Friday, June 14, 2019

Denim dress (June Outfit) progress

Well, this is the pattern I selected as being closest to what I envisioned.  It's from, um, 2001 and LOOKS like there are some bodacious shoulder pads in it, to my eye, but shoulder pads are not called for in the pattern.

There is also a knee-length cutting line, so that's what I used ( hindsight, I realized that is the shorten/lengthen line.  But it worked).  Did a FBA on the pattern and threw together a quick muslin.  Now, the P/P patterns come with a 1" seam allowance on the side seams...and, as you can see, the largest size in the envelope is a 12.  Well, I haven't been a size 12 in a NUMBER of years, so I used a 3/8" seam allowance in stitching up the muslin and omitted the front and back waistline fisheye darts.

Well, firstly...that bust shaping has to go down about an inch.  And the dart was way too long.  So  I lowered it an inch and shortened it up.  Much better.  It doesn't seem to be too small, but I think one more inch of wearing ease would give me some breathing room.  So I'm going to add 5/8" to the side seams, which will let me increase the ease by 1" AND use 5 /8" seam allowances...much better for adding an inseam pocket.  Which you KNOW I will do.  And the shoulder seams are about 3/4" too long...which is common for my absurdly narrow shoulders. I do NOT have to do a square shoulder adjustment...the square shoulders on the photos were true square shoulders, I suppose.

So that pretty well takes care of the fitting.  Except, I now have a short fat bust dart, which I believe will be nigh impossible to press without a dimple at the end.  So I've pretty much decided to convert the dart to a princess seam.  And cut the front double instead of using a front facing.  If I want to sew the facing into the princess seam ala Loes Hinse's techniques, I will need to create a princess seam on the back as well, so I can  just do the center bit and sew in the collar before sewing the princess seams.  Thinking on that one.

But I've a bit of styling I want to do differently, besides just adding the side seam pockets.  I want a shirt tail hemline, with the back a wee bit longer than the front.  And possibly cap sleeves.  Gonna pull out a shirt tail hem to copy for the bottom...and I may find a cap sleeve to copy or I may just play with cutting the existing sleeve down.  All decisions that will be made on the fly.

So, that's my sewing project for this weekend...finish hacking the pattern.

Friday, June 07, 2019

What worked!

Hey, y'alll, I'm finally feeling not-so-jet-lagged after spending a week basically working and sleeping.  There is a MOUNTAIN of laundry to be done, so whilst the machines are running I thought I'd give you a little rundown of the wardrobe I took with me to Israel.

Once I had everything packed, I realized I pretty much just took black and white, with a pinch of denim/chambray.  I took white tank tops, black tank tops/sleeveless knit tops, and some black-and-white striped tops, both sleeveless and sleeved; my journey home top was the black and white stripe T from the April wardrobe.  My 5-pocket Lands End yoga pants were the airplane pants, and I took my gray denim jacket for those chilly over-airconditioned planes, and it was a good thing to have when I got up before dawn to take sunrise pics in the Judean desert as well.  I took 3 long sleeved white shirts to wear as sunshades; I had a fourth shirt but it needed a tank top, specifically under it as it was a gauzy pull-over and I messed up and wore the tank tops with the button up shirts.  So the gauzy shirt rode there and back.    I took a pair of jeans and a pair of denim crops, but the best thing I took were the tencel gauze pants that I made back in 2003...Let's see if I can find a pic...
Bingo!  The photo from 2003.  When I was considerably smaller than I am now, but those pants are so blousy that they still work (elastic drawstring waist helps!).   The desert breeze flowed right through.  I was wishing I'd had about 4 pairs of pants from similar fabric.  The final pair of pants that I wore was the ponte pants I made for January's outfit.  They worked on the last day of the trip, where we were primarily in a museum and riding in the bus back to Tel Aviv.  I changed in the airport.  I have a lightweight wool challis scarf that I sealed in a zip lok bag in my carry on so I could pull it out if I got chilly; that worked much better than those silly polyester knit blankets the airline provided.

I took shoes for the airport that were easy on/off and had adjustable straps to allow for swelling; I had two different pairs of tennies that I alternated in country.  I took some sandals, but I ended up not wearing them because I didn't want to worry about sunscreening my feet (why didn't I think about that before I packed them?)

One pair of earrings that I wore all the time was the only jewelry I took.

So, yeah, I didn't really look fancy, but I stayed reasonably cool (there was ONE day when I was borderline uncomfortably hot), had no problems with sunburn (thank you 50 SPF), and managed to keep the load to my small suitcase, a canvas carry on that I did not have to gate check when they announced they were gate checking all wheeled bags for the connecting flight, and a backpack.
The hat packed great and held its shape wonderfully.  I need to remember to go leave a nice review on Amazon, lol.

I've been posting pictures on Facebook; I made the album public so I think you can see it by clicking on that link; if you click on the pictures you can see the running commentary. It was an amazing adventure and I still have a lot of personal processing to do.

And laundry, lol.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - June assignment

Here are Janice's picks for June over on the Vivienne Files;   she's still sticking pretty closely to what she chose last year.  A dress, a tote bag, earrings , a bracelet and sandals.

The dress is an accent color in all but one of the wardrobes.

I am thinking...I got a chunk of Tencel-blend denim chambray earlier this year to make culottes, but I used some stash fabric instead, so...that denim-chambray could make a shirtdress that would double as a duster.

That's what I'm thinking.

I'm going to dig through my patterns later this week and see if there's something that will do.

One dress.  Surely I can make one dress before the end of the month....

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - May

So, well, this month I hit a sale...and the closet.  If you want a reminder, here's the link to the picks Janice made for the May wardrobes; I am adapting that considerably, lol.

I'm packing up today for an adventure vacation...a trip to Israel...and when I was perusing my wardrobe planning for the trip, I realized I needed some denim crops (the ones in my closet being better suited to the size I was a year and a half ago, ahem).  I happened to hit a sale on sale at the local mall over the weekend and found a pair...that will do.  They're really not the quality I'd prefer, but, hey, I needed them quick.  They're the substitute for the shorts in the May picks.

