Friday, February 28, 2014

Sewing Bee Mania

If you're around the webs much at all, you'll know that season 2 of The Great British Sewing Bee has hit the airwaves... or digital feeds, or whatever.  It's been something of a trick to watch it on this side of the pond; I found a feed last week that worked, but when I tried it this week all the available choices either wanted me to download something (eek!  no!) or watch advertising for something that looked very, um, morally deficient.  But I did find that episode 2 was posted on youtube, so I managed to watch it there, although I had to keep refreshing the window.  Took a while.

I really am enjoying this second season; it's maintaining the spirit and the quality of the first season and it's interesting to see how everyone handles the pressure; I don't know how well I'd do, having to stick to the spec sheet and not use my favorite short cuts or methods.  (Hand pick a zipper on a skirt??? Why??? )

But, turns out that if I lived up in the New York/New Jersey area I could see if I could round up the nerve and give it a go; the company that produces TGBSB is doing a pilot on this side of the pond.   I don't expect that to be news to anyone by this time; it's all over the blogs.  It doesn't look like the pilot is going to be a replica of the British show; if I'm reading the info right, there will be a new group each week.  Kinda cuts down on the 'bonding' with the folks, but if it's just fourish shows to try it there wouldn't be a lot of opportunity to get to know the folks anyway.

I'm just hoping to see some familiar names; several of the folks on my news feed are from that part of the country.

I think it would be an absolute hoot to do, although I don't for one minute think I could keep up with most of the folks whose sewing I follow.  I'd just love a chance to sit down and sew with them.  ;-)

Friday, February 21, 2014

First Muslin Pass at the Trench Coat

No, I haven't forgotten that I'm supposed to be making a trench coat...just can't seem to get into the sewing room.

But I did get the muslin cut out and thrown together; the first pass showed that I need to

1) move the shoulders in 3/4"
2) remove excess ease from the sleeve cap
3) lower the bust point of the dart about 1 1/4"

I'll also need to add a couple inches of length, as the bottom edge of the muslin hit right about mid knee, which is about where I want the finished length, so I need to add a hem allowance.

The muslin actually fit a bit loose, but since I will be wearing bulky layers under it I thought that was a good thing.  I think if I can get the shoulders fixed up it will be fine if it's a bit big...I'll be able to put bulky sweaters under it.

I've trimmed out the shoulders and marked the new bust points; I'll fix the darts and put the sleeves in again on  my next iteration.  I'm hoping that the narrowed shoulders will take care of the extra ease in the sleeve cap.

But if that all looks decent I think I'll call it good and cut out the good stuff.  I've decided to go with fusible interfacing, since I really don't want a terribly stiff coat, so it'll probably take me a full week just to get all the interfacing fused on.  I may try to add a floating chest piece, though...I kinda have  a hollow upper chest, so that may be a good thing to do.  

The hardest thing so far has just been sticking to my resolve not to buy any more fabric until the coat is done.  I've had to exercise some real restraint, let me tell you....;-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Work Wear 9 - The Gray Scale Scarf

This set-the-timer-and-jump-in-front-of-it method of photography definitely leaves something to be desired.  The best (read: most flattering) photo was irredeemably blurry; the sharpest focused photo caught some never-to-be-put-online weird expression on my that left this one, with a crooked jacket and the kitty's worst side.

Oh well.  I'm sure you'll get the idea.

Mostly, I just wanted to put together something that allowed me wear the newly-hemmed gray scale silk scarf.

I'm getting bolder in my old age;  there have been times past in which I would've shuddered with horror at the idea of combining the graphic print with the striped pants.  Now I think it's kinda fun.

RTW sweater shell; modified Loes Hinse Oxford pants in a pinstripe RPL topped off with Silhouette Pattern's Robins Jacket in wool flannel, finished off with plain ol' Wrights bias tape.

Wasn't thrilled with the way I tied the scarf, but I couldn't come up with a better way to do it in the time I had available this morning.  Square scarves are not quite as easy to wear these days as long rectangles...

Anyway, that was a silk panel print that came from...Fabric Mart?  I think? ...about a year and a half ago. I wanted to hand roll it but couldn't get the technique down well enough to suit me.  So I wrangled it through the rolled edge foot on the sewing machine and will keep practicing on the scraps that I trimmed away to square it up.  Someday...I will have a hand rolled scarf...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 2/16/14

February colors are black and white, with tan/gold accents.

