Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Got a New Gizzie

Let me lead up to this in a round about fashion...

Years ago, I remember seeing commercials for a 'hand held blender' -- a whizzer thingie that you held in your hand and dunked up and down in the large container of whatever food item being pureed.

I thought it was the silliest kitchen gadget I'd ever seen.

But about a year ago, I had a gift card for Bed, Bath and Beyond, and a coupon and, well, I went in looking for something to use the two items on and came out with a hand-held blender. I wasn't really sure why, other than there really wasn't anything in the store that day that looked like an urgent need, and the coupon was about to expire.

It is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. I LOVE that thing.

Now, when Simplicity came out with the little bobbin winder gadget, I thought, 'That is the silliest sewing gizmo I've ever seen.' Since the spool of thread had to go on the winder, I could not see how it could possibly be that much of an improvement over the machine's own bobbin winder.

You guessed it...I got one (actually, the Dritz version) for Christmas.

And I do see a picture on the side of the box showing it operating with thread still on the sewing machine, so I am withholding judgment and trying to keep an open mind. Perhaps it will be the sewing room equivalent of the hand-held blender.

Um, yeah. Maybe.

So...here's a question...do any of my blog buddies have a bobbin winder? Do you use it? Any opinions to share?

I'm listening... ;)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Last Fabric Purchase of the Year

Um, I think...

Gorgeous Fabrics is having a sale; I perused the fabrics and found two pieces that will do nicely for choir in March, when we're to wear a deep bright green. The silk duppioni I got last year really has not held up well (not the highest quality, I fear...yes, it came from the local Hancock's...)so I was looking to augment the wardrobe a bit.
I got some Kelley green rayon jersey and some Brilliant Green silk charmeuse jacquard.

I told My Sweet Baboo what I was doing yesterday morning before heading to work...and his only comment was, 'Be sure you get enough.'

Um, I may have grumbled about a fabric shortage sometime recently... ;)

Anyway, that'll be my green for March. *Surely* I can find time to make a couple of tops...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not In Choir Today...

And I just realized that we won't be in choir next Sunday, either...so Choir Sundays is finished for this year.

Sometimes I feel like I'm really overdoing the whole thing...especially since I keep listing some of the same garments over and over again. But, I know there are folks who check out the Choir Sunday posts; they do get comments. And, in my crazy, too-busy-to-blog-lately life, it does pretty much guarantee at least one post a week.

So, despite the fact that I feel a little overly self-promoting doing them, I'll probably keep them up next year...

I already have a project in mind to do for January, in which the choir colors will be royal blue and black; a new (well, one I have had for ages but haven't made yet) Loes Hinse pattern, to be made out of some burnout velvet that landed in the shopping cart when I was buying tartan scarves at Fabric Mart...I think it'll make a great Venetian Vest...if I have enough fabric.

I'm still smarting over the shortage of ruby charmeuse.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So Bummed.

I finally got my gorgeous ruby red silk charmeuse on the cutting table. I had 4.25 yards; 45" was the width...I thought...

I've cut this very pattern out of 3.5 yards of 45" fabric before; had to piece the front facing, but I made it.

You can see where this is headed, can't you?

I cut out the shirt back, back neck facing, pockets, sleeves and leg band, then moved the fabric to cut the rest...and found I was a good 3/4 yard short of having enough.

I was bumfuzzled...how could I have been so far wrong?

I measured the width; it was 42 inches wide. Not 45.

I tried and tried to get the rest of the pieces on there...but I had 3 big pieces left to cut and I just could not get them all on.

So, I folded it all up together and put it away. There's enough there for a nice blouse; I *can* recut the folded PJ back piece. And I'll like the blouse. But...I really had my heart set on charmeuse jammies.

Why on earth didn't I buy about 6 yards??? It was on sale...

Oh, well, maybe it'll happen again some day...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breathing a little

Last night was the last evening event...I've got time at night to do things now!

And, of course, among the 'things' I want to do is dust off the sewing machine.

I did get my muslin of the scoop-neck, raglan sleeved Burda magazine (can't say BWOF anymore, can we?) tshirt pattern put together. I raised the neckline considerably, and the first guess for the neckband length was too long, so I took the neckband off, shortened it 3" and put it back on.

It was still too long, and, in all honesty, the underarm is too low; raising my arms also raised the top. I was debating trying to fix it again, when I had a sudden and freeing thought:
This is a muslin!.
The fabric is off the buck-fifty table at Wal-Mart. So I can cheerfully toss it and try again.

I've adjusted the underarm on all but one of the pattern pieces; as soon as I can get the last one done I'll cut out another iteration.

But I have another project I want to do this weekend...

Silk charmeuse PJ's. Ordered the fabric way back in the spring when it was on sale for $5/yd so I could have some luxurious PJ's for Christmas. However, I hadn't figured on the Hot Flash Season hitting me; I'm not sure my Laura Petrie Jammies pattern will work right now. I really don't want to sweat up nice silk PJ's.

But...that *is* what I bought the fabric for...

gotta do 'em this weekend if I want 'em for Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Choir Sundays '09 #46

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
The Choir's in Red and Black...

If I worked on it I could probably parody the whole song, but I think I'll leave it there for now. Anyway, it's The Layered Look today...and I'll declare, those reds looked a lot more matchy in the mirror than they do in the camera! Wonder how they looked under stage lights? Maybe I'm better off not knowing...

So, this is the black wool gab Loes Hinse Oxford pants again, this time with the red/black/silver wool/Lurex plaid crepe Silhouette Patterns' Robin's Jacket, worn over my black rayon/lycra matte jersey Simplicity 4076 surplice top (Hm...I just noticed I never updated that review for the surplice view...), worn over a red fine ribbed cotton knit Jalie 965 tank top.

I think we'll always wear red/black in December; I really should pull out my red wool crepe that's been in the stash for, like, forever and make something...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top Picks

Linday T. asks the sewing blogging community the question, 'What's Your Favorite of 2009?'

My sewing production has been pretty abysmal this year...but I do have a couple of things I really, really like. My personal favorite of the year has to be the Jalie Cardigan and tank top twin set. I love the way that fits and the fabric feels marvelous (I even ordered two more yards; it's that good...).

But the garment I'm the most proud of (aside from costume sewing, which I'm not even going to THINK about) is probably the fancy dress I made for the Flute Player last winter (Simplicity 4271).
I put that together, from a run to Hancock's with only a vague notion of which pattern I'd use, to the finished dress going out the door on the way to dinner, in a fuzz over a day.

So here's to a little more personal sewing and a lot more stash reduction in 2010!!! I have beyoutiful fabrics...and I want to sew them!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #45

It's December! Time for something Festive!

So, this month we give the blue jeans a rest and our choir colors are red and black. No jeans. And I pulled my black wool gab Loes Hinse Oxford Pants, an OOP Kwik Sew blouse made up in red poly microfiber peachskin, and an embroidered black velvet RTW vest that I believe has been in the wardrobe since, oh, 2000?

This was state drama competition weekend; I have to brag and say that I'm extraordinarily proud of our Compleat Works cast...they put on a show that was at least two notches above what they had done in the past. The nearly full theater audience was rockin' and rollin' right along with them. It was fun to see. However, 3 out of 5 judges apparently failed to see merit in the show, and the only award that the troupe earned went to the young lady who played (among other things) Hamlet. She was named to the All-Star cast.

Still, the kids did really well and they had the cheers of their peers; the opinions of five particular individuals really can't touch that.

Oh, I did get the Flute Player's pants done before I left. Now I think I'll see if I can actually sew something for my closet...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back to the In-House Projects...

It almost feels odd not to owe anyone a costume...except that the Flute Player has a Christmas concert on Thursday, and her one pair of black pants are waaayyyy too short.

