Sunday, February 11, 2018

Loss of a Landmark...

Saw this on the news last night....logged on today to find that the fire had re-ignited overnight and there is literally nothing but a portion of a shell left.

I've been to Sir's irregularly...it is a 45-minute to an hour drive away...and the stock varied greatly; one visit would yield very little worth bringing home while a visit in 2007 saw me hauling home nearly 50 yards of deals; a good bit of which is still in the bins.  It was THE place to go to find costuming fabric; especially after the deterioration of the fabric department at Wal-Mart.

It was a place that still SMELLED like I remember fabric stores smelling as a kid.  The good ones.  With real fabric.

It was a family business; who knows if they'll try to rebuild/restock.

I can hope, but given the current status of the retail fabric business...I fear they're gone for good.

Glad I have a stash....

Monday, February 05, 2018

A Rather Inauspicious Start to 2018

Sometimes, the urge to MAKE SOMETHING just gets irresistible...

Even in the midst of the crazy...hubby out of town, the church, which is also my place of employment, moving into a new facility that's still in the midst of renovation...packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...lol.

Last year, I bought about 4 pieces of fabric to make tablecloths.  I love using upholstery cottons; they're usually treated w/ a stain resistant finish and they're drapey and washable...what's not to love?

Oh, yeah.  They're usually only about 52" wide...and my round table on the porch is about 55" around.

But I came up with a plan.   

1. Buy extra length.
2. Straighten one edge; measure off 62" and pull a thread and cut.
3.  Split the remnant in half lengthwise
4.  Remove all selvedges
5. Match the cut pieces to the center of the long piece; sew the seam and then serge it.
6.  Fold carefully into quarters
7.  Mark an arc 31" from the fold point
8.  Cut on the marked arc to get a circle
9. Use the serger to roll the edge.
10.  Fray check the tail and trim after dry.

Simple, no?  It really doesn't take long.

And the Sewing Urge hit, so I thought I'd sew up one of the pieces of tablecloth fabric.

But I had a problem with this particular piece of fabric....

The first time I made a circle table cloth, I didn't pay any attention to the placement of the motifs on the center line.  As a result, the large motif is slightly off center vertically.  It's not terribly wrong, but it bugs me.  So this time, I picked out the prominent motif and measured out of the center 31" on both sides.

Unfortunately, I had a fairly sizeable chunk on the end that I would otherwise have just evened up to square.  Which meant that, after I matched up the long end to the sides and folded it into quarters, the extension quit about an inch too soon.

Sigh.  I guess I'll just have a slightly short drop on the cloth.  I didn't want the off-center motif thing going on again.

So I folded it up into quarters, with the shortest side up, and made the arc 30" instead of 31" from the center.

And it sat there for about a week before I could get to it again.

When I had a chance, I trotted upstairs and cut along the marked arc.
Gave the remnant a tug but it didn't seem to move right.  Oh, the rotary cutter didn't get all the way through the layers.  Not unusual, just give it a quick little slice.

But that slice seemed awfully thick.  Did it really not go all the way through?

No! Gasp!  I had looked at the thing cockeyed and for some reason CUT UP THE PIECED SEAM .

I'm still not sure what crossed my wires, but I had a 6" gash on either side.

I don't often cry when sewing, but I confess to shedding a few tears at that point.  I really, really liked the fabric.

But, it's either fix it or consign it to tote bags, so I scooped up the circle and went to the sewing machine, where I zig-zagged those gashes shut.  They're on the drop...they won't be noticed...right?
Someone's gotta look close to see it.  One is right on the seamline, the other is just off a bit.

But, whilst suturing the gashes, I noticed that I DIDN'T have the shortest side of the matched pieces up.  There was a healthy divot missing off of one end of the arc.

No!!!

What to do, what to do...

Y'all, I unpicked the seam a bit, whacked a square of the remnant (it was a trick to get my brain around matching that on two sides) and pieced it in.

