Monday, September 05, 2022

Sewing Proceeding at a Snail's Pace...

I am not sewing these things in order at all; I need button-front shirts so I skipped ahead and made an Easy, Ageless, Cool campshirt from a recently acquired cotton lawn... I think the pattern matching is pretty good, if I do say so myself, lol.

I had one bugaboo in that I can NOT find my lightweight white fusible interfacing.  I thought I'd ordered some more, but when I opened the package I found that it was actually midweight.  A bit heavier than I wanted.   But, doggone it, I wanted the shirt so I forged ahead.  Upshot...the collar is a little puffier than I would like in a perfect world, but no one is likely to notice it.  I have since received an order for the actual lightweight stuff.

I thought that would be the completer for the..June?  I think? Set, but when I pulled the white campshirt from my closet to photograph I discovered it had some spots on it.  I'm hoping they were from the last trip through the dryer...we've had the dryer fixed lately as well...and they'll wash out.  Otherwise I'm going to have to replace it. :-(.

But, I have been doing future planning; the August set for the wardrobe contained a jacket and an outerwear scarf.  I didn't have a topper scarf to wear in anything close to these colors, so I went hunting. Couldn't find a scarf (that wasn't redonckulously expensive) that came close, either, so next I started trolling fabric sites.  Found a double-faced cotton/wool blend flannel...on sale, no less...and got two yards.  I hit the fabric jackpot and got the end of the bolt...about another 3/8 yard...thrown in.

It's fantastic.  I cut 12" off of one side, trimmed off the selvedge (which was lovely, actually, but the other edge wouldn't match), straightened the ends and fringed it all around, mostly whilst on a video call.   This is a great winter scarf now...and it could easily have cost $60 if I had bought it at retail.  Now I've got about 2 3/8 yard of 47" fabric left...pondering options for that.  A waistcoat and a baker's cap (aka a newsboy cap) are both high on the list.

 I've also cut out and STARTED the blue skirts; I may sew a bit more on them today but we are doing family stuff later on might not happen.  But I am determined to get these things made up.

I'll probably post several sets really quickly once I get the 'April' skirt done, lol. We'll see...

Saturday, August 06, 2022

In Which She Most Likely Ruined a Dress But Oh Well

 So, still not being able to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup, I decided to try a little project.

Earlier last month I bought a dress from Lands' End on a massive clearance markdown.

Pink and green.  I think I got it for less than the fabric would have cost.  But...alas, it has no pockets.

Which means it likely would just hang in the closet.

But I had some pink knit...what about putting in some pockets?

A quick little task, no?    I had the seams opened up really quickly.  Cut a generic on-seam pocket  from the knit and proceeded.

Unfortunately, 1) I couldn't interface the pocket because I'm still not handling an iron.  Knowing what I know, a RTW pocket likely wouldn't be interfaced anyway.  I did a quick look around for something suitable for a sew-in reinforcement but found nothing so I soldiered on.

And as I had so little seam allowance, I decided to modify my favorite pocket application and just curve the ends of the opening instead of doing a square turn.

Um, that might work but I didn't think it through enough and I ended up not leaving enough seam allowance on the pocket.

I did some ripping out and restitching but, well, there were a couple of, um, unstitchable areas (aka, holes in the fabric) when I was done.

No problem, I'll just do a little bar tacking to reinforce things.

Um again...somehow, the bartacking turned into a satin stitch on the seam on one side. Had no idea I  had sewn that far until I took it off the machine. It felt like it was hardly moving; I half expected a thread nest.  Nope...just some crazy stitching.

Yeah, it looks pretty bad on that side, but it was the one with the worst, um, weakness in the seam.  The other one looks like much more normal bar tacks.

That is the bad side. Just keep moving, right?

Actually, that is the first time I have ever attempted to add pockets to ready to wear.  I did too many on the fly alterations to my normal pocket construction process, but I did learn a bit.  # 1...don't clip anything until You Are Sure.  #2  Interfacing.  #3  don't forget the seam allowance, silly.  #4) There's a reason it's a corner and not a curve.

It may just get worn around the house...but it will get worn.  Which is more than would have happened had I not given pocket augmentation a try.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Ice is my friend...

 So, ten days out and I'm out of the sling and back to ten fingered typing.

I'm moving my  arm fairly well, if a bit slowly.  At least, so long as I'm raising it straight in front of me, lol.  Lateral motion is not quite so far along.  And my arm is still pretty much purple and green above the elbow. Hence the ice pack, lol.

But I've been told not to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup for at least a bit longer, so, while I think I could manage to do some stitching,  manhandling an iron is still beyond me.  So I think I will work on patterns/ cutting for the weekend, anyway.  Mayhap by next weekend I'll be able to push the iron around and press seams and hems and such.

But, you know, I was extremely blessed in this whole thing.  Not only that we caught it early enough that it was a simple far as orthopedic surgery goes, that was probably the least invasive, most minor procedure I could have had, but the surgeon told me in my post-op visit that he was glad we'd gone ahead and done it, because 'there was bad stuff going on in there'.  I had two small bone spurs that were beginning to saw away at tendons and such.  He cleaned up the 'frayed' bits, but no major repairs were needed...yet.

But beyond that, I realize that I was extremely fortunate to be able to get it taken care of. We have fairly good insurance, and I have a job that is flexible enough that I can take off time/ work from home so that I could actually get the repairs done.  I know there are many, many folks who don't have that option.   My Sweet Babboo can work from home so he can take me to my therapy appointments until my arm is up to driving...maybe next week. And that's a blessing, too.

I did a little checking to see what causes bone spurs...basically, it's the body's response to osteoarthritis/ thinning cartilage in the joints.  Now, I've been told for years that our bodies are basically very smart and can heal up but...can't it tell the difference between cartilage and bone?  If I'm losing cartilage, that's what it should be making...right?  (Insert laughing emoji). 

