Wednesday, November 25, 2009


At this point I don't even remember what the details were for the 2008 Stitcher's Guild SWAP, but today I attached the very last button! Woohoo!!

I only had enough energy to take pictures of the garments today. (Not even enough energy to iron the blouses lol!) As soon as I can, I'll show the outfits. I was actually very close to finishing on time. Believe it or not, it was not the jacket that prevented me from finishing - that was all done (except for hand work, which I consider done ;)) a month before the contest ended. My final obstacle was the purple "silky" blouse. Originally it was to be ivory silk charmeuse but I didn't have as much as I thought in my stash and then I found this purple that matched the pants perfectly. As much as I'm not a fan of this poly fabric (from JoAnn's) I knew it would be easier to sew than charmeuse. Anyway the pattern for this was gathered sleeves, gathered cuffs (from this blouse pattern), and a bow. I just didn't have the energy to tackle that when all the other bloggers were sewing for spring! Well, the blouse is done now and I love it - especially the sleeves.

It wasn't until today when I pulled all the garments together that I realized I really love how all the pieces can work together. I'll put together more details when I show the outfits, but here are some bullet-points, FYI.

- I've worn the purple pants almost as often as the black pants. Seriously, who looks in their closet and says, "I need a pair of purple pants to make it complete."? Well, I didn't. The fabric is actually a hand-me-down wool crepe that my mom gave me after it sat in her stash forever. I now agree with Carolyn that this fabric is fantastic for pants, especially a wide leg!

- The biggest disappointment is the pair of dark gray pants that go with the jacket. From the knee up they look and feel awful! I see myself wearing them exactly once, just to show off the suit. I've been searching the web to find this fabric for a different pair of pants - no luck. It's wool denim. Anybody else seen it?? I bought it locally at a store that I only visit about twice a year.

- The jacket pattern called for all pieces to be interfaced. I really went back and forth about this because the fabric was quite firm to begin with. I decided to follow the pattern...unfortunately, NOT before I purchased my interfacing from Pam. The interfacing started to bubble long before the hand work was finished.

- After I realized I wasn't going to meet the deadline my jacket just sat and sat and sat on my dress form. When I finally took it off, it had smoushed all the shoulder and bust padding on the form!

- I also made turtlenecks in black, purple, and medium gray - my standard winter comfort garment.

Thanks for all the well-wishes for my daughter. She's adapting well - when she wants to!

That's all for now. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Taking some baby steps with the sewing...sewed up a muslin for my vintage jacket pattern and made small adjustments. Revisited the brown pants that I cut out and couldn't remember what modifications and pattern I used. It looks like they might be wearable soon.

Then my little princess fell off the monkey bars. Four days, three splints, one surgery, and countless healthcare professionals later she's ready to return to school. Well, for half-a-day anyway. She'll be getting a permanent cast in the afternoon. Tomorrow morning we'll be working out the fashion details. It's not easy to find shirts that will fit over a giant cast. Today, between Goodwill and JoAnn's I put these together. You can't really tell from the picture but almost all of them have some sparkle. When you're 8 that's really the most important part (at least in this house).

Managed to sew and write a review for this garment. I love the dress with a turtleneck but in my "virtual sewing" imagination I thought it would look about 100 times better all alone. Figured that I would be making many of these for all seasons. Not now. Not with that neckline.

Here's hoping everyone gets lots of sewing, or at least fabric-shopping done this week! My vacation days will be spent, catching up with all the days I've missed from school, sewing, eating, shopping - definitely not in that order!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Just when I thought I was too busy for anything except complaining about being so busy…I came up with a little tutorial sort of thing!

After making the good witch of the west costume forced me back into my sewing area, I was motivated to tackle one of those projects that is easy to put off for a long, long time. Sometimes, even more than a year.

This project is resizing a vintage coat pattern. During the great coat sew along I caught Marji fever (scroll down to the May 15th post) and purchased many vintage coat patterns. This one in particular just had to come home. Then someone on PR made a fall coat out of corduroy… then I saw this fabulous wide-wale corduroy at a very good price…that also needed a home. Well, they’ve both been very cozy waiting for a fall. Last fall, this fall, next fall, whatever! Finally I’m ready to resize the pattern – yippee! This is how I did it.

