Monday, March 31, 2008

Can't...resist... pattern...sales....

I had to make a run to Hancock's Friday to take advantage of the sale on sewing machine needles(I seem to have broken quite a few when doing the costuming), and, well, Vogue and McCall's patterns were on sale. And I have an ongoing list...

But the new Vogues weren't in the cabinets yet (grumble, grumble), so the only Vogue pattern I picked up is one that has been on the list a while, 8481, which is a Claire Shaeffer Couture pattern. I like the lines and proportions, and Claire's directions alone are worth getting the pattern.

But I got four McCall''d been awhile since I caught a McCall's sale.

5529; a wrap-front shawl collar jacket. I think this would look good in a soft, stable knit or boucle...not that I have any, you understand, but should I see some I'll have the pattern already in the collection.

5334; I like the shoulder-princess seams and the mandarin collar on the jacket; not so sure about that short button band. But it would be easy to redraft the front to include the buttons a little more conventionally.

5335. This one I do have fabric for...some silverish brocade I got from Gorgeous Fabrics. (Wonder how soon will I need an uber dressy jacket???) I was in a quandary about what pattern to use for it, and I saw this pattern in an ad Threads magazine and was smitten.

5592. This is the pattern I would not have gotten if it had not been on sale. I'm still not entirely sure how it ended up in my basket... ;) But 'trouser jeans' seem to be showing up over and over; anyway, I've got it.

And I finished the silk/lycra shell yesterday by hand-stitching the neck binding down. I had a revelation in that I was cutting the bias bands too narrow and finished out the one band I had sewed down, then just turned-and-topstitched the armholes. I cut the strips 4 times the desired width, plus another width for turn of the cloth...I should've been cutting it 6 times the desired width, plus a TOC allowance. No wonder I had such fits.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #11

This Month's colors: Black w/muted green
Top: Simplicity 4528 tunic, from rayon/Tencel jacquard. I ended up shortening the top 3", and I think it looks much better.

Pants: La Fred's Daphne pant, substantially altered (I added pockets and a waistband, and put the zipper in the pocket). This is just what I wanted this pattern for...skinny pants under a tunic.

Next month: Purple!!! (or lavender). I have purple fabric; who knows if I'll get a purple thing cut and sewn...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Famous Last Words

That'll only take an hour or less, start to finish...

Well, it would've, if I'd've done the simple 'turn and stitch' finish on the neckline and armholes. But, no, I had to get fancy and do bias bindings...

Let's just say that yesterday wasn't one of my brighter, mentally sharp days, ok? I'm still trying to get those bias strips on that silk/lycra charmeuse top.

In all fairness, I had a large chunk of time that was consumed w/trying to find some RTW britches for the younger DKids. I don't know how many discount stores we scouted looking for khaki pants and black dress pants in size 16 for The Actor. Finally found 'em at Target, although we had to go w/dark blue instead of black. By that time, I was happy to find anything. We looked at Goody's, TJ Maxx, Ross...nobody had anything. Just cargo shorts in varying rumpled fabrics and blue jeans.

Sigh. I guess I'd better pull out that Jalie guy's pants pattern and get something worked up for him, just in case he has to wear black pants for some unforseen special occasion.

But first...the bias strips. Then I'll shorten the green tunic. And we're serving at a dinner for church tonight.

At least life is never boring!

Friday, March 28, 2008

One More Tweak

I had an epiphany yesterday...the reason the tunic looks like a dress over jeans is that it's too long. That hit me yesterday when I finally looked critically enough at the envelope picture to see that the tunic hits the (what...5'11"?) model at just above her knees; mine hits me just below mine. So I pinned it up a bit and it did look a little less, um, like I should be wearing a scarf on my head. So today I'll shorten it a total of 3 1/2"; you'll see the results on Sunday's choir post.

But I'm going to cut out and sew up my TNT shell top from the silk/lycra charmeuse I got in Atlanta before I put the green thread back in the serger. That'll only take an hour or less, start to finish, so I might as well do it while the black's up. ;)

And for the other project...trimming the neckline back just a bit did the trick, so that's in my closet. It does look good under a jacket... but the armsceyes are pretty big and floppy, probably because I had to size up so much, so I won't be wearing it by itself. That's ok, though...we don't wear sleeveless shirts in choir anyway unless they're under something. The top works for its intended purpose.

And The Actor has informed me that his Drama teacher will be contacting me soon about some costumes for the play that's now in production. However, it's a modern piece (Dearly Departed), so he said there wouldn't be a lot of things to do; most of the costuming should be taken care of by the vast costume closet contents that are already available. We'll see....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One Done; One...Still in Salvage Mode...

