Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Haz Mat Warning

I finished the last of the sheep costumes this morning...I really had to make myself do it, dress rehearsal is tonight.  That fleecy stuff does  not just generate feathery debris, I found; it also generates  very fine, almost invisible, fiber coating on EVERYTHING.  ( I didn't take any more photos, but you can refer to my last post for an idea of what I was dealing with)

After coughing and hacking and feeling kinda bronchitis-y I wised up and tied an old rag over my nose and mouth to cut down on the fibers I inhaled.  I wish I'd had a set of goggles...my eyes are itchy and red and irritated. I'm on antibiotic eye drops, because there was a problem that really started before I got the fleece, but it has gotten aggravated as I've worked through the costumes.

But they are done; I used about 1/2 the sheets on a lint roller to get the fiber off the cutting board (at least it doesn't feel slick now) and vacuumed the carpet...and most everything else in a 3 foot radius of the cutting table.  This may move the 'clean and organize the sewing nook' project up the priority list...right now, I can't even vacuum in there (bein' honest here...).

So...should you be called upon to make sheep costumes with the admittedly perfect-for-the-garment curly fiber fleece...take appropriate care....

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sewing in an Apron...

..in an attempt to keep the white feathery debris from adhering to my clothing.

The costuming task that I have is to create costumes that suggest sheep for 5 little girls, who will be with Bo Peep in the Toys segment of the Christmas Eve production.

We've had pretty short notice, and I'm making it up as I go...per the usual costuming gig. ;-)

We have white sweatsuits for them, so we're layering a tunic vest made from the poly fleecy stuff.  It is ALL OVER.

I finally got smart and took each piece as it was cut,very carefully folded it and carried it over to a large shopping bag I'd hung from a doorknob, draped the piece into the bag and then shook it like a terrier to get rid of as much floof as I could.

Pity I didn't think of it sooner...

Looking down the apron after cutting out one sheep set...

 Debris on the cutting table...

The tail to be wagged behind her...
I have made all the ears and all the tails and one of the vests; two more vests are cut out.  We have a rehearsal tomorrow night (I'm just a body in the gospel choir finale)....hoping to get them done so I can check the length of the tunics.  They may need a little adjusting...

I'm thinking tomorrow's going to be a rather short work day.  But I have some vacation time to burn, so it will be fine...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 12 13 15

December colors: Red, black and gray

Modified Jalie Pleated Cardigan in red rayon blend (same as last week, actually);   black and gray rayon/lycra jersey stripe Jalie 2566 cap sleeve T , gray Lee jeans and red Cobb Hill shoes. (Quickly becoming a fashion rule of thumb for me...if I can get away with red shoes, wear 'em!)

We put up and decorated a Virginia Pine Christmas tree that we cut fresh yesterday; we haven't had a fresh tree for several years.  It was something of an adventure, as the first tree farm we visited had  a selection of truly pitiful little trees.  I had a huge 'to do' list, but a series of light string failures (three in a row!) put us very late finishing.  So I'm going to do the blog posts and then just get up in the morning and finish the urgent part of the to-do list.  I've got some vacation hours to burn  anyway.

The tree is pure kitsch...mismatched lights,  random ornaments, not a shred of tulle or feathers or flowers or fruit anywhere to be seen.... ;-)
And yeah, the window's open.  El Nino year and all..it was 73 today.  Good thing the tree is up; I'd never get myself to believe it was December otherwise...

Monday, December 07, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 12/6/15 - With the Choir in Red, can Christmas be far behind?

Well, technically the colors are red, black and gray. 

And this is a hop-in-front-of-the timer photo.

But it's all good. 

Modified Jalie 2919 Pleated Cardigan and a sleevless mock-t that I quite honestly can't remember the pattern on...both made of rayon/lycra jersey blend in a kind of twist on a twinset.

Jalie basic flair legged pants, made up in a dollar bargain lycra/poly blend that came from the dollar table at Wal-mart.  Have never managed to review the pants,  and the fabric feels icky but is a wonderful red and white pinstripe coloration, so it stays in the wardrobe.

And it just so happens I made the necklace, too...my first venture into wirework jewelry.
It was not as hard as I thought, and it didn't take as long as I expected...I'll probably do more.

In my spare time, of course.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 11/29/15

November's colors:  black, gray and burgundy.

On the finished porch!  By the charmingly pathetic retro aluminum Christmas tree! Who cares what I'm wearing? LOL

But...because it's the sewing blog and all...burgundy slinky Textile Studio Monaco Shell,  Gray rayon jersey Sewing Workshop Ann's Cardigan and black Lee jeans.

Some one (at church, no less!) happened to ask if I were sporting University of Alabama colors.

Um...that would be a big fat NO.

November choir colors.  Ahem.  One of my favorite combos, actually.  Such a shame it gets confused with other intentions...

Happy 1st Sunday in Advent!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fabric, Cushions and a Staple Gun...

...and a willing Sweet Baboo to do the manhandling stuff...

I've not been able to get to the sewing machine due to the misplaced stuff, but I hit a magical moment about a week ago.

Amid all the dusting and cleaning of places where sheetrock dust had accumulated, My Sweet Babboo happened to look closely at the nearly 20 year old dinette chairs.

'Those are gross.' he stated.

Weellll....I had just so happened to have picked up a couple of upholstery flat folds and some foam cushions back when Hancock's had a sale last summer.  Just for the very purpose of replacing the seat cushions and covers.

We started with the bench.  Which was kinda not so smart, as it was the most complicated one...cutout corners and pieced foam cushion (from the leftovers of the slab used for the porch swing cushion).  But...we did have the hardest one out of the way first.  We worked on the other 4 chairs for the set over the next few days...one at a time.

