Friday, November 30, 2007

The Blessings of TNT

(Note for those who might not know; in this context TNT stands for 'Tried 'N' True', not an explosive)

So yesterday I finished out the too-big skirt, then I folded it up with the original muslin; after Christmas I'll compare them to see what I did wrong, then I'll send it off.

I decided to start the Christmas Sewing. One of the planned projects had already been scratched from the list due to a change in gift-giving plans; so I only had one 'Black Thread' item to make. I got the pattern and the fabric out and discovered that the vintage piece of fabric I intended to use was waaayyy too short to make anything close to what I had intended; I'd forgotten how narrow it was. I'm afraid it's just going to have to become trim; not enough to do anything with.

So I'm back to square one there. And I need to make a trip to Hancock's before I start the remaining Christmas Sewing (dress-up clothes for a 4 year old niece), but I had no car yesterday.

Rather reluctantly, I pulled out the latest fabric acquisition...the sheet flannel...and thought I'd change out the thread and work on those sheets.

Except it didn't excite me to make sheets. I was bummed that my skirt project didn't work, more bummed that the Christmas project wouldn't work (it was going to be Very Cool)...I thought about working on the budget instead of sewing.

Then I happened to think: I have black thread on the serger. And, as those of you who have been following the Choir Sundays posts have no doubt noticed, I could use some more black pants. There was a goodly piece of B. Black and Sons black wool gabardine in the 'on deck' cabinent...

So I spent yesterday afternoon making a pair of black wool gab Loes Hinse Oxford Pants. I think I started cutting them around 2; with breaks for dinner and the middle school holiday concert, I finished about 9:30.

Now, I have learned the prescription for sewing doldrums:

Go to the stash and pull a great fabric. An expensive, use-it-for-something special fabric that you've been afraid to cut into...or maybe you've been waiting to loose 10 pounds. Whatever. Just get it. Use it to construct a garment from a SIMPLE (that's the key; it must be a quick-to-construct item) TNT pattern (that's so you don't hyperventilate before you cut. You *know* this pattern fits!). The results will be terrific and you'll feel much better about sewing in a relative short time.

I'm gonna wear those black pants to death.

I didn't get a photo of them yet, but don't'll see them very soon and very often on the Choir posts ;)

I *do* have a car today, so I'm going to do some more work on the Christmas list (plus that run to Hancock's for the rest of the items needed for Christmas, I need to see if any patterns are on sale.), but the next item to be sewn is...flannel sheets. And I'm ok with that.

And I'm now less than 20 yards away from fabric parity! Oh, I'm getting close!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's a No Go

I almost made it the whole year with out a wadder.


Well, I guess technically my HPCNTS isn't a wadder...I can donate it if I hem it, so I'll probably just do a quick run through the 'blind hem stitch' and put it in the donation bag.

The doggone thing's too big. Waaaayyyy too big.

I really don't understand that. It was a little snug when I made the muslin...last fall...and I've gained a pinch of weight since then. I was worried that it'd be too tight; imagine my surprise when I found I could pinch about 2 inches out of the girth of the skirt

I should've tried it on before I put the facing on the waistline, I suppose; then maybe I could've fixed it. But, due to the integrated facing/fly facing on this pattern, that would've been really awkward...the facing was attached to the fly front before I sewed the side seams of the skirt and the whole rest of the facing was flopping free. And, having done the muslin, I really thought it'd be pretty close to ok anyway. I must've messed up somehow when I translated the muslin changes to the pattern.

I thought about taking it apart and redoing it, but this is a pocketless skirt; I had problems w/the fly front (which were mostly my fault, from trying to combine two methods...the one in the HP guide and Peggy Sager's, which is not written for a faced waist); there's something weird about the front curves (did I inadvertently sew the back sides to the fronts and vice versa? I really didn't think so, but that would explain the results); the fabric is more crisp than drapey and it's lighter weight than would be practical for fall/winter...anyway, I'm going to do a quick finish on it and pass it along.

Some garments just seem doomed from the first stitch; this was one of them. It was frustrating and it doesn't fit. Fortunately, it was rather inexpensive fabric so I'm just going to consider it a muslin.

I did learn one thing, though...I need to do a little work on it to redraft the proportions of the panels; when I made that muslin a year ago, I didn't think the seams were spaced quite like the pattern illustration showed them. I emailed Trudy, and she said the drafting program they use doesn't always grade things up proportionately (HP has already been raked over the coals about this by other folks; I'm not going there today). Anyway, I thought I'd try it as is, and, looking at the way those seams divide the skirt on me, it would look better if they were moved around a bit. So there's work to do on this pattern anyway.

