Thursday, August 31, 2006


Everyone grap a party hat and a noisemaker! We're celebrating the 10,000th visitor to Sew Random yesterday afternoon at 2:58 CDT; someone from Queens Village, New York (Mardel? Carolyn?). Twweeee! Sal-ute!

You may now resume regular activities... :D

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Elly Sews

Ok, I read the comics...daily...and one of my favorite strips is For Better or For Worse. It's been in our local paper...oh, ten years or so, but I was a fan before then. It was in the papers in Indiana in the early '80's and I'd read it when we visited my parents and my inlaws. My DMIL would sometimes collect strips on a story line she thought I'd like and send them to me, and I accumulated the annual collection books. I even have a signed little doodle of Elly from Lynn Johnston...but that's a long story.

Anyway, the strip's Mom, Elly Patterson, sews. Over the years her sewing has produced Halloween costumes that were handed down from one kid to another; she's watched the pleasure in her family at the return of clothes that have been in the mending pile so long they're nearly forgotten, she's tracked down sewing supplies that her kids swiped to play with, and in numerous situations, she's just been sewing in the background to the unrelated conversation that's taking's just a matter-of-fact part of her life.

Which is what's going on in today's strip. Elly is talking to her daughter April about her other daughter while she hand sews on some undefinable something. And, to make it really authentic, she has a pin in her mouth.

Yup, Elly wonder I'm a fan... ;)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Happy Fabric Dance

Ah, my friend the UPS man left my Zegna wool from Michael yesterday...omigoodness, is that nice! Lightweight and's going to make a terrific pantsuit.

So last night I traced my Fashion Sewing Group 1945 jacket. There are a *lot* of pieces to trace...separate shell and lining pieces, which I love...or at least, appreciate once it's traced.

I straightened the edges of the fabric and threw a piece of one of the end strips in the washer and dryer last night, just to see what would happen. It fuzzed up a bit and got a little spongey, but after I pressed it aggressively it went back to its original hand with just a teeny bit of shrinkage. Michael cut this piece so generously that I think I can afford that little bit of shrinkage so I'll probably wash the whole piece once. I won't wash the finished pieces...they'll go to the cleaners...but washing it is a whole lot easier than London shrinking a 4+ yard chunk of fabric!

I've got to do some testing of the pattern before I cut into that yummy wool, though...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Projects on the side

Amongst the Bible costumes, I managed to finish cutting out the lining for my Pink Betzina jacket adaptation and a pair of Stretch and Sew's one-seams from some rather hefty I have a personal queue again. The brown pants I will do when I sew the brown Bible robe...take advantage of loaded brown thread, y'know! Even though the pants have welt pockets in them they should only take 90 minutes or so to make. For the jacket, I'm just going to have to grab an opportunity when the iron's hot to fuse the interfacing all on, then it will have to wait until I've got a chance to switch out to pink thread. I don't use the serger much on a lined jacket, though, so it's just a matter of changing the thread on the sewing machine.

And who knows...maybe my wool from Michael will arrive today ;)

I think that outfit will be my 'birthday sewing time' project.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Big Project Status

(I gotta figure out a better name for this!)

Stage Drapes: Done and Delivered!

Bible Costumes for Huntsville Master's Commission:
All fabric that has been given to me has been cut into costumes; I have 5 that are completely finished, two more that are about 1/3 done and about 10 cut and ready to go, after cutting again today. I had to order some fabric for specialty costumes; it should be here in a week or so but we're not going to cut again until after the women's conference, which is the weekend after Labor Day. That will be the last chance for the students who haven't given me fabric yet (about 8) to get their fabric to me, or they'll be on their own....