Step 1: I went to the nearest Threads resource – mine happens to be in the sanctuary (a.k.a. sewing area, a.k.a mommy zone) – and read this article.

All the other steps:
Trace the original pattern and all markings (extend the grain lines the length of the piece at this point – I didn’t do this on the sleeves but should have).

Draw cutting lines to divide the piece into segments where the adjustments will be made. On the pictures, if you look closely these are in red. By the time I did the body pieces I just cut instead of drawing and cutting.

The extended grain line gives a starting point for placing the pieces onto the new paper.
Cut along all red lines, or you may want to cut one vertical/horizontal segment at a time so that the pieces don’t blow away! Do this carefully and don’t do it in front of a fan!

Starting with my traced and cut pattern, I picked up the bottom segment that has the grain line marked and position that on the grain line of the new piece. To attach the original pattern piece to what will be the new piece I’ve tried strips of Glad Press’n Seal and tape but this time I used a glue stick. It seemed to go a little faster and since my “paper” is really a vinyl banquet table covering, I could easily reposition the piece if it wasn’t lined up correctly.

At this point I referred to the chart in the Threads article to determine how far away the next pattern piece will be. Then I lined up my ruler with the straight edge of the pattern piece and drew a line as a guide for the placement of the next piece. Continue this process until all of the new pieces are aligned on the new paper.

Once the pieces were all attached I cut out the new piece trying to leave about 1-2” in the seam allowance area. At first I was thinking that I would just use the seam allowance attachment on my rotary cutter to add the 5/8” SA when I cut out the muslin. But wait! I just realized as I’m typing this that the original pattern already has the seam allowances, so I can just cut along the edges of the original pattern pieces.

After all pattern pieces of this project after they were cut into segments, I always started with the bottom horizontal section first then moved on to the next horizontal section of pieces. You don’t have to do the exact same thing but I think it would be advisable to have a system that you follow when moving the pieces – some of them may be very small.

The first time I resized a vintage pattern I traced over the pieces to create a solid pattern; one that wouldn’t have all those little pieces waving around. The glue seams to be working for this one so I think I’ll skip that step and move on to cutting and fitting.

The project in these pictures is being resized from a 12 ½ to a 14 so the adjustments are quite large (nothing smaller than ¼”). For my previous resizing projects the largest increment was ¼”. That meant there were a lot of 1/8” and 1/16” changes. I have to admit I trusted myself to visualize these measurements and just skipped using the ruler to mark the new placement lines. (By trust I mean that sometimes, just for fun, I’ll guess the distance of a seam allowance or a piece of fabric and then measure it to see how close I was. My accuracy is pretty good.)

So that’s it. This is not a difficult process but you do have to be in the right frame of mind before you begin. I usually like to keep track of how long something like this takes but I was interrupted so many times the best I can give is a very rough estimate - I would say about 20 minutes per pattern piece. I haven't tackled the collar yet and I will just redraw the facings and pocket placement.

DD got THE flu on Friday so I may actually find some time to sew over the next few days (in between keeping her company and entering grades for the first marking period). Luckily, her symptoms are very mild. Luckily, it’s early in the flu season so after this we won’t have to worry about every little cough from her. Luckily, if this flu ever comes back she’ll have nothing to worry about. Unluckily, the beautiful, fluffy, sparkly, good witch costume and it’s owner had to miss trick-or-treating. Luckily, I took pictures before the big day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Long Story

Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to sew. Everyday she thought about the clothes that would someday fill her closet. On this particular day the girl decided to think about pants. Hmmmm, she thought, my pants don’t seem to fit well anymore. I’m going to take my measurements again. Maybe it will help solve this mystery. AAAARRRRRGGGH! She could not believe her eyes! Never in her life had a mere 10-15 pounds changed her measurements so drastically (and not in a good way). She sighed a heavy sigh and decided to think some more.