Instead of a tank top, I'm going with a light knit sleeveless shell. I actually made this back in March as a first-go at a new pattern, thinking I'd use the pattern for the March wardrobe.  It needs some armsceye/shoulder work to be perfect, but it otherwise fits well and will make a great bottom layer.

And, instead of a cardigan, I'm going with a white long-sleeved shirt as a top layer.  When the emphasis is more on sun protection than keeping warm, a light cotton layer works well and is one of my favorite summer wardrobe items. This one is a modified Cutting Lines Designs Town and Country camp shirt (basically...I added another pocket and long sleeves).  It's been in the closet for...a while, lol.

For accessories, I'm using my default earrings...white gold hoops.  I got them on vacation a couple of years ago and wear them...and wear them...and wear them...  I'm not a bracelet wearer, but I do have a few so I'm going with a beaded wrap bracelet that can double as a fidgit toy, lol.  Had it for years.  English sandals from Earth, one of the more successful Zappos deliveries in the past 5 months.

So, here's everything to's getting harder to squeeze onto that board, lol.

I had thought I would add some color to the wardrobe but this was a busy month with not much time for sewing.  I was pushing it to get the pajamas made.  Maybe next month...which is when I will be back.  See you in June!

Monday, May 20, 2019


So, let's say you've got a trip coming of those tour group type things, on which you will be rooming with someone you've never met.

Are you going to want to wear the ratty nightgowns with the ripped off lace and snaggey spots?

No, you are not.

And, if you follow Martha on Now Sewing,  you know that she has used the Sewing Workshop Eureka Top to make some superfantastic PJ's.

So of course you will copy her shamelessly.

Not quite as superfantastic as Martha's, but they'll do.  I used a wide-legged  OOP New Look pattern for the pants; I cropped them a whopping 9" and added a 3 1/2" band at the bottom, squeezed out of the remnant of the treble clef-printed rayon jersey (I only bought one yard) from EmmaOneSock.  The gray jersey from another vendor doesn't quite match, but, well, it's PJ's, so who's going to be looking THAT close?  Oh...and there are sideseam pockets in the pants, which probably doubled the amount of time it took to make them but is totally worth it, even for Jammies.

I did lengthen the Eureka by about 3".  And, since the tour is related to songwriting and creatives, I thought it was a good theme. ;-).  Don't think I will cuff the arm/sleeve bands...the rayon knit is rather floppy and I'd have to basically tack it up in about 6 places to get it to stay.

As I'm heading out on the first leg of the adventure in less than 2 days...I got other things to worry about now... LOL.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

12 Months - 12 Outfits: May Assingment

So, Janice's May Picks have been up on Vivienne Files for a week, and I am just now getting around to talking about what I'm going to add to my wardrobe following her suggestions.

At a's shorts, a tank top, a cardigan,  earrings, sandals and a bracelet.

Well, I'm not much of a shorts- wearer...not outside the house, anyway.    So I am likely to substitute other summery pants, like another pair of capris or linen pants or....white jeans. 

A tank top...or sleeveless shell...well, I made two different styles of sleeveless tops that I used in the SWAP wardrobe; one of those could be used here, easily.

A cardigan top; hm.  I have a solid selection of knit cardigans (thank you, choir wardrobe).  I would *like* to make a denim jacket to wear as a summer topper, but I don't think I'm going to have time.  I've only got two weeks left before I leave town for the rest of the month, and I've GOT to make myself a decent pair of PJ's to take on the trip (they are partially cut out at the moment).

I did the usual over-analysis of the color selections; in four out of the six wardrobes, the shorts are the main neutral.  In the fifth one, the shorts are what is identified as a second neutral for that wardrobe, and the other, the shorts are one of the main accent colors. 

Two of the tank tops are striped, the other four are solid accent colors.

Also in four wardrobes, the cardigan is the main neutral...but not in all the wardrobes in which  the shorts are the main neutral.  It's an accent in the other two. is my main neutral, denim (which I haven't even introduced yet) is the secondary neutral, and the accents are royal, green, white and red.   

I could totally pull this month's wardrobe from clothes already in my closet; we'll see how much time I have after I finish the PJ's.  ;-)

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

SWAP 2019 Photoshoot

So, I stood in front of the fireplace and my hubby patiently snapped pictures.  It was after 8 PM, so no daylight, and I got my 10,000 steps on the Fitbit running up and down the steps, lol.

12 photos is the max, with one photo to be a pic of the wardrobe inspiration piece and one pick being a photo of all garments together.

So, this is what I ended up with...

I've talked about them all quite a bit, so I'll just put the pics up...

Lisa's TBH Swap 2019.... (Ted Baker London Highgrove Scarf)

 The green is right in the bottom picture, lol.  The cell phone pictures of me wearing the green top didin't come out at all...had to go with the tealish camera pic.

So, that's the 2019 Wardrobe.  I don't know if  the SWAP requirements made the 12 Months 12 Outfits challenge more difficult, or if the 12 Months 12 Outfits wardrobe made the SWAP sewing more difficult, lol.  I probably would not have made the culottes except for the fact that it was the only thing I could come up with that met both  requirements. 

This is, I think, the 5th SWAP wardrobe I've actually completed (4th in the allotted time frame...the first one was late, but I finished....the original Timmel SWAP back in, oh, 2004? I think?).  There's something really satisfying about making a capsule wardrobe and seeing everything work together.  Not to mention that it makes packing for trips way easier, lol.

But, as I'm doing the 12-Months 12-Outfits challenge,  I'm going to continue to add to this wardrobe for the rest of the year.  This is a really good foundation, I think.

Monday, May 06, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - April

The Zappos box arrived today, so I finally got all the pieces for the 'outfit' for April.

If you recall, Janice's picks were basically capris, a pullover sweater of some sort,  a necklace, earrings and sort of casual shoes.