I pulled out an uber stretchy Jalie 2005 v-neck top, in a tan print on black;  layered it over a black Jalie 965 tank top and topped it with Loes Hinse's Bistro Jacket.  Coldwater Creek jeans.

All old stuff.  But I finally got on the sewing boards this weekend by finishing that silly little sleevelss boatneck top that's been on the sewing machine for about 2 months.  Don't have a photo yet; it's a little awkward in that 1)it's a rather firm double knit, not a floppy rayon jersey, so it's a bit snug and 2) there's a bit of a gap in the armhole; it needs a scant 1/2" dart rotated out.  But it's intended to be worn solely as a bottom layer under a jacket or cardi, so I'm thinking neither of those things are going to be big problems.  Especially since it was made from the remnants of the fabric after I'd cut out pants and a skirt.  So it's, like, free anyway, right?

I also broke down and used my rolled hem foot to finish off  the square scarf that I've been toting around for a year and a half.  I've tried and tried to get my hand rolling down on the scraps that had been cut from the edges of the panel, but I just couldn't get anything I was at all happy with...and the scarf panel itself was beginning to fray.  So I figured I'd better just hem the silly thing and keep practicing...maybe someday I'll get the technique down and I'll hand roll a scarf.  It was even a pain to hem on the rolled edge foot; that's something else I need to do some serious practicing on. 

I'll try to wear at least one of those to work this week and get a photo....

Meantime, I have now cleared out the queue in front of the trench coat muslin.  And tomorrow is a day off...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HItting the Cyber Wall Again

There are two things that have continually been a thorn in the side as I've tried to participate in the online sewing community.

The first has been photo hosting...trying to find SOMEONE who can host photos that I can access for reviews and such without the need to go back and relink the photos every 18 months or so.  I think I'm on the 4th time for updating the links for some of the older reviews....two of the photo hosting sites that I used closed shop and a third one seems to randomly mess with the links; what clicked through to a specific photo one week will just bring up the whole album the next week.  Very frustrating.

The second is the feed collectors... places to subscribe and read all the new posts in one spot.  I think the first one I used was Bloglines; they went away and I moved to Google Reader, then they closed up shop and I tried Bloglovin' before landing on the Old Reader, who threatened to go away but found new owners and stabilized.

However, when I logged in today I found that the Old Reader has instituted a 'premium' service, available at the introductory price of $20/year, effective immediately.

They say they wanted to avoid using advertising, and  have cool new features available for folks who want to subscribe.    But, not to worry, they said, they will still have a free version for folks who have less than 100 subscriptions.  And, while the new pricing is in effect now, they are graciously giving everyone 'about 2 weeks' to look things over and make up their minds.

Now, I am not opposed to paying for services.  But someone dug into the 'terms of service' and found some clause that was left over from the previous free version that basically said that the administrators were reserving the right to terminate the service without notice.  Pretty bad if you've paid for a year.

This seems to be pretty heavy handed.  Not the sort of service I'm interested in paying for.

But I had 227 subscriptions.

So I began to delete subscriptions.  First to go were all of them that had not been updated in the last six months or so (with one or two exceptions...if those folks ever post an update, I want to know...).  That was quite  a lot, actually; I was surprised at how many hadn't been updated in over a year.

But that left me still well over a hundred.  So I went back again and culled all of them that weren't really what I read blogs for...blogs that had morphed into knitting or quilting or cute pictures of grandchildren or lots of links to other places on the 'net.

Still over a hundred.  Now I had to steel myself and be ruthless.  I went back again and removed subscriptions to blogs that I had subscribed to a while but, for one reason or another, I just didn't make a connection with the blogger.  Nice stuff, nice work, but ...sigh.

After all that, I was still at 112.  I reminded myself that I still have subscriptions to all but the very newest ones over on Bloglovin', so it's not like I'm cutting folks out of my life forever.  I took a breath and looked at folks who had posted within the last few months, but the post before that one was six months or so older.  Seldom updated blogs.

Finally, I just had to randomly pick two or three to cut.  It wasn't easy, but I got it down to 99.  And every one of the names on that list are blogs I recognize....intentional subscriptions.

