Friday, March 31, 2006

The Ongoing Portable Project

While I was waiting for Number 1 Son to get a tooth filled yesterday, I looked at what was in my hands and realized I was looking at today's blog post. ;)

I made this vest from an OOP McCall's pattern in the fall of 2002. It's cotton blend upholstery fabric, with a jacquard pattern. I'd had an idea about wanting a beaded vest...I purchased beads in colors as close to the colors used on the design as I could find, and commenced sewing beads over the colored threads. Since then, it has lived in a large Zip-lok bag in my car and when I'm waiting a dentist's office...I pull it out and sew on a few more beads. I'll guess I'm about 2/3 done.

It's started some interesting conversations and at least gives me a sense of accomplishment when I'm just sitting around. It even accompanied me on a couple of high school drama competions I chaperoned and changed my attitude on the 'sit and wait' that is such an integral part of the whole overnight competion experience.

I still haven't decided what -- if any -- closures I'm going to put on it. I thought I'd wait till I had all the beading done and then see how it looks.

And I've no idea what I'll do to fill my time in waiting rooms when it's done. But I'll think of something.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Finish Line Approacheth...

I got zero sewing done yesterday. Not a stitch either removed or put in. I didn't get anything else done around the house, either...I'm aggravated by my inability to use those little bits of time in between the outside-the-house obligations that seem to always crop up. I did get side two of the invisible zipper unpicked this morning, but in just a few minutes I've got to take oldest DS to the dentist (that will be the fourth trip to the dentist I've made for one reason or another this week), so I probably won't get it sewn back. And I'm getting nervous...that SWAP deadline is creeping up. I'm about to decide to switch the second (cream silk) blouse for a (white rayon knit) Loes Hinse sweater set. I need both tops; they'll both work with the SWAP, and the sweater set I can make in a day.

We'll see how much more, how much longer it takes to finish the grey blouse. Which really isn't about how much more sewing time it requires, but how much daily sewing time I can find.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Go back two spaces

I've decided to put an invisible zipper in the back of my SWAP blouses...I don't like making button loops and I hate buttoning them even more, not to mention the whole faced slit issue. So I added a seam allowance at the back and, last night, I *tried* to put the zipper in the first blouse.

I had to do a little creative thinking; this blouse has a scrunched mock-t type neckline. The collar piece is cut on the bias, and the facing portion of the collar is interfaced and about 1/3 the depth of the rest of the collar, which is gathered at the CB seam to fit the facing. The pattern guide instructs pressing the SA up on the facing, sewing the yet-to-be gathered side of the collar to the neckline, then gathering it, then sewing the facing to it, RST, at the back and turning the facing to the wrong side and hand stitching it down. Now, since I wanted to put in an invisible zipper, I had to gather the edges of the collar, but sew the zipper on before I sewed down the facing portion of the collar. I had a brilliant idea and cut two narrow strips of fusible interfacing the length of the seam, gathered the edge to fit and fused the strips to the gathers to hold them in place. So far so good.

The trouble started when I sewed the zipper in. Of course, getting the back seam to match at the neckline and top was a big deal and I pinned and matched and matched and pinned. After the zipper was in, though, I found that one side had shifted slightly (it is a pretty bulky seam in that area) and it was a very little bit off...that is, the neckline seam on one side was just a little higher than the other. But I decided I could live with it, as it was in the back and not noticeable from, say, two feet.

But then I tried to turn the blouse right side out and discovered that, in my obsession with gettting the seams to match, I'd managed to sew the zipper in with one side twisted at the shoulder. I essentially had a funky looking Mobius strip, and the only fix was to take the zipper off and redo it. Well, that just meant I could fix the slight (and it really was very slight) mismatch at the collar seam.

So, I unpicked half the zipper, straightened out the fabric, moved the zipper by the amount it was off and resewed the seam.

Only to discover that I'd moved the zipper the wrong direction. What was a very slight mismatch is now a glaring boo-boo.

