is named went together well.

We got some serious practice at operating under adverse conditions, though. There were communication glitches, and the folks that were planning the party didn't realize we had planned to be the evening's entertainment...they thought we were doing a little five-minute thing that would fit in w/all the other entertainment planned. We had no idea there was other entertainment planned, so instead of performing while folks were munching dessert and drinking coffee, we ended up doing our bit while the main course was served. And, due to technical difficulties, the dinner ended up being served in the cavernous, dark,echoing fellowship hall instead of our youth we weren't even on stage, but just kind of at one end of the room.

I think the three tables who were right in front where they could actually see and hear were amused...and everyone 'got' the song at the end...but it was too bad that the work we did wasn't able to be presented as we had hoped. Still, it was a good training exercise for the troupe, and it was fun to put together. And we learned a bit about being specific in communication... ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006


So, this is DD's costume (complete w/a facemask borrowed from the puppet team) for the skit tonight.

I'll explain it in detail tomorrow... ;)

I finished her skirt last night, too. Now she's complaining that she doesn't like the top that I've told her to wear with

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ha! I knew it!

Late last night, while we were discussing the sewing I planned to do today, DD looked up at me and said, 'Hey, Mom, guess what?'

'Um, you need a black skirt and white top for your Christmas bit on Tuesday?'

She grinned at me. 'Yep.'

'So, did you just find out today?'

'Um, no...'

I sighed. 'So, when did your choir director actually tell you this?'


Am I ever glad I cut out that stretch velvet skirt for her Tuesday night. I've got to make her hooded cloak today, then I can sew the black skirt.

I am allowing myself a few moments of smugness today. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quiz Mania

We hated quizzes in school, right? So now we take them just for fun on the 'net...

The latest one to make the rounds is the "Which American Accent Do You Have" quiz.

Like you don't know.

Well, I took it, oh, a month or so ago just to see if it was accurate or not; there were a couple of questions that could've gone either way, and I came up as having an 'Inland North' accent...which suprised me, because I do not sound like a Minnesot'n. So I changed the 'maybes' and then was labeled 'Midland', which is accurate, as I grew up in central Indiana. Just for grins I re-took it today and didn't have any 'maybe' answers...perhaps I was just tired the first time? Anyway, the results were the same as trial two:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
The South
North Central
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I'm kind of interested as to why we find these things worth doing. This one wasn't too bad, at least as far as the questions themselves went, but I've taken some that are obviously biased and to which I want to answer 'None of the above!!!' on over half the questions.

I suspect we subconciously use the quizzes to judge ourselves against the 'norm', whatever that is, and gain some self-validation out of the process.

But what do I know....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Authentic Ethnic

Thanks to Erin's A Dress A Day blog, I've found a really interesting 'fashion photo' site. While I really enjoy the fashion pics in The Sartorialist, those are generally photos of the young and the lovely or the aged and refined...folks who don't mind spending on fashion.

She Wears Shwe-shwe is a different look at fashion. From South Africa, Ann carefully approaches ladies who are wearing variations of shwe-shwe (Shweshwe - the ethnic-print "indigo cloth" synonymous with traditional black South African dress -- from 'She Wears Shwe-Shwe' post) and photographs them in their dresses or skirts, then (and this is what is cool) does her best to give the ladies a print of their photograph later. These are not wealthy women; most of the garments are made by the ladies themselves or a friend or family member (although a few have been purchased).

She's also showing the process of making a 'panel skirt'...a very interesting concept, in which the panels are printed on the fabric and..well, she's got pictures that will explain it better than I could. But go look... ;)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh, Those Sales!

First it was The Sewing Place, with a fifteen percent off sale. I ordered the Burda pattern I talked about in the Dickens of a Pattern post back in September, and a Neue Mode pattern, V23440. Unfortunately, the Burda pattern is backordered, but I got the Neue Mode and the shoulderpads I also ordered today. I want to try that very nice basic blouse...eventually....

Then, there was the email from Linda of Emma OneSock. 20% off selected fabrics. I've been waiting for a good sale so I could order some of the black rayon/lycra 11 oz jersey...and 'while I was at it', I also ordered a piece of buttermilk knit. A reply from Linda said the buttermilk 'might' be sold out...oh, well, so long as I get the black, I'm good. I think I'll use it on the Cadeau instead of the black stretch velvet. The velvet would be lovely, dressy and festive, but I expect I'd wear the top more if it wasn't quite so fancy.

Finally, this morning there's an email from the HotPatterns 2, get 1 free. Aaaaiiiieee! No, I haven't bought any yet...but I do have three patterns on my wish list...

And there's no extra sewing time anywhere this week...

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Easiest Christmas Present

(Well, I loaded the photos to a draft post on Friday so I could quickly post this on Saturday the 2nd...but it's showing as being posted on Friday instead of Saturday....
I just learned something about posting that I'm glad to know: You can't draft posts ahead to publish at a later time, if you want the post date to be different than the day you draft)

This will absolutely be the easiest gift I'll give this year....
DS had a favorite sweatshirt; he'd pull it on, with a towel, and, with tongue firmly in cheek, proclaim, 'All Star Man to the Rescue!'. He was heartbroken when I finally convinced him that it was getting way too small, even for fun, and the last time it went through the wash, I stashed it, rather than putting it in his 'clean' basket. I think he believes it has gone to the Goodwill bin.

However, I had other wasn't tricky to do, but if you want the (very few) details, you can check the Review for a Sweatshirt Pillow. I intend to wrap it and give it to him for Christmas...won't he be surprised?

Once more, with feeling...

Ok, I blew it. Started one load of laundry yesterday, then suddenly remembered I had a major writing assignment with a deadline I basically spent the day at the computer.

The 2006 Family Christmas Epistle is now ready for the last two approvals...DD and DS...and signatures and it will be ready to mass produce for distribution. I really like to get all the cards in the mail by the 10th; dunno if I'll make it or not but the letter HAD to get written if I were going to have even a chance.

So...I'll hit the laundry today.

Oh, I did manage a run to Hancock's for a zipper.

I left with a zipper, a pattern (Vogue 8332) and 1 1/8 yds of black stretch velvet. The pattern and the velvet were on sale; I have a sneaky suspicion (from the 'Been there, done that' file) that DD is going to come home early next week and tell me that she needs to wear a black skirt and white top to the 5th grade choir Christmas concert. I intend to be ready...and I'm going to have black thread in the serger anyway for the spooky costume.

I'm thinking I'm going to make her a scaled down version of Loes Hinse's Swing Skirt; I think I could actually draft one for her with out too much trouble.

And with any luck, I'll have enough remnants of black stretch velvet to make contrasting neckline bands on my planned black-and-white stripe Cadeau top... ;)