Monday, May 31, 2010

I May Have a New Dress In Time After All

I have finally managed to cut and sew the muslin for Butterick 5488, the dress I'm planning to sew and wear to DS#2's high school graduation on Friday. Yes, *this* Friday. Have I mentioned that I procrastinate?

The Good News: It fits. The photo above is the dress straight out of the envelope. Well, sort of. I did blend from the L (16-18) to the XL (24-26) as I cut out the tissue. My "cheater FBA," if you will. But no other alterations were done. As you can see, no additional FBA is needed. It fits around and over the girls great. The only "alterations" I will make to this pattern for the real dress is to add length to the body and to the sleeves. What you're seeing right now are the unhemmed lengths per the envelope and they are bordering on too short for my preference. Those are hardly alterations though. I may also sew with a slightly smaller seam allowance on the top sleeve seam just to give me a skootch bit more bicep room. Again, hardly an alteration since I don't have to do anything to the tissue for that.

In the photo above if you look closely, you can see that I've just pinned the sideseams, and very messily at that. I actually sewed the sleeves and underarms down to about bust level and left the rest of the sideseams unsewn in case I needed more room. My ugly pin job tells me it's fine with the 5/8" seam allowance. Which means — there is a LOT of ease in this pattern, so be warned. My butt needs the ease so it's all good for me. Your butt may, and probably does, vary. ;-)

I'm thrilled because this means I should have enough time to get the real thing made by Friday afternoon — as long as my fabric shows up by Thursday (it's scheduled for delivery tomorrow, which would rock!). If not, I'll have to go to a Plan B from the closet.

Now please understand, this is just a muslin in the most horrible poly knit I had kicking around in the stash. The color and that much light-colored solid does nothing for me. But I'm not planning to wear it anywhere and it will hit the trash as soon as the real dress is finished. It won't even be a nightie because the knit is way too hot and thick.

Here's a better view of the front and back:

The pattern has an UNshaped CB seam for the body of the dress. I left it off for my muslin and just cut on fold. I may add the seam back in for a slight "sway back" type adjustment, but that may be me just overthinking. I'm happy the way it is and if I leave out that seam, I won't have to worry about the print landing funky on either side of it. Hmmm. I think I've just talked myself back out of the seam. ;-) Because this dress has so much ease, I can't imagine what Butterick was thinking when they added it, which is why I left it out to begin with. Butterick should really ask me about these things first. ;-) LOL!

I think this dress, shortened, will also make a cute tee. Very similar to my beloved HP Sunshine top, but a little different so that not every single top in my summer wardrobe is one of three patterns.

* * * * *

Thank you everyone for your supportive comments for me and my soon-to-be Marine son. It means a lot to me. Especially today on our (American) Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2010


A very emotional week for me. DS#1 has signed up for the U.S.M.C. He won't actually leave for boot camp for 5-6 months, but the thought of him (1) leaving home and (2) possibly being deployed at some too-near date has me choked up — and I don't usually get choked up often. We're very proud, but I'm a basket case.

This has been something he's wanted to do for a while now, but I think *my* misgivings is what kept him on the fence for so long. He did look at other branches of the military at my and DH's urging, but the Marines was always first choice.

This past Tuesday, I finally relented and went to the Recruitment office with him, where we spent nearly 4 hours talking with the Recruiters and asking lots of questions.

I decided I really couldn't stand in his way anymore, so I let him know that I would sincerely support whatever decision he made. Sniffle, sniffle. My baby is a full-grown man. More sniffles.

My second baby, DS#2, is playing out his very last day of high school today. And I do mean "playing," as he finished all of his finals yesterday and really had no reason to be there today except to goof off, be counted on the attendance rolls, and say his goodbyes.

I can't believe how fast all the school years flew by for my two sons. Be thankful for every day is all I can say! And we have been. I'm sure the future holds new exciting times, but I need to get through these big changes first.

