Thursday, May 31, 2007
But - shhhhh - this is what I did....
Sewed one last skirt for the Sew, Mama, Sew! sew-along. This one is McCall's 5431 - a winner in my opinion.
This skirt has the all important twirlability factor built right in. I'll be adding more of these to my summer wardrobe...maybe even rethinking the use of the cool ladybug print as the border of a skirt. Full review of the skirt is on Patternreview.
Oh, and don't forget to take a peek at all of the wonderful skirts that are posted on the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr: Skirt Month.
Lest you think I shirked my home improvement projects completely, I leave you with photos of the final step in the retaining wall - the cap. DH carefully laid out and marked each cap piece noting where they would need to be cut. After cutting one with his own tool, he decided it would be better to rent the proper equipment from Home Depot. Well, DH has this way about him and before you know it the guy at Home Depot offered to just cut the five cap pieces for him.
One tiny little problem...DH forgot to mark which piece went where and when he tried to lay them out again they wouldn't fit. Soon I'm outside trying to help solve the puzzle (and I never did like puzzles all that much). He moved those heavy cap pieces for 20 minutes before I suggested that perhaps it might be easier to trace the pieces out of paper and move the paper pieces until the solution was found.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The day started out just fine. We awoke to the sound of a soft breeze blowing through the tree tops and the birds singing away. Oh how I love that sound in the morning!
The plan for the day was a quick drive for our bi-weekly chiropractic appointment, choose paint for the kitchen and begin the retaining wall.
As we were driving home from our chiropractic appointment we ended up in the midst of road crews setting up signs and traffic cones. They were closing two of the three lanes of highway traffic for road construction project. (Are those projects never ending where you live also?)
We were in the one open lane, the left lane, heading south, when all of a sudden we saw a car in the northbound lane burst out of the traffic, head for the grassy median where it spun and came to a stop.
At first we thought this person had been going too fast and when they braked they spun out of control. DH even commented that it was a smart move on their part to crank their steering wheel so they wouldn't fly into the opposing highway traffic.
But as we slowly drove past we saw a young women inside the car crying hysterically...and no one was stopping! Immediately we pulled over and my husband ran to see if she was okay. Turns out she was not injured, just badly shaken up. My husband helped calm her down and as she called her boyfriend he called 9-1-1 for assistance.
Turns out the car behind her was the one going too fast. The woman driving the car that hit her realized she was going to rear end the car and tried to swerve to the right. In doing so she hit the right back side of the car forcing the car to fly into the median and spin. The young women who caused the accident was also unhurt but incredibly shook up.
We stayed until the highway patrol arrived, explained that we hadn't actually witnessed the accident, but had stopped to offer help. The highway patrolman said it was fine if we left, so we continued on our way. But not before saying a prayer of thanks...thanks that these women were not harmed and thanks that the car spun in the center ditch - otherwise it would likely have been our car that would have been hit.
So that was the beginning of our day!
We just continued on to Home Depot where we choose a paint color for the kitchen. Although I'm still not sure if I like it or not. Its a neutral, which DH loves, but I really wanted turquoise...
When we got home DH began the retaining wall project and I left to have lunch with a new friend. I hope this is the beginning of a long friendship. This woman just oozes kindness, intelligence, and high-energy fun and I really enjoy her company! (Hey "PW", if you're reading this I'm talking about you!)
After a long, leisurely lunch I headed home to see if DH needed help. Fortunately he did not as I don't know if I have the strength to actually lift those landscaping blocks. It began raining soon after I took this photo so he wrapped it up for the day and I headed to the sewing room.
No big projects, just a couple of muslins for summer tops.
The first muslin I sewed is from Simplicity 3797. I purchased the pattern because of the solid colored dress on the cover. I like the simple lines with the slight flared skirt and hip belt.
I tested the fit by sewing the top. The only adjustment I made was to do an FBA, which is simple to do as this top/dress has princess seams. The top is very simple to sew. The side fronts are sewn to the front and the side backs are sewn to the back. A zipper is inserted in the side, which is nice as it keeps the line of the top smooth. While the instructions call for a lapped zipper application, I like invisible zippers. In my opinion, they are so much easier to insert.
The upper band is interfaced, faced, and top stitched. The straps, as sewn, are too narrow for me, as I would always want to make sure I could wear undergarments and not have the straps peek out.
With the muslin completed, I'm not sure if I like it. When I have it on something just doesn't look right. It might be the straight line across my upper chest that I find unflattering. However, as DH pointed out, this style might work on me as a dress as there wouldn't be two horizontal lines so close to one another. If I find the right fabric I'll sew the dress as it will only require a few hours of my time.