Actually, I'm not sure the faced-waist style suits me very well; just about every faced-waist skirt I've made has had fit problems (too big). Maybe I'm too used to adding the wearing ease for an actual waistband and I need to change my paradigm.

But I'm not sure when (or if) I'll tackle this skirt again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quickie Queue Jumping

The earlier-mentioned state Drama competition is this weekend and will require DS to spend 2 nights away from home in LA (That's Lower Alabama, for everyone who lives outside of this state). The night before last DS came downstairs to say goodnight and I had a revelation...the child has nothing respectable to sleep in. He'd been sleeping in white sweat pants and a t shirt and let's just say it's ok for at home...barely.

So yesterday evening I pulled out a pattern and some plaid flannel and made him some new sleep pants. I had to start w/tracing the pattern; it's an OOP Simplicity that I inherited from Miss A a few years ago when she was doing some stash purging (come to think of it, the flannel came from Miss A, too...thanks Miss A! :)) He wanted me to make it w/o the button fly, so I ignored the guide sheet and just sewed them up; they're just No-Side-Seam pants.
Miss A had used that pattern for sleep shorts for her now-college age DS, so I started w/taping the legs together so I could trace the full length pattern. From the time I pulled the table and mats out to a pair of finished sleep pants took me about 2 hours. DS tried them on last night and they fit just about perfectly; then he pouted a bit because I told him he couldn't wear them before his trip.

Now I want to go back and read the pattern guide to see WHY ON EARTH Simplicity drafted that pattern with 4 1/4" of length above the waistline...which, fortunately, was marked. I just cut 1" above that mark for the elastic turn-down.

That was so quick it didn't even make it to the 'WIP' list...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fabulous Jackets

Time for a little click clicking, although I imagine most of you have already seen these...

I've just been blown away by the fabulous jackets that have been finished up and posted by a number of ladies who each qualify as a Sewing Enthusiast Extraordinaire. I'm feeling the urge to do something lovely and spectacular (keep in mind, that is a relative term) and I *really* just need to keep plugging away at the stash slashing.

Boy, have I learned a lesson about the impact of a single day of stashly indulgence. I am determined to sew up the fabric equivalent, but when I see wonderful creations like these it makes me want to chuck the whole Queue and do something tailored and gorgeous...or at least try.

Anyway, without further ado, if you haven't seen these jackets yet (they've all been finished within the past week!) go look:

Carolyn's Modified Simplicity Jacket
Erica B's Chanel-style Jacket
Lauralo's Chanel-style Jacket
Tany's Purple Jacket
Busy Mom's Brown Tweed Jacket

Kay doesn't blog (that I'm aware of, anyway), but she posted her photos in a Flickr album:
Kay's Ms Stylebook Jacket

This one's not quite as recent, but it's Fabulous all the same. Dawn was just ahead of the curve:
Dawn's Glen Plaid Jacket

So, yes, I will go back and work on the Queue; I will make a set of flannel sheets; and I will dream about the jacket I'll make when I've got that list done...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Headin' into December...

And I don't have *any* daytime commitments on the calendar this week!!!

I'm not going along to the state drama competition after all; there were already enough chaperones signed up to go before DS asked his teacher, so that's a whole two days that I'll have available.

I do need to take one day and go do some more Christmas shopping, but mostly I need to do some Christmas sewing this week. I've got the Hot Patterns Classix Nouveau Trouser Skirt (henceforth known as the HPCNTS...) about 1/3 done. I had cut some pockets to put on the front/side front seam, but when I pulled the pieces out to put the pockets on I realized that the front section is much too narrow for inseam pockets and they'd criss cross under the center. I think the skirt is too fitted for side seam pockets...I think they'd gap. And I didn't cut slant pockets. So, even though I KNOW pocketless garments generally turn into unworn garments, I decided to leave the pockets off. I can at least wear it w/a jacket w/pockets, perhaps...which means the next step will likely be the fly front. Once the zipper's in it should finish out very quickly.

But after that, it's Christmas project sewing, which I really won't be able to discuss here for fear of certain relatives suddenly, unexplainedly, unexpectedly deciding to click on that link in the ancient email.

Then I need to sew up the flannel sheets. But I'm going to see where we are in the month of December when the sheets are done before I plan past that....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Choir Sundays #13

This month's colors: burgundy and black
It's the Sewing Workshop Cityscapes Dress, which I will again attest to being the best thing in the world to wear on the Sunday after (burp) Thanksgiving ;), from the deeply discounted slinky knit I purchased at Sir's last May.

The scarf is one of my first serger projects (that'd make it somewhere around 17 years old); just a small square that was finished off with faux flatlocking and fringe. It's too bulky to tie, but it works with a scarf clip (from, oh, 1990ish?)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Checkin' In

Oif! A fridge full of leftovers means I'm really glad I've got a Cityscapes dress to wear to church tomorrow; I think every pair of pants I own (including the fat pants) would be tight. But Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and, boy, does real home cookin' taste good...