So, my interpretation, based on my wardrobe needs...and also sewing for SWAP...

Black and white boatneck T...frankenpattern of a Burda T shirt neckline with a Jalie T shirt body.  Bamboo/lycra 4-way stretch jersey...nice stuff!
The capris are creamy white cotton/poly/lycra twill made up into (another) frankenpattern...started with Sewing Workshops Helix pants, added pockets, shortened to capri length and added a flare and a deep hem.

 The necklace and earrings are summer staples from the wardrobe; I'd probably wear these 3 days a week in the spring and summer if I could get away with it.  The necklace is straight up something that would have suited my grandmother; I think of her every time I put it on.  She would have worn it with white button earrings instead of hoops, but, still.  I honestly have no idea how long I've had either the necklace or the earrings or where they originally came from, lol.

The shoes are Taos Mock Stars. I have a pair in gray that I've worn quite a bit, but the white ones were not in stock in my size for the longest time.  I was just going to give up and put something else with this outfit, but Friday night I got a notice that the white was back and the UPS guy brought it to my door shortly after I got home from work tonight.

AND...just because I had to take the photo for the SWAP photo shoot, here's the April outfit actually on me:

So, here's the total summation of stuff, so far.  I did replace the picture of the green top, once I realized my phone camera would reproduce the color better than either of my little ancient Cannon you can see the real color.

I'll post about the May assignment later this week....

Saturday, May 04, 2019

First Go at Pics for SWAP 2019

...and they are pretty pitiful.  I have an old camera, with a 10 megapixel resolution, but I still would expect better pics than these.  I am going to reshoot tomorrow with a different camera and we'll see if it comes out better.  But, just for grins, here are the grainy first looks:

First, the two Wild Card garments... the Burda Shift dress from the February outfit, and the Burda trench coat that was the SOLE garment completed from my SWAP plan back in 2014 and I'm using as the Allowable Previously Made Garment.  I've worn it a bunch and it's still going strong, albeit with a stray ink pen mark or two, lol.

Next up is the 9 Core Wardrobe pieces.... L to R, the April Outfit, both frankenpatterned garments;  bamboo/lycra 4-way stretch stripe top and  cotton/poly/lycra stretch twill capris.  Next, is the January outfit; Sewing Workshop's Helix pants, made from Telio Jockey doubleknit (same as the shift dress), a white cotton/lycra Jalie T and the McCall's cardi in royal ponte.  The March outfit...a Jalie T that is GREEN; not teal, but refuses to be photographed in anything close to it's real color, and the Tencel twill McCall's culottes.  Finally, two spare tops that I made along the way;  Pamela's Pattern's twinset shell, and a Marcy Tilton Assymetric Tank top.

Per The Rules, every garment in the Core wardrobe has to work with at least two other garments in the wardrobe.

The only two things I don't feel like I can put together at all are the assymetric tank and the culottes.  The culottes  are just too full.  It might be a stretch to put the long cardigan with them as well, but I think I could make it work.

The  assymetric tank can double as a topper of sorts.

I will try to get less fuzzy pics tomorrow....a photo shoot with me actually wearing stuff doesn't look likely until Monday. Everyone's busy all weekend...

ETA on Saturday....the next batch of photos turned out *slightly* better; I took pics with both my slightly newer camera and my cell phone, which is known for taking out of focus shots.    BUT...the cell phone DID get the right green for the top-that-photographs-as-teal...even if it is out of focus in every pic it's in...
See???? It's GREEN! LOL.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

I did finish...

I managed to stay up Tuesday night and finish the striped's a hanger shot:

My eyes were crossing with those stripes, let me tell you!  But it's done.  It's a nice bamboo/lycra 4-way stretch fabric and I should get LOTS of wear out of it.  I frankenpatterned the neckline on a different shirt; it sort of worked and I sort of had to manhandle it a bit where it didn't quite line up.  Not sure what happened...something must've shifted when I adjusted the two patterns to only have the lines I wanted to cut along on the outside. wouldn't notice if I didn't point it out so I'm staying mum. LOL.

 The Capris...well, after spending a couple of nights in the magic closet, they are not the lost cause I thought they were. They would be better if the flare started just a smidge higher, but, all in all, they're good $12 pants...which is what they actually cost, lol.

(Aside...does anybody know why I can't put these pic side-by-side?  Blogger refuses to allow me to put two pictures in the same vertical space, even though there's PLENTY of room here.)

I used a dusty pink knit to line the pockets (that I added) so there wouldn't be a noticeable pocket showing through the white fabric.  It was the most opaque white I had...a poly/cotton/lycra twill...but it wasn't completely opaque so I thought I'd give that a was a tip in Threads magazine years ago.

And you know what?  It worked....

I fear the knit may not be the best'll probably deteriorate and get holes in it...but I really, really like the way it looks.

So that basically just means I need to get some nice sturdy cotton in a dusty pink to use for pockets in light colored pants, lol.

I will get the official 12 -months-12-outfit pics tomorrow. Not sure when I'm going to get the SWAP pictures, as this weekend is another busy one.

I think I have until the 8th to get them posted, although with the gallery glitches on Stitcher's Guild we might get a bit of a reprieve.  We'll see.

Also, I did get the yellow stars and the, um, bad guy's armbands (I ended up having to make 8) finished for the Holocaust Remembrance last night.  I have to say, sewing the armbands actually creeped me out.  I was ok until I put the black...symbol...on the white circle that was sewn on the red armband.  And then it just was unpleasant sewing.  I thought about the folks who had to make those things for real back in the day...who was sewing the uniforms?  Were they conscripted labor, or prisoners?  It was really hard to separate the evil represented from the bits of red, white and black fabric...which, in and of itself...was perfectly innocent.

But we made the guys who had to wear them walk with their hands over their arms when we were headed backstage.  We didn't want to subject anyone to it randomly.  The dramatization...with everything in context...was sobering enough.

We may do an expanded version of the drama next year.  We'll see.  And we'll keep those creepy things in a bag in a box far away from lights...

