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.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

A Refashion Challenge...

 At the end of last week, a large bag was circulated around the admin office at church.  Someone had unearthed a bag w/ some past conference merch T-shirts...all in 2 & 3 XL sizes.  There weren't many, and we were told we could have whatever struck our fancy.

I dug through the bag, whilst one of my co-workers shook her head, 'I don't think you're going to find anything in there...they're all Plus sizes'

'Oh, I'm not looking for a top that fits, ' I commented.  'I'm looking for raw material.'

She was shocked.  'You mean you're going to cut it up?'


I found a shirt from 2016 that I had thought was kinda cute...but it was only in plus sizes back then, and it was kinda odd shaped.

I brought it home and took some pics...

 First, I tried it on, just to see what I had to work with.  And I will say, when I pulled it over my head, I thought, 'This shirt has been worn before'...slight remnants of a fragrance, and a bit of perspiration.  Then I realized what the shirts in the bag likely were...shirts that had been modeled in a photo shoot and then couldn't be sold.

 No matter.  I just ran it through the laundry after the pics, lol.

It's tunic length... just a hair longer than my shorts...and very wide in the shoulders and upper body, but almost snug through the thighs.  I suppose I could just roll with the oversized vibe but it would annoy the stew outta me.

You can see the shape laid out on the bed; it looks like it's straight, which is odd, considering how it fits like an inverted triangle.

The back is the part I liked the best.  It's a pleat, with buttons, so it looks like it buttons up the back.  

All the kids who are in town came by the house last night and we all sat around the front porch, socially distanced, and visited.  I put the time to good use and opened the side seams, removed the pockets and took off the sleeeves.  I have a couple of ideas of what I can do...we'll see what develops.

I am definitely keeping the back button detail, lol.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

She's Back...

 And we are very glad.  

It was $1 for parts ((a new upper knife) and $110  for labor, but she's all cleaned, tuned, tweaked and sharp and ready to go.  She's running a little more growly than in the old days, but, hey, she's 30 years old and she's still quieter than the new backup.  And I'm glad I now have a backup sewing machine and a back up serger that I can take to church for sewing days and still have my sewing set up at home.

On another note, I've had to turn off comments on some posts; that really shouldn't matter much because a) I only get about  3 actual comments a month and b) the posts are from the first of the year so they're not likely to get actual comments anyway.  But I've begun to be afflicted with really offensive R-rated comments.  I've got comment moderation turned on, so they're not getting any actual air play, but I have to look at them to moderate and I am not happy.  I finally noticed last week that they seemed to be recurring on the same two or three  12 Month wardrobe posts, so I turned off the comments for those posts.  We'll see if that stops the influx.  I have the comment moderation on, plus the capcha, so someone is working hard to leave yuckky stuff for no good purpose; it's not going to make it to public eyes. But maybe if I throw a leaf on the path the way will be blocked, lol.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

...and a milestone that I *didn't* miss...a non-sewing post...

 On August 16, 1980, My Sweet Babboo and I pledged our lives and love to each other in front of a church full of friends and family.

It was a cold, rainy day in central Indiana, but it was the beginning of an adventure.

Back in January, we were looking at Adventures...did we want to do a train ride across Canada?  An Alaskan cruise?  What would be a big enough commemoration?


About two weeks ago we looked at each other and said, 'We have to do SOMETHING.'

So we decided to go to our favorite getaway spot about an hour and a half away.  We were first there for our 30th anniversary, so it was a 10 year celebration for that, too.  It's a perfect place to just enjoy the quiet.  And it's remote enough that we weren't worried about...catching anything.  We probably saw about ten people all weekend.

 It's right on the edge of a bluff on Sand Mountain, overlooking the Tennessee River.   


 The weather was perfect; relatively low humidity, but still warm enough that we could enjoy the swimming pool, nearly exclusively, but there were enough clouds for a  pretty sunset.

We waited until about 9:30 Monday night and then went out to look at the night sky, well coated with bug repellent.  If I had had a tripod, the sky pictures would have been much better.  There were no moon and no clouds; the stars were breathtaking.  There aren't a lot of  places dark enough to see the Milky Way any more...but it was on full display for us.  But the best I could do w/ my camera was the Big Dipper...or Ursa Major, depending on your school of thought.  I was amazed that I got anything at all.  I don't know if it will show up on everyone's device, but I can see it...



 The Lodge where we stayed has a reputation for fine dining.  We had a 3 course dinner on Sunday, in honor of our anniversary.  It was fabulous...but my hubby's camera seems to have eaten our photos; he couldn't pull them off.  Fortunately, we took a selfie with mine after we ate.  Don't we look well fed? LOL.


It was just two days away, but it was enough to kinda relax a little bit.  We have plans for another getaway...a conference that was supposed to have happened the weekend after Easter and was rescheduled for Mid-September...but who knows if we will actually get to go.  Hoping...

Oh, I guess there is a little sewing news to report.  On the way back, I jokingly said something about dropping our luggage off, picking up my serger and driving it an hour and a half in the other direction for repair.  My Sweet Babboo was in the mood for a drive, so we did.  Now I'm waiting on the service department to give me a call with an estimate for repair.  I will be glad to get it back.  The new backup is...ok...but I miss my old friend.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

I missed a milestone...

I just happened to notice that, according to Blogger's count, this is post number 2030 on Sew Random.

I totally missed that 2000 milestone...(counts back).. it looks like it was the first post-vacation trip post back in September.   Wow, I really hadn't been paying attention to that counter.

But I did finish another item for the closet...back in, oh, February of last year, I cut out a red shell top, thinking I might use it for either SWAP or the 12 months/12 outfits wardrobe.  But it didn't end up being needed and, to tell the truth, I forgot about it.  Found it Friday and sewed it up. Only a hanger shot at the moment...and it looks like a sack on the hanger.  But it's viscose challis and it's as light as air.

I had about 2 yards;  I folded one selvedge in just wide enough to cut the front and back on the same fold so the uncut remnant ran the length of the yardage.  I squared it up, fringed the ends and narrow hemmed the long edges and now I have a lightweight red scarf.  I liked the fabric so much I bought another fairly good sized chunk for a floaty dress...someday...

But I think I need to make another batch of masks before I work on another closet item.The mandates mean everyone needs one...