Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Year, New Sewing Coming Soon

Wow, it's been a really long time hasn't it? And I'm probably being excessively optimistic to assume that there's even anyone out there reading this. I have done a little sewing in the past few months but not a lot - a few things for the granddaughter, a few minor fixes and re-fashions, and one new thing for me that I need to photograph but no promises as to when I will get around to that.

But today I want to talk about my new life-changing gadget that I got for Christmas. Electric scissors! (The lower blade is the same color as the upper one. It just looks weird in the photo for some reason.)

To be honest, I used to have a slight disdain for electric scissors, when I thought about them at all which was hardly ever. But we all eventually reach an age when our various parts don't quite work the way they always have. It was becoming nearly impossible for me to cut out a whole garment without taking a break. Or several breaks. So, with Christmas approaching and my other half begging for ideas, I dropped a hint that I might like to try electric scissors.

And they are amazing. They cut through any fabric like it's not even there! It's not an exaggeration to say they're life-changing. Well, not much of one anyway. My only complaint is that they are really loud, almost "hearing protection required" loud. And yes, I love that they are pink.

I cleared out a drawer of my treadle sewing machine, which is what I mostly sew on, for the new gadget and its accessories (charger, extra blades) and it amuses me that this modern gadget lives in the drawer of a hundred-year old antique.* I love little incongruities like that.

This week I started a wool coat, cut out with my new electric scissors, and so far it's going well, although I'm taking it really slow, only working on it a little bit at a time, for no particular reason other than I want to be lazy, drink tea, read books, and spend too much time on Twitter but I expect to get back into sewing as we get closer to warm weather.

(*I can now officially say it's one hundred years old. Various websites give its date of manufacture based on serial number as between 1910 and 1920.)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Just a T-Shirt

I like it and I don't. I like wearing it but I don't like the way I look in it.

I used a Butterick t-shirt pattern. (Can't remember the number; too lazy to look it up) I made a facing instead of the neck band because neck bands often don't work out well. And I lengthened the sleeves a little bit.

The fabric is a cotton/modal blend from Girl Charlee. I always feel like I'm taking a terrible chance when I order from Girl Charlee because some of their fabric is very poor quality but some of it, like this one, is very nice. I love the cotton/modal knit and I haven't seen it anywhere else.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Quick and Easy Tunic

When I saw this adorable fabric with antique pickups and flowers and such on it of course I had to have it. And what else could it be but another McCall's 9065?

Short sleeves this time and an un-banded collar because a band is just too much fabric up around my neck in the summertime.

(Yes, that's my front door. Of the new house which we're not living in yet because we're still building it. But we're getting closer.)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

OMG! Orange!

A while back when I was talking about how little I have been sewing for myself this summer Marcy practically ordered me to sew some wax print. Well, I sewed the dress in my last post first because that's what I really wanted to sew. But I did have a piece of fabric in my stash that has been calling out, "Hey! Sew me next!" It's not the only one calling to me but as you can see this one is pretty loud. (See what I did there?)

This came up on my Etsy search for "Dutch wax print" but it's different. It's not double sided and it's lighter weight and not as tight a weave as other wax print I have sewn. It's exactly like typical quilting cotton. But that's okay because I love quilting cotton too.

When I have a big beautiful print I like to keep the pattern simple so I used the bodice of Butterick 5748 and a half circle skirt (with pockets, of course) instead of the full circle that came in the pattern because I just don't want to deal with a full circle.

OMG! Orange makes me look so fat! I didn't realize until I saw the pictures. I don't really care much though. Let me tell you how much I love orange, especially with a little hot pink thrown in. Orange is such a happy, fun color. It has the hotness of red with the lightheartedness of yellow.

Just a little showing off:

Before, when using this bodice, I have cheated and made alterations on the fly which usually works out okay but could be better. This time I buckled down and did it right. I carefully measured and put the darts where they need to go and fixed the too high and wide neckline and the armholes that don't fit quite right. So it's not really Butterick 5748 anymore; it's my basic summer bodice pattern. The armholes still don't fit quite right. They're slightly gaping. I think it's because of my sloping shoulders and I think I know what to do about it next time. When I square up my shoulders in a way that feels unnatural to me the issues go away.

In the best picture of the dress I had my eyes closed but I'm going to post it anyway because this isn't about me; it's about the dress.

I'm going to wear it to a family get-together this weekend. Look out, family; get your sunglasses ready.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Goal: Everyday Wearability

As I've mentioned before recently, I haven't been sewing as much as normal this summer and much of what I've made is for other people, mostly my granddaughter. Which is fine. I love sewing for her, but I do want to sew at least a few more dresses for myself and I have been thinking I will only have time for two or three more this summer. With that in mind, I want to make something that I will definitely wear a lot, so this dress has all my favorites: colorful floral print on a dark background,* not paisley but sort of a paisleyish feel, fitted princess bodice with a low back from one pattern and a plain gathered skirt from another, side zipper, my favorite length, low mid-calf, and of course, pockets!

First the fabric:

Just look at those colors! So many of my favorites in one print.

And the dress:

The pocket picture was badly out of focus and the back picture was overexposed due to the sun literally glaring off my pasty white back so you'll just have to use your imagination on those 'cuz I'm not tryin' again.

I love it. It's exactly what I wanted it to be. I will definitely wear it often for the rest of the summer and maybe into the fall and even early winter as a jumper because I have several long sleeved t-shirts in the right colors to go with it.

