Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Somebody Stop Me

Life as a seamstress (or sewer or sewist or whatever we're supposed to call ourselves) can be hard. Challenging. Yeah, that's better. It's not hard - really, it's not - it's challenging. It's December and I've been spending money like I've got a money orchard in my back yard. (There's a weird old movie about a family with two money trees.) So, I had decided that I am not going to buy any fabric in November and December. Well, except for those two pieces from Girl Charlee that I had to go ahead and buy because they were down to the last few yards. And that other piece that I couldn't resist. But really, I've been very good the for the last month and a half. But eQuilter sends out a weekly email of their new fabrics. This week I looked, even though I knew I shouldn't, and there are something like 15 fabrics that I want. Not just want but WANT! WANT! WANT! with a powerful WANT.

There is a good thing about buying fabric in December. I'm getting so many packages anyway, it's easy to sneak some fabric in without the husband realizing that I'm buying more fabric. Not that I have to sneak fabric in. No really, I don't. It's just that maybe I'm a little bit embarrassed about how much fabric I have? My stash isn't anywhere near as big as some stashes, and I can easily afford more, but I grew up in a penny pinching family. My mother sewed but she never really had much of a stash, just maybe half a dozen or so pieces at a time. The habits and standards of childhood stay with you your whole life.

By the way, speaking of packages, I would like to say to all the companies I buy stuff from, please stop sending my stuff in bags and giant envelopes. I need more boxes.

I have been sewing. I was working on a thing that I had planned to wear this past weekend but it took longer than I expected and by Friday I was just burned out over it so, even though the only thing left to do was three buttons and buttonholes, I just quit. I will try to finish it today and maybe photograph and post it tomorrow or the next day. It's funny how sometimes the last little thing is just too much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take minute to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and just a happy week and weekend to my international friends. I don't have anything new to show off so how about a cat picture.

It seems like an appropriate image for Thanksgiving. This is pretty close to the condition I'll be in tomorrow afternoon, though certainly not that flexible.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fall Leaves and Critters

I don't have much to say about this other than, "I love it!"

I used the body of New Look 6078 and the sleeves, collar and front band of McCall's 4922. I have done this before and I think it might be my favorite frankenpattern. The sleeves are a little bit too long. I knew I needed to shorten them but I forgot to do it.

(By the way, I made the jeans too.)

Here is a closeup of the adorable fabric.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blue Granville Shirt - Finally Done!

It seems like I've been working on this for a month or more. I finally finished it last week. I have been seeing the Granville shirt pattern everywhere and when I read that it was designed for pear shaped figures I thought, "That's for me!" I don't know why it took me so long. Well, actually, yes I do. There was nothing difficult at all about the pattern but there were several steps that the instructions said to do differently from what I was used to and every time I got to one of those steps I would procrastinate. I would have finished a lot sooner if I hadn't read the instructions but I actually like a couple of the "weird" methods so I'm glad I read the instructions and learned new ways of doing these common things.

Complaints about the pattern: The sleeves are way too long. I shortened them two inches and, as you can see, they're still too long. They are also too loose at the wrist. Another thing is the collar was way too long. Overall though, I like the pattern and I will try again. I have a piece of fabric in mind for the next one. Anyway, here it is.

There are some weird wrinkles radiating from the top button. (and a lot of wrinkles everywhere for that matter) I think that's because it's a very soft, drapey fabric. And I have to tell you about this surprising fabric. Several years ago I bought three sets of queen size sheets at a discount outlet store. One set was different from the others. The fabric was a very soft, smooth micro-twill, about twice as thick as normal sheets. I used them once. After I washed them I tried to put them on the bed for the second time and discovered that the fitted sheet was about a foot too short! Most people would have seen a brand new set of totally useless sheets. I saw a heck of a lot of really nice fabric so I saved them.

I cut the elastic off the fitted sheet and used it for this shirt because I was going to use the flat sheet for quilt backing but now I'm thinking I really want to use it for something else to wear. I think this pattern wasn't the best for this fabric but it's wearable and comfortable. For the most part I like it.

The buttons are a shiny, translucent blue that, depending on how the light hits them, look to be either a perfect match for the fabric or slightly off.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Reason Why I Must Have Pockets

I posted this on my other blog and it's not about sewing but I can relate it to sewing. This is why all of my clothes must have pockets, no matter what. (Here's a picture with pockets from April 2014, because sewing blog posts should have pictures, right?)

I carry my son in my pocket. He's nearly six feet tall but he's right there in my pocket so, at any time, he can show me pictures of his daughter or his dogs or what he's doing at work or we can talk about what we're reading or make fun of something we saw on TV or just share a silly joke. I don't get sad and lonely because "he never calls" because he's always right there in my pocket.

I also carry my other son in my pocket. He's a lot quieter but he does always tell me when he's going to be late. Their father is in my pocket too. It's so convenient having him there. And I have several other people in my pocket - my daughter-in-law, my grandson and my sisters-in-law. It may seem crowded in there but there's always room for more, if any of my cousins ever decide to stop being techno-phobic.

There are other things besides people in my pocket. There's my grocery list. I like having it there where I can update it anytime and I never forget it when I go to the store. And speaking of stores, I have thousands of those in my pocket too so I can read reviews or compare prices anytime, anywhere I might be. I also have all the world's libraries in my pocket so I'm never stuck somewhere with nothing to read.

Maybe you've seen my husband and me at a restaurant, both of us looking at our phones, and made assumptions about us. What you don't understand is that there are more than just two people at the table. We are not ignoring each other; we're spending time together with family and friends. And maybe you've seen me in the dentist's office or in a car dealer's service department waiting area looking at my phone and thought how sad that I'm not talking to you instead. What you don't understand is that I probably wouldn't be talking to you anyway. Without my phone I would be either reading a book that I brought with me or flipping through the world's most boring magazines wishing I had something good to read.

So you don't like my phone even though you don't even understand what it really is. I wonder, how is it any of your business? People going about their own business, not bothering anyone. How is that any of your business. Don't disrespect my phone. You don't understand what it really is, and it might be keeping me from biting your head off.

Monday, November 2, 2015

From the Netherlands For Africa

Vlisco, a company located in a small town in the Netherlands, has been making fabrics for sale to Africa for 170 years. It really has a very interesting history. I like the way the African women assign their own names and meanings to the designs.

These fabric designs are quite different from those sold as "African" fabrics here in the U.S. This fan print appeals to me.

And this one. Very interesting. I can more easily imagine it in a quilt than a garment.

I found a website where you can buy some of the Vlisco fabrics but they are expensive. Sadly, I don't think I will be buying any.

(Sorry, I can't get the images to fit no matter what size I choose but I'm just going to leave them. I know I could download them, resize them and then upload them but I'm not going to bother this time.)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Change of Seasons

My closet is only about five and half feet long and it has a narrow door that makes it difficult to reach the ends. Only about two and half feet of it is easy to reach. I have to play contortionist to reach the rest. The only good thing about it is that it's all mine. My husband has his own, identical closet so I don't have to share. Five and half feet is not enough closet space for a woman, especially one who sews. Once or twice a year I do take a few things out and take it to Goodwill but I keep putting more in than I take out.

