Saturday, December 30, 2006

Laundry Day

We got into town last night and will have a couple of days here before leaving again...

I'm trying to get all the laundry done so I'm not washing clothes while we do 'Family Christmas' on Jan 1...(weird, I know, but it works for us...)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday break! I'm hoping to catch a few minutes for sewing while we're home,trying to get that 'fabric out' number a little higher. I fear it's kind of wishful thinking at this point. But, ya never doesn't take too long to knock out a couple of t shirts... ;)

Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve! We'll be home, fonduing and playing Trivial Pursuit with the offspring... it's one of our traditions ;)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We're off to Hoosierland...we'll be back next week, then off again. Then back, then DH has a business trip from which he will return the day school resumes.

So much for a nice, quiet, relaxing holiday....

But I expect to enjoy it nonetheless, with an opportunity to see dear ones and just get a break away from normal.

And we'll get some traditions that we miss when we don't make it home, like the candelight Christmas Eve service at St Paul UM in Elkhart...

(Note to self: take kleenex, you know you cry everytime we sing 'Silent Night')

DH will take a laptop, so I *might* get to check in, but if I don't, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and wadder-free New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do You Match Socks?

As I was doing laundry yesterday, matching and rolling socks for everyone, I happend to think of something DH had said the other day.

I have an odd sock basket in the laundry room...every sock that comes through and ends up mateless goes in the basket, in hopes that the missing one will show up sooner or later (I won't embarrass myself by revealing how old some of the socks in that basket are. Just call me an unbridled optimist....). Anyway, DH had run out of socks and I was behind on laundry, so I encouraged him to check through the odd sock basket and see if he had any in there. I think he found two pairs of his socks (good enough), but about 8 pairs of socks belonging to the kids.

"You ought to match those up once in a while" he commented as he took his socks upstairs. "I do," I replied, "I just haven't for a bit." (I usually do it when I can't put any more socks in's a small basket that fits on a cabinet shelf).

Now, I was stewing over this (just a little) yesterday, I thought of references to sock matching I'd picked up from the boards and various books. I actually considered designating a basket as the Sock Basket, period, and just putting all socks into it as they come out of the dryer and letting everyone turn, match and roll their own.

If there was a spot in the laundry/sewing room for such a basket, I probably would do it. Anyway, for the moment I decided to just keep doing what I've been doing and consider it a blessing to the family.

But I I in the minority? How does the rest of the world handle socks on laundry day? :D

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Faux Tails

I've been meaning to get some photos of the 'Tailed Coats' we used for Scrooge for ages; since I happened to have a camera with me while I was working w/costumes yesterday, I snapped a couple of quick shots. Most of the coats are dark blue or black; this one happens to be light enough that you can see what was done.

Disclaimer: this actually was not my idea; the guys' costumes that came in the donation from the church in Florida (including this one) were all done this way.

Anyway, what those clever Floridian seamstresses did was to
1)cut away the front of the coats from the waist down...from the front edge to the sideseams
2)Attach the cutaway portions to the bottom of the back of the jacket so that the finished edges met in the middle, and the cut edges were in the new seam and along the sides (Um, I just noticed that on this coat, the finished edges are the outside and bottom of the tails; they adjusted the cut edges to fit, turned them under, then met those edges in the middle)
3)finished the raw edges (bottom of the front, along the sides) with bias tape, or gimp applied over a serged or zig-zaggged edge.


This jacket is especially interesting because of the pockets...I believe it was, in its former life, a 70's 'leisure suit' type coat; it had flapped patch pockets. The flaps were retained on the front, and the patch pockets are, um, adorning the tails. Amusing up close...but barely noticeable on stage.

I've made costume tail coats from scratch and this way; I must say, this is a great quick-and-dirty answer to the guys costume dilemma.

I just wish I'd posted it early enough to help out ladies who are costuming Dickens shows this year....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Search For Christmas

Our live nativity turned into a multi-media family service, 'Blu's Search for Christmas' (um, Blu is a goofy blue gorilla puppet; he's one of the characters our children's pastor has used for years; I'm pretty sure he predates the popular blue dog) on Christmas Eve morning. We'll be out of town, but I went down today and helped pull some costumes for the kids who will be participating. You can tell how thrilled they are with the whole wait-for-lights-and-sound-and-etc-to-be-right deal as they waited to shoot the video version that will air on our tv spot Sunday morning.

It's interesting; all our stashed kids' costumes are for kid characters...that is, they're for the Easter production in which the kids play first century children. For this project, the kids were to be adult characters... Joseph, Mary and shepherds. I really had to scramble to get them costumes that were long enough without swallowing them whole, and find head drapes that sort of worked. I'll readily admit that we have severe clashing of pattern and color going on...but as it's just kids and puppets(i.e., obviously not intended to be realistic) we can get away with it. Sort of.

So, I suppose at some time we need to make some kid-sized adult character costumes. I'll put that on the 'To-Do' list...

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Holiday Treat

Just in case someone hasn't already heard it, if you want a real holiday treat, check out Gorgeous' Things blog for today -- Gorgeous Things' Blog: Joyeux Noel!

Not only is Ann a Sewing Diva extraordinaire, she sings like a nightingale...

She made me cry. ;)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Excuses

Ok, last year I was behind on Christmas shopping/baking/house cleaning/decorating/etc., because I was sewing 60 hours a week for Scrooge. Somehow, though, I did have my cards (well, the annual family Christmas Epistle) in the mail by this time last year, Scrooge or no Scrooge.

This year, I only did a pinch of sewing for the Nightmare on Scrooge Street knock-off; I've been shopping off and on and I only have a couple of more people to pick up things for and I'm done.

But the Epistles still aren't mailed; neither is the package that's going to DH's brother in California. And we've got one day short for mailing this year; it's gotta be there by the 23rd, since the 24th is Sunday.

I didn't realize that until yesterday.

And we even talked about mailing all the other gifts, too, just in case the flu or a nasty winter storm hits anywhere in the family; that way, we could just batten down the hatches and stay home. But, since I don't have everything that would need to be mailed, I guess that's not an option. Or, at least, it's not an option that would work by Christmas. We could still send the stuff...they'd still get it before New Year's Day....

That is an emergency back up plan only.

And I refuse to go the the malls this weekend... ;)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Must Mend

DD came downstairs today wearing the same jeans she'd worn all week (eww). Turns out her other two pairs are both in the mending (my bad). I tried to get her to change into her dressy pants, but she fiddled around until it was too late to change. So, she went to school in those same jeans...again....

Looks like I'm going to be patching jeans again. Immediately.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Two tops done

When you've got a bad cold, it's hard to do anything much. Budget takes too much concentration. Cleaning house takes too much energy. Even addressing Christmas cards was beyond my focus.

But I can sew. Dunno why I can do that and not the other stuff. So, I carted some lotion-coated tissues to the sewing nook and cranked out two tops...the Jalie 2005 for DD and the Vogue 8323 princess t for me. I did reviews (see the link on the sidebar...the Jalie review is an update from 2004)on them, if you're wanting details.

Today I have to do some Christmas errands, cold or not. I'll try not to breath on people. ;)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Choir Skirt

I finally got a photo of DD in her stretch velvet skirt after last night's Christmas program...I posted the photo and review at PatternReview. She was pleased with her skirt, but doesn't like the fact that she *must* wear a slip with it or static electricity causes it to adhere like a wet t-shirt. It's an elegant looking skirt that I think cost $9, and, if I'm careful, I *think* I could still get a cap sleeve T for her from the remnants, which would (another reason for the currently cut-out cheapo knit test of the Jalie t in her size).

But I need to photo document the flounce drafting process next time I do it; I've had two or three questions about it in the review comments. I've drafted flounces/circle skirts with plain 'ol geometry several times; It really isn't difficult...just needs a good calculator, an accurate compass and a little patience ;).

This made such a nice skirt for DD that I think I'll make a couple more from some interlock I've got hanging around it the stash...probably after Christmas.

ETA: (By request).... Here's the link for the photo: Choir Skirt.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday Night Fiddling

DH has rather faced the facts and recognized that 1)He's got so much on his plate that he either needs to drop some things or get another plate and 2)He is not dedicating any outside time to his BSF class and so is getting very little benefit from it. Consequently he has decided that, in the interest of maintaining sanity, he needs to withdraw from the Monday night BSF class. I'm sorry that it's come to that, but I can see that he is not getting nearly the benefit from the class I did...he just doesn't have enough time; especially as he has church commitments on Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights and every other Thursday night. Freeing his Mondays will give him just a little breathing room.