So I got out the pattern Sunday evening, lengthened it about 4" (so it has a deep hem. More room for growth...) and added a pinch to the outseams because the too-short pants are also bordering on being too tight. I did manage to get them cut out of some very nice black cotton/lycra sateen from Gorgeouse Fabrics, purchased for this very cause earlier this year.

Wish I'd taken a photo of the pasted-up pattern before I put it away...

Last night, the night of 4 different events happening at the same time (we could only get to one...), I changed the thread on the serger and put the interfacing on the waistband pieces.

At least I'm *ready* to sew tonight...I think I can get 'em done in a couple of hours.

I hope!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #44

(Yeah...I know this is Monday. I was gone virtually all day yesterday, and The Actor was on the computer working on an overdue English assignment until midnight. So, yeah...anyway...)
This month's colors are black and/or burgundy with blue jeans...but dresses are okay, too. ;).
So, this is the burgundy slinky knit Sewing Workshop Cityscapes Dress, worn with the rayon/lycra jersey Vogue 8305 Cardi-wrap. Every year I say this...the Cityscapes dress is the perfect Sunday-after-Thanksgiving attire... ;)

And here's a 'parting shot' for you, just because I'm behind the time w/the post...while The Actor was slaving away trying to build a bibliography for a research paper, I decided I'd do a little work. The Flute Player must have black pants that actually cover her ankles by the Christmas Concert on Thursday, and, well, since I was cutting out black fabric I thought I'd do a muslin on a Burda T-shirt...I've picked up some rather pretty glitzy striped lycra blend knit from the buck-fifty table at Wal-Mart to test fit it before I cut into my nice rayon/lycra stripe. My Sweet Baboo got tickled a the 'help' Frisco Kitty was offering as I was trying to trace/cut out the Burda pattern...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hamlet's Jerkin

Despite the fact that the cat wanted to eat both the gold trim and the leather lacing, I had a jerkin ready to send in in time for Monday's school performance. The Actor tells me that his director and the young lady who actually plays Hamlet both liked it.

I don't know if you can tell from the photo of the back, but I added 3/4" to the back seam and finished it off w/the lining, then used Velcro(R) to close it up. The costume changes are pretty quick, so the only way that lace-up vest was going to be useful was if it had a quick entry.

I used black moleskin (faux suede). Not as fancy as velvet would've been, but not as expensive, either... ;).

The pattern is Simplicity 4059; if I can get a picture of it on the actress I'll post it w/a review... ;)

For anyone who happens to be in the Rocket City area, the kids are doing a fundraiser performance on Monday at Lee High School at 7 PM. No admission charge per se, but they are requesting a $5 donation...trying to cover the expenses of going to the state competition (which is next weekend). Just FYI. ;)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 43

(Yes,I skipped a week; last weekend was our turn to serve elsewhere so My Sweet Baboo and I did not sing in the choir.)

This Month's Choir colors:Black and/or burgundy w/ blue jeans
I wore my Tribeca set again...that's the Sewing Workshop Tribeca Shirt over a Loes Hinse City Dress Shell Top, made from a rayon blend brocade I picked up in May '07's stash-surging trip to Sir's Fabrics.

And I just realized that this was what I wore in the last Choir Sundays post two weeks ago *egg on face*.
At least it wasn't two weeks in a row...;)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back Among the Functional

It's been over 5 years since I had anything close to the kind of bug I had Monday...and I seem to remember being fairly normal in a couple of days after that bout. This one...well, I still don't have much of an appetite back. But at least I can sew now...

This is Your Basic Dickens Skirt, in something like antique satin from the buck-and-a-half table at Wal-Mart. I'm kicking myself now for not taking pictures as I made it; it would've been good to put them with the explanation of how to make one. I was doing good to get it made, though, so I'll just have to wait and photograph the next one. Anyway, The Flute Player's middle school drama class is doing A Christmas Carol in about 3 weeks and she needed a costume. I have an old cape (24 years old, to be exact...purchased so I'd have something warm to wear in November and December before her older sister was born) that I used in our church Dickens productions, and we'll borrow a bonnet for her from church. All she needs is a white blouse and she's set. Whew.

And don't you know all those dangly gathering threads (dental floss, actually) was an attraction to the Frisco Kitty?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Continue Costuming...


Sunday I ate something that had been in the fridge for longer than I realized; yesterday I got flattened by a truly violent ailment. I felt fine when I left the house; three hours later I was lying on the bathroom floor at work hoping I could make it home (special thanks to Miss A and Pastor J for making sure I did!)

Yesterday was a total washout; I'm up and moving slowly today; pushing fluids because I did get somewhat dehydrated. I'm hoping once I get rehydrated I'll feel good enough to sew because...

The Flute Player needs a Dickens costume; her drama class will be performing "A Christmas Carol" the second week in December and she is one of the Solicitors and a Caroler. I checked at church for a costume she's used before for a school project, but the costume area is in such disarray that I couldn't find it. So I stopped at my favorite Wal-Mart and picked up a goodly length of burgundy antique satin from the dollar fifty table to make a skirt and perhaps a short cape. If I add a good deep hem to the skirt, it'll be useful when/if we ever do 'Scrooge' at church again.

Plus I still need to make the extra costume piece for 'Compleat Works'...haven't had a final 'go' on that yet. The pattern *I* liked best is a McCall's...and I just discovered McCall's patterns are on sale at Hobby-Lobby this week.

I may have to run in and get one, feeling puny or not....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Found the Door...

Who knew The Wall had a door?

Wednesday I came home from work to find that my kids, who'd had the day off from school, had CLEANED THE KITCHEN! Even damp-mopped the floor! And they'd neatened and vacuumed the living room and den!!!

After I recovered from the swoon, I thanked them profusely and went to work on the material for the sixth-grade girls class I teach on Wednesday nights at church; it was a 2-lesson night (we're on a really tight syllabus to get three units in before Christmas...). And class went well. I came home and went to bed...as soon as My Sweet Baboo and The Artist got home from a late-night MRI session inspecting the Artist's knee (verdict: ACL reconstructive surgery; Thursday next week...).

My frazzled nerves were considerably less frazzled when I got up, so when I got the phone call from Our Costume Mistress that the red dress was a bit too long...could I come in and fix it because everyone else is trying to finish off other costumes?...I was able to offer to bring my serger along after choir practice with a good attitude.

So, 'long 'bout 8:30 last night, I pulled into school, unloaded the serger, and finished the edges of the red dress (another sewing volunteer had already trimmed it to the right length). Then I found another project... a suit jacket that needed Every Bit Of Length removed from the sleeve hems. I opened the lining in the topstitched bit of the sleeve lining seam (thank you whoever told me years ago that that access was there!)...both sleeves had 'em...and took everything out, then faced the bottom w/bias tape to turn a minimal hem up and put it back together. I didn't get the buttons put back on, but anyone can do that at any point today.

Today, My Sweet Baboo had one of those diagnostic procedures that requires anesthesia, so he's home sleeping it off, and The Actor is keeping him company with 'flu -like symptoms'.

So I'm making chicken soup and swabbing things w/disinfectant wipes. Who knows...if I catch a minute, I might even sew something. ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Wall

I can't remember hitting The Wall like I did last night; when I got the dress done to the zipper and realized that the only way I was going to get a zipper into that dress was to hand pick it, I nearly broke down and cried. But, with the boning in already and the extreme bulk of the gathered drapey band...well, there simply was no way my sewing machine was going to even come close to being able to sew anything close to a passable zipper. It was a wrestling match to even do it by hand. But it did, eventually, get done, and I got it to school about a quarter after 8 last night.

The actress wearing it said that it felt just a little loose at the top; one of the other sewing moms pinched the back and said there wasn't enough there to justify trying to alter it; it didn't *look* too big...and she did her next scene onstage with it on, just so we could see how it looked under the lights...and, to tell the truth, it looked fabulous.
But I was absolutely at the wall. I didn't even take in my sewing stuff to hang out and help. I gave my recommendations as to how to attach the little ruffle to the top edge, if they decided they wanted it (they did). And I came home and went to bed.
The anointing has lifted for the moment....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not much for 8 hours...