The costumes have several pieces: The girls' costumes have a robe, a sash, two head drapes and some form of headband to hold the drapes on. The guys' costumes have a robe, a vest/cloak, a sash, a head drape and some form of headband. I'm not even trying to keep track of the head drapes/sashes/headbands...but for every robe and vest, there are other pieces as well. It takes 4 -5 hours to make a costume from start to finish...I'm going to be busy on these for a while.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Watching for UPS

For Christmas, 2004, my Dear Husband gave me a gift certificate from Michael's Fabrics...oooo, what a sweetie! The following year, Michael donated $10 gift certificates for inclusion in goodie bags for the Sewing World Ladies who met at the Atlanta Sewing Expo (thanks again to Donna S. for putting those together!). So, for over a year, I've had a goodly chunk of fabric represented by those gift certificates sitting in an envelope, waiting for the Right Fabric.

Well, I've had a growing hunch all summer that this fall we will use chocolate brown in choir. I could be wrong, but I'm seeing it so much in so many different ways that I really suspect that it could turn up in the schedule and I'd begun looking through the Internet sources for chocolate brown fabric.

Then, last Friday, I got an email from Sherri, Michael's wife, that they've put all their Zegna woolens on sale for 30% off, and it just so happens that there is a nice lightweight chocolate brown amongst them. Oh, joy...Monday morning I called Sherri and we had a delightful conversation (even though it'd been well over a year since I'd last ordered, she remembered me and asked about my kids. That amazes me) and I ordered four yards...which UPS should be bringing by my door today or Monday.

My plan...a Power Suit, made from The Fashion Sewing Group's 1945 Jacket and 1961 pants. I've made the pants before...there are tweeks I need to make to the pattern, but they've got such a nice slim leg that is quite popular this fall. I'll need to get busy on the jacket pattern, though...I haven't even traced it yet, let alone done any fitting work. But it has gotten such great comments that I think it's time I got it fitted and adjusted.

It's been years since I wore brown much; this is going to be a Whole New Direction for me, fashion-wise. I may even get a new haircut... ;)

But first...the costumes and the pink tweed jacket...I won't *need* the brown until October at the earliest. I hope I'm right, and we wear it for choir, but even if I'm not it'll be fun to actually be sort of current for a change.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Suds City

So, while I'm reading up on other sewing blogs just before bed last night, 13 YO DS finishes his cup of hot lemonade w/honey (he had complained of a scratchy throat), set it on the kitchen counter and said "Good night."

Hold on a minute...that cup should go in the diswhasher.

"Can't," he says, "it's crammed full on the top."

DH, who is reading the paper in the living room, comments that he should start the dishwasher.

"Oh, I don't know how to do that," DS reports. "Well, good night."

Well, no time like the present to learn...

"Stop," I say over my shoulder, "You can start it." Over his 'I can't believe you're making me do this when I'm SO TIRED' snort, I continued, "Open the door, and put the dishwasher detergent in the two little cups at the bottom."

DS, grumbling under his breath, complies. "Do I fill them full?"

"Yes, full. Then close the lid on the upper one and shut the door...good, now turn the dial around to 'normal cycle'."

"But won't the stuff spill out into the bottom?"

"Yes, it's supposed to."

"Ok," he said, shut the door and turned the dial.

At that point I got up and walked into the kitchen, expecting to have to tell him he needed to cap the dishwasher detergent and put it back under the sink, but was surprised to see that he'd done it already. Wait...or had he?

"Um, what did you put in the detergent cups?"

"That stuff," he said in his 'Moms are so stupid' voice, pointing to the counter.

It was the bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid.

Yikes! I stopped the dishwasher, which had begun filling, and opened it. Sure enough, it was the Utra Concentrated dishwashing liquid that filled the cups. I grabbed some paper towels and began sopping up what I could of it, while I educated my younger son on the differences between 'dishwashing liquid' and 'dishwasher detergent', and showed him the bottle of dishwasher detergent, which he claims to have never seen before in his life.

I can't get mad at him...I happen to know a responsible adult male, who shall not be named, in our extended family who did the same thing while his wife was away...only he didn't learn of his error until he walked into the kitchen to find suds pouring out of the dishwasher. So if this reasonable adult had made this mistake, how could I get angry at a 13 year old? But he received an education last night before he went to bed...and DH and I babysat the diswasher, scooping the suds out when it started to leak out and running rinse cycles until it finally cleaned itself out.