After nearly two decades of living with this closet, not sure I could stuff one more garment into it, this past spring I decided to buy one of those big plastic storage containers for my off season clothes. I stuffed it full of sweaters and jackets and flannel shirts and put it in the closet in the spare bedroom which, as my mother-in-law used to say of a small outbuilding she had, "You could hide an elephant in there." It was hard. I felt like I was sending my beloved mostly-made-by-me clothes into a black hole. What would happen to them? I need them all to be in my closet where I know they're safe.

October has been lovely, almost like summer, but the last few days have been cold. Well, not really cold but definitely time to face the fact that summer is over. So today I got out the winter stuff and put my summer dresses in the storage container and into the black hole spare bedroom closet. It was really terribly hard to do. It felt like I was saying goodbye to my lovelies indefinitely even though I know that's not true. I might have to go visit them every day for a while. But my comfy cozy flannels are back, which is good, because I'm going to be needing them but I'm going to miss my dresses and summer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slow Projects and Intermittent Blogger's Guilt

I hate it when I don't post anything here for more than a week but I suppose that's the nature of sewing blogging. Whenever you finish a project, that's when you blog and if you don't finish anything for a week or two...

I feel like I need to come up with an idea for a weekly blog series but, 1, I haven't thought of anything that would be either entertaining or informative and 2, I'm afraid I would have trouble being consistent. Actually I do have what I think is a pretty good idea for a limited series - just three or four posts. I'm going to take some pictures and search for some old pictures and start that soon(ish)

For the past two (going on three I think) weeks I have been working on a Granville shirt. It's actually going well, so I don't know why I'm not getting it done faster. I have been doing one little step at a time and then stopping and sometimes I go back to it the next day and sometimes it ends up being two days. There are so many things I want to get done, I'm tempted to put it aside for a while and start something else but I have always had this fear of not finishing things. I feel like have to finish each thing before I move on to the next.

So, what are you working on? Do you do one thing at time or do you work on multiple projects at once? How do you motivate yourself when you feel stuck?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Slippers

I have found it impossible to find slippers that I like. All of them are either too much or not enough. If they cover your entire foot they have enough insulation to keep your feet toasty warm on a 10 mile hike in the snow. Seriously. I wish they made snow boots as well insulated as a typical winter house slipper. The solution, of course, is to make my own. I am so happy that I know how to sew.

The pattern is Green Pepper 837GP. Green Pepper has some very interesting patterns for things you might not think of making yourself. I have made the slippers before and I wasn't entirely happy with the result but now I'm experimenting.

The ones I made before were all polar fleece but earlier this year I found this great soling material. Since I used that I had to make insoles of polar fleece. I wish I had taken pictures of the process. What I did was, after sewing the slipper together with the soling linked above, with the slipper still inside out, I sewed the fleece insole over the top of the slipper, with the right side of the insole down and leaving the heel open. Then I turned it to the bottom of the slipper and hand sewed the heel. I hope that makes sense. I fear that I'm not very good at explaining things.

As you can see, they don't match. These are actually my second attempt. The first ones were perfectly matched with an orange dot on top of each one but they turned out a little too small. The ones I had made before were a bit too large so I tried making these just a teensy bit smaller but they ended up too tight. So I tried again with the fleece I had left and ended up with the ones you see in the picture. I am mostly happy with them. The heel seam bothers me a bit, which is embarrassing to admit since it's hand sewn. I might try to re-work it, but it's really not too bad.

I made a pair for my husband with a full lining. They're brown so they wouldn't show up well in a picture and, anyway, he's not around to model them right now. I'm thinking about making a pair with a full lining for myself.

The pattern includes all whole shoe sizes from infants size 0 to men's size 13. I can sew a simple pair in less than half an hour. With the insole or lining it takes a little longer, naturally.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Summer to Fall

At first I was thinking of this as "one last summer top" but this would be great with a cardigan or light jacket, which makes it perfect for the kind of weather we are having right now: 50° (F) in the morning and 80° in the afternoon.

This is New Look 6963 and one of the 2-yard pieces that I bought back in July. (Which seems much more recent than it is) I don't have much more to say about this other than, I love it. The color, the really cute sewing notions print, and my current favorite shirt pattern. This one's a win. (The print being almost perfectly matched in front is a complete accident.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Too old? Or old enough?

I don't remember if I said this before or just thought it and never said it. We go through phases of age appropriateness. First, when we are little, our mothers dress us in adorable little things and we're fine with it. I was more than fine with it. I loved all the cute bright colored, lacy, ruffly things my mom made for me. Then we go to school and suddenly that's "baby stuff". We are Too Old to dress that way. What we consider that we are too old to wear changes over the years but overall the Too Old phase lasts well into adulthood as we feel we must look a certain way in order to be taken seriously. Eventually, if we are lucky, we realize that we never stopped liking the bright colors and cute prints we used to wear when we were little and that life is too short to dress to please other people. We are not too old to wear brightly colored novelty prints; we are Old Enough.

I already decided a few years ago that I have reached the Old Enough phase but sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I have this internal battle between Too Old" and Old Enough. For example, I desperately want this Laurel Burch fabric but my Inner Stuffy Person keeps telling me, "You're way too old for Laurel Burch." My Inner Five-Year-Old and my Inner Old Lady are trying to gang up on her but Inner Stuffy Person is pretty stubborn. I'm really hoping that Inner Five-Year-Old and Inner Old Lady win though.

* * * * *

I do have some finished sewing to show off and I will really try to get around to it this week. Yes, I actually do still sew, not just buy fabric and patterns.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pants or Trousers and Finding the Right Knits

Warning: This is going to be a long, rambling post with maybe a little bit of ranting.

First of all, before I get into the main subject I want to talk about what we call these things. I was born and have lived all my life in the U.S. so I mostly say "pants" but I understand that in the U.K. "pants" only means underwear. Is that correct? So, a while back I decided that, in order to be more international I should start saying "trousers". But I'm finding that I can't get comfortable with that. You see, in my mind "trousers" is an old-fashioned word for a male garment. That's not an official definition; it's just the definition I have in my head, right or wrong. It's stuck there and when I use it to talk about a modern women's garment I have the uncomfortable feeling that I'm using it wrong even if I'm not. I'm a little more comfortable with "slacks" but I think of those as a dressier garment. Again, not an official definition. But now I'm not even comfortable using the word "pants" on the Internet because I'm afraid someone will think I'm talking about my underwear. Of course, I'm probably just flattering myself to think that I have more than one reader. So anyway, I'm probably going to keep on calling them pants because that's what I am accustomed to.

I recently decided that I need more knit pants. A few years ago I decided that I was not going to wear knit pants anymore because "only old redneck women wear knit pants". (Hush! I am not! I'm listening to Bach's Cello Suites right now. Rednecks don't listen to Bach.) I started making pants out of stretch cotton twill, which looks really nice and is comfortable, though not "Am I still in my pajamas?" comfortable like knit pants. I still do have several pairs of cheap knit pants from Walmart and one good pair from L.L. Bean and I have been wearing them around the house when it's not too hot for pants. (I mostly wear dresses in the summer but this summer hasn't been ridiculously hot.) My problem is not that they're wearing out. Even the cheap ones are still in really good condition but the pockets are not big enough for my Galaxy S5. (Yes, I'm one of those people.) So, basically, I was down to one wearable pair of knit pants, the ones from L.L. Bean.