The very next day she began searching her sewing resources for a solution. She found a book about pants that looked like it might have an answer – Pants For The Mature Figure. (The book was Fashion Your Own Pants The Simple Way by Connie Amaden Crawford. I wouldn't spend any time trying to find this one.) This sounded promising. Off to the drafting table she went. Measure – draw, measure – draw, measure – draw, for four evenings she worked on the new pattern. Finally, the day arrived to test the pattern with a muslin. Excitedly she cut the fabric and sewed as quickly as she could. (At this point it gets a little sketchy. The muslin stage happened Labor Day weekend and the author has a very weak memory.) Adjust – fix, adjust – fix, adjust – fix. She was frustrated. At the end of the day she decided to take a chance and apply her new sloper to a real pants pattern. This took many nights of deep concentration. She was exhausted! But the dream of new pants was strong and finally the fabric was cut and the new pants were ready to be sewn.

Soon something happened and she was very, very busy. But not busy sewing. Everyday she thought about when the new pants would be done. As time passed the memory of all the changes she had made to the muslin began to dim. Dimmer, and dimmer, and dimmer until she was not sure she would remember how to put the pants together. Even worse than that she began to think, “What if I make them and they fit really well and I don’t remember how I got them to fit, and I won’t be able to make sense of my new sloper ever again? And then I’ll have to draft an entirely new pattern. Oh, the time, the time, the time.”

And then it was time to sew for Halloween. And after that it will be time to sew for Christmas. And everyday the girl will think about all the lovely clothes that will someday fill her closet.


Happy weekend sewing to everyone that finds the time to sew!!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

10 Buttonholes and 3 Hours Later...

That's right, the buttonhole saga isn't over yet. This is the pile of excess thread trimmed while I was trying to get the dang things done.

Ready to proceed. Practice buttonhole on cotton fabric A.O.K.
Buttonhole #1 The bobbin thread isn't catching. I stew on this little issue for an entire day.
Steps to a Solution: Dismantle everything, plate cover, buttonholer...after about 30 minutes of trial and error I realize that I changed needles and when I compare the two they are very different shapes. So I put back the original needle that came with the machine.
Buttonhole #2 Good.
Buttonhole #3 Something doesn't sound right.
Buttonhole #4 What the heck?? There's half a spool of bobbin thread on the underside.
Steps to a Solution: Re-thread everything and watch the feed dog cover since it seems like the needle is hitting it.
Buttonhole #5 Well, really it's the replacement for #4. Still not right.
Steps to a Solution: Dismantle everything, feed-dog cover, buttonholer, machine cover...after about 30 minutes of investigating I realize that the presser foot is not sitting all the way down. I oil it, but I still need to push it down to put it in place. OK, note to self - push the attachment down before sewing.
Buttonhole #6, 7 Looks good.
Buttonhole #8 What the heck? Thread is collecting underneath again, oh, forgot to push down the presser foot (actually the buttonholer). Then I realize I positioned #6, 7 so they're going the wrong direction (horizontal instead of vertical. This is because it's been at least three days since I marked the buttonhole placement and I forgot that I just marked the top of the buttonhole.) Commence ripping.
Steps to a Solution: Push the contraption down and re-thread the top thread.

Well, if you do the math it may not add up to three hours as documented here, but trust me, it was at least three hours of real time. And was it worth it?

I love the results, but now I'm too tired to attach the buttons! (The fabric is a JoAnn's poly imitation silk charmeuse and the thread matches much better than it appears here.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gone but not forgotten.

The real and true and only reason I've been gone is because my real job is going so well! The better my students do the more I want to do for them and so, being too busy to blog just means that teaching is going really well.

Of course, having no time to sew...well that's not so great. Aside from being really tired at the end of the day my machines are now right above my daughter's bedroom and the little drama mama insists she just can't sleep if I'm sewing. Last weekend it was just too much and I pointed out to her that if I couldn't sew at night I wouldn't be able to sew anything for her either. Problem solved. I have a new blouse and DD got a perfectly good night's sleep.

I don't have pictures of it yet but I have to give a shout-out for the pattern I used. The now OOP Vogue 8287.
It is a very easy blouse that looks like it's not (IMHO).
I love the collar.
There are french cuffs but they don't have buttons.
The bodice is fitted and short enough to wear untucked.
The armhole is high and comfortable.

I have tons more to share but it will have to wait. I just tucked the kids in and the sewing machine is calling my name!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today I Wore Pink.

