Thursday, January 31, 2008

Diagnosis Strange

Ok, I finally went to the Dr yesterday to see if I could find out what was causing the 'missing cylinder' and was surprised that the preliminary diagnosis was related to digestion, not respiration, which was what I was expecting. But the Dr's line of reasoning was sound, so I have a round of medicine and a slightly restricted after 5 pm diet and the assurance that, if that is indeed the problem, I should notice a difference in how I feel in about a week and a half.

I certainly hope so. Dragging around and losing valuable time to napping is not getting anything accomplished.

Anyway, all I got done on my costuming yesterday was cutting a bunch of red and purple strips for the headbands; the director wanted to expanded the use of a couple of the palette colors a bit, so we want some glitzy stuff to pull in just a little (more) punch. So I whacked about 70 3/8" strips of sparkle mesh (not sure what to call this stuff; it's got little plastic metallic dots) in red and purple.

I didn't get anything done on the lame shirts and I certainly didn't get my black-and-white rayon to the cutting table. Keely asked what the fabric wanted to be...well, when I originally bought it, I was thinking I'd make a skirt. But once I got it home I decided it was just a little too...spongy? make the skirt. And it had an interesting pattern on the reverse (those two-sided fabrics always give me problems w/design...I want to use both sides somehow). So it stayed in the 'on deck' cabinet, but I couldn't visualize what I wanted.

Then, Tuesday, I realized I wanted a drapey top/jacket out of it...and after some musing, thought of Loes Hinse's Retro Jacket. I'd made it for SWAP '05, then decided I could tweak the fit just a little. Not too long ago I finally got around to making those tweaks on the pattern (mostly adding a little length so that the bust point and the waistline were just a bit lower), but hadn't made it up yet. That pattern wants a kind of heavy, drapey!

All I need is a little time and a little energy... ;)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Non-productive day...

Ok, I'll admit it...I'm not quite hitting all four cylinders this week for some reason, but I still thought I'd be a little more productive yesterday.

Part of it wasn't my fault, though. Who could've predicted a simple run around town to pick everyone up would turn into a two and a half hour trip? ('I promise, Mom, I'll just run in and they'll sync the'll only take five minutes!' HA!!!)

So the only really productive thing I managed to do yesterday was fuse the interfacing to the rest of the collars/facings for the other 4 lame' shirts, which I sort of promised to have done tomorrow night.

But...inspiration struck. I mean, I was just standing at the ironing board, leaning on my iron and counting to 12 slowly over and over, so my eyes wandered about and landed on a nice piece of black and white rayon that I've been trying to decide about since I bought it back in '05...or was it '06? Suddenly, I knew what I wanted to use it for. And February choir colors are black-and-white, so....

I may be really irrational and cut it out later today. You'll know what a glutton for punishment I am by whether or not it shows up in the queue tomorrow... ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scrap Happiness

I wish I'd've taken my camera with me to school Saturday....

I serged the metallic-print-on-stretch-velvet pants together and, as you can imagine, filled up my little scrap catcher basket on the serger twice. But I looked around and couldn't find a trash can. I knew I'd be cutting out shirts (and hence generating more scraps) later, so I carried the basket over to the area set up for cutting and just dumped the scraps there, figuring I'd throw the cutting scraps there, too, and then just have one pile to dispose of all at once at the end of the day. And forgot about them.

One group of ladies was working on headbands...they're all fancy things w/ribbons and sequins (even for the guys), and Our Creative Genius (I say that with all due really is the truth) Costume Designer had even asked for some 'texture' at the back, so the ladies were stitching on some dangly ribbons, with more sequins.

About halfway through the afternoon, one of the ladies happened to note the pile of pants scraps on the cutting table....all 3/8" wide, from the inseams and outseams and with an interesting little squiggle from the crotch seams. She was really impressed with their uniformity...and suddenly thought they'd look great on the back of the headbands. Texture, indeed!

So a couple of dangly strips of the gold-printed velvet now adorn all of the headbands. And it does look really cool.

But if there had been a trash can handy, they'd've been binned and no one would even have thought about it. Least of all me...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lame' Lament

(No, I'm not really going to grouse much... I just liked the alliteration...)

Turns out the lame' shirts were *not* to be made of the knit 'liquid' lame' after's regular ol' scratchy ravely tissue lame'.

I looked at it and asked to renegotiate my contract, as I was under the impression I would be sewing the knit stuff when I agreed to make them. So I was cheerfully told my salary would be doubled.

Ah, well, we're all doin' the parent volunteer thing, right?

Truth be told, I'd never done any actual garment construction with tissue lame' before; the only thing I've used it for was lettering/trim on banners. So I kind of held my breath as I made the first one. And it wasn't as bad as I thought...but you do only get one shot at it. No ripping and redoing here.

Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity 4219; the open collar version. The girls' shirts will be made from silver, and have the flounced sleeve; the boys' shirts will be gold w/a cuffed lower sleeve (I need to see about buttons....)

I cut out 5 silver shirts Saturday, and made up one yesterday evening (I *think* it took about 3 hours):

This one is a Small, but the girl who will wear it is quite tall so I added 2" to the shirt body and 1" to the sleeves. I probably didn't need to do that...this shirt is quite generously sized. So I'm going to take it in tonight and let everyone see just how big a 'Small' is...maybe even let her put it on...and see if I need to recut the other Smalls a little smaller. It's just such a puffy, floaty fabric I'm afraid they're going to look a bit clownish.