So of course I decided to sew a few pairs. My ultimate goal, more like my impossible dream, would be to find a fabric like or similar to the cotton/spandex fabric L.L. Bean uses to make their Perfect Fit pants. (I would buy more of those but they only come in a few dark, dull, and very uninteresting colors.) Ages ago I bought two pieces of cotton spandex knit from SpandexWorld.com and made a couple of long sleeve t-shirts. It was a fairly hefty fabric, thicker than the average t-shirt but it would be just about right for pants so two or three months ago I ordered two pieces for pants. One, burgundy, was a little disappointing, too soft and lightweight, but acceptable. The other, a nice olive green color, was perfect - sturdy with a firm stretch. Just what I wanted. I sewed the burgundy fabric first and I'm working on the olive green right now, almost finished. Just a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted more. I need a grey pair and they have a lot of other nice, tempting colors so I picked out one of those just because. Here's what I got:

That green is apparently very hard to photograph. It looks nothing at all like the photo on the website (They call it Jewel Jade.) and not much like my photo. It's a very bright green with just the slightest hint of blue. It's not the color I thought I was getting but I like it. I love it. I'm just not sure if I want pants that color. They describe it as "heavyweight" but it is lighter weight than the olive. (which they no longer have) The grey fabric is extremely lightweight and not suitable for pants at all. Maybe leggings but I don't wear leggings. I could but I'd have to make something to wear with them. I don't have any tunics with pockets. Must have pockets.

Anyway, this is my issue with Spandex World and buying knits over the Internet in general. The descriptions don't tell you what you need to know and are very often just completely wrong. The grey fabric ("gunmetal") is described as being 6 ounces per square yard. The burgundy that I bought last time is also 6 ounces per square yard and they are clearly not the same weight.* And that's just the weight. Fabrics with the same percentage of spandex can have very different stretch and recovery. Spandex World does offer swatches and yes I know I should have ordered swatches first. I would say that "I will always get swatches from now on," but a further issue is that their shipping charges have gone up and are outrageous. Really outRAGEous! Almost as much as the fabric itself. I almost didn't order when I saw the shipping cost. Because of that I am done with Spandex World!

(*By the way, I also bought some cotton/spandex knit from Girl Charlee what was supposed to be "12 ounces per yard" and it feels exactly like the 6 ounce per yard burgundy fabric.)

There was a time when I thought I would never order fabric over the Internet because I want to be able to touch it before I buy it. But then I looked at online fabric retailers and I was hooked. I live in a rural area. There are only two places to buy fabric that are fairly nearby: a small quilt shop and Walmart. The next nearest places are in Tulsa, about an hour away from me and when I am looking for something specific, more than half the time after taking the time to drive all the way there it turns out they don't have anything close to what I want. I am entirely confident about buying quilting cotton online. There are variations in weight, hand, etc. but I always know pretty much what I'm getting but with knits I feel like it's a complete crap-shoot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Simplicity 1803, First Try

Have you ever bought some cheap fabric just to try out a new pattern (a "wearable muslin" as some call it) and then fell in love with the fabric while you were sewing and really really hoped that it would turn out perfect? That's what happened here and, well, it's far from perfect but I'm going to call it wearable.

I want to use Simplicity 1803 for a great piece of fabric I have that I love too much to risk on a new pattern, especially one with a square neckline, which often does not work for me, so I bought this floral print at Wal-mart. When I bought it I merely liked it. Once I started sewing it I quickly started to love it.

The fit of the bodice is just all wrong and, as I feared, the neckline is a little wide for me. I'm finding it very hard to keep the bra hidden.* But, in spite of that, I mostly like it and I will wear it.

(*Forgot to mention, it does have strap keepers. Where the bra tries to show is at the corners of the neckline. I do have one that works with it a little better. Must buy more of that style.)

I didn't make the tie belt because I generally hate them and whenever a pattern calls for one I put elastic at the back waistline instead and it always works out beautifully. This one wraps around and ties in front though and I sort of like the way it looks on the pattern envelope so I might make one with the belt sometime. Other changes: I don't like unnecessary seams down the front of the skirt so I used a plain skirt from another pattern. And of course I added pockets. Must have pockets.

Here's a look at the back. Believe it or not, this is my first scoop back dress. I wasn't sure if I would like it. I thought it might feel weird because I'm not used to it but I do like it and I definitely want more like this.

I found something that looks helpful: Raising or Lowering the Bust Point on a Princess Seam. I have searched for this at least half a dozen times before and didn't find anything so I was thrilled to find this. It actually looks very simple and it's one of those things that makes me feel a little bit slow for not having figured it out for myself. I don't think this is the entire problem with the fit though. This will require some more experimentation.

(I had the hardest time getting good pictures of this dress. I took a bunch of pictures last week and didn't like any of them, and I had forgotten to take any of the back, so today I set up again and took more pictures and those were even worse so I ended up using the very first picture I took. The more sharp-eyed among you will notice that the facing was turned and peeking out a little bit. Oh well. I don't like to sew down facings because of the stitching showing but I might have to on this dress if it keeps being a problem.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Never Too Old

This is not really about sewing but it is about clothing so, close enough? This delightful lady is 87. (article) I'm not on Instagram but I'm tempted to sign up just so I can follow her. Feast your eyes on the color, style, and confidence.

No, I'm not about to start dressing like that. Not really my style and besides, my fashion-conservative husband would either divorce me or try to have me committed if I did, but the point is, she's doing her own thing and enjoying what's left of her life. No matter what your age, life is too short to let other people tell you what to wear so wear what you like, what you feel good in, and don't be afraid to be a little out there. And one of the greatest things about sewing is that we can. We're not stuck with what the fashion industry thinks we should be wearing this season.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Just a List

This morning on my other blog I posted a list of 10 Ordinary Things That Bring Me Joy. Of course one of the things is fabric. Then it occurred to me that since I haven't posted anything here in what seems like forever and I don't have anything finished to show off yet I could just make a sewing related list, so...

10 Kinds of Fabric That Make me Ridiculously Happy

1. Brightly colored prints with a black background. I'm working on one of those right now.

2. Delicate, old fashioned floral prints.

3. Paisley. I have always loved it but the fact that someone thinks it's evil makes it even more appealing to me for the humor aspect of it.

4. Fall leaf prints. My mother was especially fond of these so they're sentimental for me as well as the fact that I simply like them too.

5. Antique document or ephemera prints, such as sheet music, handwriting, newsprint and advertising, etc.

6. Cotton lawn. It amazes me that something as ordinary as cotton can be so fine and delicate. I don't sew with it very often because it seems too fine for everyday wear. I always imagine that this must be the fabric that angels wear.

7. Fun or silly novelty prints, especially insects, chickens, sewing notions, and ordinary household items

8. Plaids, flannel or any other plaid fabric

9. Batiks

10. Almost anything pink

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Note About Comments

I have found out that at least one comment has disappeared. (or never appeared) To anyone who has had a problem posting comments here I apologize. I don't know what happened or what to do about it. I am pretty near tech illiterate. I have had the same thing happen to me on other blogs, including some that I am, for some reason, never able to comment on. This is extremely frustrating to me from both directions but especially knowing that people are having trouble commenting on this blog because I crave comments like a little kid craves candy. All I know to tell you is wait a bit and then try again.

Also, I have noticed some duplicate comments. I started to delete a duplicate and then stopped because I was afraid that it might delete both of the identical comments. This does not really bother me at all so if you accidentally post a duplicate don't worry about it. A comment is a comment and they're all welcome. (Well, except for the spam and trolls but, miraculously, I haven't had any of those yet on this site.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

From Old Disappointment to New Favorite

This dress is old - at least 15 years, maybe more - but I have not worn it more than three or four times. I found the paisley stripe fabric at Hancock Fabrics but there was only a little more than a yard of it so I picked out a solid fabric to go with it, not sure at the time what I would do but knowing I would come up with something. The "something" turned out to be Simplicity 5558.

