Monday, June 27, 2016

#%&*$@&! Zipper!

Zippers - I've installed tons of them. Well, maybe not tons but a lot and I almost never have any trouble with them, though some end up looking better than others. But today... well, refer to the image above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Loving the Red, White, and Blue

I was thinking of this fabric as red, white, and blue but the "red" is actually mostly a sort of salmon pink, which is lovely and I'm still probably going to wear it on the 4th of July.

I used the bodice of Simplicity 1803, View B, and a plain gathered skirt. Last summer I made View C, the one with the square neckline and the fit was not great so this time I cut a size 14 instead of my usual 16. You know... I think I have a tendency to get stuck on things like numbers and have a hard time believing it could possibly be wrong even if it's a number I don't especially like. The whole time I was sewing this I kept thinking and worrying, "This is wrong; I can't wear a size 14; it's not going to fit..." and so forth even though the more logical part of my brain was pretty sure it would fit.

And it does. The princess seams are maybe not quite right but overall it's great. I love it! It actually makes me feel youthful. I know it's not the sort of style that actual youthful people are wearing these days but that's not what matters. If I had to live in just one dress for the rest of the summer I think this would be it.

Here's a back view. I'm loving these scoop backs even though my back isn't the most lovely thing to be showing off to the world.

And of course it has pockets.

(I have a blue (lapis) and white (shell) necklace that I was going to put on for these pictures but I forgot and I didn't want to go back out and start all over again.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Shoe Review

I first started seeing those woven elastic shoes a couple of years ago, maybe longer. It seems really recent but I know it's been longer than it feels like. At first I thought they might be one of those things that most people either love or hate and get all worked up about way out of proportion and I wasn't sure which side I would be on. Then last 4th of July I noticed my sister-in-law was wearing a pair of them and I asked her about them. She said that they are the only kind of shoes she wears now.

My sister-in-law and I have very little in common, fashion-wise. She is more conventionally fashionable than I am. (I'm more like, "Oh, that's fashionable now? Get it away from me.") But anyway, the shoes - I'm always looking (usually unsuccessfully) for comfortable shoes that look appropriate with dresses and some of the more recent styles of these are fairly attractive. The earlier styles I saw looked a little tacky or clunky to me. So, I've been curious about them and finally got around to trying a pair about a month ago and then bought two more pair.

Shoe selfies are a bit awkward so these are not the best shoe modeling photos.

Stretch shoes, silver, pink

This first pair is Bernie Mev brand. They look more grey than silver in this photo but in real life they're definitely sparkly silver with a subtle bit of pink trim. They feel like house shoes, very comfortable and kind of flimsy. The sole is very thin and it almost feels wrong to wear them outside the house.

Stretch shoes, multi-color

This multi-colored pair I actually saw at Walmart a few weeks before I bought the silver ones and thought about buying them but didn't. I'm not a snob about Walmart generally but I am a snob about buying their shoes or any cheap shoes but I went back and bought these. In some ways they are actually better shoes than the silver ones. The sole is sturdier, like an athletic shoe sole, and they have a very thick cushiony insole. Downsides: The heel piece is very stiff and uncomfortable. I bought stick-on heel pads and that fixed that problem. The other thing about them is they are rather tight with a very strong elasticity. They're fine when I'm standing or walking but when I'm sitting down, not putting weight on my feet they put the squeeze on my toes.

Stretch shoes, navy blue

This navy blue pair, received just a couple of days ago, are Sketchers brand and they're the best of the three - sturdy enough sole, cushy insole, and just right stretch. I'm trying to resist the temptation to get one or two more pair of these. The "bronze" ones would be very useful. They would go with a lot of different clothes. But I tell myself I need to wait a while and see how well these hold up in the long run.

I'm not ready to give up all other shoes because I still like most of my other shoes but I can really understand why someone would want to wear these exclusively. I can see myself wearing them more and more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Sewing Plans Udate

Back in January I posted pictures of some fabrics that I planned to sew this year. To save you the bother of clicking on that link here are the two spring/summer priorities pics. (Below that I'm going to babble some more and post another picture of more fabric.)