Ok, I know it looks like I'm wearing a table cloth...or maybe some recycled curtains here...but I *love* this tunic! The rayon/Tencel fabric is soft like butter and heavy and warm and... I can see myself wearing it w/leggings after the Christmas Eve service whilst playing Santa. Anyway, it really feels good. There are slits in the sides up to about mid-hip; this can't be worn stand-alone, for all that it looks like a dress over jeans, it isn't.

But, as much as I love this, I really think it's the last time I'll make it long (Unless I do the other long view with the beading and the front slit. Wow, how long would THAT take?). All in all, the shorter tunic would probably be more practical.

It made up quite easily with no issues; the only tedious bit is the collar (I added a facing for the slit). No buttons, hooks or zippers...I'll get a review posted later today. Oh, did I say I love this top?

The Pleat Top is still having issues, however. I laid the pattern back over the garment and recut the neckline down to the original size, finished it out, slit the back neck and rolled that edge, sewed a very nice hanging snap. It went over my head quite easily and then... I found that the neckline was too tight on my neck. I could barely snap the snap, and it was not pretty. Doggone...I didn't think about the neckline needing to stretch around my neck. Grumble, grumble. I let the shoulder/neckline seams out as much as I could and tried again. Better; at least it wasn't visibly digging in to my neck, but it was still too snug to look good. It hung up and made a weird pouf in the front. So I took off the snap and trimmed 1/2" off the top of the neckline. I rolled the edge and left the fray check drying on the corners last night. I'll sew the snap again and see how it works. If that doesn't fix it, I'll just have to take Peggy up on her offer of more fabric. I'm determined to get this right...if I can, it will be a killer blouse to wear under a black jacket on a Black and White choir Sunday. Besides, I'd like to pass along fitting tips in the eventual pattern review...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mystery Explained

I stumbled onto a mystery yesterday.

I pulled out the fabric I got from Peggy Sagers at the Atlanta Expo to make the Pleat Top. Before I traced the pattern size I needed, I checked how much the pleats on the fabric spread (the rough equivalent of how much it would stretch). It spread from 8" to 9", which really isn't much give at all, so I cut a size 4 top (2 sizes bigger than my previous Silhouette tops), whipped 'er up, then discovered I couldn't get it over my head. The neckline was like 9" smaller than my head circumference. I began whacking it out, which turned it from a funnel neck to a boat neck before I could get it big enough to get on. And I'd still underestimated the amount of ease I needed; the top fit like a sausage casing. And it only hit the top of my jeans waistband. But, Peggy (probably armed with foresight) had cut my fabric very generously and I had enough to call that a 'donation' and try again. The second time, I traced a size 6, lengthened it three inches, and spread the neckline 2" on either side, redrawing the front neckline curve.

Well, I could get into that one, but the neckline was huge and flopped around. With a jacket on top, the sides of the neck got kind of pushed in so it didn't look quite so strange. And I still could've used a pinch more ease in the hips since I lengthened it but, well, it was good enough for under a jacket.

But I was curious. That was the fabric on the envelope; the one Peggy used in the hands-on classes she taught at the expos. I expected it to work...somehow...but it didn't. So I sent her an email and asked.

Turns out she's had that fabric made twice, and the second time it wasn't as deeply pleated and didn't spread nearly as much as the first (which is the one on the envelope). She said when she made the top from this run, she slit the front and it opened up like a collar. Or, she said if I liked the high neck (I do), I could put a slit in the back and finish with a button-and-loop. She suggested I take the neckline back up to the original and try a slit. Then she offered to send me more fabric free of charge so I could try again.

Wow. Talk about customer service!

But I think if I take up the neck and put the slit in the back (which strikes me as an excellent application for the hanging snap that Cynthia Guffey taught in the Tricky Gizmo class), I'll end up with about the same results as starting from scratch, so I don't think I'll make her send more fabric. Unless somehow I mess it up.

But it'll have to wait until the green tunic is finished. I'm on a roll there; all it needs is a couple of hours and it'll be done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One More Green Top

Over the weekend, amongst finishing up things, setting up stuff and general holiday business, I managed to cut Simplicity 4528 out of the green Tencel/rayon jacquard I got from Vogue Fabrics at the Expo this year. And yes, I got the longer version...which pleased me no end. It should be fairly simple to sew up, once I change the thread from black back to the green/gray combo.

But before I switch, I'm going to finish the edges of the black and black/white fabrics I bought at the expo so I can begin the pre-shrink process. Most I think I'll wash, but the wondrous silk I got from Louise Cutting will be London Shrunk. I think I've changed my mind; instead of making black pants from it, I do believe it will be the perfect fabric for a Little Black Dress...the one I have in mind is Vogue 8319. Not sure if I need the jacket or not, but the LBD is a definite wardrobe deficit...