So, not much sewing will be happening in the immediate future, but I might be able to get a queue of sorts lined up and ready to go once I feel like I can do all the stuff.  Janice has been releasing the August wardrobe picks piecemeal this week because she's had trouble finding suitable garments.  The Hydrangea picks will be in Friday's post, but the four that have been released already are quite heavily leaning to fall.  I'm not sure I'm going to follow suit; down here, I've got at least 8 more weeks of full on Summer before things even start to cool down.  I am not ready, in so many ways, to start prepping for fall.  So I'm thinking.

Which is good, because I can't do much

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022...I am behind, can I catch up?


Just some musing today... 

We are 7 months into the wardrobe;  that's 8 sets if you count the core set that was introduced in December.

And I have done the core set and three I've done half of them so far.

And, having a bum shoulder (which is recovering nicely so far) I can't really do anything for at least another week.  So I sat down with the computer and looked over the Vivienne Files picks for April - July...recognizing that August is going to drop in 4 days and I'll be another set behind, lol.

Is it feasible to actually do this at this point?

I made a spreadsheet, looking at each month's choices...not just the ones for the Hydrangea Scarf.  I had been following the Hydrangea Scarf wardrobe additions pretty closely,  because, you know, I had the exact scarf, but looking at the April set...I had to make some decisions. Janice likes to use cardigans as button up stand alone tops; I'm just not comfortable doing that.  The stretchy buttonholes in sweater cardigans don't feel secure enough to me to be worn without an underlayer. The Hydrangea Scarf is the only wardrobe with two cardigans chosen for April, and I'm pretty sure they're meant to be used as stand alone tops.  The other five wardrobes just have pullover tops or sweaters.  So I am going to wander away from the strict application of the Hydrangea picks, starting in April, and look at what all the wardrobes had added.  Which, being honest, is pretty much what I did in 2019 when I tried this the first time.

Once I gave myself permission to more loosely interpret the additions, I took a fresh look at my closet.   What did I have that could work?  

Once I did that, I'm down to needing to sew pretty much just ONE thing for each set.  Which is perfectly doable...if I make it a personal priority.  For instance, there are two navy skirts in the sets and...I couldn't believe it, but I don't own a single navy skirt.  So I'll make the two skirts at the same time...while I have blue thread in the serger, lol.  

Anyway, the upshot is that I decided to press on and see what I can get done.

And I'm actually curious to see how Janice will transition this very bright, springy wardrobe into fall.

So, hang on, we ain't quitting yet....

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022 - 3rd addition

 What!  Did I get the next set made up overnight?  No, this I could pretty much pull from the closet..

Here is what Janice selected for March over at The Vivienne Files...two basic T's, a cardigan, a second scarf and a bracelet.

Here is my take:

The T shirts came rom the SWAP wardrobe, cut from the same fabric as the already-included longer sleeved t's.  I bought the scarf at Talbot's a year or two ago, thinking it would be a good candidate for a wardrobe base scarf.  I actually ordered the Resourceful Lynx bracelet from Fierce Lynx Designs right after I decided to do the project, because it was my colors.  I expected it to show up in the wardrobe picks at some point.  The sweater came from Lands' End and I love it...very soft and perfect for an over-airconditioned event.  It's the only piece I acquired specifically for this set.

So, everything now looks like this...

We will be stuck here until I get my right arm back, lol.  My first PT is tomorrow...we will see what I'm allowed to do after that...

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Start With a Scarf 2022-- 2nd Addition

 I squeaked out the last garment in the set before shoulder surgery, but I didn't have time to post the set before the timer ran now I am painstakingly typing with my left hand.  I will try to catch all the typos before I hit post, but it's quite likely that I will have to make a few edits as I find blunders over the next few days...

Anyway, this is my interpretation of the Vivienne Files Start With a Scarf February wardrobe selections for the PJ Studio Accessories 'Hydrangea Scarf'... which I had just happened to have purchased on a deep discount sale about a year ago.

I made two garments for this set...amongst making a mess out of some gifted diapers, which I was too disgusted to blog about, and making the third trip to Florida since February, lol.  The pink shirt is Burda 6908, crafted from a rather hefty twill.   The blue pants are Vogue 8712 , funky lantern pants; if you click on the photo you should be able to see the bottom angled band and the round pocket.  The green shirt is 4 years old...specifically dyed to match the choir color of the month (I actually wore it to work with the Hydrangea Scarf and white jeans last week).  The earrings are from Novica and the blue ballet flats are from Rockport/ Cobb Hill.'s everything so far...

I have to admit, I love looking at those colors together.  And I am really bummed that I will not be able to sew for the next few weeks whilst my shoulder recovers.

A little creative problem solving

 I was rather dismayed to find that if one has shoulder surgery, the sling/ immobilizing brace apparatus is applied while still in the OR, and is not to be removed before the first physical therapy visit.  

Which means it must be worn under the clothing for the first few days.

Those things are BULKY, y'all.

I did a few test runs, first under some of my really loose under a couple of my hubby's t shirts...also fail.  I could stretch them over the brace but t was a chore and they were awkward.

So I picked up a three pack of men's 2X (I wanted 3X but they were sold out) t-shirts from Wally World to do a little hacking.

Found a chunk of cruddy black knit that I had made two tops from that turned my bras black when I wore them.  My idea was to put a godet on the right side so there would be enough room.  Wasn't sure how to go about it but I wasn't after making a snappy looking garment...I just wanted to be decently covered, lol.

So I cut one shirt up the side to about an inch and a half below the sleeve and measured the length of the cut and added an inch for a seam allowance and a hem, should I feel ambitious enough (and have time) to do one.

Then I measured that distance out from a lengthwise fold of my icky black jersey, measured along the fold the same distance +4", to allow for the vertical uptake of the brace, and connected those points with a shallow curve.  Cut two of 'em, because I had two black shirts and I was feeling brave.

