Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cutting Myself a Little Slack

Does anyone notice how close I am to parity for the year?
Four measly yards!
And I have hardly sewn a stitch all month...just a wee bit of emergency sewing for the Flute Player. Oh, and the Big Christmas gift...a set of flannel waterbed sheets for my Dear In-Laws, which consumed 7 yards.

Oh, I have plans; I have fabric. I even have a pair of pants well started. What I don't have is time.

Now, according to my personal parity rules, if I go over for the year, during the first two weeks of January I have to donate twice the overage to charity before I can purchase any new fabric.

Fair enough. And I probably have eight yards of 'Why did I buy THIS?' fabric hiding in the bins upstairs anyway.

But, in looking at how much sewing I did for other folks this year...much of it rather unplanned for...I think I can cut myself just a wee bit of slack here.

So I'm giving myself through the weekend before I 'close out the numbers' for '08.

Not that that's a huge amount of grace; the rest of the week looks pretty busy and I don't know if I'll get much time in the sewing room anyway.

But I at least want to get all the '08 projects finished!

So...Happy Sewing New Year, everyone, and may you meet your Sewing Goals for 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Choir Sunday Post for 08 -- number 40

This month's colors:Red and black

Jacket: Silhouette Patterns Robin's Jacket, made from silver/black/red plaid wool/lurex crepe and bound w/faux suede. It's over a black RTW fine gauge turtleneck sweater.

Skirt: Kwik Sew 2581, from black rayon crepe.

This is the last choir post of the year, since we won't be in choir next week! I likely won't get to the blog for the next week or so, so I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas...may you have many happy returns of the season! ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toasted, Fried AND Burnt....

I received an email today with the following request:
We at NowPublic are working on coverage of the top ten worst fashion trends of 2008, and we are putting together a collection of photos. We came across your amazing photo on Flickr and it would be a great addition to our story. We would very much appreciate its use, with proper credit to you of course. It was followed by a link to a page at which I could grant them the use of this amazing photograph.

So, you ask, what was this amazing photo that would fit into the TOP TEN WORST FASHION TRENDS OF 2008???

The (I thought) wearable muslin of Simplicity 4366.

I'll be the first to admit this is not the most flattering, stylish photograph, but I wasn't trying to take a flattering, stylish photograph; I wanted a photo of the fit of the pants. Probably the folks at 'NowPublic' didn't even realize that.

But still.

What were they thinking???

Here's the text that very likely would accompany this amazing photo, quoted from the above link:
5. Plaid pants

Ahh...popularized in the 1970's, and re-appropriated by grunge kids in the 90's. Leave plaid pants in your youth with that ratty old chain wallet you wore with them.

If you need plaid in your life, I wholeheartedly suggest you invest north of the waistline; a button-down shirt, fitted equestrian blazer, or tunic are all acceptable alternatives.

Thank you very much for your advice.

I did send a reply:
I would prefer that you do not use this photo.

Thank you very much.

Um, just a suggestion.... if you are looking at a photo posted for the purpose of displaying the fit of a home-sewn pattern, it *might* not be terribly considerate to ask the seamstress if it could be included in an article about Fashion Faux Pas. It, um, could ruin her day.

Just a thought.

I need some ketchup with my fries....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Choir Sundays '08 #39

This Month's Colors: Red and Black

I'm wearing...
A RTW black wool flannel Requirements jacket that I've had for something like 10 years

A likewise ancient red poly microfiber blouse from a looooonnnng out-of-print Kwik Sew pattern. I remember getting that fabric when microfiber was a brand new exciting thing. But it's still polyester...and one day I'll replace it with silk. ;)

My black wool gabardine Loes Hinse Oxford Pants

Our fearless leader gave us the heads up about colors for the next two months...royal blue and black next month(Yay! I can wear those things I made last year too late to wear!) and black and white in February. So -- no panic sewing in the immediate future, anyway!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas '08 Project Number 2

I *really* don't think the intended recipient of this little appliqued stocking will stop by here...but just the same I'm not going to say whom it's for.

I used the reverse side of some sweatshirt fleece for the fuzzy look... ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

One Down

The biggest home-crafted Christmas present to come out of my sewing room this year is finished...that's a sigh of relief! Unfortunately, due to the very slight possibility that the intended recipient will drop by, I can't post any pictures or say what it is.

Pictures wouldn't help much anyway and I'll spill the beans after the gifts are opened.

I'm just glad I can move on to the next project! ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Crying 'Uncle'

I'm looking at the next two weeks and seeing a mountain of stuff to do; so I am going to do something I haven't done in the three years I've been blogging on Sew Random: I'm going to go to sporadic posts for the rest of the month.

I've done straight up blogging breaks, but I've never just said 'I'll post when I have something to say'. But, given the amount of things I have to do (we have FIVE Christmas-related events THIS WEEK) and the scarcity of time in which to do it, something's gotta give.

So, when/if I have somethings sewing-related to post, I will, but in the meantime I'm going to be working hard to get everything done that needs to be done!

Thanks for hanging with me!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Oh, My Achin' Back!

I'm not making much progress on the sewing queue...we've had a busy, busy weekend and I didn't even get into the sewing room.

And, if you've been following the choir Sunday posts (the choir didn't sing for Sunday morning services yesterday...we had a special presentation instead), you might have noticed that I've mentioned low back problems a couple of times. It finally got to the point that I had to do something, and one thing led to another and I ended up at the chiropractor.

Not going into whether chiropractic is good or not here...but I will say that it is helping somewhat.

Only I have to go three times a week until Christmas. Let me tell you, that is cutting into my sewing time.

That's really frustrating, but I was at the point that the back pain was interfering with my life so in the long run it's probably good to get something done about it.

But I have Christmas sewing to do so I will get going in there as soon as I can. I *don't* want to leave it all till next week!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Concert Attire

I finished the pants at 5 pm last hour and a half before we had to leave.

And discovered that the pants pattern that I made her last month is now nearly too short! These pants have a scant 1/2" turned up at the bottom for a hem...I'll have to add length to them next time I make them for her.

It didn't help that her flat dress shoes were also discovered to be too small last night; she's wearing her boots, which have a bit of heel. Ah, well. A trip to Shoe Carnival will be in order for new dress shoe next time an occasion arrives for her to wear them. But since it's December, the boots can fill that position nicely for a while.

I intended to take a photo of her with the cummerbund and tie, but the teachers collected them before the kids even left the stage. And the Flute Player was behind a music stand in the second row, so I couldn't see her at all when they played. So no 'concert photo'.

And the concert...well, it was a junior high band concert. It was fine. ;)

There were some kids there with shirts from formalwear shops...they were noticeable because they had studs on the front of their shirts instead of shirt buttons. But there were a number of kids who obviously were wearing the Hobby Lobby shirts and a number of them were not all that big. So perhaps there *was* a smaller size available than what I found? Oh, well...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Must. Find. Inspiration.

Yesterday was a Very Interrupted Day...and I didn't get a single stitch sewn on the black pants. All I managed was to change the serger thread to black.

Have I mentioned anywhere that the concert is tonight?

So I need to, like, spend all day sewing black pants.

Now, we do have black pants in the closet that are borderline too small and quite Not Liked, so if the effort fails, there is a Plan B; the world will not end.

But the Flute Player will not be happy...


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tux Shirt: Good Enough

She hadn't combed her hair yet this morning...and when I suggested it to her, she shrugged and said not to worry about it. So. THAT attitude will so change in a year or two!
This really is just a form of costuming; once I got my brain around that things went faster.

It's not wonderful; the armsceye was cut so low on the original shirt that I couldn't do much about the fullness under her arms. But the shoulders are higher -- I took about 2 1/2" out of the shoulder width -- and the sleeves are a much better length at 1 1/2" shorter. I was stressing over the hem; for some reason the back was about 1/2" longer than the front at the sideseam. My first thought was to whack it off and hem it, then I thought, hey, it'll only be worn tucked into pants anyway, why not just serge it?