Also, I think I'll trace and cut Silhouette Patterns Pleated Top from the fabric I got from Peggy at this year's Expo, too. It should make up very, very fast (there's only one pattern piece), and she made me promise not to put it in the stash. I'll whip it up before I change the thread....and yes, I still hope to wear that green tunic for the last green choir Sunday this weekend.'s purple/lavender for April. I've got possibilities percolating along for that, too...

But I gotta make the last green top before I go there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm Tagged

I'm late to this show, but I've been tagged by Keely with the 7 things meme; so I'm supposed to 1) link back to the blog that tagged me (check), 2) Post 7 random things about myself and 3) tag 7 others. For 3), I'm going to fudge a bit...I'm not sure who has already been memed here, so I'm going to do a Random Tag. My birthday is in July (ok, that's Random Thing Number 1), so I'm going to tag anyone who's reading this whose birthday is also in July. Just leave a comment if you decide to play along....

So, for Random Things 2 -

2)I broke both arms when I was a kid, but not at the same time. I can commiserate w/DS and his recent injury, although the treatment of my breaks (put on a plaster cast until the bone is set...oh, in the summer w/no air conditioning) was considerably different than his (he only had a real cast for about 2 weeks; but he did have to have surgery and he will have some physical therapy). But broken bones are no fun.

3)I think my profile just mentions that I have a college degree. It's actually a high honors degree w/a double major: Mathematics and Computer Science. Of course, that was awarded in 1985, when desktop technology was just arriving (the IBM AT was a Big Deal) and windows were on houses. My college work was largely done by submitting batch runs of punch cards to a Univac; I'm a digital dinosaur. And after all these years I might recognize a differential equation if I tripped over it.... But at least I've got the degree.

4)I don't swim. I like relaxing in and around water so long as it's not more than 5 feet deep. On my few beach visits, I discovered I don't like moving water much above my knees...the surf made me feel unbalanced. So I enjoyed the Gulf by just sitting on the beach and letting the waves wash over me. I thought that was the epitome of relaxation until I discovered that the surf filled the back leg portion of my bathing suit with sand. Like I need that....

5)I hate washing dishes. Not going any deeper on that one.

6)I also do not care at all for football. This is tough on someone who lives in Alabama. I'd rather do dishes than watch a football game on TV.

7) I think it's REALLY COOL that I got tagged by a fellow blogger from New Zealand! My Pen Pal Penchant from my early teens has been totally satisfied by blogging and meeting folks from literally all over the world via the internet. And no trudging to the post office for air mail stamps!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #10 : Resurrection Sunday

Today, being Easter Sunday, our church services were held at the Civic Center; all three campuses of our church came together for one service. We combined all the choirs/worship teams from the three campuses with Master's Commission, and ended up with about 70 - 80 people in the choir. So it was split into two. The guys were to wear light yellow with black, the ladies were supposed to wear a color JC Penny calls 'Ocean Teal'...most ladies just went with turquoise. But it all blends.

Me, I wore the black poly herringbone Loes Hinse Bistro jacket again, and the hot-off the sewing machine Simplicity 4076 scoop-neck top, in the required 'Ocean Teal' knit, and the also *finally finished* Loes Hinse Oxford pants, from the tropical weight wool pinstripe that had been waiting for elastic for 2 weeks. The pinstripes are really, really fine and don't show up, but with the final tweaks I made to this pattern I think I've got it fitting just about perfect now. Yay!

Just as an aside, the service today was incredible... wish you all could've been there. ;)

Bonus Post: He is Risen!

Christ is risen, indeed!

Joy to you on Resurrection Sunday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

When Patterns Lie

DD's Easter Outfit is done to the hand sewing on the jacket, but it was a trial.

The pattern back states that it is for woven fabrics; however, I beg to differ.
It turns out the following mini-rant may be premature; see the update at the end...
There is no zipper, button, snap, anything in this dress to provide an entry. DD's bust and waist measurements were *lower* than the size 8, which is the smallest on the pattern. I decided to make her an 8 anyway (she needed a 14 in length), figuring it would give her some room to grow. I made the bodice and the skirt separately, as instructed by the pattern, and was alarmed as I saw how truly smallish the skirt looked. I called DD in and had her try the pieces on separately...she could *just* wriggle into the bodice, but she couldn't get the skirt over both shoulders.

This was a wadder in progress.

I dug through my zippers and found a 9" cream invisible zipper. Not exactly what the dr ordered, but it'd do. I opened the left seams on the bodice and the skirt about 5" each before I sewed the bodice to the skirt so I could stick the zipper in the sideseam. The bodice wasn't too bad; I'd serged the seam edges and stitched the seam conventionally, so I could press it open and reduce the bulk at the armsceye binding, but the skirt I'd I had only 1/4" seam allowance to work with.