I threw the blouse on the ironing board and went to bed. Perhaps I'll get to the seam ripper today...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Adding Links

I did some work yesterday on the sidebar to get some more links...mostly to the blogs/websites of other sewing enthusiasts...available. Most of the sites I check are in the Creative Fashion Sewing Ring, but there are a few that aren't listed there. I haven't quite got all the links I'd like, but I'm getting there. I really don't like the way the Creative Fashion Sewing Ring (CFSR) linkage/text looks, but if I read the participation requirements right, that table has to be included in my site for me to participate in the ring. I think a link to the ring list would be sufficient, but until I come up with a better way to do it I'm afraid I'm stuck with the kinda klunky looking table.

There's one site that I wasn't really sure where to put; it's Kathleen Fasanella's Fashion-Incubator. Kathleen is not exactly a home sewing enthusiast; she's a professional patternmaker. Her blog is really aimed at garment industry folks who want to do lean, efficient production of sewn products, but she includes tutorials showing the 'way it's done' in the garment industry that are quite enlightening. So I put her link under 'Sewing enthusiasts' even though it doesn't quite fit. Check it out if you haven't.

Cat Fur Studio, which is Barbara Elfman Bell's site, is a really large page. Scroll around and you'll get it all.

I'm still trying to decide if I want to include links to fashion blogs; some are interesting but, I have to be honest, the language that shows up in some of them makes me wince. I've only got three bookmarked myself and those are pretty safe (although Manolo can post some definitely PG-13 rated items and some of the commentors on his blog can be somewhat potty mouthed --potty keyboarded?). I'm really not all up into fashion as such anyway...only as it pertains to inspiration for sewing. I'm embarrassed to admit that I really don't even know most of the folks the fashion bloggers write about. Fashioned, which is Liana's fashion blog, is a good one for home sewers as she focuses on the details that could be translated into home sewn garments...and Liana (whose sewing blog, Sew Intriguing, is listed in the CFSR) is an amazing seamstress with a truly inspiring ability to create elegant, fashionable clothing. But her fashion blog is linked to her sewing blog so you can find it if fashion is your thing.

One thing that I'd like to see on the CFSR list is a note of when each was last updated; only a few of us post daily, or nearly daily. There are several who post about weekly, but there are a couple of blogs that haven't been updated since, oh, last fall. Just a thought, but I'm not sure it's possible or to whom I should mention that little detail.

Anyway, all of this has sent me to older DD's copy of HTML 4 for Dummies...maybe I'll finally get into it and learn how to do cool links and layouts myself. ;)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Two weeks and counting

The SWAP deadline is April 8; that gives me basically this week and next to finish the last two blouses. They're both from the same pattern, which I think is an OOP Vogue, and the first is really a test made from $1/yd Wally World fabric that just happens to be pretty nice, but if for some reason it doesn't work I'm not going to be out a bunch. I've got a backup plan... a white rayon/lycra rib knit Loes Hinse Sweater Set...if it doesn't, so I'm not *really* worried, but it would be nice if it fits. I think it will, but it has been a while since I did the alterations to the pattern and I probably need to check and make sure it'll be ok.

Or maybe I'll just use extra large 'Fit Insurance' side seams ;)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Boy, that was a quick trip!

To winter and back... Spring sure looks good here ;).

I did get a little bit of sewing-related stuff in; I traced off a Petite Plus pattern for was the Short Sleeve Shell. Based on her measurements, I traced an 18 in the shoulders and a 22 everywhere else, but after the first muslin I had to take the shoulders in about an inch, move the bust dart down and add some to the sleeve width and hips, as well as add some curve at the top back (which meant adding a back seam). You should've seen me slicing the muslin and taping it back together...I was putting my Cynthia Guffey fitting workshop to work, for sure!

After the second iteration, it already looked much better than RTW, but she still had some excess fulness in her back at the armsceye notch, and it was binding in the front. So, I scooped out the back armsceye, adjusted the sleeve, dropped the front bust point some more (I accused her of switching foundation garments on me, but she said she hadn't) and added just a little more ease in the hips. I got all those changes transferred to the pattern, but I ran out of time so it'll either wait on Mom to sew up one more muslin, or I'll do it when I take older DD up for a wedding in May.

