Monday, July 31, 2006

Domestic Duties Call

Ok, there's still sewing on the table and in the queue, but at some point the housework has GOT to be done and the budget MUST be updated and the laundry MUST make the trip through the washer and dryer back to the drawers and closets. Hopefully I'll get some sewing done this week...even if it's only a few minutes a day...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The White Rabbit Jig

I'm late! I'm late! Gotta help a friend move today and I shoulda been out the door by now...

Anyway, I reviewed the Medieval Dress, with a photo of the dress on PJ, if you're interested.

Catch ya Monday...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pick Two

Well, it's done...and, considering it's a pattern designed for wovens, crafted in crushed panne velvet (shudder)...and those floaty sleeves are poly chiffon hemmed on the bias (shudder again), it's not *too* bad. I'll try to get a review up sometime today.

I told PJ that I was reminded of one of the little amusing blubs I read in Reader's Digest a really long time ago about an auto shop that had a sign by the cash register: 'We do work that is cheap, fast and good. You can pick two.'

This was fast and cheap. 'Nuff said.

I'll take her dress to her today; dunno if I can get a photo of her in it or not, but they may take some pictures during the crusade next week (it runs Sunday night through Wednesday), so hopefully I'll have a photo of the finished product on its intended victim, er, wearer. Incidently, she said that her hubby had added studs to the tunics I made for the boys and they look really cool. Hopefully I'll get to see those eventually, too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm Curious

What would YOU do?

DH has told me that I need to get my three days of sewing on the schedule that it gets on it at all. I think I'm going to have to allot a Thursday, Friday and Saturday to the project, as those are days where staying home *is* possible. But, I don't have a free Saturday for at least three weeks, so it's going to be next month sometime. But he's right; if I don't get to it before the end of September it's not going to happen until after Scrooge. So, while I'm trying to settle on a date, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my three days.

Test out the PMB muslins?
Make the Fashion Sewing Group Jacket for the first time and get it fitted, so I can play with it according to all the neat suggestions Nancy gives in her newsletter and book?
Clear out the UFO's?
Go on a dress binge?
Pull out three or four of the 'fun' patterns in my inbox and make things that I've bought fabric for but not been able to get around to?
Do muslins on my new Hot Patterns?

too many choices...

Oh, I'll do what I really want to do the most when the time rolls around (and I bet it isn't clearing the UFO's...), but I'm curious...if YOU had three days you could dedicate totally and completely to sewing, what would YOU do?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No Burn Out?

Gaylen asked in a comment yesterday how I could do all this volunteer sewing and not lose the enjoyment of sewing. I've thought about the question and I suppose the real answer is...I don't know! But I do know that I do a couple of things that might help...

1) I catagorize my sewing...that way, the sewing I'm doing for church or whatever doesn't even seem like the same kind of sewing I do for myself. I almost even subdivide my personal sewing catagory...'fun' and 'necessary'. The 'fun' are those patterns and fabrics that I got because I loved the style/color/whatever and it's a treat to get to put those together. The 'necessary' sewing are wardrobe basics -- and, I suppose, choir clothes -- that I make because I need them and I can't find them to fit (me or my budget) in RTW. It's faster to grab something from the stash and sew it up from a TNT pattern than it is to go to the mall and start hunting through the stores to find something anyway, even if it doesn't exactly set my creative spirit humming to make ANOTHER Cowl Top or Oxford pants....

2) I stay exposed to other sewing enthusiasts via the Internet. It's hugely encouraging and inspiring to see what other folks are doing with their time and talent, and others will never know how many times I've gone online in a discouraged state only to find someone had left a comment on an old review that was just what I needed to get myself picked up and brushed off and back into a creative, productive frame of mind.

Having said that, though, I have so far pretty much avoided sewing for hire. It may come, eventually, that sewing will be an income producer, but there's so much involved in doing a real sewing business that I think the business end of it...inventory, billing, tax records, etc, would really take the enjoyment out of it.

But the bottom line is...I really enjoy the process of making things. And I especially enjoy the look on someone's face when I give them a costume that is right ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On to the Real Thing

PJ's muslin fit almost perfectly... I just needed to put small darts in the neckline to tilt the shoulder seam back up a little. So...yay...I get to cut the real fabric and start sewing it today! And I hope to finish by church tomorrow night...oh, it's panne velvet...well, it doesn't *have* to be done until Friday. Gulp.