It's not invisible, but it's not very noticeable, and, given the patching already done, perfectly serviceable.

In hind sight, it probably would have worked better, matching wise, to have put one of the smaller motifs in the center.  It would have at least still been balanced.  But...it is what it is, and it'll do.

And I just realized I'd knocked it about an inch off center before I took that last pic.  Oh, well.  You get the idea.

But, given how hard I tried to ruin that, lol, I'm kind of skeered to tackle anything else until I've gotten my calm back, lol.


Friday, January 12, 2018

The Dismal 2017 Stats...

Finally clearing the slate for a new year.

I just didn't manage to get to the sewing machines much last year.  Partly blaming the on-line Master's degree, which pretty much consumed the first 5 months of the year, but I can only partly blame that.

To be honest, I think the current jammed-up, cluttered sewing room is as much to blame as anything. That, and re-gaining the weight I lost in 2016 kinda killed my sewing motivation altogether.

But, as they say it's a new year and a new day.  Cleaning the sewing room is on my radar...after I get a few other things caught up...(and I'm making progress there) so maybe I can post not-so-dismal stats this time next year...

Fabric In: 74.875 yds
Fabric Out: 31.625 yds
Last fabric added: 11/15?/17
Garments made for me: 15
Garments made for other family members: 2
Home Dec Items: 1
Muslins:1
Misc. Church Sewing: 12? 14? Nine-patch squares for table decor;

Still, the fabric-in total was the 3rd lowest for the year since I started keeping records of such things back in 2004; and it was just 3/8ths of a yard over the 2nd lowest total, which was in 2010 (in 2015 my yearly total was 72.625 yards; that's the most disciplined I've managed to be... but that year I sewed over 62 yards, so I only added about 10 yards to the stash.  I'm way off of that this year).

I'm not going to totally restrict myself from buying ANY fabric...there are some gaps in the stash, and if I need Brussels Washer Linen I'm going to buy some, but it's gonna have to be something I NEED and will SEW when I get it.

Back to the old paradigm that I lived with until something like 1990...buy the fabric when you're going to sew it.

I can hardly remember what that was like...the excitement of going to the fabric store, coming home with the new fabric that I could hardly stand to wait to run it through the washer/dryer before slapping the pattern down and attacking it with the scissors.

Now, of course, that kind of immediate gratification just doesn't happen.   I had a good 4 or 5 stores a short drive a way then...that had things like cotton and linen and silk...now there's just Jo-Ann's World of Quilting, Polyester and Crafts.  But I digress...

So, this year I intend to Shop the Stash.  I might make things for choir...or I might make things I'll never get to wear in choir.  I might make aprons and tote bags.  I might come up with a SWAP plan.  Who knows.

But I want to get my sewing room cleaned out and somewhat organized.

Then I can have some fun.  Shop the stash...slap on the pattern...make something new...




Sunday, January 07, 2018

A New Paradigm...I hope...

I looked, and do you know, I ran some form of a Choir Wardrobe post for nearly ten years?  With a break here and there...

Hard to believe I've been blogging that long, but it was 12 years last fall, so...well, time flies.

So I've been contemplating my sewing. The choir wardrobe has literally driven my sewing choices for who knows how long; yet I have been accumulating fabric in all sorts of styles all that time that has languished (note to self:  next post, do the dismal 2017 stats...lol).

Fabric dot com sent an email to me (actually, more than one), saying they were worried about my stash...afraid I was going to run out of fabric.

(laughs hysterically)

I posted on Facebook that they should be afraid I would open a competing fabric business, based on the stash.

But you know, the stash has been weighing on me.  So many unfulfilled dreams.  Those lovely blouses, awesome jackets,  sharp dresses...that have never been made.

So my goal for 2018 is to dare to sew pretty things from the stash.

Also on my goal for 2018 is to have fun sewing; I'm going to try to sew without deadlines.

But first up...my sewing room is a disaster.