I also accompanied my brother and his wife to their weekly Bible study group and met another sewing buddy (Hi, Kbear ;) )

Wouldn't you know, during the trip DD put a hole in the jeans she got for Christmas; those were the last unpatched jeans she had. Good thing there's a Lee outlet right on the Pennyrile Parkway. I bought the only two pairs of 10 Slim jeans I could find.

Now I'll start the next 'to patch' pile.

Saturday Snapshot:
I drove 450 miles. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We're off....

Indiana State Police online reports the roads in Central/Southern Indiana are clear, so the DKids and I are off to Grandma's House.

I'll catch everyone Monday...

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Stuff to Check Out

Yesterday was a busy day on the 'net...

The biggest news is the creation of a new sewing forum, SWRefuge. It's really not meant to replace anything, but, as the name suggests, provide an alternative cyber meeting space should anything happen to Ye Olde Sewing World, which has been showing some signs of instability. I apparently joined Sewing World just after the last major crash, so I'm not familiar with the symptoms but I can take it from the ladies who have been posting to SW for many years that it's getting shaky and may crash soon. Apparently, the crash comes and the SW administrators work the site over to get it all fixed, but that can take a while and, for those of us who need our daily SW fix, the SW Refuge site (they are soliciting suggestions for a less derivative name) will be there should the Crash come.

I think it's great that three ladies from SW have put their heads together to do this collectively, and the lady who posts as 'Dragonlady' deserves a big shout-out for using her computer expertise to set it all up. Liana and Kathryn ('fxdoc') also worked on this and are now encouraging everyone to register so that we will have a backup site for sewing discussion. And who knows...this may just become another FVF (Frequently Visited Forum) for all of us; can there be too many places to talk about sewing?

Next up on the New Stuff list: a whole new pattern collection from Hot Patterns called Classix Nouveau. These are some not-so-fashion-dependent garments that will be really popular, I think. There are two or three patterns there that I like, but to be honest I think I've already got patterns in the stash that are pretty similar. But the CN chatter may motivate me to pull them out and give them a go! ;) I've still got a short list of about 7 patterns that I want to get from HP...just haven't done it yet. Gotta get the 'Must be sewn soon!' list cranked through the manufacturing process first.

Finally, I happened to check the Sewing Workshop site yesterday and discovered that there's a new pattern up there, the Ikina Jacket and Pant. The pants don't do much for me...wide legged cropped length just won't help my already height challenged silhouette, but I do like the jacket. There's some good photos of Ikina Jackets in the Sewing Workshop Gallery...have a look.

At the moment, I'm still planning to take the kids to see Grandma and Grandaddy tomorrow, so I may or may not get to post the rest of the week. I haven't checked the weather since last night, though, and it looked like that nasty weather system was moving pretty slow. I don't know if it will be cleared out in time for me to drive up tomorrow or not. At least the sun is shining here at the moment! Yesterday was a mean windy, rainy March day...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Travel Plans

Arg! When I first talked to Mom about heading north, the weather forecast was for rain/snow on Monday. Since the weekend was going to be really busy on this end, I decided to give myself Monday to catch up on sleep, do laundry and pack.

Well, the forecast was off...the weather folks are now saying that it's going to start snowing in central Indiana tonight, and they'll have 5" - 8" by noon tomorrow, with windy conditions. Ugh. Don't think I'll try to drive up in that! If it is cleared out, maybe I can make the trip by Wednesday.

But that'll give me an extra day here; maybe I can get some work done on the next SWAP blouse. ;)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Little Sewing Here, A Little Sewing There...

I couldn't stay away from the sewing machine entirely yesterday, but I did work in between and amongst doing household chores. I didn't finish the chores, but Swap Top # 4 is finished...this is the one from the required Timmel Fabrics purchase:

Only two more blouses to go...but it looks like I'll be taking the kids and heading up to Mom and Dad's for a few days next week (it's Spring Break down here). It'll be chilly and snowish in Indiana, from what I've heard, and all the flowers are blooming here, so we're taking a break from Spring and going back to Winter, I guess. But it's been more than a year since we've been home so it's LONG overdue.