Now, I could still make it a point to have dinner over and out of the way by 6, as if everyone were leaving to go to Bible Study, and then still use Mondays as my 'Kitchen Table Sewing' nights...the nights when I trace/alter patterns or cut fabric, but, well, we'll see. We're normally done w/dinner in the neighborhood of 7; but the table is normally in use for homework virtually all evening. So last night may have been my last regular pattern alteration/cutting night.

But I did do a fair amount of work; first I played around with my Cadeau T pattern; I marked on the front where I want to put that bow (1/2 way between the side seam and the CF), then measured the tie ends and marked them so that I would, in effect, be stretching the ties about 15% when attaching them to the bottom of the get the blousing effect that shown on the line drawing. Then I traced new neck band/facing pieces, pivoting them so that the shoulders are 1" narrower than the original. Finally I walked the seams on the top/sleeve joins and narrowed the sleeves so that the seam length and the notches match.

The next pattern up is the princess-seamed T, Vogue 8323. There are a few reviews for this pattern up; they all say that the sleeve cap is low and has too much ease. So, instead of doing my normal 8-in-the-shoulders-morph-to-bigger everywhere else hassle, I traced a size 14 for both view A (surplice) and View C (scoop), but only rough cut it around the shoulder and armsceye, leaving extra tissue. Then I marked the side front/side back seamlines on the scoop neck view front and back, and the side front and back pieces (the side pieces are the same for all convenient!). Then I overlaid the side front/front and side back/back pieces at the seamlines (a little tricky, owing to the curve, but doable), and pulled out my TNT Loes Hinse Cowl Top pattern. Matching Centers and shoulders, I traced the shoulder/armsceye/underarm from the Cowl Top onto the Vogue tracing, blending where the lines were the same at the neckline and upper sideseam. The result was that the armsceye was moved up and in about 1", and, conveniently, all the changes were on the side front/side back. Then I just traced the sleeves from the Cowl top...I'll use those instead of the Vogue sleeves. When I'm using a less complicated pattern (i.e., one that doesn't have curvy seams to deal with ), I'll take a couple of pictures of the process. Anyway, that should make that top fit...unless I need to lower the bust point. But on a stretchy top, that's kind of hard to determine. So the first top will be from a cheap knit, just to check that.

I got that far when DH and the kids got home last night, but DD had some homework yet to finish, which she'd spread out over the family room floor. So I decided to just keep going. Earlier this fall, I'd picked up a mystery poly/lycra knit print from Hancock's for $2.95/yd. I'd originally intended it to be a wrap dress, but last night I pulled out the wrap dress pattern and looked it over good and realized that I'm a good 10 pounds over what I'd want to be to wrap myself in jersey knit. So, I put that pattern back. There will be fabric available when I'm down to size (I believe, I believe....) Instead, I laid the knit out and cut out the Cadeau and the Scoop neck view of the Vogue pattern, w/the cap sleeves from the Cowl Top. There was a bit of fabric left, and I'd traced a DD-sized copy of Jalie 2005 about 6 months ago, so I went ahead and cut a t out for her from the remnant...I added 2" in length to the top; it looked a little short (it has been 6 months).

DD finished her homework just as I had one tabletop's worth of patterns laid out and ready to cut, but I went ahead and started cutting and finished up around midnight. I may have just given myself an excuse to put off sewing the thank-you gifts a little longer, but I did want to get these things tested out. Fabrics that are wanting these patterns are in backlog...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Overdue Thanks

In August of 2004, 5 dear ladies from church showed up at my house to help me pack up the household goods on very short notice...shortly thereafter I purchased some fabric to make them appreciation gifts. But life didn't give me a break in which to put said gifts together.

That's one of those long-delayed projects that I'm using the available 'down' (as in no major sewing projects due) time to catch up. I've got four cut out...they're all the same pattern...but the fifth is different and it'll wait until the others are done.

I don't *think* any of these ladies stop by here, but just in case I'll hold off on what they are...for now...

I'll post photos after they've been distributed.

Oh, it will feel *SO GOOD* to have finally taken care of that!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nightmare on Scrooge Street

We just couldn't leave Scrooge alone; last night's skit was a complete parody of the original production and included a ranting, shrewish Pegarty (Scrooge's maid); an absent Angel 1, The Queen of the Trailer Parks for Angel 2, a Southern Belle who collected donations for the poor and beat Scrooge w/her purse, an Animal Trainer who couldn't get her collection of birds to speak with a British accent and the afore-mentioned pint sized Angel 3, who appeared to be from the Island of Perpetual Tickling (a reference to Veggie Tales)...not to mention a kilt-wearing Scrooge who spoke w/a thick Scottish brogue. The final song was a parody of the much-repeated song at the end of the true production, modified so as to be meaningful to the deacons...and it just so happens that our church elder, who is over the deacon ministry, is named went together well.

We got some serious practice at operating under adverse conditions, though. There were communication glitches, and the folks that were planning the party didn't realize we had planned to be the evening's entertainment...they thought we were doing a little five-minute thing that would fit in w/all the other entertainment planned. We had no idea there was other entertainment planned, so instead of performing while folks were munching dessert and drinking coffee, we ended up doing our bit while the main course was served. And, due to technical difficulties, the dinner ended up being served in the cavernous, dark,echoing fellowship hall instead of our youth we weren't even on stage, but just kind of at one end of the room.

I think the three tables who were right in front where they could actually see and hear were amused...and everyone 'got' the song at the end...but it was too bad that the work we did wasn't able to be presented as we had hoped. Still, it was a good training exercise for the troupe, and it was fun to put together. And we learned a bit about being specific in communication... ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006


So, this is DD's costume (complete w/a facemask borrowed from the puppet team) for the skit tonight.

I'll explain it in detail tomorrow... ;)

I finished her skirt last night, too. Now she's complaining that she doesn't like the top that I've told her to wear with

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ha! I knew it!

Late last night, while we were discussing the sewing I planned to do today, DD looked up at me and said, 'Hey, Mom, guess what?'

'Um, you need a black skirt and white top for your Christmas bit on Tuesday?'

She grinned at me. 'Yep.'

'So, did you just find out today?'

'Um, no...'

I sighed. 'So, when did your choir director actually tell you this?'


Am I ever glad I cut out that stretch velvet skirt for her Tuesday night. I've got to make her hooded cloak today, then I can sew the black skirt.

I am allowing myself a few moments of smugness today. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quiz Mania

We hated quizzes in school, right? So now we take them just for fun on the 'net...

The latest one to make the rounds is the "Which American Accent Do You Have" quiz.

Like you don't know.

Well, I took it, oh, a month or so ago just to see if it was accurate or not; there were a couple of questions that could've gone either way, and I came up as having an 'Inland North' accent...which suprised me, because I do not sound like a Minnesot'n. So I changed the 'maybes' and then was labeled 'Midland', which is accurate, as I grew up in central Indiana. Just for grins I re-took it today and didn't have any 'maybe' answers...perhaps I was just tired the first time? Anyway, the results were the same as trial two:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
The South
North Central
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I'm kind of interested as to why we find these things worth doing. This one wasn't too bad, at least as far as the questions themselves went, but I've taken some that are obviously biased and to which I want to answer 'None of the above!!!' on over half the questions.

I suspect we subconciously use the quizzes to judge ourselves against the 'norm', whatever that is, and gain some self-validation out of the process.

But what do I know....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Authentic Ethnic

Thanks to Erin's A Dress A Day blog, I've found a really interesting 'fashion photo' site. While I really enjoy the fashion pics in The Sartorialist, those are generally photos of the young and the lovely or the aged and refined...folks who don't mind spending on fashion.

She Wears Shwe-shwe is a different look at fashion. From South Africa, Ann carefully approaches ladies who are wearing variations of shwe-shwe (Shweshwe - the ethnic-print "indigo cloth" synonymous with traditional black South African dress -- from 'She Wears Shwe-Shwe' post) and photographs them in their dresses or skirts, then (and this is what is cool) does her best to give the ladies a print of their photograph later. These are not wealthy women; most of the garments are made by the ladies themselves or a friend or family member (although a few have been purchased).

She's also showing the process of making a 'panel skirt'...a very interesting concept, in which the panels are printed on the fabric and..well, she's got pictures that will explain it better than I could. But go look... ;)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh, Those Sales!

