Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Little Frivolity

So, the Princess has finally managed to get the family to schedule a joint vacation to see the mouse down in Florida.

And apparently the mouse hosts a halloween party that starts in August.  So it will be happening whilst we are there.

So, of course, the crazy crew are all discussing costumes because the mouse actually allows adults to come to his halloween party dressed up.

My Sweet Babboo is just going to don his frontiersman gear.  The Flute Player is rounding up items to look like Rapunzel in the hang out in Wreck it Ralph 2.  The Artist is adding touches to his pirate personna. The Princess is going to be Sally from Nightmare before Christmas.

And, after much deliberation, I figured my best bet would be a icon of the industry.

But there's no way I'm going to recreate that dress...which looks like a it was made from a sleeping bag, lol.  The sharkstooth leather sleeves are beyond me in more ways than one.

So, instead of trying to recreate E's dress....I thought I'd see about creating something she might wear.

Here's what I have to start with; it's the 'wearable muslin' for the Burda dress I made for the February wardrobe challenge (wig and glasses were Amazon finds):

It would probably work as is, but I'm thinking it needs a bit of red on it somewhere.   Thought about a red grosgrain ribbon running from the left shoulder down into the pocket, crisscrossed with another going from armsceye to armseye at the upper chest.  Or I could just do a little V at the neckline, which would be more reminiscent of the original.  I also think I need to shorten the dress about 2".

So I am open to suggestions.  Anybody have any ideas that would be a lot of bang for the buck (and time, as I don't have much?) LOL. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

August Outfit Options

Ok, I've been pondering all week what I want to do for this month.

I could totally pull it from clothes already in the wardrobe.  And, if I run into a time crunch, I might.

But I am pondering a new skirt.  I have a pattern (out of print Butterick) for a bias cut skirt w/ a side would be swishy and look cool with boots.  Of course, I would have to add pockets, because, you know, that's what I do.  But that would let me move the side seam zipper to the interior of the pocket and hide it, which I always consider a good thing.

And I have some black twilled tropical weight wool that I bought a number of years ago that I have been stewing over.  Because of the black/white threads (it was sold as a 'wool denim-look'), it has a pretty noticeable diagonal on it, which made it really, really hard to decide what to use it for...and how to use it. 

But it occurred to me that, with a bias cut, I could run those twill lines vertically and they would look like pin stripes.  And my little brain went Hmmmm....I could add a kinda quirky skirt to the wardrobe AND make use of a tricky fabric.

The pattern is just  a front and back piece (one piece) and the side shouldn't be too hard to fit.  Oh, and it's lined.  Or, at least, there are instructions for lining it.  I will add a waistband with a touch of elastic (instead of interfacing) so that it has a bit of stretch.

At least, that's the plan.  About 10 years ago, I made a really cool black wool boucle up into a Sewing Workshop Plaza jacket that would look great with that skirt and boots.  Not sure about a blouse under it, though, it works better with a turtle neck.  so we'll see.

And I have a brooch that I wear with that particular little jacket as a closure, so that would work well, too.  I'm gonna substitute earrings for the ring in the accessories; my stubby little fingers do not take rings well.

So, now it just depends on how much sewing I can get done in the next three weeks.

Friday, August 02, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - August Assignment: Do I really want to do Fall yet?

Heaves a big sigh as the reality that it is August 2nd slaps her face...

Here are the August outfits over at Vivienne Files.   Janice stayed with the pattern in previous years, but this month she built the outfit around tall boots.  Last year's August picks included a range of boot styles, but this year it's all about the tall boots.  And every outfit includes a skirt, a blouse (woven)(ETA -- no, there is one Eileen Fisher t shirt in the mix.  I thought it was a soft woven until I clicked through), a sweatery cardigan, with a ring and a brooch for accessories.

Now, I will be straight up honest with you; anticipating this, I was already preparing my little commentary of how, in Alabama, we don't need fall clothes until October.  When my kids were growing up, I didn't even do the seasonal clothing switch until Fall Break...which was usually the first full week in October.  Didn't buy new clothes for the school year until I saw what still fit...and what didn't...from the previous fall/winter season.  There just wasn't any point in it if the temps in the daytime still made it up to at least 80 degrees most days.