 In all honesty, these are pretty cheap chairs; we got the set at a local flea market and the soft wood has picked up more than its share of dings and scratches; one or two have had to be repaired.

But, with materials on sale and our own labor, it's good enough to get us a little farther down the road. ;-)

And, because I just picked up two lengths of the flatfold, we decided there was enough leftover to do another desperately needed recover:  our almost 35 year old card table set.  Some of the chairs have been 'repaired' with duck tape...that was the case for the one we recovered first.  There are three more to go and...as luck would have it...I got a Hancock's coupon in my email Monday  that was only good for 2 days, so I managed to get the extra foam cushions AND a chunk of vinyl to recover the table as well, on sale and with the coupon.

But we decided to pack up the recover tools until after Thursday...got plenty to do between now and then to get somewhat moved back into some semblance of order.  It's going...slowly...but it's going.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Little Photo Catching Up...

 A quick catch - up post.... we took Choir Wardrobe photos last week and this week, but I'm not going into great detail on them; last week, the only thing I wore that had passed through the sewing machines was the silk/rayon burnout scarf.  Today I made the tunic dress and the leggings...the dress last year and the leggings, oh, 20 years ago?  Maybe?

But the renovation work is finally done.  We still have to move the furniture back in...but that's going to involve a LOT of rearranging in other parts of the house, so I'm not sure how long it will take.

If you compare those in-front-of-the-fireplace photos to earlier ones, you'll see the difference between the yucky pink carpet and our new tile hearth apron.  It looks so much classier.:-)

A couple of composite photos to just share the transformation; each of them show the appearance of the room when we bought the house in the upper left, and the end result in the lower right.

First, the den, which we didn't plan to renovate at this time, just because we didn't put two and two together and realize that, duh, we were knocking the wall out...we need to redo both rooms!

 Then the sunroom, which has been in transition for about 4 1/2 years.  I was nearly despairing of ever seeing it done...

Because I was impatient, the 'finish' photo isn't quite; we still needed lights and the ceiling fans.

So, here are a couple of photos showing the lights and the ceiling fans, which My Sweet Babboo installed yesterday.

So...now begins the frenzy to get the furniture redistributed before Thanksgiving...

And, as I likely won't get back to the blog for anything significant for at least a week, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow 'Mericans; I hope you get to spend time with family and friends and that you have much to be thankful for!

I know I do. :-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Ten years ago today....

Sew Random's first post went up.

There's been a lot of thread through the machines...costuming and otherwise...in the last ten years.  Lots of things...sewing and otherwise... 1773 posts...published here

I had planned to do a big celebration and giveaway to commemorate the occasion.


I did not expect to be neck-deep in renovation...which spread to at least twice its original scope...when November 4th rolled around.

So I haven't been blogging, and I haven't been sewing, and I haven't been able to put together a proper giveaway.

Sorta like the kid who gets chicken pox three days before the scheduled birthday party.

So, while I'm not sure exactly WHEN I'll get to it, or WHAT precisely it will turn out to be, I am going to do a giveaway.  It may have more than one part.  Still pondering the possibilities.

But, because it's a thank you to folks who have stuck with me over the years, because, well, I DO thank you, I'm going to limit it to people who are following me/subscribed in some manner.  Now, it'll be on the honor system, as I'm just going to ask how you're following since there's no way I can look everywhere I might have followers.  And because I appreciate a new commitment as much as an old one, I'm not going to be picky about when you signed up.

So...the celebration is not cancelled, only delayed until things have moved back into their proper place.  Just so there's no confusion, I'm not asking for contest sign up yet. Stay tuned. :-)

And, since I'm here...an update on the renovation: I feel like we're hoarders; with all the stuff from 2  1/2 rooms crammed into the remaining 2 1/2 rooms downstairs....we have a path.  And a plastic curtain (it has moved from the original position and now seals off the dinette as well as the family room) that we have to walk around the hall to circumvent.

I am very seriously trying not to be claustrophobic in my own house.  But the contractor has assured us he will be done sanding sheetrock in a day or two and the plastic curtain, at least, can come down. That will help...but I don't think I'll relax until I can see some space in the living room again.

The furniture can't go back in the rooms until the carpet is laid, though...and I'm seriously wondering if that's going to happen before Thanksgiving.  It's going to be close.

Very close.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blogging break

I just can't seem to get to the 'new post' window...this home renovation stuff is nutso.  We're redoing two rooms...all that stuff is crammed, stacked, wedged and piled around the rest of the house.

It's nearly claustrophobic.

So I'm just going to holler 'UNCLE' here and take a blogging break until we can get some sort of order re established.

Hopefully  we'll be ALL done by Thanksgiving...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 10/18/15

 Busy weekend...I didn't get my brown top cut out; mayhap I can get that done next week....

So I went with old and familiar... for the third week in a row, my brown wool jersey Pamela's Patterns 110, over my orange stretch lace Jalie 2566 T shirt, a burnout poly scarf from a remnant, and the new brown RTW jeans that obviously need to be rolled up just a bit.  I don't want to shorten them just yet; experience has taught me to let jeans go through 4 or 5 wash cycles before deciding whether or not to hem them.  I don't plan to put these through the dryer, due to the lycra content, but I am not going to do any adjustin' until I'm convinced they're not going to change length.

My inlaws did make it down; we went to an annual Royal Ranger event; a fundraiser for a local ministry that allows the Rangers to have use of their property for various camp outs during the year.  They run a number of 'buy a ticket and have fun' events.. and invite the community to come and have fun. 

My favorite activity was watching My Sweet Babboo man the 25-foot rappelling tower; he did the final hook - up for the kids and coached them over the side.  That's a pretty cool guy I married. ..in his FCF gear, getting a young fellow ready to go over the side.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Squeezing in a queue addition and a RTW rant...