First it was The Sewing Place, with a fifteen percent off sale. I ordered the Burda pattern I talked about in the Dickens of a Pattern post back in September, and a Neue Mode pattern, V23440. Unfortunately, the Burda pattern is backordered, but I got the Neue Mode and the shoulderpads I also ordered today. I want to try that very nice basic blouse...eventually....

Then, there was the email from Linda of Emma OneSock. 20% off selected fabrics. I've been waiting for a good sale so I could order some of the black rayon/lycra 11 oz jersey...and 'while I was at it', I also ordered a piece of buttermilk knit. A reply from Linda said the buttermilk 'might' be sold out...oh, well, so long as I get the black, I'm good. I think I'll use it on the Cadeau instead of the black stretch velvet. The velvet would be lovely, dressy and festive, but I expect I'd wear the top more if it wasn't quite so fancy.

Finally, this morning there's an email from the HotPatterns 2, get 1 free. Aaaaiiiieee! No, I haven't bought any yet...but I do have three patterns on my wish list...

And there's no extra sewing time anywhere this week...

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Easiest Christmas Present

(Well, I loaded the photos to a draft post on Friday so I could quickly post this on Saturday the 2nd...but it's showing as being posted on Friday instead of Saturday....
I just learned something about posting that I'm glad to know: You can't draft posts ahead to publish at a later time, if you want the post date to be different than the day you draft)

This will absolutely be the easiest gift I'll give this year....
DS had a favorite sweatshirt; he'd pull it on, with a towel, and, with tongue firmly in cheek, proclaim, 'All Star Man to the Rescue!'. He was heartbroken when I finally convinced him that it was getting way too small, even for fun, and the last time it went through the wash, I stashed it, rather than putting it in his 'clean' basket. I think he believes it has gone to the Goodwill bin.

However, I had other wasn't tricky to do, but if you want the (very few) details, you can check the Review for a Sweatshirt Pillow. I intend to wrap it and give it to him for Christmas...won't he be surprised?

Once more, with feeling...

Ok, I blew it. Started one load of laundry yesterday, then suddenly remembered I had a major writing assignment with a deadline I basically spent the day at the computer.

The 2006 Family Christmas Epistle is now ready for the last two approvals...DD and DS...and signatures and it will be ready to mass produce for distribution. I really like to get all the cards in the mail by the 10th; dunno if I'll make it or not but the letter HAD to get written if I were going to have even a chance.

So...I'll hit the laundry today.

Oh, I did manage a run to Hancock's for a zipper.

I left with a zipper, a pattern (Vogue 8332) and 1 1/8 yds of black stretch velvet. The pattern and the velvet were on sale; I have a sneaky suspicion (from the 'Been there, done that' file) that DD is going to come home early next week and tell me that she needs to wear a black skirt and white top to the 5th grade choir Christmas concert. I intend to be ready...and I'm going to have black thread in the serger anyway for the spooky costume.

I'm thinking I'm going to make her a scaled down version of Loes Hinse's Swing Skirt; I think I could actually draft one for her with out too much trouble.

And with any luck, I'll have enough remnants of black stretch velvet to make contrasting neckline bands on my planned black-and-white stripe Cadeau top... ;)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Laundry Kind of Day

DS has been fighting a sinus infection all week; it finally got him down today so there will be no Christmas shopping foray for Mom.

I reckon I'll do some laundry instead....

I do need to make a quick run to Hancock's for a long black (preferable invisible) zipper. Our little church drama troup is doing a skit for enterainment at the Deacon's Christmas Party and, whilst I will hold off on particulars, I will say that I've got to make the Nazgul-looking version of Simplicity 5512 for DD to wear in the, um, production. It doesn't actually close, but I'll want a closure on it so I'm going to seam up the front and stick a zipper in it. There's also a possibility I could have to make a quick pseudo-kilt, although I'm trying to talk the party involved into renting one from the local costume shop instead. I don't have much faith in any local fabric shop having any tartan-looking fabric actually in stock.

The party's a week from tomorrow... ;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Magazines

Well, my shopping foray yesterday got me no farther than the local Toys R Us and Books A Million (they're side-by-side). I'll just say I did better than I expected at those two shops, but I broke one of my Personal Christmas Shopping Commandments:

Thou shalt not buy anything for thyself.

But I figure I'm pretty safe; my 'for me' purchases were two magazines: Australian Stitches (I couldn't find a website name in my issue) and Belle Armoire. Of course, I'd heard of Stitches a long time ago, since I've participated in all three of Timmel Fabrics' SWAP contests. I've even perused a copy or two, but held off purchasing. Belle Armoire is fairly new to me; I saw a post about it on one of the boards and thought it looked interesting. Lots of boutiquey-looking art-to-wear; dunno if I'll ever really attempt any but it's wonderful eye candy.

I've only just skimmed over them so far; it's quite an adjustment to read an Aussie sewing mag, in which Spring '06 is the current season. I've been trying to figure out if the fashions they're seeing now will be what is in our stores in six months, or if it's what was in our stores six months ago, or if the designers do separate collections for the Southern Hemisphere. I suspect the Aussie Spring '06 is a preview of the Northern Hemisphere's Spring '07...but I'm really a fashion klutz, so don't take my guessing seriously! the interest of full confession, I also bought a copy of Dell's latest collection of Logic Puzzles. I'd rather work those things than Sudoku...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

'Tis the Season

To hit the malls.

I'm not a big shopper, but I do like buying gifts and shopping will be the focus this'd be great to get as much of the Christmas gifting taken care of as possible. I've done a little, but I've still got a ways to go.

So...I'm gonna make my list, check it twice, and head for the square (as in Madison Square Mall...)

The hunt is on ;)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Still off our Feed...

Curioser and curioser.

I've discovered that there are other (as in non-blogger) blogs that have been experiencing the feed problem, so the idea that it is a Blogger problem has been pretty well shot down.

I posted a topic on Stitcher's Guild to discuss the issue, since so many of the blogs I check that had errors belong to folks who hang out over there, and it was really interesting. It may be a problem w/individual accounts at Bloglines.

Or not.

Anyway, I sent an inquiry to the bloglines people...we'll see if they unearth something.

Meantime, I'm into Christmas decorating, budget balancing, laundry, and planning some urgently needed garments suitable for DD to wear to church...she's down to one outfit. Time for Mom to sew for her. ;)

I did manage to transfer the alterations from the Hot Patterns skirt to the pattern; it's officially ready for the 'test garment' stage ;)

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I finally managed to get on-the-body photos of the projects I finished up this week; the teal slinky Sewing Workshop 'Cityscapes Dress' and the red plaid Silhouette Patterns 'Robin's Jacket':

I realized this morning that the Cityscapes dress is the perfect dress to wear to church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving... ;)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hot off the Press

Or rather, hot off the ironing board...

I wanted to post after I finished the jacket...but I kept wandering off and doing other stuff, so the jacket didn't get finished until late. I'll post a real picture of it on my body in the next day or two, but here's a quick glimpse of the finished product:

I made a little scarf, too. When fabric is in the neighborhood of $30/yd, ya don't wanna waste any... ;)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey Prep

I do things differently...I'll be cooking and deboning my turkey today; boiling down the carcase for broth to use in the dressing tomorrow. I can't make true 'stuffing' in the bird, and there's no nice pretty presentation at the table, but with the meat reheated in a sprinkling of the broth it's moist, and, best of all, there's no messy carcase to deal with on feast day. My grandmother always make her turkey and dressing this way, and as a kid I felt deprived because we never had the traditional-looking table on Thanksgiving. But once I grew up enough to cook a turkey myself, I learned rather quickly that my grandmother (who was a professional cook and ran a country-style restaruant for a while) was on to something.

And yes, it will be yankee-style dressing with stale white bread. The first time I ate cornbread dressing was after I married and moved south. It was at a church carry-in Thanksgiving dinner...and I really believed that the lady that who'd made the dressing had messed up somehow. I'd never eaten gritty dressing before. I thought everyone who was complimenting her on her wonderful dressing was just being polite, and I was relieved that they were being so nice. But it turned out that she had made some especially good cornbread dressing. Live and learn.

