Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finished (and it's still early in the week!)

The top is done! And even better, I like it. Here it is with the brown capris I recently made. This will be tomorrow's outfit.

Here's just the top:

And a close-up of the front:

I can't take any credit for putting the fabrics together. They are both from the same piece of border-edged fabric.

I used an Ottobre sleeve, which is gathered top and bottom, and then added a band from the contrast fabric.

Here's the final back view:

And what it looked like before I realized my cutting goof. I really should look out for these things more carefully. This was completely accidental, but glaring once I saw the pics I took on Sunday.

It didn't take too long to rip out the old bottom, cut a new one and sew everything back together. It would've been a lot worse if I had noticed *after* I had sewn the sideseams.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little Sunday Sewing

My sewing weekend was shorter than I had planned since the construction workers putting in a new sidewalk on our road cut my telephone and internet lines Friday morning and I wasn't back up and running until late Friday afternoon. Grrr.

The telephone company had to run brand new lines from the street to our house, which is more than 1,000 feet of line. Apparently the construction workers have been doing this all week up and down my road but the bright side of their incompetence is at least they now have a direct line to who to call to get it fixed fast and the technician was at my house within an hour. No internet gave me a chance to catch up on some non-crucial paperwork for work but it also put me a day behind on the more important stuff, which meant working Saturday too.

The telephone company still has to come back out and bury the new line and the construction company owes me a new mailbox since they totalled that too. More fun stuff to deal with tomorrow.

But I did finally get into the sewing room this afternoon. I putzed around with the Vogue Betzina jeans pattern, comparing it to a TNT BWOF pattern and sorting out pieces from the Vogue pattern that I want to morph onto the BWOF pattern. But then I decided I really wanted to actually finish something so I rolled those patterns up, stuck them on a shelf on my cutting table, and decided to return to them later in the week.

Unfortunately, I didn't actually finish this top either. I couldn't let well enough alone and had to make design changes to my TNT pattern (BWOF 05-2006-111) by adding the pieced-in waistband front and back, and then I fought with neck binding for probably an hour. The binding strip kept wanting to curl off the edge of the neckline and also twist as it fed into the binder. I really needed 3 hands for this one, but settled for 2 hands and a mouth. It was quite a sight to see, I'm sure, but I did finally get it done evenly and to my satisfaction. I really didn't want to have to settle for "almost" so I kept re-doing it.

I haven't pressed the waistband so it's looking very puckery in this pic, the sleeves aren't in yet, and the sideseams are just pinned to Zillie. But I'll do all of that in the morning, plus hems, and then it will be done. This is one of my favorite patterns and I've been meaning to make it again all summer long. Today being the official last day of summer means nothing here in Florida. It will still be summer for at least 2 more months, although thankfully the humidity is starting to subside a little.

BTW, the crotch towels were a big hit, although DS' team still lost the game. The comments some of you left just cracked me up. But then how often do you get to comment on crotch towels? ;-)

Have a good week! Hopefully, I'll check in before next weekend to show you the finished top.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Is All I Got

Yep. That's my most recent sewing. Pathetic, isn't it?

DS#2 is the Center for the high school football team. When he plays wearing the hot game day jersey, he gets sweaty hands. (When I watch from the stands, I have hot flashes but I think that's something different!) He had cut up a school towel to make what we've … er … affectionately dubbed "crotch towels." In other words, small towels he can stick down the front of his pants so a flap hangs out over his crotch and he can wipe his hands dry before he snaps the ball. That worked OK for Week 1. Until they went through the school laundry and, well, you know what happened to a bunch of rough-cut, unfinished towel pieces. I'm just glad it wasn't MY washer. Although in a way, as taxpayers, I guess it was.

So last night, he took himself up to Walmart and bought a pack of cheap white terry face cloths, 18 to the pack. Tonight I rotary cut them in half to make 36 "crotch towels," and then serge-finished the 36 raw edges. Voila. The extent of my sewing. You can't stand the excitement, can you? ;-) But at least it was useful sewing and it made DS happy.