But she tried it on this morning and tucked it all in with no I'm calling it 'done' and moving on to the black pants...

And we will not have to worry about her shirt tail coming untucked. ;)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Tux Shirt...progress

Well, it's cut and ready to baste back together.

I had a time deciding how to go about reducing that shirt. My thought was to get a shirt pattern in her size and just overlay it to cut down the shoulder seam/armsceye/sleeve cap.

But it didn't fit; the bottom of the armsceye of the pattern was off the edge of the lower curve of the armsceye on the unconstructed shirt.


Finally, I just trimmed off the portion of the shirt and the shoulder seam that I had noted needed to be trimmed; I'll put the sleeve back on and pin fit the rest of it. It was a continuous underarm/side seam anyway, so I can just kind of keep stitching it up until we're satisfied.

Oh, it's not going to fit as well as a custom made shirt, but it's saving me the trouble of doing all that pleating...not to mention figuring out how to do it, since I haven't seen a kid's pleated front/tux collar shirt pattern. I suppose there *might* be one for boys in the Vogue catalog...I didn't look there.

This is going to have to work for now; her concert is Thursday...and I still have to sew her black pants (which are cut out).

So, aside from a couple of errands today...I'm sewing....

Monday, December 01, 2008

Refashioning Exercise

The Flute Player has a required outfit (I can't really say 'uniform' -- it isn't) to wear for dress pants and a tuxedo shirt. To this outfit are added a red bow tie and cummerbund, which belong to the school.

The band requirements expressly prohibit substituting a regular dress shirt for the tuxedo shirt.

So...who knows where you can obtain a tuxedo style shirt in a girls size 14?

The teacher suggested we try the local formalwear shops. I shudder to think what such a thing would cost there.

So, I cut the '40% off any one regularly priced item' coupon from the Hobby Lobby ad and got myself over there and purchased the smallest size they had.

Um, no.

The shoulders and upper chest are too big on ME, for crying out loud!

But, having invested ten bucks in this shirt, I intend to make it work.

The cuffs have been removed, the underarm seam undone, and the sleeves taken off. Now all I need to do is cut down the upper part of the shirt and reshape the shoulder cap on the sleeves and put it back together.

Have I ever mentioned before how not fun this kind of sewing is????

But at least I can do it. And it won't be a bad shirt for ten bucks and a little time.

Assuming, of course, that I don't mess it up...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 # 38

This month's colors: burgundy and black w/blue jeans

I basically did a repeat of what I wore three weeks ago, except with longer, lighter colored Lee's my brocade Sewing Workshop Tribeca Shirt, with a matching Modified Loes Hinse City Dress bodice shell under it. I like this top and it's the last chance to wear it in choir for a while.

Next week we'll be going to our satellite campus an hour down the road, so we won't be in choir and I won't be doing a Choir Sunday post.

But I get to wear whatever I want and, given the amount of eating I did this week and the snugness of my waistband, I think I'm leaning towards one of my Cityscapes dresses...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 # 37

This Month's Colors:Burgundy and/or black w/blue jeans

Well, it's a RTW vest in embroidered black cotton velveteen that has been in my closet for something like 8 years and really isn't as small as it looks in the picture; I could've buttoned it fine, but I didn't like the way it looked buttoned over the sweater.

And, a RTW rayon blend sweater that I bought last year for the Burgundy Choir Month.

I did, however, make the's the Vogue 2872 denim skirt that I adjusted earlier this fall. We were going to an afternoon concert and I wanted to be just a smidge dressier than blue jeans. The picture was taken *after* the concert, so it had been a rather long day at that point!

The concert was Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Tour and it was A.May.Zing. Even without Chip Davis. It was worth fudging on my 'no Christmas music before Thanksgiving' pledge....

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I will be taking a blogging break for the next week to prepare for and enjoy the holiday...hope everyone has much to be thankful for and enjoys the feast of celebration! Catch ya next week...

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm a Bookworm

Well, Miss Linda at Threads of Lovliness has nominated me for the Bookworm Award. (I tried to get the nifty artwork to show; Blogger says it's here but obviously it isn't...)

It's interesting to note that I just took, on a whim, the What Kind of Nerd Be You quiz (I really think I've done this one before...) with the following results:
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Social Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

So, yeah, I'm a bookworm.

The rules of the Meme state that I'm supposed to grab the nearest book, open it to page 56, and write the fifth sentence on that page, along with two to five sentences that follow.

Well, the book that happened to be lying on the computer desk was apparently left by the Actor; it was The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, and page 56 happens to be the tail end of Chapter 3. So, I will quote from the start of the fifth sentence to the end of the chapter:

And the host of the Teleri passed over the Misty Mountains, and crossed the wide lands of Eriador, being urged on by Elwe Singollo, for he was eager to return to Valinor and the Light that he had beheld; and he wished not to be sundered from the Noldor, for he had great friendship with Finwe their lord. Thus after many years the Teleri also came at last over Ered Luin into the eastern regions of Beleriand. There they halted, and dwelt a while beyond the River Gelion.
(note: there are supposed to be two dots over the final e's on 'Elwe' and 'Finwe', but I couldn't figure out where to find a font that would do that...)

Yes, believe it or not, I *have* read the whole book; it's a fair challenge to keep the names straight and follow the whole story...or rather, group of related stories. But Tolkein actually believed The Silmarillion to be a greater and more important work than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Much of it was written before he undertook the saga of The One Ring; I think that's why TLOTR had such a feeling of being rooted in its really was, with all that history behind it.

Anyway, now I'm supposed to nominate 5 more people. But, like the other memes I've been tagged with lately, I know I have seen this on many other blogs and I haven't paid attention to who has and who has not done it. So, in my favorite random fashion, I tag whoever is reading this post today who has also read The Lord of the Rings trilogy MORE THAN ONCE. If that's you, grab the closest book and list the fifth sentence on page 56, along with a few more for some context.

Then leave a comment here so I can enjoy the notes of my fellow Literature Nerds....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Facts from the Rubbish

Wow...three guesses, each with a different guess!

Here's the truth....

My Sweet Baboo went to work for McDonnell-Douglas in Huntington Beach, CA straight out of college; I went out to visit him for his birthday just before we got engaged...and, any trip to a town with 'beach' in it's name must include a trip to the actual beach, so I waded briefly in the water there.

I've been to the Gulf coast two or three times; it's a good day's drive from The Rocket City, but not beyond reach. I'm actually counting that as the Atlantic Ocean, because our trip to Jacksonville, Florida took place in December of 2000, when a really strong cold front happened to come through and, while we took the kids to the beach, we kept on our shoes (and our winter coats!). I didn't make it to the beach at all on a later trip to Jacksonville. But, hey, the Gulf is part of the Atlantic Ocean, so it works.

The second one is false. Claire had the right guess! I had pen pals in about 4 different countries when I was in high school...the US, Japan, Ireland, and Andorra (a teeny country tucked into the border of France and... Spain. I had to look it up; it's been 30+ years...), but it would have really been a stretch to have correspondents in 13 different countries! Do kids even do pen-pals anymore, or is it all Internet communication now?

I think the year I won the Betty Crocker award (ETA a couple of days memory is now finally recollecting that the actual new name was the 'General Foods Family Leader of Tomorrow'...they dropped Betty with the 'homemaker'....) was the first year for the new name. I was sick the day they planned to make the award at an assembly...I don't know what the purpose for the assembly was, but they were going to recognize me in front of the student body for my achievement. Instead, I got called to the principal's office during announcements the following week. I went with great trepidation, wondering what I had done wrong to warrant a trip to The Office. You could have knocked me over with a serger tail when he handed me the award and shook my hand. I had pretty much forgotten about even taking the test; I couldn't remember a single question from it, just that it struck me as being stuff my Grandmother told me.

So, Claire wins the bragging rights for this round! Thanks for guessing, everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fact or Rubbish?

Ok, *still* nothing going on in the sewing room... so I thought I'd see if we could have some fun.

