Friday, October 31, 2008

Stretching the Boucle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm hoping, anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sucked in....

Ok, I avoided it like the plague for ages.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Six Year Vest

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Project of the Year

Unfortunately, it will not be SWAP wardrobe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sewing on the Blogging Break

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #33

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

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

Burgundy next month! Much better... :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Choir Sundays '08 #32

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

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

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

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Salvage Sewing

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finished Photos...

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

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


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Enough for Growing

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fitting the Flute Player

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We'll see what we get.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Choir Sundays 08 #31

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finished Shirts!

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ding Dong the Chopin's Done!

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

Pictures tomorrow! (I hope)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It Must Be Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One Muslin Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 06, 2008

Still Bastin'

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

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

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

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

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

Sigh. Those projects will get of these days.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Choir Sunday 08 #30

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 03, 2008

Progress Report...queue busting...

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Up Next...

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nothin' in September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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