Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Don Potter, Since the Fall

On the Bookstand: I haven't done anymore reading on my Bevere or my Boone, but I did take a lunch break and re-read Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road on Thursday...that book always makes me feel rather unlettered, since I've only read a fraction of the books that she ordered. But such a poignant story! I don't know how many times I've read it, but for the first time it struck me that these letters were written well after the end of WW II, yet the English people were still dealing with extreme rationing. It really impressed me. (I could chase a rabbit here about American consumption, but I'll spare you. I'm not going to get THAT random).

On the Sewing Table: 'champagne' (that's thte best word for the color) poly stretch charmeuse tank top from my modified Loes Hinse City Dress bodice, khaki silk twill Loes Hinse gore skirt, six red costume tunics, 3 full length costume robes and 2 rather largish costume over vests. Miss M and Miss A may, perhaps, take some to sew. I should've gotten farther on the red tunics yesterday, but I procrastinated starting because I had to change the thread in the serger (it takes 2 minutes. Why do I drag my feet so?)

Projects completed this week: After posting last Saturday,I finished DD's embroidered denim capris; after supper I cut out and finished a Jalie 2005 crew-neck t and a Chrisine Johnson Basewear 2 mock-T shell, both from some GORGEOUS cotton/lycra jersey print I got last summer from Emma One Sock. Thursday, after cutting at church, I finished off a City Dress shell in the silk twill...ooooh, it feels so good!

Body-For-Life progress: The scales say I've lost 2 pounds...but I know, with Free Day tomorrow that by Monday it could be back up again. Still, I put on a pair of pants that were 'I can't wear these' two weeks ago...and they didn't look *too* bad. So there's some progress somewhere.

Friday, April 28, 2006

So much for parity

I was so proud of myself for resisting personal purchases while I was chasing down Bible costume fabric...and then, yesterday, I happened to check out the dollar table at the Wal-Mart closest to me (the first time I'd looked closely at it since we moved to this end of town). I was really surprised to see some fairly nice stuff on it. I found a piece of stone-colored herringbone suiting that appears to be a poly microfiber, and got 6 yards, telling myself that, since DH has decided to join the choir at church, it would be nice to make him a new Bible costume at some point in the future, because he will need it eventually. His old costume is from the boat-neck Simplicity pattern; he'd be happy enough with it but I don't like it; it looks uncomfortable. Anyway, six yards is plenty for a new basic robe; I might even get a skirt or pair of pants out of what's left over. ;)

I also found this interesting piece of fabric:

You can see how loosely it's woven; I just slid some of the threads over w/my thumbnail; any seams in it need to be reinforced so they don't just pull out. I was thinking I'd like a new Bible costume myself and thought this would work, but there was only 3 1/3 yds of it, and a basic Bible robe takes 4. I got it anyway, thinking perhaps I'd make a shorter overdress thing, but when I got home with it I realized it has almost all the summer choir colors in it...I could wear it with pink, blue and lavendar. So now I've decided it has to be a jacket. It's really pretty cheap's coarse and I'm not sure what style. I'll have to fuse textured weft to it so that it has enough body to hold together and hang nicely, but I'm almost afraid it's too loosely woven to fuse well. I think some testing is called for.

Meantime, I need to work on the six soldier tunics, 3 robes and two vest coats we cut out yesterday for, um, next Saturday. So that will be idea perculation time.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday's Outings

Today is Take Your Kids to Work Day at DH's place of employment and both the two younger DKids are going with him...they have official 'Take Your Kids To Work' T shirts and are very excited about 'an outing with Father' (why am I seeing Mr Banks with Jane and Michael here?)

Me, I'm hauling about 44 yards of freshly washed fabric to church for a stack and whack on the long tables in the fellowship hall; and I just realized I don't have to leave at 2:30 to get the kids.

