Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Choir Post of 2014

I was really surprised when I put today's photo into this year's choir photo folder in 'My Documents'...there were no other pictures there!  My first thought was that I had somehow inadvertently deleted them, because surely there were one or two others...but then, I thought and realized that I'd been sick for the first half the month, then I forgot to take a photo last weekend so...yeah, today is the first photo of the year.

As we've done in years past, January colors are royal blue and black (one of my personal favorite combos...). 

So, today was a royal blue bamboo jersey made up in Burdastyle's funnel neck top from the Sept 2010 issue, which I have apparently never reviewed, worn with the 'waistcoat' from the May 2009 issue, made from black cotton twill, that I have worn almost to death. 

New darkwash Coldwater Creek those after Christmas sales!

This has been a weekend in which No Sewing Happened...but I did get some work done on the home budget, which is so behind I'm not even going to tell you.  But it's gotta get caught up so we know what we have to start the new year off...planning to get the trench coat muslin at least cut out in the next couple of days...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Major Players Traced

I finished tracing the pieces printed on the pattern sheet today; I haven't made facing or lining pieces yet.  I'm going to do a quick muslin first, then alter the pattern and then make the facing/lining pieces from the altered pattern.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to shorten the sleeves by about 2", but that's a pretty standard alteration for me on everything.  I haven't sewn enough Burda patterns yet to have a regular set of alterations for them.

As I finished up, I moved the pattern sheet around and suddenly had a fresh appreciation for how small it really is...astonishing that an entire trench coat pattern is on that sheet, along with some others.  My Sweet Babboo stuck his head in the room just shortly after and took a look at what I was doing.  'Wow,' he said, 'How can you see anything on that?'

Just takes a little patience...

But I finally got to use the little curvy ruler that I won in a giveaway a while back.  If I had bought it, I'd tell you it was worth every penny.  I zipped through adding seam allowances.  I was going to post links to the etsy shop for them but it appears to be closed :-(  However, Claire did post a note there, saying that anyone who had questions could email her at sales [!at] .  Perhaps she still has some available...NAYY and all that...

Next step: Muslin.
Time is tickin' away...tick tick tickin' away...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sometimes the Blogsphere is a very cool place...

I'm feeling the love, let me tell you!

Firstly, whilst perusing along the new posts in The Old Reader, I happened upon Rhonda's weekly Showcase post, in which she shares stories and photos of two other sewing bloggers.  I looked through the first set of photos, very impressed with Virginia's sewing (particularly that black lace dress!!), and then had a double take moment, because somehow the photo of the pillowcases I did for the Mary Bridge project popped up.  I was confused for a moment...then I realized that the second blogger featured this week was yours truly.  What a surprise!

And I got a lesson in photo posting...every one of the photos of mine that she posted were fuzzy; I'm assuming that's because I reduce the size/resolution of them before I add them.  I've always done that...first to reduce the upload size (back when I started blogging, there was a limit as to how much you could upload in a given month) and also to prevent my photos from being used by strange and unauthorized folks (still shaking my head over the guys who wanted to use a photo of a pair of plaid pants I'd made in a article about lame outdated fashion).  Not that Rhonda is either stranger or unauthorized...but I'm here to tell ya,  shrinking the photos works. ;-)  The blurries were not her fault.

Then, today I walked up to the front step and saw two packages on the step. One was the WAWAK package with my buttons and hymo, but the other was hand me.  Puzzled, I reached for the package to see the return address and realized it was from my cyber friend Miriam in Kansas.  We've never met, but Miriam has been a long time reader (and commenter!) on both my blogs. 

In that package was a 3-yard piece of black denim.  Washed, dried and ready to sew.

My friends,  it reads 'black' against the other fabrics in the SWAP pile.  The real deal.

The black denim jacket has now replaced the denim shirt in my SWAP plans; it will be the second wild card.

I've already emailed Miriam to squeal my thanks, but I want to publicly say here 'THANK YOU!!!'  I will think of you every time I put on that jacket.

Here's hoping I don't mess it up sewing it. ;-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tracing Away

The AWOL pattern may actually have saved me something...if I had it at hand, there's a good chance I would've just gone with that one, since it was already traced.