I’m going to wear it again tomorrow. But in order to wear it I decided, at about 9:00 last night, that the shirt should fit properly. So I made about my 4th t-shirt makeover. I didn’t have time to take pictures of this makeover. At about 11:00 DD crawls about of bed to complain that my machine woke her up - it’s right above her bedroom - “Just two more seams and I’m done. Go back to bed :)” I used Simplicity 4023. First, I carefully cut off the sleeves of the original T exactly at the seam (the original was a size L, so there wasn't much extra for mistakes). Then, I re-cut the side seams to follow the pattern. Lastly, I took off the neck ribbing, re-cut the neckline and sewed everything together. It may not look all that spectacular, but it definitely feels better than the generic size L.

I’m usually pretty quiet about my pink status, but this is year number five and tomorrow my kids, who were 2 and 3 when I was diagnosed, are taking the walk with me.

And I’m proud.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Buttonhole, Buttonhole, Where Can You Be?

Well, I didn't quite get the blouse done. Your comments were very helpful and inspiring! It is cut out and it does have ruffles. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend.

I did however, find the time to whip up this little flow chart to show you the process I went through in search of the perfect, easy, consistent buttonhole.

It's so close I can taste it!

Friday, August 21, 2009


What can I make with Wednesday?

When I read Kristine's blog about a first-day-of-school outfit for herself, I realized I don't have one! (Sewing's been on the back-burner this week as I start tackling summer school work and my own kid's last week of summer.) Then I was at JoAnn's and ran across this Robert Kaufman fabric that I remembered I wanted to buy. I've seen lots of music-themed fabric but this is the first piece that "spoke" to me (anyone watch PR this week? - feel kinda funny using that phrase now!). It's the first fabric that I could actually see myself wearing (as a HS music teacher) instead of using for a bulletin board background.

But what do I make?

1. Practical but obvious - a shirtdress. Easy, but kinda LOUD. Do I want the garment to wear me???

2. Practical but subtle with extra points for wearabilty - a blouse, possibly with ruffles? I've got lots of separates that would work with this piece. Can't you just see this with a black suit? - just a hint of my sense of humor peeking out for a performance.

3. Practical and functional - a jacket. Love this one; take it off, put it on depending on the situation. But the fabric is just a quilting cotton so it'll either be super-casual or super-interlined.

Maybe I have enough for a blouse and a jacket.
Have an opinion? Go ahead, express yourself!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Would You Do?

1. can't beat the price........$10.00
2. has all accessories, feet, bobbins, etc. (but no manual)
3. all info says, if you find one at a good price, get it

1. don't need it
2. don't need it
3. really, I don't need it

(In real life the difference after cleaning is much more noticeable.)

This all came about because of my stupid buttonholer! I've convinced myself that it's the Necchi's fault that the buttonholer doesn't work but I need to try them on a different machine to see if that's true. The problem is, they don't fit on any of the other machines at my house (see list below)! How could that be?? I had this brilliant plan to go try it on my mom's bernina...duh, that thing that holds the feet is completely different - didn't even need to take it out of the box to see it wasn't going to work. So, off I go in search of an inexpensive old machine to make better buttonholes. Instead I found this at an antique mart buried in the back of the clearance room - and I do mean buried, this place is overflowing with stuff! I didn't see the tag originally and the guy said $10 - help me get rid of these sewing machines! What could I say?

Dana's Sewing Machine List
(In my defense I use all of the first three machines for almost every project I make.)
Consew industrial straigth stitch (zoom, zoom)
Scandinavia 200 computerized
Simplicity 3-thread serger
Student model Necchi (from the 90's, currently used for buttonholes only - this is the one I'm trying to replace to acquire the best buttonhole humanly possible!)
Antique Singer model 128 (no idea if it works, no pedal, another hand-me-down, read on line that if it doesn't work it's not worth fixing)
Kenmore Mini (belongs to daughter)

and now a Bernina 530 Record!

1. Would you have bought it? (Okay, I probably know the answer to this one!)
2. Would you keep it, if you were me or try and sell it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Sewing Mistake Repaired!

