Friday, December 31, 2010

You got that right...

...From my Christmas morning stocking...not that I'd ever actually TEST the theory, mind you!

Got nowhere near the sewing machine this week; just didn't happen. So I'll have one muslin carry over that I hope to sew up as soon as I can...before I do any more cutting.

At the moment, the cutting table is buried under gift wrapping supplies anyway. We're doing our nuclear family Christmas tomorrow, and our holiday snacks of choice will be decongestants, expectorants and cough syrup night caps.

So, Happy New Year! And, for those who are, like us, somewhat non-traditional in observance...Merry (7th day of) Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clearing the Queue

I'm determined not to carry over anything from 2010 if I can possibly help, whilst the laundry was running today, I put together the knit (Loes Hinse) Oxford pants I cut out back on October 2....and I'm holding off on cutting out the last two pieces of the white long-sleeved camp shirt until after Jan 1!

As many times as I've made Oxfords, I've never tried them in a knit before. But, you know, there are times when you need pants that can function as sweat pants, but need to look presentable (I'm particularly thinking about days when I have to leave work, go to the chiropractor, then return to work). I ordered some poly/rayon/lycra double knit at a super duper sale price back in March for just such a purpose...glad I got 'em in the closet before the year was up. ;)

I think these will fill their intended function very well. The knit is very, very nice; I've got 2 more yards but I might make a dress...or some pants for The Flute Player (she needs some black knit pants for drama).

Now, I'm going to get through Christmas, then see if I can get that jacket muslin put together before midnight on the 31st....then I'd have a clear queue for January 1 AND a tested jacket pattern; I'd REALLY like to jump on the 'jacket a month in 2011' bandwagon.

So, Merry Christmas to all my sewing buddies! I hope your holiday is spent with people and events you love!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Quarter Century...

I thought, in honor of celebrating 25 years of motherhood, I'd do a little retrospective of the various garments I've sewn for my firstborn down through the ages.

I got the highlights of the first five years. Several of those garments I'd totally forgotten about. Wow.

Sometimes I matched her to me...sometimes to her brother...sometimes to her cousin.

And that's really only about half of it...just the better things.

I didn't realize I accomplished so much!

But I had a hard time finding photos that showed the clothes; I guess I was more interested in taking pictures of the kids! Imagine! LOL....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Official...

He proposed and she said yes; we will have a son-in-law sometime around the middle of September if all goes well with the scheduling.

There will be sewing...even if it's only a MOB/SisterOB kinda thing.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally...something done...

I finally finished McCalls 5522, sewing on all 11 buttons while sitting in the endoscopy waiting area at the local hospital whilst My Sweet Baboo endured the Routine Over 50 Health Procedure Everyone Hates.

I have to say, the shirt looks better than I expected. At various times in the process of constructing it I was sure it was gonna be a wadder. I don't think it's a wadder, but I'll have to be careful when I wear it, as it's definitely Not There Yet, fit-wise.

The first issue I had was when I sewed the horizontal seams; I was sure those stripes w/their near-matching would just be too jarring and was really wishing I'd cut the lower pieces on the bias to minimize that. Then, when I added the front band, I found that the stripes were not quite matching up vertically there, either...and I was afraid that'd be jarring. Oh, if I had only added the ruffles, they would totally have masked the variations in stripe widths at the band seams. Then I realized the collar is cut on the wrong grainline; those stripes should be horizontal, not vertical. That's the way it's marked; it just didn't register that, for a striped shirt, I'd really want them going the other way.

And so on.

But, once it was all together, it didn't seem as bad as I thought. Except for one slight problem.

The dreaded Binding Sleeve. That is All. I. Can. Raise. My. Arms.

I've hit this problem over and over again on regular fitted shirt sleeves. It feels like there's not enough fabric in the sleeve, and too much fabric in the shirt, right at the underarm. When I raise my arm, as you can see in the circled spot, the shirt pulls and the sleeve twists over the upper arm.

But I went through several of the reviews for this pattern, and I didn't find anyone else who made the long-sleeved version who mentioned this problem.

I've read several opinions of what causes this but I haven't really seen a solution...a pattern fix...for it. I don't want the sleeve to be looser; it really isn't tight until I move my arms.

Aside from that, I found that I hadn't added enough ease in the back just above my waist (that old lady back fat thing is starting to happen...sigh), and I don't think the stand is high enough for the collar. It's not intended to button all the way up, and it's a good thing, because if it were buttoned at the band the collar bends and crinkles unattractively. Open, it's fine.

So, yeah, this one gets a C+ for fitting, although that's not really the pattern's fault. It's not really drafted to fit a pudgy middle aged lady, and I haven't been a pudgy middle aged lady long enough to have the fit routine nailed down.

I'll get the review done and explain the alterations I did in more detail later on tonight (I hope).

Meantime, it sure feels good to put something in the 'done' column!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trying to tell me something???

A couple of nights ago I had a dream in which I had taken my Kenmore sewing machine and my serger to a high school or church (not sure was neither the high school my kids attend nor my church) for some costume sewing and while I was away from the area my old beat up weighs-a-ton Kenmore disappeared- footpedal, accessories box, crumbling owners manual, the box of spare bobbins and carrying case all gone with it.

I couldn't believe it. The serger wasn't disturbed, buy my trusty old friend was gone.

I spent a good bit of the rest of the dream trying to find it, or find someone who knew what happened to it, but I woke up with out having located it.

I've been vaguely uneasy ever since. I have so much sewing I want to do, and I can. not. get. to. the. machine.

That's gonna HAVE to change.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Past the Halfway Point

We've now passed 16 out of 28 days of photography; it's downhill from here. I've figured out a workaround on printing the labels for the sitting ID's from our data base that lets me just print the labels I actually need instead of a bunch of duplicates, which makes me very happy.

My two younger kids were puking today, which makes me very nervous. I haven't shown any one else how to print the labels...what if I pick up that nasty virus? Hmm....

I emailed the label template to my home computer; if the unthinkable happens, I can sit at home and generate all necessary paper work, then email it to a co-worker to print for the photographers.

Maybe I should be glad I don't have company coming for Thanksgiving this year after all...

But I have a turkey defrosting in the fridge just the same. Hopefully everyone will be well and the turkey will be enjoyed by all.

On the sewing front, I haven't touched my white blouse in an entire week. It's still waiting for about two pieces and the interfacing to be cut out. As I mentioned in the comments on last week's post, I ended up at our photo session wearing an old favorite blouse that, unfortunately, has ink stains on the cuffs. We folded our cuffs back, so the ink stains were inconsequential.

But, with two days next week that are both days off and have no photography happening, maybe I'll at least get to finish cutting that blouse out. ;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gettin' Real...

Ok, I'm just gonna make do with whatever white shirt I can come up with tomorrow; the Camp Shirt is still partly on the cutting board.

Just too much goin' on! After we got home from church...and that was pretty late; the two younger kids had puppet team practice, so My Sweet Baboo and I had a very nice lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant whilst they did the puppet thing; consequently it was mid-afternoon before we walked back in the front door ...I had a choice.

I could throw myself into sewing that shirt, making something that should be relaxing and enjoyable into another deadline, or I could face reality and acknowledge that I'm just not gonna have time to do it well and have a restful Sunday afternoon.

I think, since the lesson I taught my high school girl's class this morning was on the value of rest, my decision to chill out for a while was a necessary one.

I'll just make one of my other white shirts do somehow. ;)

And I will freely admit, hopefully with simple honesty and no whining, that I will be personally very glad when we've finished with the directory photography...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

That's what it feels like, anyway. I've got the collar and sideseams on the black and white stripe blouse; it has some problems and more than once I thought it was going to be an unsalvageable wadder, but I'm determined to finish it if only to be able tweak the fit.

And I'm *trying* to start a new project...we are doing OUR share in the church photo directory on Monday and I've told everyone under this roof that we'll all wear white shirts w/blue jeans (the background is black). It's going to be the Christmas Card photo for this year, and if the picture wasn't going in the directory, I'd put us in Dickens costumes, just for fun(I'd have fun, anyway).

But, since it *is* for publication, we'll be conservative. And everyone has a white shirt, thanks to a quick shopping trip with The Actor and The Flute Player over the weekend.