Anyway, the only member of the family to venture out into the Land of Shopping Frenzy was My Sweet Baboo, who felt compelled to do some computer upgrades. He went out fairly early, he hunted parking spaces and he stood in lines but he came home with what he needed and spent the rest of the day installing his purchases, so I didn't get on the computer at all.

Which was, I guess, ok, since I was busy with the kids decorating the tree anyway. Number One Son worked all day yesterday and today, he won't be able to put *his* ornaments on the tree until tomorrow afternoon. But I'm hearing the cry of the sewing room today, so I'm hoping to get at least a *little* work done on my black Hot Patterns skirt...which I'm seriously hoping will zip when I'm finished ;).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving....

No, I'm not going to parody anything today...maybe next year. Today I am cleaning the kitchen, cooking/deboning the turkey, making the apple salad, and probably baking pies.

Dinner will be at 1:30 tomorrow.

So let me wish one and all a lovely day of feasting to celebrate life and love and friends and family!

And some final fall photos to cap off the season...I rode my bicycle to meet DD after school yesterday, and we rode up the greenway a bit, then over to the main road towards the high school, to meet DS coming home on his bike. It was a fabulously beautiful day, and I took the camera and got some lovely photos. We've got rain and thunder forecast for the next 24 hours, so I expect all this will be gone by Saturday...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving feast for the eyes

I may not get any sewing done at all this week, so the posts are probably going to be rather random; oh, well!

I really must confess that I expected very little fall color this year; given the fact that the trees were frost damaged in April, and stressed by extreme drought all summer, I expected the leaves to pretty much dry up and fall off.

I was wrong. Apparently there was just a bit of rain at just the right time and our color this year has been a week or so later than normal and just spectacular. We're just barely past peak now and I thought I'd share some photos I took from the front porch during a sunny moment yesterday morning:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Where is this year going???

I commented to someone that,when I bought some groceries back on August 1, my brain cramped when I wrote that date on the check. I just wasn't ready for it to be August.

I've been that way all fall. It just does not feel like it should be pushing towards the end of November...I know Thanksgiving is early this year, but that's only part of the problem. Somewhere there must be some brakes; I gotta figure out where they are and how to apply them.

Anyway, you'll all have noticed ( eta non-pertinent observation...I guess that's proof that I haven't been thoroughly Southernized even after 27 years in Alabama; I didn't say 'ya'll will have noticed...') that I finished the Tribeca shirt; I got up early yesterday and did it before we left for church. I was just too tired to concentrate Saturday evening. It was 9 PM before I got back home and at that point I did well to remember that the turkey needed to move from the freezer to the fridge to start the defrosting process.

Black stuff is up next; I've got one skirt left in the Queue that needs black thread still, and I've got a couple of Christmas gifts to make that need black thread (you won't hear details about those until after Christmas; there's an ever-so-slight chance that the folks for whom the gifts are intended will stop by here at some point).

But first is housecleaning/turkey cooking/family celebrating. I love this time of year...I just wish I had an extra week right now!

Or even just an extra two days... ;)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Choir Sundays #12

This month's colors: Black with burgundy
Top: Sewing Workshop Tribeca Shirt (review here) from the burgundy/black or blue black (depends on the light) brocade from Sir's. (That's an 'under 8 dollars' top...).

Pants are the black poly microfiber Sewing Workshop Plaza Pants again.

I do have a black tank top on underneath the Tribeca; the buttons are spaced far enough apart that the top sometimes gaps a little when I move around. Nothing a little knit cami doesn't take care of ;).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shop 'til you Drop

Whaddya do for fun with a church class of jr high girls?

Shop, of course! Our Friends class 'just for fun' outing for this quarter is today; we're heading out in just a bit on a road trip to Opry Mills Mall, with a probably meander through the atrium at The Opryland Convention Center. Hopefully, no one will 'drop' before we're done for the day!

Meanwhile, the Tribeca needs only one buttonhole and the buttons; I hope to get it done before I go to bed tonight. I'd've finished last night after the day's busyness, but my sewing machine and I got into an argument over the buttonholes and consequently I ended up unpicking one and a half of them. Hopefully I can coax it into doing that last one right for me after I get back tonight... ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's the Right Thing to Do

So, I'm working away in the sewing nook on the Tribeca shirt last night and I got a cell phone call from DD, who was working concessions in the civic center playhouse. That's highly unusual...normally she just sends text messages. I wondered what kind of emergency had come up that she should need to call, and kind of apprehensively answered the phone.