*I love lighter prints too but I can never feel entirely comfortable in them because I'm always afraid of spilling something on them or brushing up against something dirty so I feel like I have to be very careful all day. Yes I know, the same things can happen with bright colors. It's not logical; it's psychological.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sewing Therapy

Something sort of weird happened yesterday. First a little background, though. I mostly sew on a 100 year old Singer treadle machine left to me by my grandmother and I sew buttonholes and hems and such by hand. At one point I had planned to do a lot of this the easy modern way on my electric machine even on the things I make on the treadle but it turns out my electric machine doesn't have a blind hem stitch (What?!!) and buttonholes are just way more fun and actually way easier (though slower) to do by hand.

So that's the background; here's what happened. For about two weeks I have had a pain in my right hand in the joint where the thumb joins the rest of the hand. You really don't appreciate what a useful thing a thumb is until yours is not functioning properly. But I'm stubborn about these things so I just kept trucking along, mostly still doing what I do, just a little more carefully, so when it came to time to do the buttonholes I did the buttonholes.

And after stitching six buttonholes by hand my hand had stopped hurting almost entirely! There's still a hint of an ache when I move it a certain way and I still feel inclined to do things carefully but wow. The difference is dramatic.

Now let me be clear, this is NOT a recommendation for alternative therapy. I just wanted to share what seems to me a slightly bizarre and puzzling scene from my life.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Another Little Dress

Here's another dress for the granddaughter. McCall's 9227 with the addition of pockets and full sleeves. (The pattern has only cap sleeves.)

So far she has liked everything I have made for her but currently her favorite color is blue so the next thing I make for her will be blue.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Fine Art of Never Letting Go

I'm sorry I don't have a Before photo. So here's the story. I made a dress ages ago - maybe 20 years, I can't remember - out of this really cute yellow and white check with ladybugs. But it didn't turn out well. I loved it until I put it on and looked in the mirror, then it just didn't work for me. I tried once to fix it by making a complete new bodice for it. Slight improvement but it still didn't work. So for years I tried to think of something else to do to fix it. I considered giving it to Goodwill but it's so hard to let go.

Finally a few weeks ago it hit me. Why not make something for the granddaughter! The pattern is McCall's L9462, plus pockets from another pattern.

Yes it's wrinkled. Don't judge; Her mom honestly doesn't have time for ironing.

You may notice she's holding something very small in her hand.

It was quick and easy to make and she likes it.

But the story doesn't end there. I had a few little scraps left and I had an idea. So I searched for and quickly found some black and white stripe fabric. I used New Look 6963, my current favorite long shirt pattern and here's what I came up with:

And the back:

This is different for me. I don't often wear stripes and never anything as plain as black and white stripes but I love this. Sometimes less really is more. Less of this adorable ladybug check fabric works so much better than more. And best of all, I was able to let go and yet not let go.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dots and Daisies and a New Pattern

Hey everyone I used a new pattern! So what? you say? Well, I've been using the same three dress patterns for at least a decade so it's kind of a big deal for me. Actually, though, I have had my eye on Vogue 2960 for several years but I was hesitant because I was sure those boob gathers were going to be too high for me. And it turns out I was right. They are too high and I have no idea what to do about it but you know what? I don't care. I love this dress anyway.

And the back.

I read several reviews that said the neckline on this pattern was way too low and gaping so I raised it an inch and a half. That may have been more than strictly necessary but it works.

The back is a little poofy and, as I said, the boob gathers are too high but other than that I like the fit. The skirt was pretty easy. I was concerned that there is so much fabric in the skirt but it doesn't bother me or get in the way like I was afraid it might. I made side seam pockets, which were not included in the pattern but must have pockets! They tend to get lost in the pleats and at first I had trouble finding them but I'm getting used to them.

The fabric is a very inexpensive cotton that I originally bought just because it was cheap to try out a different pattern but I'm glad I procrastinated about that because I think it works much better for this and now I like it much better than I originally did. Added big white buttons and some red rick-rack and it might just be the most adorable dress ever even if it's not perfect. This might be my Fourth of July dress if it's not cool and raining like it has been so often lately.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Little Something

I bought this pattern several years ago. I never had any great enthusiasm for it. I was hoping something new would make me stop using the same three dress patterns over and over again (Not that there's anything wrong with that) and this seemed like something that might work for me. But before I got around to making it I started to have doubts about it, mainly about the high, wide neckline. (and I'm not sure about the shoulder strap version.)

I hardly paid any attention to the little jacket. I had this piece of lovely seafoam green woven polyester, left over from something I made way back in the late 80s or early 90s. For a long time I have had it in the back of my mind to make a little jacket and recently everything just clicked - this fabric, this pattern. And so...

The pattern is for a lined jacket but I didn't want a lining so I cut facings out of a lightweight fabric (cotton? cotton/poly?) that is nearly the same color. It didn't quite turn out perfect but I love it.

And now here's a funny thing - while I was cutting out the pattern pieces for the jacket I started to feel little stirrings of enthusiasm for the dress so maybe I will make it. Maybe.

This was a bigger piece of fabric than I thought it was and I actually have enough to make something else, possibly a skirt if I wore short straight skirts, which I don't. That's okay; maybe in another 30 years I'll figure out something to make out of it.

The dress in the photo is just what I happened to have on when I decided to photograph the jacket. It's several years old. I can't remember if I ever blogged it or even what pattern I used.