'Cept I'm not terribly happy with MY long sleeve white shirts. Given the lack of sewing time, I actually stopped by the mall on my way home yesterday to look at white shirts.

Counting the one I tried on when The Flute Player was trying on shirts, I've tried on a total of SEVEN shirts.

None of them worked.

I thought about going to my usual If-I-Buy-RTW-It's-From-Here shop, but when I looked online at their white shirts, I noticed that just about every one of them needed a FBA to fit the lithe young model.

I don't think it would've been worth the trip to try any of those on me.

Anyway, I dug through my Pile (the fabric waiting to be swatched and put away...I'm WAAAAYYYYY behind on that) and found a lovely piece of white cotton twill from Textile Fabrics in Nashville. I think I'm gonna just use Louise Cutting's Town and Country Camp Shirt, and put long sleeves on it.

The fabric is all ironed and laid out on the cutting table...I'm gonna guess about 8 hours of sewing time for it.

I don't know if I'll get 'er done or not. But at least I'll give it a shot.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Considering the '11 SWAP...

I haven't participated in the annual SWAP contest since 2006; high school theater sewing has largely kept me too, that was the third year in a row; I was about wardrobed out of the closet!

But that was 5 years and about 12 pounds ago. My wardrobe is beginning to need some overhauling. Maybe I should jump into the SWAP...

But I have a couple of caveats. The first is, simply, time. I'm not done with the High School Production season of life yet; there's a production of Romeo and Juliet AND the spring musical looming just after the holidays...and life has been so busy in general that my sewing production for the fall has been limited to a piddly 5 garments since school started; I've been trying to get that black-and-white blouse put together since Oct. 1. Granted, the directory photo shoot will be over after Christmas, but everything else is so backed up and behind that I really can't guarantee myself much sewing time.

The other caveat is the 'twist' -- that is, the little extra requirement to make everyone get creative with their sewing. This year, EVERY garment sewn for the SWAP has to include a new (or not perfected) technique. Granted, we're allowed to use (I think) 3 previously made or purchased garments in the wardrobe, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around a 12 11 - piece (Ok, 9 8 -piece) wardrobe in which EVERY garment has some particular detail about it that's new to me or something I'm working on getting right.

If I make a SWAP wardrobe, it's because I need clothes I can wear in my everyday life. And I've been sewing for a long time; most of the techniques I need to sew everyday clothes I've mastered.

I'm looking at couture techniques, or embellishments, or some such thing to meet that requirement. Stuff that really doesn't go in my day-to-day wardrobe.

I need some basic things that fit the body I have now. I'm going to have very limited time in which to make them.

So, as much as I'd love to participate this year, I'm really thinking it's just not my year to jump in. I may do a sew-along and see if I can SWAP in my style...that is, along the original idea of the SWAP, which uses TNT patterns to generate a wardrobe quickly.

I won't win anything, but I'll have some clothes in my closet. ;)

Monday, November 01, 2010

I Got Mine!

Ok, it's the second printing...I'm late to the party.

But better late than never!

Can you say 'inspiration'?

Lots of cool ideas; I've only skimmed through it, but I've already seen a couple of things that I'd never noticed on the PR website.

Now if I can just squeeze in some time to sew...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not Sewing. Is. A. Bummer.

Haven't wandered near the machine for a couple of weeks now.

See, we're doing a photo directory at church and, well, somehow it landed in my office.

So, I suppose the good side is that I'm working extra and so bringing some extra cash into the exchequer...bad news is that there is no time.

It's almost like costuming a show.

My black-and-white striped blouse has had all the fusible interfacing applied, and that's where it's been. And I really need to get it made...if it fits well, I may make another one out of solid white (with the ruffles!) for our picture...which is scheduled for Nov. 15.

But before I can sew a stitch, I've got to dig my way to the bottom of Mount Washmore...we're almost completely out of clothes.

Sewin' ain't the only thing that ain't been happening...

Deep breaths. Deep breaths. We'll get through this... ;-)

Sigh. I've been looking at fabric sources...of course!...but have so far managed to not buy anything. Why add more to the stash since I can't seem to get anything at all sewn?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Costuming the One Act

It is The Actor's Senior Year; to my surprise he elected to be the student director of this year's competition piece rather than audition for it.

The piece is The Metamorphosis. I do understand his reluctance.

Last year, the one act was a hysterical comedy that was a tremendous hit with the audience...but the judges didn't like it. So, this year (under a new drama teacher, btw), the play selection was of a genre that seems to go well with judges...dark, broody, depressing. Yay.

However, I am not responsible for the cockroach costume; I believe that is actually falling under the tech crew/set design/make up folks. My only assignment was to repair one dress that was aged and falling apart.

I spent Monday evening working on it and it's done. I don't know how well it will hold up...the fabric is nearly brittle...but it's repaired for now.

So I'm done.

Other than finding some pieces The Flute Player needs for her tights (shouldn't be hard) and 'character shoes', whatever that means. She plays the first maid/housekeeper. We'll find something at Shoe Carnival.

However, as soon as we get back from Christmas break, they're going to begin production on their major drama production, which will be Romeo and Juliet. Not done in Elizabethan garb is all I know about the costuming at this point...

But, it's 'funny' how things work out. I have a big project going on at work that will run through at least the end of November. Sewing for a show would be nearly impossible at this point...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Something REALLY different

I normally play along with the Random Dozen Meme on my other blog...the one that talks about faith and other things that I don't feel quite free to talk about here. But...I'm feeling a little adventurous tonight, and sewing Will Be Mentioned, so...

Just for grins I'm answering the questions on this side of the dashboard. For newbies, welcome to Second Cup of Coffee's Random Dozen (minus one this week).

You can click the icon to see the original prompt and the linked up answers:

1. Is there a word which you initially mispronounced? Were the circumstances in which you made the faux pas embarrassing? By the way, that's not "foax pass." (I know you know that. Just jokin' with ya.)
I pronounced 'Sword' as 'swoard' for years and years, to distinguish it from 'soared.' Finally I looked it up in a dictionary and found that 'swoard' is not even an alternate pronunciation and ate humble pie and stumbled over the pronunciation for years. But Terry Woodrum saved me from total humiliation in my 10th grade Driver's Ed class, when, while reading aloud from the textbook,he read the word 'Yosemite' and pronounced it 'Yo-sim-i-tee,' thus saving me from a thousand deaths when it was my turn to read...I totally was going to say 'Yose-mite.'

2. How do you feel about the use of texting shortcuts and trends? (ex: "I've got ur notes. Get them 2 u 2morow.")
You won't believe this, but I actually spell words out in my texts. I only use those shortcuts for dramatic effect...which is usually totally wasted.

3. Tell me about your high school senior picture. Please feel free to post.
Just because this IS the sewing blog, I will point out that I made the jacket in my senior photo from blue polyester doubleknit crepe from Ben Franklin's in Brownsburg, IN, back when Ben Franklin's was a variety store. It was part of my ORIGINAL wardrobe capsule sewing, although I didn't know that at the time. I also bought some navy and white houndstooth poly double knit, and I made the blue jacket, a blue skirt, a houndstooth skirt, a pair of wide-waist trousers from the houndstooth, and a reversible vest using both fabrics. You can't really tell from the photo, but the jacket has short, puffed, banded sleeves (I *think* there was a long-sleeved view, but I'm not sure). This was the second jacket from this pattern; my mom used it to make a cream linen-look jacket for me, too, my freshman or sophomore year. As I recall, she has not sewn anything for me since that, although she has done a wee bit of sewing for my kids (remember the napsacks, Mom?). Um, I *have* been actively resisting stalking vintage pattern sites for that jacket.

4. Since Linda left off number 4 I'm making up my own. *Clears throat* What is your favorite variety of doughnut?
Dunkin' Donuts (would someone PLEASE open a DD franchise in the Rocket City again? Pretty Please?) vanilla creme filled. Yum. Powdered sugar everywhere....

5. Share a high school or college homecoming memory.
My high school consolidated w/another high school my junior year. That was also the first year for our varsity football program. We Never.Won.A.Game. Every away game we went to was the home team's homecoming. I wish I had a sawbuck for every time I heard 'Sweetheart of Sigma Chi' before I graduated.