So for the first go, I sewed the straight edge 1:1 to the slit in the shirt, then put it on over the brace.  It wasn't horrible, but the slit actually needed to go up into the was tight across the top part of the strapping for the brace... and I had a lovely (koff koff) drape on the side.  It would do...but I thought it could be better.  So for the second shirt I cut the slit up into the sleeve about 3", flipped the godet and sewed the curved edge to the shirt, gathering the excess at the middle top 1/4 or so of the curve.

Much better.  I hemmed that one and took it with me. The nurse who helped me get dressed after the procedure was impressed, lol.

But as it turned out, we caught the bone spur(s?) before any serious damage was done to tendons, etc., so there was no soft tissue repair needed and I don't have to wear the immobilization brace...just the industrial sling.  So there is plenty of room in these shirts, lol, and I should be good until therapy.  And maybe I will have the use of both hands much sooner than anticipated...

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Funky Pants for the Wardrobe

 The 'February' selections for the 'Start with a Scarf' wardrobe included a pair of 'ankle pants'. I wasn't sure what to do but I stumbled across a Vogue Marci Tilton pants pattern (8712) that I had started altering up...sometime back in the past... and decided to give it a go.  I had some very drapey rayon 'denim' that I'd purchased to make a shirt back about 8 years ago, but it was not quite right for what I wanted so it just went into the stash. Bingo.

I had to go back and review the alterations I'd made (and undo some of idea what I was thinking at the time) and I cut them out back in May...and they waited whilst I made diapers and the pink shirt.

But they were rather quick to do, and I finished them up today.  They are a bit longer on me than on the envelope models...I can't remember if I shortened them or not.  (update...I shortened them one inch) But they hit around my ankles, which is exactly the brief for the selection, lol. 'Ankle pants'...

Of course, I will NEVER wear them with a top tucked in, but you can kind of see the lantern shape and maybe, if you can zoom in, the interesting pocket.

The pattern guide called for a narrow hem; I wanted a little extra weight at the bottom so I cut the angled cuffs twice and used the extra ones as a facing. If I were going to just hem it, I think I would use some bias tape as a narrow facing because it is pretty sharply angled and curved.  Just my opinion, lol.

They are very comfy and I'm going to enjoy them.

Since my hubby was handy to take a picture, I put on the pink shirt for a quick shot as well.

Lawdy my hair!  The humidity has froofed it...even in the AC, lol.  I didn't bother putting any product on it today since I wasn't going anywhere.  Wasn't expecting to have to take a picture.  But this is about the duds anyway, right?  

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Pink Shirt - Burda 6908


I looked and looked for the smudgy mark after about the 3rd time through the laundry and couldn't find it, so I hauled it up to the ironing board and gave it the once over.  I flipped the sleeve 'round so you could see the placket I got from David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking, which I substituted for the continuous lap used in the pattern.  I also modified the collar so that it's one continuous piece instead of two pieces as recommended by Nancy Zieman and Louise Cutting.  I flat felled the seams...a first for me...but didn't even topstitch the armsceye seam.  That seems really fiddly and unnecessary and, since I only have a wee bit of thread left, it's probably a good thing I didn't spend the thread on that, lol.

When I put it on the ironing board, I promptly found that five out of the eleven buttonholes had unraveled to some degree in the repeated trips through the washer.  I don't know if I nicked the stitching when I  chiseled them open or if the stitches just didn't get secured well enough at the end of the buttonhole...every one came undone on the second side.

At that point...I pulled out a handsewing needle and buttonhole stitched those puppies.  I was DONE. 

It is a fairly hefty twill with no drape and lots of grab; a little warm for now but it will be good later. This is supposed to be an overshirt so I would have liked a little more ease over all.    If I make it again I might add a teeny bit more ease to the back hips, and I've already added back one of the inches I took out of the sleeves.  They're really not short but they feel a little short, if that makes sense. But, to be honest, if this were intended to be worn as just a plain ol' button up shirt instead of an overshirt I think it would do nicely.  I don't think it has as much ease as shown on the pattern envelope; I suspect the models were wearing a size or maybe even two up. But it's ok.  I do believe I will wear it and that's the main thing.  ETA:  I did some remembering and remembered that I picked my size based on the finished garment measurements...and I had a brain glitch and made the size I would have made for a regular ol' shirt...not a generous easy shirt.  So the fitted-ness of this is totally on me.  I forgot to consider the extra ease.

Here is the inspiration  pink denim shirt that resulted in the pink twill landing in my mailbox a couple of months ago.  I don't know how long the link will work; the website says it's low stock. I know the pink one was on sale a couple of weeks ago.  But I'm looking at that shirt...that retails for $268...and shaking my head that it is low stock.  Now, I realize the rumpled, distressed state of the shirt is part of the aesthetic but I just can't wrap my brain around spending that much on a chewed up shirt that looks to not even have any interfacing in the front band.  And...all but ONE of those color options shows the sleeves rolled up...the gray one has them pushed up.  Not one actually shows how the sleeves will fit. Which seems kinda...suspect....

My pink twill (which was dead on the exact shade of pink I want) was less than $20.  The buttons came in a bulk bag from Hobby Lobby and cost about $2.  Now, I will admit to more aggravation than I expected but most of that was my own bone headed mistakes.  I've just spent too much time sewing knits lately and was a bit rusty on the shirtmaking, lol.  But, hey, I 'earned' about $246 by making that shirt vs. buying the denim one...right? And the IRS don't even get any of that, lol.

The blue pants for the 'February Set' are ready to sew...we'll see if they will be a little more cooperative.  

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Finished but no photos

 I finally finished the pink shirt last weekend but I don't have photos yet because...somehow it got a teeny smudge on one of the sleeves while in process.  It looks like ink or, you know, a greasy sewing machine lint spot...but the machines are brand spanking new so there hasn't been time for them to accumulate greasy lint yet, and I'm not aware of any ink pens anywhere around, so I've no idea what it is. The shirt has been through the laundry twice this week, hanging to dry in between so as not to set the spot, while I work on it.  It's very, very faint now and I don't know if I'm going to give it another go or not.  We'll see.