Friday, April 26, 2019

Another Project Due May 1....

Well, well, everything always happens at once, right?

Our church will host the Holocaust Memorial service this year in our auditorium, and the drama team has been asked, by the organizers of the event, to present a dramatization of Martin Niemöller's short poem, 'They Came for Me':

First they came for the Socialists, but I did not speak up, 
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, but I did not speak up,
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, but I did not speak up, 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me...and there was no one left 
To speak up for me.

So we have, on stage, a character representing Niemöller, and groups of folks who represent the socialists, the trade unionists and the Jews.  And the Bad Guys, who I am not going to name.

One of the young guys in the worship team has created an incredible audio/video piece w/ music, newsreel footage and photos, and a voice over w/ Niemöller's poem, quoted line-by-line, first in German and then in English.  We were going to go rather abstract, just using different colored t-shirts to indicate the different groups, but apparently the imagery on the video is so compelling that the leaders felt abstract costuming would detract from the narrative rather than enhance it. So it's a last-minute change of direction and we are scrambling for costuming. Other team members are scouring thrift shops at this moment to find suitable things.

So my job is to make the armbands for the, um, Bad Guys, with their well-known pinwheelish Symbol That Shall Not Be Named, and gold stars to pin on the Jewish characters.  The others will just be in somewhat period suggestive garments and identified by the voiceover.

I hit Hobby Lobby yesterday afternoon to get the bits of fabric in the right colors.  Including the Wonder Under for the applique, it was less than 10 bucks.  ( And I'm not running this through the yardage in/yardage out...not worth it...)

So I'm interrupting my dash to the finish for the SWAP and the 12-months-12-outfits challenges to do a little bit of fiddly sewing.

An update on the cropped pants...I wasn't happy with the way they looked.  They are still too loose in the leg to be what I envisioned, and I should have started the flare  about 3" higher than I did. I also didn't like the way the deep hem looked.  So I'm probably going to do a little hacking and re-sewing on those.  The black and white striped mariniere  top will take a couple of hours, start to finish, so I'm not really worried about it...much. 

But the Holocaust service is May 1st, and we have two rehearsals between now and then.

So, yeah, gonna be sewing. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Sometimes it works.  I experimented with my Loes Hinse Oxford pants, sort of tracing the flared legs of a Neue Mode pattern that just did NOT fit right in the torso, and I got a pattern that works really, really well.  I have two pairs of striped flared pants that almost always get compliments when I wear them.

And once I've lost a few more pounds...I will be able to wear them again, lol.

Anyway,  I was dithering (again!  After I said I wouldn't!) over the cropped pants for this month.  The Vogue pants that intrigued me are going to be more work than I have time for at the moment, although they may show up in the wardrobe at a later date.  I traced the side fronts, moving the placket bit to the outseam, and then put it away. No time.

So I went back to the Hot Patterns Weekender Chinos that I traced off earlier.  Pulled a couple of decent fitting patterns out and compared them.

Whacked a full half inch off the width of the entire leg on the back inseam.

And they were still going to be pretty loose fitting through the legs.  Hobbit pants are not what I'm going for at the moment.

So I pulled out my trusty Sewing Workshop Helix pants that I've made...4?...times already.  The fabric I'm going to use is a white cotton blend stretch denim...emphasis on 'stretch'.  I decided it's stretchy enough to use on the Helix pants.

And then I created a template to overlay the bottom of the legs.. Six inches below the knee was the finished length; I drew a line on grain from the knee straight down on both the inseam and outseam, then I marked 1/2" outside of that line and curved that up to the knee.  And added a 1.5" hem, similar to what is on the HP pants.

I folded the lower part of the legs out of the way, overlaid them with my template, and cut them out.

Got them to about  the halfway point last night; dunno if I will finish them tonight or not but I should be close.

With Easter weekend data entry behind me, I've worked enough hours that I think I"m going to get a short workday on Thursday, so I'm hopeful I will get the crops and the planned stripe top done well before May 1st.

I have a couple of black tops that I made along the way since Jan 1 that will fill in the holes in the SWAP wardrobe, since we are not required to make any particular number of tops, bottoms, jackets, etc.  I don't have any expectations that my little wardrobe will finish anywhere respectable, but I am going to be pleased that I finished and it all works according to my plan, whether or not it works according to the official SWAP rules, which I found really confusing in the interpretation discussion.

But I will have 11 garments for the SWAP wardrobe, and they will include everything I've made so far for the 12-months-12-outfits challenge as well.  It won't be a 'dress in the dark' wardrobe, which is my idea of perfection, but it is new stuff that I can wear.  Win.

No pics

Saturday, April 20, 2019

He is Risen!

Normally, I would post my Easter thoughts/ greetings over on The Other Blog, as that's the one that I use for discussions of faith.  I posted thoughts on Ps. 113-118 this week over there, in honor of the conjunction of Easter and Passover this year, so it would be fitting to just go right into the celebration of the Resurrection.

But the community of sewing bloggers lost Faye this past week....and she would always post a pretty Easter greeting.

So, in honor of Faye, who is celebrating Resurrection in a way we can't being to imagine, thought I'd post a flashback...a song that takes me back to my youth, singing in a multi-church traveling youth choir.  This was one that we did, and it ALWAYS gave me chills when we sang the choir arrangement of it.

So...if you celebrate the Resurrection, enjoy the glimpse of it from the Apostle Peter's point of view.

And whether you celebrate the Resurrection or not, I pray you have a sweet and blessed day just the same.

(He's Alive -- Don Francisco)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I Think I Found The Wild Goose...

I happened to spot Ann's post reviewing these pants and did a double take.  Except for the buttons being on the front seam instead of the side seam, they were nearly identical to the pants I'd spotted at lunch the other day.

So, of course when I had to make a trip to the other side of town to feed The Princess's kitties for her whilst she was away for the day, I added an additional loop to swing by JoAnn's and pick it up.