There's a thread over at Pattern Review entitled Fact or Rubbish in which the ladies are taking turns posting three things about themselves...two of which are true, with the third one being 'rubbish.' Then the others try to figure out which is which.

There have been some very, very interesting facts shared...and I'm amazed at the deductive powers of some of those gals over there! But, y'know, it struck me as being good blog material...particularly when I'm running full blast everywhere but the sewing room.

So, anyway, I'm going to post two true and one untrue item about my life and invite comments to see who can figure out which is which. And I invite anyone amongst my readers who is in need of blogging material to do likewise and leave a comment so we'll know to visit your site and apply our deductive reasoning.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are my items:

1)I have put my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans

2)When I was in high school, I had pen pals in 13 different countries

3) I was designated my high school's 'Betty Crocker Family Leader of Tomorrow' when I was a senior, despite the fact that I transferred out of my only home economics class the first week of my freshman year.

Um, that was pretty tough, since I've posted 'random things' memes two or three times and couldn't talk about things like feeding lion cubs...LOL

Ok...who wants to play?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Traditional Fare

Ok, since I don't have any sewing to talk about, I thought I'd post a recipe.

We have a very strict Thanksgiving menu at our house; everyone has something special that they require for it to be 'Thanksgiving Dinner'.

One of these dishes is my Aunt Judy's Apple Salad. She began bringing it to family gatherings when I was a school kid and it became a requirement. Now I have my own copy of the recipe and yes, it's part of our annual Thanksgiving feast miles and miles away from the rest of the family. Here' tis:

Aunt Judy's Apple Salad:

( make the congealed portion the day before the meal)

2 3-oz pkg Lime Jello
2 c small marshmallows
4 large red apples, cored and chopped
1 15 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Place Jello and marshmallows into a 9x13 pan; pour 2 c boiling water over and stir until the marshmallows are dissolved. Add 1 cup cold water to cool, then add apples, pineapple and nuts. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, add the dressing.


3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

In a saucepan, beat together sugar, eggs and lemon juice. Cook until thick. Let it cool completely, then fold into the whipped cream and spread over the set jello.


So...anyone else want to share a traditional favorite? Leave a comment and we'll come check it out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can't get to the sewing room...

Just too much going on! I've got something outside the house every day this week...and some financial work to do in the house. I *still* have to cut the interfacing for The Flute Player's pants... I can't believe how long that project has been on the cutting table waiting for that last little bit.

And I've got a bit of Christmas sewing to do; as soon as the pants are cut I'm going to hit one of those projects. It'll be a one-day job...all I need is one day...

Meantime, I'm cooking dinner for a friend who had surgery. First things first.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #36

This Month's Colors:Black and/or burgundy w/blue jeans

I'm lovin' Butterick 5185. This is the burgundy slinky rendition; it's perfect for choir!

Or, at least it's perfect as long as I wear something under it, like the black rayon/lyrca knit Jalie 965 tank top.

I had some, um, more fierce shoes I could've worn, but went with the lower, more stable, slightly clunky Mudds because my low back has been bothering me. But the dark wash Lee bootcuts have shrunk just slightly, so I can get away with the lower shoes now.

I need some chunky black jewelry; I picked up some beads at half-price at Hobby Lobby a couple of weeks ago; I need to get on that...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Costuming Resources

According to Sitemeter, a large percentage of folks who surf into the blog via search engines are coming in to get information on costuming...either Bible costumes or Dickens costumes. I've got some good info on Bible costumes on the link on the sidebar; I thought I'd put up some links that I've found useful in doing Dickens costuming.

When we originally did 'The Gospel According to Scrooge' in 2004, we thought we were being given costumes from a church that had done it back in the late '80's but did not intend to do it again. When our team went to get the costumes on Election day (Nov. 2, if I remember right), they were only able to locate about a third of their costumes...bonnets, men's costumes, and a few kid's costumes. With about 5 weeks to go, we had to costume all the ladies and most of the kids. It was intense.

We did manage to get everyone onstage in *something*...although I winced at a few of the items, overall it worked.

Anyway, I did a Google search on Dickens era costuming and the single most helpful website I found was the costume info page of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. That has wonderful information for individuals on making 'quick and cheap' Dickens-era costumes, usually beginning with thrift store finds. (ETA: for some reason, however, this site indicates that a hoop skirt 'was all the rage.' My later research indicated that hoops came along later in the Victorian period...the mid 1840's used many ruffled petticoats, but no hoops yet). We cut a deal with a local thrift store on a number of fancy dresses and went to work on them; a local church did not use their Dickens costumes that year and so we were able to rent some costumes and pouffy slips and we got by.

I will confess that we took for granted a certain amount of ignorance on the part of our audience. We costumed the whole show in 'old-fashioned'...despite my best efforts to be period correct, we just had to make do with what we had. Someday, I'd like to do the show correctly, so there is a visual difference between Scrooge's past and his present, but most people are content just to see something that looks different than what they see in daily life.

And sometimes folks just don't cooperate. Victorian hair is supposed to be pulled up tight and off the face; any curls are tight...but a number still went on stage with their hair soft and flowing over their shoulders. It looked pretty...but it was wrong. Sometimes, ya just gotta do the best you can and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.

But, if you've time, look at the commercial patterns: Butterick costumes, McCall's costumes and Simplicity costumes. Make a list of appropriate costumes and watch for sales at Jo-Ann's and Hancock's. I've been picking up costume patterns for a couple of years now at a dollar or two apiece; when/if we do a Dickens-themed production again, I'll be ready!

Even if you can't make the patterns from scratch, it'll help give you a mental picture of the look you're going for.

Finally, a couple of tips that I'm not sure I noted anywhere previously...

Whenever you do a costume for someone, make sure there is a pocket somewhere to hold a microphone transmitter. Even if the character who will wear the costume this year doesn't need year it could be a different story.

Boy's knickers can be made from a pair of dress pants, trimmed off with an elastic casing at the bottom. But...the finished length should be almost to the ankle. If they're finished off just below the knee, when the kid moves any at all they'll creep up and...not such a good look.

If I think of more tips, I'll add them later! Costuming a show like Scrooge is a huge challenge, but it is a lot of fun!

If you do it, post pictures and a link in the comments...I'd love to see how other folks costume a Dickens piece!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cleanin' the Fridge

Somedays, ya just gotta put life on hold and clean out the refrigerator.

Mine was in a pretty bad way...I'd been meaning to get to it but couldn't seem to get it on the calendar.

But...somehow, a can of Coke (caffeine-free) migrated from the front of the shelf to the very back of the shelf, where it sat unnoticed until it froze.

When it froze, the can ruptured and...well, let's just say cleaning the refrigerator moved WAY up the priority list.

I discovered pieces in my fridge were removable that I had no idea could even budge.

Took all day. shriveled my fingers.

But...the fridge is clean and I rearranged the shelves so *hopefully* we will not have a repeat of the forgotten Coke incident.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, convenient...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Evolution of Fit

I've had conversations with folks who used to sew, then quit and were too intimidated to start sewing again because of fit issues they now have that weren't there before...and been asked how I decided what I needed to do to fit the patterns.

That's not such an easy question to answer...I never really quit sewing, so as my body aged/changed I added more fitting adjustments to the repertoire. Like most of us, when I began to sew my own clothes in junior high and high school, I could make the pattern straight out of the envelope and it fit well enough that I wore it...I was pretty oblivious to fitting issues back then anyway. But that's not the case now, and I've been kind of reviewing where/when I learned to make the adjustments...

I suppose the first thing I learned to do was a pivot & slide alteration to change from one size at my shoulders to a size or two greater from the bust downward. For a long time, that was the only real fitting challenge I acknowledged.

The next was a thick waist adjustment...although I kind of fudged that one by learning to do a 'slightly stretchy waistband'. That is, I could fool myself into thinking the added girth was for wearing ease...taken up by the elastic.

Um, right.