* * * * *

In sewing news, and I use that term lightly, not much going on. I did cut out and flat-measure the pattern. I've got an icky knit ready for the muslin. And I did make the "sacrifice" of buying a new piece of fabric (OK, four pieces!) that will actually be long enough for this dress. Now all I have to do is start sewing. I hope to get a jump on that this afternoon and then finish up the muslin tomorrow. Then I have to wait on the fabric, which is supposed to arrive Tuesday. Then sew like the wind so I have a dress to wear to the graduation Friday night.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Grumpy Monday

Yeah, I'm grumpy. I didn't do any sewing this weekend, even though I intended to. It's not like I didn't RUSH to buy patterns. It's not like I don't have a graduation to attend in less than two weeks.

So, what's the problem? Hormones. And a book. The hormones will work themselves out in a day or two. As to the book — DS brought home My Sister's Keeper on Friday, a book he read for school and about which we'd had a few conversations during his read. The book had to be back today as the school is gearing down the year and collecting its property. No book, no graduation. And 450+ pages in less than 24 hours = no sewing, hence the grumpy.

Interesting book. Strange, and I think disappointing, ending. I've got the movie now queued up for the DVR to record mid-week. We'll probably watch it together and compare with the book. I'm prepared to be disappointed since I always am with books to movies.

The other thing I'm grumpy about is that the fabric I thought I was using for the dress? Well, I don't have enough. So I've got to find something else.

I will work on it during the week, at least to get a muslin together. I might aim for a "wearable" muslin as a nightgown if I can decide on a fabric for that. Otherwise, just an icky knit to quickly check the fit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quick Sewing Fix

Since I couldn't start on the Butterick dress without the pattern, I brought out an oldie-but-goodie — Ottober Woman 02/2007. But I just received an email notice from Club BMV that BMVs are on sale so I'll be placing my order tomorrow and hopefully starting on fitting the dress next weekend. Yay! I knew there would be a sale soon enough.

But back to the Ottobre tee — Basically the same gathered front tee as always, with a neckband instead of a bound neckline, and I added a couple of fabric roses to liven it up. They blend into the print in the photo, but they show nicely in real life. My coverstitch machine was happy to be back at work. I think there was a bit of jealousy brewing over all the time I've spent with the vintage Viking lately. ;-)

I took pics while making the roses and have a little tutorial for them, here. They're very easy!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Drive-by post today.

So, I was out last night running some errands — and getting my hair cut waaaaay too short, ugh — and I stopped in at Joann's to pick up the above new Butterick. My son graduates high school early next month and I thought this would be a nice dress to wear to that (remember, we're pretty casual here in Florida) and then wear the rest of the summer. Maybe even sew/buy a cardi to wear with it in the A/C. Cute new sandals/thongs, and I'd be set. I was even going to pay full price for it so I could start this weekend. Well, not really full price since Buttericks are 50% off all the time at J's, but still …

You know where this is going, right?

Yeah. Joann's didn't have it, or any of the new Buttericks, or the new Butterick catalog. Sheesh, they only had one old Butterick catalog total. But there were plenty of McCall's, Vogues, Simplicities, and even a couple of Burdas.

Now what am I going to do this weekend??

C'mon Club BMV sale. I'm waiting here ready to buy my wish list …

* * * * *

So I know a few of you watch Deadliest Catch. Keith and Jonathan had that argument in the season opener. OK. But … where the heck has Keith & The Wizard been since? Did he quit the show? And is Jake Anderson not the most adorable deckhand ever? I just want to squooosh him. ;-)

And another random thought — what do you think of those "You Might Also Like" thumbnails just below this? It's a widget that I'm selfishly enjoying for myself when I see long-forgotten posts. But then I'm easy to entertain.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ditching My Old Love

Oh, McDonald's Caramel Frappé — how I used to love you. Until I found out that a medium has nearly SIX HUNDRED calories per serving. Yikes. Apparently the Golden Arches is taking (or giving?) nutrition lessons from Starbucks. I should've known. Actually, I strongly suspected. But I was taking a boat trip down The Nile. ;-)

Off to the grocery store and home with instant coffee, low-cal non-fat spray whipped "cream," and into the fridge and/or pantry for 1% milk, Splenda, caramel syrup, and ice.

A trip through the food processor (because just after I poured everything into the blender, I found out it was broken - SOB!) and voila! Low-cal, low-fat Frappés!