I'll just have to sew like crazy when I get back. ;)

Saturday Snapshot:

In the CD player: Paul Wilbur, "The Watchman"
On the Bookstand: Still reading Can Man Live Without God?.
It's a scholarly book and I'm having to read it slowly to make sure I'm understanding everything. An intellectual stretch, to be sure!

On the Sewing Table: Textile Studio Santa Monica T, in a sagey green cotton interlock. For Choir.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lace Trimmed Shell In Progress

I'm pleased with the way it's looking. It probably would've been a little better if I'd hand basted it first, but that's a Perfect World scenario...y'know, as in 'In a Perfect World, my kids and hubby (um, and I...) would put away things when they were done with them and I'd have a maid so that I wouldn't have to spend sewing time doing things like mopping floors and cleaning bathtubs...'

I'll probably only finish sewing down the lace today. Housecleaning is to the 'I can't put it off any longer' stage...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On the Sewing Table my linen shell, from the cream linen I purchased from Julie for SWAP. I've also got a Santa Monica T cut out, in a sagey green, because that's this month's choir color and I can crank it out pretty fast. Besides, I wanted to try a different seam method on it to see if I can get the neckline to be a little less lumpy. But it dropped my stash...for some reason I had listed that I had 4 5/8 yds of that sage knit; turns out I only had 1 5/8 yds. Musta been a typo ;). That reduces the total stash yardage that I started the year with, no?

The linen shell is going to be very nice, I think. I cut it double layer, since the linen is pretty transparent, and I played around with some lace I'd picked up on a serious discount (marked down from $12/yd to 50 cents/yd) at Hancock's earlier this year. I preshrank the lace on Tuesday (poured Very Hot water over it, let it sit until it cooled and then ironed it), so if I can catch a few minutes today I should have some finished products by the weekend.

I gotta get crackin' on those last three SWAP tops...the deadline is April 8 and it's coming quickly...and two of them still are not cut out yet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Patch Happy

So, after a weekend full of inspiring and technically enlightening sewing instruction, what would be the first thing you do upon returning home?

I patched blue jeans.

Actually, I took six pairs of jeans with holey knees with me to Atlanta; I thought, since the HOTEL HAD CABLE! I could open up the inseams prepratory to patching them while we watched the 'Project Runway' finale (not having cable, I've never seen one episode).

Well, we went through all the channels on the tv twice and they didn't have Bravo available. Oh, well. But we chatted the evening away while I ripped open the legs on all these pants, so when I got home they were ready to sew.

Most of them I did Sunday afternoon, but there was one pair that waited till this morning to get finished up. It's a good thing patched jeans are 'in' makes it kind of fun to be creative with a tediously necessary chore! DD would almost rather wear the patched jeans than the intact ones; which is a good thing, since she only has one pair of jeans that aren't patched.

Here's a sample of the 'creative patch job'...the frayed knee was done at Christmas; the other one will fray out to match it after a couple of trips through the laundry.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ain't it cute?

I thought about posting a photo of all my expo fabric; but I think it would just look like a pile of fabric. Mostly solids, the beauty of them is the hand and drape. But I did get a print that I'll post...even though the image of it is pretty poor, too. That moire look is just because of the real life it's very smooth..almost slick...and the print is very sharp. I tried several different image manipulations but this is the best I could get it. I've got 2 5/8 yards of it -- it's 58" cotton lycra shirting -- and I'm debating what to make. A blouse? A tiered skirt? Not sure...the fabric just enchanted me. I've got to finish the SWAP before I cut into Expo fabric; maybe by then I'll have a plan. ;)