But, given the fact that these costumes are for the Troupe, 'clownish' may be just the ticket. So we'll see.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Choir Sundays # 3 2008

This month's colors: Royal Blue and Black

Top: Vogue 2945, from Gorgeous Thing's royal blue stretch velvet

Pants: same ol' same ol' Vogue 7881 pants from the unbelievable Wal-mart dollar-a-yard black cotton twill.

I really wanted to get the Chopin Blouse in time to wear this month...ah, well, such are the best laid plans o' mice and men (and many sewing enthusiasts...)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's another workday...

At school, 9 to 4. The lame' fabric was supposed to be in yesterday, so I expect to cut the shirts out; I'll take some zip-lok bags with me to stash them in. Actually, I don't know if I'll be cutting or if someone else will; I'm taking my serger, too, so I can seam up the stretch velvet pants we cut out Thursday. That's only 6 pairs, and I won't be doing waist casings or hems...just the it won't take all day.

There's just a lot of stuff to do.

But, here's a lesson on the power of assembly line sewing:

I made the first seven chair covers one at a time, one right after the other. It took me a couple just to get down what I wanted to do on them, so they were a little slower, but all in all I made them in about right at one hour. Less than 10 minutes a cover; I didn't think that was too bad.

I sat down last night to do the rest of them and did the next batch of seven assembly-line style in 30 minutes. I didn't get a time on the rest of them because I was working on some laundry in the middle of that batch, but it went just as fast. The assembly line cut my time in half...I certainly didn't expect that much of a difference.

I believe I will be making those lame' shirts in batches of three, assembly-line style. ;)

Friday, January 25, 2008

At Home Day

The cars are going with others, so I don't have to go anywhere...

Finally. The laundry is mountainous, I haven't done budget work yet this week and I'm cringing at the dust and cobwebs in nearly every room. I don't EVEN want to confess the condition of the bathtub/shower. (So much for 'very organized'... ;) )

And I've promised myself to finish the chair covers and get a significant amount done on the Chopin blouse. Do I need a clone?

The fabric for the lame' shirts still had not come in yet so last night we cut 7 pairs of pants. 6 of them were from black stretch velvet that had a gold metallic lattice print on, was it gorgeous. I wanted a jacket from it! But after we were finished, we all looked at our hands and saw that the dye had crocked off...all three of us who were working on that fabric ended up with purply palms.

So maybe I really don't want a jacket out of it...

It was really, really hard to tell which way the nap went on the fabric, because the lattice print was so fine there were only very small places to even detect the nap. We conferred and decided, carefully laid the fabric out...then got sidetracked and put the patterns on the fabric w/the waistband on the wrong end (am I saying 'we'? Um, I was the one who put the patterns down...). We'd cut 1 1/2 pairs of the pants when we realized it. So, to be consistent, we cut the rest of them that way, too. If anyone points out the boo-boo, we will consider them drafted to help sew next year's production. ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stuff It

LOL Nope, not sewing's 'stuff the end of year giving statements in the envelopes and mail them' day at church...a huge task requiring a big volunteer crew. However, because of the sensitive nature of the information on the statements, the volunteer pool is limited to people who already work in that area (and counting offering is something all the deacon couples do from time to time). So...I'm going to go fold and stuff. It'll probably take the whole school day.

I managed to get an hour of sewing time in yesterday and I made 7 of the chair covers. The first two were a little slower; I caught on to the rhythm after that. I've got 14 left so I expect to finish that job in 2 hours or maybe a little less. I'll see if I can get one hour in tonight before I go over to the school and work on Pippin Costumes.

Tonight I'll be taking my cutting and pressing stuff to the school; I've got a bunch of shirts to cut out if the fabric's in. If it's not, one of the other tasks is attaching tissue lame' to tuxedo lapels. The sample made Tuesday night wanted to curl, so we decided we'd try fusing some interfacing on the lame' to see if that will help keep it from shifting/pulling/curling. That'll be a block fuse job, I think. I don't know if I'll be pressing or if someone else will, but the backup iron and a bunch of towels on the formica tables ought to work somewhat.

BTW, one of the other ladies brought it a couple of dresses made for one (or maybe two?) of the principle girls...tapestry brocade w/lovely trims, both in rich gold tones. One was supposed to lace up the back; I thought it was really clever the way they worked around the lacing so it still *looked* that way, but was actually closed w/a zipper so she could change fast. They put flanges w/the hooks (they didn't want to do grommets for some reason) on either side of the zipper and ran the lacing through the hooks; one of the flanges is attached w/large snaps, so all it needs is a quick unsnap and unzip and she's out of it. Smart!

I'm filing that away in my mental idea box for possible future use. ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I goofed

Did you hear my cry of despair around 10 PM last night when I saw what I'd done to my lovely Chopin blouse?

This sewing in bits and pieces is a little, um, discontinuous for me. One teeny moment of inattention and...oops.

My Sweet Baboo heard me and came running back to see what had happened, so I told him, but as I looked at the shirt I realized that only someone who was intimately familiar with the pattern would notice it, since (here's a big hint, and the root cause of the problem) the right and wrong sides of the fabric are virtually indistinguishable....

I had sewn the collar/band assembly to the shirt with the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the shirt. It was a really easy mistake to make; the whole upper back is lined; the shoulder seams are enclosed. The turned-to-the-back self-faced front bands were the only clue as to what the right and wrong side of the shirt actually were.

I really thought I'd been careful to match it up right, but my collar alterations were not dead perfect and the band was slightly bigger than the shirt (As she types, she realizes she should've just trimmed out the neckline a little bigger. I am SUCH a doofus...) and I fiddled and finegeled and repinned more than once trying to get it on w/o ripples. Apparently somewhere in the repinning I picked the garment up backwards without realizing it, since I was so focused on getting the collar on.