But I've looked at the reviews for it, and I saw a number of folks who complained about the sleeve cap...and in many of the photos, it's obvious that there is too much ease in that sleeve.

So I decided to go with one of the patterns from my stash of Burda World of Fashion/Burda Style magazines...I subscribed for 5 years, and there is some good stuff there.

I looked the three or four available patterns over and finally decided on 9/2010/113:
I wasn't crazy about the darts instead of a princess seam, but when I realized the darts had the pockets on an angle, instead of vertical as they were in the princess seamed designs, I decided to go with this one.  I like the pleat in the back and the button tabs on the sleeves.  I *could* put a flap on the right shoulder, if I want, but I'll probably stick with it as designed.  We'll see.  I chose view A, since I'm short. ;-)

But there's a lotta tracing to do...and I *almost* forgot to add the seam allowances to the front when I traced it.

It's been a while since I traced a pattern from the magazines...

Back to the tracing table.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A little help from my friends...

Ok, I got the fabric and pattern for the trench coat ages ago.

Then Marji started a coat sew along.  I followed the details on an email list as the actual blog was limited to the ladies who were doing it...and I hadn't been brave enough to jump in.  After the sew along ended, Marji made the blog public.

So, now I'm ready to make the coat.  And I checked my bookmarks and didn't find the Sew Along Blog.

But then I remembered...the emails... And, lo and behold, I had saved all those emails in a folder.


I will have some guidance. :-)

The Great Coat Sew Along

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another SWAP Baby Step

Actually pulling fabric and making The Plan...
So...The top fabric is wool gab, for the trench coat.  It's been bagged up waiting to be sewn since 2007, and I found some moth damage on it.  But it's mostly along the selvedges, and I purchased about half a yard extra fabric, so I think I can work around it.  But the Simplicity pattern that I had traced has mysteriously disappeared...I thought it was in the bag with the fabric and such, but it wasn't.  I may be starting fresh with one of the 4 or 5 trench coat patterns that are in my archived Burda Style magazines.  sigh.  And I'm giving myself 4 weeks.  If I can get it done by Valentine's day I should have enough time left to get the rest of the SWAP done...but every weekend between now and then is booked.  Gonna be tough.   But even if that's all I manage to get'll be done.  Cause for celebration.

The rest of the SWAP fabrics across the front are:
1) black rayon (bamboo?) jersey.  Jalie drapey v-neck top and Jalie cap sleeve t shirt
2) heathery gray ribbed rayon/lycra jersey.  Jalie cap sleeve t.
3) silver rayon jersey.  Jalie drapey v-neck top.  This is almost the same color as the one I wore to death.
4) White cotton jersey.  Jalie cap sleeve t.
5) Rayon/cotton/lycra 3 oz. denim.  Button up shirt...pattern TBD
6)  White cotton jacquard stripe.  Button up shirt, pattern TBD.  I may actually switch to a different white fabric on this, we'll see.  For now, I pulled this one.
7) khaki stretch cotton/lycra sateen.  Slim leg pants, pattern TBD.  If I really have enough, it's a remnant from an earlier project. I've got about 2 yards and a long bit along the fold but it's only 45" wide.  May have to switch this.
8) black wool/lycra tropical weight suiting.  Loes Hinse Oxford pants and shortened Cutting Lines Designs InTheTrenches skirt.

That's 11 garments; not sure how I'm going to split them into 3-packs.  The trench coat is obviously one Wild Card; not sure about the other.  The denim shirt, perhaps...

I totally forgot to take the choir photo today; I was going to post this tomorrow but, well, maybe that'll give me a pinch more time to sew.  4 weeks...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How Brave Am I?

After realizing I didn't have the black denim that I *thought* I had, I went back to the original inspiration photo of the Common Core Wardrobe and looked at it very hard.

I asked myself questions like 'What do you really want out of a SWAP? What is the real goal here?'

And I realized that I really, really wanted a Core Wardrobe.

With the possible secondary aim of developing a TNT shirt pattern.

Using patterns/fabric I've been intending to sew but hadn't got around to it yet kinda figured in as well.

But the number one goal is...basic neutral wardrobe.

So as I thought about that I realized that I probably was going to have to axe the tweed jacket.  As much as I love the fabric, it is not part of the basic wardrobe.