By George, I believe Miss A and I can finish that task today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Shopping Annointing Falls

A sick kiddo can throw a wrench in the plans, no doubt about it! I intended to go looking for costume fabric on Monday; but DD got up with a stomach virus and I didn't feel comfortable leaving her at home by I waited until DS got home from school and took off.

I found about 3 pieces of fabric in the small stash at church that'll do to replace some of the missing costumes; I got three more chuncks from the dollar table at Wal-Mart so we have enough material to alleviate the current costume crunch; I found some red poly/rayon linen-look at Hancock's that was on sale; with the 'charity/club' discount, it was about $2.30/yd. What's more, they had enough for six soldier tunics!

I had a fabric finding annointing; the whole trip took only a couple of hours; I'd expected to spend all day.

So all this fabric is going through the wash; I did two loads yesterday and I think I can get by with the rest in one load today. Tomorrow, Miss A and I will stack-n-whack six soldier tunics and about 4 robes and *maybe* two or three vests...we'll see how we get along time-wise.

After we're done, we really need to seriously deal with the whole disorganized costume issue...anyone know where I can get chains like they use to secure leather jackets to the racks in the department stores? ;)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back to Parity

Yeah! It's only about 6 weeks since the Atlanta Expo, and the 'yards out' column is once again registering more than the 'yards in' colum! Saturday I finished up the second pair of capris for DD, then at 8 Saturday evening I got crazy and started cutting some really nice cotton/lycra fabric I got from EOS last year...and now I have two tops, a Jalie 2005 crew neck and a Christine Jonson Basewear 2 Mock T shell. The choir colors this month are lavendar and black, and since the print in that fabric is shades of purple (including lavendar) on black, I can get away with it. I even wore the mock T to church Sunday! Incidently, it's a mock T because I didn't *quite* have enough fabric for the full-out folded over turtleneck.

But...Emma One Sock has a sale this week; I've been perusing Fashion Fabrics Club, too...I need to watch it or I'll end up buying something.

I need to sew what I've got!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bible Costumes Revisited

Note added 10/27/08 For folks who landed here looking for info on making Bible costumes...if you click on 'Bible Costume Info' on the sidebar, you will bring up a series of posts about sewing Bible Costumes, including some tutorials on how to put them together .

*Whew* Blogger's been down...I thought I never would get this posted!

A bit of background: due to a communications glitch, we had to come up with some Roman soldier costumes on very short notice the week before Easter. Because we had out of town company that week, the bulk of the process fell upon Miss A and Miss M and, because Miss M is working two or three jobs, Miss A really got stuck with the most of it. She cut everything out; Miss M and her hubby put together the vinyl tunics, I made the shorts, and Miss A made all six red tunics to go under the vinyl pieces.

We did not know who would be wearing these costumes, but we were asked to make 5 large and 1 extra-large. We had a large McCall's 2060 (one size per pattern on the McCall's biblical costumes) pattern in the box, which had never been used but included a thigh-length tunic for under the 'armor' part of the soldier's costume. Rather than try to figure out how much to shorten our TNT caftan pattern, Miss A (who was not feeling at all well and who was working against a very tight timeline) decided to use the McCall's pattern...which is clearly labeled 'Large 38,40'...and just grade it up to XLarge. She commented that they looked very small, but I thought she was comparing it to the caftan pattern, which runs pretty big.

Well, on Easter Sunday we had a hard time even getting them on the guys who were the soldiers...and some of them were pretty big guys, who ended up wearing white t-shirts. Also, we had to scramble to costume the apostles; somehow a huge number of our costumes disappeared from the storage area in the past year (currently under investigation). It was kind of stressful. However, the action moved fast enough that the costuming problems weren't noticeable. The little drama, (which was actually a pantomime to a song I didn't know but had a chorus built around the words 'I want to leave a legacy') was about the fates of the twelve they each died. It was incredibly powerful, and all the problems just didn't matter.