But my arguments have dissolved in the face of those tall boots.  See, I have Very Wide Calves, and tall boots that will zip all the way up are like, the Holy Grail of shoe searching.  I bought some a few years back; the style was kinda stodgy but they zipped so I just worked with them...and I really didn't wear them that much.  But, despite the fact that they were made by Maine Trotters, which is supposed to be a high-quality shoe, they have not held up.  The leather is tearing along the stitching lines...just like a perforated piece of paper.  One of the decorative tabs on the back has come off, and the zipper guard is flapping on one of the boots and really won't last much longer before it tears completely off.  So, after last year, I told myself I would need new black boots for this year.

About two weeks ago, looking through Zappos site, I saw that the sandal selection was dwindling.  Several of them I had flagged as favorites were no longer available in my size, or were only available in a few colors.  Suddenly, it hit me that if I wanted the best selection of boots...maybe I should start looking now.  I cruised through and found one style with a wide foot...and what looked to be a reasonably wide calf, although it wasn't marked as a wide calf boot, there was a significant gap between the boot and the calf of the model in the video.  And it did have elastic gores in the back.  So I put it in my favorites to watch.

While writing some reviews for shoes last week, I went to my Favorites page and saw that those boots I had put in the Favorites list were on sale for less than $100.  So of course, I ordered them.  Immediately.

They have arrived and I have tried them on.  I had to WORK to get them zipped, but they just. barely. did. zip. I was wearing moderately thick socks; if I were to wear thin socks or tights it wouldn't be so bad.  The wide width foot fits well and is cushy...I'm just now trying to decide if I want to keep them and wrestle to zip them.  I may try another pair with a wide calf...but there are only a few in my size and price range.  So I'm likely to need to order quickly.  At least it doesn't cost anything to try them on, other than the hassle of returning the ones that don't fit.

All of that is to say....maybe it does make sense to build an outfit around tall boots in August despite my earlier plans.  Even if I don't wear any of it for two months, lol.  So I will be pondering the skirt/blouse/cardigan options while I make up my mind about the boots.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

12 Months12 Outfits -- July

As a reminder, here are the outfits Janice picked to coordinate with the 6 Hermes scarves for the month of July...  Basically, a pair of shorts, two tee shirts, a pair of sandals and a necklace.

I debated the shorts.  I really don't wear shorts outside of housecleaning/yardwork, and I do have one pair from last year that serves the need if I'm just in a situation that requires shorts in a public setting.  So I decided once more to forego the shorts and just use summer pants.

And I just so happened to have purchased a pair of white jeans from Lands' End back in, oh, April or so, and they just so happened to be the very pants featured in the Vivienne files post on White Jeans, and I was really glad to have already bought them because by the time that post came out LE was sold out of the white jeans in my size.   Unfortunately, I didn't snag an image from the LE site before they took them down for the fall colors.  My bad...I will be more pro-active in the future.

No more layout on the bed pics, since my facepalm moment last month when I realized I could use the same pics I'm taking for the year-to-date collage for a monthly collection. It only took me six months to have that epiphany (snort).

 Here's the July set:

I used two different patterns for my T Shirts; the blue cotton/poly/lycra one is the slight modification of Jalie 2566  and the red rayon/lycra one is, I think, a modification of Vogue 9057.  Maybe.  I traced a full pattern some time ago, so I could do a single-layer cutout on stripes, but I forgot to write the pattern number on the full size pattern and it doesn't exactly line up with the 9057 pattern.  So it's a Mystery Pattern, lol.  With an added dart.

Shoes are SAS Pampas...crazy expensive sandals by my standards but by far the most comfy ones I own.  This is actually my second pair; I have one in red, too.  Finally, the sweet little hummingbird necklace is from Novica; I was tickled to finally find something that referenced the scarf.

So, squeezing everything in the slide, here's the wardrobe to date:

This is progressing nicely.  And you know what?  I'm already thinking about a scarf for next year, lol...

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Flea Market Find -- and a Giveaway

One of the things My Sweet Babboo likes to do is poke through antique stores, looking for things he can use in his frontiersman reenacting group.

So, when we found that one of the things available in the small town near our vacation lodging this past week was a large antique store...I suggested we spend a rainy afternoon there.