Especially when you consider that I began w/the bodice partially sewn...the lining was sewn, RST, at the top, then pressed to the back, the netting trim was applied and then all the vertical seams sewn. Sunday night I put on the boning and covered it; last night, I added the satin drape. Since the boning was already in, I really couldn't sew it on by machine, over the boning, I adjusted the drape to fit the adjusted bodice, pressed the top edge under (a little Steam-A-Seam helped) and hand stitched it in place. The gathering stitches had to be left in at the sides; I hand tacked that down.

I think I am resolving to insist on starting from scratch myself. I understand why the lady who started this dress did what she did; I even understand why she was told to do that. It seemed like a good idea. But it just doesn't work for something like this, and we'd been better off to do it the right way.

And there is a ruffle that should've been caught in the lining/bodice seam along the top edge, but that couldn't be done since it was finished as it was. I don't know if we'll add the ruffle later or not...it'll just have to be sewn to some bias tape and hand applied to the top edge.

Anyway, I've switched my work days, so I'm doing the skirt and the zipper today. I need to get it to school by sometime this evening....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Trying not to panic...

The Simplicity 3878 red dress is scaring me; I basically have tonight and tomorrow night to make it (maybe I'll swap my off day this week and work Thursday instead of Tuesday?). It *was* all cut out...the pieces I couldn't find were wrapped in a second bag in the bottom of the first one so I didn't spot them at first.

But the bodice was flat-lined...sort of...instead of being done as instructed (in which the bodice lining is like, the last thing to do). So the boning could not be inserted as instructed. Last night, I made the fitting adjustments on the bodice, then added the Ridgilene boning by stitching in the ditch on the seams. Then I covered it w/bias tape using some very ugly, fast, git-er-done hand sewing.

That was the evening. Fitting and boning. Tonight is adding the drape...which was supposed to be shirred into the side seams but obviously cannot be. (all this variation of method was to facilitate dress alterations in future performances; rumor has it they are going to make this a once-every-four-years production...). I'm *hoping* that really won't take too long; there's a lot of skirt to put together (lining, skirt, overskirt and interior crinoline).

Did I say dress rehearsal is Wednesday? Hm...maybe I'd better switch my days...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #42

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

These are the Coldwater Creek bootcut jeans again, and a Loes Hinse City Dress Shell Top invisible under the matching burgundy/gray brocade Sewing Workshop Tribeca Shirt

My camera is getting flakey; My Sweet Baboo took a couple of different shots, but this is the only one that showed up. Dunno what's up with that... Anyway, I didn't have a choice of 'better photo'...in this, the top looks tight and way pinker than it is. Oh, well.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Compleat Works Goes to State!

Wish I'd taken my camera for the awards ceremony...

5 plays from our district were selected to go on to State competition and Compleat Works was one of them! So there is much rejoicing!

And, this mama has to brag just a minute...The Actor was selected to the District All-Star Cast, along with his fellow cast member, the Wearer of the Orange Pants. ;)

The Director/Tech Director took the comments to pore over; we'll see if any costume changes will be recommended. State competition is the first weekend in December.

Meantime, I have brought home a partially assembled Simplicity 3878...red poly satin and tulle...to finish out for 'White Christmas', which opens Friday. I say partially assembled; the bodice has been assembled and alterations pinned in, but I'm not even sure the entire skirt has been cut out yet.


Guess you know what I'm going to be doing every available moment for the next 2-3 days...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Slippin' it in...

So, after I had the orange pieces done and before the purple was dyed and ready to sew, I took advantage of the orange thread in the machines and knocked out the orange things in the queue. Mine was just another Jalie 965 tank top, but I also made a top for The Fluteplayer...it's basically the mock turtleneck from Jalie 2566, only we wanted long sleeves, so I borrowed the sleeves from Jalie 2682.

She's happy. She's very happy. The only thing she is not happy about is that the length of the shirt and the sleeves are spot on perfect. 'I'll outgrow it too soon!' she lamented.

No matter. There can easily be more where that came from. In the next size up. I am *loving* Jalie patterns, not only for me, but because it's so convenient to just keep moving up the size range as the kids grow...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dress Rehearsal Photos

Out of about 11 photos that I took (with no flash, of course!) This is one of the only two that weren't horribly out of focus...and the other one had blurred hands.

The Comedy section... ;)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Last Minute Switch

Sometimes I just wanna smack my head.

The basically red skirt I made for The Actor to wear as all the girls in Compleat Works looked great w/his basic costume...but I failed utterly to consider how it would look onstage alongside the very orange breeches of one of his fellow castmembers.

When we finally got everyone on stage in costume today I got the report...the red skirt Did Not Work. Ish. One of the drawbacks of just winging it instead of doing a show palette, I suppose.

So, our intrepid director raided the costume workshop and located a piece of fabric in colors that work w/all the costumes AND was long enough for a replacement skirt, not only for The Actor, but for the MiniMe doll that has to come in at one point.


Yeah, I know it's ugly. That's the idea...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 41

Being the first of the month, the colors have changed...for November we're wearing burgundy and/or black w/ blue jeans. So, I'm wearing the burgundy slinky knit Butterick 5185 over a black slinky knit Loes Hinse Sweater Set shell top, with the Lee bootcut jeans.

I know the brown/tan/orange combo looked very seasonal, but I'm glad to be moving on to burgundy... ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Down Time

Ok, not to wander into TMI territory, but you all know that there are...unpleasant...things one must do after passing one's 50th birthday in order to insure that everything is still working as it should, with no uglies forming in dark recesses to cause problems later.

So, right slap in the middle of the costuming, I have to stop and deal with one of these events tomorrow.

Which means I'm home today, um, getting ready for said event, but not really up to doing anything of import.

So I'm catching up on some of my blog-and-boards reading and getting myself all psyched up to sew some marvelous things...

I need a coat! I need a silk blouse (I have two lovely pieces of silk to turn into blouses at the first available moment)! I still want to do the brown BWOF jacket, which is traced and ready to muslin...I have some lovely knits that would make such nice work shirts...I have the Jalie jeans pattern, and some stretch denim...

But, no such thing today. Looking ahead, probably no such thing until at least Thanksgiving, unless I'm very creative with my time use. And December is not a month to crawl in the Nook and sew. I tell ya, I'm about ready to declare January and February as 'Lisa Sews for Lisa!' season.

Wonder if I could do a SWAP this year? I haven't done one since '06...I could use a fresh wardrobe infusion...hm....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Unpleasant Surprise

I'm really, really hoping this is temporary...

When I began sharing my sewing online on PatternReview, I used photoworks.com to host the photos. We were taking photos w/a conventional camera and having them developed; Photoworks automatically posted them online so I could link to them. It was a little awkward to do, but it was possible.

Two years into it, they reformatted everything and all the links went away. It took them about 8 or 9 months to have all the photos available again to fix the links.

I started using yahoo photos in the meantime; but as the pictures at photoworks became available I started re-linking...with the caveat that I had to link an entire album instead of just a photo. So I made albums of one photo when necessary; the old reviews I linked to an album w/a year's worth of sewing, with a note indicating what photo number that specific review referenced. Awkward, but at least there were photos linked. I used Yahoo for new photos in which only one linked to a review; for reviews that had several photos I linked to a Photoworks album.

The Yahoo photos went away; I moved everything on yahoo to flickr. Which has limits. So, photoworks became the archive for flickr; I keep about 2 years worth of photos on flickr, then move the older photos to phototworks a year at a time and link the year in an album as before.

But several months ago I noticed that the phototoworks slideshows linked to the reviews weren't working; the first picture in the album would come up, but none of the rest would. Photoworks had redone the slideshow format and the old one didn't work anymore. So, I began re-linking the albums as I encountered them.