6. Linda at Mocha with Linda wants to know: "Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?"

7. Lea at Cici's Corner asks, "What is something you have not done that you desire to do?"
See the Northern Lights

8. Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind ponders, "If you could come back [in another life] as an animal, which would it be?"
Some rich lady's pampered poochie.

9. Joyce from The Other Side of the Pond is curious: "Where were you 10 years ago?" Please feel free to elaborate more than just your physical location.
10 years ago my kids were 4, 7, 12 and 14; the four of them were attending 5 different schools. We were still in our denominational church, although we were beginning to pull out. We were in a cramped little house...and I had not yet discovered the online sewing community.

10. When you are proven to be correct in any contentious discussion, do you gloat?
Who, me? Um, depends on with whom I am in contentious discussion. ;)

11. What is your favorite food which includes the ingredient "caramel?"
Caramel turtle brownies.

12. From my 17 year-old daughter to you: "If you could be part of any fictional family, which family would you choose and why?" (She's so cute. And clever.)
I think this is a life-stage question. When I was a kid, I thought it would be neat to be part of the Jetsons, because robots took care of everything. Then I thought it would be neat to be part of the Ingalls family, because they were so close. When I was in my late teens, I wanted to be part of the Murray family (A Wrinkle in Time), because they were close AND brilliant. Now, I think I'd be one of the Incredibles...I need to stretch reeeaaaaallly fffaaaaarrrr...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back from the Mountains...

...and trying to figure out how to get the dozen or so pitiful cell phone pictures off the cell phone and onto my computer (It's a very old, very basic flip phone).

The battery on my actual camera died before we even got to our destination and I'd forgotten to bring the charger. Lesson learned.

Actually, we went to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg with the leaders from our girls and boys ministries at church for a getaway. We had a fabulous time and did things as a group that I don't think I'd ever have tried on my own.

For the sake of not tripping internet searches, there is a famous female country western singer/actress who's made quite a brand for herself in the entertainment industry that I'm going to refer to as 'Polly'. Her name, face, and trademark are all over that part of the country.

I'm not dissing her; she's been very successful at what she does and I applaud her business savvy. And there are some very worthwhile charities that benefit from her business savvy. So more power to her.

Anyway, we did spend some time at some of Polly's entertainment ventures...namely, the theme park and the horse show dinner theater.

The amusement park was very nice; we'd been there before, years and years ago, and been very impressed with the artist/craftsman areas and with the eagle sanctuary. Plus, My Sweet Baboo is quite a steam engine enthusiast, and there are a couple of historic steam engines that pull the 5 mile excursion train. So we enjoyed our day at the park.

The horse show dinner theater...different strokes for different folks, I guess. A number of our friends who have been say it's really good, and most of the folks in our group agreed. I must be a rarity in that I kinda don't find food eaten in a barn with animals moving about and...well, doing what animals do...all that appetizing, even if it is roasted game hens and cream of vegetable soup and other yummy stuff. But I'd barely eaten all day, and we saw the late show, so I was HONGRAY. I tried to ignore the fragrance in the air and ate anyway (in all fairness, a number of folks in our group expressed surprise that they hadn't noticed the, um, fragrance. I had a headcold...and I noticed it. It wasn't strong, but it was there).

I'm not really comfortable in large crowds, either, and the show looked to be sold out, or close to it, so there was a CROWD to manage. In a weird way, it was fascinating to see how they marshaled everyone about and then served up the food from buckets and huge pans. And the folks there are really good at squeezing the dollars out of the audience! (yes, we bought the photos because the only way to get the nice picture of the entire group was to purchase the whole $20 package. But perhaps the photos of MSB and I that were also in the package will be enough incentive for me to get serious about the weight loss thing...).

But I will say this about the show...the animals were amazing to watch, and the costumes were really fabulous. Especially the ones that lit up. The costumers are obviously very talented and very busy, with 2 - 3 shows a day. So I'm glad I've seen it...once... ;)

MY high point (that's a pun...) of the trip was our spur-of-the-moment decision to accompany the group that went up to Clingman's Dome. We *barely* had enough time to make the trip, but 8 or 9 of us in two vehicles wound our way 20 miles into the park and up to the parking lot at the Dome. I wandered around drinking in the amazing views, and then pointed to a paved path heading past the gift shop.

'Where does that go?' I asked MSB.
'That goes up to the observation tower,' he replied, just as I spotted the sign that said the tower was .5 miles up the path.

'Well, let's go!' I said, 'It's only half a mile! We can do that!'

Um, what I didn't process in my glance at the path was that it was about a 30 - 45 degree slope for that whole half mile. We started off at a good clip, then slowed and slowed and finally sat down a bit a couple of times to catch our breath. But we made it to the top and climbed the observation tower for the incredible 360 degree views. Wow wow and wow. We took some cell phone pictures then quickly went back down to the parking lot, where the rest of our group was rather anxiously waiting for us to return (we had dinner reservations to make).

One of the pastors had purchased Clingman's Dome patches for us, saying we'd earned them...LOL.

I wish I'd had time just to sit and look out over those mountains for a while...they were beautiful.

You don't want to hear about the incredible bumper-to-bumper traffic we had leaving at noon yesterday so I won't mention it. ;-)

All in all, it was a great trip and I enjoyed hanging out with our co-workers in the ministries very much. I'd like to take a trip again sometime, when we actually have time to stay until we're ready to come home.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wherein the Stash Begins to Resemble the Great Salt Lake

as comes in but it doesn't flow out.

I'm trying reeeeaaaly hard not to buy fabric since my sewing time has dropped so dramatically, but sometimes, well, it happens.

Two more pieces from Fabric Mart:

The fabric I couldn't pass up was the black and white... I had a bold black and white checked jacket that bit the dust a long time ago and left a so-far unfilled gap in my wardrobe. I thought this cotton blend suiting would make a good replacement...finally.

And the blue...well, fabric needs a travelling buddy, so this got the nod as the description said that it would make a good tunic, and I have a Simplicity tunic pattern that I love and have been hankering to make again. But when I got it, it turned out to be lighter and not as drapey as the tunic needs.

No matter; I need a Dress That Fits Now...and I think this is PERFECT for a sheath dress that I can wear to weddings and other fancy events. The generous cutting team at Fabric Mart even sent a bit extra, so I think I can get a jacket out of it too.

But...I have a beef w/ the packing team at FM. This is the second time that I've gotten a package that was packed so tightly that I actually snipped my fabric while opening the box. The first time, it was just interfacing, so it wasn't a big deal.

But this time I had to put a safety pin in the yardage on the black and white check so I can avoid the snipped place when I cut out the coat. Grumble grumble...

I need to be wary of bulging boxes in the future...

Friday, October 01, 2010

To Ruffle or Not to Ruffle?

I had a really big 'Duh!' moment a few weeks ago...

At some sale in times past, I picked up McCall's 5522; I liked the lines on it.

I've pulled it out a time or two and thought about giving it a go, but the thought of altering it gave me the shudders. Then, after I finished up my Labor Day projects I picked it up and suddenly noticed something that I'm sure I knew when I bought it but had completely forgotten: It's got different pieces for B/C/D cup sizes.


Suddenly, the whole alteration thing got much simpler and I began tracing the pattern and altering for my non-standard measurements.

About 10 minutes at a go. I've been working on this ONE pattern since Labor Day. And I'm ALMOST done cutting it out of some black-and-white striped shirting.

If I decide to put the ruffles on it, that is.

I cut out the ruffle pattern pieces and marked them to be cut on the bias; I thought that would look cool with the stripes.

But as I was cutting the main body of the shirt out, I suddenly got cold feet about the ruffles. Would they make it look to costumey? I didn't cut 'em.

Now, however, I'm swinging back the other way...ruffles are IN, they're different from other stuff in my wardrobe, My Sweet Baboo likes ruffles...what to do, what to do...

I think I'll cut 'em out for now; I've got some a couple of other things I want to cut out today and tomorrow before I head for the sewing room, so I've got a question for all my loyal bloggy buddies...

What do you think? Would the ruffles be Too Much?