Then I happened to think, as I was mopping up the suds that leaked out, I bet if I had put vinegar in the dishwasher it would've killed the suds...

I'll try it if anyone makes the same mistake again.

At least we didn't just turn on the dishwasher and go to bed!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pattern Accumulation

I had a revelation over the weekend about my pattern-buying...I thought I'd been fairly restrained this year, but when I was reviewing my pattern catalog at Pattern Reveiw looking for a two-button jacket pattern I discovered I have purchased (not counting costume or kid's patterns, which I don't add to the catalog) 39 patterns so far this year. Of those 39 patterns, I have actually made a garment from 4 of them.

Most of those have been purchased during Hancock's sales, but there are a few indies that I purchased at the Sewing Expo or over the 'net. There is no way I will make all of them...what am I thinking? I'm working on the fabric far this year, I've purchased 23.625 yards more than I've sewn, but I'm still within reach of parity for the year.

I need to exercise the same sort of restraint on pattern-buying, it seems. The trouble is that the Big 4 discontinue patterns at a rather capricious rate...remember the original Simplicity Twist Top, that was discontinued just about the time the sewing community discovered what a little gem it was? It took about 2 years for Simplicity to re-issue the top in another pattern... and I snagged it up (it's actually one of the Four). But now I'm afraid to pass up a great-looking pattern on might not be there next time.

But buying stuff that I'll likely not get around to making doesn't make good sense either.

I guess I'm just going to need to give myself a little more stringent guidelines on pattern purchasing... chief among them, 'will this get made in the next 3 months?'

'Cause if it won't, there's really not much point in getting it. When the season comes 'round again, there will be New Stuff...

And if I restrain myself now, I can get it then...right? ;)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pink Jacket Decision

Once it's cut, it's decided, right?

I put on my SWAP jacket last night and folded the front back along a line from the shoulder seam to just above the second button up from the bottom...and, yes, it was a deep V but it looked pretty good. So I measured from the bottom of the jacket to the bottom of the V...8". I traced off a copy of the front and the front facing, drew a line from the neckline/shoulder seam join and the point on the front seam 8" up from the hemline, added a seam allowance, and cut out my new pattern. It took, maybe, 10 minutes, including dragging all the boards and stuff out. Here's a comparison of the original and the new pattern pieces:

So I cut out the jacket fabric and the interfacing last night; I'd've cut the lining, too, but I discovered that something (Tide?) had spilled on it in during it's sojourn in the laundry/sewing room waiting to be cut. So it had to make another trip through the washer before I could cut it out. Maybe tonight.

Meantime, I'll just keep chugging away on the costumes...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pink Jacket Ponderings

I'm down to the last piece of the six fabrics I ordered earlier this summer from Fashion Fabrics Club; a pink tweed suiting. I need it to be a jacket, and I need it next month. And I'm currently awash in Bible Costumes for our Master's Commission students, so personal sewing time will be limited. Actually, while I'm sewing those long seams, I'm trying to make up my mind which jacket pattern to use.

Complicating the issue are the buttons. I discovered that some buttons that I bought from Louise Cutting at the Atlanta Expo two years ago are PERFECT for this fabric. Unfortunately, I only bought 4...two 1" buttons and two 5/8" buttons. What was I thinking? Were those the last ones left? Did I only have enough money remaining for those four by the time I bought them? I don't have a clue now; but obviously I bought two buttons for the front of a jacket and two small buttons for sleeve trim. Nevertheless, I have decided that I MUST use those buttons on the jacket.

So after digging through the pattern cabinet I learned that I have no TNT jacket patterns that have a two-button front. So I'm now trying to decide what to do...pondering my options. Should I just use one of my 'one-button' TNT patterns and keep the other button as a spare? Should I take the time to fit the only suitable two-button jacket I found, an OOP Butterick? Should I morph the front of the Butterick pattern onto a TNT pattern? Should I rework my beloved Today's Fit jacket from this year's SWAP so that it has a v-neckline and only needs two buttons? That would be an awfully deep V...not sure how it would work. Decisions, decisions.