Then, today I clicked on a photoworks link on one of my reviews and got a dead-end error page. 'The page you are looking for does not exist'.

So I went to photoworks and discovered that they have revamped the whole site. Again. The option to share just a link seems to have gone away; now I have to email someone. So I'm back to emailing myself the links to the albums so I can post them to the reviews.

And it looks like I'm going to have to go back and re-link all those reviews; once I figure out which ones are linked to photoworks and which ones are linked to flickr and which ones are linked to picasa (which, I discovered, is where all the photos uploaded to blogger go).


Unless this is temporary and the links will be restored once photoworks conversion is complete.

But, given their past non-support of external links, I hold virtually no hope of that being the case.

Double rats.


I did receive a reply to my query to customer service about links:

Thank you for contacting PhotoWorks. I am sorry to tell you that due to the recent site upgrade, previous links to images will not work any longer. It is no longer possible to link to photos stored in your photoworks account. You can do so through WebShots, Picasa, or another photo hosting site. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

I did use photoworks when I wanted prints of our photos...since they were kind enough to host my pictures, then I gave them the business of printing my photos.

No more. Target can do it. Pity.

ETA again...well, the link I sent to myself from the Photoworks album does appear to link to the album ok...perhaps I can still keep things as they were. But I'm still going to have to relink a bunch of reviews....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Have a Costume!

(Cue the lightning and the maniacal laughter) Yes! Igor, we have done it! I have a suitable getup for a quasi-Shakespearian actor!

Or at least one that looks like poufy pants instead of poopy pants. That's Kwik Sew 3636 for leggings, substantially modified boxer shorts and The Artist's Butterick 4486 Pirate shirt.

So...that being a hit, I have fabric for the next leggings/poufy pants set dyed orange and drying, with the purple on deck for tomorrow. As the kids are rehearsing, it's becoming obvious that they have about all the costume pieces they can handle, so once the leggings and pants are done...dare I say it?...I may be finished.

But 'White Christmas' has been knocking on my door with a need for the dresses the girls wear to sing 'Sisters'...Vogue 2903.

So even if I'm finished...I'm not done. Not yet...

(So, of course I ordered fabric today. Makes sense, eh? :rolleyes:)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I finally broke down and bought the dark green Rit and redyed that fabric AGAIN. So now it is a nice spruce color. Not really what I was looking for, but definitely a 'guy' green. The Granny Smith/lime greens I had the first two times were way too girly.

So I moved on and cut out the pouffy pants. I now have them completed to the leg elastic...and I'm afraid that what I wanted to turn out as poufy pants is just going to look 'full diaper'. We'll see...

I've also got the matching tights done to the elastic. I'm only going in to work for about 2 hours tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to make some significant gains tomorrow afternoon as well.

Maybe even do a load or two of laundry. The pile is getting dangerous.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 40

This month's colors: brown, tan or burnt orange w/blue jeans.This was another week to pull something out of the back of the closet...the jacket actually was part of a jacket-and-dress ensemble I purchased about 5 years ago off the clearance rack at Dillard's. It was 70% off, with an additional discount for a sale weekend, I got both pieces for about $14. It was kinda fun to say, 'No, I didn't!' when asked if I made it. ;)

But I did make the shell top. It's from poly charmeuse, and it's another rendition of the Loes Hinse City Dress top. The color doesn't suit me at all, but it's nice to have in the closet for those times when I gotta wear that color to blend. All the brown tops are in the laundry, which is way behind because I've been dyeing and re-dyeing fabric (I broke down and used the Dark Green dye after all. Pictures tomorrow). So the seldom-worn things actually get worn..once in a while...

Oh, and that's the Coldwater Creek jeans again. Just for the complete story.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dyeing Newbie; or, How White Fabric Becomes Green with Only Three Trips Through The Washer

As I said earlier, I decided that, rather than to run all over and stress about finding fabric the right color, we'd just dye some white cotton/lycra jersey for the leggings the kids need to wear in Compleat Works. Plus, I picked up some white corduroy from the dollar-fifty table at Wal-mart to possibly use as pouffy pants with the brilliant idea of throwing it in the dye bath so as to match the tights. Pretty nifty, eh?

Thought I'd start with The Actor's personal hose-and-breeches. They're supposed to be green, but the only shade of Rit dye I could find was a dark forest green...not what I wanted. I decided I'd mix yellow and royal blue...that should make a nice bright green, right?

Today was the day. I got up and read the directions carefully...wash fabric in hot water...mix dye; I began with yellow and added blue until it looked like it would be a reasonable green...add detergent and salt to dye bath...add wet fabric...agitate in washer for half an hour...check check and check.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the washer after dutifully resetting the cycle so as to have a full half hour of agitation to find...white fabric.

What??? It didn't take the dye at all??? I did a quick burn test...yes, it is cotton. Could the Lycra content inhibit dyeing? did I do something wrong? Maybe I'll dye one of the other cast member's fabric...just to see what happened.

So I went out and began to fill the washer to start the process again and looked around for the bucket I'd used to mix the dye from the first batch.

And found it sitting on the laundry shelf with the dye mixture still in it. I'd forgotten to put it in the water.

Head-slapping time.

So, I redid it, making sure to add the dye the second time.

And I got fabric in a very nice shade of Granny Smith Green. Not what I wanted...

Another trip to another Wal-Mart. Still no green other than Dark Forest. So, more royal blue and yellow; this time I began with the blue and added yellow to it.

I still have a pretty bright green, but it's darker than the apple green I had the first time. It *might* be dark enough. We'll see what it looks like when it's dry...

And I tried dipping a bit of scrap fabric into the dye to see what the tint would be; that really didn't work. You folks who use Rit...is there any way to be sure what color you'll get before you actually do it??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Choir Sundays '09 #39

This month's colors: brown, tan and/or burnt orange w/ blue jeans. I thought about wearing the new smoke ring scarf, but decided that, since I was wearing a turtleneck top already I'd wear the oblong scarf that I cut from the remnants....so I have two very different scarves from the same fabric. Probably a good thing since it looks like we'll be doing this color combo every fall. Wonder how many folks will just assume I'm tying the same scarf differently?

It's over a top made from the bamboo jersey Hancock's had a couple of years ago; soft, warm and easily stretched out to shapelessness ;). If I remember right, I used my Loes Hinse Cowl top, switching the big floppy cowl for a turtleneck from an OOP Kwik Sew pattern. The jeans are the Lee boot cuts...I *really* wish I could find time to fit one of my jeans patterns... ;)

ETA: I just realized that this is the 3rd week of October...that's the Fall Quarter Blogging Break! So I'll see you next Sunday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Broke a Hundred...

The sale at Fabric Mart got me. In all fairness, I had to order some of the white cotton/lycra knit they had to use for costuming and, well, once you're paying shipping...and fabric must not travel alone...anyway, I also purchased a bee-you-tiffle piece of multi-colored mini-houndstooth plaid tropical weight wool that says along the selvedge ' merino wool super 100's'. It feels heavenly. Must that into something fabulous...soon...(oh, I'm trying! Really!)

So it's more than a hundred yards in. And less than 40 out. That's truly sad...I need to revamp my purchasing to better reflect my available time. It's a paradigm shift I haven't made yet.

(Yeah...something else in the queue of things that 'I haven't made yet'...)

But the reason I'm not making some things is that I AM making others. I have the bridesmaid's skirt done to the point I need to check the fit; I'm taking the waistband to church tomorrow and fitting that, then I'll adjust the gathers in the skirt (which is finished to the waistband) to match. Then I have to hand the skirt over to the lady that made the rest so she can trim it to match the rest of them.

And I can cross that off my list and get back to costume sewing. Need to get the knit cut into leggings and dyed...except that I'm still not 100% sure what colors we will be using. The kids need to order their shoes...

