Monday, April 19, 2021

A wee bit of fabric in...

 The Flute Player is getting married in June.  At the local Botanical, outside.  In the early afternoon.

In other words, it's gonna likely be HOT.

So...for the MOB dress, I want something cool and airy and floaty.  Definitely NOT POLYESTER.

The bridesmaids are in a pretty shade of light blue; the guys are wearing white shirts, khaki pants, and kind of a golden yellow suspenders and bow ties.  There are flowers in white, blue, yellow, and pink.

I wanted a kind of a floral print, in something rayon and floaty...poked around on an internet somewhat.  Found something I really like, but it was backordered.  But it was so perfect I crossed my fingers and ordered it anyway.  Last week.

It came today...

The colors are dead perfect,although my monitor shows the colors slightly greyed.  It is rayon crepe; light and floaty.  I have 4 1/2 yards.  Should be enough for whatever I pick.

Time to dig through the patterns now.

Woot Woot

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Hit a sale...

 Caught a discount for Stylearc patterns on Amazon and found a few that intrigued me.  My pattern purchasing has dropped somewhat, but each of these had something about it that was unique enough that I decided to splurge...

I don't actually know when I will get to sit down at the sewing machine and actually MAKE A GARMENT.  The truth is, my sewing stashes have amoebaed themselves right out of their original space and taken up way more house space than I can afford for them to occupy.  Most of it is from chronic disorganization, pure and simple, so I am telling myself I am going to clean and organize and maybe even MOVE the whole lot of it during the months of April and May.  I've got two weekends this month that My Sweet Babboo will be off camping with the boys' mnistry; so I aim to get a good start on the process while he's gone.  I will be finishing the classes I'm taking in our ministry program at church this month also (I have a zoom meeting for that in 25 minutes so I'm typing fast, lol)...once that is done, I'll have a bit more time available so I can work on it and not fret about finishing homework.

And, you know, there is a wedding coming up.  It looks like I will be doing something with the bridesmaid's least hemming them, and discussions are already underway to solve a problem with the d├ęcolletage being a little more revealing than was anticipated....the theater costumer may surface again, lol. But this will have to look good at a close range, unlike costumes for a stage production.  And, of course, I'll be making my dress.  But I'mma gonna do that in June.

So there is sewing on the docket.  But first...clean and organize.  My sewing room hasn't looked like the tiled photos since...well, pretty much since those pics were taken.  Pippin costuming hit right after that and the space hasn't been clean since.  I will take photos...but I'm not sure I'll be brave enough to share them, lol.  It really is bad.

So...wish me luck and tenacity so I don't just pull stuff out and then get bored/ frustrated/ antsy and not really finish.  I'm really, really tired of trying to sew in a mess.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

I'm still here...

 It's been a minute, lol.

I'm supposed to have done a summary of last year's sewing and purchases and whatnot and, nope, hasn't happened.  

Because I think I only made, like, two tops last year.  And a bazillion (well, maybe 90? ish?) masks.

I probably should do a little follow up to the mask posts; I've discovered something as they have been washed and worn and washed and worn and washed and worn...

Anything put in for a bendy bit either eventually a) breaks or b) pokes through the binding or c) both.

Most people that I made masks for have left those in the drawers and opted to wear the disposable ones. The ties are not very popular.

But it is interesting that the CDC mask recommendations that are coming out in light of more contagious strands of the 'rona are to wear a mask that is 2 - 3 layers thick (yup, mine are 3 layers) and ties rather than loops over the ears.  So, there's that, lol. I have made a version of the facemask that has elastic ear loops and is somewhat box shaped, so as not to need the bendy bit, but I'm finding that, for whatever reason, it's difficult to be consistent in the sizing.  You'd think if they are all constructed the same they should end up the same but so far that has not been the case.  But I haven't made nearly as many of those so perhaps I just need more practice. They are a bit trickier.

But I have placed the first fabric order of 2021...for some pink knit tops.  I finally came round to acknowledging that blue-based pinks are colors that I wear well so I am looking to make a little capsule wardrobe with some pink mixed with gray.  Nice and soft.  After I replace my favorite gray cardigan that I apparently left hanging in the closet of the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at for our 40th anniversary last August.