Turns out one of her (guy) friends had to make a sudden trip home (out of state) for an occasion that dictated a suit; he'd purchased a suit from Burlington yesterday evening but the pants (of course) needed hemming. His plane was leaving at 6 something this morning. Could I help him out?

Sure. I'm sewing anyway. Tell him to come by.

So at 9:45ish last night I'm pin marking the hem on a pair of dark grey pinstripe pants, remembering the lessons from the salesman at S&K about how they mark pants for hemming (mark where the pants hit the floor with the fitee in stocking feet; trim the excess off at that point and hem them one inch) I whacked the extra off with the rotary cutter, serge finished the edges and stitched them up with the blind hem stitch (which really isn't, but, well, whatever) on the sewing machine.

It took almost as long to change the thread as it did to sew the pants; but since I put black thread in the serger and my next up-projects will need black thread, it's ok.

The event for which he was headed out of town was his grandfather's funeral. He expects to be a pall bearer. And he said the last suit he bought was in junior high school.

Even if I made a habit of charging for alterations, there's no way I would've expected payment from him for that. But I did joke with him that, out of the options of 'good, fast, and cheap' for work that I do, this was 'fast and cheap.' ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A-HEM (or two or so)

Put the twin needle in the sewing machine yesterday and hemmed up the burgundy slinky Sewing Workshop Cityscapes dress (bottom and sleeves) and the Textile Studio Monaco shell (bottom and armholes). I think I'll wear the dress the Sunday after Thanksgiving;it's a perfect 'Oh, mamma, I ate too much!' dress. No waistline + interesting shape = hides a multitude of sins.... This is the third iteration of this dress; overall, I've shortened the skirt 4" (in 1" increments in the body of the skirt to preserve its, um, interesting shape) and shortened the shoulder seam...I think it was 3/4"...and raised the sleeve cap to compensate. It's a *great* pattern for slinky!

I don't have a photo of the shell yet; if I wear it this week it'll show up on the Choir Sundays post.

I'm gonna *try* to finish the Tribeca (since it's still just in the bag w/o a stitch, 'finish' sounds a little, um, understated) by Sunday. Dunno if I'll make it or not; I'm home today but gone this evening, tomorrow, tomorrow evening, and all day Saturday.

Plus there's a holiday next week (shriek!) and sometime really, really soon I need to do at least a *little* (ahem) house cleaning....

At least I can't complain of boredom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cheering Loudly

I wish I had some sewing to report, but the best I can do today is encourage everyone to check out this link!
Hm; I can't link to the individual post. You'll have to scroll down to You can't buy Style but maybe you can make it

Read it carefully and you'll see that Scott (the Sartorialist) made that skirt his daughter is wearing in the last photo!

Scott is a photographer. A very good photographer; I love looking at his photos for inspiration (and sometimes amusement). Someone mentioned in the comments that Scott had posted a bit about sewing when he was young...but Scott does not, as a rule, sew.

But he made his daughter's skirt.

There were some comments that mentioned he perhaps didn't use the best techniques, and he probably didn't...but his daughter was involved in the process of making the skirt and loves it; it'll easily hold together until she outgrows it, and, wow, what a memory she's got!

And how beautifully Scott demonstrated that one does NOT have to have advanced sewing skills to make fashion (But a perusal of what is offered in RTW should convince anyone of that...). As a home sewing enthusiast, that makes me want to stand up and cheer.

Go forth and sew something!

(now to follow my own injunction... ;) )

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

May I Take Your Pledge?

Today is our turn to volunteer at the semi-annual local listener-supported Christian radio station fund drive. Our (being me and My Sweet Baboo) shift is in the morning, so I *think* we're going to use the afternoon to get a first cut at some Christmas shopping...but we have such a long list of things that need to be done that I'm really not sure which of them we'll end up doing.

Sigh. I spent yesterday running errands and hunting blue jeans that fit for the rapidly growing younger DKids and didn't get a stitch sewn (although I did look at some RTW tops for DD that could be easily copied using the pile of knits I got at Sir's in May...for much less than the $twentysomething sale price on the tags).

I'm not expecting to get anywhere near the sewing machine today, either.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bonus Post: Thank You

For all those who have served, are serving, or who are sacrificing so that family members may serve in the US Armed Forces...

Words can't express it. Thank you.

Lil' Praisers Costumes Done

Three of us (plus Miss M's 12-year-old DD, who turned tubes and hammered on snaps)worked from around 10 AM to around 8:30 PM Saturday, but we finished all
23 costumes (we didn't have enough of the cream to make all three robes); most of them have a head drape, sash and either head band or tie. Not a full set for any one outfit, but all that we were given fabric for and enough for a pre-school audience.