Oh, and here's part of the reason I've been so slow at this:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Worth a Look: BBC Sewing/Fashion library

In a post buried in a discussion of Austin and Santino's traveling sewing show (which I've never cable, you know...), I came across an interesting link to a BBC archive of What We Wore, which seems to be a collection of shows related to fashion produced by the BBC since the early years of television.

I thought it would be a good research source for costuming and bookmarked it.

Then I looked around a bit and watched a show from 1982; it was the first in a series on sewing a wardrobe in a weekend, and had, as its basis, a wardrobe pattern collection designed by Caroline Charles that was published in a book, with the patterns in an envelope in the back of the book (Very similar in format to Sandra Betzina's 'No Time to Sew', if you recall that book/pattern set).

Show 1 introduces the program and the designer, and shows a bit of the design development process, and a montage of garments made from the resulting patterns. Then we return to the studio to watch the presenter (Ann Ladbury)begin construction of the first garment: a skirt. She discusses selecting a size from the multi-sized pattern (she apparently assumes everyone already knows what size to cut, there's no discussion of measuring anything to determine the 'correct size'), then demonstrates cutting and marking the pattern (she used a technique to mark the darts that I'd never seen before...interesting) and creating the lining for the skirt.

I totally didn't have time today to watch it, but I did much for the delight of listening to the lovely English accents as anything else...

Random quote from the show: "If you've gone to all the trouble to sort out the correct size, you don't want to spoil it with inaccurate stitching." - Ann Ladbury.

Amen, sister!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If You Send a Seamstress into the Fabric Store...

...she's going to want to have a look 'round to see if there's any good stuff on sale...

Actually, this represents a double haul; I had to go to BOTH Hancock's in town today; the one on my end of town was completely out of Wonder Tape, and we're having a sewing day at church tomorrow to see how much more we can get done on the Unfinished Baptismal Robes. There were not enough robes to go 'round at the last baptism service, and another lady volunteered to help sew them, so Miss A and I and our new friend Miss T are going to head to church in the morning and set up shop and see how much we can get done. I *think* there are 4 that are done to the sleeves; which means we've only got to do zippers and necklines on 6. But I can't do zippers without Wonder Tape, so...when I found that Hancock's South didn't have any, I altered my errand route to include a run out to Hancock's West. Fortunately, they had some.

But, at Hancock's South I picked up 10 yards of muslin (so I can work on the Trench Coat and the Dressy Dress patterns) and the official Hancock's coupon calendar. Oh, and some buttons, which are not pictured 'cos I already put 'em away.

Then, at Hancock's West, I grabbed the current issue of Vogue Patterns (because, you know, The Selfish Seamstress has an article there-in, and we gotta support the blogging sisterhood!) and the final bit of a ridiculously loud rayon challis print off of the clearance table....just so I have something to grab if I ever get invited to a luau. It was less than $4; it'll work.

However, I think the thing I'm most excited about is the muslin, which doesn't affect my 'fabric in' tally since I'm actually considering it a notion (That's my story and I'm sticking to it). I can really do some work on those two projects now! Er, well, after the baptism robes are done, anyway...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So...What Would YOU Wear?

I smiled today when I read Gertie's Post in which she meets Tim Gunn...wearing one of her own creations, which he inspected and complimented highly.

A home sewing enthusiasts dream come true! Her post was filled with exclamation points.

But, I wondered...what if I were going to an event at which a fashion industry celebrity was going to be mixing about with the attendees? What would I wear?

Sudden Flashback to October, 1992: Sandra Betzina was doing a Saturday seminar for one of the local (now gone...sniff, sniff) indy fabric stores and I attended. I don't remember my thought processes for what I wore, but I do remember what it was: black pants, white shirt, red knit tie (remember wearing menswear styled ties?), a black-and-white bias-cut pinstripe vest and a black and white plaid long, straight-cut, 90's linebacker-shoulder-pads jacket. I *think* I wore the jacket because I had a problem with the lapels curling and I wanted to ask her about it...but the mix of stripes and plaids was an inspiration that hit literally as I was dressing that morning. I'd made all of the outfit except the button-down blouse and the tie.

At some point during the post-seminar sale at the store, I managed to ask Sandra about the curling points on the lapels (she suggested I interface all the pieces -- something the pattern didn't require and I didn't routinely do back then), then looked at what I was wearing and said, 'This looks good together. You have a good sense of style.'

I was in a pretty exclamation-point using frame of mind myself after that. ;)

In 4 of the 5 years I went to the Sewing Expo in Atlanta, I tried to wear garments made from the patterns of the designers at the Expo; that's fun to do.

But...dressing to meet folks who are in the home sewing industry is different than dressing to meet someone who is in the fashion/style industry...what would I wear? I'd be in trouble now, because my wardrobe is currently lacking and I have so far not managed to get to the sewing table long enough to do anything about it.

So, my just-for-fun question for any of my dear readers still with me...if you were going to hobnob with a fashion industry icon, what would you wear...and how would you decide?

(Or, if you HAVE...what did you wear and how did you decide?)

Just because I'm curious. ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where'd I Put My Brain This Week?

About a month ago, I ordered some smashing silk charmeuse, with the intention of making another smoke ring scarf:

Despite the fact that I'm going down for the third time on housework, I thought I'd cut the scarf OUT today and have it ready to sew when I get a few minutes. I'll be quick -- whiz whack w/the rotary cutter; zoom zoom on the sewing machine and a pinch of hand sewing and TA-DA! A fantabulous scarf!

Only...I could. Not. Find. My. Pattern.

I finally resigned myself to redoing the pattern and I pulled out that old issue of Threads (half hoping I'd find the pattern stuck there-in, but no luck) and my tracing paper, then realized I'd used up all my available time today.

So I guess I'll have to start w/redrafting the pattern...tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Ethical Question

Let's say...

You are a person who sews a lot (for most folks reading this, that's not much of a stretch).

You've made clothes before with, um, poor print placement, so perhaps you are a little more aware of such things than the average bear.

Now, let's say you happen to be somewhere with a friend. The friend is wearing a very cute top with a swirly print...but one of the printed swirls is, you notice with your hyper-awareness of such things, um, rather poorly placed.

And let's throw into the mix that said friend is not having a particularly good day. you say anything? Or just be embarrassed for her?

What would YOU do if it were YOU? ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

NL 6407, Take 2

Yeah, it's another bathroom mirror self portrait; and I didn't notice the streaks on the mirror until I uploaded the KNOW it's Monday...

Aside from the fact that I haven't yet allowed for the last year's weight gain in the pattern, I'm thinking this is getting close to TNT status.

After the first try, I altered the front a bit, doing a FBA and raising the top of the button band back to where it should have been. Then I scooped out the sides of the neckline so that it was wider at the shoulders and moved the front edges in towards the center a bit. Then I measured the resulting neckline and adjusted the collar and band to fit the new neckline.

I've got a neckline that looks much closer to the front of the envelope now; I may not have needed to move the front edges in. But I think I'll leave them.

I do need to go back and check the collar/collar band; I think in all my slashing and spreading I got it slightly out of whack; one side doesn't quiiiiitte match the neckline. But you gotta look really close to see it.

However, I think the collar is longer/deeper than pictured on the drawings on the envelope; I haven't decided if I'm going to try to adjust that any or not. Maybe. And, if I really want the top to fit the body I have now, I should add some width in both the front and back. And that's so long as I've got a goodly amount of stretch in the fabric; in a non-stretch, well....


But I have some nice black cotton/lycra poplin in the wings, so the next iteration will be black; then I may try a long sleeved version.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How do I keep up now?

I just found out that Bloglines, my beloved feed collector, is shutting down at the end of the month. has decided that it's not economically feasible to maintain Bloglines when their primary focus is answering questions.

Geeminy, I wish they'd thought about that when they acquired Bloglines back in '05. Why buy up a business if you're just going to shut it down?

So, now I need to go looking for another RSS aggregator. Bloglines very nicely provided detailed directions on how to save all the links for transport to a new aggregator, but, alas, did not offer any suggestions as to which aggregator to use.

I can't just 'follow' on Blogger...I still have the old template version, which I've tweaked to my satisfaction, and to be able to 'follow', I have to convert to layouts.