But, I spent the bulk of the day yesterday scrubbing my kitchen and dinette floor (I won't embarrass myself by telling you the last time I really cleaned it, as opposed to swabbing it down with a wet Swiffer). As a reward, I let myself spend the evening sewing, and I got my Cityscapes dress done and a good amount of progress made on the holiday jacket. Here's a preview: I put one of the fronts on the scanner so as to show off the totally sharp pocket binding. ;)

I anticipate some sewing time today while the turkey cooks; my goal is to finish the jacket by Friday afternoon, so I can wear it in the required Annual Family Picture. But I won't sew (or post) tomorrow, so I'll wish everyone a happy and joyful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Please say a prayer

I don't know if this made any is, of course, the only news being discussed here in the Rocket City.

Yesterday, a school bus taking 43 students from their high school to the city's tech/voc ed school had an accident on the access ramp to the interstate, and as a result, the bus struck and went over the concrete railing...and hit the ground 30 feet below nose first.

The bus driver was apparently ejected somehow...he was left on the ramp with a broken back.

Two girls died at the scene; a third died at the hospital shortly after arriving. A fourth student was, according to a hospital dr who was in DH's Bible study last night, in very critical condition and may not survive. 13 others remain hospitalized with injuries of varying degrees but are expected to survive.

The driver of the other car involved was another student from the same school, also going to the Tech school. He was not seriously injured...but, oh, my, what he's going through. A witness thought he may have blown a tire or something; he apparently lost control of his car as he was passing the bus and swerved into the bus, which caused the bus to careen off the wall.

Anyway, any prayers on behalf of the folks involved would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Miscellany

Still no progress on the feed problem...I've checked all my settings and it is properly set to allow the full feed; but there appears to be no consistency in the error. Bloglines is getting errors on both atom and rss feeds; but there are blogs that are syndicating w/both those that are coming through ok. All Blogger blogs, too, btw; and I think some of the working ones have switched to Beta, (Gaylen? Yours is an atom feed that's coming through ok...have you switched?) so I can't say it's Beta that's causing the problem. But it does appear to be a Blogger issue, since I don't think/haven't noticed problems on non-blogger blogs. Sigh. Maybe I'll have to join the blogger google group so I can report the problem...

But, on the sewing front, I got the holiday jacket cut out over the weekend, using my spiffy new ruler. Contrary to expectations, I haven't located the old one yet, but I did get very nice 7/8" wide strips of the faux suede with the new one.

Maybe I'll get some sewing time while the turkey's cooking on Wednesday... ;)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Feed Problems

I discovered that Bloglines is not getting the updates from my blog and a few others; the problem appears to be with the atom.xml (I think that's what it was) feed. Bloglines has errors in that feed (it shows up as a red exclamation point at the top right of the screen when you try to see the latest feeds from a particlular blog). Anyway, it says that the feed is apparently not in existence. I don't know if that's Bloglines' problem or Blogger's problem.

The Bloglines button on the sidebar doesn't seem to be involved in the feed process; I think it must be a Blogger thing...

But, as I said, I'm not the only one who's getting this error, so if you're checking bloglines and your favorite blogs do not appear to have been updated, it might be a feed problem...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Good Question...

I've confessed to a life of disorganized chaos; today is one of those days it catches up with me.

Company's coming for dinner at 6:30; these are folks we have not really met before (long story).

The house is a wreck from one end to the other.

And I didn't get home from my volunteer stint at the radio station until nearly 1:30.

So why am I sitting at the computer?

Good question...

Um, maybe I'll get the jacket cut out tomorrow. ;)

I'm off!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bought the Ruler

With the 40% off coupon, and including tax, it was about $8.50. Now I won't have to wait until I find the other one to get going on the holiday jacket. All I need now is a chunk of time to cut it out.... with this jacket, I fully expect the cutting out to be about half the time (gotta match those plaids while cutting...).

If Murphy's Law is in action, my old ruler should turn up over the weekend, without even looking for it. I'll find it while doing laundry or vacuming the carpet or some other completely non-sewing-related task....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's a Random Week

One of those with lots of unrelated things going on....

I finished my bedsheets, but probably won't get much done on any other projects; tomorrow and Friday I'll be taking pledges for our local listener-supported Christian radio station's fall fund drive...there's a church drama team rehearsal on Thursday evening...(I'll 'splain about that later)...and somewhere I need to work on the usual yada yada yada of laundry, budget, dishes, floors...

But I switched the thread in my serger; I'm planning to stitch up the teal slinky dress while I wait for the opportune moment to cut out the red holiday jacket.

I *will* wear that jacket this December! I will I will I will....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

To SWAP or Not to SWAP....

...That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the pins and needles
Of disciplined, planned sewing
Or to revolt against the restrictions of the story board
And by so doing, generate multiple unrelated garments that fill the closet.

To plan, to restrict no more,
And by casting off such planning to run freely through the stashes
Of fabrics and patterns, choosing that which doth the fancy take
And make a midden of the coordinated wardrobe of days of yore.

Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, and yet
the camaraderie and inspiration of sharing the journey would be lost.
Aye, there's the rub, for what is the fun to toil alone,
With no milestones of accomplishment to display upon the boards?
And by what standard shall the choice be made, with all the stash to choose?
Shalt one return from the attic, with choice in hand
Or shalt forever be there ensnared, endlessly turning from one to another to another,
Never to decide what to cut next?

For who would bear the paralysis of analysis, when she
Might her decision make with a rotary cutter swiftly applied?
But that dread of something after completion...that a better match of fabric and pattern could be found
Puzzles the will, and makes cowards of us all
And Ensembles of great style and moment, with this regard, turn awry
And stay forever yardage in the bins....

Monday, November 13, 2006

Howdya find a clear ruler?

My nice 5" wide ruler with the little lip on one end for square cutting has been AWOL for several weeks now. I've looked in all it's usual hiding places...under and behind and beside tables, chairs, cabinets, etc., and it is still missing. I'm beginning to wonder if it went home folded up in someone elses' cutting boards after our last cut-a-thon at church, but I really can't definitely say that's when it disappeared. It has disappeared before, and turned up in a place I have looked...looked right at it, in fact, but didn't see it because it's basically clear.

But I really do need it now...I've been thinking about my Holiday Jacket; the one to be made from Silhouette Pattern's Robin's Jacket, and I realized I couldn't just put plain ol' Wright's cotton/poly bias tape around the edges of my nice wool/lurex blend fabric. I experimented a little w/some embellisment on the tape, but it didn't work at all so I began to look for alternatives.

Then I remembered that I have some lightweight faux suede leftover from trimming my Sewing Workshop Sandra Betzina's Coat. Since the faux suede is not woven, and it has a slight give in the crosswise direction, I cut the binding for that coat across the fabric, rather than along the bias, and I've got a nice piece leftover. But it won't take much...three 7/8" strips cut the width of the fabric will be plenty for the jacket. And it will look ever so much nicer than the cheap bias tape.

But I've got to find my ruler...

I may just have to go to Hancock's and get another one....eek...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cold Front + Warm Flannel = Cozy Sleeping

I put the new sheets on the waterbed today and posted photos to the review...

Not any too soon, either, the temperature will be dropping all day today.

I've got another set made of regular sheeting about 1/2 finished; then I can get back to some fun sewing ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

I switched!

I finally made the switch from the old Blogger to new Beta Blogger; I guess it will be a good thing.

I thought switching would bring back my pretty script print and print on the brown background, but it didn't. A little investigating...and I think part of that is that my filtered ISP is blocking the images; they have issues with blogger/blogspot and I've had to individually clear anything that comes with a blogger dot com address. So, I give up. I guess everyone but me can likely see the pretty background, so I'll just live with the boring ol' brown that I see. (Question: CAN anyone else see the flowers on the brown background?)

And I'll manually switch the labels to italics...or maybe the script font is available to me; I'll have to look.

Meantime, I've got a BUNCH of past posts to go back and's a little tedious, but not as bad as I expected.

Oh, for Bloglines subscribers...I've heard that switching to Beta has messed up some feed subscriptions; you might just check and make sure everything switched ok.

I finished the flannel sheets last to come....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pattern Acquistion Day

I had to go to Hancock's to get some light blue thread for the sheets (I decided I wanted the top hem on the top sheet to be sewn with matching thread). Just my luck that three --THREE!!!-- pattern lines were on sale: Vogue, McCall's and Butterick. I managed to resist any McCall's, but I had to have Butterick 4929...I have some printed stretch cotton lycra that I got from Fabric Mart a few months back that will be PERFECT for the pointy-back version. And while I was there, I also picked up Vogue 8319, 2926, and 8323

Now I just need to find some nice stretch lining to go under my stretch cotton... ;)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Little Domestic Sewing....