The Pre-School pastors were quite pleased and used one of the costumes in yesterday's lesson time. Whew!

ETA for clarification: This actually represents three sets of costumes, as we have three campuses at which our church meets. So there are actually eight costumes for each campus...and each campus used one of their costumes as part of the lesson Sunday morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Choir Sundays #11

This month's colors: Black and burgundy
Jacket: The black Bistro again;
Top: The brand-new brocade City Dress shell (gotta use the new stuff!)
Pants:Black poly microfiber Sewing Workshop Plaza Pants, which are beginning to look a little worn (they're only...3 years old?) and need to be replaced.

I ended up getting pulled out of choir to do some other things today, but I didn't know that was going to happen when I left the house....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Food for Thought

Off to church for the last lap of the costuming; if the crew comes in that I'm expecting I think we'll get done. I'll try to take at least one photo of the finished rack when we're done...

Meantime, for your reading pleasure, I offer the following. Dunno who originally wrote it...I think I first heard it about 15 years ago, and I've heard several variations on it from different folks since then. But it's a cool story...anyway, here's my take on it:

The Teacup Story

Once upon a time, a retired couple was on vacation in rural New England. They were truly enjoying their trip and one day they were poking about in quaint little shops, looking for an interesting trinket to take home as a memento. In one out-of-the way shop, they happened to find a beautiful little teacup, colored a soft blue and exquisitely painted with delicate pink rosebuds. The wife was enchanted, declaring the cup to be the loveliest piece of china she had ever seen. Her husband agreed that it was indeed a rare find, and they asked the clerk if she knew where it came from, or if it was a unique piece or part of a set. The clerk replied that she knew nothing of the teacup, but stated, “I’m sure that it could tell quite a story if it could talk!” The couple both laughed as the husband paid for the teacup. The clerk carefully wrapped it up and they returned to their room at the local inn.

At the inn, the wife couldn’t resist another look at their purchase. She removed the teacup from the box and the tissue paper and set it on the bedside table. It was just as lovely as she had thought in the shop. “I wonder what this little cup would say if it could talk?” she murmured.

Both of them were shocked when the teacup quietly stated, “But I can talk. And I do have a story to tell.”

When they found their voices, the couple both urged the teacup to tell the story. This is what they heard:

I wasn’t always beautiful and lovely like this. When I first became aware of myself, I was a lump of gray clay sitting on the counter in the Potter’s workshop. I looked just like every other lump of clay sitting there…colorless, shapeless, unappealing. But, before long the Potter picked me up and threw me down on this spinning wheel, and I went round and round and round until I thought I was going to be sick. “Please!” I hollered, “Let me off of this thing! I’m getting sick!” But the Potter just smiled and said, “Not yet.”

Then, he stuck his hands in cold water and began to push me and squeeze me and pull me. Now, not only was I sick, but I was hurting! “Ouch!” I yelled, “Don’t do that to me! That HURTS!! STOP!” But the Potter just smiled and said, “Not yet.” He even pulled some chunks off of me, and I cried and I cried, “Oh, stop! Please stop!” But he just kept me spinning and spinning and he was pushing and pulling and I thought I was just going to die…and he stopped.

“Whew!” I thought, glad that was over. The Potter carried me into a little stone room, with lots of other clay pots and cups and bowls and set me on a little shelf. He went in and out of the room a few more times, bringing in other pieces and putting them on the shelf. When the shelves were full, he shut the door and turned the latch. I thought he was going to leave us alone now, but before long the room began to get hot. It got hotter and hotter and hotter and I thought I would die. “Hey!” I yelled, “Get me out of here! I can’t stand this heat!” The Potter came and looked in the little window in the door. “Get me out!” I cried again. But the Potter just smiled and I could read his lips say, “Not yet.” Just when the heat nearly had overcome me completely, it began to be cooler. Slowly we cooled back down, and the next day the Potter came and took us out of the oven. I was set up on another shelf in the workshop. “Boy,” I thought, “I’m glad that’s over now.”

I stayed on the shelf quite a while. Actually, I began to wonder if the Potter had forgotten me. Maybe he didn’t like what I was or he didn’t think I was good enough. He took other pieces down while I sat there and collected dust. I was happy when the Potter finally took me down and carried me over to one of his workbenches. I thought He was about to use me for something, but instead he began to cover me with this cold blue stuff. “Ug!” I said, “This stuff feels icky! Stop that!” But the Potter just smiled and said “Not yet.” When he’d finished, he set me back on the shelf, and the stuff dried and felt tight and I didn’t like it. The next day, he took me down again and began to tickle me with a little bitty brush, smearing on this green and pink stuff. It tickled and tickled and I laughed until I cried, “Stop that! I –ha-ha—can’t stand – ha-ha – it!” But the Potter just smiled and said, “Not yet.” Finally, I went back on the shelf while the new stuff dried. It itched and I couldn’t scratch it and I didn’t like it. I felt very sorry for myself.