Oh, one other little thing...when I stopped by Hancock's to pick up the zipper for the skirt, I stumbled across a very pretty piece of poly blend burnout fabric that was crying to be a scarf. It happened to be predominantly burnt orange...which is one of this month's choir colors...so I brought it home.

Turned it into two scarves, actually...one that was just a long rectangle w/serger rolled edges, and the other was a scarf I've been wanting to make since I saw it in Threads about 14 years ago. The review is up with a photo; I'm too lazy to upload it here.

But it may very well show up on tomorrow's choir post... ;)

At least that fabric went into the 'out' column the same week it showed up on the 'in' side!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Skirting the issue...

I put the pedal to the metal (70's cb radio slang, anyone?) on the Compleat Works skirt (a modification of Your Basic Dickens Skirt -- I only used 3 panels instead of 4) last night and got it prewashed, cut out (well, torn to size) and assembled. I tried it on The Actor, who was understandably uncomfortable in a skirt, and the kitten ran underneath it. He looked down at the cat tail emerging from under the hem and said, 'Oh, that's cute! I wish I had a picture.'

'Son, do you *really* want a picture of yourself in a skirt?' I asked.

He looked at me and nodded, 'Good point, Mom!'

So I thought I'd take a picture of it on a hanger, but I took it in to school today and forgot to take a photo. Maybe I'll get a shot of it on him in one of the rehearsals...

And, I brought home the fabric and the pattern for the bridesmaids skirt...it's Simplicity 2512, view B, which will be slightly modified. I don't have the fabric for the contrast trim, so I only need to do it to the hem. I will finish the top of the skirt w/o the trim, so that if there's a problem attaching the trim after the zipper's in it can be left off w/o leaving a raw edge at the top.

I got the measurements of the lady who will wear it; I'll need to add to the waist as she does not have as much difference between her waist and hips as the pattern expects, but I don't think that will be too hard. Basically, I'll adjust the fancy waistband and then just gather the skirt a little less in order to fit. A Petite Plus will look better w/o quite so much pouf anyway.

And, given the schedule I have this week, tonight is my best shot at sewing. So I'm off...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gonna help a friend..

We have a Wedding this month in our church family...one that is going to be very well attended, with a large number of attendants in the party.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that a very important member of one of the happy couple's families is about to leave the country on an extended job-related assignment (hopefully that is vague enough not to make anyone feel I'm being indiscreet...), the wedding had a very short planning time.

The attendants will be wearing skirts and blouses; due to the costume sewing I'm involved in, I had to decline to help sew the skirts when first asked about it. However, the young lady who *is* making the skirts (13 of them?) did not feel very comfortable about grading the pattern up for one of the bridesmaids, who is a petite plus.

So, when asked again at church, I considered that Compleat Works is not going to require the amount of sewing we originally thought, so I think I can handle one.

Details to follow...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 # 38

Wow, I didn't know that orange popped quite that much...must be the flash..

Anyway, this month's choir colors are burnt orange, tan and brown w/blue jeans.
I'm wearing the Coldwater Creek bootcuts, and a lacy tan sweater that I bought when we wore khaki for our summer base color (2006?) and forgot about until I cleaned the closet last week. The brown top is Jalie 2682; I need to make a couple tops with sleeves from that pattern!

But the scarf...not too long ago, I was shopping in an outlet store and checked out the scarf rack. There were any number of solid jersey scarves, which were just rectangles cut straight from the bolt w/ no edge finish whatsoever. I'm guessing they were about 8" wide and 1 1/2 yards long...and selling for $6 each.

Well, I have a couple of orange tops in the queue...when I cut 'em out, I made sure to leave all the excess fabric along one edge...trimmed it to about 8" wide, nicely squared and, voila! A basically free scarf for choir!

It isn't quite as bright in real life. Really. ;)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Assignments in Hand

I went to school today...even though it's fall break. Had a meeting with the Drama Director and the Tech Theater director and we more or less talked our way through the costuming for Compleat Works.

The big news is that we all agreed on an approach to the costuming...by and large, this show needs to look like three kids had a brainstorm and threw it together.

Which means the costumes are going to be even less authentic than we originally thought. The idea is mostly gonna be scrounge, scrounge, scrounge.

I brought home some really, truly ugly fabric found in the costume shop (printed w/teeny tiny tomatoes...) to make the skirt that will be the basis of all the female character costumes...Juliette, Lavinia, Cleopatra, Ophelia, Gertrude. Some fringe to make a wig. A set of drapes to turn into a kingly robe.

This show is gonna be a scream.

We're still a bit up in the air on the balooney knickers; they may end up being basketball shorts w/elastic added at the hems. We'll see...

Good thing; we have about three weeks till move in/tech week/dress rehearsals...

I'll post photos as I get 'em.

Monday, October 05, 2009

New Oxfords

Well, I wore these all day and they're a bit rumpled, but I managed to squeeze a project into the weekend. Loes Hinse's Oxford Pants, in the brown/black/black satin stripe wool/lycra/something else I don't remember blend Ellen Tracy fabric from the first trip to this year's Textile Fabric's sale. I still have a chunk of the fabric left; I'm thinking a vest...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #37

This Month's Colors: Brown, tan or burnt orange w/jeans.

Sigh. You're going to see a lot of brown this month, since I look pretty bad in either tan or burnt orange...

But I wore the Lee bootcut jeans with my Jalie makeshift twinset...the cardigan from Jalie 2566 and the tank top from Jalie 965, both from some wonderful rayon/lycra knit I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.

You might remember I wanted to make a brown jacket for this month...well, the Burda WOF pattern is traced; maybe I can get the muslin tested this week (fall break; the kids have gone to their grandma's for a few days). I *might* get it done by the end of the month...unless the costume sewing Takes Over My Life... we'll see.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tried 'Em All

This may very well be the first time I've made *all* the styles in a particular pattern envelope. I haven't made all the variations, and I've thrown in elements (such as long or 3/4 length sleeves; the sleeves on this came from Christine Jonson's Basewear 2 pattern) from other patterns, but I have now made all three of the different styles on Simplicity 4076...the twist top, the scoop neck top and the surplice top.

I *should* update the review...but, to be honest, I traced off this pattern so long ago I don't remember right off the top of my head what alterations I made to it. If I get a chance, I'll pull the pattern out and see if I made notes (sometimes I do!). Actually, I made this top because I saw a poly matte knit surplice top in Coldwater Creek that was very similar...and I remembered that I had a chunk of rayon/lycra matte jersey left over from last year's LBD project. I forgot to cut the neckbands, so I used a strip of black nylon lycra as a facing; my neckline may be be just a pinch lower/wider as a result.

Anyway, for the curious, I put all the photos of the various iterations of the top in a Photoworks album, so you can see how it's been used. Definitely a TNT!

The purple tank underneath is Jalie 965...I eventually hope to have a whole stack of these in different colors. So far I've got cream, light blue, black, brown, purple...and I have red and orange in the queue. They're Very Useful Tops. ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #36

This month's colors: Black, purple and/or silver w/blue jeans.

I finished the Vogue cardiwrap yesterday so I thought I'd wear it today; it's from a very lightweight and semi-sheer rayon/lycra jersey. Didn't think I could manage a stand-alone top from it, but it worked well for the cardiwrap...I can't imagine how heavy that drape would be in a thicker fabric. I've got on my Vogue 7604 sleeveless shiny silver rayon blouse under it and the new Coldwater Creek Bootcut jeans.

I do have to say I think I tightened the tie a bit much for the photo...it looks better a little lower. My photographer doesn't do styling...he just takes the picture... ;)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Petard Fabrication

The three kids doing Compleat Works are going to need leggings...we haven't definitely decided on colors yet, but they will be bright solids like purple, yellow, green, or red, depending upon which color of Chuck Taylors we find to fit the kids...the leggings will be the same color as their shoes.