All I can say is, thank God for Wonder Tape.

It's not the best and neatest zipper application in the world, but it worked. DD can get into the dress and, surprise surprise, her reaction was "I LOVE this dress!!!".

So I guess it was worth the hair tearing moments. She hasn't seen the jacket yet.

I've got some very interesting comments to make when I get around to reviewing it, you bet!

*Update after the Photos*

Is this an egg-on-face moment or what?

I finished the hand sewing on the jacket and sent DD off to try on the whole ensemble. When she came out, dressed, she complained,
"Mom! You sewed up the zipper!"

Um, I most certainly did not. I demonstrated to her that it zipped and unzipped just fine. Apparently she'd had some problems.

Wait. Did you mean to say you got into that dress without unzipping it?

*sheepish look on her face* Um, yes.

Did you have to wiggle and work to get into it?

Now she laughs. "No! I didn't! It was fine!"

Could someone please direct me to a brick wall...I think I'd like to bang my head on it for a little while...
But here's the photo of the finished product. And yes, she will wear a slip under it. If I'd've had time, I'd've underlined it....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Suddenly Easter Sewing

Well, there's the 'Ocean Teal' shirt...and I've discovered that most of the other ladies got the hot turquoise color after all. Oh, well. This was quick and cheap and will be mostly hidden by the jacket, so it won't matter that it's a little snug and a little pale. It'll do.

And I had a sudden revelation this week; my kids are part of the junior leader team in the children's church program, and, as such, wear a blue-jeans-and-logo-t-shirt uniform every Sunday. So I wasn't worried about Easter clothes. But we are doing our service at the local civic center again this year and about Wednesday I realized that there will not be children's church this week. My kids will need something. DS is ok...he's got dressy enough clothes, but the only thing DD had was the sleeveless white dress I made for her last summer. I expect it to be cold in the South Hall of the VonBraun Center; she needs something with sleeves. I pulled a dress out of storage that I'd made for her older sister 10 years ago...nope, still too big. So yesterday we looked through patterns and fabric and she decided she liked Simplicity 3589. I traced it in what I reasonably hope will be close to 8 in girth and a 14 in length...and cut the sleeveless dress, minus the shoulder ruffle, from a blue-and-white print plisse, and the jacket from the white eyelet that's leftover from last year's dress. The last thing I did before I went to bed last night was switch out the thread in the serger and sewing machine; I'm ready to go.

She got a haircut this morning, so I'm just now ready to hit the machines. This'll take a little more than 40 minutes, I think...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forty minutes of sewing

That's my estimate on how long it will take me to put together the 'Ocean Teal' Simplicity 4076 top...once I change thread and have at it. I hope I'm right...between unexpected car repairs (what do you mean it has to stay at the car hospital three days????) that result in extravagant taxi runs and normal things like orthodontist visits (doesn't everyone schedule things like that on Spring Break?) and preparing a lesson for Friends class last night (I was seriously rolling my eyes at the teacher's material...ten minutes worth of reading won't fill up an hour and a half of class; I hadn't planned on writing my own lesson) I haven't gotten to the sewing machine yet this week.

But nothing else on the 'to do' list has gotten done this week either...

So, instead of cutting out the green tunic, I think I'm going to just change the thread and see if I can find forty minutes today to sew up that little top that I must wear Sunday...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On to the Easter Choir Shirt...

I debated several things. If I'd've had some black stretch lace, I might've tried for something a little bit edgey. But I think I've decided I'm going to wear my black eyelet skirt, so instead of edgy I wanted something just a little girly. The nod went to Simplicity 4076, the scoop-neck version w/the front gathers. I had to alter the pattern a bit from the size 10 I used last year for DD's top, but I think it will add just the right feminine touch w/the black skirt and under one of my Loes Hinse designed black jackets.

Not to mention that it will be very quick to make.

Whilst the cutting table was out, I went ahead and traced/altered Simplicity 4528; I decided I'd use that tunic pattern with the green jacquard rayon blend I got at the Expo. I've been wanting to make that for ever-so-long; now's my chance! I haven't cut it out yet; I'm hoping there's enough to make the long version but I'm afraid it's too narrow and I'll probably end up with the shorter one. We'll see after I get the fabric pressed out well. I'll probably actually sew that first, since there's still green thread loaded up on the machines :D

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Parody for Spring Break

The kids are off from school this week; for some reason, the theme song from Pippin, Magic to Do, has been running through my head, only with the following words:

Join me, leave your Game Boy Beeping,
Join me, it's too late to be sleeping,
Join me, come and help an hour or two
Journey, journey to the trash can
Take it to the curb for pick up
Journey 'round the yard with th'lawn mower, too!