Anyway, once I decide it is indeed the last attempt to erase a tiny blip and iron it, I will take picutres.

Meantime, I will show you this bit:

Those are amputated cuffs, y'all. Once I got the first set of buttonholes on I realized that the cuffs were going to be uncomfortably snug.  I did a little research and found that somehow I had mistraced the pattern and they were about 1/2" too narrow.  Oy.  

Well, I had fortunately (as it turned out) completely forgotten to topstitch the cuffs (and the collar band as well), and I had a fair amount of leftover fabric so...I bit the bullet and cut new cuffs.  Took the old ones off and rearranged the pleating (I thought the excess sleeve width was because I had done a different placket finish) and then put the new ones on.  No mean trick because I did trim the seams out.  But once the new cuffs were on it was a MUCH better fit.

Then I put a bazillion buttonholes in it.  No kidding, I'm pretty sure I averaged doing each one of them  at LEAST twice.  It had been a while since I've made buttonholes and there were some finer points of it that got by me.  One or two were crooked.  The neckband one had lumpy seam allowances to negotiate (I think I did that one 4 times).  Once I lifted the presser foot...forgetting that that resets the template.  Oops.  Another time I mistook a piece of lint for the mark and put the buttonhole in 1" too low.  

Lots of frustration, lol.  But all character developing, right?  I know enough that a year from now I won't remember the frustration, I'll just be happy with my pink shirt.

It did feel like it took a long time...and it kinda did...but I had diapers to make (and they had issues as well, due to fabric quality...or rather, the lack thereof).  So all in all I have had a rather tiresome time in the sewing room and things have not progressed as well as I would have liked.

And I'm going to have shoulder surgery in a little over a week, so I don't know how long I'll be out of the sewing room due to that.  Hopefully all that has to be done is removing a smallish bone spur;  if we've caught it early enough I shouldn't have much muscle/ tendon damage that needs repairing.  Won't know for sure until the doc gets in and sees in real life what is there.

So, I may end up skipping some wardrobe additions for the scarf plan this year...  we'll just have to see...

Didn't plan on making a bunch of trips to Florida or losing the use of my dominant arm for a bit.  And I may need to use my one-week of sewing time left to make some button up shirts...

Monday, July 04, 2022

Thinking about taking up sewing?

 While I am still trying to find the time to get the buttonholes and buttons on that #omigoshthisistakingFOREVER pink twill shirt; I stumbled across an article on the interwebs that has struck a chord. Why Retail Clothes All Look the Same isn't the actual name of the article but it is the theme.   And it contains a link to a clip from The Devil Wears Prada, which is worth a watch, too.

I have long rebelled at the whole 'Colors of the Season' thing...the idea that someone in an office in Manhattan or Paris or London or Tokyo or wherever...has the power to pick what colors the world will wear for the next season/ year.  

It's why I have a ridiculous fabric stash, y'all.  Buy the fabric in the color you love whilst it's available, because in a couple of years you won't be able to find it.

But the idea of the style on repeat...that is one of the best reasons to take up fashion sewing. You don't want puffed sleeves?  You don't have to put them on the dress.  Even if that pattern shows them...just switch it for another one from another pattern.

We don't have to participate in the Fashion Great Chain of Being.

You can find a style that suits you and make it, in fresh fabrics, whenever you want.  It doesn't have to be On Trend to look good.  

Or maybe you like that style that you see, but hate the icky polyester fabric it's made of.

Same deal.  Find a similar pattern (or frankenpattern one from two or three, if necessary) and make it up in a nice silk or linen or cotton or whatever strikes your fancy.

There is SO MUCH information on the internet now...sewing websites like Pattern Review; YouTube videos by the score demonstrating basic skills....even not-so-basic skills.  (One of these days, thanks to YouTube tutorials,  I'm actually going to tackle pad stitching, lol).   A decent sewing machine is not terribly expensive...all you need is one that will do a nice straight stitch and sew a decent buttonhole.  If it will do those things, it will cover all the requirements.  A serger is nice but not necessary...certainly not in the beginning.  A good iron is a must.  

Start with a pull-on skirt; that's almost instant gratification and a good place to learn how to sew a straight seam.  Botch it up?   It's just practice...a learning curve.  Did you pick the wrong fabric for the pattern?  Like, it sticks out instead of swishing?  Or did you pick the wrong size?  You can't assume your ready-to-wear size is what you make in the pattern...heck, you can't even get the same size from one retailer to another in RTW anyway, so don't expect the patterns to be different.  Just measure yourself and the pattern before you cut anything and you should be able to make a fairly educated guess.  You may learn you like more or less room (aka 'ease') in a pattern than what is included.  Trial and error is your friend.  You will learn faster than you think, if you really want to.

Sewing frees you from the People in the Room Who Pick From The Stuff...and from the computer algorithms that are increasingly determining what shows up on the racks in stores and online.  

We don't have to follow their dictation.  We can sew.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Workin' on the Second Set

 ...because I feel really lame talking about the February wardrobe picks when it's halfway through May, lol.

But, we had ankle pants, a knit top, and a denim overshirt for February.   I had some pink chambray for the overshirt; I copied off the pattern and laid the fabric out and realized that I just wasn't going to be happy.  It was too red.  I wanted a true pink, not red mixed with white to look pink.  So I did one last check of what was online, found some lightweight pink cotton twill and ordered it.  But that meant the shirt was on hold.