We have company coming this weekend, which means I have to make the room I use for cutting back into a guest room.

It's not in too bad of a shape...well, it's been worse, anyway.  But I'm determined to get a top cut out before I pack it all up.

I've traced off virtually all the pieces of Vogue 9057  ...the view with the shirttail hem, the view with the pointy hem, both views with the assymetric hem...which I traced face up and face down, to get that offset...and the bracelet length sleeve and the deep-hemmed-for-rolling long sleeve and an extra short sleeve to be rolled a bit, plus one neckline binding to use. (And I just realized I didn't trace the armhole binding for the sleeveless version...rats...).  But I'm going to cut one of those out of the yummy brown rayon 4-way stretch that's been in the stash a while.   Probably won't get it sewn this weekend...there is company coming, after all...but soon.  Hopefully before Oct. 25th, so I can wear it in choir this month.

And we still have a plastic curtain with a red zipper blocking the back part of the house...fall break means the contractor went to the beach with his family.  So.  We have oddball stuff just crammed everywhere; it's going to be an interesting visit.

I had a wee bit of time yesterday between leaving work and having to be home for my youngster to climb in the car and head off to his second shift janitorial job, so I stopped at the mall in search of some colored jeans.  I wanted a gray pair and a brown pair.

I parked in front of the store that I'd had jeans-purchasing success in earlier this year, but a quick wander around didn't turn up any colored jeans.  So I hiked to the department store at the other end (fortunately it is not a huge mall).  I found three tables with colored jeans...Gloria Vanderbilts, Lees, and another brand that escapes me at the moment.

I started trying on 14's and 16's.   That was the size I'd bought last.

They were huge.  Granted, they were high in lycra content and they were labeled as 'relaxed fit' but...holy cow.  I went back and tried again.

I ended up with a pair of 10's and a pair of 12's that might be a bit big but I was tired of trying on.

Now, before you get all excited that my weight loss program has worked so well, I need to tell you that there is no weight loss going on here.

In fact, I currently weigh about ten pounds more than I weighed when I checked into the hospital nearly 30 years ago to deliver my firstborn.  When my regular, non-maternity size was a 10.

There is NO WAY I should've  left the store yesterday with size 10 pants.  NONE.

Now, I'm way beyond thinking the number on the size tag means anything at all.  But it would've saved me a LOT OF TIME had those jeans been marked for the actual size I am.  Then I would've tried on the right size to begin with, instead of pants that were two to three sizes too big.


At least they were on sale.  I got both pairs for less than $60.  That was encouraging, considering I was on the brink of giving Stitch Fix a try with a request for gray jeans...knowing that the jeans that came in the one box I sampled had a $128 price tag (that whole box went back...).  I was that convinced that my wardrobe NEEDS gray jeans.  So, while I'm shaking my head over the size tag, I'm tickled to get something new into the wardrobe;  the only non-blue-denim I've worn in longer than I can remember is black.

You will see them in the Choir Wardrobe.  Probably a lot.

They'll look good with those Tilton tops..

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 10 11 15

Yeah...that's the same cardi as last week; wool jersey  Pamela's Patterns 110 .  It's such a nice brown....

I have a tan Guipure lace tank, bought on a double clearance rack last year on an out of town trip for significantly less than I would've paid for the lace yardage.  It has some gappy going on at the armholes, but as long as I've got a cardigan over it that totally doesn't matter.:-)  I've got a burnt orange Jalie 965 tank on under it,  to be consistent with the colors for the month of burnt orange/burgundy/tan/brown.  It's funny...I bought the lace top last year with the intention of putting it with the orange and brown for October choir, but figured I'd wear it with other colored tanks through the year.  None of them pop quite like that burnt orange one....I don't know that I've worn it with anything else...

And Levis.

Not sure when the seasonal clothes are going to get switched; the home renovation is kinda messing with my  normal schedule for these things.  I have some brown rayon jersey pulled from the stash...I may just have to make myself something...lol...

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 10/4/15

October colors are burgundy, burnt orange and brown or tan.  I went with the neutrals today...

Brown wool jersey Pamela's Patterns Draped Front cardigan #110, worn over what I *think* is a sleeveless Burda boatneck T #108  from the Feb 2009 issue of Burda World of Fashion (now known as 'BurdaStyle'), with some slightly modified (looser leg) Loes Hinse Oxford pants in a nice tan Tencel twill.

I don't think I've put this combo together before, but I rather liked it.  I squeeked in a little burnt orange in the necklace combo.

I haven't really talked much here about the wall-replacing we're doing;  but I thought I'd show the plastic barrier that's up to try and keep the dust out of the main part of the house:
(Novel use for a Really Big Zipper, no?)

My laundry and my sewing cave are both on the other side of that zipper.  It's kind of a nuisance to haul stuff  (read: laundry baskets) through it; it's really not that big of an opening. And the power cords are strung over my ironing board.  So I'm tracing patterns and will likely add a couple more garments to the queue in lieu of actual sewing.  Our contractor thinks he can finish the job in a couple more weeks; I think that's pushing it a bit but it should be close.  Definitely will be before the month is over.

It's going to be a big change on that end of the house. I'm excited to see the finished rooms, even if we're not going to get all the decor straightened around for a while yet....

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Ten years ago today...

This is the way the back hall way looked when we hauled in our machines on Oct. 1, 2005 and officially opened the costume shop for the 2005 production of 'The Gospel According to Scrooge.'

Which was significant in many ways, not the least being that it was the impetus for me to start blogging, so that means I'm quickly approaching my ten year blogiversary, but you will no doubt hear more about that before long.

