Sunday, December 21, 2014

Choir Wardrobe: Last 2014 post...

Being as we'll be absent from choir next week, this is the last choir wardrobe post for 2014.  Seems kinda hard to believe...this year has gone by so fast.  Almost scary fast....

But today was the uber festive day; we arranged the choir around a large fresh cut fir tree that smelled SO GOOD...took me back to the days of my childhood, when that sharp scent was a true harbinger of Christmas.  I managed to stand next to the tree, just so I could inhale. ;-)'s ensemble was all stuff that fit way better ten pounds ago, but, well, I kept moving so it really didn't matter. ;-).

Silhouette Pattern's Robin's Jacket, made from a wool/lurex blend that I got from Nancy Erickson several years ago and made up almost immediately (relatively speaking; it got made in the same calendar year I bought it...) specifically to wear for choir in December.

I have on a black rayon/lycra turtleneck and, I'll be honest...I can't for the life of me remember what pattern I used on it.  It's probably at least 5 years old...As are the black wool Oxford Pants.  Column dressing at its best.

And, while I had on the nice black column, I thought I'd get a quick photo of the latest project:  the cut-and-wear vest.

When we last left our heroine, she was trying to decide the best way to discourage the knit from following its natural tendencies and curling like the tail of a whipped puppy.  Ultimately, I rolled the fuzzy borders to the outside and handstitched them down.  That helped stabilize the edge a bit...didn't do the trick entirely, but it did help.  I also ended up doing the same thing to the armholes; I tried it on w/just the raw edges and, not only did it look unfinished, but the cut edges wanted to spread.  Not good.  So I also rolled and stitched the armholes.

The Flute Player, home from the internship for the holiday break, asked me what I was making.

I replied that it would either be a funky fuzzy vest or something that looked like cave man attire.

I think if I styled it right...I might get away with funky fuzzy vest... ;-)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Family Photo Season

One good thing about the end of the year...everyone seems to be a little more willing to be photographed.  It's sort of expected that there will be Family Pictures Taken. 

The first picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day, after the pecan pie evaporated.  It's hard to believe those sweet kids have grown up into these awesome adult people....or that it happened so incredibly fast...


Picture two was the Christmas Letter Photo... these are the ones who are still at home. 

The holiday season is a great time of year, if for no other reason than I  get to hang out with these folks a little more than usual.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 12 14 14

I admit.  The pants are a repeat from last  week, the never-yet reviewed Jalie Classic Women's Trousers, in that perfect for the month red/gray pinstripe on black.  Coldwater Creek boat  neck sweater shell and my TNT Jalie Pleated Cardigan, with a drapey modification to the back. 

And the red shoes.  Of course.  Because I can. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sheepish admission...fabric in...

Trying really, really hard to curtail my purchases.  Not only am I becoming more and more reluctant to add to the fabric stash, but, well, the financial future is a little iffy, although My Sweet Babboo has some very solid job leads developing and we're hopeful that he'll transition to another company in the area.  But, well, temptation crossed my path and I succumbed.

I came across an interesting piece of fabric at Fabric first glance, it wasn't much, but they had a picture of it on one of their employees and I thought, 'Now, THAT'S different...'

 It was sold by the panel...knitted wool blend.  It's way fuzzier on the reverse side than I expected, almost fleec-y.  And there must not have been much of a margin between the panels, I'm not sure it isn't cut just slightly into the circle on one side.

But ....according to the website, all you  have to do is cut around the border on the outer edge and the inner holes and, bingo, it's a vest with a drapey collar!

But, looking at how the panel is curling, I think it's going to take a bit of effort to deter that.

I'm thinking I'll fold the fleecy band to the other side and hand stitch it down.  That should deter the curling on the outer edge; I might not need to do that for the arm holes. 

It will be very warm and funky...

And, while I was there, I also snagged a piece of cotton/lycra t-shirt jersey with a cool blue/white marbled print.  Been wanting some cozy long sleeved t shirts...that will be great.

But this *should* be the last fabric in of the year.

Maybe. ;-)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 12/07/14

I got me a couple of new red shirts!

They are not perfect.  That's a post for another day.

But they are as good as RTW and they are DONE and IN THE CLOSET.

And I wore one today, since December's choir wardrobe is the very seasonally appropriate Black, Gray and Red.
Jalie 2566,  which I GOTTA write a T-shirt review for on of these days, kinda frankenpatterned  up because there is no long-sleeved T version in the envelope, made in a yummy warm and comfy bamboo jersey that's been in the stash a while, Ann's Cardigan from Sewing Workshop and the first out-of-the-envelope go of Jalie's classic boot cut pants, to which I added pockets that were about twice as deep as necessary, so that my keys are nearly banging the top of my kneecap. They're made of a poly/lycra suiting that came from the dollar table at Wal-Mart, back when the dollar table at Wal-mart actually had useable fabric on it.  I really don't like the feels cold and heavy...but I LOVE the colors with the red and white pinstripes on black, so I keep wearing them...and I have never reviewed that pattern, either, since I haven't got it tweaked for perfection.

Not doin' jeans if I can help it this is the Christmas season, after all. shoes, which should make me happy, but my photographer failed to indicate that I had one pants leg hung up on the shoe. 

Ah, well... ;-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Christmas Rhyming...just for fun

I posted a rhyme on facebook, and then thought, what the heck, I'll put it up here, too.

Inspiration that hit as I was pulling our our polyglot assortment of Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree this year.  I thought it might be kinda fun to see if anyone who hung out at the house would actually try to find all the stuff; I might even procure a small prize.  Sort of like the Pickle Game, taken to another level.