I am going to try and limit my costume sewing to two costumes a day, so after I've finished my daily two then I can focus on the jacket. It would be nice to have it traced, tested, altered, cut, fused and ready to sew as soon as the last costume rolls through the machines and I can put pink thread in...needless to say, none of the Bible costumes are going to require pink thread ;)

BTW, I'm still voiceless, so I'm off to the dr later this morning. A week of feeling puny is enough already.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Project Status

An Update on the Big Projects:

1) Stage Drapes... Didn't get as much done on them yesterday as I would've liked but all but three are finished. I still need to put the rod casings on the last three. Shouldn't take too long to finish up.

2) Project Master's Commission...I'm leaving in a few minutes to head to church for our cut-a-thon. I've only been given fabric from about half the students who requested help; I'm hoping to find the rest (or at least some more) waiting on us at church.

But...time for honesty...I've contracted some kind of respiratory bug and consequently I feel...well, nevermind how I feel, the bigger problem is that I have no voice to speak of (hardeeharhar), so it's going to be a very interesting day....

We'll cut, clean up, then I'm going to come home and sleep. At least, that's the plan.

Friday, August 18, 2006

On a "Roll"

...serger rolled edge, that is.

I thought I'd try and get the stage drapes taken care of before we cut the costumes tomorrow; I'd already ripped them to size (5 yards long and split down the width of the fabric) and they needed edge finishing and rod casings. So I juggled things around, changed the plate on the serger, and started rolling.

There are 6 light blue drapes and 6 chocolate brown drapes; I'm down to the last three chocolate brown I should be able to finish it up today...two and a half weeks before they need to be hung, so I'm doing well ;). (Edit: later in the morning...I went out to finish rolling the edges and discovered that I really did finish that last set before I went to bed! So I'm done rolling...all I need now are rod pockets on the ends!)

Meantime, in between sessions at the serger, I trimmed the side curve and back of the shrug so that everything matched, and finished off all the edges on the lavendar 'twin set'. Hopefully I'll get a photo and review posted tonight.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ominous Words: "I was in a hurry..."

And I was cutting late at night, crawling around on the floor instead of at the table, which was occupied by homework-doing offspring...

When I sewed my lavendar shrug together, I discovered that one of the back pieces is 1/2" shorter than the rest of the top.

The fabric was cut slightly unevenly, and I apparently failed to check to make sure that there were two layers of fabric under my pattern at the bottom edge. Hurry, yada yada yada...

So basically I have one piece with no hem allowance.

Well, I thought I'd just do a balanced 3-thread serger finish; all I needed was some lavendar wooly nylon.

Hancock's does not have lavendar wooly nylon. I scrounged the knitting yarn, looking for something the right color. Nada. Oh...and I'd forgotten my fabric swatch so I could match. Well, I pulled a spool of Metrosene thread that was the color I was using for constructing the thing to match.

I finally found some perle cotton embroidery thread that looked like a good match and I thought would be a nice edge...only to discover when I actually put the thread with dthe fabric that the embroidery threak was waaaayyyyy too pink. Won't work.

So now I'm stuck. Do I venture back out into the world of maybe and hunt at some of the sewing machine dealers for wooly nylon the right color? Or do I go back to start and come up with something else?

Right now, I'm leaning towards a return to start...and just trimming the other back piece to match the short one. So my shrug will be 1/2" shorter in back than the pattern's a shug. I've about decided 1/2" on a shrug will just not matter a whole lot. ;)

Man, I wish I'd noticed that little problem when I cut the thing out to begin with! It would've been so easy to fix at that point...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

26 years ago....

Ah, we were so young looking....