I tried the layouts when I first started my other blog, but quickly found that it didn't work so well for me for some reason, so I converted that one over to the template, too. Converting to layouts would be a MAJOR overhaul. So following isn't an option. (which really stinks when so many folks limit their cool contest/giveaways to folks who 'follow' them....just sayin'.... ;) )

Anyway, my whole blogroll is based on my bloglines subscription list; that may really mess that up, too.

Can you tell I'm a little ticked? Just a little?

Anyway, does anyone have a good aggregator they can recommend? I need one in 3 weeks...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Stripe SIH

I decided that, since it *had* been a year in progress, that I'd wear the StarsINHeaven tunic today.

Sorry for the pitiful bathroom-mirror self-portrait, but, well, ya do what ya gotta do.

I bought the linen at Textile Fabrics Annual Big Sale last July (as in, 2009). I love the colors in it, but the stripes run crosswise. Interesting. I cut the 'upper sleeve' on the cross grain, so that there's some variation happening. I've got stripes on running crosswise, lengthwise and diagonally...whew! ;)

It's gonna wrinkle like crazy, and it doesn't drape at all, but for all that it's a very comfy summer-feeling top.

Which is good, because even though we're officially past Labor Day, it's still gonna be 90 something degrees Fahrenheit today...

Monday, September 06, 2010

A year in the works...

I finished up two tops today! First up was the teal New Look top that I cut out last week; all I had to do today was put on buttons and buttonholes. I'm a little happier w/this top than I was with the first iteration on that pattern, but I've still got some tweaks to do 'next time'. But it's getting very close to TNT status.

After I hung that one in the closet, I pulled out a zip-lock bag that had been sitting in the corner shelf since last fall and sewed up the stripey linen Stars In Heaven tunic that was cut out and in the bag. I'm not sure how this is going to wear...I *love* the SIH tunic that I made a few years back from some soft, drapey rayon/linen blend fabric. This one is 100% linen, and it's rather wirey. It is a different top.

But when I updated my 'WIP' spreadsheet, I discovered that it had been exactly a year...I cut that top out on 9/5/09.

Feels good to mark that one 'done! ;)

I'll try to get photos the first time I wear 'em.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sad News

I was grieved to read today of the death of Fred Bloebaum. Fred had been battling cancer for a number of months; I'd been following her story sporadically on Care Pages; I'll confess, I was annoyed that I had to log in to the site to read it and I tended to only check in once a week or so.

So I missed the post last week that said it had been determined that the cancer was no longer responding to any therapy, so they had ceased treatment and called in hospice. I thought Fred was more or less holding her own; I was shocked to hear that she had died.

I actually was privileged to meet Fred at the Atlanta Sewing Expo a few years back; she was delightful and charming and gracious. Her battle was bravely fought; the sewing world has lost another gem this year.

I think I shall make something from one of my LaFred patterns soon...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Coming to Grips

I'm in a position I'm rarely in...

I've had several events (mostly weddings) this summer to which I've had nothing to wear. Oh, I made do with something, but it didn't fit well and I wasn't happy about my appearance.

Which was ok, really, at the weddings, since we were but minor guests, but at my 30th anniversary dinner I wanted to be happy about the way I looked and, well, I wasn't.

It's been The Year. Y'know, the one in which you wait from month to month to see if all the hormonal shifting has really more or less finished.

By the time The Year was officially up, I found I'd gained 10 pounds.
Part of the trouble is that most of this year I've been dealing with some pretty aggravating, mobility-limiting back/sciatic nerve pain. A recent MRI finally pinpointed the problem: a flattened/bulging spinal disc at L4-L5. I now have an appointment with the spine guy at the local orthopedic group to see what HE can do. The chiropractor has helped considerably, but it still is very prone to getting aggravated.

And, unfortunately, spending even moderate amounts of time standing at my cutting table is one of the things that super-aggravates it.

Part of me has been in denial...I've never really been heavy or overweight, and I just don't want to deal with it. But after seeing the photos from our anniversary celebration, I've got to deal with it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about losing weight; I really do need to lose about 25 pounds for my health (things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels have also suffered during The Year). And, I honestly think my back might be better if I were a little more fit. So, if the spine doctor clears me, I'm going to start seeing a trainer at the fitness center which is in partnership with the orthopedic clinic. I know I need some exercise...but I want to proceed carefully so I don't aggravate anything.

So...meantime, I have no nice dressy clothes. I already have one project that I've promised myself I'd get cracking on this month -- the long-delayed trench coat. But I'm gonna promise myself one other thing, too: a garment that I can wear to a wedding or other dressy event that fits the body I have now. If I lose weight I'll kiss it goodbye, but I'm tired of squeezing into things that are too tight and feeling like a stuffed sausage all night.

So...that's my goal. Actually, I like the idea of making a jacket, a dress and a couple of pairs of trousers all that fit now....but I don't want to over goal.

Because my back hurts when I spend too much time at the cutting/pattern drafting stage.

Babysteps... ;)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reality Check

Every once in a while, I need a reminder that I really am not being unreasonable with my inclination to sew all my clothes.

A couple days ago, I had 20 minutes to spend at the local upscale mall (which is on the other side of town from me) and I slipped into my favorite ladies shop to check out the sale. In 20 minutes, I found three knit tops that fit well, two pairs of earrings and a jewelry cleaner (necessary to bump my pre-tax total up to $100 so I could use the 25% off coupon)...all on sale.

So, I thought...if I can find things that fit for close to what I could sew them for, maybe I should use my time more productively. Hmm.

But, today I found myself in the Nice Department Store closer to my neighborhood. I had a little time, so I checked out their sales.

Found a couple of tops and a dress to try on; the woven top (size M - that's the size I bought from the other store) was so small it wouldn't close, the knit top (also a size M) fit fairly well but had a boat neck that gaped, and the dress (a 14) fit nicely through the waist and hips but was hugely too big through the back and shoulders and had gaping armholes. I put it all back...and came home with plans to sew.

So...every once in a while I can find something nice, and I can get it. But mostly...if I want clothes that's gotta come out of the sewing nook.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Myra's Idea...

Myra had a thought provoking post today about sewing those things that have been lingering and waiting.

I have several such things...pretty silks, lovely wools...all waiting to be made into something. But, for one reason or another, they have languished.

Her idea (if you click on her name that link'll take you to her post and you'll get it in full) is to bag up 12 projects that have been languishing and, once a month, pull out one at random and make it up.

I don't know if I can quite do that; most of my languishing projects are big deals. I have one that's been bagged for about 3 years...a trench coat. I really don't know if I could make it in a month or not. In a month with no other deadlines, maybe, but somehow I always seem to have to sew something with a deadline that pushes everything else back.

But, you know, I think I'm gonna try a variation on that. Maybe not one a month, but I'll start that coat in September, and, when it's done, I'll start another. Something that's been saved will get made.

Myra, thanks for the inspiration!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The 'Instant' Cardigan

When I found out that we were going to wear teal in choir, I ordered some rayon blend knit from Gorgeous Things...which she cut very generously. I made Simplicity 3624, but I had a goodly chunk left, so I cut out the Jalie 965 tank top, with the intention of making a twin set. But, before I could get the cardigan cut out, I chanced across Lori's Blog Post featuring Jalie 2919 and thought, 'Oh, yeah, I have that pattern!'!
Traced it Friday morning, cut it out Friday afternoon, and sewed both it and the tank top on Friday evening.

Wore the tank top last night; today I put the cardi with the brown rayon/lycra jersey Jalie 965 tank and straight legged Lees.

I've got one more weekend w/teal for choir...and I have one piece of woven cotton/lycra shirting. We'll see if that gets put together in time to wear it... ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The 11th 965 Tank Top

Since I posted about the TNT tank tops yesterday, I thought I'd share this because it is the newest the tealish rayon/lycra blend jersey. The choir colors for this month are teal, white, brown and/or mustard yellow w/blue jeans, so I've teamed it up with a poly chiffon scarf I got for Christmas a few years back, and a linen shirt from Land's End that I've had for...I dunno...7 or 8 years at least.