I spent last week tracing off a Hot Patterns pants pattern...the exact name has escaped me and I'm too lazy to run upstairs and check...but I have never made up any pants from their line yet and I was guessing where to start for the size.  I was at the point of finding some junk fabric for a muslin mock up when I spotted Ann's review and threw the brakes on that project.  I at least have a clue of what I need to do to a Vogue pattern.

And, besides the usual fitting tweaks,  I will do a lot.
1) Move the placket to the outseam
2) Add Pockets
3) Add a waistband with at least some elastic (I am losing weight...very slowly...)
4) Move the zipper to a more accessible position.  Who EVER thought undoing a zipper blind and behind you under possible urgent duress was a good idea I do not know.  I may just put the zipper in the pocket that I will be adding.

So, basically, I will not be making THESE pants but I will be making pants based on these pants.

Oy, I have a lot of work to do lol...

Saturday, April 06, 2019

A Wild Goose Chase...perhaps...

I am trying to decide what style of cropped pants I want to use this month...and Thursday at lunch I spotted a young lady wearing some cropped pants that gobsmacked me. They were very fluid; fitted through the hip, slightly flared, and they had a deep buttoned placket on the outside of the legs running from the hem to about the knee.

So I went Googling for 'side button cropped pants' and 'ankle button pants', hoping to find the retail outlet.

Alas, I didn't find exactly what I was looking for. 

I pinned a couple of close approximations to my Pinterest board; these are the closest I could find:

They are from Urban Outfitters, and they are sold out.  But they are a linen blend and I don't think they would be as fluid as the ones I saw, which appeared to be heavy rayon or Tencel.

In any case, I'm thinking it couldn't be THAT hard to add a placket w/ buttons to a pattern, could it?  Especially as it is on the seam....I'd basically just have to add width for it to the outseam.

Of course, there's always the challenge of finding the buttons...sigh.

I'm leaning towards a marinere-style top to wear with my crops, whatever style pants I end up with.  That would be a classic, and I have a couple of candidates for the fabric in the stash, one black and white and one blue and white.

I have denim crops; if I weren't participating in Stitcher's Guild SWAP contest I'd just pull those for this month. But, SWAP is challenging me to go beyond the staples already in the wardrobe.  It's why I made the culottes last month instead of just pulling one of my black skirts from the closet.  Black crops might be a good, versatile addition to the closet.  As would white.  Hmm.....

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

February and March on the Hoof...and the 12-Months 12-Outfits Assignment for April

I'm kind of playing catch up here; I wore my Feb outfit to work last week and the best I could do was snap a bathroom which I covered up most of the color on the scarf with the cell phone.

I never claimed to be a stellar photographer....
 So, this week I decided to enlist a photographer.  And, since everything looked so dark and grainy in yesterday's pics, I turned on the autoflash.

Which washed out everything...kinda like I expected it would.  The lycra shine in the green top doesn't help any.  It still photographed way more teal colored than it really is.  It. Is. Green. Really.  It's much closer to the green in the scarf than it appears in the photos.
And, yeah, it's  not terribly flattering.  But it was terribly comfortable.  And it was kinda fun to wear...I broke my own style rules and pulled out some dangly abalone earrings that I've had for a while and just went with the big-scarf boho vibe.  I still think boots would have worked better over all than the Black Keds, but, well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  One of my co-workers observed that the culottes would be great to wear traveling and...she's absolutely right.  They are as comfy as my earth mother maxi skirts and they wouldn't trip me going up the stairs at Mom's.  So you never know...I may make another pair just for traveling.  Someday.


HERE is Janice's 4/1/19 post with the outfit selections for April.  Being as she is in Chicago, I totally get her 'spring sweater' choices, but I have a whole shelf of sweaters that I don't wear because it is just too hot in my office.  So I will be looking for an alternative to the sweater again this month.  Crop pants ARE something I wear, at least on run around errand days, if not to the office.  I have some straight-legged cropped khaki denim britches that I, um, refer to as my 'Hobbit Pants', so I probably will be looking through my patterns to see what I can find that doesn't look quite so Bilbo Bagginsy.   4 of the 6 cropped pants selections are the main neutral for that wardrobe, but the last two are alternates so I might pull in my secondary neutral ...denim...I think....for the capris.  Just depends on what pattern I find.  Janice used the same Lands' End cropped knit pants, just in different colors, for 3 of the wardrobes but I think I want to go a little more uptown than those.  They look perfect for walking on the beach on a coolish spring morning....but I don't get to the beach often so I think I'll look for a little more tailored style.   I may have something in my jewelry bin that will fill the earrings-and-necklace requirement, but the shoes are likely to give me fits again.  Woven mules or ballet slippers.  Neither of which are particularly kind to my rather picky feet.  Maybe some espadrilles?   If I could find them in my size...

So.  Now to go dig through the patterns in search of smart

Monday, April 01, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits -- March

Just for a reminder, HERE  are the Vivienne Files wardrobe picks for the Month of March.  As you have no doubt deduced from all my dithering and wild goose chasing and wrong tree barking, this month was a struggle for me.  Partly because I just don't wear skirts well...I like wearing them, but when my waistline disappeared I just didn't like the way skirts looked on me much anymore.

Just bein' honest.

But I think part of the problem was that I was trying to make a trans-seasonal outfit...a long sleeved top and kinda fuzzy acrylic scarf to be worn with classic Keds...which pretty much call for a sockless ankle.   It just didn't feel...right.  But, this is also about breaking myself out of my wardrobe ruts somewhat, so I will go against my grain a little bit.

And, in all honesty, if it weren't for the SWAP participation, I'm sure I would have pulled stuff from the closet for this month.  But for the first 4 months, I'm pretty committed to making everything so that I can participate in the SWAP...since it's based on an 'Inspiration piece', it just fit too well with what I was doing.  However...I do believe I have complicated my life a bit.  Because I didn't want to make something I already  had in the closet...I needed to add something different.