The whole twisty thing happened because I didn’t want to follow the pattern directions for a sleeveless dress/top. If your pattern directions tell you to sew the fabric and lining by machine except for the shoulders (sew those in by hand) – DON’T do it! I’m one of the seamsters that is convinced this is a secret ploy in “the industry” to make sure garments made at home continue to look home made. Search high and low for a tutorial that shows you how the whole thing can be done on the machine. Like this: sleeveless tutorial (scroll down to Lining Sleeveless Dress). Nancy’s method is slightly different from mine but both will give you professional results. (The difference between my method and Nancy’s is that after I’ve sewn the neckline I sew both armholes. When the sewing is complete I pull the side back pieces through the sleeve band.)

Here are some detail shots. And/or here’s a link to the review on PR.

Any vintage buttonhole users out there?

I posted this problem on the PR boards but still haven’t resolved the issue. In short, the SL dial is set at #1, I have two different models (Singer 1025785, 102878) and get the same results with both. The feed dogs are down but I still can't get a nice tight buttonhole. Could it be the machine (a 90's student model - as in home ec student - Necchi)?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fashion Statement or Big Sewing Mistake?

Well, if you've read any of my recent posts you already know the answer. The pattern calls for the dress to be fully lined and sure enough they instruct you to attach the lining all by machine except the shoulders - sew those in by hand. It's been decades since I've used that method! So I decide to attach it just as I would a sleeveless top, except it's a dress. As I'm sewing I think "wow, I've got to be careful so this doesn't get twisted." Not until I've sewn the last side seam did I discover the twist. Right away I ripped out that SA only to discover the mistake was made when I put in the zipper. great. Solution: rip out the shoulder seam and (at least partially) sew it by hand.

Just can't wait to get started on my next project (can you see the sarcasm in that sentence?).

Hope you're having better luck than I am.

P.S. I'm really excited about this dress, it's a sheath that really fits well - yipee for that!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I started catching the yellow bug last year, there were several garments that caught my eye. My summer wardrobe for about four years had been in shades of turquoise and orange/melon. I needed a change. Welcome change:

First, I really don't plan on ever wearing the first outfit like that. It's a little LOUD. I already had the skirt on and wanted a new picture of the top. I posted a review on PR for the yellow blouse (McCall's 5803) but the review shot is before I tamed the wild ruffles. This picture shows the tamed, yes, I said tamed ruffles. You can click on the sidebar or here if you want to read the review. I really haven't written that many reviews lately...mostly because my sewing hasn't been anything to write about!

The best garment this week was this yellow skirt (recently OOP Vogue 7857) but if you enlarge the picture you’ll see something funky going on underneath the button at the waistband. Oh, and if you look at the back you’ll notice that the belt loops are not quite evenly-spaced. I just can't seem to keep track of these things when I get interrupted every 10-15 minutes. I did find a simple solution to a big problem (for me) in this skirt. Care to guess? It’s the vent! And there are two in this pattern, no way was I going to manage a perfectly lined vent...twice. The skirt has lining that acts as underlining so it’s attached to the outer fabric like underlining everywhere except the hem. Recently, I read on someone’s site about how to deal with the lining underneath a vent. I am frequently frustrated by this, especially in skirts because I like to make straight skirts. Remember that I’m a picture person? Well, I never get the pattern instructions right when I see how to finish the lining at the vent – I blame it on dyslexia. The rs/ws and r/l are always backwards in my version. In Nancy Zieman’s method you just draw a curve on the lining between the vent opening and the hem. Voila! Edges are finished, lining is effective, but no one can see it.

This dress (OOP Vogue 2412) is from the Liz Claiborne fabrics at EOS. I had intended to make a pencil skirt a la Marji, Lindsayt, Cidell and Carolyn but when I got the fabric I realized that it didn’t have enough body for a skirt. Finally decided on this Vogue pattern and loved it…in my head. I pretty much love the finished version too. It’s just that, as I was getting to the pin-fitting part the bust was waaay too tight! Like 3” too tight, and I knew I had adjusted the pattern. Then the waist seemed really tight (finally realized that I had intended to eliminate one set of darts rather than add more at the side seams). I figured out the mistakes I made with the bust area too and after sewing a ripping for about 45 minutes, well, it’s better than it was. I didn’t use the back facing or bias strips on the armholes as instructed, just lined the whole thing.

