Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It's All About the Fabric

Here it is - my last make of 2016.

I actually finished this, except for the buttons and buttonholes, a couple of weeks before Christmas but didn't get around to that last little detail until a few days after Christmas. The pattern is Simplicity 8166, modified with a standard shirt collar and, of course, pockets. The gorgeous fabric is a Klimt inspired quilting cotton from eQuilter.

Mostly, I love it. A while back I decided I wanted to try wearing leggings and tunics because I thought they would be amazingly comfortable. In reality it hasn't been working out so well. Leggings and the loose tunics like this feel sort of weird and wrong but this is my favorite leggings outfit so far (leggings purchased at a local store) and I'm going to keep trying for a while longer to get used to wearing them.

Here's the back of the tunic. I love everything that's going on in this fabric - so many beautiful colors and interesting shapes.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Two Finished Projects

Hello? Hello? Anybody out there?

Now that Christmas is over I can show off the two quilts I've been working on and yes, I did finish both of them in time to give them for Christmas. I don't have a good place to display quilts for photographing so I got just a corner of each. This first one was a gift to my grandson. (age 17) He loved it.

And this one went to my brother-in-law (husband's brother) and his wife. This is the one that took me forever to finish and I wasn't entirely happy with the way it turned out but they loved it and were very impressed. (It's easy to impress people who don't quilt.)

And now it's time to get back to regular sewing and start the next quilt. After being so busy for weeks I hardly know what to do with myself now but at the same time I don't feel really motivated by any particular project or idea. It might take me a few days to get started on something.

Someone once called the week between Christmas and New Year's "the quiet week at the bottom of the year." I like that - a week in which it's okay to just do nothing, (or as little as possible) to reflect, to re-group, to read a book and drink hot tea, or just sit back and watch the Mythbusters mega-marathon. (or whatever series you like to binge on) It sort of seems like a bonus week. So, whatever you're doing with your bonus week, happy new year and happy sewing and crafting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Creepy Christmas Cards

Hello all. No sewing to show off right now. Sewing clothes has recently taken a back seat to quilting as I try to finish two(!) quilts by Christmas. I have successfully completed one. The other? Not looking too good right now.

Anyway, I really just wanted to share this collection of weird Victorian Christmas cards. (50+) Some of them are cute but most are like "What the H__?!" and a few are seriously creepy. Which is your favorite and which one most creeps you out?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ideas? Opinions? Tips?

I have this medium-heavy "stretch" twill fabric that, in fact, has hardly any stretch at all. Six inches of fabric (crosswise) stretches to maybe seven inches. I was going to make jeans but I must have a decent amount of stretch in my jeans and trousers so now I'm thinking about making a skirt. The problem? I want to line it and I don't know what kind of lining to use. Should I look for something with the same amount of stretch or should I just treat it like a non-stretch fabric and have a non-stretch lining?

* * * * *

More info: Here's the pattern I'm thinking of using, view C, the middle one. (Butterick 6418; I meant to capture the entire envelope in the picture but I missed.) It's an old pattern, 3 sizes too small but I'm confident in being able to upsize it it.

And this is just an idea I have right now. I had a black one like this years ago and I loved it but now skinny skirts are a little outside my comfort zone especially ones that are open to mid-thigh. Still, at the moment I'm really liking the idea. (By the way my fabric is bright pink.) I would always wear it with tights, thus the need for a lining so it won't cling. The fabric is heavy enough that it might actually be okay without a lining but I would hate to get it made and discover that I should have lined it.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Really Quick Leggings Post

I actually had a lot more to say about these but I'm in a bit of a rush. I found this wonderful, buttery soft stretch "ultra-suede" and immediately knew I had to have some leggings out of it.

That's how they will appear in public but you want to see more don't you? No, you just think you do. You really don't.

Okay, fine. Here's my "sexy leggings pic". I hope this doesn't spoil anyone's appetite on the day before Thanksgiving.

Pattern: McCall's 6173, with a lot of fitting tweaks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Underneath It All

Isn't it funny how we get used to new things and after a while it feels like the new things are the way it's supposed to be? I clearly remember back in the 70s, watching TV with my mother and seeing a Bali bra commercial on TV. They were showing beautiful, happy models wearing Bali bras and they bragged about the wonderful, natural shaping and Mom said something about how it would make you look like you weren't even wearing a bra. I didn't have as strong an opinion as she did about it but I tended to agree with her. I was young and still happy to even need a bra and I didn't want to wear anything to reduce the appearance of what little I had.

Fast-forward to the present. Now almost all bras are the more rounded "natural" shape and the few that are not get reviews on Amazon complaining that they are "too pointy" and "cone shaped" as if that was the most horrible clothing faux pas in the world.

Recently Tasha wrote about sewing retro bras and linked to her earlier post about retro bras. Now this got me interested in trying one myself. My fitted dresses and blouses never seem to fit quite right and it occurred to me that maybe a different shaped bra would make a difference.