But I have been visiting all my usual supply houses, and the colors of the season appear to be muted and muddy. Nice clear colors such as we will need for this show are hard to come by. I was despairing.

Then I had a Brain Flash...we could buy white knit and dye it. Get the fabric, cut the leggings out, then dye 'em and sew up up with thread that matches after the dye job.

I dunno what those leggings will sell for at a dancewear shop, but I'm willing to bet I can make 'em a bunch cheaper.... ;)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Dress in an Evening?

I spent the evening at Miss R's house (she is the Costume mistress for the fall musical), doing a bit of sewing for the musical, which The Actor is not in. But, well, they need help. And if I help the muscial parents...maybe they'll help the drama parents when we do MacBeth next spring.

Anyway, she had some patterns that needed to be morphed together to make a 50's looking dress, and after we talked and discussed what we needed to do I took the bodice from Simplicity 3673, the midriff from McCall's 5319, drafted a half-circle skirt that was about twice the width of the waistline so it could be gathered to the bottom of the midriff, cut it all out of some expendable polished cotton and basted it all together on her sewing machine.

It's a 14...the size I could make without tracing/cutting the pattern...and there are a couple of girls that it will possibly fit. Miss R's daughter, who will not be wearing a dress from this design, was close enough in size that she could put it on for evaluation (wish I'd thought to take my camera!). We all decided it was pretty cute and would work for the purpose. Miss R will take it to school tomorrow and see what the director thinks of the shape; the skirt is not as full as the concept picture showed, but to get a full circle would use tons of fabric. TONS.

There are 17 girls who will be wearing dresses from this design. So, yeah, a half circle will mean a huge savings over a circle.

Haven't done any sewing yet for the drama one-act, but I've logged in three hours for the musical. ;)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #35

Well, this is the best of three poor photos today... I was slow getting around this morning and had to wear my glasses; it was late before we got home after church and dinner and kids' puppet practice; I'd had a tangle with a door while carrying a nearly full can of Coke and was wearing a good bit of it; and somehow the hem of my jacket got hiked up and nobody noticed. Oh, well, keeps me humble, right?

Anyway, this month's colors are purple, silver and/or black w/blue jeans, so I wore my Lee bootcut jeans with a Christine Jonson's Basewear 2 top in a purple/black print cotton/lycra jersey from EOS that I made about 4 years ago and Loes Hinse's Bistro Jacket that's also about 4 years old, in a herringbone rayon/poly suiting from Hancock's.

Four years. I dunno if that means I've made good classics or if I need to get back in the sewing room in the worst way.

Or both. ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

An' It's the Pirate Shirts to the Rescue!

Ahoy! Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and, in honor of said day, 'tis me practice to link to me personal favorite of all me pattern reviews, Butterick 4486. But, actually, 'tis a timely notation, as Compleat Works will be requirin' th' actors to wear some blousy-type shirts. An' Oi just so 'appen t'ave three such shirts in me 'ouse from different times what we've 'ad to be piratey in our attire.

So, thanks t' the very same shirts, Oi'll loikely not be sewin' new ones fer th' show, savin' meself twelve-fifteen 'ours fer other things.

'Tis jolly good, Oi'd say!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here we go: One Act Competition

I had the first official meeting this afternoon w/the director and cast of this year's competition one act, The Compleat Works of Shakespeare (Abridged(Abridged)). We just discussed a little bit what we're looking at, and Mr G sent home a copy of the DVD for me to watch so I can get a better idea of the required costumes.

Oh.My.Gosh. That is one hysterical production. A bit ribald in places...but, so was good ol' Will.

But, the good thing is that the production has a pronounced improv feel to it...so the costumes look very thrown together as well.

There are only three people in the cast, and I'm thinking of some things in my own costume wardrobe at home that might work, as well as some things that I know are in the costume shop from previous shows I've been involved with. There will be some sewing, to be sure, but mostly it's going to be scrounged up.

I'm breathing just a *little* easier ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A - Hemmin' away...

Well, the very first thing done on the Simplicity top is hemming the overlap, so the double needle went into the machine.

And, since the double needle was in the machine, I decided to hem the cardi-wrap and call it finished.

Only there's about 2.3 miles of edge to hem on that thing. Working 10 - 15 minutes at a time, I *might* get the edge pressed up sometime tomorrow.

Plus I'm not terribly happy with the way it's looking. I didn't alter anything except for length (because I didn't quite have enough fabric for the whole front point...I shortened it 8" so it would fit on my fabric...), and the armsceye/shoulder/upper arm doesn't look terribly good. I didn't want a snug fit, since this is a top layer, but I think I should've taken the shoulder down and raised the armsceye a bit anyway. Doesn't help that my machines don't much like sewing this and I'm dealing with a plethora of skipped stitches, which makes the seams look kinda wobbly.

But it's really drapey, stretchy fabric, so I'm hoping once the edges are finished and I can put it on and arrange it *just so*, it won't be too bad. We'll see...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Goofed

So, after I finished the purple shirts, I changed the thread in both machines to black and proceeded to work on the cardi-wrap. Got it to the point of finishing all the edges and set it aside until I put double needles in the machine and picked up my rayon matte jersey Simp. 4076 wrap top, which is intended as a knock-off of a poly matte jersey top I saw at Coldwater Creek.

And I discovered I had missed cutting a piece; in my enthusiasm, I didn't notice that the neckline actually has a band finish. I thought it was just a over-wide topstitching. Anyway, I didn't cut the band. And the scraps I have left are not nearly enough to get one.

So, looks like I'm going to be using my lycra-knit strips as a facing. With a 1/4" seam allowance. I think that'll work....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fabric In. Again.

Ok. The Flute Player is going to need new black pants for concerts...last year's are not EVEN going to reach her ankle bones.

So I had to have more black fabric. And Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics just happened to have stretch wovens on sale last week. So I got some black cotton/lycra sateen for pants for The Flute Player. And me. And she sent an extra yard, so I may make myself a black vest out of it as well.

And, you know, no piece of fabric can make a trip alone, so I ordered some white cotton/lycra stretch satin that Ann suggested for a wonderful men's shirt. I can always use a wonderful white shirt, so I thought I'd have one. However, when I opened the box, I was surprised at how substantial that fabric is...it's nearly a bottomweight.

But. The short Coldwater Creek snoop shopping trip yielded some pretty substantial tailored cotton/lycra satin shirts hanging on their racks. So. I'm thinking I'll have a nice, substantial, very dressy white shirt. Eventually.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two down

If I can get my thoughts coherent enough to share, I'll post about the women's conference on the faith blog. Here, I'll just say...wow. Paradigms shifted.

But My Sweet Baboo and I had other duties today, so we weren't in choir. So I got to wear whatever I wanted to church today. ;-)

I actually wore something I never thought I'd wear to church...the six yard skirt. That skirt was never meant to be a fashion item...it was strictly for comfort in a specific situation...long car rides.

But, I got the idea to pair it with the new Coldwater Creek jacket. And, you know, it worked. I even got several compliments on it.

Hm. Maybe I should check the stash for another six-yard chunk of cotton fabric...

Meantime, sewing a few minutes here and there, I managed to finish the purple shirts, so the thread has been changed and I'm on the black things now...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Patterns in...

So Hancock's had a Labor Day Sale.

And I needed some thread for the projects I'd just cut out.

Before I went, I checked the patterns that were on sale and grabbed my on-going list. Vogue patterns had been on sale for 3.99 each for three days; by Monday afternoon, of the five patterns on my list, only one was still available in my size.

No matter. I'm looking at it just for inspiration : Vogue 1117. I have some marvelous black silk sateen that I got from Louise Cutting at last year's Expo that is waiting for a perfect Little Black Dress pattern. I think this is it. Now the perfect LBD pattern just has to wait on me to loose ten pounds or so...although I'm somewhat surprised that this pattern is only rated average in difficulty, with all those inside corners and a full lining. It's pretty intimidating. But, ooo la laaaa, won't it be fabulous!