I've got laundry to do, just for you
I've got dishes to wash, I say,
I've got menus to form, leftovers to warm,
I also need to mend what's torn
So I need your help today...aaaay

The kids unanimously declared they preferred the original words.

ETA: I had a question or two off site wanting to know what the original tune is like. I did some searching on You Tube and found one that 1) was fairly easy to understand and 2) didn't have costuming I'd be embarrassed to link to. It's not the best version out there (I liked the one w/Ben Vereen, but, well, the costumes were *skimpy*) but you can get the idea...

Magic to Do...unknown cast

It was interesting to see all the different stage/costume designs in the various productions. Nothing at all like what we did...I don't know if that's good or bad...

ETA again... in hunting around, I actually found that someone had posted a clip from the finale of OUR PERFORMANCE. It's a home video, I think, the quality is not so good, but...well, here it is:

Lee High School Pippin '08 finale

The Actor actually spotted himself a couple of times. He's excited.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Movin' On

I finished up the OOP Simplicity PJ's...finally...and managed to cut out/whip up two tops from the green knit. Besides yesterday's Jalie top, I also made a mock turtle neck shell from my favorite Kwik Sew pattern, the 2948 Twin Set. I'll admit that's a little boring, but it'll be extremely useful under jackets and such.

Now I need to decide what I'm going to do with the 'Ocean Teal' knit I purchased at the's gotta be worn this Sunday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #9

This Month's Choir Colors: muted green w/ black

Jacket: The herringbone-weave Bistro Jacket by Loes Hinse

Top: The hot-off-the-sewing machine Jalie 2682 sleeveless top in the martini-olive jersey knit I got from Gorgeous Fabric's last sale. This was much nicer rayon jersey than the black and white stuff I got at Hancock' got along much better with my machines. I got tons of compliments on it today; you can bet I'll be making that pattern up again soon.

Pants: Modified Loes Hinse Oxford Pant. I altered the legs of the pattern a bit to make them slightly boot-cut looking. I've tweaked the fit on the pattern since I made these; I want to make up another pair (I've got some cotton/lycra black/white stripe cotton that may end up there) with the tweaks added. The fabric is a very nice RPL that I got from Emma OneSock absolutely ages ago...but then, I made those pants absolutely ages ago, too.

Next week we'll be dressed differently for Easter; I'm hoping to get choir photos, too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Aiming to Finish

I've got the pants done on the PJ's and the collar is on the top and the topstitching is done. I intend to finish that today and get on to some other things! I might go ahead and put the elastic on the paused pants, or I might do something with some 'martini olive green' rayon/lycra knit I got from Gorgeous Fabrics a little while back. We'll see how the day goes...I could do any number of knit tops from that pretty quickly, and then I could wear it tomorrow. ;)

Yesterday's conference was really good, and I've got some serious reflection to do over the next few days on some things. As much as I want to sew, I want to make sure I take the time to do the necessary inner work, too.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Justa Minute

All day regional women's conference today; just got a break between sessions!

Wow, good stuff...but no sewing ;)

Catch up tomorrow!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poured Out

I didn't manage to get to the sewing machine yesterday, so I thought I'd post on someone else's artistic creativity.

When we have our monthly worship-and-intercession services at church, there's usually a few people off to the side of the podium doing artwork as they are inspired by the service. This month, the artists included three of the HMC girls who did some paintings; they all have mission trip finances to raise, so the paintings were offered for sale as fundraisers after the service. All the paintings have been really interesting (most of the pieces done this month involved swirls and/or ripples...with no collaboration or theme mentioned!) but this one talked to me:

It's titled 'Poured Out'...but I could also see a pitcher that had just been dunked in the water being lifted away. To my surprise, no one bought it immediately, and after some discussion, My Sweet Baboo and I decided we'd help the young lady towards her mission trip and purchase the painting.

I'm not sure where we're going to hang it yet...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I need a plan

Ok, I have wonderful new new patterns...and I want to sew it all. Today.

Obviously, I need some way to chop this down to 'doable'...find some way to prioritize I can get through it in a timely fashion.

This year, though, is different from every other year I've been to the Expo; there is no big Costume project hanging over my head. We're not doing a costumed thing for Easter this year, so I'm actually anticipating some real time to sew for me. (Did I say that out loud? Isn't that kind of like talking about a no-hitter in the 7th inning?)

Now, ignoring for the moment the fact that I've got an awfully lot of household type stuff that's so incredibly behind, and my sewing room's a total wreck, I should have some time to the next couple of weeks. I've got an all-day conference on Friday, but next week is spring break and I'm a little hopeful that I can get some sewing done. Or at least some of the housework-in-arrears so I'm free to sew the *next* week.

First up, obviously, is pre-treating all the fabric so that it's ready to cut. Laundry being one of the things that is behind, I'll work on that project as I make an attempt to find the bottom of the hampers. And I can work on the WIPs while the laundry is running.