I admit I bobbled the rhyme/meter just a bit in the verse about the angels.  But the rest fits my memory of those 'I Spy' books my kids had.

I challenged my facebook friends to write a similar rhyme about their tree.  But after a few days, I began to realize there may not be much response I looked through the photos of my friends' Christmas trees, I realized mine is rather old-fashioned and out of date.  I mean, who puts lights and random ornaments on a tree anymore?  The standard seems to be a few sets of color-coordinated ornaments, net and ribbon, with a pouffy bow or floral arrangement or something at the top.
Something like this: (courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens)

Glistening Tree

 Or  this:

Rainbow Brights
  Or this:
All That Glitters

Not much to I SPY on any of those.  But the old fashioned tree at our house...yeah, there's some I SPY possibilities there...

So what kind of tree is at your house?  BH&G beauty, or kitschy old fashionedness?

A dolly named Sue and the Grinch with a tree
Two turtledoves and a partridge with a pear
Four bristle-tail birds and a wild black bear

A horse pulling a sleigh, a swirly sea shell
A World War One Ace (twice!) and a green striped bell
Three young carolers and their shadow
The State of Indiana and Three bells in a row

Three horses that rock, Chuck and the Gang
Two street cars and A Ford Mustang
A sewing basket, a box with thread
A tree in a thimble and a quilt edged with red.

A cat with a hat and a red hair bow,
A dulcimer and a barn with silo
A tree full of candy from 2009
A bristly rabbit and a duck made from pine

An angel in a rosy dress,
One with golden wings
A crystal angel with a tree
And one with a book to sing

A mouse in a nutshell, two birds in a nest
Two tiny sheep under a star to rest
Wise men on camels, a pair of mittens
A butcher shop and two mischievous kittens

Two lamp posts and a red front door
A doll named Ann and a Santa by Shore
A holly necklace on a dove
A round-headed kid with a tree that needs love.

Ice skates on Santa and on a Snowman, too
A red-striped shirt and a shirt that is blue.
I’ve found all this and more on our Christmas tree
How many of these things can you also see?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Work Wear 13

It's the same dress as yesterday! :-)

Only...not the EXACT same dress.  Another Sewing Workshop Cityscapes dress made in slinky knit; this time topped with a wool jersey Pamela's Patterns 110 Draped Front Cardi.

The infinity scarf was a random purchase, just because I loved the colors in it.

 I wondered if anyone at work would notice that it was the same dress, but I don't think anyone did.  But then, I'm not sure the folks in the office really even saw me at church yesterday, so I guess it was a long shot anyway.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 11/30/14

I think I've worn this dress on the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year since 2007.  A slinky knit dress with no waistline is the perfect cover for the indulgences of the holiday week... and the burgundy color is so spot on for November.

So I went Sewing Workshop today...the new Ann's Cardigan, and a very old Cityscapes dress.  In gray rayon jersey and burgundy slinky, respectively.

Hm.  Maybe I'll wear one of my other Cityscapes dresses tomorrow...would be comfy...

Monday, November 24, 2014


I sat down when I got home and suddenly realized that my outfit for the day...Lee Jeans, Lands' End Turtleneck and cardigan from Coldwater...was totally from retail. Nothing me-made.   And I,  that really is kinda unusual.

Then I realized, no, I'd worn the Epic Trench Coat over it all against the forecasted drop in temps. 

And the scarf I wore was a hemmed remnant.

I really do almost always have on at least one thing that I've made...


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 11/23/14

Bugundy, yellow and gray are the colors for November...and I'm back to old stuff.  

It's the Burda 3116 wool/lycra trousers again,  this time paired up with my burgundy/gray brocade Sewing Workshop Tribeca top, which is, um, 7 years old and surprises me that it still fits well enough to wear.  It does tend to be a little gappy if I don't stand straight, though, so I've got a gray Jalie 965 on under it, just for insurance purposes.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is Thursday??? 

Just in case I don't get another post up between now and then, I hope everyone has a wonderful day of family, friends, food and content reflection!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why a fabric stash is a good thing...

...because you never know when the economic axe will catch you ....

We've dodged that bullet for over 35 years...but this time My Sweet Babboo got caught out on the wrong project at the wrong time and was one of the 50.

So.  We shall see.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 11 16 14

Hey, I finished a project...that wasn't just a t shirt...made from a recent purchase... in one week.


The skinny pants are Neue Mode 21670, made in 2002 from gray rayon/lycra double knit that would no doubt be labeled 'ponte' today.  They're old and fit much better when I was 20 lbs lighter, but,  hey, under the tunic no one can tell the pockets are gaping, right? ;-)

The tunic...well, it's supposed to be a Butterick 5244 and hot off the Janome. It's comfy and looks way better than I may turn into my Christmas day outfit. Who's to know the whole deal is just a glorified sweatsuit anyway, right? ;-)

If you click on the photo to look closer, there is a shadow on it that looks like I dribbled my water at lunch.  I didn't ...I've no idea what it is...but the camera battery died so that's the photo I'm stuck with today.

A couple of  hours later...Ok, I had to log back in because I wanted to share something...

This morning as we left for church, it was raining and about 42 degrees F.  I commented to My Sweet Babboo...'If this were last year, I'd really be wishing I'd have made that trench coat!...but it's THIS year, so I'm wearing the trench coat!'...and I reached into the closet and pulled it out.

I may not have tons of yards out, but having that trench in the 'Done' column is QUITE gratifying!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Lot Has Changed in 26 Years...

(This probably should be two posts, but I don't want to break up the story.  Just be warned. ;-) )

You know, I don't even remember how I found out about Sew News magazine back in the late '80's.  I do remember that I decided to subscribe  as part of my 30th year 'time to grow up and get good at something' resolution.