How did 26 years go by so quickly?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Building the Queue

I managed to get the lavendar RPL knit twinset cut out last night. Actually, it's not a true twinset, since the shell is from Kwik Sew 2948 and the shrug is New Look 6559. I'm making the tank-topish version of the KS shell...I haven't made that one before; I've always done the mock T. However, rather than trace a whole new pattern for just a different neckline,I laid my T-neck pattern over the original (which has both necklines drawn in), drew a horizontal match line from about halfway down the armhole over to the CF/CB, then laid a scrap of tracing paper over both patterns and traced the match line and the neckline/shoulder of the tank style from that line up. Then, when I cut the top, I folded the mock-t neckline/shoulder down at the match line, laid the new style over it and cut away. I guess I should've taken a photo; it's much easier to do than explain! But I was in a hurry. Anyway, it looks good so far... ;)

I'm making the set-in sleeve/long front tie version of the shrug. I read the instructions over but won't be using them...we're talking antiquated construction techniques. Why-why-why do the big 4 pattern companies still insist on setting in knit sleeves 1) in the round 2) with two lines of gathering threads as if it were some puffy sleeved woven top? Puh-lee-ase!

Not sure when I'll get to these things; I intend to only use my conventional machine to double-needle finish the edges/hems so I expect they'll both go together pretty quickly.

Once I get them started... ;)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Time to cut some more

The most recent cutting marathon (June 23-24) has now about been sewn through; I finished my CLD TownANDCountry Campshirt and DH's Jalie 2111 short sleeved shirt; DD's Kwik Sew campshirt is finished to the final front edge topstitching and buttons/buttonholes.

And I'll be OUT of cut things ready to sew.

I've got two more pieces of fabric that I purchased for choir clothing; a lavandar RPL knit and a pink tweedy suiting. I'm going to try to get those cut out today or tomorrow; I need to get them at least ready to sew before I hit the stage drapes (the desired chocolate fabric was found on the final attempt) and the Bible Costumes. I really want the lavendar twin set and the pink jacket done soon, or they'll get shoved to a back burner and may not make it.

So...time to cut... ;)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Snapshots Shot

I don't know how long I've been doing the 'Saturday Snapshots' thing, but it has seemed like I'm just typing the same stuff every week, so I think that little deal has run its course and needs to be retired...or, rather, replaced by sidebar entries (I'm working on that little by little).

I know I've got some Major multi-item projects coming up, so I thought I'd switch this around and use Saturdays for Big Project Status Reports. Hopefully I'll think up a snazzier name than that, but here's this week's report:

Project Master's Commission: make Bible costumes for HMC students who don't have anyone else to sew for them. This is a team effort.

-- Collecting names and fabric from students; Cut-A-Thon is a week from today. Currently, 16 students have asked for help, and we have also been asked to make about 8 special costumes for the program to have on hand, but I expect to get more requests this week. So far, three students have given me their fabric; I've hemmed about 4 of the head drapes, just to get them out of the way, since the serger was already threaded with the right color.

Stage Drapes for Radiance, our annual women's conference at church: cut and hem 5-yard long sections of fabric to adorn the stage during the conference .

--I've got the sheer blue fabric all ripped to size -- there are six drapes -- and they need to have the raw edges serged and rod pockets added to the ends. Our Stage Director General is still looking for some chocolate brown fabric to use also but hasn't had much luck; she said if she couldn't find it this weekend we'd just use the blue by itself. I'll serge it up when I finish the shirts that are in progress now and can change the serger.

There are a couple of projects on deck, but I'll hold off on mentioning those until they're actually launched. ;)

Have a good sewing weekend!

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's Neat!

I said I'd do it and I did; I spent Tuesday cleaning my sewing room. I can breathe in there again now. Every time I have to clean it like this I declare that it will not get so overrun again...but somehow it seems to pile up and I've got to spend about one day every five or six months putting it back in order. It's so much more refreshing to be working in neat space.

However, I still didn't find my looper threaders or my seam rippers...I wonder where they've migrated to....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

DD's Finished Costume

She was goofing around when I was taking the photos to update the review so I thought I'd put the goofy photo on the blog. Actually, it's not a bad can see how it fits and works with the drapes.

So far we have about 10 requests from students to make costumes; three of them have actually brought me fabric. I hope I can keep it all straight... ;)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Extra Post: I'm Blocked

It was quite interesting to log on and post today's entry in my usual fashion...and then discover that I couldn't see it! Apparently our internet filtering service has flagged all the 'dot blogspot dot com' blogs as 'general porn'. So not only can I not read my own blog, I can't read 95% of the other sewing blogs I normally read.