The other fabrics I purchased were:
1)khaki silk twill from Vogue Fabric. Omigosh, this feels like butter and drapes like a dream. It'll be a drapey skirt; not sure which pattern I'll use yet.
2)Khaki cotton/lycra bottomweight sateen, also from Vogue. The sateen side looks a little too shiny for me; I actually think I'll use the reverse side (a twilled weave) for the right side. I got 5 yards; I'm thinking a straight skirt,a pair of pants and maybe a pair of capris. From May - September our base color for choir will be khaki, which is not one of my more flattering colors. I think I'll be ok so long as I wear the color-of-the-month next to my face. ;)
3)Black cotton/linen suiting from Louise Cutting. Because I can never have enough black fabric (that's what we wear for choir the other 7 months of the year). It feels yummy, too!
4)Teal slinky from Emma Seabrooke. I debated between the teal and the gorgeous purple she had, but I think there's a good chance we'll end up with teal as a color for choir next fall...while I don't think we'll ever wear purple. I'm thinking Sewing Workshop Cityscapes dress; one of SW's patterns that looks like a true dud in the illustrations but actually is quite flattering on a body.

That brings up a slightly different thought... I missed seeing Linda Lee and the SW booth; I know she's trying to take the business in a little different direction as she really wants to try and entice the next generation to sew, but the SW clothes are so funky that I think it hurts not to be at the Expo with the samples. I know I had written off some of the patterns that I now have and love (the Cityscapes among them)...and I have them because I saw them on a body in the Fashion Show at the expo. Some things just don't translate well to drawings. I hope she finds a way to get her garments seen live and in person if she's not going to do the expos. Just my 2 cents worth! ;)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Extra Expo Shopping

Now I have another shopping list.

I've taken classes from Cynthia Guffey for 3 years now, and every year I come away with a list of Things to Get...but for some reason I don't get them, and the next year, in class I'm smacking my forehead wondering why I haven't picked it up yet...

1) narrow masking tape. Cynthia uses it for all kinds of stuff, including stitch guides on fabric and cutting guides.

2) Straight stitch throat plate and foot for my New Home. Very basic...and I can't seem to remember to get it. When I'm at the dealer, I also need to remember to get an 'edge joining foot'.

I happened to comment to one of my classmates at the end of our sample making class w/Cynthia that I hoped I could get these feet for my machine, and the Viking rep who was kind of supervising the use of the machines strongly encouraged me to come down to her booth and check out a new Viking. I laughed to my companion that that was one sure way to never get to come to an Expo again...go home with a new sewing machine. (unless I happened to win one in the big giveaway, of course ;) )

But I'm curious...can one even get a top quality, multi-function sewing machine, without all those fancy embroidery stitches that I'd rarely, if ever, use?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Expo 06 Report


I have just about hit information overload; I'm not sure I haven't overtaxed my sitting, um, muscles... travel to Atlanta, sit sit sit in classes, then travel back to Alabama (we had a good test of patience getting through Atlanta...let's just say that Friday was NOT a good day to be driving anywhere in the Atlanta metro area) and sit some more in the marriage conference. My tailbone, which I cracked in high school but hasn't bothered me for years, is actually a bit achy.

But it was all worth it! I don't think I had a dud class amongst the lot. I had Louise Cutting, Peggy Sagers, Karen Maslowski and Cynthia Guffey. I bought 5 patterns (4 Silhouettes and 1 Cutting Line), 5 pieces of very nice fabric and my complete 'short list' of notions, plus a couple of others that I happened to find. I missed Linda Lee/The Sewing Workshop, and Threads magazine was MIA as well. But overall, the vendor area covered a larger portion of the exhibit hall than it has the past two years, so it is a thriving show, and I certainly had no trouble finding places to spend money.

I saw Shannon Gifford, Rusty Bobbin, Queendom, and a Pattern Review lurker or two. It's so cool to get face-to-face contact with internet pals!

Now the ladies over at Pattern Review are putting together a PR weekend at Baer Fabrics in Louisville the first of June. If I don't spend anymore money and am a good girl and sew what I bought at the Expo, maybe I can go to Louisville next!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Expo Bound

Miss A and I are leaving around noonish today to head over to Atlanta; I'm looking forward to seeing everyone! Here's what I'll be wearing... ;)
I'll report back Saturday evening.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Expo Packing

Some things I don't want to forget:
Fabric Swatches: So I can match those temptations at Vogue, Wool House, Cutting Line and elsewhere to what's already in the stash!