A DIS.AS.TER.

No, I'm not posting a photo now.  I'll take a 'before'...and, when it's clean, I'll post it with the 'after'.

I may not get much sewing done for the next month; it may take that long to clean it out.

'Specially as I haven't started yet.  Got some other urgent household business to take care of first.

Regarding choir; I'm going to give it a go and see if I can use what I have, with possible minor accessory purchases, for the entire year.  Unless something changes radically, or some previously unknown color shows up in the mix, I should be good...even if I just go in all black or all brown or whatever the neutral is for the month.

So...here's to shopping the stash in 2018! :-D

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Choir Wardrobe 12.31.17

In the interest of not having a bodaciously long and rambling post, I'm going to stick to the Choir Wardrobe for today and save other stuff for another day.

Burgundy, black and gray were the colors for December, and since we had 5 Sundays in the month I actually did get to wear the new stretch lace top

Worn with the ancient Vogue cardi-wrap I wore last week and the black-denim-look ponte Sewing Workshop Helix Pants, because I didn't have any dressier pants that 1) fit or 2) were clean.  There's a charcoal gray Jalie 965 tank under it, because, yeah.  Stretch lace.

Looking at the photo, I'm wishing I'd made the top about 2" longer....which would have been the original length of the pattern.  What looked frumpy in rayon knit would have looked fine in the stretch lace.  It looks a little skimpy to me, but that may be partially because of the knit pants.  Drapey straight-leg pants w/o a topper would probably have worked better.

The topper was because it was cold Sunday...even here in the South. I'm not complaining; this Hoosier-born gal needs a bit of cold around the holidays for it to even feel right.    Now I want one 3 -4 inch snow and we can call it winter and go to spring. LOL.


AND...with that post, I'm going to retire the Choir Wardrobe...it may come back again or it may not, but I'm feeling really ambivalent about posting the same ol stuff over and over (I know, there's a new top this week, but in general...it's all old...).

But I want to refocus my sewing priority, and I think the paradigm shift on the blog will help.  In all honesty, I started the choir wardrobe series back in the day as a challenge to myself to see if I could wear something me-made every Sunday for a year.   I met that challenge...over and over and over again.  Now it's rare that I DON'T wear something I've made.

So now I need a new challenge. 

And I'm thinking.  I'm thinking....

:-)  Thanks to everyone who has followed the series all these years!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Last project of 2017

Back in, oh,  September I managed to find some kind of Christmassy-themed upholstery cotton and ordered 3 yards for a tablecloth for the round table in the sunroom.  Because, you know, I wanted a bit of Christmas cheer to go with the ancient kitschy aluminum tree with the color wheel.

But nobody makes cotton upholstery fabric in greater than about 54" widths, and trial-and-error has proven that a 62" diameter circle works best for the tablecloth.  So piecing is in order.

Sometimes I can get an invisible line...sometimes not so much.  This time is not so much, but the little trees (those are green trees with red trunks.  Actually they are lime green trees with fuschia trunks, but at a glance it's red and green) are kinda eye-swirling anyway so I don't think it's going to be too noticeable.  Green wooly nylon serger rolled edge.  The trickiest part is the piecing and the cutting.

I've got half a yard...ish...left over.  Eventually I'll make a little totebag out of it.

While I had the serger set up for a rolled edge, I decided I'd tackle another quick project.  Last year, I found a 70" red jacquard tablecloth and tried to make it work.  But it was so long it drug on the chairs and got in the way and...anyway, I decided to cut it down to a 62" circle and serge it up.

I was really surprised when I cut it out; I folded it on the lengthwise grain (easy to see due to the jacquard pattern), then folded again on the crosswise and the hem was way uneven going around...as much as 3" off in one spot.  Cheap construction, I thought.  I marked the arc and cut the circle down, changed the thread in the serger and took off.

I checked the progress after about 6" and found that the weave on the fabric was so loose that the rolled edge just pulled off.  Oy.