So much came from that decision....

Sew News introduced me to the home serger...and I bought one.  Sew News introduced me to Fashion Fabrics Club, pre-internet when they were mail-order only, and I became a swatch subscriber and my fabric stash became a reality and then started growing.

Sew News introduced me to Threads Magazine, and I subscribed in 1991.

A few years later, after internet came to our house,  one of those sources mentioned Pattern online place to buy patterns produced by folks other than the Big 4.  I would read and re-read the pattern reviews listed there, delighted to  hear even indirectly from folks who were sewing garments and doing it really well and sharing the experience.

I bought a few patterns, inspired to try something new, and an email announcement of an upcoming live chat led me to Pattern Review .  A whole site for sewing enthusiasts!  I was in Hog Heaven.  I joined up in May of 2002, although a server crash updated the start date on my profile to August.  My first pattern review, the Sewing Workshop Hong Kong Vest, was review number 470 (I just checked; the most recent review listed as of this moment was number 105,262). 

Pattern Review opened a whole 'nuther level; I found Sewing World, which has since been replaced by Stitcher's Guild at Artisan's Square.  Online fabric shopping sites, Sewing Expos, special events...ohmigoodness, places I went,  the tools I acquired and the things I learned (and the fabric and pattern influx that has really only  recently begun to subside a bit...).

And, you know, it was via those discussion boards that I discovered blogging...and, ultimately started my own blog.

I can pretty much trace it all back to Sew News.

The irony is that, after a number of years of subscribing to both Sew News and Threads Sew News began to change to be more of a chatty ladies magazine with crafty DIY articles...and I let my subscription lapse.  Reupped  a few years later, to see if it had improved and...not so much.  So I didn't renew.

However, a couple of months ago I won a subscription from a giveaway on Rhonda Buss's blog and the first issue of my gift subscription arrived this week.  In a weird coincidence, this week I also stumbled upon a file box that contained articles I'd cut from Sew News back in the day and kept.

The very first article I cut out had a dress alteration that looked similar to this...a wide Ultra Suede midriff.  This is NOT that first article...not sure why I couldn't find that...but it is one of the oldest I have (The date on it is December 1988; I later found an article on using a serger to decorate a sweatshirt from August 1987).

Note the format change... Sew News was a newspaper-like product until 1991 or 1992.

I found the original instructions for an outfit I'd made for my older daughter in 1990; she wore out the leggings and I think I made another set, but by the time my younger daughter wore it the leggings were gone and she wore the top with jeans.  There are several Sew News - inspired outfits sprinkled through out our photo albums of those growing-up years.

And...showing fashion repeats...from March, 1991, instructions for a lace top that would be right on trend today.  Maybe I should dig through those folders a little more...

And the new magazine?  Well, an early perusal is hopeful.  More sewing and less fluff than I remember.  I think I'm going to enjoy the subscription...Thanks so much, Rhonda!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

9 Year Blogiversary Give Away

I threw the names of the 15 commentors (who did not specifically request not to be in the drawing) into a box, and My Sweet Babboo drew three names:  Here are the three winners:

So, Kris C., Rita (yes, with an 'i', just for clarity...) and Sew Ruthie... if you ladies could email your address to tig77LW at yahoo, I'll get your pattern pack off to you ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on the blog this week!  It's always fun to see who's actually reading it...sometimes I kinda feel like I'm talking to myself.

I'm already thinking about what I can do to celebrate ten years next fall... :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sewing ADD

...what happens when plans are made, new projects are cut, bagged and in the queue...

And an off-the-wall inspiration sweeps through and suddenly another project shoulders its way to the front of the line.

Somewhere around the end of last week, I decided I had to use one of the pieces of burgundy double knit that I recently received from Fabric Mart and make a new something for choir this month.

The knit is actually double-sided, with black on the reverse, but for my purposes that didn't matter.

I settled on Butterick 5244, after much deliberation, intending to use the shorter length as a tunic.

The deciding factor was the pockets.  It has pockets.

So I cut it out Saturday and began the ol' ten minutes here, ten minutes there approach to construction.

The pockets are on.

They are ugly, if you look closely, but they're on.

I'm pretty much counting on the fact that it is very unlikely that any one is going to look at them closely.

Single welt pockets in a soft stretchy double knit.  What on EARTH was I thinking?

The directions are a little disaster-making, too, as there is no instruction to actually interface the dress in the pocket area.

I did that...and thought that I could get away without the specified stay-stitching, since I had fused on the interfacing.

Um, I really think you need both.  Were I to do it again, I would do both.

So I needle-and-threaded the wobbles on the ends of the welts; not perfect, but not visible from a distance and this IS for choir, so it will only be at a distance.

Assuming, of course, that I don't put it on when it's done and think 'UG!!'.  This is a little out of my normal style comfort zone.

But I'm hoping that over gray leggings or at least gray skinny pants, it will look kinda cute.

We'll see.

(Have you entered the giveaway?  Just leave a comment before midnight tomorrow and I'll throw your name in the hat...)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 11 09 14

How often does the choir wardrobe and a classic old hippie concert intersect?

After church yesterday, we got ourselves something to eat and then hit the road for a little jaunt up to Nashville to attend a James Taylor concert....still celebrating My Sweet Babboo's 60th birthday.

We enjoyed concert...nice mix of old stuff and some new stuff, very nice lighting/video work along with the music, and, the best part, time spent with my favorite guy.  Our seats were in front row of the balcony of the arena...not good for someone who tends to acrophobia...but I managed.

But, wow, the concert didn't start till was after one AM when we got home.