We have not repeated that production since then, which is kind of surprising, but, well, I don't even know where we would set up a sewing room if we were to do it again; every inch has been given over to offices and classrooms that are used multiple times in a week.  This view  has changed; now that hallway looks like this:

What was an open room to the left is now multiple offices.

And I'm now on staff, doing data base management, which is a rather far cry from the free wheeling costume design of ten years ago.

But seasons change; they go in cycles.  After several years of a hiatus in any kind of drama ministry, we are holding auditions Saturday for a new troupe of thespians, to be available to do skits and other drama ministry.

There may even be a major production in the wind again in the next year or so.

I may be dusting off the ol' costumer skill set again after all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 9/27/15

I know, I know, it's Tuesday, for crying out loud.

But Sunday...well, Sunday was a pretty incredible day.  Aside from it being extremely busy...as in, I was only home just long enough to jump in front of the camera and wolf down a Jimmy John's Unwich (lettuce wrap 'sandwich'), we had some powerful worship at church Sunday.

The choir did not come down off the platform at all during each of the first two services (normally we come down during the transition from worship to teaching).  It was spontaneous...it was so...well...you just had to be there.  Sorry.

And it's really hard to come home from those services and write about what I wore.  I just can't shift mental/spiritual gears sometimes.

And it's not like I wore anything truly faboo anyway; I went to the back of the closet and pulled out a top that technically fits...it really doesn't strain or pull...but looked better 15 pounds ago, nonetheless.  All the style ease has been converted to wearing ease by the slow accumulation of the years.

But it garnered a few comments, nonetheless...probably just because it's a little out of the ordinary for me.

September colors: white, black and gold.  Black jeans with a ca. 2006 Hot Patterns Cadeau Top in marvelously beefy black and white stripe rayon/lycra jersey.  With a gold necklace and earrings.

And, yeah, those are birki sandals.  So glad I had those on...lol...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 09 20 15

Hello again!

Our annual women's conference at church was last weekend; due to the stage set, we didn't even have choir last Sunday; the risers were gone and there was no place for us to stand.

But we're back this week; September colors are black, gold and ivory.

Kinda makes me wanna shout 'Boiler up!'...but I managed to restrain myself.

I actually indulged in a bit of online shopping last month; stumbled across a metallic T from J Crew that I thought would do nicely.  It looks tan in the photo, but it really is a sparkly gold. If I had made it, there would be a few tweeks I'd make before I made it again...chief among them being I'd add about 2.5 - 3 inches to the length of it, and I'd lengthen the sleeves just a bit so I could roll them up.  Or maybe put a  faux cuff on them.

And I might raise the neckline just a pinch, so I wouldn't have to wear a cami under it.

But I didn't make it, so I won't be worrying about it.

Except I like the loose T concept...so I may actually be doing a little alteration to one of my T patterns, using this T as a guide.  We'll see. ;-)

It's teamed up with my black cotton/lycra sateen La Fred Daphne Pants and what is probably the single most-worn item in my wardrobe, the black twill vest from the 05/2008 issue of BWOF. 

I'm rather amused that I've got the Birkies on; I meant to put on my black ballet flats but I was wearing the sandals around the house before we left and just totally forgot to switch.

At least they matched.

We have some home renovation work starting...or rather, starting back...this week.  I have a queue of sewing projects that have been languishing wilst I did the push to get all the registration ready for the conference, and then we went straight into cleaning/moving things to get things ready to knock a hole in a wall; I'm hoping to spend some time with my sewing machine in the next couple of weeks.

I don't think I'm going to get the gold leather vest done in time to wear it this go-round...

Sunday, September 06, 2015

In Which She Wears Nothing She Made

It had to happen sooner or later.

I've come close a time or two, but usually managed to squeek in a cami top or a scarf or something to keep the string going.

But today we were requested to wear the shirts that promo our upcoming women's conference, if we had them (as we did a video shoot for the conference, many ladies in the choir did).  It is a black shirt w/ metallic gold lettering...and September choir colors are black or ivory w/ gold.

So today I wore my SHE t-shirt and blue jeans.

No cardi, no vest, no scarf...nothing that came off of my sewing machine.

It was hard.  I didn't realize what a point that was for me.  I kinda like the 'I always wear something I made' vibe.  I actually pulled a vest out of the closet that time has rendered a bit too small...and made myself put it back, because it detracted from the shirt.  Uniformity is the point.

You know, anything can be carried too far.  Maybe I should make myself wear a RTW outfit once a month or so, just so that I don't let that become part of my identity.

I will admit there have been times when I put back the first outfit I pulled out of the closet because I hadn't made any of the pieces.  Even though it was a really cute outfit in the right colors.  I was too hung up on the 'I must Wear My Makes' kinda deal.

So.  Not stopping the Choir Wardrobe posts...but admitting that there will be Sundays when I will find myself dressed in stuff I bought.

And that's ok.

But I probably won't post those photos. This ain't no style blog.  (but you knew that already  ;-) )

Saturday, September 05, 2015

That Cookie Notice

I happened to check around on one of the other tabs connected to my other blog this morning and I read the following notice:
European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you.

So I did a little more checking and found that a really ugly notice pops up at the top of the screen if you happen to be visiting from the European Union:

 This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.

 This is a generic notice provided by Google to comply with the EU's requirements.  So I thought I'd do a little 'splainin' :

The only use of cookies THIS blog makes is to see who's visiting. I use a hit counter that generates a list letting me know who visits (IP/ IP address; city/state/country; the link they came on, the page they landed on, the page they left on and how long they were here; all of which can be blocked if you're savvy enough) .