I didn't realize it was wrong until it was all trimmed out and pressed back. I *hadn't* topstitched it yet, and I looked at it. Should I take all that out? At that point, I decided the lesser of two evils would be to fix the bottom of the front band so that the little bit of the hem that was turned to what was now the outside when I finished the bottom of the self-facing could be rolled to what is now the inside. The original blouse is a faced-looking front; I will now have a shirt with a psuedo-band down the front, like the Jalie pattern I made for DH a few months back. But since I'm leaving off the front panels/pockets, the extra little bit of design interest from a band won't fussify it up.

No, I'm not thrilled w/that solution, but it's better to do that than risk ruining the collar of the blouse by unpicking an already trimmed out seam.

And the only way anyone would know it was wrong would be to know that the front was not supposed to have a band...which is not likely.

I think I'll sew the chair covers today (they're all cut). Simple and monotonous sounds like good therapy at the moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Pippin Costumes: Taking the cutting boards tonight to whack the supersized black hoodies to length. On deck: liquid lame' pirate-style shirts. This will apparently be a pretty glitzy show. There are also pants to make, but I think I'm going to win the shirts. Um, yeah. But it's the knit lame', not the wirey, ravely woven stuff, so I think it'll be ok. I suppose this really is good learning experience for me, but I'm *really, really* glad I'm just a hired hand and not the head honcho. It has been interesting to see the resemblances between the school's costuming issues and the church's...we found out that the black robes will need to be split open from the neck to at least the waist in the front w/velcro added so the kids can pull them apart to get out of them quick. No one told the costumers that until the director saw the final robes (she wasn't the one who passed the prototype; that was just checked to make sure it would cover everything that needed covering). So there's more to be done on the robes, which were finished yesterday and assigned to cast and marked for length. And, a couple of the ladies went to the storage area to find some rolling racks and discovered the storage area was a complete and total shambles. When they reported that, there were cries of dismay from around me, 'But, we had that perfect when we cleaned up after Ragtime!'

I guess the costumer's lot is a universal one...communication glitches and storage issues don't just happen over at church ;)

Chair covers My prototype only needed a smidgen more width, so I made a note of that and then went shopping. I found some suitable fabric @ Hancock's yesterday...khaki cotton twill. I'd've been happier if the color leaned a little more to tan, but it was the best I could do. I prewashed it, tore it to the right length and serged off the edges. Next, I need to cut each length to the proper width (I can get three chair covers from each length) and serge the sides. The fold will be across the top. I'm going to try to get half of them done today, then switch the serger back to blue, if I have any time for sewing before heading back to school tonight. (Ah, ever the optimist...)

Chopin Blouse The front edges have been folded back and topstitched; I'm ready for shoulder seams.

I really need a haircut too (the problem w/shorter hair...maintenance...), we'll see how THAT can get squeaked in...

Today, I've got a parting shot...

I made him laugh by sternly instructing him not to smile. I do feel sorry for him, though...the inside tissue of his mouth is pretty raw. Wax on, Grasshopper, wax on....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chopin on Hold

And I did so hope to finish it before I had to switch the focus to Other Stuff, but, alas, the Other Stuff hit a lot faster than I expected.

Today's a school holiday, but DS the Younger has an orthodontic appointment to begin phase 2 of his treatment...braces, again. No bands, for which he should be grateful, but brackets and wires. So he'll be late to the all-day musical rehearsal. I'll tag along to the musical rehearsal; we'll be cranking out black hoodie robes all day.

But, whilst DS has the metal applied to his mouth, I've got to run over to church to see if a prototype item will work. Our children's church needs 20 little slipcovers to go over chair backs so they can mark the seats as reserved for the kids' leadership team. And they need them by Feb. 1, so they can get the iron-on transfers with the ministry logo and 'RESERVED FOR QUEST FORCE' applied to them all by the end of the month, which is when they're unveiling the new and improved, remodeled kids' sanctuary (the drapey pennant things I made last fall were part of this same project). Fortunately, these little covers are very similar in construction to pillowcases, so it takes only minutes to make one...but there ARE 20 to make.

Once I make sure the prototype fits, I can head to Hancock's for fabric later today and get what I need. Not sure how that'll all work yet; My Sweet Baboo has to be transported from work to the optometrist this afternoon, too, so I may not get to Hancock's until later this evening.

At least the Chopin Blouse doesn't need the serger, really, so it doesn't matter that I put black thread on it for now. Maybe I can catch a few minutes after supper tonight to work on it.

Or maybe I'll chop up the chair cover fabric...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Meeting More School Sewing Ladies

I took just the serger to this afternoon's selected sewing site; we tag teamed a bunch of work and got 9 more Big Black Robes completely finished, with the rest in various stages of completion. Tomorrow is another sewing day; the kids have an all day rehearsal. DS the Younger will be late; he's getting braces put on his teeth. And I may need to leave early; DH has an optometrist appointment in the afternoon and DD will be needing the other car, since she has a dentist appointment.

We really need to compare our schedules at least once in a while.

But I got to meet a few more of the ladies who work the backstage magic for the school production. And was surprised to find that one of them had kind of stumbled across Sew Random and read a post or two last could have knocked me over with a feather when she said, 'Do you write a blog?'

I bet we know all know each other really well before the show closes on March 1.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Category

I hit the ground running this morning and just now sat down at the computer...