I picked up the costumes and brought them home to wash, then compared the 'Large' McCall's 2060 to the 'Medium' McCall's 2339, which is the Nativity pattern set that I used last fall to make a costume for a young man at church who needed to take one to Phoenix Master's Commission. I'd assumed that the basic robe/cloak/drape patterns were the same, and the difference between the Passion patterns and the Nativity patterns would only be the extra pieces...the soldier, high priest and Pilate in the Passion set, and the angel and wise men in the Nativity...but I was wrong. The basic tunic patterns are VERY different; the sleeve/shoulder construction is completely different and the Large in the Passion set was smaller than the Medium in the Nativity set! A LOT smaller. I really think the 2060 Passion set is mislabeled, and it should be a Childrens/Youth size Large. So...word up to anyone who's making Bible costumes; measure the actual pattern if you're working with McCall's 2060!

Anyway, the revisited part...the first weekend in May is our second annual anniversary/leadership conference, which is titled 'Legacy', and Pastor has decided to have the kids (it was mostly our high school and college age young men) perform the drama again. So, now we're going to make six red tunics in the right size, and about 3 size Medium (the guys playing the apostles are all rather smallish fellows) costumes to help alleviate the shortage we've come up with.'s back to the dollar table at Wal-Mart for suitable fabric; you know what my next couple of weeks will be like ;)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Caedmon's Call, 40 Acres

On the Bookstand: The same books as last week; I took a sidetrack and re-read John Eldredge's Waking the Dead this week. Wow.

On the Sewing Table: Embroidered Denim pull-on capris for DD

Projects completed this week: Finished the six pairs of shorts last Saturday afternoon...we BARELY squeaked through on that costume job, but the result was fine. Also finished the tiedye skirt/top set and a pair of stretch twill capris for DD.

Body-For-Life progress: Not quite as much muscle soreness as I expected. Scales show 1 lb lower than on Sunday, but that's not significant. But I feel good to be moving in the right direction. ;)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kids sizing mini-rant

Three years ago, I made a hat and capris for DD from Simplicity 5540. She was six years old, going into a size six. The pants were, um, rather large. I told her they were cropped pants, not capris, and figured she'd be able to wear them for several years. Now, she's 9 and the last jeans I bought for her were a size 10 slim. We pulled out the summer clothes box last week, and she put those purple capris on yet again. She had to work at it just a little; they're *just* big enough to get over her hips...but the length is perfect. It just needs a wee bit of length added to the back crotch seam. So, I'm thinking I'm going to use some stretch twill and denim I have in the stash, use 3/8" side seams instead of 5/8" and she'll have some capris that fit. In a slightly modified size 6.

She can also still wear Simplicity 5641, which I made for her in a slightly lengthened size 5, for Easter that same year. It hits her just above her knees now and actually looks really good.

I feel kinda bad for letting her run around in such oversized clothes in years past.

But...she's a 10 slim...and the dress is a 5...the pants are a 6...who'da thunk that they'd've been so big? Has anyone else found kids patterns to be way oversized related to RTW? Why do you suppose that is?

I guess I just need to take new measurements each time I sew for her. Nuisance for both of us.

But I should get the capris made real soon; several things in that summer box WERE outgrown!

But she's happy she can still wear the dress...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The SWAP Entries are Up!

There are 23 ladies who completed a total of 25 SWAP wardrobes (yup...two ladies actually made two wardrobes each! Incredible but true!). The work is awesome and can be seen at Timmel Fabrics SWAP page. The wardrobes are fantastic; I'm honored just to be on the same page as such incredibly talented seamstresses. Incidently, all registered Sewing World members can vote for their favorites; the top 3 will receive prizes from Timmel Fabrics and will also be featured in an upcoming article in Stitches magazine (sort of the Australian equivalent of Threads). Julie will post the instructions for voting sometime today and the polls (email to Julie) will open tomorrow and go for a week. I'm already trying to figure out how in the WORLD I'm going to pick three favorites.

