Saturday, February 26, 2011

February Fabric In

Doncha just love the internet? You can be sent home to rest and recover from an illness and STILL shop for fabric...

This arrived from Fabricmart today; the color isn't rendered very well; the red rayon/lycra in the middle looks more coral-ish; it's RED. The other really is salmon and I indulged myself with the burgundy Armani wool.
After I added this fabric to my '2011 purchases' spreadsheet, I realized I'd never shared the purchases that arrived earlier this month, all from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Two rayon/lycra jerseys in mango and deep coral (can you hazard a guess as to the new color we'll be wearing in choir in a month or so?), a yummy embroidered teal cotton, silk herringbone suiting and pinstripe wool.

And there is still one more box en route from Ann...I couldn't resist her latest sale and ordered some fabric to make Vogue 1027 and some staple black cotton/lycra jersey.

Ok. Stopping now... :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sleeve Hunting

So, I finished the muslin for the 12/09 Burdastyle jacket last week and transferred all my changes to the pattern; I should have it on the cutting table by now, eh?

But I don't. I couldn't figure out what my reluctance was; so I tried the muslin on my puny self again...and, for your benefit, took a a couple of truly humiliating bad bathroom mirror photos.

Try to ignore the spots/streaks on the mirror (nobody cleans if mom is ailing, you know). This is the muslin, out of exceedingly unstable fabric, and some of the pull lines have been addressed in the modifications I made to the pattern, but I think the biggest problem I've got is that I. Hate. That. Sleeve.

It hangs fine, but it's so big and floppy and what's up with that huge dart anyway? This sleeve is not NEARLY fitted enough to need a dart. I shortened the sleeve and trimmed the width down on the pattern pretty substantially, but I'm not sure it will work because it still has the dart.

So...I think I'm going to embark on a little treasure hunt through my stash of Burda mags and see if I can find a dartless sleeve I can swap for this one.

*later that same day* Suddenly, the statement This sleeve is not NEARLY fitted enough to need a dart jumped out at me; I used the Palmer/Pletsch method of dart smooshing (fold the dart out and just smoosh the resutling fullness in the pattern flat) to get rid of the dart. I think I shall proceed from here. ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jo-Ann's Comes to the Rocket City

There has been at least one Jo-Ann's Fabrics store in The Rocket City in the 30ish years I've been here; it opened in a small strip center pretty much where a very nice independent fabric store had been located (it's sad that I don't remember the name of the store). There was a fire in the center, and the indy store never reopened, but Jo-Ann's was there for a little while. They came, they declined, they went.

Today there was a Grand Opening for a brand spanking new Jo-Ann's. I didn't figure I'd try to go, but I had an appointment on that end of town and, well, I had to look.

I wanted to know if the first thing visible when you walk in the door was fabric. Silly of me, maybe, but that kind of sets the tone for the store. There's a Jo-Ann's in Duluth, GA, that Miss A and I always visit when we make it to the Expo, and there's one in Cool Springs, TN, that we stop by when we do our annual trek to Textile Fabric's Summer Sale.

There's a huge difference. The Georgia store has the fabric front and center; it's what you see when you walk in. I've seen silk, linen, nice's a fabric store. The Tennessee store has craft stuff up front, and the fabric tends to polyester.

I wanted to know what we had.

Now, I knew that, since I'm *supposed* to be resting up, I probably shouldn't go. If I hadn't had to get out anyway, I wouldn't have. But the new store was only about 3 miles from my appointment, so...I went, just to have a look.

It's just as well it was just a look. The line for the cash register went all the way to the back of the store. It was crazy.

I could sort of see the fabric all along the left side of the store when I entered; it wasn't front and center but it was visible.

However, a quick walk through...such as I could manage, with the crowd... showed mostly polyester and quilting cotton. I saw a teeny bit of very lightweight silk dupioni that was listed at $25/yard, but no linen or rayon or wool. And they didn't have Burda patterns, which was the main reason I was excited a Jo-Ann's was coming to town.


But I filled out the registration for the gift card drawing just the same before I left. :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Question: Why would anyone carry antipersperant to work in her purse?

Answer: Obviously, she stopped on the way in for her mammogram.

Are you up to date?

(This has been a public service announcement from your friendly neighborhood sewing blogger)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Salvaged Silk Top

I'm continually disappointed by the way some garments photograph; silk charmeuse in particular. The color always looks off, and what appear to be horrific puckers along the seams are, in fact, not noticeable. I'm not sure why; I guess it's just that the particular reflection of light is captured, when it is ordinarily very transient.

Maybe. Whatever. The top looks tomato red here; believe me, it's more deep cherry; not a hint of orange in it.

Anyway, I finished the top last night. I've got the review written, and will post it when I have a photo of me actually in the top. It's got real potential for a wardrobe work horse, but I need to tweak the techniques a bit. Mostly I'll swap the goofy football-folded-in-half sleeve flap for a real cap sleeve, borrowed from another pattern.

And I need to find another way to mark the pleats, if I use a fine silk again. The tailor's tacks left holes.