Yesterday, we received a letter from DS the Younger's high school. He'd been cast in the 2008 Lee Lyric Theater production of Pippin, and the letter contained all the parent info...such as the production fee due from each cast member (not going there) and the 'Parent commitment list'. We were to chose an area (or two!) in which to volunteer our time and effort in order to maintain the historically high quality of the production. Amongst the choices were set building, ticket sales, publicity, meals for the cast during lengthy rehearsals, etc etc etc and, you guessed it, costuming.

I admit I had a moment when I thought about arriving at the sewing site and saying, in my best Cheerleader Barbie voice, 'Oooo, pretty fabric! Can I help?'

But I figured I'd best help where I could best help, so I hauled my trusty backup Kenmore, a box of thread and a box of miscellaneous notions down to the school for the session scheduled for today.

And discovered that I'd arrived just in time to start cutting. Every cast member needs a floor length, long sleeved robe with a massive hood in which to hide their costumes for the opening of the show, so today's docket was to cut out 40 of these and see how many we could sew. But first, a prototype, just to make sure it would work.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have no idea what pattern it was, but the garment was a Bible costume with a hood, constructed from black Doe Suede (so much for 'ooo, pretty fabric'). We cut it and I put it together quickly; it was judged acceptable and so we started whacking away on the cafeteria tables. No one had brought any cutting mats, and my rotary cutter scratched the tables, so we were using shears.

When we had about 16 sets cut out, those of us who'd brought machines began sewing them. By the time I left at one, we had five more constructed (next time, I'll take my serger). The crew that stayed on had the goal of cutting out the rest before they quit for the day.

They'll be sewing again tomorrow afternoon and Monday; I've got some other things going on but we'll see how much I can manage (There's another project...not costuming...looming for church that needs to be done by the first of February. Gotta get moving on that one). I'd sure rather do that than get on the phone and ask folks for stuff or run around hanging posters. Anyway, I've got a new sidebar category now: School Costuming. There's a play coming up in April, and the one-act next that I've been, um, found out I'll probably have some more things to add to that list before the year's over. Choir Sundays post tomorrow; My Sweet Baboo and I have been assigned to other duty tomorrow so we won't be in choir (and we can wear whatever we want...). So I guess it's ok that I didn't get the Chopin blouse finished anyway. But I *did* get the ruching done, so from this point it should be moving a little faster.

If the volunteer sewing doesn't consume all my time! ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008

A !!!! Day

Boy, those transitions times are tough, aren't they?

I keep telling myself that once the fledgling leaves the nest things will settle out and we'll all be civil human beings again.

This morning is just one of those days that I'm saying that with clenched teeth and, I'm sure, elevated blood pressure.

I've some necessary household maintenance things to do today; hopefully I can settle down with a CD and my ruching later and get focused on something besides the brilliant argument points that seem to be tumbling about my brain at the moment.

It's just's just transition...


Thursday, January 17, 2008

An oops fabric?

The Fabric Mart order arrived...or, sort of arrived...yesterday. Of the two fabrics I ordered, one was listed as 'sold out', although the first indication I had of that was when I picked up the surprisingly small box and felt how light it was. The black/white/red glen plaid was no longer available. Well, that's probably a good thing, since I had no plans to sew it up immediately...I just really liked it.

But I did get four yards (well, actually 4 3/8 yards) of one of the Anna Sui silks. Imagine my surprise when I laid the fabric over the chair to take a photo (it does not have the green/yellow cast that shows up in the photo) and saw that print discontinuity! It's there about every yard. I intended it for lining anyway, at $4.99 a yard it's cheaper than Ambiance, even after adding shipping, so I'm not devastated that I'd have to work around it too much, but it would have been *really nice* if FM had indicated on the website that this problem is there. I mean, what if I'd've wanted to make a floor-length dress with it? I originally added it to the 'Fabric In', thinking I might want a blouse out of it, but now that I've seen that little problem I think I'm going to move it out of 'Fabric In' to 'Yard Goods Notions' (that's lining and interfacing and it doesn't count against the stash). Not much chance I'll finegle it around for a blouse now.

Ok, I just convinced myself. This is lining, period. ;)

ETA Friday Morning: I sent an email to FM about the problem and got a reply from Joann at Fabric Mart this morning; she said they'd fix the description on the site and offered to send me additional fabric free of charge if I needed more for my intended project. For lining, it doesn't matter, so I didn't need any. But I checked the link above and it looks like the panel length is noted now, so hopefully it'll be a heads up for anyone else!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Add to the Catalog

I got a good ways towards being done with the ruched pieces yesterday; the collar's ready to sew onto the blouse, and I've got the cuffs almost half done. It's not coming out dead perfect; you won't see close up photography of the ruched pieces, but it's good enough to get by anyone who's not a home ec teacher or a 4-H judge ;).

So, confession time...I'm a little behind parity at the moment. That's ok, I long as I sew it down before buying anything else (and there's a package coming from Fabric Mart any day now with two more pieces). But...I've given myself permission to take advantage of fabulous sales or unusual purchasing opportunities, so I'm not going to go on a guilt trip over it.

I've got three pieces in the 'in' column so far...3 1/2 yards of brushed-back satin, purchased for new jammies at Hancock's. I'd never seen brushed-back satin there, and it's my absolute favorite fabric for sleepwear, since the flannel back is warm and the satin face doesn't velcro up to the flannel sheets. It's been four years since I last made a pair of brushed-back satin jammies, and they're really starting to look ratty, so I've been kind of on the lookout for some.