The other summer muslin I whipped up is from Simplicity 4196. This is the pattern I used to make two recent skirts.
I did an FBA to the pattern and cut out the top late last summer but tucked it away as the weather was turning colder. Since I'm looking for a sleeveless top pattern that can become a TNT for me I decided to sew it up quickly and see if this is the one! I sure like the looks of it on the model.
Well, good news and bad news. The good news is that is sews up very quickly. This top is easily a one hour project. The bad news is that I messed up my FBA. Oh my, I laughed so hard when I finished sewing it together.
First of all, I lowered the bust point but forgot to lower the vee-neckline also so there is way too much fabric at the center front. It looks horrible!
Secondly, I got overzealous with the FBA adjustment and there is so much extra fabric that I can't even donate the top as no one will be able to fill it out.
Thirdly, I was all excited that I would be able to cross this off my UFO list, but then I realized I hadn't even added this one to my list. Darn!
I think I'll stick with painting tomorrow and see if that goes any better. Pin It
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I had a piece of embroidered linen/blend that I purchased last fall from Joann's. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but when has that ever stopped me before?!?
I set the fabric aside but it kept making its way to the front of stash as if to say "pick me! pick me!" I kept wondering what to do with it - skirt - nope, fabric is too heavy; top - nah; maybe a simple a-line dress? Oh gosh, I just don't know. The poor lovely piece of fabric was preparing to make its way back into the closet when it hit me! A jacket for my mother would be the perfect use for this fabric.
The other day, I had a conversation with my mother and she was telling me how much she has been wearing the latest jacket I had given her. I had sewn her a simple white linen unlined jacket with a beautiful piece of lace trim added to the hemline to make it ultra feminine.
Then, of all things, we got into a conversation about favorite colors. Her favorite color is pink. Plus she loves roses. Plus she wears jackets all the time. Ah, duh! Now I knew what the fabric wanted to be.
I just had to find the right jacket pattern. Preferably one I hadn't sewn for her yet. I pulled out jacket patterns from a few years ago and came across a Sandra Betzina jacket that I hadn't tried yet. The jacket is Vogue 7855 - an out of print Sandra Betzina design.
There was *just* enough fabric - in fact I had to cut the back facing out of a contrast because I ran short on fabric.
If you haven't sewn this one yet, don't be alarmed when you pull out the instructions. The construction appears much more complicated than it really is. There are also some really nice design details that aren't apparent on the pattern envelope cover.
So the jacket is done and I can hardly wait to give it to my mom. I hope she gets lots of wear out of it.
And just in case you thought I spent the day sewing instead of working on the home improvement projects I leave you with a few photos of today's progress.
The landscape bricks were delivered. While DH continued work on the preparation for the paver patio work, I began tearing down the border in the kitchen we put up four years ago.
Monday, May 28, 2007
DH cleared a space a foot wide and I went along and dug a trench for the landscape edging to sit against.
After we had the edging in place and the dirt packed in tightly, we began moving rock from the back of the house to the fence line. Our plan is to level this area out with landscape bricks and plant something - maybe just hostas - I'm not sure at this point. DH shoveled the rock into a wheelbarrow and we poured it along the fence line.
Whew, almost done. It sure doesn't look like it would be much work does it? That small fence line took us about five hours from start to finish. Sure am glad that's done. Tomorrow we either begin ripping apart the paver patio or we paint the kitchen. All depends on the weather.
I did get into the sewing room for a short while. DD's blue cotton blouse (New Look 6678) was completed. Full review to follow.
DD's pink tee from McCall's 5271 was also completed. Review to follow.
A knit wrap dress was completed (for me!) - a TNT - Simplicity 9482. Review to follow.
Plus! I even had time to begin a jacket for my mother from a Sandra Betzina pattern (oop) - Vogue 7855. You guessed it. Review to follow. Pin It
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The big project on our t0-do list is our paver patio in the backyard. Next up will be to work on the landscaping. We purchased the home almost four years ago and the backyard was in rough shape (along with the rest of the house). We had a front and side patio poured and landscaped the front yard, but we haven't done much with the backyard yet.
I know we haven't done any maintenance on paver patio since we moved in and I doubt anything was done to it in the previous 15 years. It was dirty, with moss and weeds springing up in between the pavers, and the wood edging has rotted and is falling apart. So the first step was to get out the power washer.
That is one dirty patio!