And I'll see if I can come up with a yardage-into-wardrobe plan in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Classes: Expo '08

I only took 4 classes this time, although one of them was 2 1/2 hours long and counted as three sessions. Two of the classes were w/Cynthia Guffey, one was with Louise Cutting and the other was with Peggy Sagers. I love all those ladies...and while I know there are other excellent instructors at the Expo, they are on my 'must have' list and, since I was somewhat limited in the number of classes I could take this year, I just made sure I had classes w/all of them.

I began w/Louise's class, 'Cutting Line Designs'. Louise talks every year about new ideas she's spotted in high-end and designer RTW, and this year was no different. Neat ideas for wrinkle-resistant travel fabrics, edge finishing on sheers, neckline shapes. She also talked a little about sleeve fitting and gave a great way to know how large a sleeve should be: with the arm bent at the elbow, place your opposite hand vertically on the upper arm and have someone else measure around both your arm and your hand. This will give you the minimum measurement the upper sleeve should be, including wearing ease. That was a lightbulb moment for me...and hit home later. She had more tips on garment construction and was an *excellent* class, and Louise, as always, was thoroughly entertaining as she imparted her wisdom.

The next class was one I'd been looking forward to...Cynthia Guffey on Sleeve fitting. We began with Cynthia's standard lesson on Back Curve/Shoulder Slope and went on to sleeve cap/biceps. I had a shirt muslin with me that I'd made for her top fitting class a couple of years ago but didn't get used because there were so many others there w/muslins she just didn't get to mine. So I toted it back and she used it for the class example. She verified what I thought: I have square shoulders and need to make corresponding adjustments. But the big deal with that blouse is that the sleeve was too small (I will confess to gaining a couple of pounds since I made it). She emphasized a couple of times that if the sleeve and bicep were both measured ahead of time, most of that could have been fixed before making the muslin. Then (with my permission) she took a pair of scissors and slashed the sleeve (there was an audible gasp in the class, but it was made to be whacked). The slashed edge spread two whole inches when I bent my arm. So I will definitely try adding some space to that sleeve and see if it works.

But, I felt a little chagrined, because I *had* measured my arm...hanging straight down at my side. Why it didn't occur to me that I needed to bend my arm (sort of like measuring your hips when you're sitting down) I have no idea. Louise's lightbulb came on I'll be doing a little remeasuring.

Cynthia's Tricky Gizmo sewing class was really good, too...several handsewing tricks for 1) securing thread invisibly 2) precisely placing snaps, hooks and eyes and buttons, 3) making perfectly neat thread eyes and button loops and, as a bonus, sewing a hand rolled hem. It was really validating, because some of the things she demonstrated I already had figured out on my own. But I learned some new things just the same (and I'm going to keep practicing that rolled hem until I get good at it. Rolling edges of silk scarves would be a great work-while-you-wait or watch TV project)

Finally, on Saturday I had Peggy's classes on Designer Finishes. She had a boatload of Designer and high end RTW that she brought in to show us, basically, how simply many pricey designer garments were sewn. Rolled edges, raw edges, simple shapes, deliberately crooked or irregular topstitching...all things the designers get away with because they have a Name and they're using fabulous fabrics. Peggy's point was that if the designers can do it, so can we...and we should just get over the 'home ec perfection' that was required back in the day and be free to break the rules and just sew.

One of the things she had was a lined denim jacket. Now, it wasn't a blazer style; just a plain ol' western jeans jacket. And it was lined. Now, I'd sort of figured that a lined jeans jacket would be a dead giveaway that it was homemade; who lines jeans jackets? But this one was lined with a cotton print (rather rumply on the lining at that), so now I feel free to line my eyelet jacket when I get around to it.

Now I'm all inspired! And it's back to the jammies...

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Expo Haul '08

There's the contents of the bags all spilled and spread. The total yards bought (somehow, I forgot to put the stuff I got at JoAnn's in the photo...but it was only one Burda costume pattern and one yard of silk/lycra black charmeuse) on Saturday all added up to 22.875 yards. Not as bad as my day at Sir's last year, but bad enough. That makes me currently 36.125 yards away from parity, although I have two projects that are close to being finished and one that's about half done. Still, I'm climbing back on the 'no fabric' moratorium for a little while. Sigh.

