Thursday, July 31, 2008

Costume Maintenance '08: Day 1

Today and tomorrow are somewhat shortened workdays since I've got to deal w/getting kids school schedules. Today I got an hour and a half in at church before running over to The Actor's school (which is MUCH closer to church than it is to our house!) but tomorrow I'll have to go w/DD to her middle school before I drive up to church. So I probably won't get there till around noonish tomorrow.

But today I cleaned out the room that is our designated sewing space for close to the next three weeks. For some reason, that room is the collection spot for incoming packages, as well as anything anyone doesn't know where else to put. But I moved and neatened and got the wooden (bounce-free) tables accessible for machines, and I went to the attic and collected a rackful of costumes that need some work. Most just need a bias tape tab put on the neckline to hold a snap, and the snap applied, but there are a few that have some other issues that need to be dealt with. One needs to be disassembled and put back together with the RIGHT side of the fabric out (it'll look ever so much better that way...). I worked about three hours total, and made 5 trips from the office end of the building to the opposite end, which is where the attic stairs are. I got my workout today.

I made a list of odd things I would need to repair the costumes (bias tape, snaps, tassles...) and stopped at Hancock's on the way home to pick up what I could (got the snaps; the tassle rack was EMPTY). Wouldn't you know, Vogue patterns were on sale for $3.95 each! So I got:

Vogue 1063, Vogue 1064, Vogue 2989 (I've decided that high-in-the-back-v-neck looks really good on me) and Vogue 8298

I really should know better. When do I think I'm going to sew these?

Ah, well, they'll be there when I get there... ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cutting and Ordering

I opted to go ahead and cut the brown tops yesterday; I cut out three (they're listed on the bottom of the WIP list on the sidebar). I also cut out the interfacing for the front of the currently-on-the-sewing-table white KS blouse. Somehow I had overlooked cutting that piece last year when I cut the shirt out and it was hampering my progress somewhat. ;) Now I'll see if I can finish the shirt off in the next few days and proceed to the brown shirts. I've got two purple pieces lying on the cutting table; I don't know if I'll try to cut them out now or wait till I get the brown things done. Of course, it probably would help if I were more than 75% sure which patterns I wanted to use the purple fabrics for...decisions, decisions!

Also, I fell into a marketing trap yesterday. A month ago, Hot Patterns announced a 'buy-two-get-one' sale for the month of July. I went to the site and made a short list of patterns I'd like, but didn't order. I was kind of struggling because I've only made two of my Hot Patterns up so far, and neither one has been a rocking success, although I think they're both potentially good. Yesterday, I got an email 'reminder' that the sale was ending in just a couple of days and I lost my perspective for a moment. Click, click, now I've three Hot Patterns on their way to me... the Weekender Boot Cut Chinos, the Metropolitan Sleek & Chic Skirt and Plan & Simple Boy-Short Body. I'm ever the optimist... ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Sewing around the Edges"

I mentioned before I took the week off that I was hoping to do a little 'sewing around the edges'; and believe me, a 'little' is exactly what I've accomplished!

I pulled out the Kwik Sew white blouse that I cut out a year ago and began to work on it. So far, I've just been preparing pieces (cuffs, collar, sleeve vents, stuff like that) and I haven't really gotten any assembly done yet.

And, I'm working slowly on getting a couple of patterns traced. I've got about half of Vogue 7903 traced, and I've got about six more patterns pulled to work on but I'm not sure I'll get to them. We'll see.

Meantime, catch up work continues. Thursday, I'll be hauling machines to church for the annual costume repair/replace event, and we'll be sewing Bible costumes for anyone who wants one. I think we'll work on the new angel costumes, too. We get to use the room until Aug. that'll be my main occupation for a while.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jealousy is a Sin

My Sewing Cohort and Expo Travel Buddy Miss A is going to New York next week, with intentions of going to Mood Fabrics whilst she and her hubby are there.

She asked me if I wanted anything.

How do you answer a question like that?

I don't know that I really want anything from Mood, given the bucks I've dropped at Textile Fabrics in the last couple of months, although I'd LOVE to wander around there-in.

But maybe I'll tell her if she gets to Kashi's to call me on my cell phone...I bet she could get some deals there ;)

On other 'oh, rats!' topics, the Martha Pullen Sewing School was in town last week. Somehow, I've never managed to get on the loop for registration materials for that event. Since I'm not into heirloom sewing, quilting or machine embroidery I really hadn't worried about it too much. But, if I read the post at Stitcher's Guild right, Louise Cutting was in town for that event this year. And because I was off the net last week, I didn't realize it.