And I was struggling with the, twinset.  I made up a sort of wearable muslin of a sleeveless shell top (Pamela's Patterns Versatile Twin Set Shell) from a remnant of a not-very-nice black knit that rubs off onto whatever I wear it with (hello, gray bras...).  The pattern needs some tweaking to really work, although it's wearable it will look better after a little shoulder and armsceye work.  And, to be real with ya, I was running out of time.  My final sewing weekend suddenly evaporated with  a couple of appointments, a meeting, a worship team workshop day and an extra service on Sunday.

I pondered the situation and realized that a better substitute for a sweater might just be a long sleeved knit top.

I pulled out the humming bird scarf and laid it over the dark green knit again and, yes, that green is in there.  Boom. Decision made, I cut it out really quick before I could change my mind.

Which means I'm back to the green-and-black acrylic scarf instead of the lighter scarf I had pulled for the gold and green twinset.  With my sockless Keds, lol.

Anyway, I stayed up till midnight Friday, cutting out.  I started sewing at at 4:20 Saturday afternoon...after the choir workshop and a stop at the grocery store.  Took a dinner break around six and finished at ...midnight.  But I finished.

I could have been done two weeks earlier if I had just been realistic with myself, lol.

Then I have to photograph the pieces.  It's hard; I pull out an old bedspread and lay it print-down on the bed, then put the 'outfit' on it, climb a step ladder and hold my camera almost at the ceiling.  And still didn't quite get all the corners and edges.  And I'm thinking I should have at least tried the flash instead of assuming it would wash everything out; the greens aren't quite right in either the scarf (that green is almost indiscernible in the the grainy photo, and it looks olive-y for some reason. It's not at all.) or the top (which is a little more green and less teal than it looks).

Anyway, Jalie 2566 Twinset T, with a frankenpatterned long sleeve length, made from rayon/lycra jersey that has been in the stash since Feb 2012 (and I still have a yard and a half-ish left); the McCall's 7131 Culottes, made up in sandwashed Tencel twill...which has been in the stash since 2003.  Really.  And I have enough left for a pair of drapey pants. Black Keds, a green-and-black acryllic scarf that I *think* I bought at Hancock's for emerald-and-green choir wardrobe month sometime in the dusty past, and my Fitbit, with a nice leather band, playing the part of the watch.

Here's everything so far:

I've had a sneak peak at Janice's April wardrobe picks; enough to know that she is not deviating from past years.  I'll post about that tomorrow.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

I Miss Hancock's...

Once upon a time, it was possible to run out to the local fabric store and grab notions if you needed them. There used to be a lot.  Depending on your locale;  Cloth World and So-fro Fabrics were two chains from my youth but there were a number of indy fabric stores.  But, even if a fabric store wasn't close by, most department stores had a fabric and notions department; some even as late as the mid 1980's.

Alas, it is no more so.

I needed buttons for the green cardigan.  The only fabric shop in town is Jo-Ann's, which is on the other side of town. But, I had a couple of errands to run so I decided to hop on the parkway to the interstate to the exit that would take me to the last standing retail space for serious home sewing enthusiasts.

I walked past the fleece and the craft supplies to the back rack of the store before I found what I was looking for.

Y'all, it's a fabric store.  I expected one full aisle's worth of space dedicated to buttons.

You know, La Petite, JHB, La Mode, in a decent range of sizes and colors.

It was one short aisle, and 2/3 of it was dedicated to large quantity containers of crafting buttons.

What do people do with crafting buttons anyway?

There was not a single card of 1/2 inch green buttons.  Not one.  There was one w/ 9/16" buttons, but they were dark forest green, not the olive-y green I needed.

I ended up with two 6- button cards of 7/16" metal gold buttons at $5/card.  They were La Mode buttons; at least I knew they were real garment buttons.  It was the best I could do.

On the way home, I swung by Hobby Lobby since I had to go to another store in that shopping center.  I didn't have high hopes for quality buttons there, but there was a package of various-sized green buttons w/ sparkle in them from Sewology.  I counted at least 7 of the small, half-inch-looking ones.  It was two bucks, but the packaging did not say how many buttons of what size were in the package.  They will likely be what I use on the sparkly cardigan and I'll save the metal buttons for something with a little more backbone.

But as I drove home I wondered what was going to happen with the future.  Fabric is pretty easy to buy online...but buttons are hard.  The sites that offer buttons (at least the ones I've found) are not easy to navigate...I would like to be able to type in '1/2" green buttons' and see a selection of...1/2" green buttons.  (Just for grins, repeat my little experiment and type  '12 mm green buttons' in the search bar on the JoAnn's website).

Etsy and Ebay are possibilities, I suppose.

Do we need to start buying up thrift store clothing and salvaging the buttons for a stash? LOL.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Change of plan...

I have been slowly altering up the Tahoe Pants and I finally got the fronts finished up today.  Then I matched them up to see how much I was going to need to reduce the pleats so that it would fit at the waist.

I had already reduced the back pleats...not the overlap bit, but the pleats...from 3" each to 1" each.

But, being wider in the front than in the back, I discovered that I was going to have to eliminate the front pleats entirely and maybe even reduce the overlap.

I had what's known in the South as a 'come to Jesus moment'....face to face with the truth, I couldn't keep going.

And I truly believe that's why it was taking me so long to do those pattern alterations.  Deep in my heart, I think I knew that the shape of it wasn't going to flatter the current shape of me.

So, I folded the pattern and put it away, and pulled out the McCall's culottes pattern I picked up a couple of weeks ago. It has a semi-elasticized waist so I think that will buy me some fudge space.

And I'm still going to use the Tencel twill.  If/when I get down to a shape that suits the flat-fronted Tahoe pants better, I'll find something drapey and make them up.

After all, they're already altered. ;-)

On top of that, something I meant to post and just hadn't gotten to it...