I check the list periodically just to see if anyone is reading, since I only average one comment per post.  This is not a hugely active site...on days when I put up a new post, I'll get around 150 visits, not including folks who are reading via bloglovin (I don't think the stat counter records those visits unless the person kills the bloglovin' frame) or other feedburners, but it is a little encouraging to see that folks have come by, even if they're not leaving comments.

That's all the use I will ever make of cookie information. I am very honored that anyone would click through from where ever you found a link...face book, a search engine, whatever...and allow me to share a bit.  If you'd like to leave a comment letting me know you stopped by, that'd be great, but really, I'm just glad you're here.

Now I must go eat a cookie, because I have suddenly developed a craving...

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Workwear 22

I said maybe I'd get another McCall's 6559 Maxi made before the summer was over...just squeaked it in last week...

I've recently seen references to the 'Dazzle' or 'Razzle-Dazzle' camouflage paint used on wartime ships during WW1...the black and white random graphic designs were visually confusing and made it difficult to determine how many ships were in a particular area and even what way they were going.

Of course, with the advent of radar and satellite imagery, that's all old stuff, but, well, I had a piece of black-and-silverish stylized print rayon/lycra jersey and I thought I could do with a little dazzle camouflage myself.

These are very nearly instant dresses.  They only take a pinch longer to sew than a tank top.

And I love them with a denim jacket...

I bet I use this pattern in different lengths...but maybe not this year.

Fall sewing beckons. :-D

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 8/30/15

At least the choir wardrobe pretty much guarantees at least one post a week! :-)

I did spend a little time in the sewing room yesterday and cranked out another McCall's 6559 Maxi.  Pictures as soon as I can manage it...

But today was the last day for August's coral/black/gray combo.

Gray/black stripe rayon jersey Jalie 2566 t shirt under my coral rayon blend jersey Jalie 2919 pleated cardigan.  Black Lee jeans that should stay black...they've got a good bit of poly blended w/the cotton, so hopefully they'll hold that nice dark color.

I had a long sparkly necklace on, but during 2nd service I was working on data entry in my office and the necklace caught on a corner on my desk and the jump ring at the clasp failed.  If something had to break, that was a good thing as it's easily repairable...just need to sit down for a minute with my needle nosed pliers.  But it's not in the photo and you totally miss my attempt to get on board the multiple necklace layers train...

Next month:  Black, ivory and gold....

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 8/23/15

Back again after a quick trip last weekend to Indiana to visit our parents and celebrate our 35th anniversary with a side overnight trip to Turkey Run State Park...one of my favorite places on the planet.

We got back Wednesday night, and I had a grueling 3 1/2 hours in a dentist's chair the next morning to put a car in my mouth...er, prep 6 teeth for crowns.  I now have a six-tooth temporary crown in place for the next 10 days whilst the permanents are being made; I've joked that it's a Barney tooth....totally non functional but keeping me presentable.  I'm being Very Careful as to what I eat...

So, no sewing to speak of has gotten accomplished in the last two weeks, which is ok as there is plenty of gray, black and coral in the closet.

This week it's a gray rayon jersey Sewing Workshop Ann's Cardigan, which is really way too big in the shoulders and more than a little aggravating but definitely worth tweaking and making again, over an ancient coral rayon jersey Vogue 2925 shell top , which is over a charcoal gray Jalie 965 tank.

And, since we were headed south on the Pennyrile Parkway and therefore going right by the Vanity Fair/Lee Outlet in Hanson, KY, we stopped for a little wardrobe refreshing and I found a pair of really black jeans to replace the ones that have faded to dark gray.  We'll see how long I can keep these black. ;-)

I did a bunch of cutting out in July; going to try to get some of those projects sewn up in the next couple of weeks.

Crossing my fingers...the women's conference is just around the corner; I may be busier at work than I'm expecting...

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 8/9/15

I can pretty much guarantee it will be all old stuff for August; our colors for this month are black, gray and coral.

I have plenty of black, gray and coral in the wardrobe from past years, so  there's no need to crank out more at this point.

Black Lee jeans with a dove gray ...fine cotton?  It's been too long...jersey made up in a sleeveless version of  Jalie 2682, topped by a variation of my favorite knit cardi pattern, Jalie  2919 in a rayon blend jersey.

However, next month the colors are going to be black, white/ivory and gold, which are the colors for our women's conference that will be happening the 10th - 12th, themed 'She is BRAVE'.

And I have a metallic gold half calf skin waiting on me to be very BRAVE and make it up into a vest.

So.  We shall see.  I did pull the piece out and put it on the cutting table. ;-)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Random Road Trip means simple Choir Wardrobing 8/2/15

My Sweet Baboo's brothers are both active Barbershoppers...one sings with the 'Voices of California' chorus, which is based in Sacramento, and the other sings with the quartet 'New Found Sound' in Pennsylvania.

Well, this year the VoCal chorus (clever nickname, no?) attended the week-long Harmony University in Nashville, which was capped off with a showcase concert of sorts in which VoCal was one of the featured choruses.

So of course, we loaded up the van and took a quick road trip up to Belmont University campus for the event last night.  We could not pass up the opportunity to see a live performance.

It started at 8 PM.  Which was a good thing, really, as it meant we could wait for The Actor to get off work.  Prince Charming had some other things going on, so it was just the six of us in the van...which I don't think has happened since Christmas 2010.

Now, you know, we are probably the least musically talented branch of the family, but we can sing...sort of.  Church Choir, family Christmas Caroling...but this was a whole 'nuther level of musical exposure for the kids.  Most of the audience were HU participants; although it was open to the public, it was very much  a show celebrating the shared experience of the week, with lots of inside jokes.