Next on the list...a lowered bust point. One princess seam denim jumper made 6 or 7 years ago demonstrated the need for that alteration quite clearly.

Pants fitting was next; I've finally mastered the 'low seat' adjustment, although that one took quite a while to figure out all the details.

The most recently noticed fit issue is square shoulders...this one is an adjustment I just figured out I needed, so I'm at the 'learn it' stage...

The body changes over time; fit is an ever-evolving issue. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don't. But I almost always learn *something* from trying....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sewing Lessons

Every once in a while, I get to teach someone something about's a real treat for me!

Today was such a day. My friend Buffi found an Advent calendar that she thought was way cute...small trees w/24 treat bags tied on...and she decided she wanted to make them and start an Advent tradition in her family. So she purchased some fabric, borrowed her mother's sewing machine and came over so I could help her get started.

The bags weren't hard to figure out, and it is a fabulous project for a first time seamstress...straight seams, zig-zagged edges, simple turned down hem, and no fitting. She has three kids, so we cut 24 bags for each of them, then we walked through the construction on a bag so she could see how to do it.

It wasn't difficult, and she had a nice little bag.
I predict by the time she makes all 72 of these, she'll be quite comfortable running things through the machine!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Two-success weekend...

I have no idea what the bag sold for (it was a *silent* auction), but a friend of mine purchased it. She didn't realize I had made it until she found the label inside the pocket. I first thought she bought it because I'd made it (um, I hope that sounds like I meant it...not like I was the designer, but just because she knew me), but that wasn't the case. So I guess it looked good enough!

And I looked very, very closely at the shirt onstage Friday night and could just barely tell it lapped right-over-left. I'm sure no one else could notice. The Velcro held well, and opened easily when it needed to, so all is well.

And the young man who portrayed Jesus won 'Best Actor' for the whole district, which I think is really, really cool. They will be performing the musical at Lee High this Thur-Fri-Sat-Sun, if anyone is nearby and would like to see it. Tickets are only 5 - 8 dollars; I think we're going to go back. And, they did qualify for the state competition in December.

The Actor also qualified with his individual events...he did a Dave Barry piece as a monologue, and he and a buddy did Abbott & Costello's classic 'Who's on First?'...and muffed a couple of lines. Somehow, they still managed to pull a Superior rating; hopefully they'll have it iced by State.

And I've got a schedule conflict and won't be able to go and watch, which is a bummer.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 # 35

This Month's colors:Burgundy and/or black w/blue jeans

I tried jumping down and snapping the picture as the choir came out onto the risers at about a minute and a half before the service started. There were no stage lights on; only a little blue wash light on the wall behind us. The silhouette looked really cool, but of course that went away with the flash. Sigh...with so little light, it looks rather grainy. Still, you can get the idea.

The gap in the back row is where I stood...

Anyway, I wore my brocade Sewing Workshop Tribeca Shirt, with a matching Modified Loes Hinse City Dress bodice shell under it...just in case...

And my dark wash boot cut Lee jeans with, um, boots.

I need to make one or two more shirts from that Tribeca's kinda neat...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Emergency Costuming

Well, just a smidge.

The annual high school theater festival district competition is this weekend. I haven't been involved in it at all; the one-act done by The Actors school is a musical, performed by the Choral Magnet Seniors (they are scheduled to perform for competition tonight).

To my delight, the musical is a cutting of Godspell.

Last night was the 'sneak preview' performance (aka an open dress rehearsal). A number of the kids also performed their selections for the individual event competition; The Actor and a classmate did a very nice rendition of 'Who's On First', so we were there to see the show.

Now, I've loved Godspell ever since I first saw it performed by a touring company at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis as a teenager...By My Side was sung at our wedding. So I may have been predisposed to enjoy the show, and my opinion that the kids did an outstanding job may not be entirely objective. But one teeny thing did catch my attention: there was no real visual distinction between Jesus before and after his resurrection.

Right after the show, I got flagged down. Could I possibly do a little sewing before they compete? Jesus actually had on the classic Godspell Jesus Superman T-shirt under his button-down shirt, but he didn't have time in the few seconds he was 'buried' (obscured by other actors) to unbutton the shirt so that the Superman logo showed. Could I put some velcro on the front so he could get it off in a hurry?

How could I possibly say no?

It worked out well in that the Flute Player was home frantically trying to do a two-week-project in one evening (there's a mini-rant about that on the other blog; I'm not going there here), so I suspected I was going to be up late while she worked anyway.

So, I came home, changed the thread in the sewing machine, and put velcro patches down the front. I did it so that the button side of the shirt was on'll feel backwards to the actor, I'm afraid, but hopefully it will sort of appear buttoned from a distance. Ideally I would have taken the buttons off and replaced them with velcro, then made a band with the buttons on one side and velcro on the other and buttoned it onto the shirt but there just wasn't time for that.

Then I washed and dried the shirt. It, um, wasn't so fresh after being worn for the performance. The Actor took it in this morning.

Now I guess I'll just have to go back tonight and see the show again to satisfy myself that it worked ok...

Oh, and while I was up last night I finished sewing the lining for the Weekender bag; it's all put together and ready to go in. I *should* be able to finish the bag itself today...maybe even get the lining in it? We'll see...the auction's tomorrow...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

New projects

I've slowly been cutting a few things out amongst the harriedness that has been life this I'm home w/o a car, so I'll surely get something done!

I cut two pairs of black pants out of some beeyoutiful cotton/lycra sateen I got from Gorgeous Fabrics: one for me, and one for The Flute Player, who needs 'em for concert band. I've still got to cut interfacing for the waistband on her pants and lining for the pockets on mine,but otherwise they are ready to sew.

And, I've cut a Weekender bag from some stashed upholstery fabric for a silent auction benefit this Saturday; that's probably going to be at the top of the list for sewing. I'm *hoping* I've got a zipper in the stash that will work for the inside I said, I've no car today.

Unless I swipe the vehicle that The Princess drives and make a quick Hancock's run before she goes to work. Hm. It'd have to be really quick.

Maybe I'd better go dig through that drawer....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

7 Random Things Tag

I've been tagged by my non-sewing-blogging buddy Jess with the 7 Random Things tag...

Now, I'm supposed to link to her blog (check) and then list 7 random and/or weird things about myself.

Um, hm. I hope I haven't already posted these things.

1)My nickname in high school was 'Tigger'

2)My first car (and only car purchased by me for me from my own resources) was a new 1978 white Mustang. It got traded in in 1990 for a boxy Plymouth Horizon which was primarily my hubby's car. My oldest son (Formerly known as 'Teen Son of the Rolling Eyes', hereafter noted as 'The Artist', as he is now 20) is still driving it; it's got a bunch of miles on it and has more shakes than Dairy Queen but somehow keeps going...if you add a quart of oil once a week. I confess I have never been fond of it. I loved my Mustang.

3)When I was a high school freshman, I concluded that I very likely would not marry any of the boys I knew then. Or, perhaps a better way of putting it would be I concluded then that none of the boys I knew would ever be interested in me. I met My Sweet Baboo when I was 18.

4) Need I add I was rather geeky and socially inept as a young teenager? (I refuse to speculate as to whether that has entirely passed from my personality...)

5) I learned to sew starting at age 10 on the back porch of our nearly century year old farmhouse. Concrete floor, no heat or AC (eta for clarification...the porch, not the house, had concrete floor and no Truth be told, it was more of a utility room than a porch and I'm not sure why we called it the porch. The furnace was also located on the back porch, as were the washer and dryer and the chest-style deep freeze, which served as a semi-accessible cutting table. Good preparation for the years I spent with my 'sewing studio' in our garage.

6)Although my degree is a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, I originally went off to college as a music education major. Um, that didn't work for me...

7) I can't stand salmon. My Sweet Baboo loves it and eats it almost every time we go out to dinner. I know it's good for you and I wish I could eat it but every taste brings back unpleasant associations with the nasty salmon patties my elementary school cafeteria served.