(I was trying to look grumpy for the "before" picture but I just look like my grandmother.)

There was so little of the print, it had to be the bodice but there was enough left over that I could get creative with pockets and patches. Overall, I liked it but I had just a couple of problems with it. First of all the neckline looks nothing like the pattern illustration. I don't like a high, wide neckline and although this one wasn't extremely high and wide it was enough to bother me. The biggest problem, though, was the sleeves. They were not really too small but small enough to feel restricting when I raise my arms. Besides that, I just don't wear this length of sleeve very often. Around here if it's warm enough for short sleeves it's usually too hot for any sleeves. So the sleeves had to go and I lowered the neckline about an inch, maybe a little more.

And now, I love it! The neckline looks a little off in the picture but it actually is symmetrical. I could have gone a bit lower but I was being cautious and now it's fine. It feels much more natural to me. The pockets are a little smaller than I like; my phone just barely fits in one of them - not a consideration when I made this - but there's nothing I can do about that now. The length is below mid-calf, about 4 or 5 inches above my ankles. Sort of an odd length I guess but it's the length I really like for summer dresses.

Simplicity 5558 was always a problem pattern for me. I wanted to like it and used it several times before I finally gave up on it. I don't know why I kept trying. Besides the neckline being wrong I really don't much like the high-waisted look and the skirt doesn't seem quite full enough. But now that I've fixed the two biggest problems on this one and I'm really loving it I'm feeling some temptation to try it again. But I'm going to resist. I have other patterns that I haven't even used yet. Time to move on.

Monday, August 10, 2015

An Excuse and a Little Rambling

I have something to show off but we recently upgraded to Windows 10 and our PC no longer recognizes my camera so I will have to wait until my Tech Hero has time to fix the problem.

Now I'm trying to decide what to sew next. Back in the spring I had a mental list of things I wanted to sew this summer. I have not sewn most of those things. Instead it's been a summer of "Oooo, shiny! I want to sew that". (That's a figurative "shiny", BTW. I haven't sewn anything literally shiny in a long time) It's hard to believe it's August already! I'm starting to feel like it's getting a little late for summer sewing. Should I start fall sewing? So not in the mood. But at the same time, I'm thinking I really have enough summer dresses. (as if we have to settle for enough!)

It's funny... sometimes I look in my closet and it seems like I don't have enough summer dresses (or winter blouses or whatever I happen to be looking for) and other times I look and think, "Wow, I really have too many dresses." I have some that I made and have only worn once or twice and I always feel guilty about that. I feel like I should maybe get rid of them to make more room for stuff I will love but I just can't. If it's something I've worn and loved and don't love anymore that's different. I can let go. Usually. And it's not always a matter of not loving it. In some cases I do love it but for some reason I just haven't got around to wearing it much. Because I have too many. Except I don't have enough because I want something sort of like that dress but not that one because I wore that one just a couple of days ago, or like that but not that one either because I wore it recently too.

And what to sew next? There's all that lovely fabric in my stash but I have a 10% off coupon from eQuilter and I've been looking at some knits at Girl Charlee and I need some more knit pants (slacks, trousers) and I've been looking at some solid color cotton-spandex knits at Spandex World. So that's three fabric orders, at least, that I'm considering. I am such a bad girl! I am definitely going into the stash for the next project. Yes, I am. I have to do something while I'm waiting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

In the Pink!

Here's the dress I mentioned in my previous post. The wind was blowing the skirt around quite a bit. I took some pictures standing in the sun but the colors in those looked very washed out.

I don't have much to say about it other than, it's my new favorite dress. I guess I should add that almost every dress I make that turns out good is my new favorite dress until I make the next one, but wow... Pink! I have decided that I need to wear more pink. At least, that's what I have decided this week.

Kwik Sew 2671 is more than a TNT pattern. It is my number one go-to basic casual summer dress pattern. I have made it over half a dozen times, mostly modified versions. I have other patterns that I like but these are the dresses I wear the most so I keep making them. This is View B bodice with View A skirt. Instead of the tabs I put elastic in back. I made a casing of the seam allowances. The pockets are just rectangles. I never can get those curved corners to look right.

Next up? Yet another dress using this pattern but with even more changes. Then maybe some toddler clothes.

UPDATE: Oops. Forgot to say that I also had to make the armholes smaller. This pattern was designed as a jumper so the armholes are huge.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Yes, More Fabric

What do you do when you just can't decide which project to start next? Well, go shopping, of course. Look what I found! I absolutely love every one of these.

The two pieces on the left are both 4 yards each and will become dresses. Unfortunately, Walmart, the only place within 40 miles of me that has zippers, did not have the right color zipper for either one. I was going to make the large floral first but I will definitely need a zipper for that one so I started thinking about the bright pink and came to an unusually (for me) quick decision to make yet another Kwik Sew 2671 - bodice of view B, skirt of view A with some other small modifications. It's all cut out and ready to sew.

I sort of have slight issues with pink. I love, love, LOVE pink but I feel a little self-conscious wearing a lot of it, like a whole dress, especially a bright pink like this. Is it too girly - I mean like little girly? Will I look like a freaky giant baby in it? Will I be taken less seriously wearing so much pink? (Not that anyone takes me seriously anyway) And, is it the wrong color for my complexion? Yes, it is but I don't really care so much about that and I'm trying to not care about the rest of it because I'm going to love this dress and I'm going to wear it to death.

The other three are 2-yard pieces. The top one is not quite as bright an orange as it looks in the picture. It's more a faded, antique-y looking orange. I don't know why because all the other fabrics in the picture look pretty accurate. I can make tops out these but I'm a little disappointed that there wasn't more than two yards of each. I don't really need more summer tops because I don't wear them all that often. I mostly wear dresses when it is hot. I might look for contrasting fabric to go with at least one of them. But I'm not going to rush. After the pink dress I think I might go into the deep stash and make something that has been waiting for a while.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pink and White and Bratty Cats

My primary sewing motivation is awesome and adorable fabric. When it comes to patterns and styles... well, I think I can honestly say that I'm not completely lacking in adventuresomeness but I do always have 4 to 6 "safe" patterns that I use over and over again. This is one of those.

First I have to show you some close-ups of the fabric. These kitties might be adorable but they're also rather bratty. Just look at those faces. They are definitely up to no good.

Especially this one on the sewing machine.

Now this one in the flower pot looks sort of sweet but still probably up to something.

Of course somebody had to get into the knitting. It's traditional.

I bought the fabric from eQuilter over a year ago. The pattern is New Look 6963. At first I was thinking of making it with sleeves but I like my insect shirt so much I decided to do the same thing with this fabric. Which was a good thing because it turned out that I didn't have enough fabric for the sleeves anyway.

And I love it! I think it might look better with my black jeans but only crazy people wear black in Oklahoma in the summertime. But, with the jeans and a long cardigan this could work for early spring too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Still Here, Still Sewing

No, I haven't abandoned this blog. And there's a little voice inside saying, "Are you kidding? No one would care if you never posted anything ever again. It's your destiny in life to be unpopular and ignored." But of course I do get a comment once in a while and they always make my day.