He actually took some time to sign autographs at the start of the second set...which was utterly charming, but I found myself thinking, 'People!  Let him sing!  You're cutting into my sleep time!'

Old Hippies.... lol...

So...with gray, burgundy and yellow to choose from, I went with gray.  Well, silver is gray, right?

The dressy CWC jeans, the Jiffy Pop top, and woo/lycra blend Loes Hinse Bolero Jacket that's, like, 10 years old... It was fine for both church and concert, although to be honest, pretty much anything would've done for the concert.  Folks ranged from t-shirt-and-ratty jeans to some pretty snazzy dressy clothes.  I was pretty much in the middle.

Oh, and I wore the Epic Trench Coat on top of it all to walk around downtown Nashville.  It's working great. ;-)

Don't forget to leave a comment somewhere on the blog this week to be entered in the 9 Year Blogiversary pattern giveaway...I'm drawing this Thursday...

Saturday, November 08, 2014


I guess because I'm celebrating the 9 year blogiversary (You have entered the celebratory giveaway, right?), I found myself wandering through the archives of the early years.

I'm kinda jealous of the blogging time I had then.

Part of me, reading that, was like, 'Wow, you posted a lot of non-sewing drivel, didn't you?'

And another part was a little proud, 'Look at how many posts you wrote!'

And yet another part was, 'Oh, you were much more open and free back then! You talked about so much more than just sewing!'

I really did do my best to post every day.  And I just about did.

But that was kinda when I had the 'one blog fits all'...trying to cover sewing and life and faith and all in one place.

But when I created the faith blog,  I didn't double my blogging. My intention was to really  just talk about the aspects of faith that were too deep for this side; do some online Bible studies and such.  But somehow more and more of the topics I used to talk about on Sew Random ended up there.

Because this was the sewing blog, you know.

I didn't even realize I had really cut back on the 'random' part of the blog until I reread the old stuff and saw how much 'random' there really was.

The 'random' really came from the challenge to write a blog post every day.  When life got too demanding (read: paying job entered the equation), I let myself off the 'blog daily' hook.

Instead of writing to write, I began to write only when I had something pertaining to sewing to talk about.  Or something pertaining to faith issues on the other blog.

Random life stuff kinda fell by the wayside.

So, in the blogiversary week, I'm going to make myself a little challenge...

Get the 'Random' back in the game. ;-)

A random bit for the day:

As I was typing away, Frisco (the sewing assistant kitty) came up behind my desk chair and commenced to meow.  Took me a minute to realize she had brought me a pipe cleaner (twisted into a circle -- one of her favorite toys).  I threw it, she retrieved it.  I threw it, she retrieved it.  Repeat several times...then she carried it off and I went back to typing.  A few minutes later, she was back rubbing on my leg, meowing, and the pipe cleaner was at my feet again.  Repeat entire scenario.  Go back to typing.  Repeat again 3 minutes later.

Life's more fun with kitties. ;-)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

It's Been 9 Years...

Sew Random was actually birthed as a place to share the frantic costuming journey for the Rock Family Worship Center 2005 production of 'The Gospel According to Scrooge'.  I'd set up the costume shop in October and nearly monopolized the costuming thread on Pattern Review as I described the first projects...

But,as my life was consumed by that massive assignment and I felt compelled to share it with folks who might 'get  it' just a little...two things happened.  First, my older daughter made some comment about something, stating, 'Oh, that's so random!'  and Kathleen Fasanella sent me a PM on Pattern Review rather out of the blue,  encouraging me to start blogging.


'Sew Random' first appeared on Nov. 4, 2005.  I did really, really well at it for a while, blogging nearly every day until I returned to the workforce in early 2009. In 2008, I created a second blog, Beer Lahai Roi, to discuss more in depth topics about faith that I really didn't feel fit well here.

It has been a wonderful journey; I've been challenged, made new friends, found sewing resources, gotten crucial help...and documented the creation of stage costumes, ministry costumes,  special event costumes,  SWAP wardrobes, an epic garment or two, lots and lots of knit tops, and a wadder or two, outfitted myself for church choir...and learned a smattering of HTML and whined about the impermanence of web photo hosting.

My sewing production has dropped dramatically since I started back to work, as has my blog posting, but it's still a wonderful place to connect and share and, while I may hit a point where posts are few and far between, I don't think I'll ever quit blogging entirely.

So now's my opportunity to thank everyone who stops by Sew Random...whether you subscribe or not or comment or not...I really and truly appreciate each and every one who comes by.

So....drumroll...a little reader appreciation.  I dug out 9 patterns that I decided to give away...mostly because I have more patterns that I can reasonably expect to make in my lifetime...and because, you know, patterns should be sewn instead of occupying space in a drawer.

I pulled some oldies but goodies, some indies, some that are nearly duplicates of other patterns I own and some that I just thought would be nice to put in a giveaway.  Last year I put 8 patterns into a bundle and sent them all to one person, this time I've got three  three-packs and I'll draw three names.

So, if you want to be entered in the drawing for a 3 pack, just leave a comment anywhere on the blog in the next week. Since Wednesdays are really, really busy, I'll take any comment that is entered between now and midnight CST on Wednesday the 12th.

You don't have to be in the US, or be on a any kind of list...just say 'hi' and you're in.

Because you took the time to stop by, and I'm grateful.

Here are the three-packs; I'll pick who-gets-what, just to keep things simple. ;-)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Chop Job The Second

Something was wonky with the light settings...and the cat hopped into every picture...but here's the second T I chopped.  I didn't take a 'before' picture of the XXL original, but here's what I had after cutting it apart and reshaping it.  It is the original length...if I get brave and trendy, maybe I'll wear it with leggings or skinny jeans... ;-)

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 11-02-14

November has arrived with some blustery weather and new colors for the month.