I finally got the extra wide flannel put through the washer and dryer three times; I think it shrank about 3" in width...I didn't check the length.

It's getting chilly...I want my warm sheets!

So I measured and tore the whole set yesterday and, since the other chunk of sheeting I've had sitting around waiting to be turned into sheets is also light blue, I tore it into appropriate sized chunks, too, and I'll just make both sets of sheets this week.

I'll have my nice flannel sheets by the weekend (I hope), and 13 yards moved from stash.

I'll take some pictures of the process and post them when I'm done.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First Tuesday in November

It's so easy for a SAHM to forget to run out and vote; if I hadn't gotten an email reminder I might've forgotten that today's the day....

Just a reminder! Don't forget! ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Preach it, bro

I tried, I really tried, to find an online link to our local paper...but I didn't have any luck. So I'll just have to paraphrase my way through it...

I imagine most local papers do what ours does; once a week, they devote a page to articles written by local teens. My oldest DD actually was one of the contributors her senior year; it's kind of a neat little opportunity for the kids to have real-life experience in essay/op-ed writing. Today's offereings included an article by a young man who is a home-schooled senior, and, as it pertains to clothing and fashion, I thought I'd share a bit...

He opens his article with a quote from Oscar Wilde that I don't think I've encountered before: ...[fashion] is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

The author then relates an experience he had while clothes shopping for a sports jacket. He found a blue one he liked, but the sales clerk told him he shouldn't wear it with the black jeans he happened to be wearing. The young man asked why not, and the clerk gave him a spiel about dark blue not contrasting enough with black, casual and formal wear shouldn't be mixed, yada yada yada. The kid's internal response was, 'Now, that's not terribly far-fetched; it's just that I didn't care.'

The clerk gave up trying to get the young man to get the matching pants, but tried one more time, suggesting that he think ahead a bit, as he would want to wear light gray pants w/ the coat when spring rolls around. Once more, the young man asked for the logic behind that statement. Again, he got a lengthy answer about fashion and investing in the whole look.

I love what his written response is, "If I want to wear my blazer with my jeans, I will.... Most people who dictate fashion are trying to sell you something."

I actually laughed out loud. Point awarded to the teen!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy Birthday....

To both my Mother-in-Law and Sew Random! It's hard to believe it's been one year since I started blogging about costuming Scrooge. Lots of thread has gone into fabric since then!

And, I've finally got some photos of recently finished projects; the Kwik-Sew sweater coat (it's a hoodie) and the HP Cadeau:

I reviewed the Cadeau this morning; it's listed w/the 'my reviews' in the link on the sidebar. I think that will be a very cute top...made in some fabric that's not so frustrating ;).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Leaf Peeping

We're just about at peak fall color in the Tennessee Valley; I snapped this photo looking up the street yesterday afternoon.

DH took a vacation day today; we're going to do a bit of Christmas shopping while the young 'uns are in school, but we may do a little drive up the mountain...just to enjoy the color before its gone.

IOW, not much sewing today, either... ;)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Confession Time...

In the midst of today's multi-tasking mess, I found myself mentally writing today's post and decided that, after almost a year of blogging, it's time to admit some things to those of you who've decided to stop by here from time to time.

I am chronically disorganized. I've known this for years. I have the Sidetracked Home Executives card box and the notebook of A Disciplined Woman. I've got Flylady's site bookmarked. And my house is still a mess, my laundry is overflowing and all my cooking utensils are dirty. My budget is 3 months behind and I still owe graduation cards to the Class of 2004. And the numbers on my bathroom scale are starting to scare me.

I'm not here asking for help; I really and truly know what to do. I'm just not doing it. It doesn't matter how great the system is if you're not doing it.

And today was the first day this week that I really had to myself; so I'm tackling everything at once (in true Sidetracked fashion). I've sorted laundry and have got 3 loads running/in process at the moment. I emptied the dishwasher and loaded it up with what I could put in there. I found what was causing the yukky smell in the bottom of the sink and eradicated it. I basted and sewed the neckband on to my Cadeau T test. I talked to a couple of friends on the phone about some issues; one was practical, one was spiritual. I serged finished the edges of the 7 yard chunk of flannel that I got last week so I could pre-wash it before cutting it into appropriate sheet/pillowcase pieces. I ate lunch. I wrote in my journal.

And, visibly, it looks like I've done a bunch of nothing. At the end of the day, I'll look around and see 12 half finished projects and wonder what I did all day. I've decided that's the problem with multi-tasking; there are so many projects in so many stages of completion that, even when one is finished, there's no 'Whew! I'm done' feeling, because there are so many other things that are NOT finished. Several years ago, one of my (very organized) friends commented that she had a book that she was reading...'a chapter or two a day, when I've got my work done.' That was an amazing comment to me...I don't think I've ever had a day in my life (since I had kids, anyway) in which I could say 'I've got my work done'. There's always something else....

Ah, well, tomorrow's another day; maybe I'll clean my sink, put my cards in order, make my 'To Do' list, and exercise... ;)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Once more, from the top...

A post that has nothing whatever to do with sewing...except to possibly explain why I haven't done any

Last night was our annual Harvest Fest...a big community party in our church parking lot, with every inflatable family-fun-type apparatus you can imagine and a few I'd never have thought of, popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, singing, dancing, puppets....all free to the community.

It's fun and it's exhausting.

It rained us out. So, we all went into the sanctuary for some skits and songs and such by Master's Commission and our Kids Choir (who were supposed to be on stage in the parking lot anyway), and plans were announced to hold all the games and food over and do it tonight.

Well, it's been raining off and on all day. And the forecast is calling for possible thunderstorms yet this evening. I don't know what we'll do if it gets rained out again.

Well...we'll see!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hand Basting Blues

Whoda thought I'd spend so much time on a $2 top?

There is a reason that blue fabric was in the dollar pile. It's a BEAR to sew.

But it's a pretty color and it drapes's like slinky, only a finer/denser 'nap'. So I'm not only learning about how the Cadeau fits, I'm learning how to tame the wild slinky beast.

The answer is hand basting.

At least, I think it's the answer. So far I have hand basted the neckband together on the outside curve and I have pinned it to the top preparatory to hand basting the band on the top. Hopefully that will hold it well enough that it won't shift and twist when I put it through the serger...and I'm going to try the serger, hoping that the interfacing in the band allows it to actually make a stitch.

If I had a walking foot for either machine I'd use that, but I don't. So I've just got to hand baste, sew slowly and hope for the best.

Well, it's only a $2 top...the real goal is just to see how it fits. So I suppose if I have excessive trouble with ugly seams, if it holds together enough for me to try it on and look it over good it'll be worth the $2.

Dunno if it'll have been worth 2-3 days of work, though ;)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday, Monday

You'd think with the 'fall back' time change, I'd have lots and lots of energy...

Note to self: remember to take those iron supplements...

I finished up the sweater coat over the weekend and will post a photo if I happen to have a moment when someone's home with a camera. It was pretty flimsy fabric for a sweater coat, actually, but it was loosely knit enough that I couldn't figure out anything else to do with it. But it's surprisingly warm for something so lightweight and floppy.

And I've been working on the Cadeau muslin. So far, all I can ascertain is that I was crazy to allow that fabric to follow me home. My serger is flat refusing to make a stitch on it, it's crawling all over the bed of the machine when I try to sew it...I'm to the handbasting point now, just trying to keep it lined up enough that I can tell how the top is going to fit. And I've got 3 more yards....

I'm registered for a class that meets on Monday nights (it has nothing whatever to do with sewing), starting tonight and running though November, so I'm going to lose my prime pattern fiddling/fabric cutting time for a little while. I've got a few already-cut projects hanging around, so I'll have enough to keep occupied for a little while. Maybe I'll do something radical, like straighten the attic, if I sew up everything before I get a chance to cut more... ;)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No-Fail Fabric Parity Plan

I don't know if I will try to implement this this year; my inner brat stasher is screaming "That's not enought warning! No fair!" So I may cut myself some slack this year; there are, after all, only 9 weeks left in 2006. But I will definitly do it in 2007.

Here's the plan: at the end of the year, if I have not made fabric parity, I must go through my stash and cull out/give away yardage equal to the amount I went over. So, if I buy 15 yards more than I sew, I have to find 15 yards to send to the Salvation Army or another stashing friend or the local school home ec class.