So,  I waffled a bit on the ankle pants.  I thought about just using denim capris, but it didn't really fit the aesthetic.    I pulled up my pattern catalog (the whole reason I keep my Pattern Review membership, lol) and got reminded of a pattern I've been wanting to make for a while Out of Print Vogue/ Marcie Tilton pattern for lantern-style pants, Vogue 8712.  I dug around and found some very lightweight rayon-blend denim, purchased something like 8 years ago to make a shirt. But it was a bit darker than I wanted, once it arrived, so it has been in a bin since.  The reviews indicated that a drapey fabric would be best for the pants  I had actually altered the pattern a couple of years ago but didn't get it made up and I had a jolly time trying to figure out what I'd done.  I finally pulled out a TNT  New Look pull on pants pattern to compare and convinced myself they would work.

I decided to make a cut-on waistband, so I raised the top edge, and then I reshaped the pockets a bit. With the side entry I kind of thought stuff would fall out, so I made them a little deeper and shaped them so they wouldn't be hung up in the sideseam quite as much.

So I cut out the pants Monday and Tuesday, and yesterday the pink twill arrived.

Ohmigoodness, it's PERFECT.  I ran it through the washer and dryer and got it about half cut out last night.  Finished cutting it a little bit ago; all that's left to cut is the interfacing.

But LOOK at that pink.  It's a dead match for the pink in the first set.

And I can't remember the last time I actually had something cut out the day after I got the fabric.  

Changes to that pattern...I turned the collar piece into the cut-the-upper-and-under-collar-at-once shape that Nancy Zieman and Louise Cutting advocate, and I pulled out my copy of David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking to get the placket for the sleeve; the pattern just had a continuous lap, which I thought would be truly awkward in the twill.  It's light enough for a shirt, but it's bulkier than I wanted to do something as fiddly as a continuous lap.  This will be my first go at DPC's placket technique, but I've done it before with other patterns so I think I can make it work.

I have some more cloth diapers to finish off before I change the thread in the serger but I think I'm going to have a really good start on the 'February' combo.  'March' will be easy...I can pretty much pull that from the closet.    

Still playing catch

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Got Caught...

We'd managed to avoid it all this time, but apparently mild covid is running rampant in our part of the country caught us.

I honestly think it tagged onto the back end of my annual sinus infection, although I suppose it's possible it was masquerading as the sinus infection all along.  The antibiotic seemed to help for a few days, and then suddenly I had chest congestion and the test I took just to humor the doctor came up positive.

So, My Sweet Babboo, who also tested positive, and I are doing the remote thing.  He was actually supposed to return to his office for the first time since March of 2020 this week...but, nope, he got another week of doing rocket science from home.

According to the CDC guidelines, we should be good to venture back out into the world on Thursday, but I think I'm going to hang out around the house until the chest congestion clears up.  I have a subconscious urge to beat on my chest to knock the junk loose, lol, which I'm sure will public.

But, that's ok.  I can do data base janitorial stuff from home as easily as I can do it in my office.  And it is easier to drink tea by the gallon at home.  Hashtag keep those fluids going...

Surely this will clear out before long.

And I pulled the picture from an archive and just, that's from before the remodel project in 2015, lol.  That door is gone now...

Monday, May 09, 2022

Squeezing Pants on short yardage

 I mentioned that I had to piece the crotch point on the one-seam linen pants...thought I'd post a few pics.

The fabric wasn't quite wide enough for the full width of the pants, since they go from front crotch point to back crotch point.  I don't know if I could've wrangled a one-layer layout or not...maybe if I had turned the legs opposite each other?  But I was really rushed for time and I just didn't want to mess with trying. 

Much easier to

1) just let the back point run right off the selvedge and cut them out

It's only a little bit in this case; I've done bigger piecing in the past.

2) Just cut a chunk from the remnants, also along the selvedge,  then 

3) lay the little bit right sides together and serge the selvedge right off.  That keeps them on the same grainline.
4)Press the seam nice and flat, then 
5) lay the pattern back over the pants and cut the point out.

Lookit how much time and effort that saved...not to mention fabric, lol.

And...the results of the SWAP are in already, since, for whatever reason, I was the only person who actually finished and uploaded pictures. I feel rather odd about it...I really didn't go into it thinking there was a chance for me to win with a bunch of quick-to-sew garments (with the exception of the cardigan, lol).  I am guessing the pandemic-inspired lethargy hasn't quite let go of everyone yet.  It was just a good time for me to make 9 things.

But I am still WAY behind on the Start with a Scarf wardrobe; planning to do some work on the 'February' selections later this week. We have some traveling coming up again (gotta take the Flute Player's kitty down to her once they get moved into an apartment....THAT's going to be interesting)  but we have no actual dates for that yet. So I may get another weekend or two here, although I would HATE to put it off till Memorial Day.  We'll just have to go when they're ready.

So...I need to trace a pattern and put the pink thread back in the machines...

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

The 2022 Swap Photo Shoot

 Well, we can't exactly upload pics to the swap this year; the gallery broke, so I have to upload these things somewhere so I can link them to Stitcher's Guild.'s the final thing, frizzy hair and all!  (I am SO overdue for a haircut....)

First up, the three 3-packs:

Three pack one:   The McCall's 6844 Cardigan, crafted from a poly/ rayon / elastic sweater knit.  It has a very textured surface and I had to be very careful sewing it.  But it is soft and warm to wear.  I picked this pattern because it had no closures, no binding and no facings; the most simple thing to make from such a persnikity fabric.  Next is a short sleeved Jalie 2566 T shirt, made from a substantial cotton / lycra jersey.  The pants are the allowed 'Previously made garment'....Sewing Workshop Helix Pants, with Loes Hinse Oxfort Pants pockets morphed on.    It's made from Telio's Jockey Ponte...a lovely nylon/rayon/ lycra blend that has nearly doubled in price in the last year or so.  As much as I like it...I may not be buying much more.  I probably made these about 5 years ago and they are wearing like iron.
Three Pack two:  The pink top is a  3/4 length sleeved Vogue 9057, made from a very soft cotton/lycra jersey.  It's paired up with a long sleeve Jalie 2566, made from the same piece of fabric as the short sleeved t. Had to do some creative cutting but I got them both out of two yards of fabric.  The pants are the allowed purchased garment...dark wash skinny jeans, purchased from Talbots maybe 4 or 5 years ago. 

