Thursday, October 29, 2009

Down Time

Ok, not to wander into TMI territory, but you all know that there are...unpleasant...things one must do after passing one's 50th birthday in order to insure that everything is still working as it should, with no uglies forming in dark recesses to cause problems later.

So, right slap in the middle of the costuming, I have to stop and deal with one of these events tomorrow.

Which means I'm home today, um, getting ready for said event, but not really up to doing anything of import.

So I'm catching up on some of my blog-and-boards reading and getting myself all psyched up to sew some marvelous things...

I need a coat! I need a silk blouse (I have two lovely pieces of silk to turn into blouses at the first available moment)! I still want to do the brown BWOF jacket, which is traced and ready to muslin...I have some lovely knits that would make such nice work shirts...I have the Jalie jeans pattern, and some stretch denim...

But, no such thing today. Looking ahead, probably no such thing until at least Thanksgiving, unless I'm very creative with my time use. And December is not a month to crawl in the Nook and sew. I tell ya, I'm about ready to declare January and February as 'Lisa Sews for Lisa!' season.

Wonder if I could do a SWAP this year? I haven't done one since '06...I could use a fresh wardrobe

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Unpleasant Surprise

I'm really, really hoping this is temporary...

When I began sharing my sewing online on PatternReview, I used to host the photos. We were taking photos w/a conventional camera and having them developed; Photoworks automatically posted them online so I could link to them. It was a little awkward to do, but it was possible.

Two years into it, they reformatted everything and all the links went away. It took them about 8 or 9 months to have all the photos available again to fix the links.

I started using yahoo photos in the meantime; but as the pictures at photoworks became available I started re-linking...with the caveat that I had to link an entire album instead of just a photo. So I made albums of one photo when necessary; the old reviews I linked to an album w/a year's worth of sewing, with a note indicating what photo number that specific review referenced. Awkward, but at least there were photos linked. I used Yahoo for new photos in which only one linked to a review; for reviews that had several photos I linked to a Photoworks album.

The Yahoo photos went away; I moved everything on yahoo to flickr. Which has limits. So, photoworks became the archive for flickr; I keep about 2 years worth of photos on flickr, then move the older photos to phototworks a year at a time and link the year in an album as before.

But several months ago I noticed that the phototoworks slideshows linked to the reviews weren't working; the first picture in the album would come up, but none of the rest would. Photoworks had redone the slideshow format and the old one didn't work anymore. So, I began re-linking the albums as I encountered them.

Then, today I clicked on a photoworks link on one of my reviews and got a dead-end error page. 'The page you are looking for does not exist'.

So I went to photoworks and discovered that they have revamped the whole site. Again. The option to share just a link seems to have gone away; now I have to email someone. So I'm back to emailing myself the links to the albums so I can post them to the reviews.

And it looks like I'm going to have to go back and re-link all those reviews; once I figure out which ones are linked to photoworks and which ones are linked to flickr and which ones are linked to picasa (which, I discovered, is where all the photos uploaded to blogger go).


Unless this is temporary and the links will be restored once photoworks conversion is complete.

But, given their past non-support of external links, I hold virtually no hope of that being the case.

Double rats.


I did receive a reply to my query to customer service about links:

Thank you for contacting PhotoWorks. I am sorry to tell you that due to the recent site upgrade, previous links to images will not work any longer. It is no longer possible to link to photos stored in your photoworks account. You can do so through WebShots, Picasa, or another photo hosting site. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

I did use photoworks when I wanted prints of our photos...since they were kind enough to host my pictures, then I gave them the business of printing my photos.

No more. Target can do it. Pity.

ETA again...well, the link I sent to myself from the Photoworks album does appear to link to the album ok...perhaps I can still keep things as they were. But I'm still going to have to relink a bunch of reviews....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Have a Costume!

(Cue the lightning and the maniacal laughter) Yes! Igor, we have done it! I have a suitable getup for a quasi-Shakespearian actor!

Or at least one that looks like poufy pants instead of poopy pants. That's Kwik Sew 3636 for leggings, substantially modified boxer shorts and The Artist's Butterick 4486 Pirate shirt.

So...that being a hit, I have fabric for the next leggings/poufy pants set dyed orange and drying, with the purple on deck for tomorrow. As the kids are rehearsing, it's becoming obvious that they have about all the costume pieces they can handle, so once the leggings and pants are done...dare I say it?...I may be finished.