Y'know, it just might work...

Friday, October 27, 2006

More Fabric Coming....

Where, oh where has all my resolve gone...
Oh where, oh where can it be?
To sew mostly what I've had all along
Keeping myself 'New Stash Free'...

12 yards from should be here early next week.

Ok, 7 yards are flannel sheeting for new warm bedsheets; greatly needed, and, as it is the same color as my waiting-to-be-sewn cotton sheeting, I can do both sets at once and (hopefully) pretty quickly.

The rest are wardrobe needs for both me and DD.

But I have such a short time to make parity and so little time to do it in...

I've spent an awfully lot of time working on the muslins; BTW, I'm not going to count the muslins as 'done' until I've transfered the changes to the pattern.

And I still don't know yet what we'll be doing for Christmas costumes. There is potential for a lot of sewing, but we've got a big community outreach that we're doing next week and Christmas plans have kind of been pushed to the back burner until that's done.

So I guess I should sew while the coast is clear...maybe even make some Christmas stuff...

I basically have 60 yards to sew to get to parity, including the yardage on order.

I *could* sew 7 yards a week...if I did nothing else... ;) I guess it's not unthinkably out of reach.

Just close.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Remembered....

Ok, so it's not the wittiest post EVER, like I let on yesterday...but it'll do... ;)

DH attends a huge conference for engineers every year in the spring; one of those "Come and attend committee meetings and listen to papers presented on various topics such as 'The Use of Inflatables in Construction of Space Vehicle Components'" conferences; not something where anyone hears anything nearly as entertaining as Cynthia Guffey discussing reasons why you may opt to make a dress with a higher side slit than the pattern originally called for. But he's on one of the Technical Committees for his professional organaization and so he has been known to chair one of the sessions during the conference. So he kinda has to go.

This conference used to be held in Palm Springs, CA every year, but some time ago the Powers That Be decided to move it around the country, so that now the meeting rotates from the East Coast, to the West Coast, and then Somewhere in the Middle. Next year it will be in the West...really west. The meeting will be in Hawaii.

When DH found out, he told me 'Ok, you need to come to this one'. Now, we have tried to arrange it so I could go on other occasions...most noteably when it was in Atlanta a few years ago. I thought it would be *great* to go to Atlanta; we could drive over, so I could load up a TON of sewing projects, machines and supplies, and sew laundry-free, cooking-free, guilt-free for the whole week while he was in meetings, and when he was free in the evenings we could go to nice restaurants together. Unfortunately, there was no one to watch the kids for us so I stayed home and he went. To be honest, I don't see how we could get around that same obstacle. If the kids weren't in school, it wouldn't be so bad, but being's how the conference is held while school is in session, it's not likely we'll find someone who can stay with the kids, make sure they get to and from school and tend to their homework.

But that's not the only issue w/a trip to Hawaii...the thought of sitting in an airplane that long gives me the heebie-jeebies. I don't fly well. It's not a fear factor thing; I have a tendancy to motion sickness. To put it bluntly, I don't like throwing up in public. I'd love to go to Hawaii with my sweetie. But I don't want to fly. And I don't want him to go without me. It's a serious Catch-22.

So, I complained to him about the Powers that Be having the thing in Hawaii. Why not somewhere on the mainland?
DH replied, "Believe it or not, it's cheaper to host a conference in Hawaii than anywhere on the West Coast".

That surprised me. From folks in the family who have been to Hawii, I've always believed Hawaii was a pretty expensive place to do anything. I guess that it is a SOP to have really low rates for things like conference room rentals and such in order to draw conferences, so that the conferees then must come and spend their dollars in places where the prices aren't cut. Just a guess. But it *was* cheaper for the sponsoring organizations...anyway, it's in Hawaii.

"It's too bad they didn't do it in, say, San Franciso." I was still stuck in whine mode. "We could visit your brother..."

"Yes," he agreed, "That would've been nice."

"And, oh, while you were doing the conference, I could've gone to Britex and Stone Mountain and Daughter and...."

He interrupted me, "Well, like I said, it's cheaper to go to Hawaii..."

The man has a point... ;)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A word from Trudy

I emailed Hot Patterns with my questions about the Trouser Skirt; Trudy very graciously responded that yes, the back waist is *supposed* to be slightly higher than the front waist; mine is a little higher than intended, for whatever reason. Also, the panels are supposed to quarter the skirt, but the drafting software they have doesn't like doing it for the different sizes. So, depending on how far removed one is from the original draft, the panels will be proportioned differently.

That's not necessarily bad; it just different than the illustration and I'm glad to know which way was the 'intended version'. Now I can decide which way I want my version...

Actually, this morning I had a brainstorm for today's blog topic but, being Wednesday and Bible Study day, I didn't have time to type it up. Of course, my mind is completely blank now and I have no idea what it was I intended to write about. I should've put a sticky note on the monitor (amongst all the other sticky notes on the monitor). So Trudy's response saved my entry today by giving me something to say...

Maybe I'll remember what my Brilliant Post Topic was...eventually.

(like the Fisherman's Lie: oh, you should've seen the one that got away...)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The London Shrink

Since I only had 1 3/4 yards of the sparkly red, I decided to prep it by doing the 'London Shrink'
1)run a bedsheet through the 'rinse only' cycle, so that it's damp
2) carefully spread the sheet out, then lay the fabric out flat on it. Roll/fold the fabric and damp sheet together and let them rest overnight.
3) lay the fabric out flat to dry
4) steam press the fabric well, being careful not to stretch or distort the fabric while pressing (I have also read that you should allow each section to dry thoroughly after steam pressing before moving on to the next).

So...I'm at Step 3; I adjusted the pattern last night, taking 1/2" out of the shoulder width at the princess seam and dropping the shoulder height by 1/2". Hopefully, the two adjustments canceled each other out at the armsceye and I should not have to adjust the sleeve, which fits and hangs very nicely.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Putting it to Work

Last night I decided to look through my jacket patterns and see if I could find one that cried out to be made up in my new festive red plaid. I knew I wanted one with some shape, because I already have a boiled wool boxy-style red jacket, and it needed to be fabric frugal, because I got the minimum amount of fabric to make a jacket (well, it *was* $28/yd)

I pulled out a jacket that I'd made and reviewed a year and a half ago and gotten tons of compliments; it's Silhouette Patterns' Robin's Jacket.

The black/silver on red mini-plaid would look great w/black binding and black snaps, which I have on hand. I'd already decided I need to lower the shoulders a bit...they're designed for 1" shoulder pads, which feel a bit linebackerish to me. But, when I put on my original jacket just to check the fit otherwise, I realized that the upper chest/front armsceye looks almost identical to the original FSG muslin!

Here's the photo from the review (no, I haven't redone my hair; it's from April '05):

Now, this is not to be a tailored jacket by any means; it's one layer construction. So it will need to be a little looser fitting, just to allow for the fact that there's no lining under it to help it skim the body. But all the same, I believe that when I lower that shoulder, I will trim out a bit of the front armsceye...Oh, wait! That jacket has true shoulder princess seams...I could alter it there! Hmmmm.....

Wow. I didn't expect to use my lessons quite so soon... ;)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The OTHER Muslin...

I haven't just been mulling the jacket; I also cut out a muslin of the Hot Pattern Classix Nouveau (Ain't that a BEAR to spell???) Trouser Skirt. After doing and undoing a boo-boo every bit as dumb as mismarking the notches in my FSG jacket sleeves, I got it sewed up and tested. I have tweaked it just a bit at this point...I let the CB/Side back seams out just a little going over the rump and took it all the way down, and I sort of smoothed out some of the excess curve that showed up around the inseam darts on the front. So far, that's it. You can see from the photos that the skirt fits fairly well (ok, pretend I'm wearing some Really Good control top pantyhose) except for the rise in the back waist. That's a drafting issue; I noticed it when I was tracing the pattern and wondered about it. So I'm going to have to go back and lower that CB about an inch or so. I marked it with a red pen, but since I was going by where it *felt* like it should be, in the photo it looks like the mark is just a little low. But the side seams are nicely perpendicular to the floor, and the hem looks even, so I think it's just a problem with the waistline draft.