I think I assumed Louise was going to be at Martha's Texas show.

Ah, well, it was 'stay home week'...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I had really good intentions

I know I said I'd be back w/a choir post. But My Sweet Baboo and I got assigned to a non-choir job this morning kind of at the last moment, and I didn't get to get any pictures. Choir Sundays should be back next week...

And, no, I didn't get half of what I wanted to get done, done. But I did get some stuff it was worth doing. But I missed everyone!

Bloglines says I have 186 posts to read. Wonder when I'll get to that... ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #21

I forgot to take the camera in today! So...maybe I'll get the full choir photo next week...

Anyway, this month's colors are: blue jeans w/either gold, purple or brown

Yes, this is the goofiest pose ever; not only am I standing funny but there's a pile of clothes that my oldest DS is supposed to take back to a friend lying on the floor behind me. I didn't think I could Photoshop those out...although I confess to thinking hard about trying!! But, overlooking the goofiness, that jacket is the only blue denim jacket I've got...gotta do something about that one of these days... Vogue 8045. I'm wearing it with a purple poly crepe knit version of Loes Hinse's Cowl Top, in the short length, minus the cowl, with short sleeves. This was my 'wearable test' of that pattern, and I've worn it and worn it and worn it.

Of course, the jeans are plain ol' Lees. I've got some denim to try to fabricate my own...someday!

But I'm off to spend the week doing housework and laundry and maybe sewing around the edges; I'll see you in next Sunday's choir post (hopefully I'll remember the camera...)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Lightbulb Goes ON

Every once in a while. something does click in this ol' brain of mine. It finally clicked on a better way to cut out patterns when I read Kathleen Fasanella's post on rotary cutting yesterday.

One of my grumbles about cutting is pattern erosion...the little nicks and slices that seem to happen no matter how hard one tries not to do that. It's especially bad on the costuming patterns, because we're moving in such a hurry.

Obviously, the answer is to chalk-trace the pattern onto the fabric and then take it away before cutting.


I don't even think it will take much longer to trace it than it does to anchor it down...particularly after I've had a bit of practice....

Now, where'd I put that chalk?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The quarterly break

Back when I took the blogging break in April, I realized I needed some blog-free time on a sorta regular basis...just to keep things caught up. So, I grabbed the calendar and marked off one week every three months to call the 'At Home week' week to work at home, stay off the 'net and hopefully catch up what's behind. I picked the third week of the month for that...and my first regularly scheduled blogging break will be next week. So I'm planning to be Off the 'Net Mon- Saturday of next week; Lord knows I need some focus on stuff time...things got way behind when I was sewing the pirate stuff and only worse when we went home. So I've got to work on my home stuff.

Hopefully, if I do this once a quarter, I won't have to shut down for a whole month again.

But it's good; things have gotten to the point that I really don't even want to sew due to the pressure of all the 'undone' of everything else. Can't have that!!!

So, worry not that I'm not around next week. I'll be busy. ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

After yesterday's foot-in-mouth post (mouse-in-mouth?) I thought I'd post something SAFE today...

DD # 2 is 12 today...somehow, that makes me feel older than my birthday did.

And, yikes, I just realized that means my baby will become a teenager less than a week after my 50th birthday! That's a one-two punch...

Anyway, Happy Birthday kiddo!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mysteries of Church Work

So, I'm cleaning away in the costume storage area this week, cataloging and matching and seeing what needs mending and making notes of what is missing...

And what has just 'shown up'. Like this:

That green thing is a poncho, with a stole cope, as Nanflan explained in the comments. (Baptists and Pentecostals don't do liturgy/clerical wear...I honestly thought it was a fancy poncho. My apologies to the people who observe the liturgical calendar with appropriate dress and banners and such!)

I've no idea where it came from; it was just hanging amongst the 'to be washed/mended' costumes.

Actually, this is one of the least shudder-inducing things to turn up in the costume area in a while. On the empty racks, I found a couple of pieces that defy amethyst purple floral jacquard double knit women's Bible costume that has small disintegrated places in it, and a striped poly interlock vest, with a tie, on which the shoulder seams have been zig-zagged down, open (at the outer edges of the 5/8" seams), with contrasting thread. I thought maybe it was supposed to go with the jacquard garment, but it's about 3" longer, so that's not it. And there has been even uglier stuff than that... (would you believe I found a mermaid tail? For about a size 5 little girl?) and that doesn't consider all the out-of date clothes than just get dropped off in the costume area. Did they mean for it to be costumes, or was it supposed to go to the homeless ministry (which is in another building)?