Go look at all the pictures! They are amazing and inspiring! But there are a lot of photos on the page, so if you're (like me) on dial-up, it'll take a little while for them all to patient, it's worth it. ;)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

French Toast

That's what McCall's labeled a line of girl's patterns back in the 90's, with a caption 'You don't eat 'em. You wear 'em.' I'd made an outfit for older DD from the pattern way back then and hung on to it because I thought it was cute. I pulled it out and made a little simpler version...minus all the lace-finished edges...for younger DD. The fabric is a gift from my DMIL, and, even though the T-top turned out a little big, DD loves you can tell.

Now all the current projects are done; time to cut again...or mend...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's Traditional

I was sewing for church most of Friday and Saturday, but the kids would not be happy if they didn't get a chance to color after supper Saturday, we colored a couple of boxes of eggs. Stuck in creative mode, I colored a few myself. Nothing fancy...just the basic Paas kit and some Crayolas.

Now, of course, they mourn if someone eats one of 'their' eggs...

I saw pre-colored eggs for sale in the grocery store; what's the fun in that?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Day One

Every self-improvement program has a Day One...some are more distinct than others.

Almost 6 years ago, DH and I embarked on the Body-for Life Challenge...we took photos, sent in the essay and everything. Our results were probably more normal than the ones that are posted on the site, and certainly not as jaw-dropping as the Challenge winners, but we were pleased to have improved even a little (I lost 12 lbs, if I remember right). But I discovered if I didn't really keep at it, the weight would creep back on. And I had, injuries, thyroid trouble...anyway, over the intervening years I tackled the program w/varying degrees of commitment and success. While I never really got back to where I wanted to be, I figured at least I wasn't getting any worse.

But when we moved (twice since August of '04), things got waaaay behind, and it's been over two years since I even tried to maintain any kind of exercise plan. Oh, I walked here and there a bit, but nothing consistent. Now all my fat clothes are tight and I have a choice between engaging in the battle of the bulge or giving up and going up in size. I decided it would hurt less to start the exercise program again...and today is Day One: lower body weight work. There are two sets of flex-weights that seem to have disappeared when we moved; that's really odd and I need to find them before the next Lower Body day comes 'round (Friday). But it feels right to be doing again.

The worst part is the first two weeks; I know I'm gonna feel like I was hit by a truck. Oh well. It's still less painful than tracing all my TNT patterns in a larger size ;)

My goal? Well, let's put it this way...when we completed the first official challenge (which was the only one we actually did all the paperwork on), we got Body-for-Life t shirts as a reward for completing the program. My goal is to lose enough weight/fluff that I will wear that T shirt; I'm in bad enough shape that I feel too hypocritical to wear it now.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD player: Dwayne Roberts, Apostolic Prayers

On the bookstand: I've decided to list all the books I'm reading, instead of just the top one: Still reading Tolkein's The End of the Third Age; I'm also reading John Bevere's Drawing Near, and, for a ladies' study at church, Wellington Boone's Woman, You're a Kingmaker. I *think* that's all at the moment ;)

On the sewing table: Six pairs of red pull-on guy's shorts; these have to be finished today as they are needed in the morning to be worn by guys dressed as Roman soldiers. Miss A is doing the tunics and Miss M is putting together the vinyl "armor". But I'm probably 3/4 done with them so it shouldn't be a problem. Also a tie-dyed knit T-top and ruffled skirt for DD.

Projects finished this week: Tiered madras plaid skirt for DD.

For those who can receive it: Have a blessed celebration of the Resurrection!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Historic Dogwood

It was a beautiful day at the Botanical Garden yesterday...the 'Historic Dogwood' was in full bloom. This tree is about 120 years old, but until 10 years ago it was growing west of town, near a road that had to be widened. After much negotiation, the tree was dug up and transported to the Garden, where it obviously has settled right down. It's an amazing story and I was tickled to death that we happened to go at dogwood blossom time.