In other sewing room news …

The Vogue Betzina jeans made it muslin #2 during the week. And that's as far as I'm taking them. This thinner leg View just is not cut for my shape, which I really knew before I started. But I wanted to try them just to try them, and I did that so I'm OK with them not working out. I've got other jeans patterns that are TNT and I'm not going to waste any more time on these. Instead, I'll morph the features of the pattern that I like onto a tracing of the TNT. But that won't be my next project.

Here's the modified pattern for those wanting a peek.

I slashed down the middle of each leg and across the upper thigh and spread the tissue very much like you'd do a full-bicep alteration. I did this because I just wanted to add thigh room without changing the pattern too much. But instead of moving the tissue evenly, I moved the inner halves toward the inseams, since I always need more fabric toward the inner thighs anyway. For the front piece, I slashed all the way up through the waist so I wouldn't have to skew the CF/fly area. For the back, I left a hinge at the waist, and I also added a wedge to the CB because (a) I needed more crotch length and (b) my rear isn't as flat as this pattern is drafted for so the increase in that angle would probably work.

In general, those alterations were OK. But the pattern still needs work. If I were to continue with it, I'd need to take in about 2 inches at CB waist and at least 1" per sideseam at hip level as a result of slashing/spreading the front piece all the way up and the sideseams beings too curvy for me. (I always think it's strange that I have to de-curve most pants patterns to fit my curvy self.) I'd also have to shorten the leg length about 3 inches.

Between working, football, and football tee shirts, I've been SO busy the last few weeks that I can barely breathe. I know that I owe some emails, and they're coming, but I haven't even called my own mother in 2 weeks so don't take it personally. It's great working from home but the one major drawback is you don't leave the office every day. I sit down to check on one thing and before I know it, 2 more hours have disappeared. That's 2 SEWING HOURS! I haven't really read PatternReview in weeks, and I'm falling so behind on blogs. Sigh. But I'm promising myself lots of sewing time this weekend. Even if I resort to fast tee shirts.

My boss is promising relief (and a raise!). We really need to hire another person but none of us has been able to slow down enough to be able to train that person. Typical Catch-22.

But I do have my priorities and *did* keep up with Project Runway Australia (thanks Belinda!) and while I'm happy with its outcome, I'm sad it's over. I really liked the Aussie version so much better than the whiners on the current US run. I'm about ready to toss Kenley and her obnoxious nasal tone out a window. Anyody want to help push? ;-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There's Potential

The first muslin of the Sandra Betzina jeans pattern is done. Sorry, I won't be posting the pics I took. They are just too awful. Imagine 7 AM, white muslin, dark undies, PJ top with no bra, bed head. And well. No. LOL!

But the jeans themselves aren't horrible. They don't fit out of the envelope, but that's no surprise. However, where they don't fit is exactly what I expected after seeing the pattern pieces.These jeans are narrow in the thighs, especially down near the knees. I am not. They are also for a more flat-tushied shape, which I've never been.

Backtracking a moment … there are actually two completely different patterns in the envelope. One is for full-length jeans and the other is for capris. The full-length jeans are narrow through the leg. The capris are much fuller. Even though I knew the capris would probably fit my thighs better, I tried the jeans anyway because I wanted to, well, try them.

But they're actually not as bad on me as other jeans patterns made straight from the pattern so I'm encouraged. They fit me a lot like many RTW jeans. Jeans that I would never buy. But these are better than RTW for one important reason — I can fix them before they're made.

So that's what I'll do. I need more thigh/knee room, I need to add crotch length to go over the backside and I need to take in the CB. I'll make another muslin after those changes and evaluate again. I'm not saying that these changes will make the jeans perfect for me, but I'm not ready to toss 'em aside just yet either. Besides, cutting and sewing muslins is mindless sewing and I need some of that right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008


It's Monday and I'm tired already. As you can see since I'm showing a photo of the same tee, no sewing has been happening here. But I did at least finish this one, and here's how it looks on me.