The Teen Daughter's dress needed just a tiny adjustment; I put a new neckline on it, then added a faux chemise neckline, which was just a little too full. A couple of stitches to pull in the extra on the sides and it will be ready. Now, it looks like it's been altered, and the trim we used wasn't exactly what her dad had in mind, but it was all we could find that wouldn't look Really Bad on the dark magenta color of the fabric. But it will do for the immediate need; they don't have another crusade booked right away so hopefully I can get her a better dress after they get back from this trip. (They're going somewhere in North Carolina; maybe I should find out?)

But, looming on the horizon is ...Project Master's Commission. After all our costume struggles last year, the decision has been made by the program directors to ask the students to supply their own Bible costume. That way, the kids will have them, they can keep them, they can clean them as necessary. I think that's great, but we have a bunch of non-sewing folks that now are in serious need of a little help. I think we can pull all the sewing volunteers together and have the kids bring us the fabric, then do a massive stack-n-whack to cut them out and then farm them out amongst us. The program kicks off on Labor Day weekend, but I don't think they'll have to have the costumes in hand immediately.

And I really am hoping to get to the HotPatterns, which came a week ago and are singing a siren song all the while...

Monday, July 24, 2006

First fitting

I've got the muslin of the medieval dress done to sleeve insertion; that's all that's left to do before I fit it, so sometime around noonish I'll meet PJ at church and we'll see if my math was even close.

However, just before I fell asleep last night I had a revelation and realized that one of the alterations I made to the bodice actually widened the shoulders. I dunno what I was thinking; for some reason I thought I was narrowing the neckline. Funny how alterations can trip you up like that. Ah, well, I'll put it on her and pin out the extra and then see what I can do to get it as it should be.

20 YO DD has requested the other view of the dress for herself...gee, I don't know when she thinks she'll have time to get it made ;)

Note on blogging...did any other blogger users have any weird things happen over the weekend? Someone left a nice comment on one of last week's posts and now it's gone...anyway, I just wanted to report that I didn't delete it ;)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Iona Open Sky

On the Bookstand: I read Rick Joyner's The Torch and the Sword this week. Wow. I've picked The End of the Third Age back up again, too, and determined to finish it this month...then I want to re-read the whole LOTR set, begining w/ The Hobbit. I admit, it will be about the 15th time I've read it and I could nearly recite it by memory, but I got the whole set in lovely hardback volumes now (to retire the late-70's Bantam Books paper back set...priced at $1.95 each...that is crumbling) and I want to initiate them ;)

Projects completed this week: I've got one Medieval dress altered...wish I'd taken 'before' pictures so you could see what I did. You'd think I'd've learned that lesson by now.

I did get the attic at church restored to a useable state; now I need to start inventorying, organizing and weeding out the stuff that's there.

On the Sewing Table:I have two pairs of pants to hem for a friend, the Medieval Dress, which must be done by Thursday and has not even a traced pattern yet, in addition to the stuff from last week which hasn't been touched since last week's post.

fitness program progress: None this week. Sigh.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Make it Work

Can I quote TG even if I've never managed to see the show? ;)
I was thinking for some reason that Project ByRoyalDecree was due the first week of August...somehow, I miscounted. It's got to be done by a week from today. So I'm going to be sewing fast and furious for the next few days.

Sigh. Housecleaning is just going to have to wait a little longer.

But the costume area at church is now straightened enough that you can actually get from one corner to the other...not the case on Monday morning. I haven't yet begun to sort or inventory the costumes, but at least it's not gridlock anymore.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Medieval Dresses

Moving on to phase two of Project By Royal Decree...the dresses. The Teen Daughter of the Children's Pastors will be wearing a dress that her mother wore; it just needs some fairly minor alterations and some new trim. However, neither her mother, PJ, nor I were quite happy with the fit of the the other old dress that PJ pulled out of storage for herself (acutally, it's the red dress that's in the photos on the web site linked above. Only without the gold undershirt). Even with some altering, it just wasn't going to be quite right. So we decided a new dress was in order. The nod went to McCall's 4889, in an antique gold crushed panne velvet (yes, the Evil Fabric to be Avoided has found its way into my sewing queue again). We purchased the fabric, trim and notions yesterday and I'm going back to Hancock's for the pattern today, since the McCall's patterns go on sale today. The knit should be fairly forgiving in fit, but I still want to make a muslin; PJ is going to need a FBA and I'm kinda out of practice on that...