What am I supposed to do with this stuff? I don't know if it really belongs to the church, or to one of the other ministries in the church, or if someone was just cleaning out their attic at home and thought we'd *love* to have it.

I guess I've just got some questions to ask.

(and I really only meant to edit my errors out, but I thought of more and better examples of what I really meant. The attic is constantly a mess; either stuff that is needed is disappearing, or stuff we can't possibly use and don't have room to store is being left for us...)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I said 'No'

Twice, in the same day.

This week is 'Camp Crazy' week at church...sort of our updated version of VBS. The kids are there from 9 - 3, and they do an activity (like roller skating or swimming), have lunch, have Bible lessons and team competitions...anyway, the kids love it.

It runs from Mon - Thurs, and it has become my annual 'Go to church and clean out the costume storage area' time. Only yesterday I had some other tasks to do there regarding records for my Wednesday night jr high girls, so I'll hit the cleanup today.

But, while I was in the classroom, one of the Children's pastors came by with a request. Kids' Camp is next week, and he had some costuming/set design things he needed sewn. He thought it would only take a couple of hours (after hearing him out, I'd guess it would be more like 4-6 hours, but I may have a fancier notion of what he wanted than is actually the case). It just so happened that when he stuck his head in the door to ask, I was looking at a wedding dress a friend had brought by to see if I could alter it for her. 'It just needs the straps taken up,' she said, 'And there's this thing in it with a bunch of zippers that we could probably cut out.'

But I'll be working at church until 3 every day; there's something happening every night this week...I wouldn't even be able to look at the stuff he was asking about until Friday. And Kids Camp starts Monday morning...or maybe even Sunday afternoon... Anyway, they'd need it IMMEDIATELY for stage set up.

So I said no. I felt bad to not help...just a little...but I just didn't think I could squeeze it in. Not and have clean clothes and such next week, anyway....

Then it was back to the wedding dress. Turns out it was a store sample, with a strange inner zipper thing that apparently allowed ladies in sizes 4 - 22 to try on the dress and get the back somewhat cinched so they could see what it would look like in their size. And it didn't have straps...just very narrow shoulders on a sleeveless v-neck style. With appliqued lace and bead sewn over the shoulders. My friend needed a petite adjustment to the armsceye, and the only place to do it was the shoulder seams.

I just didn't feel like I could risk doing that well. The appliques and beading would have to be removed, the shoulder seam unpicked and adjusted, and the trim re-applied.

I did think the inner zipper thing could be salvaged as a sort of inner corsolette, if the extra zippers were unpicked and the excess over/underlap removed.

But I referred her to an alterations shop to get it done. Again, I hated to say no, but I didn't have enough confidence in my ability to sew such a high visibility alteration perfectly.

Not to mention I wasn't sure the crinolined skirt would even fit inside my sewing room...

So, I'm still on my original plan for the week...clean/organize/make notes on needed repairs on the costumes and see how much brown/purple I can get sewn while the laundry is running when I'm home... ;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Textile Acquisiton

I spent a bit longer at the outlet than I intended; it was about 4ish when we rolled into Textile Fabrics instead of 3 as I'd planned. And I saw some beyootiful stuff (Italian milled super 120 wool/lycra...would've been $50/yard...but did it feel wonderful!!!!), but I managed to exercise great restraint and only got a couple of pieces of fabric besides the lining I really stopped for. Two of the three things I bought really aren't worth trying to photograph... the purple Ambiance lining and some chocolate brown rayon/lycra jersey just won't show up in a photo. But this white cotton shirting is sharp enough that it at least photographs. ;)

And the kids were not a problem...I let them take in a Gameboy and a book...they sat in a corner and kept themselves occupied. DS commented as we left, 'Having something to do really makes a stop at the fabric store painless!'

Hm. Noted for future reference.

But back to the fabric...that white jacquard will be a long sleeved blouse. I'm in SORE need of white shirts; now I've got fabric for three short sleeved white shirts and one long sleeved white shirt. I'm aiming for a White Shirt Week real soon... ;)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #20

This Month's colors: Blue jeans w/either chocolate brown, goldish-yellow or dark purple.