But, the next day, the Potter picked me up and took me back to the oven! “NO!” I cried when I saw where we were going. “Don’t put me in there again!” But the Potter just smiled as he set me back on the same little shelf again. “Please don’t leave me in here!” I begged as he shut the door and turned the latch. Sure enough, before long it began to be hot again, and it got hotter and hotter and the air seemed red and the window wavered and I screamed, “Get me out of here!” But the Potter just smiled as he looked through the window, and once again I saw his lips say, “Not yet.” Again, it got so hot that I thought I would die, then it began to cool off. The next day, the Potter took me out and put me back on the shelf in his workshop.

I thought I would surely be able to sit quietly now, but I had barely been there an hour when he pulled me down and began to cover me with some clear stuff that smelled bad and stung me. “Ouch!” I coughed. “Stop that! I can’t breathe!” and I coughed some more. But the Potter just smiled and said, “Not yet.” This time I was afraid of what would happen when the stuff dried, and sure enough, the Potter carried me back to the oven. I cried and I begged, “NO! You can’t do this to me again! I can’t stand it! Please don’t!” He set me on the shelf and I cried some more, “You don’t understand how hot it is in here! If you loved me, you wouldn’t leave me in here! Please, please take me out!” And just before he shut the door, he looked at me. And I was surprised to see that, even though he smiled as he always did, he had tears running down his cheeks as he said, “Not yet,” and turned the latch.

This time the heat was even worse than before. I couldn’t even get breath to call out for help, even if I had thought it would do any good. I knew I was as good as dead, and if the Potter was going to keep doing those awful things to me and putting me in this awful place, then I was going to die of it before long, anyway. I wanted to die and get it over with… but I didn’t. As before, when I had endured more than I ever thought I could endure, the heat lessened and I could breathe again. And, the next day, the Potter came and took me out of the oven. I looked at him and I said, “Well, what torture do you have for me now?”

But, he just smiled at me and set me down on the workbench. I closed my eyes, because I was afraid of what he might do next. But, instead I heard him laugh and say, “Look at yourself now!” and I opened my eyes. He was holding a mirror in front of me, and for the first time since he began working on me I saw myself…and I was beautiful! I couldn’t believe it! I had been ugly and cold and formless, but the Potter made me into the cup you now see before you. All the time I thought he was mistreating me, he was remaking me. Before I was worthless…but he gave me great worth. And I will always love him.

“…Can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand….” Jer. 18: 6

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

First, The Good:
I found the Big Red Button! While I was looking for something else, of course...but the Pesky Weekender is done! Of all the fabrics I've used to date to make Weekender bags (um, I think I've used 5), this was By Far The Most Uncooperative. It shrank when steamed...even the 'rayon' setting was too hot; it slid around like nobody's business, and it wouldn't hold a crease for nothin'. But it does look rather cool, doesn't it?

I finished the first burgundy item last night after choir! The modified bodice of Loes Hinse's City Dress. It looks pretty good here; but the fabric is stiff enough that when I put a jacket on over it the neckline buckles...I think the shoulders are getting pushed towards the center by the jacket. I can kind of push it back, but I have to be Very Particular about how I put on a jacket.

The Bad:
I suppose I should've been on my guard when I arrived at church yesterday with all my sewing gear...and discovered I'd forgotten my box of thread. Fortunately, I had grey thread on my sewing machine, and a spare spool of the same in the notions box, and pile of grey garments to work on, so I figured I could stay busy and didn't let it bother me (much). But it was a harbinger of my foggy brained state...

When last we saw our heroine sewing costumes, she had completed the pockets on one of the ladies' garments and packed everything up. So, yesterday the sewing began with attaching the front and backs of said garment at the shoulder seams. Being foggy brained, and dealing with fabric which was has identical right and wrong sides, our heroine sewed them w/the wrong side of the front to the outside.

And did not realize it until the sleeves were attached. Which means the shoulders had been stitched and serged/trimmed, the neck facing had been applied, trimmed and topstitched and both sleeves had been sewn on.

Remembering that the right and wrong sides were identical, what would you do?

My solution:

Amputate the pockets. Emotionally, it was very hard to do; the pockets looked nice. But it was either that or spend the rest of the day picking the whole thing apart. Costuming, not couture...
The front of the garment is now a bit narrower than intended (I had to true up the side seams after whacking the pockets out), but, well, ya do what ya gotta do.