But 'White Christmas' has been knocking on my door with a need for the dresses the girls wear to sing 'Sisters'...Vogue 2903.

So even if I'm finished...I'm not done. Not yet...

(So, of course I ordered fabric today. Makes sense, eh? :rolleyes:)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I finally broke down and bought the dark green Rit and redyed that fabric AGAIN. So now it is a nice spruce color. Not really what I was looking for, but definitely a 'guy' green. The Granny Smith/lime greens I had the first two times were way too girly.

So I moved on and cut out the pouffy pants. I now have them completed to the leg elastic...and I'm afraid that what I wanted to turn out as poufy pants is just going to look 'full diaper'. We'll see...

I've also got the matching tights done to the elastic. I'm only going in to work for about 2 hours tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to make some significant gains tomorrow afternoon as well.

Maybe even do a load or two of laundry. The pile is getting dangerous.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 40

This month's colors: brown, tan or burnt orange w/blue jeans.This was another week to pull something out of the back of the closet...the jacket actually was part of a jacket-and-dress ensemble I purchased about 5 years ago off the clearance rack at Dillard's. It was 70% off, with an additional discount for a sale weekend, I got both pieces for about $14. It was kinda fun to say, 'No, I didn't!' when asked if I made it. ;)

But I did make the shell top. It's from poly charmeuse, and it's another rendition of the Loes Hinse City Dress top. The color doesn't suit me at all, but it's nice to have in the closet for those times when I gotta wear that color to blend. All the brown tops are in the laundry, which is way behind because I've been dyeing and re-dyeing fabric (I broke down and used the Dark Green dye after all. Pictures tomorrow). So the seldom-worn things actually get worn..once in a while...

Oh, and that's the Coldwater Creek jeans again. Just for the complete story.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dyeing Newbie; or, How White Fabric Becomes Green with Only Three Trips Through The Washer

As I said earlier, I decided that, rather than to run all over and stress about finding fabric the right color, we'd just dye some white cotton/lycra jersey for the leggings the kids need to wear in Compleat Works. Plus, I picked up some white corduroy from the dollar-fifty table at Wal-mart to possibly use as pouffy pants with the brilliant idea of throwing it in the dye bath so as to match the tights. Pretty nifty, eh?

Thought I'd start with The Actor's personal hose-and-breeches. They're supposed to be green, but the only shade of Rit dye I could find was a dark forest green...not what I wanted. I decided I'd mix yellow and royal blue...that should make a nice bright green, right?

Today was the day. I got up and read the directions carefully...wash fabric in hot water...mix dye; I began with yellow and added blue until it looked like it would be a reasonable green...add detergent and salt to dye bath...add wet fabric...agitate in washer for half an hour...check check and check.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the washer after dutifully resetting the cycle so as to have a full half hour of agitation to find...white fabric.

What??? It didn't take the dye at all??? I did a quick burn test...yes, it is cotton. Could the Lycra content inhibit dyeing? did I do something wrong? Maybe I'll dye one of the other cast member's fabric...just to see what happened.

So I went out and began to fill the washer to start the process again and looked around for the bucket I'd used to mix the dye from the first batch.

And found it sitting on the laundry shelf with the dye mixture still in it. I'd forgotten to put it in the water.

Head-slapping time.

So, I redid it, making sure to add the dye the second time.

And I got fabric in a very nice shade of Granny Smith Green. Not what I wanted...

Another trip to another Wal-Mart. Still no green other than Dark Forest. So, more royal blue and yellow; this time I began with the blue and added yellow to it.

I still have a pretty bright green, but it's darker than the apple green I had the first time. It *might* be dark enough. We'll see what it looks like when it's dry...

And I tried dipping a bit of scrap fabric into the dye to see what the tint would be; that really didn't work. You folks who use there any way to be sure what color you'll get before you actually do it??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Choir Sundays '09 #39

This month's colors: brown, tan and/or burnt orange w/ blue jeans. I thought about wearing the new smoke ring scarf, but decided that, since I was wearing a turtleneck top already I'd wear the oblong scarf that I cut from the I have two very different scarves from the same fabric. Probably a good thing since it looks like we'll be doing this color combo every fall. Wonder how many folks will just assume I'm tying the same scarf differently?