The combo for this month is burgundy, yellow and gray.

So, for me, that pretty much means burgundy and gray.

The knit top came from Lands' End, but the jacket and the pants came from the sewing  room.  That's the Jalie Denim Jacket, from 2011, and the pants are wool/lycra...perfect for chilly weather...from Burda 3116, which I made in 2004.

They came out too big back in '04; I put 'em in the back of the closet and kinda forgot about them.   When I pulled them out again a couple of years ago, I was surprised to see that they pretty much fit...Middle age spread has now made them one of my favorite pairs of pants...sigh...  I suppose I should make more.

But I do need to adjust the hem a bit if I'm going to wear them with flat shoes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eureka! :-)

I watched the three Great British Sewing Bee Celebrity Specials this charming, as usual...and I was determined to sew something, even if it meant staying up till midnight last night.

And I got one in the 'done' column!

Well, actually two, but the first one was just a second chop job on a T shirt.  I don't have a photo...but we were given T shirts from the DIVE school I attended (That's Deep Innovative Vertical Expression, not something involving large bodies of water).  However, the stock was running low and there were only extremely small and extremely large sizes.  So, knowing I could whack it down, I cheerfully took a 2XL and cut it down, using Kwik Sew 2900  just as I did on the one I chopped earlier in the summer.  This T was a rayon blend, much thinner and drapier than the beefy cotton on the first T so I did a couple of things a little differently: 1) placed the sleeve  pattern  on the cut -and-flattened sleeves so that the top of the cap hit the top of the cut sleeve, letting the hem fall where it may, which made the sleeve much shorter and 2) I left all the length on the top that was there.  So all I had to do was put the new sleeves on the new armsceyes and sew up the new side seams...all the hems were original.

It works.  I'll try to get a picture soon.

But I do have pictures of the second top.  It's Sewing Workshop's Eureka top, made from a stylized silver and black printed rayon/lycra jersey.

That fabric was almost my undoing.  Things were going together fairly well until I got to the hem.

I could not get a decent looking stitch.  The fabric was so stretchy that it stretched going between the feed dogs and the presser foot (even with the even feed foot attached), and when it relaxed, the stitches were all loose and loopy.  I tried a single needle and a double needle, I tried adjusting the tension...finally I fused the hem up with some old Steam A Seam and, because my new sewing machine does not have the capability to adjust the pressure foot pressure (why???  Who thinks to look for something as basic as that???) I even pulled the old Janome out and ran it through that one.  That was a little better, but it's still pretty wonky if you look closely.

Next time I make something out of this fabric I'll sew through tissue or something.  It was crazy.

But it's a kinda crazy shirt anyway.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Work Wear 12

I didn't post a Choir Wardrobe photo yesterday, since what I wore was an almost line-by-line repeat from two weeks ago; I wore a different necklace, but that's pretty much the only difference.

So, for the kinda sorta weekly 'I wore something I made' post, here's what I wore to work today:

It was in the mid 80's for all that it's the last week in October, so brown linen pants (Stretch & Sew 707 - No Side Seam styling with pockets!) were just fine. 

I have a remnant scarf...I think it was actually a remnant I bought for pennies and then hemmed...with woody fall colors in it, so it let me get away with the teal rayon/linen Cutting Line Stars In Heaven tunic.

Over all was a rust colored crochet vest from Coldwater that I intended to wear for choir this month...but just wasn't up for the brown turtleneck that would've had to go under it had I worn it yesterday.

Gonna see if I can get a little time in the sewing room today...and I need to update the side bar totals.  Got suckered into a couple of sales...

Which really is not a problem unless I don't sew.  But I haven't been sewing.  So...need to correct that issue...

Monday, October 20, 2014

A bit of cutting...

Company coming this weekend means that the spare room that has morphed into the cutting room has to be cleaned up and turned back into a bedroom.

So I decided to cut several projects I won't have to turn it back into a cutting room in the near future...and I have some projects that I can work on in small increments.

A Jacket muslin.  A first go at a button-front shirt.  Three t shirts and a novelty top.

And I have another mongo promo shirt that I've whacked down that just needs to be sewn back up.

That was about all my complaining back would allow at one go.  But now I've got a small bin of projects all ready to sew up.

' coming this weekend means I won't have much time for sewing this week, but, well, it'll be ready when I am. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 10 19 14

October colors are mustard yellow, burnt orange, browns and tans.

The only me-made in the outfit today is the orange stretch lace top; made from the TNT pattern Jalie 2566, for which I have reviewed the cardigan but not the T (note to self: do that before the end of the year!).

The jacket was a Cold Water Creek sale find;  it's perfectly lovely, once I overlook the fact that it has no pockets.  And the pockets in the CWC jeans I wore today are shallow to the point of nearly being useless.  Cell phone, keys, leader badge and a kleenex or two nearly exceeded their capacity.

There's just a hint of color on the maple tree; we've probably got a couple of weeks before we hit the peak color season.

Lord-have-mercy, this year is going fast...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

SWAP 2015 is coming...

The discussion's been up on Stitcher's Guild for about a month now... I want to holler, no, wait, I'm not done with my 2014 SWAP yet...I actually only got the Trench Coat and a couple of knit tops done.  I *could* have done the rest of the knit tops on the plan, but I decided to work on the woven things...two shirts and the black denim jacket...and I didn't have TNT patterns for those.

So, amongst other things that needed sewing that weren't on the plan, I've been fiddling around trying to get some TNTs for those garments.

It took forever to actually decide which patterns were promising enough style-wise to put in the effort.

I picked a Palmer/Pletsch pattern for the shirts, and pulled out an old Neue Mode pattern for the jacket.