I picked up a couple of Simplicity top patterns, too: 2852 and 3624. I'm looking for some tunic-length knit tops that do not have the dreaded maternity-look and I'm hoping one of these will do the trick. However, I believe both of them have reviews in which they have been treated as maternity tops. :/ On a skinny little thing w/no tummy, I don't think these would be a problem. Unfortunately, that description hasn't fit me since about 1990...and I wouldn't have agreed to it then. We'll see.

I picked up a couple of patterns for the Flute player that might or might not get made up; one needs some adjustment to make it workable and the other is borderline cutesy. Not sure I would've gotten them if she'd've been with me to veto, but, well, they were two bucks each and I grabbed 'em. 2665 is a junior-sized pattern that I have overlooked because of the cheesy hot pink hot pants outfit, but on closer inspection it has a cute top in it...and if I changed the zipper in the pants to ANYTHING but that icky exposed version they wouldn't be bad. 4106 is still a girls-size, but I think the gathers on the top would make it work for a small junior, too. I like the tunic...

Finally, I picked up a costume pattern. Don't laugh...it's the Jack Sparrow costume for kids, Simp. 3644. But, if we *ever* do Scrooge again, and if we *ever* costume Scrooge's childhood properly, this is exactly what we need for the shirt and vest those late 18th century boys would have worn. And those are hard to find in kids sizes. So I grabbed it. Just in case.

Didn't go near the sewing machine today; I hope to do a little sewing tomorrow but that will be it for the rest of the weekend. Our women's conference begins at church tomorrow night and it's going to go all weekend.

I'm really looking forward to it...it's gonna be good. ;)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The changing of the thread...

That's all I got done in the sewing room in a day that started at 4:40 AM and is still going at...11:16 PM? I was home long enough to change the thread on the machines. At least I'm ready to start sewing...when I can catch a few minutes.

Minute progress is still progress.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Check the Queue

I did some pretty major cutting over the weekend; I managed to get 3 Jalie tank tops, a black rayon matte jersey Simp. 4076 wrap top (inspired by the Cold Water Creek perusal), the currently popular Vogue cardi-wrap from a soft and semi-sheer black jersey, a pair of wool-lycra blend Oxford pants and a linen Stars in Heaven tunic cut out for me, and a couple of knit tops cut out for The Flute Player. I expect to do some costume work for the drama magnet competition one-act, The Compleat Works of William Shakespear (Abridged (abridged)) and I've got to clear all of my sewing/cutting paraphernalia out of the sunroom for some repair work, so I wanted to have a few things cut and ready to sew when I can catch a few minutes. I hoped to get the muslin cut out for the Burda jacket, but I didn't get that far.

However, all of those are 4-hours or less projects, so I *think* I can get through them fairly quickly...even if it's just fifteen minutes at a time.

I just have to re-evaluate my personal conception of the meaning of 'quickly'.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #34

This Month's colors: Purple, black and/or silver w/blue jeans.
I'm wearing my Loes Hinse Bistro Jacket from a black poly/rayon herringbone weave suiting, my grey poly/rayon jersey blend variation on the funnel-neck view of Textile Studio's Monaco Shell top, and my new bootcutjeans purchase from the 'snoop shopping' trip...all 45 minutes worth...I managed to squeak in at Coldwater Creek last week (more on that next week).

And, um, just for the record, I finally took the kitty to the vet for the first check up, just to make sure our little foundling was a healthy cat and, um, turns out it *is* a girl kitty. Yes, I feel quite sheepish...Fortunately, 'Frisco' is a gender-neutral name, eh?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #33

This Month's Colors: Brown, purple, and/or mustard yellow w/blue jeans
Yay! I finally finished another item for the closet! The twinset is from an amazing heathery brown rayon/lycra jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I originally ordered just a yard to make the Jalie 965 tank top, but the fabric was sooo incredibly nice that I had to order another piece to make a matching cardi. I decided to try Jalie 2566, and I finally got the buttons on the cardigan last night.

The jeans are the Lee bootcuts again; I've got the Jalie bootcut pattern; maybe I'll get to it one of these days. It would be *so* nice to have a TNT jeans pattern that won't ever be discontinued by the manufacturer... ;)

Oh, just so you know...I have an 'unscheduled' blogging break next week (reasons will be explained on the other blog...not to worry, just a break); so I'll see you back next Sunday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Jester-ish Costume

Most of the Jester hat patterns I found were either for knitters, or called for craft foam and glue. And neither of the two sewing patterns were created by folks who actually sew...they were created by people who wanted Jester hats and got creative enough to try them. One was, as I said earlier, incomplete in the directions and incorrectly diagrammed. The other, which was the the one I actually adapted was for plastic. But at least it gave a direction.

I probably goofed by making the crescents smaller than were diagrammed; I didn't want a mammoth jester hat; this is for a little skit and it only has to suggest a jester. So I reduced the measurements a bit...and ended up with a hat that didn't have enough room for the top of The Actor's head.

'Costuming, not couture!'...I opened the seams at the top for about 2", folded the points back and added a hexagonal gusset. Laid the scrap of purple on top of the Actor's head, put the opened up hat on top and just pinned it all to fit; then I zig-zagged around the fold and trimmed all the excess away underneath.

Not at all precise but it worked. I stuffed the crescents lightly w/polyfill...you can see how Very Excited The Actor is with his new hat:

He didn't like the stuffed points at all; after some discussion I let him pull the poly fill out and he was happier. 'Happier' still not meaning pleased, you understand...just less disgusted...

The tunic was easy...a modification of my favorite Bible costume pattern, McCall's 2339. It might've been better a little longer...or if I'd've cut the ragged edges a little more shallow, but I think it'll do.

I'm sure I have some jingle bells around somewhere but I've looked everywhere I *think* I should've put 'em and I haven't found them yet. If I find 'em, I'll sew a bell on each point on the hat.

We'll see what The Director says...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Never Fails

I get the biggest shot of inspiration when I can do nothing about it.

My little jaunt to Coldwater Creek yesterday didn't just net me a new jacket; I saw some great clothes that I'd love to sit down and knock off.

Jackets w/short sleeves...or just little cap sleeves. Shirts w/ruffles. Knit tops w/stretch lace lower edges.

I wish I'd had time to visit the dressing room and take phone pictures for future reference.

But. I have a week to make the jester costume. I've got the Bible Costume pattern pulled out for the tunic; I want to at least cut that out first, so I know how much fabric I have left for the hat.

And the directions for the hat that Nancy found for me online are, um, incomplete. I also think they've shown sewing the incorrect sides together...all the pieces are connected, then the instructions say to 'try on the hat'. But at that point, it's a flat thing. No hat to try on.

But it is a starting point...I think I'll get some scrap fabric and play around w/the shapes to see if I can get it to work.

Oh...and I tried looking at other patterns for Jester Hats, but the next place I checked had one of those 'hijack the computer' pop-ups (doesn't take 'no' for an answer) and I had to CNTRL-ALT-DEL to kill it. Now I'm scared to look farther...Yeesh.

Anyway, with my jacket purchase I received a coupon good for 25% off an entire purchase anytime next week. If I finish the jester costume, I may treat myself to a little snoop shopping spree. There's a JJill and an Anthropologie in that same complex...maybe I'll take the digi cam along...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Twinge of Guilt

But not for what you'd think.

Ya'll, I actually went out and bought a denim jacket today.

I don't think I've bought a jacket for myself since the Amazing Jacket and Dress Deal I found on the clearance rack at Dillards...6 years ago?

But I got an email advertisement from Coldwater Creek featuring a denim jacket that I had to go check out at the local CWC shop. The one that opened...a year and a half ago?...that I hadn't been in yet.