Now, I'm supposed to tag 7 more people, but, to be honest, I haven't a clue who has and who has not already done this. So, I will tag any blog reader whose birthday is the same month as mine (July) who has not already done the meme. Just leave a link in the comments and we'll all come and learn 7 random things about you!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's a big day is my Dear Mother-In-Law's birthday; possibly one ending in a '0', but I'm not sure. She rarely, if ever, stops by here, but I'm wishing her a lovely day, just the same! is also the birthday of Sew Random. I've been doing this for three years now! Time flies!

And, here's a cheesy self-portrait in honor of the third event of the day:

Of course, this is the day to stand patiently in line and exercise our right to choose our government. I was voter number 1107 at my local precinct. It was well-organized and simple; the time required from getting in one of the three (alphabetical) lines until I was finished was only about 20 minutes.

So, for anyone in the states who hasn't exercised that right yet...consider carefully the candidates and then vote! And don't forget your sticker... LOL

Monday, November 03, 2008

Makin' it Work

The tricks we do to Make Things Work.

I had barely enough of the black boucle to cut out the main pieces of the Plaza jacket; as I mentioned, I had to narrow the pieces by 2" each. In all honesty, I'm not sure that wasn't beneficial; this lofty fabric probably works better with a little less excess drape anyway.
But I *didn't* have enough to cut the back band. I misremembered how to make the thing and thought the back band was a facing; it wasn't until I had things cut that I realized it was actually part of the neckline. So I scrambled to look for something that I could use for the back neck...and found a piece of faux suede that's in the stash to be used for trim/binding. Bingo. It had a very slight amount of stretch in it, so it managed the curve ok.

It would've looked better if I had sewn it with the right side out (what is WITH ME on this lately? I *know* I checked that...). There isn't a lot of difference between the right and the wrong side, but it's still the less pretty side out. Sigh. I figured no one else would know the difference and, since it was already trimmed before I caught it, I wasn't about to try ripping things out to fix it.

Speaking of fixing; if you look closely at the photo of the back neck you can see the sort of rounded 'v' that shows where I patched the cutting boo-boo I mentioned Friday. *Ahem* Interesting design detail, don't you think? *ahem*

Just for grins, I'd say anyone who had only this much fabric left...which compresses into one scant handful...has made optimal use of the yardage. *Ahem* again...

But I seriously owe my MIL big time for this. I'd guess this fabric would retail for anywhere from $80/yard up -- IF it could be found at all. I'm a blessed woman. ;)

Incidentally, the jacket is marvelously warm to wear. I'm going to enjoy this one.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Choir Sundays '08 #34

This Month's Colors: Burgundy and/or black w/blue jeans
I wasn't able to get a choir photo; DD #1 (Whom I am going to refer to from this point on as 'The Princess', since I've been developing labels for all the kids) works in the sound booth and I think I'll see if she can get a photo of the choir during an actual service. Might work and it might not; we'll try it.

Anyway, I wore a RTW sweater (which might be more of a maroon than burgundy...), my dark wash Lee jeans and my new Sewing Workshop Plaza Jacket, made from my mother-in-law's gift of a small piece of wool boucle (details in tomorrow's post).

I've got the front secured with a brooch...there's a sweet story there.

Around 1970, at age 16 My Sweet Baboo went to Japan to the World Boy Scout Jamboree. He had some pretty amazing adventures there, and did some shopping. Amongst his souvenirs, he picked up a couple of pieces of jewelry...a silver necklace w/a three-pearl charm on it and this brooch. He bought them because he knew someday he'd fall in love and he figured he could give those gifts to his future sweetheart. It wasn't until about 7 years later that we even met. He kept them all that time.

He gave me the necklace for my 20th birthday, five months before we were engaged, but didn't tell me the story because he was afraid I'd think he was cheap for giving me something he already had. It wasn't until after we were married that he gave me the brooch and told me where they came from.

I wore and wore the necklace and now it's put away, needing some repair, but I do wear the brooch from time to time. And marvel... ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stretching the Boucle

Two or three years ago, my sweet MIL gave me a couple of pieces of black wool. One was a fulled piece, the other was a knit boucle that was unbelievably gorgeous. She had purchased them years ago, when her local department store still carried yard goods, intending to make a little jacket and skirt from them. She cautioned me that they'd been in storage for a while.

So I soaked them in Eucalan and drip dried them. I don't know if they shrank, but I ended up with 1 3/4 yd of 45" wide fulled wool, and only about 1 3/8 yd of 40" wide boucle.

What can you do with 1 3/8 yds of 40" wide fabric?

I tried and tried to figure out a little jacket pattern I could use but every one I pulled out (Loes Hinse's Bolero, Nancy Erikson's 1960 'sleevless jacket', for instance) didn't fit.

I thought about using it as a trim element, but it was so soft and warm that I really, really wanted to wear it as a wrap of some sort.

Finally, I decided I could try the Sewing Workshop Plaza Jacket...I'd just adjust the rectangles to fit the fabric I had.

So, a couple of days ago I got brave and laid that beautiful boucle on the table and squeezed the pattern on...I had to narrow the sides by 2" per piece, and I had to cut the back neck out of a faux suede. There simply wasn't enough boucle to do it.

And I made a severe boo-boo in cutting the back neckline on the back of the jacket. Instead of cutting the pattern, I measured off and cut the rectangles, then laid the back neckline over the back piece and cut the shallow arc for the back neck.

Only I was doing this project as I was doing other things...coming, going, cutting, folding laundry, etc., and somehow I had turned the piece of fabric 90 degrees after I cut it, went away, came back and forgot it was turned. I cut the neckline off the wrong edge.

So now I have a little 'v' inset below the back neckband where I 'filled in' the boo-boo. In the heavily textured boucle, I'm thinking it's not very visible. If anyone sees it, I'll call it a design detail. ;)

I can't do the fine seam finishes recommended in the pattern guide...this fabric is just too bulky. But it does not ravel at all, so I think I can just seam them and press them and call it good.

So, the finished product will have a little less drape on the sides and a bit shorter sleeves than pictured, but I think it will be a lovely cozy thing.

I'm hoping, anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sucked in....

Ok, I avoided it like the plague for ages.

Wouldn't go there. Didn't want to go there. Didn't need to go there.

So tell me, why did I all of a sudden feel a need to sign up for Facebook this morning?

It's not like I don't already spend waaaayyy too much time on the internet doing blogs; now I've just discovered a whole new time guzzler.

Sometimes I think I am my own worst enemy... other times, I'm sure of it;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Six Year Vest

Oh, it only took a couple of hours to cut it out and put it together back in the fall of 2002...but I've been carrying it around in a zip-lok bag ever since, sewing on beads while waiting at the dentist, the doctor, play practice, drama competitions...anywhere I had to sit and wait and wait and wait...

Of course, sometimes I sewed buttons on costumes or hemmed pants or some other such urgent task while waiting instead of sewing on the beads, so perhaps that explains why it took six years.

It's upholstery fabric, and there were little colored dashes in each of the scalloped motifs. I bought little beads in colors as close to those little dashes as I could, and proceeded to just cover the dash with the appropriate color bead.

I skipped a could I sew buttons and buttonholes on? I thought I *might* do some hook and eyes, but, ya know, I think I'll just leave it open.

Now...wherever shall I wear it... LOL

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Project of the Year

Unfortunately, it will not be SWAP wardrobe.

When we moved into our house, we discovered that the previous owners had done a cheap and quick face lift on the interior.

Most rooms had been painted over wallpaper. Sigh. We'll have to deal with it eventually, but it doesn't look *too* bad at the moment.

However, the foyer, stairwell, family room, dinette and kitchen apparently had a textured wall paper that couldn't be painted over, so it was pulled down.

But the wall surfaces were not prepped and the walls were painted right over the glue.

With a cheap, outdated paint (we found the cans with Big Lots stickers in a cabinet in the garage). It wasn't even a finish was a primer.