The last time I wore the cardi...
Not to worry; I have some suitable knit in the stash; I just need to clean off my cutting table and get on it.

I am really feeling the creative itch to sew a bit so hopefully I can unearth myself from the mask making materials that I kind of went overboard collecting and digging out of nicely packed away goods.  And I do have a small Christmas project to blog about so maybe I won't be such a stranger in the coming weeks.

Meantime, if any of you have not stumbled onto this youtube channel before, I'm going to share my latest binge-watch...there may be historical garments in my future, lol.

I have leaned something from the historical costuming rabbit hole I went down...scraps/ remnant yardage is termed 'cabbage'.  I'd never heard that term for it and I think it's hysterical.  
I have way too much cabbage about, lol.

Friday, December 11, 2020

A December Stroll...

 It's been too long since I managed to get a post up over here; fortunately, the 'Random' in the name means I don't have to stick strictly to sewing...

Which is a good thing. The only thing I've made since the last post are more face masks.  I even took down the 'year to date' stats because I'd so lost track of what I bought and what I sewed for the masks that it wasn't even funny.  I'm just going to start clean next year.

But...well... randomness...

When we first moved to The Rocket City back in 1980, I was shocked at how few houses had Christmas lights up.  Christmas lights were a THING in central Indiana, where I grew up, and  it just seemed so bleak to be in a city that had so few.  I remember getting excited driving through Indianapolis on our way to the farm at Christmas in the early 80's and seeing so many houses with lights.  There was even a farmer near my folks who put a Christmas star on his grain auger system every year.

Fortunately, over the years, lights have become more common in our corner of the South.

Ten years or so after we moved down, we began a semi-regular tradition and sometime in December, we would load the kids into the minivan, put a cassette tape (remember those?) of Christmas music in and go driving around town, looking for Christmas lights.  We would usually find some, but it still was not the level I remembered as a kid back in the Hoosier state.  

We're finally just about there, lol.

Tonight was a warm night, so My Sweet Babboo, the Flute Player and I went for an evening stroll in the neighborhood.  We walked about three and a half miles and saw lights on pretty much every block.

We commented on the different styles and kinds of lights and how different folks used them.
I have 15,000 steps on my Fitbit, lol.
But, all in all, it only took about an hour and a half.
About what we used to spend driving around town when the kids were small.
We did observe several cars that appeared to be...driving around looking at lights.

At one point, some folks in a golf cart all lit up with Christmas lights went by us a couple of times.

I took a picture, but the light was bad and it didn't turn out. 

There were about four folks in the golf cart, just buzzing around the neighborhood.  What a hoot!
I confess, it would make going up the hills a lot easier...
But all in all, I think I prefer walking around for 90 minutes to driving.
I didn't take a picture of our house tonight, but here's one from a pre-dawn walk a couple of weeks ago.  Not as fancy as some we saw tonight, but it works for us.


Walking the neighborhood was a quite safe, socially distant activity and it was a perfect night to do it.

I hope you can find safe, socially distant ways to celebrate the season! It's going to be different, but, you know, every Christmas I wonder how we could back off from the crazy a bit and just have a simple, heartfelt celebration.  Looks like we will be able to do that this year....and, maybe next year we will have turned the corner on this thing and we will be able to enjoy all the usual traditions.  Or maybe we will have learned which ones are truly important and which ones are just...busyness.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A little practical sewing...maybe

 Back in the day, when my kids were babies, I had a stack of Curity gauze diapers.  They were great, useful for everything from spit up rags to mopping up various fluids ejected from baby to actually being pinned on as diapers, with plastic covers, to increase the discomfort of soiled diapers and encourage the move to the potty and big kid undies.  And, because they were so soft, 3 of my 4 kids actually used them as security blankets for the first couple of years  (One of my kids, who shall be nameless, was HORRIFIED to learn recently that the well-remembered security blanket was actually a diaper that had matter how much I assured said child that it had been completely washed and sterilized and was no worse for the wear).