There was even a bit of audience participation singing at the beginning and end.  'Let Me Call You Sweetheart' was led by an elderly gentleman that we met after the show when we were chatting with DBIL...who told him that we were 'non-barbershoppers'.  He dug in his shoulderbag and pulled out pins for all of us. 'You sang with me!' he said, passing them around.

It was an amazing evening; I haven't had that much fun in a long time. Bad jokes, wonderful music, and lots of standing ovations (seriously.  My quads are slightly sore today from the up-and-down.  And...embarrassing side note...as I sat down after the first one, the back of my head kinda bounced against the pot belly of the guy behind me, who hadn't sat down yet.  After that, I checked and made sure he sat down before me...).  But on the way home, one of the boys commented, 'I think we've just been initiated into a cult....'

The show ended at 10:15;  it was 2:30 AM before I actually hit the hay, and we had to be at church at 8 AM this morning.  I just kinda pulled the first thing out of the closet that met this month's criteria...we're wearing black, gray and choral for August...and headed out the door.  No makeup, no contacts...but I was there. ;-)  And...I had a fresh appreciation for the gift of being able to sing, even if it's just in the middle of the choir.

Vogue 2925 coral rayon jersey top,  the hopefully-soon-to-be-replaced Jalie 2919 cardigan, slightly modified, and RTW jeans.  A great service with guest speaker Robert Madu.

All in all, a very good weekend.

Yawn.... ;-)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why do I do this to myself?

The spare bedroom.  I use it for my cutting space...but it has kind of turned into secondary fabric storage.  Now, this is NOT just the fabric that has accumulated in the last 3 ish years...it's also fabric that I have pulled out of the bins in the for-real stash storage area in anticipation of cutting out projects  in the last 3-ish years.

But I needed to clean the closet out because I've got to stash some other stuff in it, as the adult-kids-living-elsewhere can't seem to find space for their stuff and we're about to start some renovation again so It Must Move.  So all the accumulated/pulled out fabric had to get corralled  and rebinned.

Y'all.  This is no way to run a railroad.  I can't even think about what I want to do with all that.

I sorted it out and rebinned it...mostly; the silk bin and the printed cotton bin were both full, so I had to figure out something else to do with the overflow.  And I did leave a few pieces out because I am determined to turn them into clothes for the closet.

But the truth is that I have had a real come-to-Jesus-moment regarding the fabric stash.

And I have decided that I am adding nothing to the stash for a year.  Nothing.

Now, that does not mean I won't buy any fabric at all...but it does mean that anything that I buy has to be sewn up at once.  So that allows for emergencies, like a costuming project, but by and large...I'm going to try to use the stash.

I mean, that's why it's there.

So...between now and my birthday in July 2016...I'm going to be shopping the stash.

There.  I said it out loud, with witnesses.

Here goes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workwear 21 - A totally frivolous dress

Here's a dress that will likely never be worn for choir; just not a color combo that will get worn in tank top season.  But I wanted one nonetheless.  A striped maxi in an old catalog was the inspiration, and when Fabric Mart put this stripe on one of their crazy sales a year and a half ago I got five yards...intending to use a chunk of it for the McCall's 6559 dress.

But it languished.  Choir projects took priority.  Then Carolyn made a boatload of 6559 Maxis  and I was inspired.  I had to make mine.

This is actually a frankenpattern of McCall's 6559 and my TNT Jalie 965.  The neckline is Jalie; the shoulders are Jalie, extended about 3/8" towards the shoulder to brastrap-friendly the shoulders.

I actually prefer binding on knit necklines/armholes...it feels like it stabilizes it a little bit.  Alternately, you could sew clear elastic into the turned-and-stitched hem, but binding is easy.

Assuming, of course , that you cut it to the correct length.  I could use the Jalie pattern for the neckline binding, but the armholes were a mashup so I measured and, despite knowing better, cut the binding the same length.  So of course they were horribly floppy and gappy.

Pulled 'em off, shortened them 2" and put 'em back.  Not perfect, but acceptable.

I steam a seamed basted the hem and then double needled it.   Even with redoing the armholes, it was a really quick sew.

Wore it to work today w/ my CWC denim jacket.  Loved it.

I may make a couple more before the summer's over...lol...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 07 26 15

Believe it or not, I found a place in California that claims to repair  my Powershot  lens error issue; I boxed it up and mailed it out Friday...so, we'll see.  If it all comes back beautifully, I'll write a blog post.  If it's a dead end, I'll write a blog post.  Either way...blog material is coming. ;-)

But my hubby loaned me his old 7.1 megapixel camera, so I can at least get some photos.  Good enough is...good enough.

So, today was the last day for the choir to wear black, gray and kelly green.  And I wore the cotton/lycra zig-zag print Jalie 2566 t...just because the colors were right...with  Oldcoldwatercreek (as opposed to the new company with the same name) jeans that fit around the middle but are too big everywhere else, and my wear-at-least-once-a-week black cotton twill Burda magazine 05-09-108 vest.

Not real fancy...I'd've liked to do something different, but too much birthday cake and ice cream in the last couple of weeks has limited my pants choices considerably.  (insert rolling eyes).

I took a couple of days off last week...it was youth camp week and 85% of the staff was involved in either the youth event or the concurrent pastor's conference...so I took advantage of the resulting light work load for the DBA and stayed home the last half of the week.  Found the bottom of the laundry basket (yay!), helped The Princess a bit with a costume that she is working on to wear to Disney world later in the fall (she is sewing.  I am helping), did a few oddball projects that have been waiting and waiting...and made myself a McCall's  6559 maxi knit dress.  I think I'm really late to that show...it's got 112 reviews posted...but it wasn't choir-wardrobe-able so it just didn't get high on the list. 