Since it really was only a one person job, I found something else to occupy my time.
I know, I know. I could've been sewing. But look my view from the lounger!
Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy with a chance of rain. Sounds like a good day to power up the sewing machine. Pin It
Friday, May 25, 2007
This is my sweet DD just barely a year old. She was such a tiny little thing and because she had been born so prematurely not only was she behind in her development but she looked much younger than she was. Ahhh, but look at that smile. Sheer happiness. Aren't baby's smiles just the sweetest thing ever?
She had a little bump on the bridge of her nose - hemangioma - that developed when she was a few months old and remained until she was about two. She was almost four years of age before my doctor admitted that when I first brought her to the clinic they thought they had a potential child abuse case on their hands. I was shocked that they would even think that! I was, and am, crazy in love with my kids and view them as a precious gift from God. Sure I had moments of frustration - what mother doesn't? - but I would never have taken it out on my children. When I think of that conversation today I am still shocked. I'm sure once they watched me interact with her they knew it was a medical condition and not an abuse situation.
The adorable little smock top she is wearing was sewn for her by her loving mama - me. This top, with its gathered sleeve cap, empire waist, ties in the back, and rick-rack trim would be quite fashionable for a toddler today.
Doesn't the background on the photo look a little bit like the desolate planet in the original Star Wars movie?
Oh, by the way, did you see these crocheted Yoda and Princess Leia on Flicker? I *did* mention that today is the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, right? Pin It
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
- Cidell said she sees the fabric as a skirt.
- Henriette suggested McCalls 5431 with black as the contrast instead of red. It just so happens that I just picked this pattern up at a recent sale, but I don't have enough fabric. But I might play with black instead of red for the contrast.
- Vicki W suggested a tote. Not a bad idea, but I'm wondering to myself if I would get more use out of a skirt versus a tote. Hmmm....
- Melisa (how DO you get that little mark above the e?) provided a number of skirt pattern suggestions. McCalls 5431, McCalls 5430 (how did I miss this one before? Its really cute!), Simplicity 4233 (which I think I have in the stash so I can check yardage requirements), and New Look 6345 could work...
- Dawn suggested Burda 8677. For some reason I tend to forget about Burda even though everything I sewn from a Burda pattern has worked well for me.
- Now Linda thought of a sleeveless top, McCalls 2818. I never even thought of the possibility of a summer top!
- Amy and I must think alike as she liked the apron or tote idea also.
- Stacy suggested independent pattern companies. I've only used Favorite Things once, but the reviews and photos I've seen for the FT Cute Skirt are, well, cute! And I *have* been curious to see what the new Amy Butler skirt looks like.
- Now Tany suggested, and Deb seconded, a more classic style skirt with a trendy touch - a straight a-line with a red hem band. This could be a really good use of this fabric.
- By this point I was pretty sure my original pattern choice was not going to be *the one*, but then Gaylen commented that she has made the skirt multiple times and loves it! She cut the front two panels on the fold with a bit less of a flared shape near the bottom which would take care of breaking up the print in a seam.
You know, I'm probably spending more time *thinking* about what to sew with this fabric than it will take for me to actually sew it up!
Isn't it great how an online sewing community can put their creative heads together and come up with so many great ideas! Thank you!
This is going to be one of my sewing projects next week since I have an entire week off from work! Although, unlike a certain sewing fanatic (who's blog I read regularly), I won't get to spend my vacation time sewing. I'm DH's helper for a whole lotta home improvement projects. The first one up is to take apart the paver patio and redo it. Ugh, my muscles are already sore just thinking about it. Pin It
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The fabric is 100% cotton with an off-white background and big red polka dots and ladybugs. Both the polka dots and ladybugs have a diameter of 5". It will need a lining or an inner-lining also as its too sheer to wear as is. Probably a cotton batiste.
I thought of sewing the skirt from Kwik-Sew 3337.
This skirt is shown on the cover of volume 4 of sew simple magazine (spring issue). Inside the magazine is a three page spread on creative variations using the skirt pattern, as well as a special offer to purchase the pattern for only $3.99.
Do you think this fabric would work with this skirt pattern or would it break up the print too much? I did a quick sketch of the skirt with the fabric. I thought I could do the two center front and center back panels with the ladybug fabric and the side panels and bottom band with a red cotton. Maybe cut out a ladybug or two and applique them along the bottom band.