Took forEVER to get the patterns copied off.

I just cut the shirt out of some blue shirting that 's been in the stash for years.  I think it came in a bundle from Michael...back when we lived in the old house. I made some preliminary adjustments to the shoulder and to the sleeve length, so hopefully even if it's not a dead perfect fit it will be at least as good as something I could buy off a rack someplace.

The jacket patterns... I have two traced off, one for a classic jacket and one for the denim...will be muslined before I cut into good stuff.  I have no idea how the neue mode will fit; the line drawing shows some awfully low armsceyes but, as I do not have a TNT to go by, I can't really compare the pattern to anything to see if they really are as low as the artwork makes them appear.'s the middle of October.  Next year's SWAP will be up and running in a matter of weeks.

Maybe I'll put those three garments into the 2015 plan and just keep going...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 10 12 14

(For those who are new to the series, please see the link 'What's with the Choir Wardrobe?' on the sidebar...every now and then I just have to throw in the disclaimer that my participation in the worship team is NOT about making clothes for it...)

Back from an amazing week at DIVE worship school; I'll be talking about it at length on the other blog, so here I'll just was transformational.  Amazing.  Incredible. Et Cetera. :-)

But, for the sewing blog, I'm back in my spot in the choir and the colors for October are burnt orange, mustard yellow,  with browns and tans.

The temps really haven't dropped to the fall range yet, so I had to go to the off-season storage to pull out my brown wool jersey Pamela's Patterns 110 Draped Front Cardigan, since that was the only brown topper I had that would work with the under layers...

We had a short afternoon break at a local mall while I was in Dallas, and I wandered into Ann Taylor Loft with a few of my fellow students, kinda thinking I'd look for a lacy top to wear over tanks.  I really wasn't expecting to find one, but I lucked out and found a nice beigey Guipure lace tank that even pretty much fit...on a double markdown rack.  The left armhole was a little gappy, but I thought I could fix it, being as how I don't think I could've bought the lace fabric for the price on the tag.

But once I got it home, I realized that I will probably NEVER wear it without a jacket or cardi over it, so who cares if the armhole gaps a teense?  :-D

I pulled out my burnt orange rayon jersey Jalie 965 Tank Top  and put the new lace top over it.  Perfectamundo.

Coldwater Jeans today.  I have seen that an investment company has purchased the Coldwater brand and intends to relaunch an online store with the name...I'm gonna watch and see if it is up to the 'old' Coldwater...

You may see that lace top many times with various colors under it.  I intend to get my money's worth. :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A little work, a little indulgence

Hope springs eternal.

Even though my sewing is proceeding slower than a snail on Benadryl, somehow I manage to justify fabric purchases.

Behold the latest acquisitions:
4 pieces of knit...left to right...

Cream rayon/lycra jersey.  On sale from a vendor I haven't tried before, the service and quality were fine but, oh, my, the shipping.  Took that piece of fabric from the listed price of 8.96/yd to 13.89/yd, once the math was done.  Sigh.  Don't know if there's an optimal amount to purchase to minimize the shipping cost...may or may not try them again to find out.

All in search of a white or near-white knit that is not translucent.   Still searching.

The rest are from Fabric Mart's recent knit sale.  The first, a cotton/lycra interlock knit in a bright cherry red; thinking comfy tunics but we'll see.  The other two pieces are a true windfall...I ordered 2 1/2 yards, but as it turned out, my order came in just as the bolt of poly/rayon/lycra double-sided doubleknit was at the end of the road...and they did not have 2.5 yards in one piece.  So they sent me 2 - 2yd pieces.  Black on one side, burgundy on the other.  It feels wonderful.

I see something colorblocked in my near future from this. ;-)

But I am working away on a project...little bit by little bit.  You can see the pattern behind the fabric; I'm tracing/doing the first-pass alterations on McCall's 6436, looking for the Basic Shirt TnT pattern for the white shirt that was supposed to be in the SWAP in the early part of the year.  I've been tracing about one-two pieces each time I can grab a minute...I'm about done tracing.  I'm going to pull out some of the inexpensive shirting I've got stashed and make a test run on it.  So far I've shortened the sleeves, narrowed the shoulders and adjusted the curve on the front hem slightly.  I will have to reduce the circumference of the sleeve cuff; true to what I have observed with the Palmer/Pletsch patterns, the cuff is HUGE.  It looks like I'll need to shorten it about 1 1/2 inches, and adjust the sleeve accordingly.  But I'm almost ready to put fabric on the table.

This fall is shaping up to be really, really busy; I think all Saturdays in October are booked.  I'm beginning to despair of getting my last SWAP plan finished before the next one kicks in...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 9-28-14

Last Sunday in September.

My head is spinning....just doesn't seem possible...

So, this is the end for the gray, black and turquoise color combos.   And I've got on RTW jeans,  a Jalie 965 tank top made from a not-really-very-stretchy cotton knit under  Burda magazines' 5/2009/103A top in a graphic black/gray/turquoise/white print poly knit that fit a HECK of a lot better 10 pounds ago, and my black rayon jersey Vogue 8305 drape front cardigan that was not loved when I  made it, but about 2 years later it suddenly became a core wardrobe piece.  It will wear out soon; I should think about replacing it.

I'll be out of town next week, so October's orange/brown/tan/fancy-mustard yellow combo will show up in a couple of weeks.

I think I have enough orange and brown that I won't need to do tan or fancy-mustard yellow.  Maybe. ;-)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 09 21 14

Yeah, I know, I know.  But the monitor on the computer died Sunday afternoon, and this is the first chance I've had to post the photo since we got it replaced. :-)

September colors are gray, black and turquoise...and the temps have been Alabama-fallish, that is, it didn't get above 80 on Sunday so I could get away with wearing a long sleeved T. 