(Can you tell these pieces have been worn? Hmmm, the wrinkled linen was a giveaway? I don't stress out about the wrinkles, ever. Wore that outfit yesterday. I wore the dress, w/shorts underneath, this morning as the kids and I rode bikes to their respective camps. It's actually fun to bike in a skirt!)

Friday, July 31, 2009

3 in 1

Last week I made (mostly) 3 skirts in 1 week (even though four were cut out). I had fitting issues with almost all of them. Here’s what bothers me…they are all a-line skirts. If it fits at the waist it tends to buckle under my tummy. If it doesn’t buckle under my tummy, then the waist drops down to my hips. Anybody else deal with this? I’m also having issues because I gained some weight this spring and because of well, previous surgery mentioned somewhere in the middle of this post, my stomach is uneven. My body shape looks really weird. I don’t know how to fit my waist anymore. You know, if you have to add 1-2” to the waistline of a pattern it’s not a big deal. But if you have to add a stinkin’ 5-6” it changes the design! Okay, enough whining about fit. Time to whine about something else.

You won’t see any detail shots of any of these garments. If you read the last post about me being “project-oriented” that’s why. Too many interruptions = crummy workmanship = no detail shots! Okay, whining is over.

This year I decided that my outfit of choice for the summer would be some fun prints – skirts/dresses. But because I like to ride bikes and generally play with the kids in the summer, there is the issue of modesty. At first I was going to do the jumper with overskirt route (and hopefully I will get one of these done) then I decided to just make some simple knit shorts to wear underneath the skirts/dresses…for security. That should explain the “under” pix.

Greeny – this is Vogue 7879 (Sorry, many OOP’s in this post.) I think this one fits the best of all but there are no pockets! I guess I mean it looks the best on. The skirt really sits about 1" below my waist. There are pockets on the skirt, they’re just not functioning. At first I thought I would just add them in the side seams and all would be okay – uh, no. They’re still in the side seams but when I decided it looked awful I just sewed the seams shut.

Yellow-y – this is an OOP McCall’s 3656 pattern. I just loved all the options on the cover, so I cut out three from this pattern (blue-y isn’t done yet). Also, one of my inspirations was a Talbot’s skirt that I saw online - a-line with front pockets. For all three (McCall's) skirts I cut size 16 at the waist and tapered to an 18. And when the first two were all done – I had to remove 2” of width from the waist down. For this skirt, since it didn’t have a waistband, I just made a stinkin’ CF seam and got rid of the excess. The fabric is from JoAnn’s; a good cotton from one of their collections (i.e., not the Keepsake collection).

Greeny II – another skirt from the McCall’s pattern and the least favorite (a big disappointment as I really liked this Amy Butler print). I removed the 2” excess with this skirt from the CB. That’s right, took out the zipper and put it back in again. Somewhere along the line while sewing these I determined that I just might have to make a swayback adjustment, from the waist down. For this skirt I removed almost 2” at the CB waist which then made the back hem, um, really short! It looks even now...on the outside. Underneath, the front hem is 1-1/2" and the back is 5/8". It's not pretty. I should have just stuck with Simplicity 3754. That one worked out great last year and it has fantastically deep pockets!

On a fabric note, I ordered this fabric - oops, was going to give you a link but it's all gone, when Carolyn speaks the bloggers listen! It's a silk/cotton twill - and even though I listened to Carolyn when she said, “the softest, drapiest fabric...and wonderful to work with”. I seemed to ignore the shopping online advice that said, “read the descriptions for key words”. The fabric came and it was much too yellow for me. (Yes, I know it said “yellow” in the description. I just wanted it to be more of a yellow, um, “tint”.) So I decide to dye it. Here’s how that project went: 1. Yellow to ecru = weird spots, color only mildly darkens the yellow. 2. Remove color = back to the original yellow, spots still there. 3. Go black = a really flat, dull gray. 4. Add fuchsia = mission accomplished. Even though the results are not a color I would have picked out, I checked on the dry piece of fabric just after shopping at Ann Taylor and getting an eye-full of this same exact shade of purple. In addition, it will look great with my gray pieces from last year and soon-to-come ivory pieces for this year.