I'll write a review once I can corral someone to take a photo of me in it. ;-)

So...a productive weekend!  And I've still got over a week's worth of comp time to burn...and I haven't touched the vacation yet...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Singin' the 'My Camera's Bonked' Blues...

Sigh.  Who knows when I'll get another photo to post...

Trying to be clever and take a selfie photo before we went to dinner on our quick-out-of-town-to-celebrate-my-birthday weekend; somehow, in rushing to get in front of the camera after setting the camera down just so on the table and activating the timer, I bumped it and the camera fell over.  It wasn't a bad bump, no biggie, right?


It's only working about 30% of  the time now; the rest of the time it doesn't focus, or it gives me a 'Lens error restart camera' message...and I have to turn it off about half a dozen times before it finally shuts down and stays shut down...so  I can turn it on and begin the whole process again.  Frustrating.

It's been a good little camera; it's a Canon Powershot point-and-shoot.  I'd like to get it fixed, but I don't know where I could get it serviced. 

I suppose I could google it, eh? lol.

So...I might get photos in the next few weeks, I might not.  We'll see.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Road Trip and a Factory Tour

My sewing traveling buddy, Miss A, found herself in need of a new serger; her aging machine finally lost all ability to maintain tension.  She'd shopped around in the Rocket City, but hadn't really found info that was helpful (Not kidding...one local store's 'Expert on that machine' answered every question with, 'I'm not sure, I'd have to check the manual' ...on a machine that she was purported to use and love...).

So, as we had today off for the 4th of July holiday (church offices are closed every Friday, so we got our holiday today) we decided we'd take a road trip to Florence and see if Ken's Sewing Center could be more helpful.

I arrived at her house this morning and, as we discussed lunch plans, she asked if I'd heard of Alabama Chanin.

Um, heck yeah.

Well, when she googled restaurants in the Florence area, Alabama Chanin Factory came up.

And, after a successful visit to Ken's which resulted in a Janome serger joining us for the rest of the trip, a wild goose chase roundabout trip to a fabric store that turned out to be closed on Mondays, we ended up at the Alabama Chanin Factory.

Where, in addition to marvelous eye candy sewing inspiration,  we really did find a gourmet deli restaurant.  Who knew?

We had a yummy quiche and salad, and learned that they gave factory tours at 2 PM.  As luck would have it, it was quarter to.

 So we did the tour of the factory, which was very interesting.
Our guide, Erin,  works in the media department and was very knowledgeable and articulate and did a really good job of describing not only how the Alabama Chanin factory operates but Natalie Chanin's vision.    Their hand sewing is done by local artisans who are independent contractors, but the prep work (cutting and stenciling) is done in the factory before the work is sent out.  They also do a small amount of indigo dyeing, and they do have some machine sewn work, some of which is under the Alabama Chanin brand and some of which is work for other brands...ie, Patagonia, who recycles jackets into scarves in partnership with AC.

There is a DIY section, with fabric and such for sale; I wasn't in fabric buying mode but I did get one of the AC books that has been on my Amazon wish list for a while....when I opened it I found it was signed by the author as well! 

What a treat we had!  If you ever are in the Florence, AL area, drop by!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 7/5/15

July's choir colors are kelly green, black and gray.

Actually, it's pretty much crayola green, so it's not too hard to find.  We've worn it before, so I had a couple of wardrobe residents that would work (no doubt they'll show up here before the month is out...)

But I found a great piece on the 75% off remnant rack at Textile's moving sale back in May, and snagged it for the predetermined purpose of making a top to wear in July.  Despite the color resolution on the photo, it really and truly is kelly green on black lace:

I mulled over what to make of it for a couple of weeks, then had the idea of using Louise Cutting's Stars In Heaven tunic pattern.  I'd made it up before in linen and linen/rayon blends, so I knew it didn't require stretchy fabric.

But, at some point last winter I'd made some adjustments to it...I'd added a slight FBA, and I'd increased the curve on the front a bit, as I really like that style line.  But I didn't really remember how much I'd done. 

I pinned the sleeve pattern pieces together and just cut the sleeve as one unit; the seaming wasn't going to show at all on the lace so there was no real reason to put seams in the sleeves,  I just turned and stitched all the edges, although I did miter the hem corners.  I intended to get some black lace trim to use on the edges, but Hancock's didn't have anything that would be at all suitable so I just left it.  I used a serpentine zig zag to topstitch and it literally disappeared; doesn't show at all.

The color in this photo is even worse than the closeup of the fabric, but you can see the lower curve.  I think I overdid the lower curve; it looks odd to me as it is longer than the back (didn't think of that).  I'll pull some of that back out before I make it again.

I've got a black Jalie 965 Tank Top under the SIH tunic; I've got a BUNCH of different tanks I can wear with this if I choose.  White,  green, gray, cream...and the ladies at Textile said if I  put yellow, orange or red under it it really pops.  Not sure I'm that brave, but, well, we'll see.

I think I could put a turtleneck or long sleeve crew neck t under it as well for a different look this winter.

It may be more versatile than I expected.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Just A-Swingin'....

 Cushion #1 finished.  I probably should've made it a little wider so that it would hang over the front a bit; it scoots back when anyone sits down.  But that's a minor issue.  I'm actually pretty pleased with it and it makes the swing MUCH more comfortable.

Credit where credit is due; I found this tutorial most helpful.  Only I put the zipper along the long back edge instead of on one end...two zippers, actually, that meet in the middle.  Worked great.

Next up:  cushions for the chairs 'round that table...

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Workwear 20

Just because I'm putting together stuff I have not put together before.