Three Pack number three...from the same length of pink cotton/ lycra jersey, a cap sleeve Vogue 9057 (I frankenpatterned the cap sleeve from a Jalie pattern, I think.  It's been quite a while since I cobbled it up, lol) and a Pamela's Patterns Cool Cardigans: Drape front cardigan.  The pants are Stretch and Sew 704, 'Quick 'n Easy Pants and Shorts' (Copyright 1997).  They are no-side-seam pants with a sort of welt pocket. The pocket piece is used to face the opening, then flipped around and topstiched to the leg of the pants to create the pocket.  Well, I don't like pockets sewn to the face of the garment like that; you can't put anything in them without causing a lump on the garment.  So I altered up the pattern a bit and made double-welt pockets.  So I have a nice pocket bag to hold, say, my cell phone or keys or a kleenex or whatever with out it just lumping right up, lol.  The fabric is the heavy linen from Fabric-Store. Com...I think the color is 'cobalt'.  I washed and dried it three times to soften and shrink it before I cut it out.  I also had to piece the back crotch point but I'll write a separate post about that, lol.

Finally, the two 'wild card' garments:

Two more Jalie 2566 t's, made from a two -yard cut of very nice merino wool.  I'd been seeing lots of advertising on my social media feeds about the superiority of merino wool for t shirts so I thought I'd give it a go.   I got the fabric at a slight discount, but it was still pricy enough that I was a bit nervous about sewing it and wanted to get the maximum value out of it.  Creative cutting ...I got two t shirts with a handful of scraps left over.  Success.

Here's everything, with the scarf that is the inspiration for my wardrobe sewing this year:

I the room, so I had to squeeze everything on one end of the closet to actually be able to get it all in one pic, lol.

And, you know, you gotta see the garments on the hoof, so here's the rest of my allowed twelve pics: to see if I can actually get these to link to Stitcher's Guild...

Monday, May 02, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022: The first addition

 Ok, so it's May 1 and I'm just now posting the January addition...which I just finished sewing last week.

All I can say's been busy, lol, and I was also trying to finish the required garments for the annual Stitcher's Guild SWAP competition.  I actually finished the last garment for that on Saturday, and I was going to take the pictures to post for it and suddenly realized that one of my shirts was in the laundry.


So, whilst that load is running through the machines I thought I'd just go ahead and post what I have for the first installment in the the 12 months series.

For a refresher, HERE'S what Janice selected for the six different wardrobes...and here's my interpretation thereof:

A 3/4 sleeve shaped hem T shirt from Vogue 9057, an out-of-print Marcy Tilton pattern.  The cardigan is Pamela's Patterns  Cool Cardigans: Drape-front Cardigan.  I might as well admit that they are from the same fabric, so they are a dead match.  I  *might* have also made a short sleeved t from the same chunk of fabric, which could possibly show up later on...

The earrings are from Novica and I have to say that the image, which I downloaded from the site, is a bit deceptive.  The set I got is translucently *barely* pink and stupid me, I didn't look at the listed dimensions.  They are, um, rather large.  The post is stout as well, so I'm wearing them around the house a bit to get adjusted to them before committing to wearing them a whole day.  They are statement earrings, no doubt, lol.  

Janice listed black leather goods for January, so I followed suit.  I'd been looking for an excuse to get a good cross-body bag, and I finally found one (on sale!) from Wilson's Leather online.  The boots are actually from my closet...they're the boots I bought for the 2019 SWAS wardrobe and they're still in pretty good shape.  The loafers are Rockport/Cobb Hill and I may have been a little overly cautious by ordering them in the extra- wide width.  At least I can wear them with nice thick merino wool socks, lol.  I will likely order a pair in blue later in the plan and if I do I will just get the plain ol' wide width.

So, dusting off my graphic arts skills (which could easily be brushed away with the dust, lol), here's the whole set at the moment.  

 I'll actually start wearing the new stuff once the SWAP pics have been procured.

Now, off to work on the February selections.  And study what has been posted for May...

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Start with a Scarf 2022: The Core

 So last night I finished the last of the T shirts for the 5-Garment Neutral Core that Janice announced back in December, lol.

I confess to being slightly intimidated by the cardigan fabric and probably that contributed to the slow start here, lol.  But to be fair...this has been a very, very busy start to 2022.

My Sweet Babboo commented last night that he's ready to Not Do Stuff for a bit, lol.


The neutral color for my scarf, Hydrangea by PJ Studio Associates, is navy blue, and the 5-Piece Core consists of a sweater, a long sleeved t-shirt, a textured cardigan, and two pairs of casual pants...Janice chose some navy knit pants, one heavy cotton jersey and the other knit corduroy.

So, here's my take on it:

Top Row:  Cashmere crew neck sweater by Quince.  Believe it or not, I have JUST THIS YEAR splurged on some cashmere sweaters. I had never owned one before...caught a couple of serious sales at Lands' End and then, when I was looking for a blue sweater for the core set, I found Quince. You can't beat the price. really, really am a cashmere believer now.  So soft and warm, but not overly hot.  So I have ventured into new wardrobe territory already, lol.  Next up is the cable knit cardigan (Mc Call's 6844)

 And then a cotton/lycra jersey Jalie 2566, with the cobbled up long sleeves (sleeve cap from the t-shirt, sleeve length from the cardigan):

The pants are from my closet, so I didn't take specific pics of them...Sewing Workshop Helix Pants, with a pocket added, made from Telio Jockey Ponte, for which I paid about $12 a yard maybe 5 years ago?  And now sells for about $25/ yard from the same vendor.  Oy.  And a pair of slim leg dark wash jeans that I got at Talbot's at least 3 years ago.