I still have about 5 or six old, fraying Curity diapers that I use as pressing cloths.  They work great.

So, my standard gift for new moms was a package of cloth, preferably gauze, diapers.  When I could no longer find Curity diapers at the local retail outlets, I went with the Gerber diapers that were shaped a little differently and were the birds-eye weave.

Then, a few months back, with Covid restrictions and all, I decided to just order several packages of cloth diapers, as I had several near and dear who were having babies. I went looking for the Curity diapers, thinking I could find them online. ebay, for about $250/dozen.  Apparently they are no longer being manufactured.

So sad.

So I looked for the Gerber diapers and found them and all was well...until I read the reviews.  I was shocked to see that the cloth diapers I had been cheerfully buying in sealed packages and giving to friends were little better than cheesecloth. Bad review after bad review mentioned that these were nothing like the old Curity diapers.

So...what was one to do? 

I ended up buying a 15 yard bolt of 36" wide 'diaper fabric'...a cotton birdseye weave that is supposed to be good for diapers.

I measured my Curity diapers and found that they were 20" x 40" I cut  5 40" pieces and split them in half lengthwise so I had 10 18" x 40" rectangles and ran them through the serger.  I wove the serger tails in and added a drop of Fray Check to the corners to hopefully keep them from unravelling.

Then I washed them twice.

The gold standard...and the slightly smaller reproduction.  They did shrink a bit, the next batch will have to be cut a little longer, if it turns out to be a problem.


One of them had a spot that apparently had a flaw in it, because there was a 3/8" diameter hole frayed out in it.  I darned the hole, but it was rough and scratchy and not suitable for a diaper and I threw it into my rag bag.  But I now have 9 roughly-Curity-sized-and-shaped birdseye weave diapers for product testing.

Folded and stacked for use.



And I just so happen to have a handy product tester recently added to the family...

Number 1 Grandson, born to the Princess and Prince Charming on 11/10/20.  He lives just a fuzz under 2 miles away, but in Covid season it might as well be out of state.  So far all we've had are porch peeks and photos.

But, this too shall pass.  And we'll see how the home crafted diapers hold up. If they prove as useful and versatile as the the good ol' Curity diapers...well, I've got about 9 1/2 yards left and I can make a stack of diapers for gifting.  If not...well, it will be kitchen towels, lol.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Fifteen Years Ago Today...

 ...Sew Random made its debut into the blogsphere, and I became a sewing blogger, posting about sewing costumes for a production of 'The Gospel According to Scrooge'....something we were going to do regularly but, life happened, and we have not performed that since. Maybe in the next few years, when we finish the updates to the theater that is in the old high school we've turned into our church.

I blogged just about every day for two and a half years ( seems like it should have been longer than that), then started a second blog to discuss aspects of life that didn't really fit on a sewing blog.  So I kinda quit the daily posts.  I blogged about different projects, school productions, church productions, and the choir wardrobe.

I haven't sewn much this year.  We haven't had choir since March 15. 
I've bought fabric for costumes...future costumes...because I found last year that the fabric may not be readily available when it's needed.  I bought fabric for masks and just got so drug down making them that I've only managed to sew about half of it up so far.  And anytime I start to undertake a garment project I feel guilty because...masks...

I have typed and erased a whole bunch of stuff here.  In a world where content is everything, I've had almost none this year.

And are here, reading my little non-sewing lament.  In a little safe place where politics isn't some kind of litmus test for friendship.  

I am unspeakably grateful for everyone who has stopped by, who has left a comment, who has encouraged me with their own blog posts...

Thank you.

Gratuitous picture of the aging sewing assistant, making sure I don't move from the desk.  She's been around for 11 of the 15 years...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Refashion Challenge: Results

 I think I'm happy.