Today's my last day for attic cleaning; I've made a huge amount of progress and feel fairly good about what I've been able to accomplish. I just need about 90 feet of hanging space so I can get everything off of the rolling racks.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Storage Issues

Well, my first assignment as Costume Curator (is that a term? I just invented it) is to straighten/organize the attic at church where the costumes are stored. They are literally hanging from the well as filling several U-Haul wardrobe boxes. Apparently the boxes the costumes arrived in last fall were thrown away while the costumes were out for the production(the guilty party has not yet been identified), so most of the Dickens costumes are still on the rolling racks we use when in production. Plus, there's a major re-model job that began at church Monday after Scrooge closed that is just now getting finished up; all the sewing room contents had been moved a couple of times before they finally landed in the attic in chaos. I've got something of a path cleared now and today and tomorrow I'll weed through the accumulated stash of yard goods and scraps and see what I can toss and what's really worth keeping and can I actually organize it?

At least the attic is somewhat air conditioned...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Homage to an Unknown Seamstress

I've mentioned before that we received a number of boxes of Scrooge costumes from a church in Florida; some in '04 and the rest (the ones they couldn't find in '04) in '05. It's sort of a long story, but our senior co-pastors had been on staff at that church years ago when they did the production, and when the Florida church sold their old building they sent us the costumes. However, they didn't just send us their Dickens things...they sent EVERYTHING. Some of it was useable; some of it we still haven't quite figured out, but this jacket turned up apparently in those boxes and I would love to know who made it:

It's quite old; the lining used to be grey and it has multiple small places where the moths have chewed it, but it's an amazing jacket. Look at the collar detail...the tab pulled through the bias outer strip:

It also has pockets incorporated w/the shoulder princess seam:

There's also a small cuff (turn-back) on the sleeves. I'll guess it to be about a size 12-14's too big in the shoulders on me, but fits well everywhere else. Does anyone recognize the pattern? I expect it is a Vogue design, based on the tab and the details, but there's really no way to tell.

I've used it on stage once...on a manequin for one of the Uplink sets, over a lime green sheath dress (we do have some odd stuff in those costumes). It's not really useable, due to the moth holes, but I really don't know if I can put such a nicely made piece out in the trash...I'm far too impressed by the beautiful work someone did on it a long time ago.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tunics from Robes

Well, I did manage to convert the Bible Costumes to Medieval's the finished product:

If you want the particulars, I gave the conversion in a nutshell in the Review.

DS, who is about the same size as the boys who will wear the tunics, modeled for me. He has put in an order for a green one. ;)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: William Clark, deeper...higher...

On the Bookstand: Didn't start any *new* books this week

Projects completed this week: The green shirts and one of the Medieval tunics (I'll try and get a photo when I get the other one done).

On the Sewing Table:
-The second Medieval tunic; only needs about an hour more.
- Loes Hinse's Oxford Pants, from khaki Tencel Twill (the last khaki thing! Yeah!)
- Jalie 2111 Men's short sleeve shirt, from the lavendar/white cotton mini-check I got from Timmel as part of the SWAP prize
- Cutting Line Designs TownANDCountry Camp shirt, also from the lavendar/white check
- Kwik Sew 3168 Kid's Camp Shirt, also for DD2 and also from the lavendar/white check

I'm still trying to decide what I will use my 'three uninterrupted sewing days' for...should I make some fun things that have been pushed back over and over for more urgent stuff or should I, like, pull out the Patternmaster Boutique and work over the fitting muslins? Oh, I hate making decisions like this!

fitness program progress: Back on track...sort of, anyway. Why is it so difficult to maintain a Daily Routine when the kids are out of school? :rolleyes:

Weird news of the week We noticed some odd noises in the wall after we got home from vacation; turned out that we had an uninvited visitor taking up residence in our crawl space. The noises were the wires/cables/etc that he was disturbing as he squeezed in and out through a little space behind the heatpump. He's hopefully finding his way around a new location, somewhere out in the country, at this point:

It occurred to me that I do have an occasional visitor from outside the US who might not recognize that's an opposum, which, while it looks like an oversized rat, is actually a member of the marsupial family.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Green Shirts