With Lee bootcut jeans. Of course. ;)

I actually got three garments out of that piece of fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics; I'm planning to wear the third one tomorrow! So stay tuned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lovin' a TNT*

(*Tried N True pattern)
I've been fighting an ongoing battle to keep the links in my reviews active; Photoworks has changed their formats two or three times in the past 6 years, and every format change breaks all existing links. Then Yahoo photos went away, so all of those photos had to be relocated and relinked. Then, there's a limit to how many photos I can post on Flickr; so at some point I have to move photos to archives at Photoworks so I can add new photos to Flickr...I'm tellin' ya, it is never ending. I've got about 3 different levels of broken links on those old reviews, but I'm s-l-o-w-l-y updating them. I'm just hoping to get them all relinked before someone changes something again.

But, in the process, I'm updating some pictures, too. The link for the Jalie 965 review has been broken for ever so long, but it was only the photo of the original tank top. I wanted to post photos of all the tops I've made off that pattern, just to show how truly useful it is.

But I couldn't seem to have them all out of the laundry at the same time.

Finally, today, I just grabbed all the clean ones, hung up the ones that were in the hamper, and didn't worry about the ones that are somewhere in process and took a picture:

I know there are at least two missing from this picture... the original cream one, and the gray one, and I just cut out a teal one last night. Plus there's the orange-and-white stripe one I made for The Flute Player.

So, at the moment, to the best of my remembering, I've made 10 of these tops (edited because I apparently can't count...). Mostly I wear them as bottom layers, but in the heat of the summer they're fine as tank tops.

But...Jalie has discontinued the pattern, which is truly sad.

There may be a few left in stock at Patternreview...I've gotten recently OOP Jalie patterns from there a time or two. I hope Jalie reissues the tank with another pattern in the future; it's one of my absolute can't-live-without TNT's...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Made it!!!


Review to follow... ;)

I *Think* I'll make it...

The wedding to which The Princess wants to wear her Simplicity 2442 dress takes place at 4 PM tomorrow...and this is the current state of the dress:

Now, in all actuality it needs:
1) Facings applied to top back
2) Side seams
3) Facings folded down and slipstitched
4) narrow machine hem on the skirt.

I think that's do-able by 3 ish tomorrow; but I've lost the back facings. I'm pretty sure I remember sewing them up as prep...but they've TOTALLY gone missing.

I'll just cut new ones. In the morning.

Right now...I'm off to bed. And I'm turning the alarm off... ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010


I can't imagine that anyone who reads my sewing blog hasn't seen this, but just in case, you've GOT to check out Birgitte's Balmain knock-off.

I don't think I'll ever attempt such a feat; I'm still trying to get it together enough to make my very own plain Jane trench coat. But, oh, to dream of making something so completely jaw-dropping!

Birgitte at Bubblegum 4 Breakfast, I salute you!!! ;)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Let's Make A Deal

The Princess has been asking me to make a dress for her for, well, awhile. The trouble was, she kept asking for it when I was swamped with other sewing.

She had the pattern picked out...Simplicity 2442, and she had some turquoise rayon challis. She even traced the pattern/cut it out for me just before Easter, hoping I'd get it made for her for Easter. Unfortunately, she did that, like, four days before Easter, and I had other sewing to do and extra church services. So it was just not possible at that point.

Since then, I've gotten some rather snide remarks about having time to sew for other folks (the Honor Dress, the baptism robes...) but not for her. I keep hinting she could make it herself; I'd be glad to help. That, however, seems to be just not possible also.

We have a friend getting married a week from today; The Princess wanted to know if I could make her dress for the wedding. I've told her I'd see if I could work it in.

Then last week I had an Idea.

I am a total decorating klutz. I really am not good at it at all. When I first went to work, I asked The Princess if she could help me decorate my office...back when I had the dark brown paint left by the previous inhabitant. She flat refused, saying she wouldn't have any idea what I'd like.

Now, this is the young lady who looked in our guest bathroom and pronounced, 'This room is a hot mess!!' and went out and bought stuff specifically for me to put in there so it didn't look so, um, hot messy. I thought she'd be glad to help.

Not so much.

Last month, we switched offices around and I got a freshly painted office...I even got to pick the color (a blue -leaning green). I like the new color; I could live with an undecorated office before; now, I'm ready to make it mine. However,I'm still a decorating klutz. But, instead of just asking The Princess for help, I offered a swap...

I'll make the dress if she'll help with my office decorating.

I got a very quick 'Yes!' on that one.

So I've temporarily shelved my choir sewing and I worked on the Simplicity dress. I believe she's lost weight since she traced the pattern last spring; I had to take up the muslin of the bodice quite a bit. But it looks like it's gonna fit.

So. that's my project for the next few days.

Here's a couple of Parting Shots for your amusement:

Frisco couldn't understand why I didn't want her exactly on that spot while I was altering the pattern...

I gave up arguing with her and went to switch the laundry in the machines.
Suddenly, she turned up in the middle of that, too...

She's not cuddly, but she's very sociable!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Teal Today

So, I guess I'll start a new series; I won't number the headings but they'll be linked by labels. We'll call this one 'Choir Wardrobe', and, when I make something new for choir, I'll post it. Not quite as regular as 'Choir Sundays', but it'll do for a while. ;)

Anyway, this month's colors are Teal, Brown, white and mustard yellow, with blue jeans. After a trip to Hancock's that honestly only netted thread (I confess to browsing through the Vogues...they were on sale...but the one pattern I really wanted wasn't available in my size) I came home and put together the Simplicity 3624 tunic top.

The only really tricky part was serging over the center front area on that empire seam; the gathers and the loop made it quite bulky and my serger could only chew on it....I pulled it out and trimmed it manually and then I didn't have any trouble.

I hope to get a review up no later than tomorrow evening. I like the top a lot and will likely make it again. ;)

I've got on the brown jalie 964 tank top under this. It's low, but not so low that a cami is an absolute necessity...for anything other than church choir. For choir, yeah, I need the cami. ;)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ack! Full Speed Stop!

At long last, I get to sit down and sew a project for myself.

Still not up to the 'just for my pleasure' projects...I need some tops for choir this month; our colors are brown and teal. Brown I have...teal, not so much.

I altered up the cap sleeve longer version of Simplicity 3624 and cut it out of some yummy soft teal rayon-blend jersey, then charged into the sewing room thinking I could whip it up tonight, only to find that, um, all the teal thread in my thread stash was a green-leaning teal; my fabric leans more towards blue. It doesn't match.

Hancock's is closed for the night. So I'm bummed. So guess what I'm gonna do first thing in the morning... ;)

But I'll talk a moment about the alterations. Aside from the 'drop the bust' and the fba, I had to do a bit of style adjusting. Click through on the above link and use Simplicity's nifty little magnifying glass to compare the line drawings of the pattern to the photo of the garment. Notice any difference? I've skimmed a few times through the reviews of this pattern and didn't come across anyone who mentioned this in the review.

The line drawing shows all the front gathers to be directly under the little vertical band on the bodice. It's a nice vertical line. The actual garment, though, as shown on the photo, has the gathers extending for a couple of inches on either side of that center front band. To my eye, that loses some of the impact of the vertical.

The finished band is one inch wide, so I took my fabric, before I cut anything out, and sewed a couple of ease lines on one end for about 8", going across the grain as it would be on the top. Then I pulled the ease lines up to gather the fabric as tightly as I could, measured one inch of the gathered up fabric, then pulled the gathers out.

I can gather 4" of fabric up to 1". So, I went back and adjusted the pattern so that 4" on the lower front would be gathered up into the very center only. Since I needed to add a pinch of ease to the overall width (doggone that middle age spread!), I just used the un-gathered width to add it in.

And I was all pumped to whip it up and see if it worked. Oh well. ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back from Camp

...and the dress fit.

We had a great weekend and the girls had a marvelous time. The honors ceremony was very pretty; the three girls from my class who graduated all pulled a joke on me. The Flute Player was the first one; as they're escorted in for the ceremony, a little biographical blurb is read, based on replies the girls wrote on a questionnaire about themselves and about their class. Her favorite part of class? "When her teacher would go on tangents or 'Rabbit trails' ". Two girls later, M. was escorted in. She put down that her favorite part of class was "When her teacher would go on tangents or 'Rabbit trails' ".
Finally, the last girl to go up on stage was K., and she had a long list of things she loved about Friends club, finished off with , "When her teacher would go on tangents or 'Rabbit trails' ".