ETA:  I forgot how to photograph these things, lol.  Here's the composite of the core set, which may be a little easier to see...

So there's a Core Wardrobe, lol.  Next up:  A pink knit twinset, plus some accessories.  Dug through my patterns this afternoon to try and make up my mind what I shall do; I may go a little wide of the recommendations but hey, it's about breaking out of the patterns I've had for a while, lol.

And I thought I'd throw this in, too, just for grins...I'm five garments in for the SWAP wardrobe, which is slightly different. I may or may not use the pants I picked for the Start With A Scarf...we'll see how much sewing I can get done before the SWAP deadline, which is in about 6 weeks.

It's the Blue Cardigan, plus 4 Jalie 2566 T's.  I had two yards of the blue jersey, so I did the same thing I did with the red merino wool...and got a long and a short sleeve T.  I will say...I have really liked wearing the merino wool T's as well. They are not as soft as the cashmere, but they have worn well so far.  It's kinda nice to know that 2 yards of 60" knit will yield a long and a short sleeved T shirt if I cut it right.

I have some garments in mind for this wardrobe...a pair of striped ponte pants, a pair of linen pants and a linen skirt, along with at least a couple more tops.  And maybe a dress. 

In six weeks. LOL.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Cardi is Done!

 And I wore it to work today, lol

McCall's 6844, from a really intimidating cabled sweater knit.  I totally picked this pattern closures, no HAD to be simple, because the fabric wasn't.  It's really interesting...the cables are supported from the back with elastic threads (ignore the total color washout). 

It was a bit tricky...and the center back neckline, where the collar seams stack, was, of course, on top of one of the cables (I had to put one down the center back to look right) and was waaayyy too bulky for my serger; as a result it's a bit stretched and not at all pretty.  But it's in the back, under the collar roll, so I'mma gonna pretend it's fine.  I hand hemmed the sleeves and lower edge because I knew trying to topstitch it would be a disaster.   

It is very soft and comfy to wear, but also very warm so I'm not sure how much I'm going to get to wear it this season.  It *does* snag VERY EASILY

I'm also wearing one of the two merino wool tees I made back in February, too...the short sleeved one.  I'm thinking I'm going to use the t's in the SWAP wardrobe...there's nothing that says it HAS to work with any specific thing, so it really doesn't matter if it doesn't work with The Scarf, just as long as they work with the rest of the SWAP designated pieces. So I'm gonna do a few pieces outside the Start with a Scarf wardrobe for the SWAP.  

I need to sew faster.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Something that has been brewing....

 Well, I need a picture for Facebook so...

 Here's one that has absolutely nothing to do with my topic, just so I don't have some random thing pop up  (Moonrise over the mountain last week)

Making the 'Random' in the title carry its weight today....

Today is International Women's Day....and March happens to be Endometriosis Awareness Month. So I'm departing from my normal sewing update and actually getting a bit bold because I honestly believe that the number one women's reproductive health issue is...endometriosis.

Now, I will say up front that this is not an issue I have experienced first hand, but someone close to me has been dealing with some of the symptoms so, to learn what I could to encourage her,  I joined a Facebook education group, Nancy's Nook,  and have been following the stories and learning a lot.

The information is incredible and the suffering of so many women is heart rending.

I know that over the years I had heard that endometriosis happens when menstrual tissue 'backflows' through the fallopian tubes and becomes trapped in the abdomen.   However, that has been shown to be false...endometrial tissue has been found to be present at birth in some females, lying dormant until puberty, when it begins to cause pain.  And, while this tissue is similar to that found in the uterus, it  has been proven to not be the same. 

“Endometriosis is a systemic, inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue found in extrauterine sites.” (Kennedy S. et al., 2005; Klemm et al., 2018; Saunders et al., 2021)...Endometriosis is a common, benign, inflammatory, generally gynecologic disease that includes the presence and growth of dysfunctional endometrial-like glands and stroma often with reactive fibrosis and muscular metaplasia outside the uterus." (Lagana et al. 2019) From Endo Girls Blog 

Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 10% of all women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis?

Did you know that the AVERAGE time from when a woman first seeks medical help for her condition to a confirmed diagnosis is 7 - 10 YEARS??  And even once a diagnosis is confirmed, it can be even in years longer... before they finally can get treatment?

Did you know that endometriosis is a progressive disease that worsens over time?

Did you know that women are routinely told they are imagining the pain, or are just having bad cramps, or have a low pain tolerance, or have anxiety that is causing their debilitating pain?  I read story after story of women who were dismissed with a prescription for birth control pills, or told they needed an IUD or told to 'get pregnant' to reduce their symptoms (spoiler...birth control or other hormone treatments can suppress the symptoms but  do not stop the progression of the disease).

Did you know that there are three surgical options...ablation, excision, and hysterectomy...that are available (not to all women, I might add.  Many doctors only offer hysterectomy and possibly ablation) BUT only one -- excision -- actually removes the disease?  

Did you know that endometrial excision is a highly specialized skill and there are a very limited number of physicians who are actually competent to perform the surgery?  Often women wait MONTHS for consultations/ appointments/ surgeries, traveling hundreds of miles to the nearest trained physician.  Insurance coverage is a whole 'nuther deal...going outside of the coverage area for treatment often means denial of insurance benefits, putting an enormous financial strain on women and their families to obtain the only truly effective treatment.

Did you know that there is a whole class of drugs that chemically induce menopause that are used as treatment for endometriosis, despite being ineffective against the disease and often causing permanent damage?  I am not typing the names of the drugs here because I don't want to trigger search engines but you can click through to the articles and find them.

Did you know that hysterectomy is often advised for endometriosis, even though the uterus is only involved if there is adenomyosis (endometrial tissue in the muscle tissue of the uterus)?  Removing healthy reproductive organs will not treat endometriosis, which manufactures its own estrogen.