Early in the  month, I started having second thoughts about my choice of fabric for the twinset.  Yes, if I looked at the green at the very center of the leaves/birds, it was a close match to the green knit I'd pulled.  But the overall effect of the green, which has tan/brown mixed in it, is olive green, not emerald.  On a whim, I perused a few fabric sites and spotted something on Emma Onesock's Roll End page that I knew would match.  I ordered that piece of fabric and, as she had more available, a bit more so that I had enough for a twinset.  Sure enough, when it got here, it matched spot on.

I dug around and found a scarf that has a bazillion colors in it, including black, royal blue and the olive green, as well as both silver and gold metallic threads.  I think it was a Christmas gift years ago.

SO...I have about 9 days left in the month and I'm back to square one.  But the hubs is going to be out of town next weekend, so I'll likely do a sewing marathon.  The only thing that might hold me up is finding buttons for the cardigan.  I may look for gold metallic instead of trying to match the green; just depends on what I can find.

Friday, March 08, 2019

The March 'Skirt'

I decided to pull out the Sewing Workshop Tahoe Pant pattern...I made it years ago, and loved it; bought more fabric to make the pattern up again and it sat in the stash.

For reminders, I shortened the pants so that it looks more skirt like.  Here's the original photo:
That's shortened about 3"; I'm going to shorten it another 3" to make them even more skirt-like.  I'll want to wear them with flat shoes, and that means they need to be a little, um, farther from my ankles.  I couldn't find a photo of them from the front.  I will not be brave enough to get a photo from the side  with the new makes as that angle shows the most clearly the difference between the then (2002) and now size, lol.

They aren't going to be as hard to grade up as I thought.  I'm only going up one size, since my hips have not expanded nearly as much as my waist, and it is pretty easy to see what the difference in grading is.  The pleating is the same for all sizes, which kind of surprised me.  But I am going to adjust the pleating as my waist is not the correct proportion to my the difference will be adjusted out of the pleat depths.  And I will leave it a little big and then elasticize the waistband a bit.

The Tencel twill that I bought to use for the second set is now very, very deep arrived in 2003 from Fashion Fabrics Club for something like $7 /yard.  Hooray for stash busting.

I really liked wearing the Tahoe Pants; they were fun and funky and different and I was sad when middle age spread made them too small.  I think I still have them...hope springs eternal, lol.

I'm going to be glad to finally get the second pair made.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - March Assignment

I have been really frustrated in trying to generate a palette from the photo of the scarf; I just can't get a good enough photo to pull accurate colors.  This is my latest try, using a pic I took of the scarf hanging from the slatted door.  The colors are better than the retail image I've been using...not so muted...but the slats do show through the scarf and I think the shadows behind make the colors a bit muddy when I try to copy them out.  But this is the gist of where I think I'm and denim blue as the neutrals, with royal blue, green, white and red as the accents. 

The green reads as an olive because it's blended somewhat with a tan the spots where it's pretty much solid, it's more emerald.  But that makes it hard to match up. 

I'm thinking it doesn't have to match up dead on.

Anyway, this is all important because in March I will be branching out beyond the three basic colors I started, white, and royal.  And I am resigning myself to the fact that this is not going to be a 'get dressed in the dark' wardrobe; some of the things will likely not lend themselves to pairing up with other things. But that's ok.

I've been perusing the March Outfits that Janice posted and trying to see what I think I can do with my wardrobe.

The March outfit is, in a nutshell, a skirt, a sweater, canvas shoes, another scarf and a watch.

I really like wearing skirts but have found that, since menopause obliterated my waistline, skirts are not terribly flattering.  Like wide legged pants, they tend to just make me look kinda stumpy. I've kinda moved towards dresses that don't emphasize the waist for my dressy outfits in the past couple of years.

Except for my Hippie Earth Mother skirts, which I wear with cheerful abandon.

Hm.  Could I use another one? Maybe? 

If I had enough yardage in the right color in the stash I just might.  But I don't think I do.  Those skirts use about 6 yards...gathered bias tiers and all...

Back to the plan.

So, I thought, maybe I could make a set of culottes that look like a skirt?

Hm.  I went looking through patterns and found McCall's 7131, which is pretty much exactly what I would be looking for, should I decide to do culottes.  Side seam pockets and everything.  And I so happened to have the chance to run over to JoAnns on the other side of town to pick up the pattern.  Just to show the blessing of the pattern, McCall's were on sale for 1.99.  And I also found some cotton/lyocel denim chambray, light enough for a skirt...or culottes.

So.  Back to the picks for March.

In all but two outfits, the skirt is the basic wardrobe neutral...and the neutral is predominant in both those skirts, one being the neutral w/ white stripes, the other being the neutral w/ an ombre into the accent.

So that means a black...or basically black...skirt/culottes.  Unless I want to introduce the second neutral that I would use for the 2019 SWAP...denim blue. Because, in all honesty, if I weren't doing the SWAP I could very possibly just pull one of the black/basically black skirts that are already in the closet.

In the same two wardrobes as the skirt variations, the sweater is a repeat accent color that has been used already.  Both of those wardrobes still only have basically 3 colors in them, although one of the scarves is a print w/ more colors.  The other 4 outfits introduce a new accent color, and the scarves in those outfits repeat the new color.  For the most part, the canvas shoes also repeat the accent color, although two of the wardrobes have shoes in the neutral., I have issues with sweaters.  I love wearing them, but my office is in a 50 year old building w/ a 50 year old HVAC system.  A boiler and a chiller, to be exact.  Which is either ON or OFF.  And our particular corner gets less than optimal air it's pretty much an oven year round.  In the summer, other parts of the building...with better ventilation...are downright cold. Which all boils down to LAYERS being the name of the game.  Instead of a sweater, I'm going to do a twinset. And I have a goodly chunk of emerald green jersey knit that would do.

I don't wear a watch anymore; the Fitbit serves that  purpose.  But maybe I'll get a new band to go with the outfit if it looks like it would be cool.