Anyway, since I posted last I have had one sewing FAIL and one sewing WIN. I will try to photograph the win in the next few days and post it. The fail? Well, I've always appreciated that so many sewing bloggers are willing to put their failures out there for others to learn from so, maybe, but I want to let it sit for a while and see if I can come up with a fix and then I will post both the fail and the fix.

We went on a short vacation and then I didn't feel well for a few days so it's been over a week since I've done any sewing at all. Now I'm trying to decide what to make next - always a tough decision. As usual, I've been looking through the stash for the next project and every piece of fabric I see I think, "Yes, this, soon. But not right now. Right now I want to make something else." So, I'm getting very anxious to be sewing again but it might be a couple of days before I actually start something.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

First Lady Style

To be honest, at first I wasn't impressed with Michelle Obama's fashion choices. Some of the clothes she wore (back in 2008/2009) seemed a little odd to me. Not surprising since I'm not exactly a fan of modern fashion. So I just stopped paying attention to the First Lady's clothes. I have very little idea what she's been wearing for the past 5 years, but I happened to come across these photos of Mrs. Obama and daughters' recent trip to Europe and I am totally smitten with several of the dresses she wore on the trip.

I doubt I would ever wear anything with this much lace but this gives me ideas. I like the blue and yellow together.

This is lovely. Simple cut and a scattering of colorful flowers.

And this is my favorite. I am seriously lusting after this huge paisley print. Unfortunately, in all of the pictures I could find of it she is either sitting down or standing behind a podium or a giant bouquet of flowers.

There are several more at the link above. I also like the orange shirt dress and the one with the black bodice and print skirt.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Am Not a Princess

I have always liked princess seamed dresses. (and blouses but especially dresses) I had one when I was six years old that my mother made. It was dark red with some kind of tiny geometric print and had long, straight sleeves and a high neckline and buttoned down the front. I loved it. It seemed to me that it was a very grown-up style dress. Sadly though, as a grown-up I have always felt that princess seams don't do me any favors. However, a few years ago I decided to make peace with my physical imperfections. (well, to try to at least) Concealing them under sack-like clothes doesn't really help. And after trying a few princess seamed blouses and dresses, I've decided that the style really doesn't look too bad on me?

Anyway... The local quilt shop had a sale on batiks recently. This lovely green came home with me and let me know almost right away that it needed to be a princess seamed dress. I used a blouse pattern, McCall's 6076 and lengthened and flared it out into a dress and left off the sleeves and added pockets.

Everything in my yard is very green right now. I thought I should pick something not green for a background. Here's a closer look at one of the pockets: (You might have noticed my phone in the other pocket. Of course, that's why I must have pockets.)

I'm kind of loving it. I love the colors and it's comfortable. Maybe a little bit old-fashioned house-dressy (which isn't really a bad thing) but also kind of nice.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It Was On Sale!

Denver Fabrics was having this incredible sale, hundreds of fabrics for two and three dollars a yard. You might think that with a sale like that I could have found more than just four fabrics that I had to have and in fact I could have bought more but for some incomprehensible reason I restrained myself and this is what I ended up with:

Going clockwise from the top left:

The first is a brown stretch "baby" corduroy. It is destined to be slacks. I always need brown slacks in the fall and winter. This is a nice, soft, stretchy fabric so these will be very comfy.

The pepper print is a lightweight cotton. It will be a top and I'm thinking I might make it soon, like sometime within the next two or three weeks.

The beige fabric is ripstop cotton. It will probably be a shirt for my husband. He likes his shirts to be made of fairly weighty fabrics. But I'm also thinking that it would make really nice cargo shorts for me. I'm trying not to give in to that selfish temptation.

Finally... I am an idiot. You would think that in all the years that I've been sewing I would have learned all the different kinds of fabrics by now but this last fabric was not what I was hoping for. They call it "peach skin" so I was envisioning something that in some way resembled the skin of a peach. It doesn't. Well, it's not shiny and a peach is not shiny but that's about the only thing and not enough, in my mind, to justify the name "peach skin". It's actually a very lightweight, silky polyester - not the sort of thing I ever wear. Yes, I did know it was polyester but that can mean so many things in terms of weight and texture. Anyway, I love the colors but that's about it. I don't like sewing this kind of fabric and I never wear it. I'm not considering it a total waste yet. I could swap it for something else but I'm not going to rush into that. It can sit in the stash for a while.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The "Chartreuse Is a Neutral Because I Say So" Top and the Problematic Orange Skirt

Okay, no stalling; here it is. I won't say don't laugh because I know you will anyway. Or at least I hope so. It's better than, "What the...?!"

First I have to talk about the skirt. I made it years and years and years ago. It actually started life as a dress. I can't find the pattern. (i.e. If I took the time to look for it right now this wouldn't get posted until August.) It had a square neckline and pin tucks in the front, no waistline. I had made one other dress using that pattern and the neckline was too wide and the armholes too big. I tried to fix the problems on the second try but it still didn't come out quite right.

So I got this wild idea to turn it into a skirt. And I love it. (though I would rather the dress had turned out better.) The length is a little weird - longer than my usual mid-calf length but not long enough to be a maxi. It's a bit longer than I intended and I've thought about shortening it but I actually like it just the way it is.

But the only top I had that would go with it was a white blouse. It looked okay but I really wanted some choice besides white. I don't wear white very often because I have a deep-seated fear of clothing disasters involving massive quantities of barbecue sauce or blueberry pie filling. Yes, I know such a disaster would equally ruin a green blouse but... well, you know... it's a mental thing. So anyway, this lovely skirt has been hanging in my closet for years, rarely worn but not forgotten.

Then I got this crazy idea that the color this skirt needs is green - a crazy green that doesn't even match the little green leaves on the skirt. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3511. I had made the version with the collar a couple of times but this was my first time making the scoop neck version. It's a bit deeper and wider scoop than I'm comfortable with. It's not indecent by any means. It doesn't even reveal any cleavage. It's just that I feel like I have this vast expanse of glaring white chest. The only solution, of course, is big jewelry. This two-strand wooden bead necklace is the biggest I have. I think it works okay but I feel like I could find (or make) something better.

So, it's a little crazy but I like it. I am so going to wear this in public and if I end up on PeopleofWalmart.com so be it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Favorite Stores

I guess this is more about a favorite fabric than a favorite store but I just ordered again a few days ago so I have this one on my mind: Spandex World. I love their cotton spandex knit. It's a good medium weight with good recovery, it comes in lots of colors, and it's only $8.00 a yard. I've only ever ordered the solids but they have some lovely prints too, as well as a lot of other spandex fabrics: nylon, metallic, stretch velvet, stretch vinyl, stretch lace and more.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stories About My Mother

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 82 years old today. Strangely, that doesn't seem all that old to me now. Oh... it's old but not old. It seems only as old as 62 seemed to me, oh, maybe 10 or 15 years ago. But I won't waste time talking about the unfairness of life and its shortness. (She lived to be 78)

I think I was four years old. Mom found a picture of a dress in a catalog. It was brown if I remember right. The skirt was solid brown and the bodice was gingham and it had an unusual double pocket - a solid brown pocket centered on top of a larger gingham pocket. Mom happened to have a small piece of turquoise gingham and an even smaller piece of solid yellow fabric. She proposed making for me a dress inspired by the dress in the catalog. But there was a catch. It would have to be the opposite to the dress in the catalog: gingham skirt and solid top and of course a gingham pocket on top of a larger solid pocket.