I did report mine as 'should not be blocked', and will report the others as well, but who knows how long it will be before they're unblocked. I suspect they're reviewing each blog to try and sort out the nasty ones. It's a shame that they mass-blocked all blogger accounts before they started the sorting process, but I guess this way the filter subscribers are 'helping' reporting ok blogs that have been blocked. It's a shame that a few people have chosen to post things that have caused the rest of us trouble, but, well, that's life these days.

I have comment notification turned on, so the comments go to my yahoo mail account and I can read them, but until I'm unblocked I can't comment back. And I can post...I just can't look and make sure it looks ok.

Ah, well. I suppose I'll get more sewing done today with most of my time-consumers off limits... ;)

A Post for the Grandmas

Ok, for my mom and mom-in-law, here's the First Day '06 photo:

I just realized I did not sew a stitch of what either one of them are wearing...

They asked me to walk with them to school ('You always do!'), so I did the mile-and-a half round trip, shaking my head over the parking frenzy. There's no bus system to speak of (to qualify to ride the bus in the Rocket City, the child must live more than FIVE MILES from the school or have a physical problem that prohibits walking), so driving the kid to school is the norm for most families. In about two days it'll settle down and be reasonable, but the first day is always crazy.

The two older children, being high school graduates whose fall educational regimes have not yet begun, are, of course, still in bed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Snap it up

I finished the extra pieces for DD's costume but she hasn't been home long enough to put it all on yet...maybe tonight...

But I did think I'd share the closure I put on it. The pattern includes neckline facings, but I think a bit of bias tape makes a nicer finish; not to mention the bias never flips to the outside. ;)

I extended the bias just a bit on one side, though, so I could use my snap setting tool and hammer on a nice, sturdy snap:

We'll see how well it holds up for her. If it does well, that may be the new recommended finish for the necklines of the far, everything we've tried (velcro tabs, ties, invisible zippers, hooks/eyes, safety pins...) has only been so-so; I want a closure that is 1) quick and easy to do 2) easy to open/close and 3) not visually distracting. Maybe this will do it.

Today I'm determined to clean my laundry/sewing's gotten to the point where it's almost not functional. Time to do something about it!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Call it four hours

Older DD will be going into her third year in Huntsville Master's Commission in just a few weeks, and this year the program directors have decided to require the students to each bring their own Bible costumes...much like the flagship program in Phoenix. I expect that the church sewing ladies will be having a couple of sewing days related to helping out some of the other students who neither sew nor have a sewing relative, but I thought I'd go ahead and do DD's costume, just to make it one less to do later.

I know I started clearing the table to cut out McCall's 2339 last night after she left for a 'going away' it about 6:15...and I finished the robe to the hems for her to try on a little before she came home at 10:35. That included adding pockets to the side seams, and I worked a bit on a braided headband for her in that time frame, too. After she got home, she tried it on and said the lengths were fine...but since I'd serged the edges in white thread (on a beigey fabric) I turned the serging under and zig-zagged it down. Took about 15 minutes.

So...a bible robe with a hammered-on snap fastening and pockets: from cutting to hanging...about four hours.

I've still got to finishe the edges on the tie and head wraps; I'll get a picture of it all on her sometime this week.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday Snapshot

In the CD Player: Vinyard Music Light the Fire Again

On the Bookstand: Finished The End of the Third Age and Fight Like a Girl. I'm trying hard not to start any more books until I finish the other two that are still in progress...Wellington Boone's Woman, You're a Kingmaker and John Bevere's Drawing Near, but I am *drawing near* to the final pages of both of them.

Projects completed this week: I hemmed my friend's pants. Period. But I did make substantial progress on some of my catch-up household type work this week...