Pardon the crappy/frappé (hee hee) very yellow phone cam pic. But YUM! It tastes nearly identical to me and saves a trip to the drive-thru, not to mention about 450 calories.

Approximate measures because I do this stuff by "feel."

1 cup 1% milk
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp caramel syrup
2-3 packets Splenda (depending on desired sweetness)
ice, lots
spray whipped topping (or real cream if desired)
2 tsp caramel syrup (separate from first listing above)

Put first 4 ingredients into blender and fill remaining space with ice. Grind away until smooth consistency, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into glass leaving about 1/2" of space to the rim. Spray in whipped topping. Drizzle caramel over top. Yields 3-4 servings.

Now I need a new blender to more finely crush the ice and I'll be set for the summer.

Pirate Shorts - Burda 2713

I'm still working on the blog update, lots of stuff to move over from my website, but that was getting tedious so instead last night I finished these shorts I had started for DS#2 and then zoned in front of the tube.

The facial expression is typical of a teenager just out of the shower at 6:30 AM and on his way to school. His hands rammed down in the pockets don't help show how these shorts actually fit. I also told him a navy tee would look good so he picks a green one. But, what do you want at 6:30 AM from said teenager? ;-)

I did not plan the symmetry of the stripes on each body half. It just happened. But I did plan asymmetry on various other parts like the pockets, waistband, etc., because I was not going to be able to match the side cargo pockets to both sides of the legs so I went with the mismatching as a "design feature." It's actually harder to *not* match sometimes.

They are "pirate shorts" because before I hemmed them, they came way below his knee and with the stripes, raw edge, and bare feet, he decided they looked like, well, pirate shorts. The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's denim with heavy sizing applied, but after prewashing it's actually *very* lightweight denim so these shorts may not last past summer with the wear and tear DS#2 typically inflicts upon his pants. Oh well. At least it's a sizable pile out of the stash closet since there was no way I was going to wear these stripes.

With his hands still in his pockets, the back view isn't much better. They really do fit fine, just not when they're being pulled up and to the front. And yes, all these years and I still do not have a kitchen floor.

This is the same pattern I used for those pants that I cut off into shorts the other day (which I still haven't taken a pic of). I've gotten good use from it, but I'd really like a different pattern for him for a change of pace. Trying to find fashionable (and I use that term loosely) patterns for teens/young adults who wear mens' sizes is even more difficult than trying to find fashionable mens' patterns at all. What is wrong with these pattern companies? Aren't they following Peter or Brian? Or me??

Enough kvetching. Here's a flat view of the back:

The pocket patch is a label that came as a hang-tag on some RTW. I stashed it away for just this purpose, and zig-zagged it onto the pocket.

Here's one of the side cargo pockets, with double snap closure. Topstitching was done on the Viking 6010, with true Gutermann topstitching thread. IOW, heavy stuff. Since this color was only available in (expensive) small spools, I used regular sewing thread in the bobbin for economy. The stitches look a little wonky (sorry Peter) along the edge of the pleat but in real life they're fine. The photo resizing wasn't kind to all of the striping pixels.

I copied a pair of RTW shorts for these "lazy" belt loops. They are folded under at the top edge of the waistband and left with the raw edge exposed on the lower edge, then straight-stitched back and forth a few times, going past the loop itself, to anchor each end in place. The "deconstructed" look sure is a timesaver. ;-)

The other thing you can't see is that I added an inside drawstring, with two inside buttonholes into the waistband. Again, stolen from the RTW shorts. DS#2 likes the adjustability factor for when denim stretches during the day.

All in all, a successful project. Arggg, matey!

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Buttericks

I don't usually post about new pattern releases because a number of other bloggers do and I enjoy their posts and hilarious snark more than what I would write. But Butterick has caught my eye this time and now I can't wait for the next BMV sale. Especially since the last Kwik Sew and McCall's releases were a snooze fest or completely age inappropriate. ;-)

Below are those that will immediately be in my shopping cart. There are also more that I like but I don't think would be a good match for my body or my life. Of course that doesn't mean I still won't buy any of them.