I have some fairly hefty black Tencel twill that I bought absolutely ages ago to make a Sewing Workshop Tahoe pant...which is a pattern for funky culottes that look like a wrap skirt.  I'd love to make that, but that pattern is so old that I actually CUT IT OUT instead of tracing it...and I'd have to grade it up now.   And it's a tricksy asymmetrical pattern.

Or, I could make the new McCall's pattern up in the new chambray. Bonus for that: I already have a scarf with a blend of greens and blues that would work.  Green canvas shoes in a size 7 WW are not likely to be found, however.  I'd have to go w/ denim blue, which is slightly more likely to exist.

So...think, think, think...

Saturday, March 02, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - February

 Alas, it's a black shift.

Which photographs like a black sack, lol.

You can't see the darts that shape really can't even see the neckline.   It's from the Sept 2012 issue of BurdaStyle magazine, with a modified neckline and sleeves, made from Telio Jockey ponte...nylon/rayon/lycra  and it is extremely comfy to wear.

You all know I waffled quite a bit over what to make; I finally decided I wanted a 'blank slate' dress that could be dressed up or down...and this is it.  If I could FIND some nice black pumps that don't make my toes cry, it could be a very dressy dress done up with pearls and such.  It also looks great with tights and boots.  Maybe someday I'll get pictures of me wearing it, but today I have a bad headcold and could not do it justice, lol.

Anyway, here's what I've matched it up to for the February Outfit challenge:

Pearl stud earrings, which are lying on the dress.  I don't like to wear dangly earrings w/ large scarves...they either drag on the scarf or at the worst, snag on it.  And the scarf, which is rolled up, is QUITE large...almost a shawl.  I should measure it, just for documentation, but...bad cold, I'm too lazy to run upstairs again. Anyway, it's a rayon scarf that I got at Talbot's a year or two ago. The shoes are Cobb Hill ballet flats w/ some detail on the toes; not as dressy as I would like but it's what I've got.  Believe me...the UPS guy wore a path to my door with Zappos boxes this month but I could not find a good fit for dressy pumps.  The bag is not quite what Janice posted, I know, but the truth is I really, really do not like carrying clutch bags.  Just the same, I thought I had a black clutch from, oh, 30 years ago. But when I looked in the purse bin it wasn't there; guess I did give up ever using it some time ago.  So, the leather hobo from Novica is going to fill the bag spot this month.  If, in the future, she posts an outfit that that bag would suit I will get a small bag that would work for this month so there will be a small black bag in the wardrobe by the end.

So, here's my composite of everything so far:

 At least it all works together as of this point, lol.  March, well, that may be something else...

Friday, March 01, 2019

I'm not looking...

Lol, it's March 1, so I'm sure the March wardrobe options are listed over on the Vivienne Files.

But I'm not done with February yet.  It is, after all, a short month.

I got my dress done to the hem after church on Wednesday...which meant I could finally try it on.

The petite adjustment to the armsceye and uppper chest/back made a huge difference.  That area looks much tidier now.

And the sleeves are fine under the January cardigan.

I didn't trim the facing/neckline seam enough before understitching and it wants to roll out.  Remove understitching, slash some more, and re-stitch.

The big problem is the pockets.  They are too low to be used comfortably, and they flop around enough that they don't want to lie nice and flat, with  a less than attractive look.  I just put them at the same level as the patch pockets, thinking that would work and it didn't.  I tried on the first dress again and realized that the patch pockets, while visually nice, are a little low, too.  But the dart ends right at the top of where I put the pockets, so raising the pockets would mean the dart would end in the pocket opening and I don't think that would work.  So this dress really is not a candidate for on-seam pockets.  Unless I actually put the pocket in the dart. 

So I am in the process of performing a rather tedious double pocket-ectomy.  Once they are removed it will be a simple thing to close the seam back up and hopefully nothing has been stretched overly much and all will be well.

Then I just need a hem on the bottom.

So I'm not letting myself go look at the March wardrobe pics until I have my dress done.

I have officially given up...for at least the time being...on new shoes.  I can't tell you how many pairs I ordered and returned (2 boxes are in the car now to get dropped off).  Either too little or too big.  Nothing just right.

Anyway, I should have pics of the finished dress tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Great British Sewing Bee is back...

And it is a challenge to watch it on this side of the pond.  Links disappear quickly.

But it is ever so charming and astonishing that the folks actually manage to pull off the challenges in the allotted time...more or less, anyway.

It was 70's week  this week. Flared legs, punk deconstruction and flowing maxi dresses.  Somehow the whole punk thing never made it to rural Indiana; I had to look it up to verify that it really was a thing in the 70's....I was thinking it was more of an 80's thing (maybe I'm thinking of grunge?).

Needless to say, I would have failed that horribly.

But, somewhere (maybe Instagram?) I saw a challenge to post a photo of yourself from the 1970's in honor of 70's week...with bonus points if you're wearing a home sewn garment.

So, here's one of the earliest pics of me in one of my own creations:

Thats a 'First Day of School' pic... me heading into 7th grade, which would have been 1971.  Barely in the 70's, to be sure.  I really liked that dress...but it was made of dreadfully cheap fabric which faded almost immediately, not to mention I was 12, which was the age of growth spurts, so it only actually fit for about six weeks. I think I wore it only two or three times. And yes, I felt very clever for taking a short cut with the hem and machine stitching it down, then covering it over w/ rick rack so the line of stitching really didn't show.

All things considered, 7th grade was one of the most difficult years of my entire school career.  Looking at the white socks and the haircut...maybe that's no surprise, lol.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Finally Wore it....

I squelched my trepidation and actually wore the hummingbird scarf today.

Along with the rest of the 'January' outfit.

And took lame pics in the church bathroom and the dusty home mirror.

But it's enough to get the idea, I think.

February's dress is getting close.  I might not finish it until the weekend but I am making progress.

Although, after wearing the blue cardi today, with its slender sleeves, I don't think it's going to work as a topper for the dress.  Even though I trimmed the dress sleeve pattern down, I think they are still gonna be too bulky to fit well under the jacket.

But it should still be useful.