Small stapler: For attaching the samples I will make in Cynthia Guffey's Thursday evening class to the notes and sketches of same.

The Shopping List: Those few items I cannot leave the Expo without...fusible interfacing, tie interfacing and a french curve (mine broke and Hancock's doesn't carry them anymore) from Peggy Sagers; Ergo cutter blades from Martelli.

The Muslin I made for the Friday morning fitting class. After dragging myself around to make it, it'd be the pits if I somehow forgot to pack it!

My Camera...and this year I need to remember to use it.

Ah, we're going to have such fun...sinus headache or no sinus headache... ;)

Monday, March 06, 2006

On the Mend

I managed to get through the rehearsal and the service Saturday...then crashed on Sunday. But I actually feel a little better today, so I'm hopeful that I'll be funtional enough to enjoy the Sewing Expo later this week (as in day after tomorrow...)

Only now I've got to completely re-decide what to wear to said Expo, since I obviously didn't get anything done at all on the new stuff I wanted to wear. It's funny how being around a bunch of other sewing people causes me to consider very carefully what I'm going to put on. I did get my shirt muslin thrown together yesterday, so Friday's apparel has to include a top that's thin enough it won't mess up the fit process too much.

And nobody did laundry while I was laying around last week...imagine that.... I hope I have enough detergent to get a decent dent in the piles ;)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the cd player: Wrestling Angels by Grover Levy
On the bookstand: Still Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias. I haven't had the concentration this week to delve into that; I took a little side trip and re-read Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon. Pleasant diversion in between naps.
On the sewing machine: Muslin of Simplicity 9693. I really like the top, but there's something funny about the fit in the front of the sleeves that I'd like some help with. It's the muslin for the Cynthia Guffey fitting class I'll be in at the expo next week.

But today I'm trying to make an official looking 'Animal Control' transfer that I can print and iron on a navy t shirt. I found a good looking badge online and merged it with some text, but giving it a blue background that will hopefully disappear on the blue shirt is a problem; the colors went all discontinuous and I'm having to fix it a pixel at a time.

My eyes are crossing and my mouse hand is getting sore...I'm not looking for perfect, just Close Enough.

Back to color correction...

Friday, March 03, 2006


Dress rehearsal for Uplink is tonight; I still need to get a blue t-shirt and ballcap, and put something official 'dog catcher' looking on them; hopefully I can locate some t-shirt transfer paper and just print it out and iron it on.

I'm semi-functional today; after two days on the couch I at least no longer have that 'hit-by-a-bus' achy feeling, but I'm not real perky. But the dog catcher is not a terribly perky character anyway. I'm just hoping my voice holds out!

This time next week I'll be in Cynthia Guffey's fitting class in Atlanta; I'm looking forward to that! She is such a hoot and does such inspiring stuff....

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Why aren't germs required to check the daytimer before they check into the body? I don't have time to be sick, but my body isn't listening to that protest. The dog costume has been delegated...but there still isn't a backup dog catcher.

Maybe another day on the couch will improve my status.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This month's costuming

This month's Uplink service is Saturday; the costuming assignment for this one is a to make a 6-foot guy into a believable (not realistic) dog. I think we're going to go with black sweats, a pinned on tail (I have a good one that I made, oh, 13 years ago for DS when he was a dog for the fall festival),floppy ear shapes on a stretchy headband and doggy face paint. How we will manage the face paint around the mustache and goatee of the potential dog is going to be interesting...

BTW, I'm the dog catcher; fortunately animal control people in our area have dispensed with fancy uniforms and just wear jeans and tshirts.

But I also woke up this morning feeling a little, um, fluish. Little low grade feverish, little chest congestionish, little achy... Not bad enough to crawl back in bed, but bad enough that I'm nervous about how I'll feel by the weekend. Not to mention the trip to the Atlanta Expo next week. AAArrrgggg....

We'll see what ibuprofen, guifenisen and pseudoephedrine (yeah, I've still got some) can do to keep me functional.