On the Sewing Table:The khaki Oxfords are done to the hems and waistband; I couldn't stay away from the sewing machine entirely! The three lavendar/white mini check shirts (for DH, younger DD and me) are next in the queue.

fitness program progress: None this week....unless you want to count mentally slapping myself upside the head for being so undisciplined. Fitness won't happen unless I get up at 5 AM...and that ain't happening when I stay up till 1 AM. But school starts Wednesday, so I'm hoping the forced routine will let me get my act back together.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Creekside Chic

Interesting how the mind kind of free-ranges at times; while I was typing up yesterday's post I mentioned Loes Hinse's City Dress and a whole little almost-subconcious train of thought began perculating about the whole wardrobe thing I blogged about in April

I was thinking 'elegant without fussy' which led me to thinking about that 5th wardrobe grouping...and I realized that, just as one of my 'wardrobes' drew its label from Lands' End, this easy to wear set of clothes was highly reminiscent of Coldwater Creek...and that hard-to-quantify set of clothes now has a name.

So, my closet has 5 wardrobes: Ritzy Glitzy, Strictly Business, Fun and Funky, Lands' End Mom and...Creekside Chic.

What's in your closet?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Decision Time, part two

I'm still stewing.
Or day dreaming.


The problem is that it's in high summer...but it's August, so how practical is it to sew new summer stuff at this point? I've got about three summer projects that I'd really like to sew, but will I sew them, wear them once, put them up for the winter and then find they're OUT when I pull them back out in April?

Case in point: the 'Duro' dress. I have the McCall's version, McCalls 5137, and I have some coordinating rayon prints that I think would work nicely. But at this point, do I want to invest my time and fabric (which I love) in something that might look so last year next year? Perhaps I could make it all in one fabric and just use some piping in the seams to highlight the details...I'm thinking that Gigi (I tried to link to her site; typed everything in ok but Blogger choked. It's on the sidebar) did that on her first version of the dress...but I couldn't find the pictures that I really thought I'd seen somewhere. Anyway, it wouldn't be so 'rich hippy' from one rather muted fabric now, would it?

All the same, a better dress choice might be Vogue 2900. I've got some lovely black linen/rayon that I got from Louise Cutting at Atlanta this year that I think would be perfect for this dress. I could definitely wear it for a while, style-wise, and it would work nicely under jackets. There are a few reviews of it over at Pattern Review and I'm wanting...just a make one myself.

But I've also had some teal rayon/linen hanging about for well over a year to make Louise Cutting's InTHETrenches shirt and skirt combo...and there is a slight chance that teal could be a designated choir color at some point this fall (it nearly was last year). The pattern is traced and ready to go on this one...another point in its favor. Thinking teal, I also picked up some teal slinky from Emma Seabrooke at the Atlanta Expo this year to make the Sewing Workshop's Cityscapes dress. I need to tweek the pattern just a little before I make it again, but if teal does turn up in the color list I'll need it.

I've got some lovely pink and white on black rayon batik that I got from Timmel Fabrics over a year ago to make the Tried-n-True Loes Hinse City Dress. I love the City easy to toss on and be elegant without being fussy.

Actually, I've become a A Dress A Day fan, and that phrase has been rolling around in my head. Could I, with everything cut, marked, other words, entirely prepped...make three dresses in three days? It *would* be kind of fun to try....

But I am also chomping at the bit to get my Fashion Sewing Group 1945 Jacket traced and tested. To add fuel to that fire, Lynda C. recently asked Sewing World members 'What is your favorite jacket pattern and why?' and the FSG jacket was far and away the most popular. I've fiddled with Nancy's other jacket pattern, the 1962 , enough to have a good idea of what I will need to do to get a fitted jacket...there's just a lot of pieces in that pattern (including separate lining pieces, wonderful for cutting but adds tedium to the tracing/adjusting process) to alter. I'd need all three days to get the jacket made...and that's probably assuming I get the pattern traced and altered ahead of time. But I do have some nice linen tweed from Michael that would be perfect for the test jacket.

So...there're my rumblings at the moment. What I do may be determined by how soon I can get those sewing days on the calendar.

Maybe I'll just spend those three days cutting everything would be easy to make them with just a little sewing each day after that.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Gotta Have my Blanket!