There's another thing I noticed, too. If you look at the pattern illustration, it looks like the seams should divide the front/back equally into fourths. But my skirt appears to be divided into thirds, with the middle third divided again. I'm not sure which way I'd prefer it to be. Perhaps I'll retrace the pattern (not too many wouldn't be hard) and alter those seams so that it divides it up differently and make up another muslin; or, since I know it'll fit reasonably well, a test skirt in each modification and see which one I like best.

But, to be truthful...I'm ready to FINISH SOMETHING AND WEAR IT.

I may have to go back to the 'WIP' queue and get something done. ;)

Friday, October 20, 2006

One More for the Road

Shannon offered one more suggestion to eliminate the diagonal lines; a tuck between bustline and waist. I thought, 'Well, that's a simple thing,' and sat down and did it last night, before I started disassembling the jacket to mark the pattern changes.

When I first looked in the mirror, my reaction was 'Wow! they're gone!' I made DH take a photo.

When I looked at the photo, my reaction was 'No, they're still there.' And it's beginning to look a little over fitted. So I took the tuck out; we'll see what, if any, difference interfacing and lining make.
Meantime, I've been reading up on fold lines in sleeves and think I need to reshape my sleevecap slightly for the forward shoulder thing...hopefully that will eliminate a lot of that drapey stuff that's going on in the sleeve.

Disclaimer, just in case someone's thinking I'm going to too much trouble: This is not my normal fitting routine; I'm being extra picky here because I intend to use this jacket as a basic pattern. I've made...and worn...and been happy with...other jackets from other pattern companies that fit no better (or even worse) than this one did originally. Part of the reason is that I really, really want a well-fitted jacket; part of the reason is that I just felt ready to tackle and learn some more about fitting and I can't afford to spend a week with an instructor. So all you 'Internet Friends of the Lisa of the Laree' (:D) have been taking the Instructor's place.

For which I thank you from the bottom of my Janome. (Gee, if I used a Bernina it would've been so much more poetic...)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Extra Post: Muslin Update

The shoulder pads came today; I gave DS a quick lesson on fashion photography and took some pictures:

The shoulder pads really did make a difference. (Keep in mind, I have altered the right side front and back, but left the left side alone for comparison.) I cut in the front armsceye a bit more; putting the vertical portion on the straight of grain as best I could. It still looked a little saggy on the right...not in the same way as it did earlier...farther down. I thought about taking up the princess seam going into the armhole, but decided perhaps I'd overcompensated on the full bust adjustment. So I stitched the vertical portion back up.

Better, but now the diagonal pull lines are back. Perhaps half the orignal adjustment is what I need.

Anyway, it's looking very, very close. I think I'm ready for the linen tweed.

*Gasp* More Bible-Era Costumes...

Word is leaking out that our Christmas Event this year will be...

a Living Nativity in our parking lot.

With animals and everything.

I *think* we've got enough Bible costumes to pull it off (especially if we put the newly-costumed Master's Commission students in the cast), with the exception of The Three Kings.

Now, technically, the Magi were not at the manger at all. They didn't show up until a couple years or so later. And we've no idea how many there were. However, Christmas card art and holiday music have so ingrained the public that I expect we'll do the Traditional Thing, and at least show three of them on their way.

Since all our Bible costume productions have been Passion Plays to date, we have no fancy costumes for Eastern Sages. These will be fun to do, I think. More about trim than fabric, probably.

Although, if truth were told...they probably weren't all that wealthy and splendid-looking. They were, after all, astronomers, not kings. Ah, tradition....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Officially Fall

I've made a batch of 'Russian Tea'.

Why it's called 'Russian Tea' I have no idea. I've heard similar things called 'Spiced Tea' and 'Christmas Tea'...but the recipe that I've been making for ages and ages says 'Russian Tea', so that's what I'm going with. My original recipe came from one of those fundraiser compilation-type cookbooks, so I've no idea where it really came from.
But here's my recipe (and I'm going to use Brand Names...NAYY)

2 Cups Orange Tang
1 Cup Instant Tea
2 Envelopes Kool Aid Lemonade
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tsp ground cloves

I dump all the ingredients in a small Tupperware container (it has a permanent spicey smell), put the lid on the container and shake it well. 1 mug of hot water + 2 tsp tea mix + sugar to taste = the taste of fall....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday Night Cutting

On Monday nights, DH and Dkids go to Bible Study Fellowship (I'm a BSF grad myself), and we have an early, once they leave, I have the table available for large projects for the rest of the evening. So, Mondays have become my pattern tracing/altering/garment cutting nights. Last night, I finally altered the Sewing Workshop Cityscapes dress (which has apparently been discontinued; it's not on the SW site) so that it was 4" shorter...not difficult, just kind of tedious...and cut the dress out of some teal slinky I'd purchased from SewKeysE at the Atlanta Expo for this very dress (oh, I'm so proud of only took 7 months, and it's the intended pattern!). I also finally cut out a muslin (that's what I'm telling myself, but if it fits I'll wear it) of the HotPatterns Cadeau T-shirt pattern that I printed and taped up last December (it was a free download available for a limited time; you can see the reviews for it HERE, if you didn't see it before). The fabric is the cornflower blue slinky-type knit that followed me home from Wal-mart a couple of weeks back; if it fits, I'll have a cool top for $2.70; if it doesn't, I'll have learned what adjustments I need to make on the top.

Building the queue, building the queue... ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

We're taking a break

I think I mentioned that there was some hesitation over whether or not we would do Scrooge this year; we went ahead with auditions, but participation from the congregation was down from the last two years and, after more prayer and listening, the decision was made to let everyone have a rest this year.

So -- wow, what shall I do with my time? Finish all the 'house moving/settling' tasks that have been put off, organize/sort the costumes at church (but that'll be a one-day-a-week thing)...maybe even sew down my stash.

I decided to treat myself to a holiday jacket; I ordered some of Nancy Erikson's 'Lurex Boxes'...a red wool with a small black/silver Lurex plaid pattern. Not sure which pattern I'll use, but I intend to make it quickly...I'll even put it ahead of the already-cut projects in the queue.

And I think we'll try to have a holiday party this year.

But I may be getting ahead of myself; just because we're not doing Scrooge doesn't mean we won't do anything at all...but whatever we do, it will be smallish and low-key. So life will be more-or-less normal for the rest of the year.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

One Serving of Humble Pie, Please...and supersize it

Did you ever do something so absent-brained that, when you remembered, your gut turned to ice and your heart hit the ground with an audible *thud*?

I did yesterday.

It's fall break...the kids are home from school and I've been discombobulated all week. And last night, about 8:45, I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to have taken dinner to a family in our church who have been going through some difficulties. And I have no real excuse.

Of course, people are sweet about stuff like that and offer all kinds of comforting words like 'Oh, don't worry about it, everyone does that at one time or another', but it doesn't make me feel better. I messed up.

Can I have a dollop of whipping cream with that pie?

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Muslin.....

Literally. Dreamed about it all night, so, even though I'd planned to work on other stuff today, I got up and started working on the muslin. I incorporated a number of suggestions from various folks, on the right side only, and I can tell a huge difference.

But part of that may be due to the fact that I corrected a serious bone-headed mistake I made that resulted in the sleeves getting inserted, um, backwards. (oh, I'm SOOOO embarassed!) I pulled the original pattern and the tracing out and, sure enough, I had traced two notches where there was one and vice-versa. Why? Who knows? When I put the sleeves in, I really thought they should've been the other way...but I followed the notches. And wondered why that seam was in the front on the arm.

So, the sleeves really do fit better now ;)

But, aside from fixing the Stupid Mistake, I raised the shoulder seam by 3/8" at the armsceye and shortened it 5/8"; I took a deeper sideseam at the armsceye; I took a deeper seam on the side back only from the curve into the armsceye, eliminated the bumpy curve in the front/middle front seam, took up about 1 1/4 inch from the middle front/side front seam from about the waist down, tapering back into the original just below the bust and did a minor FBA at the front. I still need to move the shoulder seam about 3/8" towards the front at the armsceye and see about doing a slight rounded back adjustment (I need DH at home for that). I think I need to raise the whole armceye about 3/8", too.

I tried taking photos of myself in the bathroom, it didn't work, but it was good for a chuckle.

But those adjustments look to me to make the jacket fit much better; at least as good as RTW, so after I look at some *good* pictures I may just transfer all the adjustments to the pattern and go for it with the test jacket.