Finally, The Ugly:

Under the 'Wardrobe Refashioning' heading, here's one with unknown origins that My Sweet Baboo forwarded to me. It's so ugly that not only am I not going to try it, I am only going to put a link here so that the image doesn't confront me every time I open the blog:

Edited 11-19-08: that 'refashioned t-shirt' (Jockey shorts cut out for wearing over the head) was so ugly that I winced everytime I looked through my flikr albums so I finally deleted it. I'm hoping everyone has seen it somewhere by now!

Back to costuming!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Take a deep breath

I'm off to church in a bit to sew literally all day...hopefully, I'll make *lots* of good progress! I'm ready to get this batch of costumes finished and handed over!

Meantime, I put black thread in the serger and did *all* the serging necessary for the burgundy pieces, so I can work on them on my main machine whilst the backup Kenmore and the serger are at church (not that I expect to have lots of leisure time at home, but it makes me feel good to know I *could* work on them if I so desire).

The Tribeca shirt, being totally constructed w/french seams, didn't need any serging at all. It's not started yet.

The City Dress shell top only needed the edges all serged; construction is conventional, with seams pressed open to reduce bulky spots at the turned-under edges. I've got the neckline finished on this and I've got one of two topstiching passes done on the lower edge. Still need to finish the armholes

The Monaco shell only needed the sideseams serged, the neckline/shoulder is done w/a tiny zig-zag, because the neckline finish needs a pressed-open shoulder seam. It needs the hem and the armholes finished.

The Cityscapes dress had the most serging on it; the darts were teeny-zigzagged, but the seams were all done on the serger. Now it just needs hems and it's done.

So I *should* manage to get some burgundy something by Sunday, doncha think? Even if I just manage 10 minutes after getting home each evening...

We'll see.

(Still no big red button...)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Movin' On

Verse for the day ' ...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal...' (Phil. 3:13b-14a, NIV)

I was determined not to post until I finished that pesky Weekender. I pressed, hand basted, wrestled, grumbled at my fabric choice yet again and finally got the thing done to the button.

And I can't find the stupid button.

I know it's in the sewing room somewhere. I began the tear-the-already-chaotic-space-apart thing, then it hit me...this doesn't have to be *finished* for a month. All it needs is a handsewn button; I can set it aside, change the thread out and continue with the burgundy stuff. When I run across the button, I'll take 10 minutes out to sew it on. And if I *don't* run across the button by the time it needs to be done, I'll just do another button. Or something.

I'm not going to let one AWOL big red button throw the whole day out of whack. I've got Better Things To Do.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scatter Shot

Ok, I hit the targeted Weekender...but I was using a shotgun, and so I didn't get it hit hard enough (again, I grumble about the behavior of that poly jacquard fabric!!). There's still an hour or so's worth of work to do on it before I can pack it up in the 'Christmas Gifts' bin, change the thread and move on to the burgundy stuff.

But I also hit some laundry and some housecleaning and, oh, prep work for today's ladies' study at church.

None of which were hit hard enough to finish them off....

Dunno if I'll even get to aim again today; it's a run-around-and-do stuff-away kinda day, and I gotta finish my notes for this morning's study.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Taking Aim that Weekender. I'm determined to finish it today; I've got too much sewing breathing down my neck to put it off any longer.

I made some pretty good progress in the attic at least, although it's still a long way from being done.

But the truth is all the 'stuff waiting to be done' is beginning to feel oppressive...and I'm not just talking about sewing. Housework, budget work, church sewing, holiday preparations...and I tend to fret about the stuff I'm *not* doing while I work on any one of the things on that list.

It's going to be a busy week.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Choir Sundays #10

This month's colors: Black with Burgundy (I suspect the blue lights were on again, making the deep reds look brighter. It really has been interesting to see how the colored lights affect the colors in our garments!)

This was taken during pre-service rehearsal...and it was cold in the sanctuary! Hence the coffee mugs, water bottles and jackets.

Top:Hot Pattern's Cadeau Top, the second test from printed poly matte jersey. I'd only worn this once before...out to dinner with My Sweet Baboo...and I don't think I'll try wearing it to choir again. The left shoulder (probably because my left shoulder is even narrower than my right shoulder) kept slipping off...not a good look for choir! Fortunately, I was in the back row as usual; hopefully I was not too noticeable.

It's a fine 'go to dinner with the sweetie' top, but not a worship top. I wasn't thinking when I put it on....