The other two 'in' fabrics are both from Michael's latest sale...50% off of a black silk/wool suiting for choir wear, and 75% off a piece of black wool w/ uneven pinstripes...that'll be a pair of interesting pants, which will also be choir wear. It's very lightweight; I really think I can wear these year-round, even in Alabama. Nice, nice fabric!

And, that same trip to Hancock's netted a few patterns...

Butterick 4978, which may get made up in a lovely retro-looking floral silk chiffon that was one of my very first Emma One Sock purchases;

Butterick 5101, just because I seem to be on a wrap-top kick lately (at least I'm acquiring several wrap-top patterns...I really, really need to make one or two up...)

and, since I had a coupon for 10% off the day's purchases, Kwik Sew 3583 (the Kwik Sew site seems to be having technical difficulties, I'll link to it when it's fixed), a cute little dress that could be elegantly formal in the long length or cute and kicky in the short length. I thought DD might like it, but I shoulda known better. If I bring it home, it's forever tainted with the uncool Mom cooties....

I'm not likely to get anywhere on the ruching today; I've a dentist appointment and a ton of errands to run. But there's sleet in the forecast this evening; I suppose there's a *remote* possibility the evening's obligations will be curtailed due to weather. We'll see...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am *Such* a Weenie

The next thing on the Queue is the Chopin Blouse. Another sort of Edwardian silhouette with high collar, full sleeves, long cuffs and peplum shaping. It's a fussy blouse, with shirred over panels on both the collar and cuffs. I've made it before, but I skipped the shirring, just cut the under collar/cuff pieces on the bias for the upper collar/cuff.

I'm still skipping the interesting horizontal pockets; I think they'd get lost on the striped fabric. But this blouse is going to have the shirred pieces...the upper collar/cuffs are cut on the bias, about twice the height of the under collar/cuffs, and shirred in three places to a paper template, then narrow strips of fabric (which have been folded in thirds to enclose the raw edges) are top stitched over the gathering. Finally, the paper template is removed and the upper collar/cuff is sewn RST to the under collar/cuff and turned right side out. Proceed as normal.

I've decided I'm going to tackle that bit of the blouse first...get the fussy stuff out of the way...and I'm dragging my feet. I'm not particularly patient w/fiddly stuff; as a Sanguine, I'm way more into fast-and-furious git 'r done sewing. But I *want* this blouse, it'll be fabulous. So I'm a little frustrated with my whiney foot dragging.

Especially after seeing Summerset's final 'Midnight Garden' photos (if you haven't seen them yet, click on that link. NOW. And click on her photos to enlarge them so you can see the details.) She imagined that outfit, then did all of that embellishment...from the silver quilting to the hand appliqued flowers to the individually stitched beading on all the edges. She embossed the velvet and created the little lace cricket. There are details on the lining you can't see. She started and stopped and rethought and redesigned elements more than once in the process. And she finished by her deadline. It's not garment's art. And it's amazing.

So how can I fret about a little fiddly shirring in the face of such an epic of couture level sewing?

I will not have a car today, so I'm At Home until this evening. By golly, I'm going to get those shirred pieces done...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blue Velvet Monday

So, the first two garments are the last two posted! I'll have a review up for the Vogue top shortly (it'll be on the sidebar).

Lessons learned: Stretch velvet definitely needs to be cut w/more ease than slinky. I've made three other Cityscapes dresses (see yesterday's post for that photo)...all from slinky...and this dress is noticeably (to me, anyway) more snug. I did think to lengthen it, as I knew it wouldn't grow in length like slinky (I let out two of the 1" tucks I'd taken in the skirt portion of the pattern), but I didn't think about it needing more girth. So I'll be happier with it if I manage to lose a couple of pounds. That didn't seem to bother anyone else, though...I got a bunch of compliments on it yesterday (including one lady who wanted to know where I got it). The Edwardian hobble silhouette is a little frustrating to walk in...and I laughed at DH when he suggested I just come round to the back and step up to the top riser. I could do that in slacks or even a long swishy skirt, but in way! I'm not sure how it was dyed, though, when the blue lights hit it on stage it turned a deep purple. Interesting!

The snugness of the dress reinforced my idea that the Vogue top would be a little less snug in a thinner knit, too. So I'll probably try it again in something a little stretchier and less dressy.

Now...I've got paper templates to cut for the ruching on the Chopin Blouse. My sewing goal this week is just to make that top.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Choir Sundays - 2008 #2

This month's colors: Royal blue and black

Dress (yes! I finished! Details tomorrow) Sewing Workshop Cityscapes Dress from royal blue stretch velvet

A Disclaimer Just to Satisfy my Conscience After a particularly moving service (actually, two of them) this morning, it feels very superficial to be writing about what I wore. So I'm just mentioning...just in case someone reading this doesn't know...that there is a lot more to life and church than sewing and clothes. However, because this is a *sewing* blog, that's what gets reported on here. I'm actually considering starting a second blog to talk about Life Issues and Bible Study Lessons and things of Deep and Eternal value...but I'm not sure I've got time to really do it right. Maybe someday. Meantime, I'll just throw in an occasional musing about The Bigger Picture into this blog, which is really about just one little life facet, not the whole gem. ;)

We now resume our regularly scheduled program already in progress... :D

Saturday, January 12, 2008

First '08 Projects Done...

Well, at least a couple of 'em. And I don't have any finished garment photos yet...

But I got the stretch velvet shirts done. DD really likes hers, except for the fact that the stretch velvet, being polyester, feels cold on her skin. I traced the next size up in the Jalie 2005 T for her; wonder how long this one'll last...