I really didn't expect to find anything for me, but there was one booth with a bunch of buttons (if only I had an idea of what I needed, lol)...and some patterns.  There were the cardboard storage boxes full of McVoguerick stuff, sold for a pittance, but I spotted a plastic bag containing a Sandra Bezina Today's Fit (that really didn't strike my fancy), a Nancy Erickson 1945 jacket (I've already got that pattern)...and a Cynthia Guffey princess dress, size 12.  My little Guffey Groupie heart did a pitter patter; the three patterns were listed at $4.50.  Totes worth it just for the Guffey dress.  So I snagged it.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the sealed up bag and found this inside:

There were TWO MORE Cynthia Guffey patterns hidden between the visible princess dress and the Betzina pattern.  And they were my size range...or, erm, close enough, lol.

I don't know how the booth owner missed that; the label clearly said '3 sewing patterns $4.50'.

But, you know, I'm feeling like I oughta share the blessing here, so I'm going to give away the Erickson jacket pattern (being as how I have one already, lol).

So...if there is anyone out there who is wishing they had Nancy's 1945 power suit jacket pattern (sizes 8 - 18 included I should have checked first; the pattern has been CUT OUT on the size 10 cutting lines.  So sad.  I've been tracing my patterns for so many years that it never occurred to me to check and see if the pattern had been cut; none of the others are.  So...if you are size 10 or a boss at adjusting pattern sizes...), leave a comment here and I'll draw a winner next Saturday!

Update:  Well, to my utter lack of surprise, no one left a comment to win the Nancy Erickson already-cut-on-size - 10 pattern.  I will figure some way to give it away elsewhere, lol.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The denim dress...

Ok, just for grins, here's what I started with.  The pattern is for a shirtdress, with a copyright date of 2001.  Um, Yeah.  2001.  It's been in the stash a while.  But I have always liked the lines of it, so when I was looking for a pattern to use for my denim shirt dress, it was the one I ultimately pulled.  

Here are the pattern pieces I had to work with:

There were optional fisheye darts in the front and back; the sleeve length options were full length, elbow length or sleeveless.

I cut the dress off at the 'lengthen/shorten' line, which ended up being right at my knees...pretty close to the length I wanted to end with.  The first muslin showed that I needed to move the bust shaping down about an inch, and shorten the dart considerably as the point wrapped way too far past where it should.  And I needed to give myself just a pinch more ease.

Because it was going to be a wide, fairly short dart, I decided to rotate that puppy to a princess seam.

I will add that this is the first time I have tried this, and I did learn a lot.

I had to lengthen the center front section...and this was after it had already been lengthened once for a full bust adjustment.  I thought that was odd, but walking the seam after I closed the dart clearly showed that I was going to have to lengthen it.  Also, the top buttonhole was pretty much at full bust level, so I moved the collar shaping up about an inch and a half.

Wouldn't you know, the next muslin showed that the bust shaping was now about an inch too low.  So I moved that back up to where it started, basically.

Hind sight...maybe I used the wrong pivot point?  I might should have researched that a bit more.  I didn't put the sleeves on the first muslin since I was just checking bust dart placement and girth, but the second muslin showed that there was too much ease in the sleeve cap; the sleeve had to be slightly gathered to fit the armsceye (not shown at all in those lovely smooth sleeves on the pattern photo...).  So I shaved down some of the curve, and cut a bit of the length off the front underarm so that it matched the dress (not sure if the mismatch was my fault or the patterns at that point).

And, of  course, I added an inseam pocket.  I also eliminated the front facing and just cut the center front pieces twice so I could sew the facing into the princess seam. Plus, I wanted a shirt tail hem, with the back slightly longer than the front, so I curved the hemlines accordingly.

However, I was somewhat short on fabric and I had to shorten those curves a bit from my original plan just to get it to fit on the fabric.

Here  are the pattern pieces I ended up with:

The fabric was an indigo blue cotton/lycocel from JoAnn's.  Not at all cheap, either, at about twelve and a half bucks a yard.  But I'd bought it for one thing and ended up using something else for that project, so it was available.   I was disappointed to see that it wasn't square; I tore both ends for a straight edge and when the fabric was laid out with the ends even there were terrible ripples down the fold.   I had to offset the selvege ends by about 2" to eliminate that rippling.  So I am attributing any wonkiness in the hang to that little issue. 