Took a bunch of project pictures today, so I may actually post again before the month is over!

Oh yea, like I told my sister, I knew you would all jump on my case about that Vogue dress (8552)! I have to admit that when I saw the picture I liked it a little better. So at the last minute and I mean really last minute – we’re talkin’ loading up the bags of donation clothes in the car – I saved it. I saved it and threw it in with the silk (step #3, black). It also came out a dull gray and I was ready to make another trip out for some black dye until I saw this. Will this really and truly save the dress? I haven’t tried it on yet to check out the new color. I make no guarantees!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rambling - Or "Why I Haven't Posted Lately Even Though It's Summer And I'm Not Working"

  • This full-time mom thing is just too much. I want my old schedule back – the one where I teach all day. My youngest is totally exhausted. Today the only option for extra rest was to make him stay home from his baseball game. This child Lives. For. Baseball. I listened to his tired little body cry and beg for a good 15 minutes before I caved. Fingers are crossed for tomorrow. But before all this my daughter put on her best "please don't leave me" crying performance (a face that I have actually seen her practice in the mirror) as I dropped her off camp!

  • I have fingernails. It’s not the first time in my life…maybe the third time. But this time I have them because I’m trying to be a good mom. Both my kids bite their nails…like I used to. They had to learn it from someone, must’ve been me. So I stopped biting my nails - for the kids. They (the nails, well, the kids too) tend to drive me crazy. I go to scratch and almost tear my skin off. Recently, they’ve been hitting extra keys on the keyboard. And, it’s more work. Now I’ve started using polish because they look much better covered, but it takes soooo much time!!! I’m trying so hard to keep it up, to set a good example…for the children.

  • I just about paid twice as much for a fabric I wanted on Long story about why I'm buying a piece for the second time, but you really should check out the Designer section (apparel fabric) of the site. Yesterday this silk was $10.98. Today I went to order and it was $5.49 – awesome! I didn’t even get the e-mail yet about whatever this sale is.

  • If I don’t start sewing by 7:00 p.m. I don’t sew. I really thought that I’d grown out of this habit but now that the kids are staying up until 8:00, I just can’t get anything done at night. It stems from my single days when I could make a lined straight skirt in three hours and still get my required hours of beauty rest.

  • I’m a project-oriented person. I need to sew in big chunks – one skirt, everything except the buttons on a blouse, the outer fabric of a jacket. My life doesn’t let me do that anymore. I can’t cope. My garments will agree.

  • Summer accomplishments so far: 1. completely cleaned out my closet, 2. completely cleaned out the closet that no one uses because it has so much junk in it, 3. moved my sewing area to accommodate the “zoom, zoom”, 4. scheduled ¾ of the kids dr. appointments, 5. made a small dent in the summer fabric stash. I can’t even begin with the “yet to do” list – it’s big.

  • Hopefully the next post will have some actually sewing info and pix, cause really, I hate to read. Just show me what you’re trying to say.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

2 Fer 2

Meet my new Fourth of July uniform, let's call her "Forever The Fourth" – Simplicity 3773. I was desperately putting this thing together Wednesday night to wear to a parade on Thursday. There are no zippers, or buttons, and it isn’t lined. I have my zoom zoom so it should easily be done in two hours. Well, that didn’t happen. It ended up we skipped the parade too so I was able to finish it under less-stressful conditions.
You may not be able to tell, but I added piping to the outer edges and facings at the armholes to enclose the seams. I would have piped the pockets too but I ran out. I added 1-1/2” to the shoulder seam to make sure my bra straps would stay hidden. My only problem with fit is the right collar. I pressed it to death to get it to look somewhat acceptable but it really wants to stand away from my body by about ½”. Yea, I can live with that.