Well, the primer paint is not sticking well to the wallpaper glue. Shortly after we moved the paint began to bubble, crack and fall off of the walls in the rooms that had been painted over the glue. Let me tell you, to quote my oldest Dear Daughter, 'it's a hot mess.'

And, to be honest, I haven't a clue about how to go about fixing it. But I did realize that the first step has got to be to get all the loose paint scraped off. So, whilst on the blogging break, I found our paint scraper (which needs a new blade) and began in the most accessible spot: the dinette.

I figure if I can manage to scrape for 20 minutes or so 5 - 6 days a week I will get it all scraped down in about three months.

Then what? I'm not sure (any home improvement gurus amongst my blog readers? Any advice would be MOST welcome!), but I know that I really can't do anything until I get the walls scraped. But not only do I have an uneven surface to deal with, but I've got the metallic scrape marks from the blade of the scraper to cover up/get rid of.

So...while I will likely work SOME sewing in around and about this, I'm not going to commit to making a full out wardrobe.

I've put this project off long enough; it's time to get it done.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sewing on the Blogging Break

Y'know, you really can get a lot done if you don't spend two (um, or more...) hours a day on the internet.
First project:
I made another one of the Burda twist tops. I had a remnant of burgundy slinky...and since burgundy and black are the choir colors for next month, I thought I'd try a few tweaks and see how it turned out. It's still a cheap top...about three I didn't try to do all the changes at once. The knit did make a difference; this is real acetate/lycra slinky and it didn't curl. I did make a few notes on the construction though and I updated the review to reflect my more careful note making ;)

Also, I traced a new pants pattern...Simplicity 4366and made a test up. I know, what kind of doofus uses glen plaid for a test garment? I was very careful to match the plaids...after all, if it didn't fit I intended to donate it, and if it DID fit, I intended to wear it. I did, however, lay my TNT Vogue 7881 contour waist pants over the pattern, so I had a *reasonable expectation* that they would be more or less wearable.

I made view C, which is supposed to be the 'bootcut' view. Maybe my definition of 'bootcut' isn't quite accurate; I would expect 'bootcut' pants to fit fairly slimly through the leg and then flare out below the knee...y'know, to go over a boot. However, these are a little fuller through the leg to the knee, and drop straight down from the knee (you can see in the side view that the plaid does not angle back out below the knee). These are a nice cut and I like them, but it's not exactly what I was looking for. I may try the slim leg view, and then angle that out below the knee.

I need to tweak the back crotch just a bit; I left the original curve there, only adding to the point of the crotch to match my TNTs ( and I had to add about an inch). Next time I need to scoop just a teeny bit out of the back curve and add it on the back outseam and I think they'll be close to perfect.

I obviously don't do enough fly zippers to be good at them; I followed the directions on this one and it was *ok* but tedious. Next time, I'll try Peggy Sager's version.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #33

This Month's colors:Tan, brown or burnt orange w/jeans

Sigh. I own no burnt orange; my browns are all warm-weather choices...the tan shirts are from the back of the closet when we last wore tan and black in choir a couple of years ago. Not my favorite color combo! In the mom jeans and flats(back trouble keeping my heels close to the ground this week), not to mention the paste-colored tan RTW top from years past,I look like I'm heading out to climb on the tractor or something; the only thing that saves the look is the McCall's 5191 jacket in the embroidered eyelet denim...which continues to garner compliments.

Burgundy next month! Much better... :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Choir Sundays '08 #32

This Month's Colors: Jeans (or denim) with tan, brown or burnt orange tops
I've got a 4 or 5 year old RTW sweater with my salvaged Vogue 2872 Anne Klein Skirt. I'm so pleased to have an alternative to blue jeans that I can wear ;).

Plus, now I have a faced-waist style skirt that actually fits pretty well; I'll use that to check future faced-waist skirts ;).

Publication note: Tomorrow starts my quarterly 'stay home and stay off the internet catch up week', so I'll see you again on next Sunday's choir post...on my List of Things To Do This Week is make a decision about whether or not to participate in this year's SWAP competition, now hosted by Stitcher's Guild. That decision also entails whether I will be SWAPping for me or for The Flute a couple of ideas either way...

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

When to Hold 'Em...And When to Fold 'Em

So, delighted with my salvage of the denim skirt, I pulled another 'failed' project out of the back of the Hot Patterns Classix Nouveau Trouser Skirt. I'd hemmed it to donate, but hung onto it, telling myself I wanted to really look at it good to see what I did wrong before I passed it along. In truth, I was waiting for the intestinal fortitude to try and fix it.

Since the denim skirt worked, I decided I'd just take off the facings of the HP skirt at the sides, open the side seams and take it up. And I finally had the intestinal fortitude to do it. ;)

But when I put it on again to mark the adjustments, I remembered there were more issues than just extra girth. Pinching up the side seams did not make them go away.

The denim skirt was fixable...this one, not so much. It went into the donation bag at last. Next time I make that skirt, I will be sure to make sure the side panels are clearly marked as to which ones go in the front and which ones go in the back.

So it's not in the closet...but it is out of the 'deal with this!' pile.

At least that's progress of a sort ;).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Salvage Sewing

I've gotten everything in my 'cut out in '08' queue sewn up at the moment, and a very unusual urge struck fix some things that are about that I don't wear because they don't fit, or need mending or some such thing.

First up is a Vogue skirt I made last year. It was a bit too big when I made it; I lost a couple of pounds and it became unwearably too big. I've tossed it in the 'donate' pile twice, then looked at all that topstitching and pulled it back out. I looked it over good a few days ago and decided that I could try an I took out the topstitching on the CB, released the facings back, took out the zipper, and trimmed a total of 2 1/4" out of the back waist at the CB seam. I've got the zipper back in; all I need to do now is finish out the facings and it's done. And it doesn't even look too terribly 'altered' where I redid the topstitching...

You'll see it in Choir Sundays if it works. I'm *so ready* to wear something besides jeans...

Will this fix/mend urge last past this skirt? Who knows? I've got an 'urgent sewing request' from the preschool department at church, so I'm not sure how much actual sewing time I'll have in the next couple of weeks. (more Ugly Bog coats coming!!!!)

But I intend to take advantage of the 'fix it' anointing while it's on me... ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finished Photos...

I've only got a minute to post today, so the photos will have to tell the story...I'll get the review up on the Butterick top as soon as I can...

Anyway, here's the blue flannel Robin's Jacket and the 'muslin' of Butterick 5185


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Enough for Growing

Ok, these aren't absolutely positively dead perfect...but, considering they could be outgrown before Christmas, I'm calling it good enough to replicate. There's room for her to tuck in her tops, but the back doesn't gape at all.

I can't remember the last time she had pants that didn't have some sort of elastic in them that even came close to fitting.

The pattern is Simplicity 4839; I should have the review up soon.

If only I had been correct in my thinking that she had some knit tops w/lavender in them...sigh, she doesn't...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fitting the Flute Player

I finished the Flute Player's pants to the waistband; I didn't want to undo a bunch of waistband stitching if it needed serious alterations.

When I tried it on her yesterday, they *appeared* to fit fairly well...but, as the waistband is of the contoured nature the pants ended below her waist, so it was hard to tell just exactly how well they did fit.

So I sewed on the waistband, but didn't face it...and had her try it on again.

She immediately began complaining that the pants hurt...and in just a few minutes was nearly in tears.

There were no pins in them, nothing sharp...but she was obviously in distress, so I had her take them off.

So near as we can figure, the French Fuse interfacing must've been irritating her somehow. Anyway, I didn't get to tweak the fit as much as I would've liked. In the few moments I had, I could see that the back looked good but the front may still be a little loose.

If it is, it is. I couldn't check it well enough to fix it anyway.

So...I've got the facing on the waistband now; today I will get it all topstitched and finished off and put them back on her this evening to mark the hems.

We'll see what we get.