My stretch velvet Vogue 2945 top has a problem, though...largely stemming from the fact that this shirt is drafted for thin, drapey, very stretchy knits. The velvet is drapey, and even though it's not quite as stretchy as I think the pattern is designed for, it will stretch...but it sure ain't thin. I had to fiddle with it quite a bit to get it to work; I eventually cut away the 'stay' (read: front lining) just above the darts as it was just too bulky for an underlayer. And I think (hope?) the snug fit of the shirt was a result of the fabric choice; if this had been a nice 4-way stretch rayon/lycra jersey, I think it would've been a little better fitting.

However, the darts *are* too high for me; by about 1 1/4". I tried to fix that problem by shortening the darts 1". That actually worked somewhat to alleviate the overfitting, but I didn't think about problems that can arise when removing stitches from velvet. The right side, somehow, came out fine, but the left side is marred where the original stitching was (the white pin is the end of the new dart; you can see the old stitching around and past it). I've tried a couple of things to see if I could get the nap brushed back up; so far, no go. My last ditch effort is a trip through the washer and dryer. I suppose I *could* restitch the dart, but then it would be back to the original problem. I've no idea why one side came out fine and the other one didn't...and none of the other stitching I removed from anything in the process left marks. Maybe I pressed the dart on the left more aggressively than I realized.

I don't think I'll call it a wadder, though, even if the stitching lines don't come out. I can still wear it under a vest or jacket if I want; we'll see. But it was a good lesson to learn before I started sewing on the garment I actually purchased the fabric to make...and I'm about 1/3 done with the Cityscapes dress. I'm hoping to finish that today and wear it tomorrow...if not, then I'll throw a vest on over my 2945 top and wear that. I'll be funky either way...;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Hum of the Machines, the Snarl of the Ripper

Oh, yes, panne velvet is the Evil Fabric To Be Avoided.

In my excitement of finding such a lovely color,I had forgotten I had declared panne velvet OFF the sewing list.

But, let's face it, for some projects, it's just the Right fabric.

After cutting out the Sewing Workshop Citycapes dress, AND the Today's Fit drapey t-shirt, I still had enough of the royal blue velvet to cut out a Jalie 2005 t shirt for DD. When I finished cutting the duppioni top, I decided to start with the quickest-to-sew of the blue queue so there'd be something ready to wear by Sunday. And, being the put-my-family-first person that I am (yes, I'm being sarcastic!), I decided to do DD's t-shirt first. How unselfish of me! (honest? It's a guilt trip preventative...)

I got as far as the neckband...the second step...of the T before I had to pull out the seam ripper. The (grumble grumble) under side of the neckband had crept out from between the top edge and the upper side of the neckband and didn't get caught in the seam. Rip it, rip it, try again. Sigh. But her T is done to the double-needle hemming, which I'll do on all three garments at once. The Today's Fit T is ready for sleeves (and stretch velvet is not on the recommended fabrics for that pattern for a reason, but I'm Making It Work...sort of...). The Cityscapes dress is not started, but really isn't much more than an elongated t-shirt anyway. The Men Of the House are off on the Royal Ranger Winter Campout tonight, so I *should* be able spend quality time in the sewing nook. There *will* be a velvet something to wear for choir this Sunday.

Either that or my seam ripper will be worn to a nub.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Severe Weather Advisory

Well, apparently an approaching cold front is likely to trigger nastiness in our area later today...which means the kids cannot be expected to walk/ride bikes home after school. Which means I need a car in order to pick them up. Which means a lot of taxi driving to get everyone else where they need to be.

And I thought I was going to get a Day At Home To Work. Doesn't look like it.

But, to be perfectly honest...I won't mind some taxi driving, if the weather just doesn't get bad.

Maybe the school system will send the kids home early today; I hate to think of the scary mess if we've got severe weather when school lets out. (shudder)

The Chopin blouse is still on the cutting table; if I get nothing else done today, I *will* finish cutting that out!!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Randomness, part whatever

Another multi-tasking day, with work done but nothing accomplished is behind me and in front of me. So, for something creative to post, I thought I'd share a bit of poetry.

I wrote this in 2002 after my final year of Bible Study Fellowship...the study of the Life of Moses. Recently I heard a sermon that reminded me of this; just for grins, here it is.

Maybe I'll have something to report tomorrow. ;)

Crossing Over

I was foolish when I was young; I ran from my folly and hid until he called me.
I was yet foolish when he called me – “Send someone else!”
But he would not. Instead he gave me my own staff,
a charge to bring his people out of slavery,
and a promise to be with me.
And he told me his name, and I went.

Only one request of mine did he deny –
to blot out my name from his book
if the people’s sin was unforgivable.
But he said no – those who sinned against him
would be blotted out of the book
I could not substitute my name for theirs—
And the people suffered a plague for what they had done.

Only one request did he partly fulfill –
‘Show me your glory!’ I begged,
Desiring to see at last the face behind the voice
To know even as I was known.
But he said he would show me his goodness instead,
For no man could look on his face and live—
And he proclaimed his name as he passed by the shelter he gave me.
I saw only his back, and it was too wondrous to describe.

All the rest he granted. Every last one.
He sent the plagues on Egypt, gave us water when there was none,
Sent his own presence with us, healed my sister…year after year,
What I asked for, he gave. You’d think the people would’ve noticed the pattern.
But each hardship seemed to confuse their memory—
Egypt, they remembered as a place of comfort and plenty (They were slaves!)
The miraculous provision they’d had since they left there they remembered not at all.
I finally lost my temper and hit the rock. Twice.
He had told me to simply speak.
What can I say? I was wrong.
At the very end, I asked one more favor -- to be allowed to go in and see the land beyond the Jordan.
But that request only made him angry; I will get no special dispensation.
I must bear the consequences of my own sin…just like the rest of my generation.
So now I am foolish in my old age, and Joshua will lead the people into their inheritance.