But, it's wearable and it salvaged some fabric that would've otherwise just sat in a bag, sending out clouds of guilt and remorse, so I'm happy. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simplicity Frustration

Is anyone else having trouble accessing Simplicity's website?

For quite a while now...over a month, at least...I have been unable to click through any links to the ones in their emails, not the ones in reviews, not even when I type '' in the browser line.

When I do, I get a page that says 'Bad Request'.

That's in Firefox. If I switch to IE, I can access it, but it tends to run very, very slow and sometimes just bogs completely down.

I suppose I'm going to have to delete all my cookies or something to click through in Firefox, but I'm curious...

Am I the only one?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...And Evaporating Guide Sheets

I'm totally not functional enough to sew. I'm trying to get some actual work done from home (that's probably crazy, but the work's gotta get done...), and it's using up all my brain function, I think. So the red silk top is waiting patiently, and I've been tracing another pattern bit by teensy bit.

It's the jacket for Vogue 1100. I got some turquoise wool from Fabric Mart last year to make a jacket...turquoise has turned into a regular color in choir...and I think this is the jacket I've decided on. I waffled a bit between it and a very similar Burda pattern, of which I have no image due to the untimely demise of the English Burda magazine website, but I think I like the swingy back pleat on this better.

So, I'm tracing away and I can't find a pocket piece. Maybe it's there and I just missed it; like I said, I'm not the sharpest needle in the pack right now, so I thought I'd check the guide sheet.

I've got the second sheet, and the French sheet, but the first sheet is nowhere to be found.

And I honestly don't know if I pulled it out to read and then didn't get it back into the envelope or if it wasn't there to begin with.

The second sheet begins with attaching the lining to the jacket, so any info about the pocket (or faux pocket) is on the missing sheet. So I'm gonna have to pretend this is a Marfy pattern and figure it out as I go.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Evaporating Silk

A couple of years ago one of my online fabric sources had an incredible sale on silk charmeuse; I bought 4 yards of a deep red, thinking I'd at last get a pair of silk charmeuse PJ's for a reasonable PJ price. I'd made the PJ's out of 3.5 yards of fabric before; I thought 4 yards would be plenty.

About a year or so ago I threw the silk on the cutting table and cut the first 'table load' - the back, sleeves, back facing, pockets and leg band. Then I pulled the next chunk of fabric on to the table to continue and discovered that I didn't have enough fabric.

Turns out was 42" wide instead of 45" wide.

I bundled everything up and threw it in a bag, but it has bugged me ever since. At that price, I should've bought enough for PJ's and a blouse and lining for a jacket...what was I thinking???

Anyway, fast forward to the present. We've had reservations for dinner for weeks at the bread-and-breakfast place where we went for our 30th anniversary and I'm determined to enjoy it. If my throat were screaming raw it might be different, but it's not, so we're going, and I though I'd try to throw together something pretty to wear. I traced off and altered the little top from Simplicity 2570 and then I pulled out the bagged up charmeuse and began to creatively cut it out.

I got the back of the blouse from the PJ back and the little cap sleeves and neckline facings from the sleeves. I only had to cut the shirt front/side front from the remaining yardage, and I could cut them pretty much side-by-side, so I didn't cut a lot more fabric from the uncut length. I'm going to skip the bias band on the sleeve; I'll just turn-and-stitch to finish that edge, or maybe I'll cut bias strips from the leg bands and seam them end-to-end. There'd be too much waste fabric around a long bias strip.

I changed the thread on the sewing machine, fused the interfacing to the neckline facings and hit the wall; as much as I wanted to finish the top, I was out of steam. But it's ready to go as soon as I'm up to it.

According to the pattern envelope, the top takes 1.5 yards of fabric in the largest size. And I have just about exactly 1.5 yards left. I'm having a hard time believing I had an entire yard disappear in the remnants of my PJ top...but maybe I did, counting the scrap fabric in the original layout. I'll get another sleeveless top or a scarf from the rest of the fabric, sometime down the road, but meantime, I've learned my lesson...

Don't skimp on the fabric order! ;)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More Color Thinking

Ok, I need to publicly thank Summerset for the tip on Silk Baron.


I sat down and made a list of no less than 20 colors of dupioni that I could possibly use for the MOB dress, depending on what opinion The Princess has on it. Absolutely gorgeous stuff...and the price is pretty reasonable, too ;)

But, whilst I was thinking about dresses and colors and such, I happened to remember a piece of rayon/lycra doubleknit that I purchased on a whim a little over a year ago from an online vendor. It was listed as 'Cherry Red', but, well, when I got it I thought it was more of a 'Coral Red'; it was definitely to the orange side, which doesn't work well for me.

I put it in the stash, wondering what to do with it, and today I happened to spot a partial bottle of Rit Dye, leftover from the dyeing I did for Complete Works, and I thought, what the hey...and I overdyed that orangey red with burgundy Rit.

Oh, it is SUCH a nice, dark red now! The heat from the water probably wasn't the best thing in the world for the lycra content, but I wasn't using the fabric as it was. Now, I'm thinking I'll see if I can get it made up into Butterick 5382. If it works out, that may be my go-to dress for moderately dressy events, like afternoon weddings for which we will be minor guests (we received 2 invitations this week...)