I will say's much easier to pin-fit someone else than it is to pin-fit oneself!! I don't know why I didn't think to practice the principles on pants-fitting on someone I could observe before I tackled them on my relatively unobservable self...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #31

This Month's Colors: Jeans with tan, brown or burnt orange

Jacket: Aren't you getting tired of seeing this? I like it, but I've worn it over and over and over in the last 6 months; I need to make a new jeans jacket...anyway, it's Vogue 8045

The top is Vogue 2975, one of my few nods to current trends.

The jeans are the dark wash Lees. There's a Jeans Sew-a-long on Stitcher's Guild; I'm toying with the idea of pulling one or two of my jeans patterns that have been waiting and having a go at it....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finished Shirts!

Whew. These have been long-term projects, even though they shouldn't have taken so long. Interrupted by costuming, lost pieces...I'm So Glad to put these in the closet!
The Chopin fits fairly well; this is the second try at that pattern and I narrowed the shoulders and cuffs shortened the sleeves. The mid back is still too wide (I can see that in the mirror; it doesn't show in this photo), so if/when I make it again I'll tend to that. I think I could probably narrow the shoulders a bit more...but it moves easy now; I don't know if I want to risk binding it up by overfitting there. I'm loving the way the silk duppioni feels while wearing it! Now I want more silk duppioni shirts! Sigh. Silk duppioni is not cheap...

I still need to drop the darts on the Kwik Sew shirt, but I think it's a little short waisted, too, so I may just add some length between the armsceye seam and the darts to take care of both issues. This pattern works in a stretch cotton, but I think it'd bind too much in a non-stretch. It needs a square shoulder adjustment (this was cut out in July '07...before I had the square shoulder revelation) I'm observing some other things about my shoulders that I need to learn to fit, too; more on that as I get it figured out.

Anyway, I am doing the happy dance to have these finished and wearable; I'm not going to obsess over the shoulders. RTW does the same thing.

Now, to find the rest of the binding and finish the blue wool jacket and get DD's pants put together and ready to be tweaked when she gets home.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ding Dong the Chopin's Done!

I'll press it and get My Sweet Baboo to take a photo this evening. Considering all the trauma that shirt went through, it's amazing that it looks like anything at all on me...I think I did every sewing blunder on it I could, with the exception of slicing a hole in it. But it looks fairly good and feels great. I can hardly wait to wear it ;).
*later that same day*...
And the buttons are on the Kwik Sew blouse, too!

Pictures tomorrow! (I hope)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It Must Be Fall

I've just mixed up the first batch of Russian Tea for the season. We'll drink it until spring.

But...grrrr...the folks who make Tang changed the formula! They took the regular sugar out and substituted fructose and sucralose. bleh.

Of course, their claim was that we could 'use less!'

I don't wanna use less...I want it to taste right. Grumble, grumble...

So, I had to do some math, since the classic Russian Tea recipe called for 2 cups of Old Tang and I had to figure out what the equivalent volume of New Tang would be. When they first switched, I did all the math, but I had the last Old Tang jar in front of me. Now I can't find where I wrote down the results. I just remember using measuring cups and a measuring spoon to get what I needed.

Not trusting my memory, I found the Wikipedia entry for Tang that stated that Old Tang needed 1 TBS per 8 oz serving (I thought it was 1 tsp/2 oz..or, 1 TBS plus 1 tsp for 8 oz. I *must* be wrong...). Anyway, doing the math with that proportion came out to needing 1 2/3 c. New Tang for the recipe. When I measured it out, the little jar only had about 2 tsp left in it, so I ended up just dumping the whole canister into the bowl.

Then I found I was out of Lemonade Kool-Aid (the recipe calls for 2 packets), so I substituted enough Country Time Lemonade to make a gallon.

So who knows if what I now have in my 'Russian Tea' Tupperware bowl (that's what we've put in that bowl for YEARS) will bear any resemblance to the comforting cold-weather beverage we all know and love.

Ah, well, it'll be warm...

BTW, that Wikipedia page also said that there was a household hint floating about that, due to the high citric acid content of Tang, it is useful for cleaning dishwashers. Um, wouldn't that be sticky?

The Tang people said that they only recommend Tang for drinking.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One Muslin Down

We've had a slight change of plan for the week. Older DD will take her two younger siblings to her grandparents for the rest of the week; they'll leave in the morning.

So my plan to work a bit each day and have a tested out muslin for pants for The Flute Player had to be, um, accelerated a bit.

So today I got the pattern altered, the muslin cut out and basted together, and alterations pinned out and transferred to the pattern. Whew.

She would wear a RTW 14, if the back waist didn't gape by about 4" on almost every pair she puts on. I used Simplicity 4839, since I thought that was a good basic pants pattern. Her waist measurement is barely a 10; her hip is a 12 but most of that is in the rear; she has a full fanny. I decided to start with the 10 and just do a 'full fanny adjustment'.

I began by scooping out the back crotch (the fullness in her fanny is rather low), adding what I 'scooped' to the side back seam all the way from waist to hem, and I removed that amount from the inner back seam, tapering it from the bottom of the bias point to about the knee, then consistent from there down. Basically, the leg gets shifted over just a bit, since her actual hip is not real curvy.

here is a very crude sketch (I stink at this kind of thing):

Then I added 5" in length, in about 1" increments. One of those increments was above the crotch; the rest were in the leg. Then I added an additional 1/2" width to the side back seam only, from the waist to the full hip, then tapering back into the side seam. I trimmed 1/2" off of the center back, tapering it into about the top of the curve (basically, I added a dart at the CB to take out the extra at the waist). Voila...a Full Fanny Adjustment.

When I put the pants on her, the front crotch was WAY too long; I pinned out everything I added plus a bit more there. The center back crotch was spot on, though, so I had a big dart in the side of the pants back at hip level to take the side length down to match what I needed in the front. I also pinned out about 1" excess width in the front waist, and took 1" back out of the pants length in the legs (I didn't want a 2 1/2" hem).

Just looking at the back, though, it was the best fit I've ever seen on her. That was VERY encouraging! ;)

So, off they came and I transferred those alterations to the pattern. I have some corduroy from my grandmother in the stash in the attic; that'll make a good first try to see if I've got the alterations right.

Ultimately, this was what I did to add fullness to the back:

Even if it's not perfect, it'll still be way better than anything I could buy for her. Hopefully I'll have a pair done by the time she gets home Saturday night.

And I got the neck/front/bottom of my blue jacket all bound...but I ran out of binding and need more for the sleeves. I *think* I have some around someplace...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Still Bastin'

I remember spending nearly a whole day basting/sewing/removing the basting from the narrow bias binding of the first Robin's Jacket I made. With the second one, I used some faux suede binding that was slightly wider and fuse-basted it.

But I really like the look of that narrow bias, so on the blue jacket I'm back to hand basting.

But I don't want to re-create the creaking agony in the base of my neck, so I've been doing it in small spurts.

Four more buttons were sewn on the silk shirt while waiting my turn on the electronic game I played with the kids last night. To my amazement (and The Actor's disgust), I actually won...

But I think I am going to shelve my projects and get a pants pattern tested for The Flute Player today. She needs pants that fit in the worst way and, since she's two sizes smaller in her waist than in her hips, I'm not gonna find RTW that works.

Sigh. Those projects will get of these days.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Choir Sunday 08 #30

This Month's Colors: Burnt Orange, Tan or Brown w/Blue jeans
(I stood on the back row, in front of the 'O')

I didn't know I'd be wearing my late-finished browns so soon!

Jacket: McCall's 5191, from the stretch denim eyelet I got from Muna Couture in Nashville in July of '07.

Top: Jalie 2682, from brown yummy rayon/lycra jersey purchased at Textile Fabric's 50% off sale this past July.

The jeans are Lees...'Medium' length, but I have to wear them with my 2 1/4" heeled boots.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to continue getting photos of the whole choir; we are going to three services (yes, three services: 8:00, 9:30 and 11:15) starting next week, and the choir will not be warming up/rehearsing on the stage. I'll be watching the rest of this month to see when it looks like will be the best opportunity...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Progress Report...queue busting...