It has been a long walk from Egypt.
One more walk up the mountain to gaze into the land I on which I will never walk.
It is a good land, and green. If the people learn obedience, they will do well there.

Here I am. Yes, Lord, I remember asking to see your glory.
Do you mean NOW?

Ah, my Lord and my God! The glory! The glory! The glory…!

But, you said no one could see your face and live…
Why are you laughing?
I did?

Oh. I hadn’t noticed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Multi-tasking mess

Or, how many projects can I have in progress at once?

--cutting out garments
--the eternal pursuit of the bottom of the laundry hamper
--de-decorating the house
--a writing project that's buzzing away
--completing the bedroom shuffle; our kids are kind of moving around in the house so the ones who currently need space have it

And today's an 'errands outside the house' day.

So, nothing's done, everything's wrecked...IOW, life is normal... ;)

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year, New Queue

Well, a short queue. I think I'm going to try to avoid having a queue that would take more than two weeks of dedicated sewing to get through. It loses too much of the creative inspiration when it sits around. So I will cut one more thing...making a total of three...and then I'll put away the cutting boards and focus on sewing.

I changed my mind just before cutting the blue flannel; I didn't have enough fabric to make Butterick 5087. Even if I *hadn't* had to cut around moth damage, the under and upper collars are both cut on the bias and use a BUNCH of fabric...I didn't have enough to start with. So I decided to do one of my Loes Hinse jackets; they all are pretty fabric frugal. But as I was pressing the fabric, I noticed how very similar the right and wrong sides are and realized that it was a good choice for the ultra-simple Robin's Jacket by Silhouette Patterns. So that's what got cut out. Somewhere I have a remnant of the faux suede that I used to bind the edges of the red/silver plaid, but I haven't been able to run it down. If I can't find it, I'll just use the recommended black bias tape. On this jacket, the binding is the most time-consuming part of the construction.

Plus, I cut out Sewing Workshop's Cityscapes Dress from the post-parity-acquired royal blue velvet. That's a garment that takes longer to cut out and mark than it does to sew! And...there's a bonus...I've got roughly 1 3/4 yards left; I can have a stretch velvet t, too! I'm thinking Vogue 2945...I've got it traced already from a previous 'I changed my mind' moment. It'd look really elegant in stretch, maybe I should cut out *two* more projects!

The one I planned to cut out today is another Sewing Workshop pattern...the Chopin Blouse, from royal blue/grey/white stripe silk duppioni.

I think I could get those things made in the next two weeks....

And I'm debating a fabric order from Michael...just about everything is at least 50% off and I need some good black suit weight; my black pants wardrobe is beginning to look a little aged and I'd like at least one more fresh looking pair before long.

Think, think, think!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Return of Choir Sundays

This month's colors: Black with Royal Blue

Once again, a rehearsal photo. Obviously, the baby in red and the green coat that was worn because the sanctuary started out cold would be gone when we start service, but the young fellow front and center is one of the Master's Commission students from Iceland, and that's probably the closest he had to royal blue and black in his closet! Master's students rotate singing along with the choir, both to boost our numbers and to have experience as part of the worship team, so they generally have less stringent dress codes (I'm noticing that several of the black garments look sort of red/brown...must be that blue light special again). It just so happened that DS of the Rolling Eyes was part of the choir supplement this morning, too...he's in the middle in the blue shirt, black tie and, um, fauxhawk hair do. Ya gotta love those teenagers....

I did get a couple of royal blue things cut out yesterday; maybe I'll wear one of them next week. Meantime, I've got on the Vogue 8043 tweed jacket from SWAP '06, the Textile Studios Monaco Funnel Neck Shell, in a textured slinky, and the old faithful black cotton twill Vogue 7881 pants.

I discovered something: acetate/Lycra slinky has a shelf life. The texture on the shell has broken down considerably from what it was when I made it. It's still wearable, but I can really tell that it ain't what it used to be.'s a great color!

Saturday, January 05, 2008


You've probably caught the moaning and groaning about budget keeping (actually, the accounting process, not the discipline of Not Spending, although that's certainly moan-worthy, too) during the past year. Last January we switched home accounting programs to a completely revised and updated version of our old one and so had to essentially start over. But we had some compatibility problems and minor bugs that took forEVER to clear out. Result: when we finally got it up and running, the budget was about 5 months behind.

I've worked at it some over the year...a couple of times I got within 6 weeks of being caught up but then life got busy and we fell behind it again.

Now, after about a week of being chained to the computer, all I have to do is check off my December charge receipts against the bill and we're...caught up. Wow.

But, in the interim we've discovered that our budget is rather outdated and needs some pretty major adjustments to better reflect what our needs are. So that means we've got to overhaul our end of it again before we can start with 2008. Hopefully that will happen Really Soon so we won't get way behind again.

Do you see a New Year's Resolution in the making here? As in , "I resolve to sit down and do all budget keeping on a weekly basis?"

Sigh. Still no royal blue anything cut out...

Friday, January 04, 2008

A Promise Kept

Keeping promises is extremely important, but sometimes it's easy to let those promises made to oneself kind of slip away.

So yesterday, I kept a promise to myself. I promised myself if I made parity for 2007, I would reward myself with a Burda World of Fashion subscription.