There's a Canada goose gander in the photo, too; as we walked around the water garden, which is to the left of the photo, we found his mate sitting on a nest with about 6 or 7 eggs:

We had a good, refreshing day.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Play Day

DInlaws are visiting, actually just passing through on their way to a timeshare in Destin, FL, so DH took a vacation day and we're planning an outing to the botanical gardens. It looks like it's going to be nice today, and I plan on enjoying it.

Meanwhile, Miss A and Miss M are going to be frantically working on a last minute costume request. I'll catch up with them tomorrow; today I've got some relaxing to do.

I might put the waistband on the tiered madras skirt that's in progress for DD; it's all that's left to do and she'll have a new skirt.

If we get tired of looking at flowers. ;)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Now I get a Goodie

One of the incentives Julie offers to folks who embark on the SWAP challenge is a free pattern to everyone who completes a SWAP collection and sends in photos and a little written description of the process by the deadline. I'd actually forgotten about that until this morning; now I get to pick a pattern. Julie carries Jalie patterns, Loes Hinse Patterns, Louise Cutting patterns, La Fred's patterns...among others. Right now, I'm sort of leaning towards Jalie's Jeans Jacket, but I'm also considering Loes' Princess Tank and La Fred's Maia Jacket. I don't have to make up my mind for a while yet...Julie's swamped this week with incoming photos so there's certainly no rush. But it's nice to get a little reward for finishing (Thanks, Julie!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Finish one, start one

The photos and the little (hah! I ended up with over a page's worth) of written detail went off to Julie at Timmel Fabrics yesterday, and I added all the extra photos to the SWAP album linked on the side bar. I was kind of miffed at myself, somehow I missed getting a photo of an outfit with the black skirt...but the batteries in the camera died and I could NOT find any anywhere in the house. But it's the same fabric as the black it's not like a major mystery as to how the black skirt would look with the tops. I was just not happy with myself for missing it. But the SWAP is officially DONE.

So last night I started New Projects...I traced off about 4 patterns for DD, then cut out two skirts and a t-shirt for her. That child needs clothes, so I've got some work. I need to cut out a couple of pairs of capris, too, but I ran out of time.

And, do you know, when I sat down to update the fabric stash to reflect the fact that I used up two entire pieces from the stash...I discovered that somehow I'd overlooked both of them! One was a gift from my DMIL, so I'm not surprised it didn't get logged in, but the other piece has been residing in my stash for at least 10 years. I must've missed it somehow when I did the original 'swatch and measure' project. Oh, well, it does cut down on the volume of the stash...that's two pieces gone from the bins...even if it doesn't reduce the current total.

I wonder how many other pieces of stealth stash are lurking in those bins? ;)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Done to the Paperwork

First I made up my mind to drop the grey blouse and sub the royal twinset from last year. But yesterday evening I walked into my sewing nook and saw the blouse lying there, armholes all unstitched, and knew I couldn't just let it turn into a UFO (UnFinished Object). So I grabbed some scrap fabric and started trying to get a gusset or something into the sleeve/armsceye to make it work.

I'll spare you the details. Nothing did. So I took a deep breath and took the sleeves the rest of the way off and finished off the armholes. One nice sleeveless scrunchneck blouse done. (It's currently the top review at the 'My Reviewed Patterns' on the sidebar or you can see the finished item on my SWAP link). I cut the covered buttons off and put them away before I put the sleeves with the rest of the fabric...I still have enough for another blouse; the sleeves might turn into facings or something. "Find a fitted sleeve that works" is now on my list of things to do this year.

But that completed the SWAP. I decided to switch the slinky twinset for the Vogue 7799 cross neck top that fits kinda wonky...partly because the top fits funny (that's my fault; the fabric was too heavy and stretchy for that pattern) and partly because the SWAP needs a shot of intense color. So...the now-named 'Shifting Skies' collection only needs the official photos and a little descriptive blurb, which I'll likely do today.