The pants are the same ol' black cotton twill Vogue7881 pants that I've worn in several photos now; they're comfy and they fit pretty good. As I said last week, I gotta make this pattern up at least a couple of more times ;)'s 'Happy Birthday, Sew Random' day today, too...I wrote my first blog post two years ago today. Hard for me to believe it's been 2 years! Thanks to everyone who's stopped by, and especially thanks to everyone who's left a comment! ;)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Drama Competition:Trumbauer 2007

Today was the Alabama District 1 Trumbauer Theater Festival competition; this was the first time I'd been since DD's senior year four years ago. The rules have changed a bit... I think I understand why, but I'm a little disappointed all the same. They dropped the oral adjudication after each performance; I really missed that. I learned so much in years past about theater and performing just from watching the plays and listening to the judges!

Another rule change had to do with how many plays advance from each district. The one-act play DS's drama class did ended up scoring an overall superior rating, but they did not advance to the state level; only the top three plays go now, instead of all the 'superiors'. That was disappointing, but the plain truth is that the drama program at the magnet school fell apart after the founding director retired two years ago, and this year is the first year they've hired a serious director to replace him and begin the rebuilding process. They started from scratch on August 8, and kind of took a break from work on the one-act to support a community theater group's week-long run of the musical production 'Through the Year with Frog and Toad', which was staged during the school day so elementary students came from all over the area to be inspired by the familiar early-reader characters. Consequently, the work on their competition one-act, 'The Asylum' didn't really get to the front burner until three weeks ago. Not really enough time to polish it up to the level of the advancing plays.

So the fact that they did as well as they did is commendable, I think. They'll eventually get back to the level where they were...or at least they will if they really get 'magnet-school' level support from the school board.

But school board support is a threatening rant so I'm not going there.

DS did a monologue as an Individual Event, though, and he did qualify to go to the State level with it, so we'll be heading to Troy State University at the end of the month for that competition.

I toted along my Ongoing Portable Project, though, and did some work on it. I started it, um, 6 years ago and worked on it mostly at Trumbauer festivals; I've got 17 little motifs yet to bead and then it will be *gasp* done. I think I may very well finish it at this year's State competition...there's a lot of waiting time there.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Decluttering as Avoidance

How annoying can one little project be?

I fixed the fusible faux pas on the Weekender handle straps, and sewed two of them.

And stopped. I was suddenly struck by an inexplicable, irresistible urge to Organize the Attic.

Now, I've done a bit of work on it earlier...the end where my fabric is stashed is in pretty good shape. But the rest...well, I have a couple of pack rat children who have stashed boxes of miscellaneous hastily packed stuff in there, to the point that some things that need to go in the attic can't get in there. And those items are blocking the whole 'clean the house and make it look pretty' strategy. I'd been grumbling about it under my breath for, well, a really long time and yesterday something snapped and I started cleaning/organizing/sorting.

So far, I've got 4 grocery bags for Donations and I've carried a trash bag full of trash down. And that's just a start.

Older DD is already complaining about stuff of hers that I'm pulling out of the attic. Sorry. I'm determined to get that back into some sort of useable condition, and she's had LOTS of warning that she needs to take care of it.

So I'm cleaning while the cleaning anointing is on me; I'm not going anywhere at all today, so I should be able to get some reasonable progress made.

Hopefully I'll work off some of the annoyance of making the same thing again out of rather contrary fabric and be ready to jump back into it in a day or two.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Start the Count Over

Ok. 3 months and 10 days.

That's how long I managed to go w/o purchasing any fabric.

But, the thing is, that No New Fabric Moratorium wasn't lifted so I could buy some superfantastic gorgeous piece of fabric for the stash...

I bought 7 1/2 yards of extra-wide cotton flannel to make a second set of waterbed sheets. had their nice extra-wide flannel on sale for $4/yard...which means that, even counting shipping, this set of sheets will cost less than $37, which is Unheard Of (flannel sheets sets are at LEAST twice that, IF you can find them!). My Sweet Baboo thought it would be a good idea, so I sighed and ordered the fabric. It got here yesterday. It's very nice...they'll be wonderful sheets.

I'll send it through the washer and dryer three times, then I'll cut it into sheet-and-pillowcase sized rectangles and sew them up. It'll just take a few hours to get them put together, and it will make life just a little easier to have a set to switch out with the ones I made last year.

I'm just kinda pouty that it wasn't something exciting. Back to the Moratorium...

Q&A...Cherie asked in a comment yesterday if we had all the church work done; I've so far managed to keep the children's church costumes boxed up while I'm at home; we've had two three-day work sessions at church and we've got one more scheduled for Thur-Fri-Sat of next week. I'm not sure we're 2/3 finished yet, but if we can get a good crew (even if I just have one person working along with me for each shift) we can get quite a bit done. But that will be the last available opportunity for working at church...anything that doesn't get done then will have to be farmed out amongst the sewing ladies and finished up at home.

(Anyone besides me looking at the calendar this morning and saying, 'Gaaaahhh!!!! Not November already!!! Nooooo.....!')