Anyway, I'm making good use of the new Ann's Cardigan, with  a rayon knit print 2-2009 Burda magazine 108 boat neck top.

And somebody's jeans...Coldwater, I think.

I love, love love that print on the t...the colors are just perfect.

But...the fabric has fuzzed and pilled, the neckline has stretched out...I think this is going to be its last season.  :-(

And I definitely need to work on the upper chest/shoulder on that cardi before I make it again.  It's as good as Ready to Wear, I think...but I sew.  I can do better. :-)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trip Coming Up...

As part of the whole transition thing I've been walking through (I've only referenced it here...the bones of the story are over on the other blog), I've got the opportunity to spend a week at Rita Springer's DIVE school (no, it doesn't involve large bodies of water; it's a week-long worship intensive).

It's something I've wanted to do since I first heard about it something like 6 years ago, but I didn't have the time or the resources to do it. But, since I'm not teaching teens at the moment, I have the time, and I had some Christmas money that had not yet been spent and My Sweet Babboo had some Frequent Flyer points available, I'm going.

All the deep introspective details will be dealt with over on Beer Lahai Roi; here, I'm going to be practical.

I want to pack a week's wardrobe in a carry on bag.

I am not a traveler, truth be told.  Last time I took a plane trip it was 1999.  I'm not even sure I know how to do it anymore.

I'll learn.

Anyway, this is where the wardrobe concept comes into play.  Can I really and truly put enough stuff in a small bag to get me through a week?

It helps that this is not a fancy event; we won't be doing much that requires a range of gear.  Casual is the word.

Oh, yeah, it's in Dallas, so I don't have to worry about it being cold.

So, I'm thinking I'll pack black and gray and a few brights that will work with them.  Take my grey denim jacket and wear one of my knit cardis.  One pair of pants on the body and three more in the bag.  6 knit t's.  Necessary underpinnings; shoes and socks on the plane and sandals in the bag. PJs.

I don't know if I'll have time to sew any new anything before I's in just two it's going to be a little bit of a personal challenge to see if all the wardrobe-thinking I've been doing is going to pay off with a workable travel wardrobe.

Woo Hoo!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 09 14 14

This month's choir colors are turquoise, gray and black...but this is all about the jacket.

Jeans and a gray T under the jacket are not even worth noting; but I love love wearing that jacket.

Vogue 1100 , in a tropical weight wool that I got for a song from a Fabric Mart sale several years ago.

Even though there is nothing the least bit figure-flattering about that jacket, I get compliments on it every time I wear it.

It sure doesn't make me look skinny...but it's fun to wear just the same. :-)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 09 07 14

First Sunday in September and the choir colors have changed to black, gray and turquoise.  So we have black jeans, a black sleeveless RTW sweater, a scarf cobbled up from scraps about 15 years ago (really...there's a piecing seam in it that shows if it's not turned right) and the hot off the machine gray cardi, that's so new I haven't even published the pattern review yet. [ETA: here's the review]

Still figuring out the new hair.  So far, the best approach has been to wash it, goop it up with product and then...don't touch it.  The more I fuss with it the frizzier it gets....

So it's an exercise in self discipline. :-)

And I  need to clear out the cobwebs in the foyer.  Again.  yeesh...

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Still needing that gray cardi...

I decided last night it was time to get on it and make that replacement gray cardigan.

I used a different pattern than the one I was replacing; I've made 4 or 5 of those pleated Jalie cardis and thought I'd try something different...this was Ann's Cardigan from The Sewing Workshop.

Now, I traced and altered this pattern back before the trench coat, so...yeah...

Note to self...make notes!!!

I'd washed the fabric and discovered, to my dismay, that there were holes in it.  Mostly fairly near the selvedges,  but there were a couple that were pretty much in the center.  I cut it out, more to make sure I could than anything else.  I was able to squeeze the pattern on around the holes, which were only on half of the end was fine.

So I was saved from complaining to the vendor about was ok.

And, having gotten it cut out, I decided to just sew it up...choir colors include gray for September, so I can wear it tomorrow.

However, there were issues.

I altered up one thing with the cardi; it is designed to have a single-layer collar.  The guide sheet is not illustrated correctly, as it shows the right side of the collar rolling out.

If you sew the collar to the body right sides together, as shown, then it is the WRONG side that is flipped to the outside, not the right side as illustrated in the guide.

Which means the hem allowance will show.

Now, that will not matter to a number of folks, but I didn't want the hem allowance showing on the front like that.  So I altered the collar piece...I doubled the width, and added a seam allowance at center back.  That meant that I have a double-thickness on the collar, which is fine with  me; that's the way my old standard Jalie cardi is constructed.

But I forgot to make a note of how much of a seam allowance I allowed at the bottom.  The hem is 3/4"; I just assumed that I had not changed it and I sewed a 3/4" seam allowance on the bottom edge of the collar.

Wrong.  I apparently allowed a 3/8" seam, because I have some easing happening at the lower edge where the drapey front bit meets the collar.  The collar covers it up, but it would've been better had everything matched up properly.  However, I really believe that is my fault and not the pattern.

Then, when I pressed the sleeve cap after putting the sleeve in, I found a small hole in the very top of the left sleeve cap, just a pinch outside of the seam allowance.  And I dabbled on a wee bit of Fray Check on the inside, hoping it would not soak through and stain the outside, because I had to do something to keep that hole from growing.

Wrong there, too.  There's a spot.

And, apparently the other sleeve hit the card that I was using to dab the Fray Check off of, because there's  also a spot on the lower part of that sleeve.