Next up: sewing for DD, while I decide which pants pattern I want to use on the khaki cotton/lycra I bought in Atlanta.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD player: Scott Brenner, "The Divine Whisperer"

On the bookstand: The End of the Third Age, J.R.R. Tolkein. The fourth book in Christopher Tolkein's examination of the writing of the Lord of the Rings. I started the series ages and ages ago, but life got in the way. I finally got back to it last week, finished the third book and am now digging into the final bit of the story of the story.

On the Sewing Table:I unstitched the underarms of the grey blouse sleeves; I'm going to have to play with them to get them truly wearable. So, I decided to swap the SWAP tops...I will use my royal blue slinky twinset as one of the items. Now, I only need photographs and a short descriptive blurb and it's on to other sewing projects.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Decision Time

I finished the white twin set to the buttons/buttonholes yesterday; that'll be a quick finish-off today, then I will be down to the grey blouse. I've got to decide what to do about the grey blouse, apart from the changes I need to make to the pattern. It has been perculating in the back of my brain all week, and I think I've got a plan. I'm going to unstitch the underarms, which is no small task; that seam was straight stitched twice in the underarm area, then the seams were serged together. Anyway, once the underarm is opened up, I'll put the blouse on and get DH or perhaps DD to measure how much it spreads when I raise my arms, then draft a football-shaped gusset and sew into the underarm. It may not be perfectly elegant, but I really don't think it will be that noticeable and it should make the blouse wearable. We'll's worth a try. Meantime, do I keep this blouse in the SWAP or make a substitution? I kind of need it...I seem to remember the rules saying we should have two blouses, as opposed to simple pullover tops. Perhaps I'd best check w/Julie (from Timmel Fabrics...the lady who's sponsoring the whole SWAP competition) and see if the lace shell will qualify as a blouse...I do have a royal blue twinset that I can put into the combo. But the photos and blog write up are all due a week from tomorrow; it's time to make up my mind.

Anyway, I've got a bunch of handwork to do while the laundry runs today!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In My Closet

I thought about posting a picture...but really, what can you see in a picture of a closet? Shoulders edge-on and the bottom flare of the skirts. Nothing impressive.

Anyway, there's a discussion on Sewing World about Midlife Chic that's got me thinking about the whole 'look' thing. So I'll talk about what's in the closet. For a long time I said I had four wardrobes in my closet, but now, with the addition of some softer tailored Loes Hinse pieces, I think I've got five. The original four are Strictly Business (tailored jackets, skirts, pants), Ritzy Glitzy (party clothes...this is a very small wardrobe), Fun & Funky (I used to call this one 'Funky Chunky', but decided I needed to drop the 'Chunky' more ways than one. Haven't quite gotten rid of all the 'chunky', but at least I'm not proclaiming it anymore) and Lands' End Mom. 'Fun and Funky' is mostly comprised of Sewing Workshop stlye garments, which are quirky, funky and fun to wear...and tend to push the Teen Son into his eye-rolling routine. I'm still trying to decide what to call the simple but elegant softer tailored things...they don't really fit into the other four but I haven't found a label that sums them up like the others, either. I mean, when I say 'Lands' End Mom', everyone knows what I'm talking about. This year's SWAP, as a whole, is more a part of that 5th group, too, and it doesn't have a name either.

But that's a basic description of what's in my closet. I'm afraid I mostly live in Lands' End Mom clothes, although I'm trying to move a little more into the 5th group, which is easy to wear but looks nice. (I thought about calling it 'Nice 'n' Easy' but I really don't want to associate it with drug store hair color). I need to get away from wearing jeans so much.