It's been good having a plan. I haven't been completely dedicated to it but it's useful because when I get stuck and can't decide what to sew next I can pick something from the plan. So far from the first photo I have done (or am working on) all except the aqua polka dot and the floral right below it. Right now I am not sure if I will sew those this summer or not. I am currently working on the dark blue floral in the lower right corner.

In the second pic I have only done the first two in the top row. The vintage ads fabric, because of both the color and the weight, feels like fall to me so I'll probably wait until September, maybe late August, to sew that one. The peachy pink with the antique pickups is only 3/4 of a yard and I haven't found anything to go with it yet. The last two, the two florals, I'm not quite as excited about as I was a few months ago. I still love the fabrics; I've just become more interested in others.

And here are are those others, the fabrics that are really floating my boat right now.

The chicken print and the dark print on top of it go together. I luuuuuve the cat batik print. Must make that one really soon. I am just a wee bit scared of the last fabric in the top row. It's just too much gorgeousness. Not only is it pretty but it feels especially nice, very smooth. (These are all 100% cotton, BTW) So even though I really want to sew it and wear it, I might end up procrastinating until next year. Next, the jellyfish print. Isn't that cute? It's nice and lightweight so it should be very wearable for summer. I forgot about and recently rediscovered the bird print. I don't really have any ideas for that one. It's only 3 yards so depending on what I decide I might need to find another small piece to go with it.

Finally, the last one is a very recent purchase but I know what I want to do with it and I'm thinking I might make it very soon, maybe even next. It was on clearance. It's 4 1/2+ yards and in addition to it being on sale I got the 1/2+ for free because it was the last on the bolt. I'm thinking of this for a "house-dress" because it's cheap fabric and dark colors so even though I do love it I will feel comfortable enough wearing it while I'm cooking and cleaning and other housewifey things. (Okay, fine, mostly reading sci-fi novels, spending too much time on Facebook, and of course sewing.)

There's more of course. There is always more but these are the ones that are most on my mind today. So how is your summer sewing coming along?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Blue and Pink

This sweet and lovely fabric was the oldest in my stash by a couple of decades.

It was a leftover piece. I bought it in the late 80's and made a dress. It had lace trim and buttons that looked like little pink pearls. It looked like an Easter dress for a giant four year old, which, actually, was sort of the look I was going for. I loved it but I always felt self-conscious wearing something so traditionally pretty so I only wore it a few times. It hung in my closet for 15 years while I gained two sizes and finally, regretfully, I gave it up to make room for more wearable things.

I had slightly over a yard and a half of the fabric left and for all those years I have been trying to decide what to do with it. Finally, here it is: *

I used the same collar from the old McCall's pattern as this blouse but this time I put it on New Look 6078. And I love it! It also feels really good to have finally done something with that old piece of fabric. It helps to justify my pack-rat ways.

Here is a closeup of the collar. I still need lots more practice doing scallops. I'm not totally thrilled with the way they turned out but overall I'm ecstatic about this blouse. (The buttons are actually a much lighter pink than what it looks like in this picture.)

*The skirt is this one

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Insect Journal Tunic

Is everyone getting tired of New Look 6963? I know... based on the low number of page views, not to mention lack of comments, I must be the most boring sewing blogger on the planet. This fabric, on the other hand, is far from boring. That's it; that's my excuse. The fabric. For me it's all about the fabric and the more I love a fabric the more I want to use a pattern that will be a guaranteed success. Anyway, the fabric. My apologies to anyone with insect phobias.

The first thing I noticed was the insects and the text, which is in French, or at least that's what it looks like to my monolingual* brain, but the more I look at it the more I see. There are several layers of stuff: insects, text, large plants, like old fashioned botanical illustrations, a small faded green and yellow calico print, and large stencil style numerals. I think this might be the most interesting fabric I have ever seen.

As you can see, I made the long, sleeveless version but I actually lengthened it about an inch and a half, not that I really needed to since it's long enough to start with, and I added pockets because I want to wear this with leggings. Last Sunday I wore it with the dark grey leggings. Here's the back:

I sort of wish that the two 5's hadn't ended up right next to each other on the front. I would have preferred having it more random but it's really no big deal. Overall, I love it.

(* I studied Spanish in high school but I only remember maybe a dozen nouns and two verbs but not how to conjugate them.)