ETA: Well, I did get DH to take a couple of pictures before he headed out to an evening meeting. Dunno how much better it really looks...some of the pull lines on the right front are gone (the right side is altered, the left side is not). I'm a little leery of overfitting; at this stage, with no interfacing or lining, I know the muslin is not a 100% accurate picture of what the final product will be like. I do think I could move a little more fabric out of the armsceye area, though; now that the FBA is in place, there's some extra again. I think.

And I don't know if it's a lack of lining that's causing the wrinkling in the back, or if I still need to do some work on it. Whatever that adjustment will be, it will be small (I think squaring up the shoulder helped; the almost-bump at the top is less prounounced on the right side.)

I have RTW jackets, dating from before I began learning about these things, that fit worse than this. ;)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lunch with Shannon

You'd never know it, but the Rocket City happens to be the place where internet sewing guru Shannon Gifford grew up. She happened to come to town today for a family event, and I was privileged to eat lunch with Shannon and her lovely parents. It was fun to talk sewing over the corner of the table, and you should've seen the adorable jeans jacket Shannon was wearing...the Kwik Sew pattern (I'm too lazy to look up the number), made in a black-on-white print denim that she got at the dollar table at her local Wal-Mart (I think I need to stop at that Wal-mart next time I'm traveling through her neck of the woods).

She drew a little schematic on a napkin which verified some of my thinking on the pink jacket muslin...I was afraid the most correct fix would be to go back and start with a smaller size, and it looks like I was right.

I shoulda paid for her lunch... ;)

Thanks, Shannon!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Seasonal Switch

It happens about every six months...roughly corresponding to the time change. The current season's clothes are pulled from drawers and closets; the upcoming season's clothes are pulled from the storage bins and they switch. Outgrown kids' (well, hopefully kids')clothes go to the Salvation Army, lists are made of what is needed, and a huge pile of laundry works its way through the system.

Even though we could still have temps in the 80's for a few more weeks, it's time. DKids are home from school...the evenings are chilly...and I'm about to get busy w/Scrooge.

So...out come the bins. Maybe I'll get something sewn this week. Maybe not....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Muslin Help

Thanks so much for the folks who made suggestions here and via PM's...I really appreciate it! I'm not sure when I'll get back to it; as I told one lady, I view muslins kind of like getting teeth filled...not much fun, but it will save much pain and expense later on. And I'm determined to get this wearable. I may try comparing it to my already-tweaked Today's Fit jacket (the one I did for SWAP). I didn't try that earlier because the pattern pieces are not at all alike, but the more I've thought about it the more I thought it might give me a little more insight as to what I need to do.

Next up on my list of things to make is the other set of waterbed sheets...and I WILL make something quick and wearable for myself sometime this week, too.

I hope. ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

FSG 1945 Muslin

I had a little time to myself yesterday evening, so I whipped together the Fashion Sewing Group 1945 jacket muslin. When I put it on, I was surprised at how good it looked in the mirror, but now,looking at the photos DH snapped for me last night, I'm not so sure. It looks pretty baggy in the upper chest/armsceye area. I've already pinched out something like 1 1/4" in that area and my seams are beginning to do funny things, so I'm not sure I can easily remove much more. I think I still need to move the bust shaping down about 1/2"; there's just a little fullness above the bust, although the turned-back collar covers it up.

Length (it will be 2" shorter when hemmed) and pocket placement looks good; the shoulders themselves look good; I think some of the ripples in the back are because the unlined, uninterfaced back fabric is sort of flannelboarding to my knit pants. There's really plenty of room through the hips/tummy. But there are a couple of diagonal folds just below my arms that I'm not really sure about.

Y'know, not so very long ago I'd've been happy with the jacket if it buttoned without straining....amazing how picky I've become ;).

So now I'm trying to decide if it's good enough to go to the test garment stage; how much of that bagginess in the armsceye is just due to the unsupported fabric syndrome...will lining/interfacing help there? Or do I need more altering?

I think I'm going to ponder this for a couple more days. I feel like doing a little frivolous sewing; I guess that's a reaction to all the production work I've been doing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Big Project Status

HMC Costumes:
Done! Done! Done and Delivered! (doing the Snoopy Happy Dance)

I spent the last two days doing the robes up to the point where all the serging on them was done, and serging the edges of the vests, and finishing off all the head drapes/sashes/ties, so that all we would have to do today, by and large, would be straight stitching. Miss M had two costumes that she'd taken, but hadn't gotten to, so I thought we could also work on them. I figured I'd be happy if everything got done to the snaps and maybe the hems on some things.

Then, last night, DD called to ask 'How many costumes have you got done?'

I thought that was kind of an odd question...but, she continued, "We need them tomorrow night" (tonight is our monthly Uplink service...actually, the last before the new year, since we will be busy getting ready for Scrooge the next two months).

Gulp. Well, I sent out another "HHEEELLLPPP!!" message to my sewing buddies at church, and today 5 of us worked from about 9 - 2:30 and FINISHED THE LOT. I even took in my hammer and snaps and put all the snaps on. So...we left the costumes in their zip-lok bags in the HMC room, I called DD and left a message on her cell phone that they were there and came home.

DH and I have some other responsibilities tonight that will pull us out of the service for a little while; I don't know if I'll get to see the costumes on stage or not. If I can, I'll take a photo...

(ETA: I got the photos...from the sound booth, with no flash, so they're very poor. At least one costume in the photo is not one we made, and this is only about 1/3 -1/2 the group, but they are there! I talked to one of the program directors tonight and we will be doing a 'costume workshop' for the kids sometime in the next couple of weeks so they'll know how to wear the headwraps and such...)


Scrooge '06 - still not sure who/what we'll be costuming; cast list should be up soon. Meantime, I'll try and get some time to go and sort costumes. But, DKids are on Fall break for the next week, so I probably won't do much on that this week.

Maybe I'll work on my muslins... ;)

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Newman Blue Twinset

I finally caught DH long enough to take a photo of the Newman Blue Cotton Rib Knit Sweater Set:

(The hair just kept getting frizzier as the day progressed...probably because I kept fussing with it.)

Its...ok. The cotton rib has virtually no recovery and stretched out pretty badly in places during construction... especially the armholes on the mock T. I washed it to see if any of it would shrink back out and the double needle stitching tunneled in the wash! I don't think I've ever had that happen before. I pressed it, but it's still got a little bit of a trapunto look to it.

I have a little trick that I've used before to pull in a stretched out line in knit fabric: Thread a big-eyed needle w/ wooly nylon and anchor it well to the seam at one side of the stretched out area. Carefully run the needle through the hem/seam allowance/whatever until you get to the other side. Pull the wooly nylon so that it is just a *teeny bit* shorter than the seam you're trying to 'fix', then secure it well and trim the ends.

This has worked pretty well for me in the past...I may give it a shot at those armholes. But, in all honesty, if I only wear it under jackets/cardigans, it won't matter that much. As long as I don't take the top layer off.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New 'Do

My friend DeeAnn finally rented some booth space in a local shop and began taking new clients...I saw her on the second day and she cut my hair to work with the curl. Unfortunately, I can't find my diffuser, so this photo looks frizzier than it really will be when I do it right:

It's a little different than I have had, but it's long enough that I can still pull it out of my face if I need to. I think I'm going to like it...DH and the younger DKids do. Dunno what the older kids will think...I haven't seen them since it was cut. But I feel perkier now!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Unintentional Muslin

There has been a discussion on the Pattern Review boards of late about What makes a wadder? that got me rumbling over something in my head, and I came to a rather startling conclusion.

Premise: a wadder is a garment that may or may not be finished but either is or is obviously going to be unwearable due to either sewing difficulties, mismatch of fabric to pattern, poor fit, or other factors. Personally, I consider something a true wadder if it is only good to be cut into something else or thrown away; something that is finished but doesn't look good on me isn't a's a donation.

Fact: a muslin is a garment that is a test of a pattern; frequently not finished and definitely not wearable. Its purpose is to check fit, design details and style. I consider a 'weable muslin' to be a 'test garment', since it's made with the intention of being worn. A real muslin is made out of ugly fabric and is not intended for wear.

Therefore: Muslins are intentionally made wadders. Now, we consider the muslin to be a worthwhile investment of time and fabric because of what is learned; I propose that we eliminate 'wadders' from the vocabulary and, instead, call them 'unintentional muslins', putting the emphasis on what was learned in the process of making the garment, not the end result.

All in favor, say 'aye'... ;)