It's over a top made from the bamboo jersey Hancock's had a couple of years ago; soft, warm and easily stretched out to shapelessness ;). If I remember right, I used my Loes Hinse Cowl top, switching the big floppy cowl for a turtleneck from an OOP Kwik Sew pattern. The jeans are the Lee boot cuts...I *really* wish I could find time to fit one of my jeans patterns... ;)

ETA: I just realized that this is the 3rd week of October...that's the Fall Quarter Blogging Break! So I'll see you next Sunday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Broke a Hundred...

The sale at Fabric Mart got me. In all fairness, I had to order some of the white cotton/lycra knit they had to use for costuming and, well, once you're paying shipping...and fabric must not travel alone...anyway, I also purchased a bee-you-tiffle piece of multi-colored mini-houndstooth plaid tropical weight wool that says along the selvedge ' merino wool super 100's'. It feels heavenly. Must that into something fabulous...soon...(oh, I'm trying! Really!)

So it's more than a hundred yards in. And less than 40 out. That's truly sad...I need to revamp my purchasing to better reflect my available time. It's a paradigm shift I haven't made yet.

(Yeah...something else in the queue of things that 'I haven't made yet'...)

But the reason I'm not making some things is that I AM making others. I have the bridesmaid's skirt done to the point I need to check the fit; I'm taking the waistband to church tomorrow and fitting that, then I'll adjust the gathers in the skirt (which is finished to the waistband) to match. Then I have to hand the skirt over to the lady that made the rest so she can trim it to match the rest of them.

And I can cross that off my list and get back to costume sewing. Need to get the knit cut into leggings and dyed...except that I'm still not 100% sure what colors we will be using. The kids need to order their shoes...

Oh, one other little thing...when I stopped by Hancock's to pick up the zipper for the skirt, I stumbled across a very pretty piece of poly blend burnout fabric that was crying to be a scarf. It happened to be predominantly burnt orange...which is one of this month's choir I brought it home.

Turned it into two scarves, that was just a long rectangle w/serger rolled edges, and the other was a scarf I've been wanting to make since I saw it in Threads about 14 years ago. The review is up with a photo; I'm too lazy to upload it here.

But it may very well show up on tomorrow's choir post... ;)

At least that fabric went into the 'out' column the same week it showed up on the 'in' side!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Skirting the issue...

I put the pedal to the metal (70's cb radio slang, anyone?) on the Compleat Works skirt (a modification of Your Basic Dickens Skirt -- I only used 3 panels instead of 4) last night and got it prewashed, cut out (well, torn to size) and assembled. I tried it on The Actor, who was understandably uncomfortable in a skirt, and the kitten ran underneath it. He looked down at the cat tail emerging from under the hem and said, 'Oh, that's cute! I wish I had a picture.'

'Son, do you *really* want a picture of yourself in a skirt?' I asked.

He looked at me and nodded, 'Good point, Mom!'

So I thought I'd take a picture of it on a hanger, but I took it in to school today and forgot to take a photo. Maybe I'll get a shot of it on him in one of the rehearsals...

And, I brought home the fabric and the pattern for the bridesmaids's Simplicity 2512, view B, which will be slightly modified. I don't have the fabric for the contrast trim, so I only need to do it to the hem. I will finish the top of the skirt w/o the trim, so that if there's a problem attaching the trim after the zipper's in it can be left off w/o leaving a raw edge at the top.

I got the measurements of the lady who will wear it; I'll need to add to the waist as she does not have as much difference between her waist and hips as the pattern expects, but I don't think that will be too hard. Basically, I'll adjust the fancy waistband and then just gather the skirt a little less in order to fit. A Petite Plus will look better w/o quite so much pouf anyway.

And, given the schedule I have this week, tonight is my best shot at sewing. So I'm off...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gonna help a friend..

We have a Wedding this month in our church that is going to be very well attended, with a large number of attendants in the party.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that a very important member of one of the happy couple's families is about to leave the country on an extended job-related assignment (hopefully that is vague enough not to make anyone feel I'm being indiscreet...), the wedding had a very short planning time.

The attendants will be wearing skirts and blouses; due to the costume sewing I'm involved in, I had to decline to help sew the skirts when first asked about it. However, the young lady who *is* making the skirts (13 of them?) did not feel very comfortable about grading the pattern up for one of the bridesmaids, who is a petite plus.