I went to Hancock's yesterday and got buttons for the white shirt (and that's all I got! Really!), so I can proceed with the buttonholes when I'm ready to switch thread in the SM.

The Actor's drama class is supporting a local community theater group's production of 'Frog and Toad' this week; I found out at the last minute that there was a public performance last night (mostly, this has been performed during the school day for early elementary school groups). We had choir practice last night, too, on the same end of town as the school (they are using the auditorium there). So I bagged up my silk shirt and buttons and the notions necessary and planned to head over to the school and sit in the lobby for an hour or so after choir was over rather than drive home and back. Wouldn't you know the show ended at 8:45, and the tech kids were released shortly after so I didn't have as much time as I expected. But I did get 6 out of 14 buttons sewed on.

The blue jacket is ready for the sleeves to be installed. Then the last construction step is the very tedious application of very narrow bias trim around all the edges (Well, hammering on the snaps is a quick detail). Which means I'm about half done. I still need to cover a pair of shoulder pads for the jacket, too.

One of these days I'm going to have a bodacious amount of yardage to add to the 'out' total ;)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Up Next...

Since I couldn't make up my mind what to do, and I had one more royal blue project in the queue and blue thread still on the serger, I decided to work on my blue flannel Silhouette Patterns Robin's Jacket whilst I pondered my next move.

And The Flute Player came in yesterday lamenting that she seems to have misplaced some blue jeans; she had only one pair of long pants to wear to school this week.

Y'know, I have a fair stash of corduroy that came from my Grandmother; I think I should probably turn some of that into britches for her.

So I took some measurements; I'll be working on a pattern for her over the next week or so and hope to have some wearable pants for her soon.

If I time my multi-tasking right, they'll be ready to sew when I'm done with the blue thread. ;)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nothin' in September

According to my sewing records, I didn't complete a single garment in the entire month of September.

I have to go all the way back to December of '04 to find a month in which I didn't complete any personal sewing...and we were frantically costuming our first presentation of The Gospel According to Scrooge, so I *was* sewing at a fast and furious pace.

No, I recollect that I *did* sew my own costume for that show during December of '04; it's just not recorded. So I have to go back September of '04, which was right after we moved into a temporary rental property and I didn't get any sewing space set up for a few weeks.

But this month I had no costume sewing or house moving to blame. Just my own disorganization. And that's, um, embarrassing. I did a little (very little) mending and altering, but that really doesn't account for the whole month.

If I had realized yesterday that I'd have a goose egg for yards out in September, I'd've ditched the budget work I did in the afternoon and sewn buttons on that silk shirt. ;)

I pledge to get back to my sewing self this month... ;)

ETA: On reviewing my September posts, I find I did do a bit of costume work ... how could I have forgotten the Amazing Technicolor Truly Awful Bog Coat of Many Colors?

But that just took a day. So no real excuse there.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waiting on buttons...

Ha! I found my cuffs! Turns out all I had done to them was fuse on the interfacing; so when I found the little rectangles of fabric on the floor under a box of patterns waiting to be filed, my first thought was ' this the same fabric? I wonder if I could make new cuffs from this...' Then I noticed the interfacing and did the happy dance. So the Kwik Sew blouse is done to buttons/buttonholes.

Only I don't have any buttons in the stash that work. It needs something a little bigger than a standard shirt button, which is what I'd planned to use. A trip to Hancock's is in order. Yikes.

And the silk blouse is also done to the buttons. I have the buttonholes in and slit, so all I have to do now is sew on, um, 14 buttons and it's done.


So, now I'm trying to decided what's up next...

More queue sewing, long put off winter outerwear projects, much needed pants for The Flute Player, or a quick gratification project?

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Blog Award!

I know these awards have been making the rounds, but it still surprises me to be nominated by Ann of Gorgeous Things She is one of my sewing inspirations (not to mention suppliers, since she began her mail order fabric business, Gorgeous Fabrics) So I'm really honored that she'd pick my blog for this! Especially considering other fabulous folks she nominated (Me? In the same list with Paco?).

Anyway, like all blog awards, they have, um, rules.

The first ones are easy... post the award images and a link to the person who gave it to you.

Usually, the rules then skip to nominating others and notifying them, but there's a catch here; there's a request to list '6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn.'. (Who writes these things, anyway?) It looks like there's a lot of leeway for interpretation this six values I consider key to myself, or six values I consider important in others? Does it really matter which way I interpret it?

Well, I'm going to list six things about myself that I think are foundational to who I am, and six things I wish I could improve upon. I don't know if that meets the requirements or not, but it seems fair and in the spirit of the award, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. NOTE: These are in No Particular Order.

1) I'm a tightwad. I really hate to spend money on frivolous things; I justify my fabric purchases by telling myself it really is cheaper in the long run. And, sometimes I'm the time I had an urgent need for a denim jacket, and made one from denim (purchased on sale several years earlier) in the stash...the only new outlay of cash was about $5 for buttons.

2) I'm a Pentecostal-style evangelic Christian. That conjures up a lot of weird images for some folks, I know, but it's the truth. My life values all come from my faith...and I can't separate that out from who I am. It probably comes through on the blog, although I know there are many folks with different beliefs who stop by here and I try very hard not to offend anyone, I cannot go back on what I believe because someone else disagrees or does not understand. That's part of the reason I started the second I could discuss that side of my life without freaking the people who come by for sewing stories.

3)I try to be really honest at all times.

4) I love tradition...things all tied up around special events like weddings and holidays.

5) I am very loyal

6) I'm determined to make things work...why I have so few wadders... ;)

Now, 6 things about myself that I'd like to improve:

1) organization organization organization! I'd count that as three but that wouldn't be fair.

2) I have distinct packrat tenancies. I wish I could get rid of useless stuff easier than I do.

3) I hate confrontation. Some things need confronting.

4) I wish I could keep up with sending birthday cards and such in a timely fashion. Maybe that comes under #1, but I don't like it that folks may think I have forgotten them...that's not true.

5) I hate calling folks on the telephone. I'm not sure why, but I do. Again, people think I don't care, and that makes me sad.

6) I also have an unpleasant tendency to speak before I have completely considered how that might sound to the other person...let's just say I get misunderstood a lot and end up offending folks when I didn't mean to. It sounds reasonable in my head...but then, no one else is in my head and they didn't hear the background music, I guess. for my own nominations. These folks are supposed to do what I just did, but I'm not going to fuss if they don't. This is all about sharing the love, anyway, right?

The Rules say to nominate 6 - 10 people; I'm not sure how many I'll end up with.

I'm going to limit myself to blogs that I have recently discovered: if I just found them, it might be that some others might enjoy finding them, too!

Bubblegum for Breakfast. I've seen Birgitte's work on Pattern Review...she has an amazing eye for design and construction. Go be inspired!

From the Stash. Gry designs and sews wonderful things in Denmark.

The Princess Seam. Adriana posts as 'Eli' on Pattern review and does some truly amazing things. She calls herself an 'intermediate' level sewing enthusiast, but I think you'll agree that her garments are well above that level.

After the Dress. Gwen blogged her way through constructing a friends wedding dress, then started ATD to chronicle her sewing for herself. She has an interesting structure...on Fridays, she 'confesses' something, and then on the following Thursday does a little synopsis of the replies she received. Sort of an informal poll; it's kinda fun!

Amands's Adventures in Sewing. Amanda has been doing some pattern reviews of some really sharp things; have a look!

Ok, now I'm going to break with my sewing buds for my last one and nominate a blog that is not about sewing. It's about faith in the real world...

Bring the Rain. This is a real-life, real-time story of one mother's walk through extraordinarily difficult events. Angie is married to Todd Smith of the Christian band Selah, but that really isn't a major part of the story. How she and her family are walking out their circumstances is the story. Go to the first post and read the story from the bottom up. Have a box of kleenex handy.

Um, let's see...the last of The Rules says that I now have to leave a comment on the above blogs so they know they're nominated. So...I'm off!