These first two will almost definitely get made up this summer. A couple of the others are sleeveless and the return of summer heat is making me rethink my stance about sleeveless on me. If nothing else, I can certainly wear them around the house and yard during the day and be comfortable. The fourth one below I'll probably shorten into a top for a little bit different take on my beloved Hot Patterns Sunshine Top.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pardon The Dust

Over the next week or so (or longer, depending on how much hair I need to pull out), I'm going to be changing the layout of this blog, moving my tutorials here from my website and doing some experimenting with how I want it all to be. At least that's the plan at the moment.

Since I can't turn off the blog while I do this without losing some info, this means you will probably see weird things happening here because I'm sure I'll make some mistakes as I edit my template and shuffle everything around, even with a "fake blog" set up for testing beforehand. So please ignore, the dust will settle soon. I hope. ;-)

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Again?

I'm so not ready for it to be Monday. The weekend flew by and I didn't spend very much of it in the sewing room. We rented a chainsaw on Friday so that we'd have two for the weekend and the guys could do double-time cutting up the fallen tree. I supervised. ;-) What that really means is that I was outside supervising the dogs while the men worked.

That chore is mostly done. There's still a big "stump" (not in the ground) that will need to get towed out, but that will be next weekend. Even though the guys wanted to do that right away, I reminded them that attaching the straps to the trunk and then to the truck won't cost us a rental fee and to use the rented chainsaw to the fullest instead of spending time on the trunk. See, I supervised. What would they do without me? LOL!

Saturday night with all those logs meant a big bonfire. DS#2 had a bunch of friends over and they burned up at least half of that tree. The fire is still going. Who says green wood doesn't burn? ;-)

Sunday I did spend some time in the sewing room, but it was mending a pair of DS's much-loved shorts, which really need to be tossed but instead I keep patching them up. It makes him happy and saves me buying another pair just yet.

I also dug out a stand-by project. A few years ago (2006!!), I made DS#2 these jeans:

He wore them a lot, until he grew taller and they were too short. I offered to cut them off into shorts but he thought they wouldn't work as shorts. Don't ask. I knew better, but I didn't argue, and set them aside. With the other pair of shorts in the sewing room to be fixed, I decided to pull out those jeans and compare waist sizing. Surprisingly, it seemed that the old jeans would still fit his waist. I measured the inseams on the shorts and cut the jeans legs off. And then, before I expended further energy and thread, I called DS into the sewing room to try on the cut-offs. He agreed that they would actually work as shorts (finally!) and was as surprised as me that they still fit around him. He's obviously grown up but not out. Wish I could say the same. Ahem. Anyway …

DS also mentioned that he really likes his shorts to have side pockets. It must run in the family because I love side pockets on my capris. I looked at the cut-off leg pieces on the cutting table and decided that I could squeeze some pockets out of them. I use the sideseam topstitching as a "design feature" and cut the pockets so that stitching would run down the middle and line up with sideseams on the now-shorts.

Apparently, they were a hit. He wore them out to dinner last night and also to school this morning. I didn't get a pic yet, but I'll make him pose when he gets home and update later.

And, speaking of capris … Mine are nearly done. Have been for a week. But I wanted to run them through the washer/dryer before committing to buttons/buttonholes in the waistband because they felt a little loose and stretched out. I'm thinking they really need to be taken in at the waist (sigh) but I'm not sure if I'm up for removing and redoing all the topstitching/serging to do it properly. I may just cheat and run some elastic through the back waistband facing. I haven't tried them on again since they came out of the dryer. Maybe it will have been a miracle laundry load. Yeah, right.

Next up on the list will be another pair of shorts for DS. While he was in the sewing room he spotted the striped fabric he wanted me to make shorts from a while ago and gave me The Pleading Look that I can't resist. But now that I know the pattern still fits and I won't have to trace it again, these will be an easy make. Especially now that I have a topstitching station, which worked great BTW when re-making DS's jeans into shorts. I had used actual jeans topstitching thread on those and that stuff was a PITA on my D1, but a dream on the 6010. Woot!

Wow. That was chatty for a Monday, wasn't it? ;-) Have a good week everyone. I hope to update my blog soon with the Plus blog links you've been sending. Thanks and keep 'em coming!