Day 3 with no sewing and I'm beginning to have withdrawal symptoms...cruising sewing sites when I'm supposed to be doing the budget, loss of focus on the task at hand as I plan the next half dozen projects...or at least try to decide what I'm going to sew during my 'three days'. I think that's tomorrow's post...

I sorta feel like Linus when he lent Charlie Brown his blanket.

Oh, I've made some progress and I've got the budget to a place where it requires some input from DH, so I guess today will have to do with house cleaning. It *really* needs some attention.

Maybe I'll wander out to the sewing room and do some of my cleaning *really* needs some attention, too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Rating Game

Ok, so it isn't exactly a game...but it does make a snappy title ;).

There have been various discussions of late about rating one's sewing skills for public viewing; Here's one from Pattern Review; here's another...I tried to search Sewing World, because I think I remember a discussion about it over there, but all I got was the dead end white screen. But it was Ann's post that made me decide to talk about it here. (I'll admit it...household duties do not lend themselves to sewing blog posts so I'm seeking post inspiration where ever I can find it...)

So, what's up with ratings? I think the only site that has a sewing rating on it that really matters is Pattern Review, because someone who is a beginner will have a different perspective on a pattern than someone with advanced skills. The beginner will tend to follow every little detail on the guide sheet, while someone who's more experienced will likely do what they've learned that works, whether that's what's called for on the pattern guide or not. So what is an easy pattern to put together using tried and true techniques may be a pain in the seam ripper to do by the antiquated and illogical instructions given in the pattern guide. Case in point: Miss M, who is one of my costuming cohorts, is a fairly recently self-taught seamstress. She is fearless...which is totally inspiring...but she was making a couple of child's dresses for last year's production of Scrooge from a pattern that had the most UNBELIEVABLE zipper installation I think I've ever seen. I wish I'd made a note of the pattern number, because it was *really* bad. She was stuck on the first one when she brought it to me and we kind of salvaged it, then I told her a better way to do it on the second dress and gave her a roll of Wonder Tape (wash away basting tape). Because she had installed very few zippers, she didn't know how to substitute a reasonable technique for the poor one given. It's amazing that beginners often don't know that you CAN do something differently than the pattern guide suggests (I still remember the epiphany I had...not really so very long ago...when I realized that I didn't *have* to do it 'their way'). But, my point is that the pattern really wasn't horrible, except for the pitiful zipper installation. However, to fix the zipper, the whole order of sewing the dress had to be changed. Not an easy task for a newbie, but second nature for someone who's experienced. If Miss M and I had both reviewed the pattern, we probably would've given it different ratings. In fact, I might not even have realized that the zipper instructions were so awful because I would've done it my way from the start. Someone reading those two hypothetical reviews would only have had our self-labeled ratings to go by to process the difference in our opinions. So I think the skill level ratings are important there, just to give perspective on the opinion presented.

So, then, that presents the problem...with no objective guidelines to go by, how does one rate one's sewing skill level? Aye, there's the rub, for who can objectively assess those skills that have such a difference in perception? And how much of the rating is technical construction vs. fitting vs. fabric manipulation (the curling panne snarls from my memory) vs. fashion sense (what about the beautifully constructed garment that it totally unsuitable for the wearer's body type?) Does 'advanced' mean that that person could be the premiere in an atelier? Or does it just mean that they're willing to try and able to get a decent looking garment from a pattern that Vogue labels 'Advanced'?

I'll 'fess up; after spending two years on PR with an 'intermediate' rating, I bumped myself up to 'advanced' on my own...that is, it wasn't a result of fellow PR members saying, 'Oh, my dear, you've definitely moved up to advanced now...please change your rating'. It was a tough decision and I'm still not entirely sure the shoe fits. But, I will tackle advanced patterns, I do sew without pattern guides (mostly) and I do make up stuff in costuming (which is NOT couture! ;) )as I go. I think 'advanced' reflects the ability to make things that are beyond the ordinary, but it definitely is not the same as 'professional', for which I do not feel qualified...yet.

There's always room for learnin' !