I should've been quite productive at sewing over the weekend because my internet went down Friday night and stayed down until Sunday afternoon, meaning I couldn't do any paying work or email or anything. (Don't ask me how I feel about Verizon right now.) I kept thinking I should go up to the sewing room and do something, anything. But I didn't. And then Sunday was spent in front of the tube soaking up the gloriousness that is the start of the new NFL season. During the last game of the night, we all enjoyed slow-cooked Memphis dry rub ribs that DS#1 bought and prepared for everyone. Since he didn't home from work until 4 PM, the slow-cooking didn't start until about 5, which means we didn't eat until about 9 PM. But it was worth the wait, and he was so proud of himself for planning it all out and executing.

Oh, speaking of football … Friday night was DS#2's first real game of the season (last week's game was pre-season) and he made his debut as the starting Varsity center. They won! Woo hoo! It was a great night to be outside too, which is unusual for September around here. The humidity was way down, all the hurricanes traveling around gave us nice breezes, and I didn't notice even one mosquito. (I was finally wearing one of the new capris too!)

OK, where was I? Oh yes ... the lack of sewing mojo. Between football games, I was thinking about why I didn't want to sew and decided it's two-fold. First, since I'm working from home and not leaving the house too much during the week, I don't really *need* anything so there's nothing that *has* to be made. And second, my stash is boring me. Well, not really boring, just not inspiring me. But I don't really need to buy any more fabric right now, so that's not really the answer either. Besides, the usual fabric sources are boring me right now too. (See, it's not like I didn't try.)

Last night before dozing off, I decided to bypass the fabric stash and instead browse my pattern stash. A few recent purchases I had forgotten jumped out at me, so that's the direction I'm heading. Except for the time-being I'm only going to concentrate on muslins so I don't have to make any fabric decisions from the non-inspirational stash. If the muslins work, then hopefully my fabrics will call to me again. And if not, well, at least I'll have worked with patterns I've been wanting to try.

Up first will be the Sandra Betzina's latest jeans pattern (Vogue 1034). After that, I'm eying Butterick 5223.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Finally Some Sewing

The capris are done. Should've taken me a day. Ended up taking over 2 weeks. Sigh. I didn't get either pair finished to wear to DS' football game this past Friday night, but at least they're done now and I still have months of "summer" for wearing them. They are simple, pull-on pants that ordinarily would not have taken so long to finish but I worked a lot the last couple of weeks and by the time I was ready in the evenings to let the Sewing Mojo take over, the Mojo was too tired to see straight, nevermind topstitch straight. I was racing Friday morning to try to get one pair done, but it just wasn't meant to be so I stopped hurrying and went with wearing "old" clothes.

Speaking of "old" clothes … This is my previous pair of denim capris. My Go-To pair that I love so much. They were dark crosshatched denim and until I laid them next to the new pair, I thought they still were. Wow. What a difference. The two fabrics aren't identical, but they are very similar. I expect by this time next year, the new pair will look like the old pair and the old pair will be for at-home only. Seeing them together made me realize how lucky I am that I can sew up another nearly identical pair to replace the favorites. You can almost never go back to a store to get an identical replacement for a favorite garment.

While the Mojo was still on overdrive, I cut out another version of my Coldwater Creek knockoff. I had hoped to finish it this morning but my coverstitch machine ran out of looper thread and I needed to get to work. So, here it is without hems, but it will be finished today come hell or high water. Oops. Not a very good expression to be using with all the hurricanes swirling around lately. (I'm so thankful that Gustav was not on nearly the same scale or path as Katrina.)

Here's a close-up of the knot. Someone (excuse me for being too lazy to go look back at who) suggested that after serging the "knot" around the "hole", the knot could be turned inside-out to hide the serging. I experimented with that and you are right. Just be sure to first sew the knot wrong side out so when you flip it, the right sides shows and the seam down the center back doesn't. I didn't actually do it for this one because I had already sewn the knot with the right side out. I know this is probably confusing if you haven't actually tried this top, but when you're doing it, it will make sense. Really.

There is nothing on the on-deck pile at the moment, which is highly unusual for me and it made me feel a little shocked and almost sad when I just typed that out. I must rectify that immediately!