Well, this was simply unacceptable to my four-year-old self. I whined, I argued, I pouted, I argued some more and pouted some more. I can't explain it now except to say, "I was four," and it just seemed very, very wrong and the fact that there wasn't enough solid fabric to do it "right" was irrelevant. I guess I thought that my mom could do anything. She went ahead and made the dress the only way she could, gingham skirt and solid top, and once I saw it completed I liked it. I actually thought about making an adult version of this dress for myself - exactly like the one my mom made- just because she would have gotten a kick out of it but I never could find the exact right gingham.

Fast forward about six years. I was ten. We had found this great looking bright lime green pin dot fabric with a border of large pink flowers with orange centers. Mom was going to make a typical dress with a gathered skirt with the flower border around the bottom. But I had an idea. I wanted her to make a plain, straight dress, what she called a "shift", with the flowers going up and down the front, to one side. I got the feeling she thought it was a radical idea. She was not really hesitant. It was more like the idea caught her by surprise and she needed to think about it for a bit.

She did make the dress according my suggestion and we both loved it. I think of it as my first design idea, though it probably wasn't really. I have been picking out fabric and matching it to patterns for as long as I can remember so it's likely that I also had some original ideas earlier. Now... now I'm still getting ideas, making them happen, and I still never make anything without wishing I could show it off to my mom.

I had hoped to find photos of the these two dresses but I couldn't find any good ones. If I ever do I will update this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Favorite Stores

Well, you see what happens when I try to do a weekly series. No excuses; I'm just going to try to get back on track. (Also, I should have some actual sewing to show off later this week.)

I have only ordered from Girl Charlee Fabrics twice (so far) but I have to include them as a favorite because they do something on their website that I have long said all online fabric stores should do. They give fabric weight in ounces per yard and the percent of stretch for stretch fabrics. I'm pretty confident that I know what I'm getting when I buy quilting cotton online but with everything else I feel like I am taking a chance and every little bit of information is helpful.

If I could ask for one improvement it would be better categorization. Have 100% cotton, cotton/spandex, cotton/poly blends, rayon blends, and so forth in separate categories instead of everything together. It's even worse with the "specialty woven fabrics" with challis, chiffon, peachskin and pretty much everything else all in one category.

I was very pleased with the knits I ordered from Girl Charlee. Many of their fabrics are made in the USA.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just Slippers

Well, here they are, as promised. My first attempt at making shoes using the pattern from LivingDIYStyle. Trying to be positive, I'm going to say, not bad for a first try. At least you can sort of tell they're supposed to be shoes? They have a soft sole so just house slippers actually.

They do look a bit better with feet in them, I think.

The big disappointment is the serious lack of toe room. I made my usual size, 8, but I think next time I will make 8 1/2 or even 9. And I want to change the shape of the toe a bit. Another small problem: as you can see, the lining shows when they are on. (It's cotton flannel, BTW.) This isn't really a big problem with the slippers. It actually would be kind of cute if it showed evenly all the way around, but I will want to fix this on future shoes.

I made these entirely from scraps that I had on hand, except for the soles which are Shoeology soling fabric. This is very nice stuff - exactly what I've been looking for for ages for making slippers. I didn't bother with interfacing since this was just a test. I added little pieces of batting in the insole for a tiny bit of cushioning. I don't know that I would do that again, even for slippers. They need real insoles. As they are though, only a very thin insole would fit. I like my shoes nice and cushy.

I did walk around the house in them for a little while but, with the lack of toe room, I can't really call these wearable. Obviously more pattern testing and tweaking is needed. Here's one more pic.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Still Here, Still Sewing

I hate to go more than a week without posting anything so here I am even though I have nothing new to show off and nothing much to say. I am working on a little sun dress for my granddaughter but I can't finish it until this weekend when she's here.

I started on the shoes yesterday. Well, I cut them out at least. It's funny... this is something I have wanted to do for a long time but now that I have a pattern and all the materials I feel curiously reluctant to actually get started. But I will do it! I would like to say that I will have some handmade shoes to show off by the end of the week but if I say it it won't happen so I'm not saying it. These first ones are going to be just house slippers, using the sewable soling and some scraps of fabric that I already had.

It has been cold lately and I am seriously impatient for hot weather to finally get here so I can wear my summer dresses. I've got the three new ones that I've only worn for part of a day each. This weather actually sort of puts a damper on my sewing mood, at least for the kind of things that would normally be seasonally appropriate.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Chicken Dress

Have you ever made something that you love but at the same time you're disappointed with it? I decided I had to have a dress with chickens on it. Why? Why not? I found this fabric at eQuilter and instantly fell in love with it.

I used Kwik Sew 2671 a pattern I've used and modified many times. This time I eliminated the button front and made just a plain pullover dress. I also added elastic to the waist. The length is about mid-calf, my usual length, which always looks longer than that in photos.

It came out rather frumpy looking. I had a bit of trouble with the neckline. It wasn't too low or too wide but for some reason it was too open, especially when I was sitting down. I fixed that problem by making three little darts around the neckline but now it seems like there is extra fabric around the shoulder and armhole area. But I am done futzing with it. I always intended it to be just a fun everyday dress and that's what it is.

By the way, it was windy and threatening rain yesterday so I took the picture indoors in the one sort of presentable spot in my house. Today the weather has made good on yesterday's threat. It's pouring outside.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So Much to Sew

This time of year I always feel a bit overwhelmed by all the things I want to sew. I have a dozen things that absolutely must be "the next thing." Oh, what to sew? What to sew? Should I sew this awesome new fabric that I just recently purchased or should I go into the deep stash? Or do I work on some of those garments that need altering or refashioning? (always so hard to do when there are wonderful new things to sew)

Actually, first, I need to fix a problem on the last dress I made. I would have had another new dress to show off yesterday but it needs a little tweaking. Then, I must make something for the granddaughter. She's growing so fast, as they always do. But before I even start that I'm already looking ahead to the next thing. What next? What next?

My Favorite Stores

Probably every person who sews already knows about Fabric.com but I wanted to mention it anyway because, if I am remembering correctly, it is the first online fabric store from which I ever bought fabric. There was a time when I thought I would never buy fabric online. You have to actually see it and touch it. But my local choices are extremely limited. There's the fabric department at Walmart and there's a small quilt shop, which only opened a couple of years ago. The next nearest fabric stores are about an hour's drive away. And online there is so much fabric. How could I not?

Fabric.com has a huge selection of fabric and very good prices. Their website is not one of my favorites but it's okay and shipping time is about average.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring For Cotton Challenge: Flowers and Gingham

I tried to put the Spring for Cotton button here but just got the broken link/missing image symbol.

Whew! For a while there I was worried that I wouldn't make it before the deadline. I love this challenge but I feel a little guilty about participating because it really isn't a challenge for me. I sew more cotton than anything else because it's what I like to wear. But I can't pass up a chance to show off to more people. So here it is.

Let's start with the obligatory goofy pose.

The pattern is Vogue 8789. Well, mostly. This is the third time I've used this pattern and I have never used the skirt piece that came with it. I'm just afraid I wouldn't be comfortable wearing a skirt that's that ridiculously full. Instead, the skirt is simply two rectangles the width of the fabric. And, as you can see, I added strips of gingham. That's 100% cotton too.