Now, so far as choir attire goes, none of this matters, because it's not going to be visible at all from the stage.

But the upshot is that the new cardigan isn't really in much better shape than the old one it's supposed to replace.

Arg, arg and arg...  (the spot that is visible in the photo on the left sleeve is a smudge on the camera lens, not the Fray Check spot).

So...I'll wear it for choir, and keep an eye peeled for more gray jersey.  Someday I'll have a good one...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Time for a change...

But maybe not a HUGE change...

 I was really waffling on the whole hair thing.  This has pretty much been the style for the last 2ish years, and I did basically like it...but it was hot and heavy and I just wanted something lighter.

So a trip to the hairdressers left a pile of hair on the floor:
And I've got a new 'do!

I think this is kinda similar to a haircut I had about 6 or 7 years ago...she took off about 4" of length but whacked a BUNCH out of the heft of it with the thinning shears and razor.  It feels SO much lighter...

Monday, September 01, 2014

Two more in the 'done' column...

From some knit that I picked up from the flat fold table at Hancock's earlier this year... I had 1 5/8 yards, and I managed to get two tops from it, by careful cutting.

Very careful, in fact, because the fabric was flawed...somehow it was knitted tighter on one side than the other in a couple of areas; the black stripes were quite noticeably narrower as they approached that side and the fabric was rather puckery in places.

So I decided to use a single layer layout, so I could make sure the stripes were square all the way across.  Which meant I needed whole pattern pieces for the front and the back.  I'd been putting off making those, because I was going to have to tape things up and, well, it was going to be something of a nuisance.

But then I happened to think of the rolls of Swedish tracing paper I'd bought at the Expo last spring...I could fold it, then trace the front and back on the folds and cut out a whole front and a whole back.

And, with a whole pattern...I decided I could do the long-pondered alteration for my asymmetric shoulders and cut the left shoulder a half inch narrower.

Don't have a photo yet, but that left shoulder is spot on.

And the stripes are reasonably straight. ;-)

I made the Jalie Twinset T again, and Simplicity 2603 .  I decided to cut the neckline bands on the cross grain for the Simplicity top, for accent, so I interfaced both the band and the band facing to stabilize it.   Still had a little distortion, but it was minimal and I don't think anyone but me will really notice it.

I'm so pleased with the shoulders on these that I might use those whole-piece patterns and a single-layer layout even if I don't have to match anything...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chop Job

I went to State  Girls Ministry Camp this year knowing it was the last time, as our church is  discontinuing our participation in that program.

I did not intend to get a t shirt; I have plenty of T shirts from years past, and I really couldn't wear them as promotional garments anymore.

But I liked this year's T shirt.  It was was sweet...

I finally decided I should get one.

But by that time they only had two adult sizes left...XL and XXL.

I hemmed and hawed, but finally decided to go ahead and get the XL...I could sleep in it or something, right?

I was unpacking my suitcase before I thought, D'uh!  Cut it down!

So I dug into the pattern cabinet and pulled out Kwik Sew 2900; a pattern I'd made ages and ages ago and kinda tossed back due to the boxy fit and batwing underarms.

But, for a promo T shirt...boxy and batwing fit the bill.  This was a rather beefy cotton jersey that didn't have a great deal of stretch, so a fitted girly T was out.

I traced off a Large...sigh, the last time was a Medium...and left it totally unaltered.

Then I hacked the t-shirt, cutting up the underarm seam in the sleeve and VERY CAREFULLY down the fold at the side of the shirt.

I left the neckline and shoulders intact, folded it in half  and matched up the front neckline and shoulder seams

 And then the back neckline and shoulder seams
 I cut the sleeves from the sleeve/shoulder of the original t; I was surprised that the original sleeve was not long enough to cut the sleeve cap.  So I left the armsceye sewed up and just cut the cap out of the shoulder area.  A bit of a weird detail on the shoulder now, to be sure, but it worked.

I folded up the hem allowance on the sleeve and put it right on the finished edge.
 So here's how it will all fit together...
 The sewing was really quick.  The only issue was that the shoulder of the t shirt was taped, so it's rather bulky right at the top of the sleeve cap, where the taped-and-seamed bit of the cap hits the remaining taped- and-seamed shoulder seam.

But..hey, it's still retained it's promo T look...and I'm no longer swimming in it. ;-)

ETA...a couple of years later...the lumpy shoulder really annoyed me; I eventually took the sleeves off and recut them again, this time putting the high point of the cap just under that old seam, and letting the extra pattern length just extend past the sleeve hem.  I put them back in and...much better! No more linebacker shoulders. ;-)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 8/24/14

A little vacation gettaway pulled me away from the blogsphere for a bit, but I'm back now and trying to see about creating new routines...which is typical after a little bit of refreshment. 

I've missed most of August...and next week My Sweet Babboo and I have duties that will pull us out of choir, so it looks like this is it for the month of emerald, navy and tan.

But I did get inspired to finish new stuff! 

I wish I'd've done the arms-straight-out pose, so you could really see the sheer jacket, but if you look close you can see it. I actually wore coordinates today...the Plaza jacket and pants from Sewing Workshop.  The pants are midnight blue tropical weight wool, and the jacket is a poly burnout that's been in the stash for ages and ages.  Not a fabric I would buy now, as I've learned even lightweight poly is HOT and STINKY, but I thought it would do nicely for a topper when navy is on the choir list.  And sheer cocoony jackets are kinda 'in' at the moment, so it was a good project.  The T is my fave Jalie-still-gotta-review-it twinset t, made from navy rayon jersey.

The blues don't match, but that's the trend now, right?  Avoid the too matchy-matchy?? 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.