Likewise the gray stripe pants.

Basic, Lisa.  Those things will be great add-ons, but for now...basic.

And, as I thought, I remembered a project that has been bagged up since 2007.  Fabric, pattern (which HAS been traced but not fitted), buttons...

It's a taupey gray wool gab trench coat..  I promised myself I would make it in 2007, but all I got done was tracing the pattern.  Then I suddenly wasn't sure I liked that pattern and...well, I broke my promise.

But a taupey gray wool gab trench coat is very basic.  And it works with the rest of the wardrobe.

But, wow.  Can I do something that involved and still finish the rest of the SWAP by the due date?

I'm'a gonna need to make up my mind really soon...time is ticking away...

Friday, January 17, 2014

When Black Isn't Really Black

I've been pulling fabrics from the stash (and ordered a couple of knits, to get the right shade of gray...) and thought I was well on the way to getting started with the SWAP sewing.

One of the key elements of my really basic wardrobe swap is a black denim jacket.

Or was, anyway.  I pulled the 'black' denim from the bin today and laid it on top of the other black fabrics in the plan and saw that it is really a deep blue.  Not black at all.

Oh, I'm pretty sure it was listed as black on the website from which I ordered it, and it looked black enough when I pre-washed it and put it in the bin with my other denim fabric, but when in direct contact with truly black fabric, it has a definite blue cast to it.  And of course, the point is to wear it with the black fabrics in the SWAP plan.

So now I'm kinda stuck.  I have some very dark charcoal gray poly/cotton/lycra twill in the stash that might substitute, but it doesn't really feel denimy and it is heavier than the denim.  The point of the denim jacket was to have a wear-in-arctic-air-conditioning in the summer jacket.

So now I have some decisions to make and some re-planning to do...rats...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Taking a breath and plunging in...SWAP 2014

So, The Flute Player missed the very first rehearsal for the school musical, as 1) she neglected to check the schedule she received at auditions and 2) we were all sick anyway.  As a result, she was not put in the opening number nor was she assigned to any one of the three sub-groups in the chorus.   Which meant that she ended up sitting around doing pretty much nothing at the second scheduled rehearsal.

But she spent her time thinking, and remembering how dicey spring semester last year happened to be...and, after a discussion with her theater teacher, she withdrew from the musical.  There is at least one, perhaps two more productions coming from the theater department yet this spring, so she should still get her time in onstage, but for the moment, she says she is relieved to not be obligated to work on the musical.

All of that, however, also means that I am not obligated to work on the musical.

I may, if asked with urgency, head down and help a bit if they get in a bind, but, as this is 'Fame' I don't expect to be needed.

So I am going to say in front of witnesses that I am going to try and get the SWAP wardrobe done this year.

So, the first official action I've taken is to London Shrink the black and white tweed for one of the planned jackets.  I've about decided that I'm going to use Loes Hinse's Bolero Multiples (her website is down; can't link...).  I made the original Bolero jacket like, ten years ago, but really wanted a jacket that actually buttoned.  When she released the Multiples pattern, which is basically just a set of alternate center front pieces for the original pattern, I snagged a copy.

And it has languished in the drawer.  Maybe I should call this my 'Round Tuit Swap', since I'm going to be pulling some patterns out that I've been wanting to get around to sewing...

This tweed is a wool/lycra blend, but it is very soft-draping.  I've about decided that I will fuse some Pro-Sheer onto it to beef it up a little; Loes doesn't use interfacing in her patterns but I really think this fabric could use a little more support.  But, if I fuse it, I will also line it, just to make it a little more wearable over grabby winter tops.

There's 2 yards here, which is way more than I'm going to need for the jacket.  I might get the SWAP skirt from it as well...