Finished 'em both up yesterday; I reviewed the Jacquard top if you want the particulars (it's a Vogue Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina pattern). The linen top is La Fred's Athena Blouse; I'll try to get my ancient review of it updated in the near future to show the new blouse. I left the buttons off the sleeves...more from laziness and not wanting to purchase another card of buttons than anything else. It's a great, comfy, classic looking blouse and I need more of them in my wardrobe... ;)

But that's the last of the green! Today, I get to work on the medieval tunics for our Children's Pastor's kids. I adapted the pattern and drew up something for the contrast facings last night...I'm gonna stack-and-whack later, but I expect them to sew together quickly. I'm aiming to get them finished by Sunday.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finishing up

Today is Sit in Waiting Rooms kid has a dentist appt. this AM; another sees the Optometrist in the afternoon.

So, I made two blouses essentially to the handwork; I'll be sewing on buttons slipstitching back necklines while I wait...

So I should have two new tops in the closet by this time tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

I confess, yesterday was my birthday. In celebration, I decided I would go ahead and place the Hot Patterns order I've been mulling over for months. On the list:
The Artful Dodger Purity Blouse, the Classix Noveau Trouser-Skirt and the Miss Moneypenny Pussycat Blouse.
I had a moment of indecision, when I read about the incredible fabric deals only a phone call away on Ann's Gorgeous Things blog, but I decided to stick to my original plan. The 'free shipping on three or more patterns' that Hot Patterns has offered since it began will go away at the end of the month...and the Pussycat Blouse and the Trouser-Skirt have both received high marks from reviewers at Pattern review. The Purity Blouse is similar to the Vogue blouse I used in the SWAP that had to have the sleeve-ectomy; I'm hoping to see how the sleeve/armsceye is in this...I've heard that the Hot Patterns tend to have very high armholes. So we'll see.

As far as other was a very busy day yesterday and we didn't do much. But I did receive a certificate, signed by DH and the DKids, for '3 days of uniterrupted sewing: Cooking, Laundry, and Cleaning will be taken care of by your family'. Hm... I do have an idea for a kind of fun thing to do with an uninterrupted block like that; if it works out I'll let you know ;)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bible Costumes Revised

Note for folks who landed here searching for info on making Bible Costumes:
I'm not sure why this post, of all of them, crops up first, but I have more information on the blog. Check the links at the top of the sidebar; "Bible Costume Info" will take you to more posts on building Bible costumes, including some tutorials w/pictures of the process.

Original Post:
Our children's pastors at church also have a traveling ministry; they take themed crusades for families w/kids around the country (Pattern Review members will remember the whacky review I did of the Pirate Shirts I made for a crusade they did at our church last August) (Off-topic comment -- that may be my favorite of my reviews to date...). Anyway, I've been asked to help costume a differently-themed crusade,this one to be set in Medieval times and dealing w/knights and squires and chivalry and such along with the the Biblical message. They apparently did a crusade on that theme a long time ago and now want to update it and use it again and include their three kids (teen girl, two barely teen boys) as well. Not fancy, but hopefully good enough to set the tone at the crusades.

So, while we were looking at various websites at the types of garments they were wanting, I was astonished at how many of them could be adapted from the basic Bible costumes we've already been using. I guess that shouldn't surprise me... almost every culture has that basic unfitted garment in its history somewhere.

So, the first part of the assignment is to make tunics for the boys; these will be basically the Bible robes shortened and trimmed out. And I had shopping favor at Wal-Mart yesterday and found fabric in the right colors and drape and wrinkle-resistance on the dollar table...I should get both boys' tunics for less than $10.

Which is cool; these folks pour into my kids on a weekly's neat to get a chance to be a blessing in return.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back to Whatever

Wow, what a quick week.

I read three books, swam (well, floated around in my in-laws pool) a bit, ate breakfast at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN (Beef biscuits and gravy...yum!) and saw my best friend from high school, whom I hadn't seen in four years.

And rode in the car a lot.

Got back Saturday evening, worked a bit on one of the WIPS, wrote delayed reviews yesterday and today's To Do list must address the rest of the unpacking and the mountain of laundry.

An interesting bit of trivia: Indianapolis, IN had 28 minutes more daylight on July 5 than Huntsville, AL had. ;)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

8 hours in a car; older DKids are staying home and doing odd jobs for income so it's going to be a nice quiet trip.

Sew Random will return to regularly scheduled programing on July 10...

Happy Independance Day, everyone!