I'm open to ideas and opinions. So what do you think? Would it work? Or do one of you ultra creative souls have some other suggestions for me? Pin It
Friday, May 18, 2007
Over the past decade there have been a lot of high school and college graduation parties. In just a few weeks one of my sisters will see her youngest graduate from high school. It's both exciting and interesting to watch your children and nieces and nephews grow from childhood into young adulthood.
This week I'm visiting 1994 and DD's high school graduation. Her graduation ceremony was an outdoor event. She had spotted me in the upper level of the bleacher's when the ceremony began but saw me walking down the bleacher stairs before she received her diploma. She later told me that she thought I was leaving and was very upset. I would have been too if I thought my mother wasn't staying to watch me graduate.
Well, of course I wasn't leaving. I had spotted some storm clouds rolling in fast and I was moving to find a sheltered spot where I could watch her graduate. This photo of the two of us was taken at her grandparent's home after we got caught in the burst of heavy rain that immediately followed the outdoor graduation ceremony. We may have gotten soaked but it didn't matter, my DD had just gone through a major milestone in her life. I sure was a proud mama that night!
I sewed both the dress and the jacket that I was wearing. We bought DD's as she was at a point in her life when she didn't want me to sew for her. My dress was a summer favorite from a Simplicity pattern. A simple button front dress with princess seams, a scoop neck, and cap sleeves sewn from a floral cotton print.
The jacket I've written about before. It was a cardigan style jacket sewn using Vogue 2687 that was released in the late 70s or early 80s. This was the first time I had used a decorative fabric edge at the hem. It was also the first time that the instructions in a pattern called for a self-bias edge finish (along the front edge) versus using purchased bias tape. Up until this point I didn't know that you could make your own bias tape!
I sewed every piece from that Vogue Basic Design but the jacket was the one item that became a staple in my wardrobe for over fifteen years.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
This is an out of print pattern from Simplicity - 4196.
I had sewn this skirt last summer from a peach skin border print. It's not only comfortable but flattering as the fullness is attached to a yoke so it is not concentrated at the waistline.
Another very simple skirt to sew. There are only three pattern pieces - a front and back yoke and a skirt piece that is cut out twice. The bottom of the skirt is a straight line so it works well if you want to highlight a border printer or a fabric edging such as the eyelet fabric.
The only changes I made to the pattern were to add an invisible zipper,
and a full lining. The border print was a bit on the sheer side and the eyelet, well of course I needed a lining unless I wanted to play peek-a-boo.
Two skirts in the style are probably enough so the pattern may soon be retired from my sewing pattern stash. Pin It
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The cerebrospinal fluid tap was done late afternoon and I received a call at work near the end of the day that Sophia had done just fine. Of course today, of all days, the traffic was horrible. Normally around here by 6:30 or 7 p.m. the bumper-to-bumper traffic is done, but not today. Even the receptionist at the clinic mentioned that everyone who had come in had commented about the heavy traffic. The odd thing was that it was the entire metro area, not just one stretch of road.
They had to shave the back of her head since that is where they do the spinal tap on a dog. The doctor told us she had looked at the fluid under a microscope before sending it off for evaluation and did not see any infection.
While the official diagnosis will happen tomorrow, it looks like it is the White Shaker Dog Syndrome. Sophia will be treated with medication. She will get two pills a day for seven days, then one pill a day for 14 days, then one pill every other day and a follow up with the vet.
All in all, I'd say we're very fortunate to live in an area where we have easy access to great medical care for both humans and animals. I'm also thankful that this turned out to be something that could be easily treated.
Now, back to sewing! Pin It
Monday, May 14, 2007
I was going to post the second skirt I completed for the skirt sew-along month, but instead I'm showing off the magazine I was able to find at Borders bookstore. Yep, that's right. The last copy of May Burda World of Fashion. Do you know how much this baby cost? $13.95 usd! That was a bit of sticker shock for me as it was $7.50 usd an issue the last time I purchased it in a bookstore.
I know its not such a big deal to those of you who subscribe but I let my subscription lapse quite a few years ago. In fact it was right after my sister-in-law died (from ovarian cancer just one week after her 48th birthday - very sad.) My brother was letting her friends choose a piece of her jewelry (she had a huge collection of turquoise jewelry that she loved) and it just struck me how useless all the stuff was that I had been accumulating. When I came home from her funeral I pared down a lot of my stuff and cancelled all of my magazine subscriptions. Burda WOF was one of them. The initial grief passed and slowly the magazine subscriptions began again but I haven't gotten around to this one yet.
As usual its filled with inspiration. I especially like these two jackets. Although I'm not sure about the rope as it looks too nautical for my taste.