I think I'm gonna need to get a little stuffed rabbit to put in our classroom as a mascot....
Now I need to get a shower and a nap!!! ;)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Honor Dress...In The TA-DA! Nick of time...

I had the Flute Player try it on before I added the sleeves; it may be a tad big but I'm not going to sweat it. It's at least as good as something we could buy, and, well, she might wear it for Easter next year if it still fits... ;)

That's three layers thick...the eyelet (which is almost as sheer as batiste)face, underlining and lining, both in white poly/cotton batiste. I was sooo afraid it'd be transparent, but, when she tried it on, it looked ok.

Now I'm just waiting on the last load of laundry. We're supposed to load up at church at 8:30 tomorrow....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Head down, shoulder to the wheel, forge ahead...

Ok, so it's after midnight. What's a few more minutes to pay attention to the sorely neglected sewing blog at this point?? 'Cause I do have some things to report.

Almost a year...or maybe over a year...after first being asked to do it, we're finally getting some new baptism robes made for church. Partly because we have had a few disappear (???what's up with that??) and partly because we never had any in very large sizes and found that we do, occasionally, need some very large sizes. So we're making a few; 13 to be exact. I cut them all out on Thursday, put zippers in 7 on Friday and sewed the shoulder seams and finished the necklines in those same 7 on Saturday. I was working at church and helping my Girl's Only class student finish her tote bag (unfortunately I forgot to take my camera; no pictures yet...). I kinda figured since she needed coaching but not constant supervision I might as well work on a project, too, so I pulled out the fabric that had been ordered on sale last fall and stashed under my desk since about the first of November and set to work on the robes.

Miss A took the Larges home with her to put together; I bagged the rest and stashed 'em back in my office. For the 7 with the zippers in and necklines done, anyone with any sewing ability at all could put on the sleeves (flat), run up the side seams and turn up the hems to finish them. We'll see if I get any takers. ;) If not, I'll work on them as I get the chance. The final four are still just in pieces. But, having been cut out, the chances are good that they'll get sewn before *too* much time passes. At least hopefully before another year goes by!

It's a good thing I worked that way; as it turned out, my student needed almost twice as much time to make the bag as I'd originally allotted, so she was able to work quite a while while I was cutting out and assembling baptism robes. She finished the bag really at the end of our last available session; the arts/crafts competition that she wants to enter it in is at camp, which is this coming Thur-Fri-Sat.

That's also the camp for which The Flute Player needs her white dress. I finally got the lining cut out and whipped together this evening; it looks like the only adjustment I need to make is to take in the shoulder seam right at the neckline just a bit. I'll mark that adjustment and then cut out the main dress fabric tomorrow.

Shoot, she doesn't need it until Thursday; dunno what my hurry is...

Oh, and did I mention we're shorthanded at work this week?? Nope, probably not...

I'm off to see if I can get some good sleep for the next, oh, four and a half hours... ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Changing the Honor Dress. Again.

I finally sat down with The Flute Player and told her what I thought would happen with the dress she described to me...raised waist, puffy sleeves and a gathered skirt to below her knees.

It *might* be cute, but my expectation was that it would look like a little girl's dress. Not exactly what we want.

I dug around and found Simplicity 9130, which I made for her sister about 7 years ago. It is *designed* to be made from a border eyelet, and it's a little more sophisticated than what we'd talked about.

She agreed...providing I made it down to her mid-knee and put sleeves on it.

I took some measurements and determined that she's pretty close to the size I cut for her sister; I'm going to make the lining up tomorrow and see if it'll work.

At least I know the dress won't take forever to make... which is a good thing, because we're cutting out baptismal robes tomorrow and sewing them on Friday and Saturday.

Sometimes I really wish my right brain and my left brain would communicate! :rolleyes:

Friday, July 02, 2010

Slow Fade

I had to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart yesterday, so while The Actor was at his weekly drum lesson, I scooted into the Wal-Mart just down the road from the music shop.

As it happened, that is the Wal-Mart of the bodacious dollar (ok, now dollar-fifty) table. So I picked up the items that I had to get and, because I still had a few minutes to kill, went back to the fabric department.

Alas, it is a shadow of its former glory. The discount table is gone; there's a rack there that has *some* discounted fabric but it also had fabric marked at higher prices. I decided to check and see if I could find something suitable for a tablecloth, and while I was looking things over the long-time department manager cut a piece of fabric for another customer, and I heard her say 'Oh, no, I don't know anymore. When I was doing the ordering, I knew what was coming. But I'm not ordering any more, so I never know what's coming or when it will be here. Stuff just shows up."

When she cut my fabric a few minutes later, I asked her about it, and she verified that she's no longer ordering merchandise for her department. "That explains a lot." I commented, looking at the noticeable stock reduction that had taken place since my last trip.

"I knew it was gonna go away the first time my manager told me to reduce the shelves by four feet," she said, "In fact,'she added, gesturing towards the edge of the fabric shelves, "I just took four more feet off those shelves today."

Hence the higher priced fabric on the shelves with the discount stuff. She had to put it somewhere.

I remember going in a year or two ago and hearing a story that one of the frequent customers of the fabric department there had written to someone at the corporate level and gotten a response that the fabric department would stay.

So much for that.

She sighed, "It's going away. It's going slowly...but it's going away."

Guess I'll be making more frequent trips to the discount fabric store in Fayetteville in the future...

But I did get fabric for a nice tablecloth; it was $3/yard but the selvage says 'soil releasing'...which I thought would be good for a tablecloth! ;)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Baker's Dozen

13 garments in, um, about 18 weeks; some of these photos aren't the one of the green Jalie 965 tank top; you can just barely see it under the black Simplicity wrap...but it's there!

It was an interesting challenge...I'm sorry that Ann had to go through what she did in order for me to get the idea to do it, but I'm very glad I did. My sewing for myself had been pushed down the priority list a bit...and even two of these were for my daughter...but it was the push I needed to get sewing again.

I'm hoping to maintain that momentum after I finish the Honors Dress and get back to making some things to put in the closet!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gorgeous Fabrics, Garment 12

I think it's an amazing coincidence that I finally got back to the sewing machine to complete the last garment in the Gorgeous Fabrics Challenge on the same day that Ann finished her radiation treatments.

I didn't quite meet all my goals on that challenge; at the end of 12 weeks, I only had 10 garments made from my stash of Gorgeous Fabrics. I had some other sewing I had to do, so the GF project languished.

By the time I got to the 12th project, I relented on my 'use what I had when the challenge began' idea, too...I was in serious need of some short sleeved white summer T's, and I did get some white cotton interlock from Ann back in April for the purpose of making white short sleeved T's. The knit is very stable and doesn't have a lot of recovery, so I knew I couldn't use one of my T-shirt patterns that uses the stretch in the fabric for fitting. I pulled out patterns for a dart-fitted T (Today's Fit Vogue 8151 (I *will* get the photo link on that review fixed one of these days!) and a princess-seamed T (Vogue 8323 and cut them both out when I cut out the Flute Player's swimsuit (yes, the suit got finished but I have not gotten a photo of her in it yet...).

I decided that I'd squeeze the white tops in before I get focused on the Honors Dress. I finished the Today's Fit top last night and wore it to work today (sorry the photo is so fuzzy. New photographer...)

I altered the sleeve to a cap, added some ease to the body of the shirt to compensate for the stability of the knit, and added an inch of length above the bust dart, which dropped the bust AND made the top a much better length.

I added my black stretch sateen Burda vest #108 from the 5/2009 issue. I rotated about a 3/8" dart out of the front armsceye into the lower front dart and really helped the armhole gappage. That vest will see quite a bit of wear in its life, I betcha!

The Vogue 8323 top is done to the sleeves; I think I can finish it tonight. As soon as it's done, I'll do a collage post of all 13 garments.

Kudos to Ann for maintaining such a positive attitude through the whole process!! And may it all now be history, never to be repeated!!