I absolutely crazy-love this dress and I'm terribly impatient for the weather to get warm enough for it. It was 64°F (That's about 20°C, according to my handy little converter) when I took these pictures. (tripod and timer) A bit chilly for me so I've only worn it for about 15 minutes.

Here's the kitty photo bomb shot. Actually, I'm surprised I was able to get any photos without her in them.

And finally, a close look at the fabric...

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Favorite Stores

This week's featured store is Wawak Sewing. They have all manner of sewing supplies, accessories, and notions including things I didn't even know exist but what really keeps me coming back is zippers! Just one example: they have brass jeans zippers as short as 3 inches, (and up to 11 inches) in 18 different colors! And the prices! (Yes, I know. I'm using too many !!!) All of their jeans zippers are less than one US dollar each. And small orders are no problem. I try to wait until I need several items at once because I hate when shipping costs more than the item I'm ordering but if you only need one zipper you can order just one zipper.

Their selection of buttons seems fairly limited - just standard shirt buttons, coat buttons, etc - but you can buy them by the dozen or by the gross. (some styles) And, as I said, a lot of other sewing supplies and notions, including a lot of stuff intended for commercial/professional sewing like huge, 6000 yard spools of thread. In addition to the things you would expect, like thread, buttons, zippers, elastic, tape measures, bobbins, scissors, sewing machines and parts, they also have things like steam irons, hangers, garment bags, lint brushes... I hardly know where to stop. Just go browse.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Favorite Stores

I have decided to start a series of brief reviews of my favorite online stores. (In some cases extremely brief; I'm not sure you would even call them "reviews") I will try to post these once a week.

First up is Create for Less. I mostly buy buttons from them but they have all kinds of sewing and craft supplies. They have a good selection of buttons, lots of the basics and a few fancy and novelty buttons. I wish they had a better selection of trims - laces, rick-rack, piping, etc. They do have quite a bit of that sort of thing but I often find myself wishing for more.

The website is easy to use. If I could have them make one improvement it would be to be able to search for hole buttons or shank buttons only. Shipping time (to Oklahoma) is about what I normally expect - usually a week or less.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hurry Up, Summer

I finished this a week ago but today is the first nice day we've had in that time. It's been cold and raining and I wanted to take a picture outside. First, here's a close-up of the fabric.

I bought it at a local quilt shop last year, in fact, almost exactly a year ago if I remember correctly. This wasn't one of the things I was considering for my "next project" but I got a sudden craving for something summery.

Apparently, I can't stand up straight when I'm not looking in a mirror. There are some odd wrinkles here and there that I didn't see until I looked at the pictures. Oh well. I used the skirt from one pattern and used a blouse pattern, New Look 6078, as a guide for drafting the bodice, because I've made it several times and like the way it fits. The darts end up in the right places without a lot of futzing with it.

Here is one reason why I will almost certainly never be a popular sewing blogger: I keep making the same basic shape of dress - fitted or semi fitted bodice and gathered skirt - but it works for me. I have made different styles but these are the dresses I wear all the time (in the summer) while others just take up space in my closet. Minor variations, and of course many wonderful prints and colors, make each one fun and different.

My thoughts on rick-rack and hem lengths are relevant to this post.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Oh! Shoes!

I am definitely buying this: Women's Ballet Flat Sewing Pattern. Aren't those the cutest? I like the plain, the three-strap and the one with the laces. The one with the button is nice too. I'm not a big Mary Jane fan, mostly because I have a high instep and the strap hurts my foot. Which, I suppose, might be a problem with the three-strap version too, but they're cute.

Shoes are not something most people think of as something you can make yourself but I first started thinking about the idea long before the Internet. I came across a book about how to do and bought it but at the time just finding all the materials seemed like a huge hassle. So I just dropped the idea and didn't think about it for years but lately my difficulty in finding shoes that I like has started me thinking about it again. I don't think making my own is going to be my magic solution. It will be a challenge to make them comfortable, durable, and attractive enough to wear out of the house. But it might be fun and I'm ready to give it a try. Don't be holding your breath or anything like that though. It might be a while before I post my attempt here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

We're doing it all wrong, Darlings

A local quilt shop posted this image on their Facebook page.

What a difference between now and then, right? Maybe not as much as we think. Of all the women I've known who were around in 1949 (grandmother, aunts) I cannot think of one who would not have laughed at this as much as I did.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two Purple Things

This is another New Look 6963. I have been sort of stuck on this pattern lately and I really need to move on. I am going to make at least one more but not right away. The fabric is the last of three pieces of cotton shirting that I bought several months ago when Denver Fabrics had a sale on it. I was going to use a different pattern for it but after thinking about it for a while I knew I really wanted it to be another one of these.

I wanted to find the perfect purple buttons for it but past experience has taught me that a search for The Perfect Buttons usually leads to frustration and a long delay in finishing the project. I happened to have these light blue ones already and when I held one against the fabric I liked the way it looked so I used them. There's a certain kind of satisfaction in making something completely from the stash.

I must be honest; I'm not thrilled with this shirt. I mean, I don't really dislike it but I'm not excited about it either. It is comfortable though and perfect for what I intended it to be, just a casual everyday shirt, and I know I will wear it a lot.

I also made the slacks last week. (I'm trying to school myself to not say "pants" because I know that means something different to our friends in the UK.) I started out with McCall's 6173 but I've modified the pattern so much I don't feel like I can claim it's that pattern at all anymore. The fabric is a cotton/spandex twill. I made them a little bit looser than normal because the stretch is very slight. (I'm all about comfort, you know.) They have a side zipper. I like side zippers, not just because they're retro but also because they leave the front smooth. No funny looking ridges or lumps under your t-shirts.

I already had two pairs of purple slacks but I had issues with both of them. One was made of a "stretch" twill that had so little stretch it was practically imaginary and they were not comfortable. Also, the specific color of purple was not quite right to match any tops that I have. The other pair was a baggy, pull on style that I didn't really like except for the color, a kind of subdued or "faded" purple that went with a lot of different tops. Aside from that, the pockets were too shallow for my Galaxy S5. This is of utmost importance. So, one pair to replace two pairs. That's a win. And the color, which you can't really see well in this picture, will go with several of my tops.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fondling the Stash

Hey, everyone! Long time no blog. Well, you know how it goes. I do have something ready to show off but I have a lot that I want to say about it (and hope I remember to say) and not a lot of time this afternoon.

So here are a few candidates for my next project. (Next brand new from scratch project, that is. I'm actually thinking of doing some re-fashioning of older, seldom worn garments before I start something new. Maybe.) I'm really wanting to get in on the Spring For Cotton Challenge. These are all quilting cottons so one of them will likely be my challenge project.

And here's one more that I remembered I wanted to include after I had taken the above pic and was putting away the fabrics.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Soviet Fabrics

Even their fabrics were full of propaganda. I hadn't thought about it before but a lot of Soviet art is rather interesting and sometimes even appealing and fabric is art. Also, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that propaganda, whatever its purpose, would be visually attractive. That's the whole idea: to attract and appeal to people.

Anyway, the fabrics... I wouldn't exactly say that I'm lusting after any of them but, yeah, a few of them are kind of nice. I guess, really, I like them because they're different.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rescue Work

I said in my last post that I need to sacrifice a few things from my closet but I am not willing to sacrifice these buttons.