I had to change up the sewing order considerably; I sewed the CF and CB together at the shoulder seams; added the collar and put the facing on and pressed it well; basted together the raw edges on the CF seamline.  Then I put the pockets on the side front...putting on the facing piece, then the pocket so the pocket opening is finished off and the pocket becomes the sideseam. Then I sewed the side front/side back together at the shoulder seams, then sewed the sides to the centers.  Then I did the side seams and inserted the sleeves.  Hem, button holes and buttons.

Sounds simple, eh? LOL. 

 The dress, emphasis on the added pocket:

 The June outfit, bracelet, earrings, shoes and bag as well:

The bust shaping still feels a shade low to me.  Not enough to really worry about, but I'll probably adjust it if I make up the pattern again.   The sleeves bind a bit if I raise my arms, but that is just something I ALWAYS deal with on woven garments.  I haven't yet figured out the magic combination of ease here and fitting there to keep that from happening.

And you can't tell about the shaped hem at all; it's just not pronounced enough to show, although it does look just  a wee bit longer in the back if you look close.  

These pics were taken very late last night, after birthday festivities, so it is a bit rumpled.  But it was very comfortable to wear.  I expect to wear it at least a few times this summer.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - June

So, here we are, a week into July, and I've just now got the June outfit ready to post.  But, considering I completely lost the first week of June to jet lag, AND I completely worked over a new pattern, rather than using TNTs, I don't think I did too badly.

 Just for a reminder, here are the June picks at Vivienne Files.

The denim dress does not want to photograph well.  It just sags on a hanger and rumples lying flat.  I think it's because of the shaping;  it just has to go somewhere.

But, anyway, here's the June collection:

And, you know, it JUST occurred to me  (like, as I'm typing all this up) that if I am collecting images for the 'whole wardrobe' picture I could make a better collection to see the month's outfits.  Oy.

(timeout while she goes and builds a slide for this month...)

Dress:  Much modified out of print McCall's 3254 made from indigo blue cotton/lyocel 'denim'; I will do a whole blog post on that later in the week.  Shoes are Rockport/Cobb Hill Hannah from the closet; I've had them for about two years and absolutely LOVE them...they are very kind to my picky feet.  In fact, I may have just talked myself into ordering a pair in another color.  I hunted and hunted for a tote bag with a hummingbird motif but had absolutely no luck...they were either gaudy or just basically reusable grocery bags. But I found this one that looked like a good denim color, and it's about a dead match for the shoes...and the turquoisy color in the original scarf.  I actually purchased a bracelet...since I had a reward that needed using at Novica.  And a light beaded bracelet is not nearly as annoying to wear as a clunky bangle.  The earrings are some that I bought years Kohl's, maybe?  They are my favorite wear-with-denim earrings.'s everything so far.

Now, on to July's T shirts...

Thursday, July 04, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - July Assignment

Ok, you have no doubt noticed that I have not posted my June outfit yet.  Well, there's a reason for that.  It's a denim shirt dress that needs about 10 5/8" buttons.  I dug through my button stash but could not find 10 matching suitable buttons.  I'm not sure I have 10 matching buttons, period, actually.

So, given the disappointment that my last foray into retail looking for buttons turned out to be, I pulled up WAWAK and ordered two 1-dozen packs of of which should work.  Since they were only about $2.50 a package, I thought it would be worth it.  Also ordered some serger thread, since it was on sale, to make the shipping worthwhile, but $2.50 for a dozen buttons is so much less than I would have paid for three or four cards of buttons...IF I could find them...that I didn't mind the shipping; it may still have been cheaper, lol.

So, I'm waiting for the buttons to get here. The dress needs the final top stitching pass around the front and the collar but, aside from the buttons (which are to arrive tomorrow) and buttonholes it's done.

Quick slip-on seems to indicate that the dress is going to fit well...except for some binding in the armsceye/sleeves.  The bane of any kind of fitted upper body.  If its truly annoying I will pull off the cap sleeves and finish the armholes with some bias binding.  I didn't notice it on the muslin, but there was an excessive amount of ease in the sleeve to put into the armsceye; it was kinda puckery.  So I shaved off a little bit of the outer curves on the sleeve cap...small amounts, really.  I didn't think it would make that much difference.  But, apparently it did. We'll see if it's an actual problem once the buttons are on and all.