But the toughest part of the wardrobe to update, to me, is the accessories. Scarves, jewelry, shoes, purses. Omigosh...purses. That's really a fashion mystery to me. I have a medium sized black leather backpack from Wilson's Leather that I carry virtually all the time (ok, I don't carry it if I'm dressed in Ritzy Glitzy, but the rest of the time...yeah...). Scarves I do sometimes; my jewelry tends to be the stuff my husband has given me over the years. It's usually small and very simple, but, hey, he gave it to me and I'm a sentimental mush so...that's what I wear. Shoes? Well, I have a size 6 1/2 WIDE foot...just try shopping for shoes with a 6 1/2 W foot. I've been lurking around on Zappo's for a while, but I haven't bought anything yet. I need to, soon, though, because the last batch of dress shoes are wearing out. See, I happened to hit Shoe Carnivale at a fortuitious moment a few (um, ok, several) years ago and they had a bunch of Hush Puppy shoes in one style...and it was available in 6 1/2 W. I bought 4 pairs, in different colors. They've worn well, although there have been a few times when I've dressed in a hurry and then discovered after arriving at my destination that I had one blue shoe and one black shoe on my feet. I've definitely gotten my money's worth from them, but I haven't had such luck at SC since. Shoes are definitely a problem.

But I'm working on it! I've come a long way from the cheap poly doubleknit queen I was back in my teens and twenties... ;)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sleeve Considerations

Yesterday, I posted the sleeve question on Sewing World, with a link to the photos, and on Pattern Review, with a link to the blog explanation and just let the whole sleeve thing perculate in the back of my head while I worked on the twinset (the shell is done; the cardi only needs the edge finishes and buttons/buttonholes). I also searched through my Threads collection to see what I could glean from that. I also had DH take some better photos; you can see them at More grey blouse photos (click to next to see them both) I've come to a couple of conclusions:

1) There are two different things going on here; the armsceye is not positioned right and the sleeve cap is shaped wrong. I'm going to have to fix both of them if I want to use the pattern. It's pretty clear from the second new photo that the blouse is hiking because it's not right at the bottom of the armsceye...that's where it's really being lifted from; my engineering husband even thought that was the problem. Kathleen suggested morphing on a sleeve that fits, but unfortunately I haven't made a blouse with a true, fitted sleeve that fit in like, forever, so I don't have an example. My comment about lowering the armsceye, btw, wasn't what I thought I needed to do to fix the sleeve; it's what I'd have to do to morph on the Butterick sleeve to which I compared this pattern and I didn't --don't-- want to do that. I like the way the sleeve transitions from fitted at the top to full at the bottom; but I do want it to fit. So I'll be doing some muslining over the next few weeks and I'll report back. I'm on a sleeve fitting quest now ;)

2) I could, perhaps, salvage these sleeves by slashing and spreading the sleeves, then sewing a self-fabric diamond applique over the whole adjustment...y'know, make a design detail ;). But I'm not going to have time to do that before the SWAP deadline...and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to start whacking on a sleeve that I *like* that just doesn't behave. I've got to get over that part...I want to wear the blouse. But another possibility would be to insert a gusset in the underarm; that might give enough ease to allow my arm to move. I do have enough to make another set of sleeves; actually, I've got enough fabric to make a whole 'nuther blouse, which I'd sort of planned to do...from another pattern I want to try. If I cut more sleeves, I'm not sure I can still get another blouse from it. The easiest option, of course, is just to perform a sleevectomy and finish the armholes. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Sleeves that Bind

Ok, this is the grey blouse pattern:

I'm making view C, the one with the scrunched collar and cuffs. I got the collar slipstitched down last night, sewed up the side seams and tried it on and was quite pleased with the way it fit; it skimmed along nicely and draped well.

Then I put the sleeves in. As I mentioned earlier, I was afraid the sleeves would be too small as they seemed tight just when I pulled them on. Once they were in, and the seams trimmed, they actually feel ok. The blouse looks really good, in fact.