Hey, I'm inspired...I've got a few more pieces of 'meh' colored fabric in my stash; suddenly, I have options! ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Color Change...

The Princess was working on her 'save the date' announcements last night; playing with the colors and printing samples. She told me that Prince Charming didn't really care for the blue color she'd originally planned to use as the accent color in the ceremony, which she'd used for the first samples of the Save-the-Date, so they'd changed to a soft orange, which would be more fall-like.

I basically smiled and said, 'That's nice, dear, we'll need to talk about your bridesmaids dresses soon.' and forgot about it.

(Backing up: I just realized I never blogged about my decision for the MOB dress; probably because I made up my mind while I was off line. I decided to go w/ the Kay Unger dress, Vogue 1182, and I envisioned it in a silk dupioni, cross woven w/ silver and either royal blue or turquoise, which would blend well with the silver and cerulean blue color scheme she'd picked. I didn't know if I could find such a fabric, but I figured I had a bit of time to try...)

Until this morning, while I was making my weekly pass through my favorite fabric vendors, looking for my 'hope-this-exists' silk dupioni, when it suddenly hit me that they'd dropped blue from the plan and my pick might not work.

So I'm back to square one on my fabric choices.

Sigh. I don't know what she's planning to use besides the orange now; I don't know what my options are.

Ah, well, there's time, there's time...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Muslin done!

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures, mostly because in my puny-ness I look pretty pathetic. But I finished out the jacket muslin (Burda magazine 12/08 # 116). I did a square shoulder adjustment when I traced the pattern, but, based on the muslin, I took in the shoulders at the princess seams pretty substantially and added a pinch of ease around the tummy/hips. It looked pretty good, except for the sleeves, which were huge. I ended up taking about 2 1/2 inches out at the wrist, tapering that up into the bicep, which fit fairly well. I also shaved a bit of the ease out of the back of the sleeve cap (oh, I have just had an epiphany! I realized when I was transferring the other adjustments to the pattern that I'd only actually done half the square shoulder adjustment when I traced the pattern; I raised the shoulder but forgot to raise the underarm. But I was pleasantly surprised that there was just a pinch extra ease in the sleeve cap when I put it in. It just hit me that now that I raised the underarm to match the shoulder, I bet I need to pull some more ease out... I'll fold 3/8" out of the sleeve cap to offset what I raised the underarm). I think I need to shorten the sleeves by about 1/2", too, but that's a minor fix. By and large, this jacket is ready to cut out of some real fabric.

Now, I just need to decide which fabric to try first. ;-)

This will be a really great basic jacket pattern that I can use as a basis for lots of style changes...once I'm convinced the fit's right.

But I'm just really glad that piece is out of the WIP file...I was surprised to see that I cut it out on 2/5/10; it's been waiting for over a year....

And, yeah, I probably should've spent the day on the sofa instead of messing with the muslin. But it was so close to being done... ;)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Hm...Directional Sewing?

I had some time a week or so ago to get to the jacket muslin that's been in the queue for absolutely ages, and I noticed something that I thought was worth a mention.

Notice that the shoulder seams line up nicely on the right shoulder, and are totally wonky on the left:

The only culprit I can think of is that I stitch-marked the seam allowances before I sewed the pieces together, and I sewed the shoulders one way on one side and the other way on the other one, so that one side stretched and the other didn't.

I won't be stitching unstabilized pieces on the actual jacket, but it was interesting to see such a definite illustration of one of Cynthia Guffey's concepts!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

"...and you know what THAT means..."

Um, well, apparently not.

See, I had a nasty sinus infection around Thanksgiving, that mostly went away, then came back with a vengeance around New Years, and, with another round of antibiotic, mostly went away. But I just couldn't shake that last bit.

Dry air and all, I thought.

But a routine set of blood tests turned up an out of balance liver enzyme. I looked at the results, and thought ,'well, maybe now I can try something other than statin drugs for the cholesterol issues!' and made an appointment to talk to my Dr. about it.

Well, the first thing she said was that statin drugs do not affect that particular enzyme; it's symptomatic of another problem. So we're good with the statins. Sigh.

She continued, have we ever checked your gallbladder?

Um, that was removed back in '01.

Bone density was good at the last test 18 months ago; vitamin D is a bit low but serum calcium is good so it's probably not osteoporosis...

At that point she went and got her little reference book and looked up that enzyme and began reading down the list of things that could affect it.

It was stuff like hepatitis, chemotherapy, a bunch of drugs that I don't take...and in the middle of the list was mononucleosis.

Wait. Did you say mono? I've been having this low grade yucky stuff going on for a really long time...

Well, she did the blood test and the results came back Friday afternoon: positive for active mononucleosis.

So, my friend said when I told her, 'And you know what THAT means, right?'

Well, no, not really.

Apparently it means I'm basically supposed to do nothing for the next 2 -3 weeks. Sounds lovely...but how shall we manage that?

I've stepped out of choir for the remainder of the month, put myself on inactive on the new Bible study I just started attending, and basically am trying to figure out a way to eliminate all non essentials. Once I figure out what they are. ;)