So I put my wide rolled edge foot on the sewing machine and began to sssslllooowwwllly work my way around it.  I didn't do too badly until I hit the first part of the circle in which I was sewing against the grain. Oy oy and double oy.  The fabric just opened up.  The edge frayed like crazy and the hem suddenly got really ugly really fast.  I stopped and ripped and started again and stopped and ripped and got frustrated and just kind of gritted my teeth around to the cross grain bit, which worked better.   Went pretty good again until I got to the opposite side where I was going against the grain again and...after starting and stopping a couple of more times, I pulled the whole side off and zig-zagged the edge, on the off side so that I was sewing with the grain, to stabilize it.  Then I went back and ran that quarter through the rolled edge foot again.  Still not great but  much better.  When I looked at the first rough quarter...it was bad.  So I ripped that out, trimmed the crazy thread tails and zig-zagged it on the right side and then ran that side back through the rolled edge.

Oh yeah.  On that first side I forgot to switch back to a straight stitch so I actually zig-zagged the rolled edge.  Which laid so much nicer than it did the first time that I also zig-zagged the second side when I re-did it.  So two alternate quarters are straight-stitched on the hem and the other two are zig-zagged but I'm OK WITH THAT.  At least all the edges are secure.  If anyone looks close enough at the hem to see the inconsistency...I'll think they're really weird...lol.

And when I folded it up to put it away, I saw that the edges were not at all even.  I have real empathy for the poor stitchers that had to sew it in the beginning.  It was ghastly.  But I have a dressy-festive table cloth to put on the round table if I want to.

And if I'm not at church or a party tomorrow, I'm going to be cooking, so...no more sewing this year.

Gonna do some thinking...hard ...about sewing priorities for 2018.  There may be a paradigm shift coming...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Choir Wardrobe 12.17 and 12.24 2017

I didn't even realize that I hadn't managed to post last week until I posted the note about the lace top.

Which I actually didn't wear today; we were to wear 'dressy' clothes...ie, kick it up a notch from our usual casual laid-back style.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Better back up and talk about last week first.

 Choir colors for this month are burgundy or something close, lol, black and gray.  So I've got some Land's end black jeggings under  my Butterick 5244 Muse dress, made up in a (reversible, actually; the wrong side is solid black) rayon/poly doublknit.  It's kind of a fun retro thing to wear and it almost always garners comments from folks.  Even though, if you read the review, you'll see it's far from a perfect effort.  And there's a flaw in the back that I never noticed until I'd worn it about a year.  Looks like someone put tape on it and pulled off some of the top layer of burgundy, letting the black shadow through some.

Keep moving.  LOL.

Actually posting this between Christmas Eve services today;  we split our usual 3-service schedule into two in the morning and one in the late afternoon, and did family services (IE, no child care above 2 years; the kids were with their parents for a one hour service).  The choir did a regular worship set, with some Christmas themed-songs mixed in with contemporary arrangements of Carols, then returned at the end of the service in robes (yes, we borrow them for special events from time to time) to do Eddie James epic 'He's Here'

I actually posted the question on the choir FB group last night...would we be partaking of communion on the platform?  Because if we were, I needed to make sure to wear something with pockets, for the little sealed package of wafer-and-grapejuice.  But, no the choir was not going to be on the platform during communion, so I was safe to go pocket-less.

So.  The garnet red (oh, did I say garnet red?  Of course, I meant burgundy...lol) slinky Sewing Workshop Cityscapes Dress, which fit better 15 pounds ago, but that's the beauty of slinky, no?  BTW, that pattern is out of print but it is, I believe, now available as a PDF download.

Also with the nearly-worn-out-and-needs-replacing black jersey Vogue 8305 cardi-wrap.  Which I peeled off before I put on the robe. LOL.

Off to the final service of the day; choir call is in about 20 minutes; gotta run or I'll be late. :-)

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to all my sewing friends!