I don't live near a Borders bookstore so I don't typically have a chance to look for the Burda WOF magazine. I was in the area because I had to bring my little Maltese, Sophia, to a specialist.
We noticed constant tremors involving her entire body just over a month ago. At first we thought with the onset of thunderstorm season she was scared. But the tremors worsened especially when she became excited. However, they stop when she is asleep.
The specialist suspects it is something called "White Dog Shaker Syndrome". I'll be bringing her back in the morning for a CSF tap to confirm the diagnosis. Apparently she has all the symptoms and is the right age (she just turned five.) The good news is that, while they don't know what causes it, it is treatable.
I'm glad I was close to a Borders and able to stop in to purchase a copy of Burda, but I hope this will be the last trip in that direction for the little white dog. Pin It
Sunday, May 13, 2007
As I mentioned previously, it's a very easy skirt to sew. The only change I made was to add a lining. The skirt was sewn from a remnant linen blend with a silver metallic embroidered border. There wasn't enough fabric to have the border along the hemline, so I placed it along the center front edge.
Oh! I used my new baby, the Pfaff 2056, to not only make the buttonholes but to sew on the buttons!
Full review here. Pin It
Saturday, May 12, 2007
That changed Friday afternoon when I found myself with a free afternoon and an appointment that left me only blocks away from the shop. A few months ago I had been given a rather large gift certificate to the store as a thank you gift. I've been waiting for the right time to visit the store and Friday was it.
The store has no parking lot so I drove around for a few minutes before locating an on-street parking spot. When I walked into the store on my immediate right were rolls and bolts of yummy silks and other fancy fabrics. On my left was a half wall of bright and cheerful cottons - some Amy Butler fabrics. In front of me were more bolts of linens and other natural fiber fabrics, a small selection of trims, thread, and other assorted notions. Button selections were scattered through out the store.
The altered denim skirt from the Spring 2007 issue of Altered Couture magazine was on display as either a customer or an employee had created it.
Before I left I picked up a copy of their class offerings and noticed that an altered skirt class is being held this summer. I might sign up for the class as it would be fun to interact with a group of creative souls.
There are other model garment through out the store designed to entice you to try both the fabric and the pattern. One summer dress in a polka dot brown linen made me think twice about a pattern I had purchased last year and then decided against making.
Traveling into the store, near the left front (on the other side of the wall of colorful cottons at the entrance) is a warm and cozy reading/sewing area situated directly in front of the large store window that overlooks the sidewalk and busy street outside. There are chairs to sit at and a table to place your items. It appears that area may be used for sewing classes. The walls surrounding the area are lined with cotton batiks, novelty cottons and other cotton prints.
As you move back into the store there is a limited selection of knits, but they are high quality. The rayon/lycra blends felt like silk, draped beautifully and I knew I wanted some. But at $20 yard I will go back to purchase some with my pattern and exact yardage in hand. My frugal nature won't allow me to purchase at that price "just in case I find a pattern I want to use it for." Although I just couldn't pass up a fun cotton/lycra knit print in shades of pink and coral.
The very back of the store has wools, sale items, and a small remnant bin. Again a limited quantity but great quality. Of course I had to look at the remnants and purchased a white cotton knit and a fun ladybug cotton print.
In the middle of the store is a large cutting/check out area that extends into a long sit-down counter where the pattern catalogs were located. There were comfy stools to use when browsing through the catalogs which included not only the Big 4, but many independent pattern companies such as Folkwear and Decades of Patterns. The sewing book and magazines were located in a short rack that extended the entire length of the pattern catalog counter. The selection was limited but high-end.
The sales staff are situated inside that large area where they are readily available to assist with cutting fabric or chatting with customers. I was there on a Friday mid-afternoon and there were four sales people working. I'll admit I was surprised that no one acknowledged my presence until I had been in the store close to ten minutes. I guess the hugs are reserved for the regulars visitors - and there appeared to be quite a few of them coming into the store.
The two ladies that did acknowledge me were very friendly and we exchanged small talk. They were available when I wanted to ask questions but were respectful when I was just browsing. I suspect if I brought in patterns and asked for assistance with fabric choices they'd be more than willing to share their opinions and expertise with me.
For a small store and a Friday afternoon, when many of us are working, it was a busy place. Not crowded, but always someone coming or going. Always a smile and a kind word at the cutting table for the customers. The question "what are you making" asked out of genuine curiosity not as a corporate policy.
I'll be back, gift certificate in hand ready to bring home some of the treasures tucked inside Treadle Yard Goods. Pin It