So, when asked again at church, I considered that Compleat Works is not going to require the amount of sewing we originally thought, so I think I can handle one.

Details to follow...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 38

Wow, I didn't know that orange popped quite that much...must be the flash..

Anyway, this month's choir colors are burnt orange, tan and brown w/blue jeans.
I'm wearing the Coldwater Creek bootcuts, and a lacy tan sweater that I bought when we wore khaki for our summer base color (2006?) and forgot about until I cleaned the closet last week. The brown top is Jalie 2682; I need to make a couple tops with sleeves from that pattern!

But the scarf...not too long ago, I was shopping in an outlet store and checked out the scarf rack. There were any number of solid jersey scarves, which were just rectangles cut straight from the bolt w/ no edge finish whatsoever. I'm guessing they were about 8" wide and 1 1/2 yards long...and selling for $6 each.

Well, I have a couple of orange tops in the queue...when I cut 'em out, I made sure to leave all the excess fabric along one edge...trimmed it to about 8" wide, nicely squared and, voila! A basically free scarf for choir!

It isn't quite as bright in real life. Really. ;)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Assignments in Hand

I went to school today...even though it's fall break. Had a meeting with the Drama Director and the Tech Theater director and we more or less talked our way through the costuming for Compleat Works.

The big news is that we all agreed on an approach to the and large, this show needs to look like three kids had a brainstorm and threw it together.

Which means the costumes are going to be even less authentic than we originally thought. The idea is mostly gonna be scrounge, scrounge, scrounge.

I brought home some really, truly ugly fabric found in the costume shop (printed w/teeny tiny tomatoes...) to make the skirt that will be the basis of all the female character costumes...Juliette, Lavinia, Cleopatra, Ophelia, Gertrude. Some fringe to make a wig. A set of drapes to turn into a kingly robe.

This show is gonna be a scream.

We're still a bit up in the air on the balooney knickers; they may end up being basketball shorts w/elastic added at the hems. We'll see...

Good thing; we have about three weeks till move in/tech week/dress rehearsals...

I'll post photos as I get 'em.

Monday, October 05, 2009

New Oxfords

Well, I wore these all day and they're a bit rumpled, but I managed to squeeze a project into the weekend. Loes Hinse's Oxford Pants, in the brown/black/black satin stripe wool/lycra/something else I don't remember blend Ellen Tracy fabric from the first trip to this year's Textile Fabric's sale. I still have a chunk of the fabric left; I'm thinking a vest...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #37

This Month's Colors: Brown, tan or burnt orange w/jeans.

Sigh. You're going to see a lot of brown this month, since I look pretty bad in either tan or burnt orange...

But I wore the Lee bootcut jeans with my Jalie makeshift twinset...the cardigan from Jalie 2566 and the tank top from Jalie 965, both from some wonderful rayon/lycra knit I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.

You might remember I wanted to make a brown jacket for this month...well, the Burda WOF pattern is traced; maybe I can get the muslin tested this week (fall break; the kids have gone to their grandma's for a few days). I *might* get it done by the end of the month...unless the costume sewing Takes Over My Life... we'll see.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tried 'Em All

This may very well be the first time I've made *all* the styles in a particular pattern envelope. I haven't made all the variations, and I've thrown in elements (such as long or 3/4 length sleeves; the sleeves on this came from Christine Jonson's Basewear 2 pattern) from other patterns, but I have now made all three of the different styles on Simplicity 4076...the twist top, the scoop neck top and the surplice top.

I *should* update the review...but, to be honest, I traced off this pattern so long ago I don't remember right off the top of my head what alterations I made to it. If I get a chance, I'll pull the pattern out and see if I made notes (sometimes I do!). Actually, I made this top because I saw a poly matte knit surplice top in Coldwater Creek that was very similar...and I remembered that I had a chunk of rayon/lycra matte jersey left over from last year's LBD project. I forgot to cut the neckbands, so I used a strip of black nylon lycra as a facing; my neckline may be be just a pinch lower/wider as a result.

Anyway, for the curious, I put all the photos of the various iterations of the top in a Photoworks album, so you can see how it's been used. Definitely a TNT!

The purple tank underneath is Jalie 965...I eventually hope to have a whole stack of these in different colors. So far I've got cream, light blue, black, brown, purple...and I have red and orange in the queue. They're Very Useful Tops. ;)