The main limitation I have is that I am absolutely fanatical about having seamless cups so making my own is probably not going to happen. Fortunately, we have Amazon reviews and sometimes it's the negative reviews that are most helpful. By reading a whole bunch of these reviews I managed to find two retro shaped bras that are also seamless. Both are Playtex brand.

This one has unlined cups and the sides and back are wider than normal. I'm probably not going to be able to wear this with anything sleeveless. Also, I get just a bit of wrinkling on the cups but, overall, it's not too bad. It's wearable, at least in the winter.

And here's the other one. It's my favorite of the two. I think it will work fine for summer clothes although it is lined, which can be a good thing or a bad thing just depending.

Now, I hope you're still reading because here's the funny thing. When I first tried these on I was a bit freaked out. These bras don't look pointy at all on the models in the pictures but when I looked down at the girls I was like, OMG! they're so pointy! I thought, "I can't wear these in public; everyone will be staring at my pointy boobs." But when I looked in the mirror it didn't look quite so bad so I decided to keep them and give them an honest try. After wearing each of them for a whole day I was sold. My clothes definitely fit more like I feel they're supposed to.

I bought several more of the second one and for about a week it was the only style of bra I wore. Then I put on one of my modern shaped bras and a strange thing happened. I felt like it looked kind of wrong. Actually a little bit gross. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think modern bras are gross or that anyone else looks gross when you wear them. It's just how I felt about myself wearing one after a week of wearing so-called "pointy" bras. It's really funny how easily we get used to things and then whatever we're used to seems right.

I'm Sorry

I don't do politics here but I feel an irrational urge to apologize to the world for the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, even though I didn't vote for the guy and I know I'm not personally responsible. But when I think of the rest of the world watching I am embarrassed. Please don't think too harshly of us. In fact, slightly more than half of voters did vote for Clinton but we have this weird thing that most of us don't fully understand called the Electoral College.

I am worried but I am sure we will survive. We always do somehow. Now back to sewing. There will be sewing posts soon, I promise.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Colors

I love this shirt! In this shirt I shall go forth into a world overwhelmed with grays and browns* and spread light and happiness wherever I go, even if it's only the happiness of getting to say you can't look at me without sunglasses.

Here's a close-up of the fabrics. The colors in this photo are reasonably accurate, at least on my screen, except the yellow, streaky fabric is a bit more orangey in real life.

The main fabric was a two-yard piece I purchased at a local quilt shop. For a long time I wasn't sure what to do with it. That store always has a lot of one and two yard pieces that always tempt me. They usually end up being sleeveless or short sleeved tops. I can't really remember my thought processes with this but after having it for a few months I somehow decided it needed to be a Simplicity 1538 so I went back to the same store to look for the contrast fabric. I originally wanted something predominantly the sort of harvest gold color in the main print but I didn't find anything like that and settled on this bright orange-yellow. I'm glad I chose it because I love the way it turned out.

This is the second time I have made Simplicity 1538. It's a good basic shirt pattern, relaxed fit but not sloppy. The sleeves are a little longer than I like. Somehow I always end up with sleeves a little too long or a little too short. They're also a little bit too loose at the cuffs but, overall, acceptable.

*The grays and browns of nature haven't taken over yet. It's been almost as warm as summer here and the grass and foliage are still ridiculously green for November. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More Inspiration - 50's

Oooo! Vintage fans, check out this collection of 50's dresses. There are more than a dozen photos but here are some of my favorites.

It's hard to see much detail in this pretty floral but I think I like it a lot. The neckline is a little higher than I like for summer. And gloves? Lovely and elegant but no thank you.

I love the border on this one. Not sure about wearing a mostly white dress though. It's something I've always shied away from.

Oooo, a big, bias-cut plaid. I must do this!

And finally, I need this coat - the one in the middle.

I also like the applique skirts and the country style jumpers. What about you?

* * *

By the way, I have a shirt finished except for the buttons so I will have something to show off soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Birds and Sunflowers and Fenceposts

Have you ever bought a pattern and then looked at it at home and realized that there isn't much that you like about it? That's what happened with me and Simplicity 8166. I knew that I would not like the high collar on views A and B. I thought I would just make the version with the bow but then I remembered that bows bother me and if I made it with the bow I probably wouldn't wear it very often. So I thought, okay, no collar, no bow; this is still good. But then I got it out of the envelope and started cutting pieces and noticed something else about it. The "placket" is really tiny and narrow and it has button loops instead of holes, which would probably be okay but right away it turned me off. Still, no problem; I could just make a normal placket. Also, I wanted a bit longer tunic, also no problem. And, sleeve elastic bothers me too so I made narrow bands instead.

So I got started but as I was sewing it I started having serious doubts. I kept thinking it was going to end up being a dumpy looking smock thing. But, actually, I think it turned out... okay.

To be honest, I think it sort of needs the bow and/or a collar of some kind. Or maybe if I just corrected the shape of the neckline a little bit and possibly added a bit of trim. I used four mismatched gaudy, gold-colored buttons thinking it might make up for the lack of a bow. The bottom one is non-functional.

The verdict, totally wearable, even though far from perfect. I will definitely make it again, with even more changes.