But I'm hoping to bite the bullet and switch to Bloglovin, so I can just delete the Old Reader account.  Because that's just going to be too much trouble to maintain two separate lists.  Besides, they rather ticked me off.

To be honest, if my blog was on the list I probably would've cut it, too...not enough inspirational sewing going on at the moment, just rehashes of old things that don't really fit any more. 

So that made me appreciate anyone who is still following along here.  Thanks for hanging with me; hopefully better sewing days are ahead. ;-)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Forgot again...

Just simply didn't think to grab a photo in the 55ish minutes that I was actually home for lunch before we left again.  If I had been wearing some new creation, that would've been sad, but it was a more-than-two-years-old knit shirt w/a RTW jacket and blue jeans, so really, you didn't miss much.

I managed to get my trench coat muslin cut out last week, but haven't started sewing it up yet.  I still have that brown double knit top plugging up the works; it just needs a double-needle hem on one armhole and the bottom and it's done, but I can't seem to get into the sewing room.

But I have put myself on a fabric fast until the trench coat is done.  No new fabric until that puppy is hanging in the closet.

Oy, this is gonna be tough...

Friday, February 07, 2014

Poppies, Revisited

I came home yesterday and had a most interesting message on my answering machine...a lady in Nashville had somehow managed to look up my phone number and called wanting to ask questions about the last year's poppy costumes.

I called her back...somewhat curious as to how she found me...and left a message that the easiest way to catch me would probably be email and left my email address.

So we've been emailing back and for for the last 24 hours; she had kids who are going to be doing, I think, The Wizard of Oz and they were interested in making costumes similar to ours.

I answered the questions the best I could...I really wasn't involved in actually putting the hats together, for one thing, and, um, it's been a year for another...but I *think* I got the story straight.

But one thing post pictures of the petal patterns.  So, dug from the archives, I bring you the prototype  patterns:

Hopefully the grid will help with drafting; I added 3/8" seam allowances to the dart in the skirt petal, and we used 1/2" seam allowances everywhere else.  I think I said that I cut the waistbands 36" long, but after considering I think I actually cut them about 42" long;     I ended up cutting some off of every one but I thought it was safer to be generous. ;-)  I also think I said that the dart was sewn below the V; that's because of the added seam allowance.  The point of that curvy V is the point of the dart; some of the V will be filled in when the seam allowances are added to that dart  (that is the only place I actually added; I just used what was there everywhere else).

I really wish I'd taken more photos of the process, but I really didn't think anyone would actually want to try it.

So, Sydney in Nashville....good luck!!! 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Work Wear 8

The main reason for this post is to document the fact that I finally actually am wearing the brown double knit Farewell to Arms skirt I made back before Christmas.  It almost looks the photo, something I didn't notice in the mirror.  It's teamed up with a cream turtleneck I got from Lands' End sometime a long time ago and an overprinted herringbone jacket from Coldwater that joined the closet a couple of years back,  along with that rolled edge oblong poly burnout scarf that you see every fall in choir.

I really, really, really like that FTA skirt pattern.  This is the first time I've made it in a knit and it works great.  But I gotta find a less uniformish way to wear it...

Monday, February 03, 2014

Choir Wardrobe - Groundhog Day

I was busier than Punxsutawney Phil yesterday; while I managed to hop in front of a camera for a moment, I did not get the photo posted.

Which probably is no biggie, since, aside from the shirt, I wore the exact same outfit I wore last week....which is, owing to my crazy busy life this week, the post immediately preceding this one.   ;-)

But, hey, we had a big conference over the weekend and the registration process had a giant mantis of a bug in it and, well, I was busy.  So.

February colors are black and white, with gold or tan 'accents'.

The shirt is a modified version of Burda's boatneck t from Feb 2010  made up in a very stout cotton/lycra knit...with teeny gold lurex lines outlining the black stripes.  Of course, no one can actually see the gold lines...I think they're about two threads thick...but I was delighted to have something so dead-on to put on.

I don't look too tired there, do I?  Amazing... ;-)

All I have managed to do on the trench coat was dig out the muslin fabric and haul it to the cutting table.  I have promised myself I will not retire tonight until I have cut the back, the front, and the sleeves from the muslin....