But, I'm 4 days into July and Janice has posted the wardrobe picks for she has done in years past, July's picks are shorts, two t-shirts, a necklace (well, earrings for one outfit) and sandals.

I could totally pull items from my closet to cover July, but I have been in sore need of some T shirts with red in them; that's a definite wardrobe gap that needs filling.  I've recently acquired a couple of pieces of red and white stripe knit, so one of those will get made up.  I'm waffling on the second T...I have a royal and white knit that would make a good T and would work really well with my wardrobe...or I could sew up a woven red T that's been cut out since February.

It probably depends on what I decide I want to do for the shorts.  My first impulse was to use white jeans; I have some that were added to the wardrobe back in the it turns out, it is the same white jeans Janice featured in her 'Ten Ways to Wear White Jeans' post back in May.

Can I admit to a slight smug feeling to realize I was ahead of the curve?  Which is a good thing...I clicked through to make sure it was the same pants as the ones I'd purchased and discovered that my size was sold out.

So there's that option.

But...I may scrounge around and see if I have a remnant of fabric that would be suitable for shorts.  Just because, well, that might be a good way to use up a bit of something.

So...if I go with white pants (or shorts) , then the two stripey fabrics will do nicely.  If I opt for something else, well, that may change the second one.

And of course, if I run short of time (short of time!  hahaha) I can always just go to the white Lands' End jeans.  So...decisions will be made after I get the buttons on the June dress.

July's necklace and sandals will not be a problem. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Birthday Fundraiser

I am interrupting our regularly scheduled (HA!) programming for a little public announcement.

I'm turning 60 in a couple of weeks (oy).  And, being a Facebook person, Facebook suggested to me that I create a fundraiser in honor of my birthday.

After pondering it, I decided to create one for Compassion, International.

We have sponsored kids in the Philippines through Compassion for a number of years; they really do good work with the kids, providing centers where the kids can go and be safe, be fed, get tutoring help...and, incidentally, learn about Jesus.  Compassion also has programs to help families, not just the kids, but the whole family.

And it hit me...reading about the atrocious conditions along our southern border...what if we could help the families where they are...and save them the long, dangerous journey to the border?

It me.   An answer to the 'What can I do, Lord?' prayer.    I realize there's a whole lot more involved and there is no simple, one-off solution to the problem, but what if helping one kid/one family made a difference to that one family?

So, we signed up to sponsor another child...a girl from Honduras, one of the countries from whence a number of the folks at the border have come.

I'm not trying to throw guilt on anyone or make some kind of political statement.  Just share the small thing.

If it sounds like something you might be interested in doing, you can visit

No pressure.  Just sharing.

Now...back to the denim dress...which likely won't be done before midnight tomorrow anyway....

Sunday, June 23, 2019

I hate making muslins.

Really.  I don't like using fabric on something I'm going to throw away, ultimately, even if it's long-stashed fabric from the now-defunct dollar table at Wal-Mart.  That fabric could have been an nice shirt...someday, right?

I don't like taking the time to cut out a muslin, sew up a muslin, and pin up a  muslin to see if the alterations I made to the pattern are gonna work.

But do you know what I hate worse than muslins?

Wadders.  Garments that I had high hopes for but then didn't work.  Spending time on fabric that was NOT a dollar a yard, only to find that the garment doesn't fit/hang right.

So I'm making muslins of the whacked up McCalls shirtdress pattern.  I am dragging myself kicking and screaming, but I AM making a muslin.  I would be beyond stupid to just assume that all this pattern whacking is just miraculously going to work.  I mean, I took a bodacious front dart and rotated it into a princess seam.  Not a minor adjustment.

SO...I have the second muslin about half cut out; I need to get ON with it because I run out of June in a week....and this IS the June outfit.

Between what's left of tonight and then tomorrow after work, I'mma gonna be workin on the muslin.  Because I don't want a wadder. 

I recut the CF and CB from the original muslin, but the sides gotta start fresh....
And I want to make sure the pockets are in the right place.
And the combined collar is going to work.
And the sleeves are the right length.

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.