But it's all good stuff! Well, the possible exceptions were two fabrics that I got purely for choir wear...that turquoise is a pretty cheap knit (I've gotten similar stuff at the dollar table at Wally World, I do believe) but it's the right color for Easter Sunday. It's going to probably be a Basewear 2 turtle neck top; we'll see how it feels after it's washed. It was in Vogue Fabric's remnants bin, so I really don't know what the content is. Definitely lycra; dunno what the balance is. It's soft and appears to be rather pill-prone...probably a cotton/poly blend. The other meh-for-me fabric is the light green cotton/lycra sateen. Beautiful hand, icky color. But it's choir I figured I'd use it to test a pattern that I ordered from Cynthia Guffey, a jeans jacket w/a cool assymetrical style (I should have it in a week or two). I think if it works it'll be the pattern I use for the cool denim eyelet I've been trying to decide on a pattern for. Just enough of a twist on the classic style to suit the cool fabric.

The other fabrics I love, love, love, though. The green (also a choir green!) jacquard is a Tencel/rayon blend and drapes beautifully; I've got a couple of the Threads/Simplicity tunic tops and one of them will get made up into this pretty quick. You'll see three pieces of solid black...and that's not counting the black silk lycra charmeuse! I found some NICE black pieces...a sandwashed silk crepe from Vogue Fabrics that I intended for drapey pants, even though it's a trifle on the light side for pants. But then I visited Louise Cuttings booth and got a yard and a half of the most amazing black silk (oh, my, it's TDF!)pants weight fineline twill. Then, I found a teeny booth on aisle 1 called 'Trendy Fabrics' manned by a young couple who do most of their business on the 'net and ebay. Enough 62" tropical weight black wool for a pair of Oxfords. For less than $15.

Two black and white prints are in the haul; one is a silk crepe houndstooth from Vogue'll be a killer blouse if I don't go totally crosseyed trying to sew it! The other is the crinkle fabric featured on the front of Silhouette pattern's Tank Top/Pleated Top. Peggy had a 'show special'...the pattern and the fabric for the pleated top at a discount. Hey, it goes great with all the black stuff...I decided to go for it. And she measured the fabric VERY GENEROUSLY, so I might end up with something else from it, too.

The final expo purchase was the white shirting. No one had any 100% cotton or cotton/lycra great white shirt fabric, so I ended up getting some fantabulous Italian linen from Vogue Fabrics. Not *exactly* what I was looking for, but close enough.

It wasn't everything on the list, but I managed to find subs for most of the stuff that I couldn't find specifically. And I exercised great restraint over a pricey bit of novelty wool at Vogue. The saving grace was that it was more dress-weight than jacket weight. If it'd been a tad heavier, I think I'd've been a gonner....

I purposely did not resize the photo, so if you want to see what patterns I picked up you can click on the photo and enlarge it and I think you can see details.

I had some volunteer work on my schedule this morning, and I have company coming for dinner tonight and, well, let's just say there wasn't much housecleaning done while I was gone...maybe I can sew tomorrow. Hope, hope, hope....

Sunday, March 09, 2008

It's in the Bag

The only things I had time to purchase Friday between classes were my micro-tip scissors and the new rotary cutter and replacement blades. Everything else I bought, I bought on Saturday. I took my Weekender Bag in as my shopping tote; figured that would keep me from getting my pink bag confused w/everyone else's pink bag. What I didn't figure on was cramming the thing so full the tab started to pull out. (EEK) As soon as we got to the car I moved some of the stuff to the Expo bag to give the poor Weekender some relief!

But I bought a bunch of fabulous fabric and, alas, must return to the NO FABRIC moratorium whist I sew it up. I gotta be at least close to parity before the annual pilgrimage to Nashville and Muna Couture and Textile Fabrics in mid-July.

I haven't even added it up yet...I'm kinda scared...

Oh, and it was snowing in Atlanta Saturday morning. Big, feathery snowflakes. It was beautiful...if only it had been Christmas!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Expo List

Oh, my, we leave tomorrow!

I am so not ready...the pj's aren't quite done and I've no idea yet what I'll wear.

I kinda like to wear things made from stuff purchased at the previous expo, but between here and there (the weather forecast says it will be snowing in the Rocket City when we return home Saturday night!...but it's going to be fairly nice in ATL...) I just haven't been able to pull something together. I think I'm going to have to ditch my preference for wearing garments made from the pattern designers whose classes I'm taking and just go with what I've got that will work.

Although I *could* wear the Houndstooth Jacket. Hm. Maybe I'll just wear that jacket both days w/different tops.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the Scissor Guy will still have one pair of the needle-nosed snips that Cynthia Guffey talked about last year. It was the last class session and I didn't have time to go down and order a pair (he was out of stock) so I figured I'd get a pair this year. And I've been needing a new Ergo Rotary cutter since July, when mine fell off the cutting table and I, uh, stepped on it. Broke the guard spring anchor, so I had to tape the guard permanently out of the way. Not ideal.