I didn't get to take a photo of the choir today; next week! And, really, all that's a deal on this anyway is the jacket...those are regular ol' straight-legged Lee jeans. But the jacket is Loes Hinse's Retro Jacket made in a boucley-type poly/rayon crepe. This stuff doesn't take a crease well, and the seams seem a little bubbly to me. I've still got a chunk left; I think I'll turn it into something that isn't the least bit tailored...something like the Sewing Workshop Plaza Jacket, maybe? It's drapey enough for that...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Road Trip

I finished the jacket to the buttons/buttonholes last night and I'm very pleased with's coming out way cuter than I expected.

But, I don't know if I'll get to it today or not; I've got to run up to Madisonville, Kentucky and back to collect my two youngest offspring, who spent an extra week w/their grandparents (that's about the halfway point to Danville, IN). Fortunately, this means I'm driving right by Textile Fabrics, who are in the midst of their annual 50% off all fabric sale.

If all goes well, I (and two no doubt disgusted kiddos) will be hitting Textile about 3 pm.

I've *got* to pick up some Ambiance...depending upon how the day is going that may be all I manage. We'll see.

I'm wearing a rosy pink linen Athena blouse and khakis, just in case anyone in the Nashville area stops by at the same time...say hi... ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blessings of Light

A functional light really helps! Here's a hint of what the jacket's going to look like. Of course, the color's wrong but you can get the idea. I've got it constructed to the second round of topstitching now. So far, so good.

And thanks to Carolyn for the good wishes comment on yesterday's post! I faced this day with some trepidation, but decided it's the Year of Jubilee and I'm going to see how many ways I can make that concept apply to the next 12 months...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lights out

Jeeminy, I just replaced the light bulb on my serger; I sat down yesterday to start stitching the McCall's jacket and was immediately reminded that the light bulb on my sewing machine went kaput just before we left town.

So another visit to the sewing machine dealer is in order. Sigh.

But I managed to get the jacket ready for the first round of (contrast) top stitching, dark needle notwithstanding. HOWEVER, I do believe I want a light there before I start that next step.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hitting the Queue

How long has it been since I sewed something from that queue? 'Bout time I did something from it...

Since we're using brown in choir for the next two months, I thought it would be a good time to sew my brown-embroidered denim...and I have a test of McCall's 5191 jean jacket that I cut out of a printed cotton/lycra sateen back on Feb. 28. I've got New Stuff to trace and cut, but until I can manage to get into tracing mode, I thought I'd sew up that jacket.

So far, all I've done is fuse on a couple of pieces of interfacing, but I expect to get the thread changed on the machines today and get into it. ;)

After my routine dentist visit this morning. sigh.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Back to the Real World

We had a great visit (I didn't get photos of postable things; but I'm hoping others in the family did and I'll post what comes up if it applies). My Sweet Baboo and I even managed a trip into Indy on Saturday (the 5th). He visited Train Express, and I dropped in on JoAnn's (both on 86th convenient). It was a very small JoAnn's, but they were running a sale on Vogue patterns and I happened to have my list with me, so I grabbed a few:

Vogue 8383. I like the sleeveless shirtdress, but I think I may redraft the skirt so that it's, say, a half circle instead of a gathered waist for a smoother look. We'll see. It'll depend on the fabric.

Vogue 2975 I've waffled on it for a while, but I finally decided I'd try it. The pleated top intrigues me, and I really like the neckline on the jacket. It was worth the sale price.

The Adri wardrobe patterns have been popular on Pattern Review; I finally added a couple to my stash: Vogue 1055 and Vogue 2976. They're similar but not identical and look very cool and workable for summer. And 1055 has a bias skirt with pockets! Hm...that should be interesting.

But my motivation for going to JoAnn's in the first place was to pick up some Burda patterns. There was one pattern per slot in the Burda cabinet, and several on my list were already gone. But I did get two: Burda 7827, a trench-reminiscent dress and Burda 2493, to add to the costume collection against the day when we actually costume a performance of 'The Gospel According to Scrooge' in the correct time periods.

And, after looking over the whole fabric offering two or three times, I purchased a yard and a half of brown rayon/poly blend to make a tank shell from one of the new wardrobe patterns. Our Choir colors for July and August are something I didn't expect...chocolate brown, eggplant purple and harvest gold, worn w/blue jeans. I had one brown short sleeved sweater and one rather poor purple t shirt that are right; I've got some purple stuff in the stash but I needed something brown. It was way cheap ($4 for the whole piece? I need to check the receipt) and drapey enough to work. sewing this week will likely involve purple and brown and, hopefully, high speeds ;). I've got to catch up on all the other stuff that's now behind because we were gone...