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

2013 Stats

Well, if it's time to add new stuff for this  year, maybe I'd better record last year's stats:

Fabric In: 81.5 yds
Fabric Out: 39.75 yds
Last fabric purchase: 11/27/13
Garments made for me: 12
Accessories: 2
Garments made for other family members: 1
Home Dec Items: 1
Miscellaneous Church sewing:
5 mantles/stoles for Girls Only pins
2 tote bags; plus fabric out for 4 the girls made
School Costuming:Handful of alterations for 'Mousetrap',
Poppies for 'The Wiz' - 6 skirts
1 dress refashion
Misc. repairs and alterations
Charity Sewing:4 Pillowcases

All in all, pretty dismal.  I'd feel less guilty about the lack of sewing if I had not purchased something close to 40 yards more than I sewed.  And it's not like I went horridly averaged to about 3 pieces of fabric a month for the year.  Not crazy, but...  I'm running out of storage which IS crazy and it's got to stop.   Another reason to sew the good stuff..

Which means I have even more egg on face, because I have to own up to the first 'fabric in' batch of the year, three fabrics from Gorgeous Fabric's year end sale...
My rationale was that I wanted some shirt-weight denim or chambray with the thought that it could be used in the 2014 SWAP, should I decide to participate..and the blue/white pinpoint cotton would make a very nice shirt, as would the 3 oz denim-lycra on the right.  The dogwood  print is a fanTAStic cotton sateen, which I probably would not have ordered, except that earlier last year I ordered 2 yards of the matching silk chiffon.  I saw a summer sheath dress, with a matching scarf, and it was in the cart.

So, that's 6 5/8 yards to start off the year.  And the Flute Player, remembering the rough academic year we had last year, opted to withdraw from the musical so as to not overload herself.  So, while I could end up helping in the costuming a bit, I will not be obligated to spend weeks sewing.

The SWAP actually looks to be a possibility for this year. A very definite possibility...

Monday, January 06, 2014

Might as well make a plan...

As this is day 21 for the crazy morphing respiratory virus and I'm home out of the cold and not at work, I decided I might as well look at the Common Wardrobe and see how it breaks down.

I spy  knit tops... a black long sleeve turtle neck,  a black long sleeve v-neck, 3 cap sleeve t's in gray, white and black.

I spy three button ups...a white shirt, an oxford blue shirt, and a denim shirt.

I spy three pairs of slacks,  jeans and khakis

And finally there is a black knit button up cardigan.

Now, I am not going to be making jeans in this go-round; I have Lee jeans and Coldwater Creek jeans that are doing that job for the time being, and I have a Lands' End black cotton knit cardigan sweater already, but that's the 12th piece anyway and SWAP only needs 11.


I really, really want these to be wearable year-round, or near year-round, which really isn't too far-fetched in North Alabama.  I can layer jackets on top of sleeveless/ short sleeved tops and they'll work fine on all but days like today when winter drops by to say 'hi' (high in the teens, but we'll be back to 60 F this weekend).

The best sleeveless top I've made, in terms of being a versatile bottom layer and flattering on its own, has been Jalie 2682.  I made the sleeveless versions in several colors, but the one I absolutely wore to death was the gray knit.  And I did wear that to death;  the fabric finally just pilled up and fell apart.  So I really think I could make that in black, white (or maybe cream, as that works better for choir) and gray and wear them all.   For a cap sleeve T, I've used the T from Jalie's  2566 Twin Set, although I've never reviewed that particular view.   Black and Gray  and maybe white or cream  again...and I'm solid on knit tops.

I don't know that I'd wear an oxford blue button up much; I *might*, but I could definitely use a white (or cream) basic button up.  All my button up shirts are severely aging...I am in sore need of not only more shirts, but a TNT pattern that I can use to make them.  That may be the biggest challenge of the whole plan...find and fit a good TNT button up shirt pattern.  Button ups are fiddly, too, and will take a lot longer to make than the knit tops, so this would be one of the slower-downers of the plan.

A denim shirt would be a good wardrobe addition, too.  I really don't have one, and there are times when a denim shirt is just the right extra layer.  I actually ordered some denim/chambray fabric before New Year's (that could, I suppose, arrive as early as later today...) with an eye to using it in the SWAP.  We'll see how it washes up once it gets here.  However, I need to do a little pattern research here, too, although this shirt will not be quite as fitted as the white/cream one.  I have a  shredding flannel shirt that I made something like 20 years ago that may be a decent enough pattern for a denim shirt, once I tweek it for, um, some changes that have occurred in the meantime.