Did you know that endometriosis lesions can literally occur just about anywhere in the body?  It is rare outside the abdominal cavity, but it does happen.

There's more...lots more...information out there, with the result that most of the women who suffer and do the research know more about endo than their gynecologists do, but are marginally treated, offered only ineffective...but costly, both in dollars and physical toll...treatments.  Some are seen as pain-pill seekers and as such are not even given strong pain meds to counter the agony.  It's not uncommon for them to be sent home with the pronouncement 'call me when you're ready to do something' when they refuse the treatment they know to be worthless or even dangerous.

I  am telling you, the stories are heartbreaking.  If you have symptoms of endometriosis, please, please educate yourself on what your options are; don't settle for something that doesn't really help and may actually hurt you. If you love someone who has symptoms of endometriosis, BELIEVE HER.  Nancy's Nook facebook group is a great place to go for information, and they have a list of vetted doctors who specialize in excision.  Not in every state, alas, but at least there is a list.

And all of us need to advocate for research in search of real treatments, honesty from the drug industry, awareness in our physicians, and support from the insurance industry to alleviate the suffering of one in ten women globally.  It is completely unacceptable that here, in the 21st century, women are still being told they are mentally ill  because they try to get help for debilitating pain.

Friday, February 25, 2022

A Blast from the Past

 Something like 3 years ago, I happened to land on a shared photo album from a fellow home sewing enthusiast...and she had a most awesome jacket posted.  I asked her for the pattern; turns out it was a long out of print Vogue Oscar de la Renta pattern.  Ah, well, perhaps I might stumble onto it one day...

Well, as we were driving back from Florida I got a message from that lovely lady, who had found a factory-folded copy of that pattern in my size.

Y'all, I ordered it right there from the car.

It came this week.

 This one's from the glory days...


Who DOES that anymore?

Of course, due to its vintage status, I don't expect it to have the bust point marked, or the finished garment dimensions anywhere to be found.  I haven't unfolded the tissue yet to verify it, but I can use a tape measure to determine what alterations I need.

Unless it's buried on the tissue paper somewhere, there's no copyright date to be seen; I really don't know how old it is.   The model doesn't have Big Hair, so that rules out the late 80's - early 90's, lol.  But...the price on it is $6.50, which I would put early 80's.  

Six dollars and fifty cents.

I paid a fair amount more than that, especially throwing in shipping.  But what I paid is comparable to the current list price on designer patterns.

Not sure when I'm going to work this into the sewing queue; I have done nothing to the blue cardi since I cut it out...although I did put blue thread on the serger, lol.

But I am looking at it a lot. :-)

Monday, February 21, 2022

Starting The Cardigan

 I just realized the other day that, while I have chatted in online groups about The Cardigan, I haven't actually posted about it here...

So, back in January I posted about doing the 'Start with a Scarf' wardrobe building exercise this year. But Janice didn't start the wardrobes in January...she actually picked the scarves and posted a 5-garment core group back in December.

So by January I was already 5 garments behind, lol.  Add to that the garments she posted for January and the garments she posted for February and I am really playing catch up.

I did some poking around on retail sites to see if I could purchase any of the beginning stuff that wasn't already in my closet; I found a good deal on a cashmere crewneck sweater but came up empty on everything else.  I had blue jersey knit in the stash for the knit shirts but could NOT find a blue cardigan.

So I ordered some blue cable knit from Emma One Sock and, armed with knowledge from folks who had blogged about sewing that rather contrary fabric, began the debate about what pattern I should use.

I finally settled on McCall's 6844 ...mostly because it didn't need any closures, lol.  Also no skinny little bands to deal with.  And I have made MULTIPLES of that cardi in the past...although I've always been using a nice stable double knit.  This floppy sweater knit would be a whole 'nuther deal.

I knew that the cutting would make or break it, so I  actually played around with a layout after I cleared all the procrastination other projects out of the way (I actually had to make a handful of masks for the family vacation to see the mouse last week).  But, home from vacay, nothing in the way, it was time to start.

Normally, this cardi would take about four hours, start to finish, but I spent all day today (around laundry and a couple of other things) working on cutting it out.  

First, spread the fabric evenly, being careful not to stretch anything; use a ruler to make sure the cables are dead straight, and lay the front piece so that the front seamline (where the collar/ front band joins) is abutted right up against a cable.  This puts a cable pretty much on the center of the shoulder and running down the mid front, although I do have a bit of the cable in the side seams.

Mark the notches with lime green thread tailors tacks.

Flip the front and repeat.  For the back, I put the fold line on a cable, then flipped it so the fold line was still on the same cable to cut one back piece w/o folding the fabric.  Marked the notches; cut all 4 of the collar/ band pieces with the outer edge seam on the edge of a cable; that put the jacket body seam in the middle of a cable, which may prove to be too bulky.  If it is, I will trim it off and just have a slightly narrower front band, but I did a little practice serging on scraps and it really didn't seem to have too much trouble sewing on the grainline, even over the cabled bits, so we'll see.  I cut the sleeves with a cable running down the middle, from the shoulder point to the wrist.

It is a pain to do a single layer cut out, but given the crucial necessity of everything being balanced and straight I didn't see any way around it.

This is a busy week; hoping to get to sewing on the weekend.

It is going to take me a bit to get caught up; the March wardrobe additions will drop next week, lol.  If I want to use this for the Stitcher's Guild SWAP contest, I need to get a move on... I need to sew a minimum of 9 coordinating garments by the end of April, if I use the 'one purchased, one previously sewn' options.

But in all honesty, I think the worst of this is behind me.  If it stretches too badly under the double needle I may have to hand hem it but that won't be too onerous.  

The next thing up is about 4 knit t shirts; those should go pretty fast. Then a woven shirt that might take a minute...and then whatever comes down for March...

Here we go.