I love them! They were on a blouse that hasn't fit me in more than 10 years. I can still get into it and button all the buttons so I had been using that as an excuse to keep it but, honestly, it doesn't fit. So I replaced these lovelies with plain buttons. I have one more set of pretty buttons to rescue from a never worn garment before the big sacrifice to Goodwill.

Just a Gray Bag

This is what has been keeping me from sewing.

My husband asked for a new bag. I had been putting off making it and feeling guilty about putting it off so I finally decided that I must do this "next" but still kept putting it off. I used the Green Pepper cargo bag pattern which is really a very simple pattern and I simplified it even more by leaving off the end pocket and not making the flap over the zipper.

What made this a "Not Fun!" thing to make was the fabric. I'm not even sure what it is exactly but it's very stiff and hard to work with. Some kind of synthetic, probably nylon, with a rubber-like coating on the back. I found it at Walmart. It was obviously not intended for the home sewing industry. No disrespect for Walmart, please. Their little fabric department does have some cheap crap and an annoying lack of notions but they also have awesome stuff like this. Yes, awesome. Even though it was difficult to sew it makes excellent, sturdy bags. This is the third one I've made. I used my treadle machine. I have serious doubts that a non-commercial electric machine could handle this fabric.

So, what next? I finished this bag last Thursday and I still have not started anything else. I'm in that between seasons mode. If I make something that is appropriate for the weather we're having now I might only get to wear it once or twice before the weather warms up but if I make something for warmer weather I might not get to wear it for several weeks so it's hard to get motivated for something like that. Also, my undersized closet is seriously overstuffed and I need to sacrifice a few things before I add any more to it. I do have something in mind though, that I will try to at least cut out today.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Seeing Blue... and Yellow and a Lot of other Colors

I posted this on my other blog then thought, even though it's not directly about sewing, it is related. Every time we choose fabric we are thinking about color.

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Researchers believe that we were not able to see the color blue before we had a word for it. This seems totally bizarre to me and I think, "That can't possibly be true," but there is some fairly convincing evidence. On the other hand, if we couldn't see blue before we had a word for it why did we ever need to invent a word for it? But if it is true, it makes one wonder what we are not seeing now because we don't have a word for it. It also brings up a number of other intriguing questions. Do people who have some kind of language difficulty also have difficulty seeing colors? And what do toddlers see before they learn the names of colors? Does having different names for similar colors - azure, turquoise, sapphire, cobalt - help us to see those colors?

Here's something else color related: a a test to determine if you are a tetrachromat. I guess you could say my result was "inconclusive"? The first time I looked at the multi-color bar I saw 33 colors. I immediately tried again to check myself and saw only 31. That was a couple of days ago. I did it again a few minutes ago and saw 34 colors. Seeing more than 32 colors in the test makes you a tetrachromat.

Interestingly, the article says that tetrachromats are irritated by yellow. I love yellow - either bright yellow or a soft, buttery yellow; I'm not terribly fond of the more greeny yellows. So maybe I'm really not seeing that many colors? Or maybe I'm just different? Or maybe the article is wrong. I am strongly opposed to the notion that people who are physically the same in some way necessarily have the same likes and dislikes.

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So, what about you? Are there any tetrachromats out there? What are your favorite colors? What colors do you hate? (whether you're a tetrachomat, trichromat, or dichromat)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Is The Top of "The Hill" Closer Than You Think?

Where would we all be without strangers on the Internet to tell us how to dress? Here is yet another list of Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30. What's really funny about this list is that on a good many of the items the author says that no one of any age should wear them, and I have to agree with some of these but this list was supposed to be specific to women over 30.

From my perspective (way over 30) 30 seems like a strangely young cut-off age for most of the items in the list. Graphic tees? Really? She lost me right there. I sew most of my clothes of course but graphic tees are the one kind of RTW item that I wear often. And "bedazzled anything"? I don't wear a lot of rhinestones and sequins and glitter myself but it seems crazy weird to suggest that a woman should suddenly give up sparkle the day she turns 30. And the weirdest of all? American Eagle jeans. Really? Why? Someone explain this to me please. I could understand if it was low-riders but the ones in the picture are not.

I believe in freedom of choice and everyone minding their own business so I would like to say that age doesn't matter and we can all wear anything we like at any age but, realistically, I'm not sure I could stand by that absolutely. What we wear is a personal choice and what looks good varies from person to person, based not only on age and body type but also things like grace and dignity and other intangibles. It's too complex a matter for simple lists. But please keep making lists. They're so much fun to ridicule.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Finally Another Shirt

Yes, I still sew. I finally have something to show off. It took me ages to finish this because I worked on it just a little bit at a time but maybe we can talk about my lack of motivation later.

There was a bit of discussion at Anne's place about tops and tunics that don't go with anything but black jeans or black leggings so I thought I would try it with my crazy purple velveteen pants. (Shut up, they're warm and comfy.)

I'm a little uncomfortable with wearing too much purple though. Something about it says, "Crazy lady" to me. That's just me, right? So here it is with the black jeans. (Yes, I made those too.)

Yeah, that is better. (Darn it.)

Okay, the details. The pattern is New Look 6963, except for the sleeves, which are from a different pattern because this one doesn't include long sleeves. I think I like the look of the shorter version better on me but sometimes I like wearing longer shirts.

The fabric is a soft, lightweight twill from Denver Fabrics, bought a few weeks ago when it was on sale. I love it; it feels wonderful. I wasn't sure about the buttons. I was originally thinking either purple or dark green but there is an extremely limited selection of buttons available locally. No green or purple but I thought these yellow ones might be fun. I could have ordered buttons, of course, but at the time I started this I didn't want to wait for them. I am happy with the way it looks with the yellow. A little crazy maybe but it's "me".

So, my lack of motivation? The best way I can think of to explain is...

There are sewing projects I want to do and kind of need to do but, at the same time, don't want to do and I feel sort of guilty about skipping those things and working on something I really want to do so I get stalled for a while. I did start one of the need-to-do projects and then discovered I don't have all the notions I need for it. I haven't decided if I'm going to sew something else while I wait or not.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Old Sewing Machines

UPDATED: I was so wrong! See below.

Aren't these antique hand crank sewing machines beautiful?! There are a number of treadle sewing machines on the page also.

Two years ago I saw this old sewing machine outside a store in Silver Dollar City. (a theme park south of Branson, Missouri)

They have a lot of old rusty farm and household items just sitting around. It's supposed to be part of the charm of the place. Of course I had seen pictures of these before but this was the first (and so far only) one I've ever seen up close and in person. It made me sad (and actually a little shocked) that someone had just neglected it and left it to rust.

Ever since I saw that I have wished I had one of my own. I'm not going to buy one of the restored ones. It seems too self-indulgent. It's an expensive item that I don't need and I don't even have anywhere to keep and display it. But if I ever saw one un-restored but still somewhat functional for a good price I probably would not be able to resist the temptation.

UPDATE: This is NOT a hand crank machine. It's a Willcox & Gibbs electric machine. Actually a very, very interesting sewing machine. It uses only one thread, no bobbin. I so much want to try using one.

UPDATE II: Or I could still be wrong. Or even more wrong. Or I could have been right in the first place. Here is another page about Willcox & Gibbs sewing machines with more about the machines themselves and more pictures. There was a hand crank model that looked a lot like the electric model, just without the motor. There were also a number of clones so it might not be a Willcox & Gibbs machine at all. Anyway, I am increasingly fascinated with these machines.