Until I try to raise my arms. The whole blouse hikes if I so much as park my hands on my hips (the view B on the envelope...with the hand on the hip...unh-unh. It'd be hiked on that side). I haven't managed to snag a photographer to post a picture; I will later, if I get the chance. The sleeves are binding like crazy. This is probably my biggest fitting frustration at the moment; I haven't made very many blouses lately but it seems to be a recurring theme...sleeves that bind. In this case, bind badly.

I did make one blouse back before Christmas that didn't bind in the arms...Butterick 5208 (click the link to see the review). So I thought I'd do a little investigation and compared the ok Butterick pattern to the binding Vogue (the Vogue is on top):

The shoulders are about the same width in both patterns, which is actually slightly extended. The Vogue pattern has a higher, curvier underarm than the Butterick. But the big difference is in the sleeve cap. Look at how much narrower the Vogue cap is than the wonder it binds.

And why didn't I do this check before I cut the blouse out???? I might add that the sleeve went into the Vogue blouse with NO easing at all. I put the ease lines in but didn't have to adjust them. (To be truthful, there was a spot on each sleeve -- I think it was the top of the back -- where I felt like I was stretching the armsecye slightly to fit the sleeve). I think it's just a bad draft all the way around.

I'm really at the bottom of the sleeve fitting learning curve; I do not want to drop the armsceye on the Vogue blouse because this blouse will likely be worn under jackets w/a high armsecye; I need to seriously reshape the sleeve cap and narrow the shoulder on the blouse so that the armseye seam hits at the pivot point of my arm (right now it's about 1/2" past it). However, I'm pretty much at square one on just how to go about doing that. Time to hit the books.

But...what about the SWAP blouse? I think I'll go ahead and finish it for now;I can wear it and it looks good...I just have to keep my arms down ;). I've got plenty of fabric so I could cut another pair of sleeves (grumble, grumble), but I think I'm more likely to just take the sleeves off and bind the armholes and have a sleeveless scrunch neck blouse.

I'll make up my mind on that later. Meantime, I gotta get the SWAP finished. I did get the knit twinset cut out last night; I'm putting household chores on hold for the day just to see if I can get anything close to done with it.

ETA: Ok, I have some pretty pathetic attempts at self-photography, but you can sort of see what's going on with the blouse in these photos (click on the link, then use the 'next' arrow to see the other two) Grey Blouse

Monday, April 03, 2006


Ok, it's pretty apparent that I'm going to run out of time to make the second blouse. But it's ok; I need the twin set, too. So I'll be cutting that out tonight. Meantime, the grey blouse is sitting on the sewing machine, needle down, with the cuff in the process of being attached to the left sleeve. Then the handwork of sewing down the cuffs and collar on the wrong side and stitching on the buttons (I had to make loops for the cuffs...the style won't allow buttonholes). I'm a little nervous about the sleeves; when I just pull them on they feel unbelieveably tight right at the cap. I'm HOPING that when I put the sleeves in and trim the seam allowance it'll be ok. I haven't run into quite this problem before so I've just got put it together to see if it will do. Anyway, it'll be a snap to finish up once the hand sewing's done.

Now, I do have a previously-made top and a previously purchased top that I could substitute for both of these, if I have to (the rules allow that), so I guess I could sort of call myself done if I have to. But I'd rather get these two things done and increase my options. ;)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD player: Phil Keaggy; "Brushstrokes: Music to Paint By"

On the bookstand:I do believe I'm going to finish Zacharias' Can Man Live Without God?in the next week. Amazing apologetics.

On the sewing table: Grey rayon(?) SWAP blouse. Currently putting cuffs on the sleeves.

Out the window: Warm and damp from last night's rain; everything is green and blooming.

Today's reminder: Don't forget to adjust your clocks tonight! ;)

Oh-- I just realized yesterday that the blog settings only allowed people w/Blogger accounts to post comments. Mea culpa...I changed the settings so that's fixed now.