It's a really lame jump-in-front-of-the-timed-camera selfie.   But the Flute Player *still* has stuff from her move-back-home frenzy piled in  my usual jump-in-front-of-the-camera spot,  where I can set the camera on a shelf at approximately chest height.   

This photo was taken with the camera sitting on the porch railing, at about waist height.  So the angle looks a little weird.   But I'm wearing something that makes me happy...the guipure lace tank I purchased in Dallas last fall for a lower price than I could ever have bought the lace yardage.  It's over a navy bamboo/lycra jersey  Jalie 965 tank top with midnight navy tropical wool Sewing Workshop Plaza pants.  And my old CWC denim jacket, with the lapels turned up in what is supposed to be trendy hipness and just looks kinda strange...I don't think they ended up curled Just Right.  Messing with the camera and then moving quickly to get into place rarely ends with everything Just Right.  So I'll settle for ok. 
Haircut appointment next week to put the shape back in it.  Amazing how it goes from cute and curly to just bushy almost overnight...

Completely off-topic:  for years, I 've used Sitemeter to kinda track visits.  It doesn't give really good data, but I get an idea of whether or not I'm getting any traffic (I'm not going to say 'much'...'any' is good enough) and whether folks just click in and click out or if they actually read a page or two while they're here.  But lately it has been more and more useless.  For one thing, I think people are wising up and using software to hide their visits so they don't get tracked.  But Sitemeter itself has just been weird.  It's been down more than it's been up ('The data base for your site is not available now.  Try again in a few minutes')  and the numbers are whacko (176 page views in 3 seconds?  Really?).  So I'm about to ditch it, I think.  Can anyone recommend a similar service that seems to work that I can switch to?  Although, to be honest, I may be better off not knowing that no one visited for three days (that would be the other blog; this one usually as at least a dozen or so visits in a day.  I think. )

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Territory

No choir post this weekend...we were out of town, so no choir. ;-)

But the time has come for me to face up to some sewing that NEEDS doing but that I have not been enthusiastic about.

Home dec stuff.

I've been accumulating the various required goods and such from Hancock's during sales in the past year or so, and it's all big and bulky and needing to be out of the way.  So, with plenty of items to wear for the next couple of months...it's time to face the giant and tackle my fears of wonky seams, lumpy corners and ill fitting covers.

The first item up is a cushion for our porch swing.  I got a foam slab from Hancock's...on sale, and with an additional small discount as the foam was damaged on one end.  But it was well oversized so the damaged area is easily avoided.

I pulled out a utility knife and hacked it down to the correct size.  It wasn't beautifully even...I had to cut each side 3-4 times, so it's a little jagged...but it'll do.  I made a slipcover out of an old sheet so that I can slide the cushion in the cover once I get it made.

I got some outdoor fabric from Hancock's last year; I probably have way more than I need but I'm allowing for goofs and re-dos. ;-).  I got two 22" zippers, which I will tack together so that they zip from the center to the edges, and install that whole assembly on the back side.  I need to get some bias tape to use for ties, so that I can secure the cushion to the swing; I thought I could use the same fabric but the upholstery fabric is really stiff so it's not going to make nice ties.

I've also got some square pillows to cover for the chairs we have around a table on the porch.  Mostly because I'm a shrimp and without a cushion on the chair it feels like I'm a little kid pulling up to the table.  I'll use the same fabric, and I'll make envelope-style covers, for which there conveniently are instructions in the current issue of Sew News

I also have foam slabs and some upholstery hopsack style fabric to replace our dinette chair cushions.  The table and chairs was a flea market purchase...new, not used...back in 1996 and, well, it wasn't terribly high quality furniture.  The cushions have gone flat and the fabric just looks tired and faded.  I don't think there's going to be much sewing involved with those...just cutting the foam to size and then wrapping fabric around the foam-and-chair-seat and fastening it down with a staple gun and screws.

So it should spruce/comfort things up considerably when I finish it, but I have to admit this is not my preferred kind of sewing.  So I'm gritting my teeth and, with the exception of the fabric I have en route from a sale-I-couldn't-resist-because-I've-been-wanting-that-fabric-for-ages, I'm not going to let myself get anything new until it's done.

I find that is usually sufficient motivation to stay on a long term tedious task...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Workwear 19 - New Pants

Photographed late last night : a brown rayon blend jersey Jalie 2682 top , which is a great basic, and a rumply denim jacket from the original Coldwater Creek that, to be honest, I've never really connected with but wear because I don't have another white denim jacket...yet...are teamed up with the newest addition to the wardrobe:  striped linen Stretch and Sew 704 Quick and Easy pants.  This is the 3rd pair of pants I've made from that pattern and, once you get the welt pockets in, there really is nothing to them.  But this is a 'no side seam' pants pattern and, to really see what happens w/ NSS pants that have a tapered or narrow leg, you need to click on the picture to make it bigger.

You can see how nice and vertical those stripes are above the knee, but, wow, check out the tilt on the lower part of the leg.

That's because the grainline is being pulled in by the bias cut inseam.  The stripe runs vertically down the outside, but the only way to taper a NSS pants leg is to  angle in the inseam.  There's a little bit of baggy that happens right around the knees on these pants as well, and, as it's not visible from all angles, I think it has to do with the skewed grainline. 

Now, this isn't necessarily awful...just something to be aware of.  It would not be nearly so obvious in solid or randomly patterned fabric.  And it's not even terribly noticeable here...unless you're looking for it.

These are actually very, very comfy pants.  The fabric came from last month's trip to Textile Fabrics in Nashville; I washed it in hot water and dried it 3 times before I cut it.  The selvages frayed a little in a couple of places and I had a ton of lint in the dryer screen, but the fabric is wonderfully soft and drapey now.

I bet I wear these a lot this summer...twisty stripes or not. :-)