Tuesday's post has all the pics of the original top and where it came from, but if you don't want to click through, here's what I started with (not sure if I mentioned it, but the tag said it was a 3XL):  

And, if you want the reveal before the 'what I did''s the shirt, remade:

You have to look to see the godets I added to the side from a gray-and-black stripe remnant that I 'd kept in the scrap box, but you can sure see the difference it makes in the drape of the shirt.  That stripe knit was a pricey one, actually, that I bought at one of the Sewing Expos I went to...I want to say it was Indianapolis in 2014, but that might not be right.  I'd made a t-shirt out of it, that has disappeared (no idea how a t shirt could disappear, but I haven't seen it in at least a couple of years).  I had a good bit left over, so I paired it up with an abstract print and used the stripe on the sleeves and neckband.  The print was royal blue, black white and gray and I loved the way the stripes played with the print.  But, over the years, the gray in the print changed from gray to a pinky-mauve color (I have another, entirely different print that did the same thing; now instead of grayscale it looks sepia).  The pink kinda clashed w/ the royal blue in the print and it definitely looked odd with the stripe in the sleeves and neckband; it was still in the closet but I just didn't wear it.

So, with that backstory in mind, we return to the weird oversized shirt.  I used my Vogue 9057 pattern for the base of the alterations.  After unstitching the sideseams and removing the sleeves,  I folded the shirt in half lengthwise.  I could only cut one side at a time because the hem-to-hem length was longer than my table, so I cut the front first, laying the pattern with the center front along the fold and the intersection between the neckline and the shoulder seam at the shoulder seam/ neckline of the shirt.   Where the waist shaping on the sideseam began to increase just below the waist, I laid my long ruler there to connect that line with the bottom edge of the shirt.  Whacked it down, then carefully moved the shirt so that I could cut the back the same way.  I cut something like 13" off of the shoulder seam, so it was enough to cut some cap sleeves from the scraps at the shoulder area...if I put the former shoulder seam down the center of the sleeves.

Then I carefully folded my little remnant of stripe and managed to get two godets that were 11" wide at the bottom and 15" tall.  I didn't do any scientific calculations...that was just the size I could get from the piece I had.

I did that after writing Tuesday's post, and then I pondered what to do. I thought it would just look like I stuck extra fabric in it if I didn't do something besides just the godets...and I remembered the 'rule of three' from my days costuming school shows. Basically, the rule of three is that if you use an element in an outfit/ garment, you should use it in three places so that it looks like a part of the garment.  But I was down to mere scraps of the knit...what could I do?

Then I remembered the top with the striped sleeves and neckband that didn't work anymore.  I hustled up to the closet and took the sleeves and the neckband off before I went to bed (really late, lol).  The faded remnants of the top went into the trash bin.  RIP.

I thought I'd just put the sleeves on the new top...they were from the same Vogue pattern.  But as I thought about what I could do while at work yesterday I realized that the long sleeves and the long godets would kind of compete.  Maybe it would be better to use the cap sleeves.  Maybe  there was enough scraps left to get a couple of strips to use as a band on the bottom of the sleeves...bonus, then I wouldn't have to hem the sleeves.  Hm.  And what about the neckband?   I didn't even know if the neckband that I pulled off of the faded shirt would fit or if I would need to add some length to it.

I came home, ate dinner, walked with my hubby, and then pondered what I could do and how I could do it.   I finally measured the bottom of the cap sleeves I'd cut, then measured the scraps and found that I could get two strips 1 1/2" wide long enough to go around the bottom of the sleeves, and I matched up the neckband to the neckline of the shirt and saw that I would only have to stretch the recycled neckband a little bit to make it work. would pull that really wide neckline into a better size for me. The only caveat was that I realized I would have to hand sew the neckband on; I just layered it behind the original finished neckline of the top (it had a wrap-around binding).  Took a bit to sew it on, but now I have a double neckline that suits my narrow shoulders better than the original; not only did the stretched neckband pull it in slightly, but it extends about 3/8" beyond the original finished edge so it fills it in a bit.

From that point, it was just a matter of sewing it together and hemming the godets.  I actually finished last night and wore it today.

I am sad that I wasn't able to keep the pockets but they would have looked odd in the godet seam.  It's comfy and swishy and fun to wear.  And the button back is cool. serger is still not cutting as nicely as I would like. It's not horrible...but it's not clean as it should be, either.  We may have to make another trip west in the next couple of weeks.  Sigh.