And, because she was also part of my prayers as I sewed, a moment to reflect on Shannon Gifford and the amazing battle she fought with such incredible grace. She will continue to inspire my sewing for years to come...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Road Trip Report: Annual Textile Fabrics Day Trip

I wish I had more sewing time. I really, really wish I had more sewing time...

I know; 'Join the club,' right?

Anyway, because I have such limited sewing time, I went to Nashville with a very short list. No point in loading up the stash any more; I've got plenty to work on.

But I did need fabric for The Flute Player's Honor Dress and I wanted some black-and-white fabric for a jacket. I had in mind kind of what I wanted for each of them...thought I'd surely find something along those lines.

What I didn't think about or make a plan for was patterns. JoAnn's has Burda patterns at a 40% discount; I took a look through the Burda book and found a couple that looked interesting. BTW, I've got about 6 overcoat patterns now...I need to make one...

The two indie patterns are both discontinued and came from the 'remnant room' at Textile...and were 75% off the list price. I'd looked at both of them from time to time, and when I saw them for less than $5 each I decided to snag 'em.

My fabric search was a little more frustrating. What I really wanted was some white rayon/linen with white embroidery...the sort of thing that was around EVERYWHERE not so very long ago. Not To Be Found today.

My second choice was a white poly jacquard. I found some, but it was too heavy and too stiff.

I did find some white cotton herringbone weave fabric that probably would've been nice, but it was only 44" wide and I would've needed at least 5 yards. At 50% off, it was still $10/yard...I could've bought her a dress for $50 that wasn't too bad...

Ultimately, I decided I'd just have to check the Hancock's on the other side of the Rocket City after I dropped Miss A off at her house. I'd just be stuck with whatever they had...worst case scenario would be crepe back satin.

But that decision freed me up to look for fabric for my own wardrobe.

I found some black and white tweedy wool/lycra...not precisely what I had in mind, but close enough. And it *feels* absolutely divine! The clerk that cut it commented on how marvelous it felt, how pretty it looked...and that it was listed at about $30 less than she expected when she looked at the tag. Oh, I need to get that sewn up for this fall...

I also picked up a piece of cotton/lycra shirting in the teal color that will be used in choir in August. I don't have much of that in my wardrobe, so I need a bit.
That will be on the heels of the white dress.

Speaking of the white dress, after I dropped Miss A off I made my way to the Hancock's that's on the other end of town from my house, walked in, and saw on the 50% off table...border eyelet. The Hancock's on my end of town hadn't had any at all. I grabbed a bolt and walked around the store with it while I looked for the sleek fabric I had in mind for the dress that she'd described. Nothing.

So I mentally redesigned the dress to have a gathered skirt that could use the border embroidery, and bought both the eyelet and some batiste to use as an underlining. For less than $25 for it all.

But basically all that will be different is 1) I will leave the sleeves off and 2) I'll add a cumberbund midriff piece to go between the bottom of the empire bodice and her waistline. Then I'll gather up a length of the embroidered side of the eyelet.

She has approved.

Oh, BTW, the turquoise fabric you see on the cutting board with today's purchases is a piece of nylon/lycra swimwear knit that I picked up on Wednesday. Among other things, The Flute Player outgrew last year's swimsuit, and she needs one by Sunday.

Fortunately swimsuits are quick. ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day Trip

Miss A and I are gearing up for the annual pilgrimage to Textile Fabrics...with any luck, we'll be there sometime shortly after lunch (planning a stop at JoAnn's on the way through Cool Springs).

I have a *short* list of things I'm looking for...but if the remnant room has been recently restocked, I could be in trouble.

I'll report, with photos, tomorrow evening.

ETA: I just realized I didn't mention that we are going tomorrow (Friday)... *egg on face*

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Tote Bag Project

We're starting the high-school girl's ministries class this year, and I've taken that on as well as the junior high class until we can expand the teacher roster. It's not too strenuous, as we currently only have one girl in the high school class.

But having an extremely small class presents the opportunity to do some things that are difficult in a class of, say, twelve. Case in point: the project for our unit on 'Personal Appearance'. As units are completed, girls in this level earn enameled lapel pins. Unlike all the other classes, which have sashes or, in the junior high class, a necklace, to display the unit awards, there is no specified location for these pins.

So, we decided a tote bag would be a good 'display board' for the pins, and I came up with a very basic lined tote bag with a front pocket; the emblem (a graphic-style rose) of the class will be applique'd on the pocket.

My one student does not have a functional sewing machine at her house, so I've hauled my old seriously-in-need-of-maintenance Kenmore in and we're doing a First Project.

There's not enough time in our Sunday morning class to work on it, so we've done two Saturday work days, while The Flute Player has dance/human video practice. On the first day, she cut out the bag and the lining, put some Peltex in the lining for support on the bottom, fused the interfacing on the straps, traced the logo onto paper-backed fusible web and fused the appropriate parts onto the the fabric.

This past Saturday, she attached the lining to the top edge of the pocket and then applique'd the pieces to the pocket, after doing about 4 paisley-shaped practice applique's to get the hang of it...

I'd hoped two sessions would be enough, but I didn't figure on the learning curve. So I need to schedule another work day to hopefully sew the bag together. I'll post a photo of it when she's done.

Crossing my fingers that my bag-drafting works... ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Honors Dress, Chapter 2...Thinking Out Loud

Three years ago, I made a White Eyelet dress for the Flute Player's Honor Stars Ceremony. Now, she's completed all the requirements to graduate from the Friends Club (middle school girls) and, guess what, she needs another white dress. She'll be participating in a ceremony at the state level, so we have to meet specific restrictions about the dress... dressy but not formal, no strapless or spaghetti straps, no low necklines, no miniskirts, etc. And white.

My hope was her dressy pink dress from last winter would still fit close enough that I could just make some minor adjustments and use that pattern; she put it on early this week and it is not just a little too small, it is WAY too small. I'd be starting from scratch on that one...although it does have up to size 14 in the envelope, and the pink dress was basically a 10 with a bunch of length added. So, maybe we could make a 14 work with a slight FBA and a bunch of length added...

The Princess scoffed at us, saying, 'There's white dresses on sale at the mall! Just go find her one!' So, Thursday we did a little snoop shopping and we found three dresses that fit the requirements and were on sale for $50 for her to try on. Not one really worked for one reason or another. The one she liked best was apparently sold out of anything smaller than a size 5, which was too big, not to mention the cut out in the back would've presented a problem with her underpinnings (and she noted that the thread holding the back button was pulling out). The second one was cute, but needed a belt and the black one that came with the dress really wouldn't work for the honors ceremony. It fit well through the hips but was a wee bit too big in the bust to my eye, but close enough. She didn't like the belt and felt it was too short (it was above her knee). The third dress was a knit lace peasant-style dress...needed a couple of teeny darts in the neckline to fit perfect, but it looked like a nightgown to me. It *definitely* was overpriced at $50...the other two dresses had several details, such as tucks and welt pockets; that one was just a pull-over dress made from stretch lace and matte jersey. $15, maybe, $ way.

But she came away with at least some idea of what she wanted...or didn't want. She wanted a dress similar to the first, which had a border eyelet skirt.

No border eyelet to be had at Hancock's. Bummer.

Then she decided she wanted a tea-length dress, similar to her masqureade dress...which, unfortunately, is strapless. After a couple of days of discussion, I decided I'd just try to morph the pink dress pattern and the purple dress pattern and see if I could come up with something akin to what she had in mind.

Then, in that 'I'm almost but not quite awake' moment this morning, I remembered that I had Vogue 7845 somewhere about. I found it in a stack of 'outgrown patterns', as the envelope I have contains sizes 7 - 10. But view C...the one with the puffy sleeves and the little just dead on what she wants.

Now I've got to decide if I want to try and grade the 10 up to fit, or if I should just go get the 12-14-16 envelope. Vogue patterns won't be on sale until June 30... a little late for me.

I'm thinking the 10 bucks for the pattern at the regular discount would be worth it. All I'd need to do was a small FBA and add a bit of length above the waist and I think she'd be good.

Or, maybe I could just grade the size 10 sleeve up and put it onto the Simplicity

Decisions, decisions, decisions....