I dropped some large hints about it for Christmas, but apparently no one caught them, so yesterday I went online and subscribed.

My first issue should arrive sometime after Feb. 15.

I'm looking forward to it! I've seen so many terrific garments made from BWOF patterns in the last couple of years; now I can do something besides gaze wistfully at them.

I'll worry about how to store them later...12 issues shouldn't be too bad.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Blue January

First up for the New Year is Royal Blue sewing. Our choir will be wearing royal blue with black this month, so I finally have a reason to sew up the royal blue stuff in the stash. My biggest problem is deciding where to start; royal blue is probably my favorite color and I have quite a bit stashed up there.

Now, to add impetus to the whole thing, we usually do a jigsaw puzzle over the holidays. Because we were traveling, the jigsaw puzzle did not get pulled out until yesterday. I worked the frame and discovered that the card table is too small for this year's puzzle...I thought it was 36" on a side (the longest puzzle edge is 36"); turns out the table's just 34" square. So the only table we could use to work the puzzle is, um, my cutting table.

My first reaction was...quick! Alter those patterns and cut out a quick queue of royal blue so you can work that puzzle! But I'm trying to be less stressed in life; I think I will just put away the too-big puzzle and get out a smaller one. We'll do the big one the next time we DON'T head north for the holidays. And I'll plan ahead to not need the cutting table.

So, I've measured the alterations I need to get a fabulous fitting Sewing Workshop Chopin Blouse and I intend to alter the pattern, cut it out of that beautimous royal blue stripe silk duppioni I bought on the last trip to Textile Fabrics, put royal blue thread in the machines and sew.

Um, while I work on laundry and end-of-year budget balancing, too. Good thing I've got something available for Sunday already. I hope I get it done in time for next week.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lessons from '07

Ah! All that's left of the holidays now is a little down time, a little (snort!) cleanup, a not-so-little Discover bill and some memories. So it's time to glean from last year's lessons and move forward.

Here's what I accomplished last year:
Fabric In: 157.93 yds
Fabric Out: 159.458 yds
Garments made for me: 52
Garments made for other people in my family: 17
Home Dec items: 2 tablecloths, 1 set flannel waterbed sheets
Accessories: Weekender tote bag
'Donations': 1
Things made for friends: 7 Weekender Bags, 1 Tamari Apron
Miscellaneous Church-Related Sewing:
4 Ladies Bible Costumes
3 Guys Bible Costumes
Green panne Medieval Dress
5 altar blankets
red drape for interpretive dance
6 tasseled stoles
4 swaggy-pennant drapes
Team Effort:
12 soldier tunics/shorts/capes, 4 soldier 'armor' tabbards
15 ladies' Bible costumes
2 priestly Bible costumes
12 guys' Bible costumes
6 kids' Bible costumes

For the third year in a row, I told myself at the start of the year I would make parity (sew at least as much fabric yardage as I purchase). In 2005, I was less than 10 yards from parity, but in 2006 I really didn't discipline myself and I ended up almost 34 yards over. That shocked me into deciding I *would* really stay on it in 2007, and I did pretty well until one fateful day in May when we went up to Sir's Fabrics in Fayetteville, Tn. Sir's is a fabric outlet, and they'd recently purchased all the inventory of an unnamed store in New York's Garment District, and I bought almost 50 yards of fabric.

In years past, I'd've written off parity at that point and just tried to be very disciplined in my buying for the rest of the year, but not this year. This year, I wanted to prove to myself that I *could* be disciplined enough to sew as much as I bought. So I went on a fabric fast and, as soon as I had a chunk of time available (it was the last two weeks in July before I got the chance), I lined up a number of projects and cut fabric until I had enough cut out to get back to parity. Then I started sewing. The only fabric I bought from that point until I got back to the balance point was a chunk of extra-wide flannel, which became waterbed sheets very quickly.

I sewed as fast and as efficiently as I could, sorting the queue into like colors so I could sew as much as possible without changing thread. And I had some wardrobe needs arise (ok, one or two were simply for my mental health) that I added to the queue, so that, even though I made parity, I still have a few things left from that cutting spree that are not sewn. At times, I chafed at the wasn't always my idea of fun. By and large, I was sewing with my inexpensive (yeah, some of it was cheap, too) fabric, not the Nice Stuff. But it was kind of encouraging to see the garments take shape and get crossed off the list...and I did make some things that had been on the 'someday' list. However, it took a lot longer to get back to parity than I expected when I was throwing fabric into the cart back in May.

I learned a lot about myself and my fabric addiction buying. Most importantly, I learned that I tend to buy to satisfy my imagination, not my wardrobe needs. That's not smart in any case, whether one is sewing or just buying RTW. So my number one behavior change will be to purchase fabric that reflects what I really wear, not just fabric that will make a smashing (whatever). I also need to let my buying reflect my sewing capacity. 10 - 12 yards at a time, to take advantage of a special opportunity (the sewing expo, road trips, unbelievable sales, etc) is not unreasonable from any perspective; I can sew that in a month or two. But I can't do three 12 yard purchases in six weeks' time. I need to plan what I'm purchasing so I can take advantage of those opportunities without overwhelming my actual ability to sew it.

And I need to shop the stash. Which means I need to Let Go of yesterday's visions. Fabrics that I purchased to make a specific garment which didn't get made when the inspiration was on me need to be released from that vision so that they can become inspirations for new visions. I think that is going to be the most fun/rewarding part of this whole revelation: I get to be inspired by some beautiful fabrics all over again.

And that, in a nutshell is my direction for 2008.