But this year I've got a list of fabric I'm looking for:

White shirting
Black and white stripe shirting
Black 4-ply silk (depends on the price...)
Black tropical wool (more choir pants!)
Sage silk duppioni
Sage knit
"Ocean Teal" (um, sort of aqua? It's the color the ladies are to wear Easter Sunday) knit or shirt weight woven for a top.

I probably won't get all of that, but that's what I'm looking for. It's all for the choir wardrobe. I'll probably allow myself ONE 'Oh! I love that!' fabric that's not on the list. We'll see how much $$$ I spend on the list stuff first.

I'll report back on Monday... Huntsville Master's Commission will be doing all the service on Sunday, so no Choir Sundays post this week.

Wow, what'll I wear to church???? ;)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jammies Up

I procrastinated most all day yesterday.

Well, that just means I did something other than sewing...I just couldn't quite bring myself to change the thread in the serger with the nice wool pants so close to completion. But, I'm not going anywhere with them until my elastic arrives from the west coast, so I did finally go out and fuse the interfacing to my jammies; once that was done, it was a little less painful to change out all the thread. So I got a fair start on the jammies and with any success in the sewing room at all I will have a nice new set to take to Atlanta with me. Hard to believe the Expo is this week!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Cloud and the Silver Lining

I'm sewing along, making good progress on my Oxford/Euro morph pants (basically just the Oxfords w/the zipper added from the Euros) and, boom, I hit a brick wall.

No elastic. Somehow I thought I had enough left for one more garment, but, no, I only had about 9"...definitely not enough. So I folded the pants and laid them aside and came in and made a Sewing Place order, since no one locally carries that really nice, 100% stretch elastic. I was seriously bummed. I guess I'll work on my PJ's today...I *do* have some PJ elastic. And I would like to have them to take to Atlanta Friday.

But still. I could've finished those pants last night....

There was, however, a silver lining to my cloudy sewing day; the March Burda World of Fashion appeared in my mailbox yesterday! I knew the subscription should be kicking in sometime soon; I didn't know if I'd get the March issue or the April issue. Some interesting formal wear/bridal gowns in here...I need to sit down and look everything over carefully to decide what I might like to try. So now I get 11 more months of fashion sewing patterns arriving in the mailbox.

Cool. ;)

Monday, March 03, 2008

End of the Run: HSM '08

It took a determined effort, but My Sweet Baboo and I did manage to see the closing night of Pippin, and I'm so glad we did. The performance we saw last Sunday was a good solid show, but the kids cranked it up to a whole 'nuther level Saturday night. (I'm sure it helped that the house was full...they'd even opened up the balcony, which is a very rare event). Even after seeing the show, I found myself blown away by what I was seeing on stage more than once. It was amazing, and I'm really proud of the kids (including The Actor, who DID have his gloves on at the appropriate time ;) ) We ordered the photo CD from the show; if I can, I'll post a few photos of the costumes on stage once we get our copy.

And I got presents! Just some appreciation gift pretties to hang, but it was a nice surprise to me.

But I am afraid my cover is now blown....

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #8

This month's colors: sage or moss green and black

Top:Vogue 7281, in a green-on-green jacquard from Hancock's.

Pants:Sewing Workshop Plaza Pants, made from a poly microfiber. These pants are going on 4 years old and are really needing to be replaced...just gotta find suitable fabric.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dot Tops

That's the last of the Hancock's Rayon knits purchase sewn up; it's the top from Vogue 8305. I used basically a size 12, with my TNT shoulder/armsceye/sleeve morphed on. I'm not sure I did it entirely right; the facing for the neckline goes into the armsceye, and I *think* I forgot to alter that for the morph. Anyway, I had some mismatching going on there.

But I think I like the pattern; it definitely doesn't need a zipper in an uber stretchy knit like rayon/lycra jersey. But the fabric was something of a disappointment; I thought it would be the dressiest of the lot, but it turns out it isn't as nice as it appears. The print is just right on the surface, which means whenever the fabric is stretched and the ribs spread even slightly, the white base fabric shows through. It gives it either a shiny or a transparent appearance; not quite as high-end looking as I thought. But it will work under a jacket.

And I just realized I never posted a photo of the other rayon top. This is my second attempt at Vogue 2945. I lowered the bust darts by 1 1/2 inches...actually, I lengthened the whole top 1 1/2 inches by adding the extra between the armsceye and the dart, which lowered the dart. I think I like it better longer anyway. I left the cuffs off the sleeves; in the floppy rayon knit they just flopped and drooped and didn't look good anyway, so I took 'em off and hemmed the sleeves. I think the top would look good w/full length sleeves, too; I may try that the next time I decide to make the shirt.

I also made a Jalie 2005 t for DD the Younger from that oval dot stuff; the drape neck t didn't require as much fabric as the two wrap shirts I made from the other pieces. It's nice that she's still small enough I can make a t shirt for her from remnants!