Now meet my two most recent waders. Number one I’m calling “How Do You Take Everyone’s Favorite Pattern And Make It Look Bad?” I bought the pattern after seeing it on PR’s top ten list last spring. I bought the fabric from JoAnn’s. Last summer I made a top using a similar fabric. This is a knit fabric with some sort of clear coating stamped on in a print design – but the coating doesn’t melt!? Anyway, I had a fit with the top, my machine hated that fabric. So the pink dress, all cut out and ready to sew, sat in a holding drawer for an entire year. I either needed to dump it or make it and for some unknown reason, when I’m still feeling pressed for sewing time, I decided to sew it. Well, I’m happy to report that my zoom zoom had nooooo problem with the fabric. The big problem is that the fabric has no stretch. Ugh. Even if it looks okay on the picture, it feels horrible! I don’t like the length either! Yuk, it’s already in the donation bag.

And number two, “I Knew It Was Wrong Before I Even Bought The Pattern.” Vogue 8552. I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow this habit. In my quest to try something new I picked out something that I knew deep down wasn't going to work. But, I refused to listen to my little voice and found some lightweight linen from my stash. I don’t have too many pieces in my stash that are more than two years old, but this was one of them. I didn’t make any changes to the pattern but the detail that really convinced me it wouldn’t look good, was the neckline. It’s too low. The necklace helps but… I think the other disaster factor is the color. Never should have ever purchased fabric that color. This pattern goes in the “it’s just not me” file and the dress joins pinky in the donation bag.

This dress almost didn’t make it. It’s vintage Simplicity, #6499 . I thought it would be so cool to match a boring old shift pattern with a funky print. (I just love all the cotton prints that are out there and am constantly looking for something besides a craft project to make with them.) At first I was looking to the Amy Butler fabrics, but then I found this fabric in my stash. It’s a Michael Miller print that, I think, I bought it a JoAnn’s last year. I didn’t even try to match the pattern in the front because I didn’t have any fabric to spare. The reason it almost didn’t make it was the neckline. I think I used the wrong SA’s, I mean I didn’t sew the same width that I cut. I used to cut every single neckline with a 3/8” SA no matter what the pattern called for. I’m not sure why, but I gotten away from that. Well, I think t’s because I started forgetting to sew them that width. Anyway, if the zipper is open too far the entire collar stands away from my neck. I was going to just remove the collar, but a day came when I was desperately looking for something besides shorts and a t-shirt to wear. I played around with it a bit and decided it would work just fine as it is.

I thought my schedule would slow down a little but I decided to take a class. (Instrument repair – and it is the BEST class I’ve every taken! The first day we completely took a clarinet apart! Yes, we did manage to put them back together and they are playable ;)) One more week of trying to manage all the summer schedules, learn something fun, and do lots of driving (it’s about an hour’s drive one way to my class). Then the real summer sewing will begin :) Happy sewing to all!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Purchase Pix

More vintage patterns. It seems that the only way for me to control my vintage pattern stash is to avoid them completely - Hah! (That will never happen.)
Another beautiful but mostly impractical garment (much like the jumpsuit!)

Just love the lines of this one.

Got this one for the vest - I've got big plans for "the vest" in upcoming wardrobes. (Note the word plans :))

Dear readers, especially those that commented on this (thanks for such encouraging comments BTW), I happily blame you for this one! Not only do I love the jumpsuit, take a look at the line drawing for the jacket - note the back armholes and sleeve cap. Hmmm, this is something new...

And then there's the fabric:
My Vera Lavender purchases. Note: Yes, I'm happy with my purchases. They were exactly what I expected. Lovely, crisp silk for a blouse in the fall/winter wardrobe.

Silk/wool blend twill with a really nice hand.

I also got two pieces of white, one knit, one a nice cotton for either a blouse or a dress.

Then I got this e-mail from EmmaOneSock. This is another site I try not to visit often - it's just much too tempting. I wasn't looking for anything in particular until I saw this. I have been drooling over the spring Liz Claiborne and found many of the fabrics on this site! Only bought two though.

This lightweight cotton print for a blouse, maybe a nice sleeveless dress.

The second piece is one of the linen huge multi-colored plaids. My pictures don't do this fabric justice and I can't find an online pic to show you. Guess you'll just have to wait!

Then there's this glazed linen - thanks to you Nancy I had to have it. There is a blouse from this fabric in my future!

One more. I picked up this yesterday for a festive 4th of July dress. Hmmm, that's this weekend, right? I'm getting off the computer NOW!