That gets me to the bottoms; I have some lovely RPL black suiting that will do quite nicely as Jalie's Classic Trousers, which I've made a couple of times but apparently never reviewed (shame on me!).  Dressy black pants are always work appropriate and most of mine are more suitable for cool weather; I need some that will work in the summer.

I've also got some gray/cream pinstripe RPL that I bought a while back with the intention of making Loes Hinse's  Oxford Pants ; that will fit in very well with the SWAP plan so I think I will add those in lieu of the Khakis, which I already have.

I'm thinking I'll add a black skirt in place of the jeans...a simple straight skirt, maybe CLD's In The Trenches, shortened to just below knee length.   I've been wanting to try shortening that skirt for awhile, this will give me a good reason to do it.

That will easily cover the 3 packs, with lots of leeway in the groupings, so all I need are the wildcards.

At the moment, I'm thinking the wild cards could be a fall/winter jacket made from a lovely black and white wool/lycra tweed I got at Textile Fabrics and the other a year-round black denim jacket.  But at the moment I'm not sure which patterns I want to use for those.  I don't know if I want a traditional 'jeans' jacket, or if I just want to use the black denim to make a sharp little jacket that just happens to be made of denim.

I actually think I have almost all of this fabric in the stash (or soon to arrive on the doorstep..) already, so it would really just be a matter of steeling my nerve and getting started.

Once I get over this yuckky stuff and feel up to it...

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Considerin' the SWAP...

I haven't participated in the annual Sew With A Plan wardrobe competition in a long, long time...after doing it a couple of years in a row, I really didn't need to...and then  life got too busy and I just didn't have time.

I don't expect life to be a heck of a lot less busy this spring, but this year's musical is 'Fame' so I am not anticipating a ton of costuming.  Certainly nothing like last year. 

And I need clothes.

So I am thinking I may tag along this year...even if I don't finish all the garments in the plan on time I will have done SOME wardrobe sewing and, at this point, anything helps.

This year's SWAP rules are a little different; we are to make 3  3-packs ( a 3 pack consists of either two  tops and a bottom; a top, a bottom, and an outer layer;  or a dress, a top and a bottom) and 2 'wild card' pieces.  They all need to work together and look coherent...but they don't have to be completely interchangeable.

So I've been pondering this, thinking about my particular wardrobe needs.

You all know that the choir wardrobe kinda drives my closet selection;  my basic work wardrobe really isn't very different from the sum total of what I need for choir.  So if I focus on the neutrals we use in choir, then I should be able to have a basic plan to which I can add a top here or there or accessories to fill out what is needed to work with the colors of the month.

And, if I work the neutrals carefully, they might even work together :-)

The basic choir neutrals are Black, Gray,  Tan, Cream,  with Brown and Navy sometimes making an appearance; all I have to do is figure out how to beak that down into 3-3's and two wild cards.

Now, I am not kidding myself here.  I've seen what some of the other folks are doing for their SWAP wardrobes, and we are talking high end sewing.  This is NOT going to be high end least, not the bulk of it.  This is not going to make anyone ooh and ah over it.  I'm going to make a neutral canvas that can be expanded upon.  Plain t's, a button up or two, some pants and a jacket.

Actually, my real inspiration is the Vivienne File's 'Common Wardrobe'.  Janice first posted that back in Sept of 2012, and since then she's used it as a foundation for all kinds of combinations, mixing with particular colors or accessories or adding a couple of other items to expand it.  It has really intrigued me; that's the way I want to dress...basic, simple, interchangeable.

And I need basics.

So...I'm ponderin'...I'm considerin'....

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

My 2014 Sewing Resolution

I'm only making one.  Just one.

No allusions to time spent in the sewing room, or goals to achieve.

My resolution is to sew the good stuff.

That stuff that has been accumulating in the stash for ages, waiting on me to:

Loose weight.

Choose the perfect pattern.

Perfect the fit on the pattern.

Have an occasion arise that would be perfect for that fabric.

Etc Etc Etc.

I'm not so much about not buying more or sewing down the stash...I just want to use the fabric I have.

I didn't buy it to put it in a bin...I bought it to sew.

Somewhere along the way I got afraid to sew it.

So this is my resolution: 

Be brave.

Pull out something wonderful.

Sew it up.