Anyway, I had an errand to do that was sort of near the fancy shopping center where CWC is located, so I went ahead and ran over while I was in that neck of the woods.
It took me a while to find the denim version of the jacket; they also had it in two jacquards (orange and purple), but denim was what I wanted.

A size 12P fit fairly well and looked good. Knowing how much I've worn my Vogue Denim Jacket, I figured I'd wear this one bunches and bunches, too. And, looking at all the details on it, I will tell you straight up that $40 is worth not sewing it myself. I didn't feel the least bit guilty over that. In fact, I was congratulating myself because my sewing abilities allowed me to recognize a great buy when I found it.

But after I got home with it, I looked at the care label and found that it was made in China. And I wondered...who made my lovely jacket? Did I just contribute to an abusive system?

I don't know...and I can't do much about it at this point. But I can, every time I put that jacket on, pray for the unknown sewing machine operator and his/her co-workers. It is the least I can do, when she/he made such a nice little jacket for me to run around in.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jester Costume Coming Up

Made a stop at the 'Wal-Mart that still has a fabric department' today to pick up jester costume fabric. The Drama Teacher wanted Mardi Gras colors -- purple, green and gold. I looked over the buck and a half table; there was a nice dark yellow poly fabric, but nothing to go with it. So I ended up getting three pieces of poplin from the $2 shelf.

I hope to git 'er done this weekend; he'd really like to have the costume by Sept. 3 or 4 (the performance date is Sept. 9)

Now, all I have to decide is...do I want to use the green and purple for the body, with the gold on sleeves and accent, or do I want purple and gold for the body with green for accent, or shall I use green and gold on the body and the purple for accent?

The Actor would probably prefer the garment to have as little purple on it as possible.

Hm. Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #32

This month's colors: Brown, purple and/or mustard yellow w/blue jeans

The bootcut Lees were clean this week ! ;)

So, with them I'm wearing the Vogue 2975 top from brown poly blend crepe and the brown denim eyelet McCall's 5191 jacket.

I did some sewing yesterday and got my brown Jalie cardi done to the buttons...then discovered that I only had 4 brown buttons; I need 6. So I'll have to make a Hancock's run before I can finish it...

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Costuming Request of the School Year

The Actor is going to play a Jester in a little skit the class is going to perform at some elementary/middle schools next month and he needs a tabbard and hat.

The tabbard/tunic won't be a problem (modified Bible costume!) but I'm not having much luck finding a pattern for a hat. Simplicity has a pattern, but the Simp. patterns won't be on sale at Hancock's again before the performance date and I really don't want to spend 6 bucks on the pattern.

I looked around a bit on the net but haven't had any luck yet. Does anyone know of a good, simple Jester hat pattern? It doesn't have to be authentic...just visual enough to make the point.

Here we go...

PS. Um, I've got a serving of humble pie on my plate because, after stating that I believed my new assistant was a girl, I have had to reconsider the issue and now I must confess to an error...this is a boy kitty. He still has no name....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slow and Steady...

Even if I only trace off half of a pattern piece a day, the pattern will eventually get traced...

I did swing by the Dollar-fifty table at the Good Wal-Mart earlier in the week and grabbed 4 yards of some kind of poly-blend suiting to make a muslin of the jacket. I'm gonna hold off on tracing the lining pieces until after I fit the jacket...especially since the lining pieces are pretty much drafted from the shell pieces. I'll get the shell pieces altered up first, then I'll do the lining.

But. Sigh. That puts my fabric in at over 86 yards...and my fabric out is still in the 20's. Unbelievable. Between working and costuming, I just haven't had as much time as I'm accustomed to to sew. Unless I get a MAJOR sewing focus going this fall, I am not going to finish the year anywhere close to parity. But that is unlikely, with the afore-mentioned costuming looming ahead.

So I'm dropping my 'Parity Plan' of giving away twice the overage. It's just not feasible this year...I'm just gonna do the best I can and then re-think the whole thing. Whatever I sew this year may be my benchmark for next year...if I only sew 35 yards, then that's what I'll limit myself to buying next year.

Who knew a little part-time job would sap the sewing time so much? But -- it is precisely the sewing time that turned into time at work. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Just gotta change my paradigm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Sewing Around the Corner...

We had a meeting of drama parents tonight; things are going to be a bit different this year; this year's high school musical will be a fall production. And, there is a new magnet director, who is not requiring students outside of choir to audition. So The Actor will not be in this year's musical.

Which is actually good, because it will be performed slap in the middle of the one-act play competition season. Auditions for that were today; it's a small cast, but I rather expect The Actor to be in it. There will be costuming....

And, since the musical will be in the fall, there's a gap in the performance calendar in early spring, so the Drama dept. will be doing a play in the late Feb-March time frame...they're looking at Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. But the BIG production of the year will be the complete MacBeth, done as originally written, in period costumes, about two weeks before school is out.

This is the kind of schedule I'd expect from a magnet program.

It's gonna be a busy year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Choir Sundays 09 #31

This month's colors:Brown, purple and mustard yellow w/blue jeans.
Along with the straight-leg Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, I'm wearing my McCall's 5191 Jeans Jacket, made from stretch denim eyelet, and Vogue 8323, from purple cotton/lycra.

Sigh. I wish I looked better in jeans. Probably doesn't help that we had a feast of a dinner out today to celebrate 29 years of marriage...and this picture was taken *after* a huge meal. Ooofff.

I'll exercise tomorrow. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Meet the New Assistant

We had two cats before we had kids. The cats never quite forgave us for bringing children home to torment them, but we all enjoyed the furry friends. At least, most of us enjoyed them. My Sweet Baboo sort of tolerated them.

But, kitties don't live as long as kids, and, not too long before The Flute Player's first birthday, our second kitty went to Catnip Heaven.

That was a little over twelve years ago. Even after all that time, and two household moves, I still found the occasional cat hair.

But I figured it was a matter of time until we got another cat. The kids have been asking. But I wasn't ready.

I'm still not sure I'm ready, but this kitty needed a home; she was found in a parking lot, but the family who found her couldn't keep her and she was headed to the animal shelter in a couple of days.

So now we have a cat. Hopefully, but the end of the weekend, she'll have a name.

Meantime, I'm trying to remember how to train a cat to stay off the kitchen counters and table...sigh...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plannin' a brown jacket

I dug through the entire pattern cabinet and all my BWOF magazines trying to decide what I wanted to use for a brown jacket.

I have some lovely brown Zegna wool from Michael, so I knew what fabric the pattern must work for.

But I had some criteria...I didn't want to use my lovely wool on something that would be dated in a season or two; it had to have Staying Power. It also had to work w/a number of different shirt necklines. Shoulder princess lines were preferred, for ease of alteration.

And it had to work w/my body type...Middle Aged.

I compiled a short list of about 5 patterns, but ultimately decided upon Jacket 116 from BWOF 12/2008:

I've got 4 yards of the brown wool, so I might make pants, too.

Anyway, I expect it to take about a week to get the pattern traced (I think there are something like 12 - 13 pieces, some of which will have to be adapted and traced again for the lining).

But it's out on the Project Table to be traced...who knows, maybe I'll get a TNT out of it...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lookit Him Sew...

I had to take pictures.

Last March, My Sweet Baboo went off for a long weekend and took a knife crafting class taught by a master craftsman in Missouri. He came home with a pretty fancy knife in a case, but he wanted to make a sheath for it.

Sir Senior Ranger Commander happened to have some leather scraps about, and, last weekend, MSB put it all together:

And here he is with the finished project:

Technically, he cheated by pre-drilling the holes for the needle in the leather before he started sewing it, if he really wanted it to be Authentic for the frontiersmen's fellowship group...but he's not that picky. There are three different pieces of leather involved, ranging from Stiff As a Board to Lovely and Soft in hand. It was interesting to see how he did it.

For being a relative novice at these things, I think he did pretty well!