Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simp 2896: Finished

After a little here and there sewing over the last few days, the jacket is done.

My plan is to wear it open like this with a belt, but I don't have a belt yet. I may make one. I really wanted an orange jacket, but the stash wasn't cooperative with that and I am NOT buying anything new that I will have to pack and move, so black it is. I have a knit that I'm thinking of turning into a cardi though, so maybe I'll get something orange after all.

This black fabric is ANCIENT. I bought it years and years ago from Fashion Fabrics Club when I first started sewing, in the days before FFC bought out Denver Fabrics. It's a weird fabric. Stretch woven something that's either poly or nylon or both. It's also got a pattern of stylized M's woven in and I had to put a tape on each wrong side so I wouldn't screw it up. It took me about 3 tries to accurately mark the wrong side of each piece because I couldn't decide which side I wanted to use as the right side and then just confused myself.You can see the design here:

The instructions for this pattern are ridiculous. As in stoooopid. First, they would have you use the lining fabric for all of the inside, which means that fabric would go right up to the neck edge. Which means it would definitely roll out and show because that's just Murphy's Law. I used more of the black for the inside yoke pieces and understitched the neckline (a step missing from the instructions).

But the worst part was how Simplicity instructed to sew the facing. Hopefully I can explain this. You are to construct two complete jackets using the same exact pattern pieces, one from the lining fabric and one from the fashion fabric. Then sew the facing OVER the lining (after turning under and narrow hemming the outside edge of the facing) and topstitch the facing down onto the lining. That meant you'd end up with 3 layers of fabric where the facing is, and more if you count the turned-under hem of the facing edge. Like I said, stoooopid.

I made the lining and then laid the facing over it and cut away the lining plus a seam allowance. I then joined the facing to lining like you'd do for any other lined jacket and bagged the lining with a jump hem instead of sewing lining bottom edge to jacket bottom edge. Really, the instructions are so bad that Simplicity would've been better represented if they made this an UNlined jacket.

Here's a quick shot of me in the jacket, over my Saturday slouch around clothes.

Parting Shot: Chili on my desk reminding me that it's time to go outside. He has a definite internal clock and never lets me forget anything on his schedule. Sometimes I catch him tapping his wristwatch and giving me a dirty look. ;-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Simp 2896: Pattern Alterations

Amidst bouts of anger and sadness directed at the crapstorm that is my life right now, slow but steady progress is being made on the jacket. Do I sound bitter? Oops. I can't wait until I'm off this emotional rollercoaster.

Today was the day for renewing my expired driver's license. Oops again. ;-) Luckily, here in Florida appointments can be made for these services (which are actually adhered to) so the process is relatively painless. I had gone another day before my license expired, but found out in that way that Life likes to remind us who exactly is Boss, that I needed a certified copy of my marriage license to prove my maiden vs. married name difference. Hah. How ironic. So, $50 for the certified marriage license from Virginia and $48 for the license renewal later, I'm legal again.

So anyway, I had an hour before I needed to head off to the DDL office and I forced the ambivalent mojo to just shut up while I made my pattern adjustments. I took pics along the way so I'd have something to show for this post besides a bunch of whining. (Oh, but whining feels SO good sometimes!)

I started off with the regular slash/spread FBA, as below:

And then filled in the spreads with tissue everywhere except the horizontal bust dart.

I then extended the dart with my Sharpie and drew a line upward into the area on the pattern that is to be gathered to the yoke. I really wouldn't have drawn the lines except for you guys. ;-)

Next, I cut on those Sharpie lines (leaving a pivot point in the corner) and closed the side dart, which opened up the dart you see below.

I filled in that dart, because it's not really going to be sewn as a dart — just as additional gathering in the existing gathering section of the yoke seam.

Here are the finished alterations. They're always easier to see on the dark floor.

Here's the altered sleeve too. It didn't have a hem allowance (odd?), so I added that too.

Maybe tonight I'll feel like cutting out the real fabric.

Oh, one more thing about the whole driver's license renewal thing. I moved to Florida almost 22 years ago. I went to get my Florida license shortly thereafter and had to take the written, eye, and road tests. So far, so good, right? Well, since then I've been able to renew twice by mail/internet. Today, I was fully expecting all three tests again. Why else have me come in to the office. Nope. I only had to read one line on the eye test. No written, no driving. That's just downright scary, isn't it? Twenty-two years later and Florida has NO IDEA if I can actually still drive. (I can.) But do you know what is even scarier? Trading a 22-year old license picture for what I look like now. Ugh. My last illusion is busted wide open. ;-)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Simp 2896: Actually Sewing for ME

The Marine arrived Friday night and today both sons are out getting some "bro time" in on the golf course, so I've been in the sewing room sewing up a muslin for Simplicty 2896, View B (the short jacket w/o puffy sleeves).

I cut the pattern tissue as an 18 at the neck/chest, blending to a 22 from the bottom of the armhole downward, and used the 22 sleeve. Here's the result:

Not too bad. I will need to do about a 3/4" FBA, and enlarge the sleeve bicep a little because it feels snug with my tee underneath. I'll rotate the resulting bust dart into the gathers at the yoke (which were just loosely pleated in the muslin so don't judge the sewing there too closely). I also need to narrow the shoulders about 3/8" and probably should've started with the 16 instead of the 18.

I've obviously forgotten how to sew for myself since I had a brain fade and forgot to make my usual square shoulder adjustment before cutting the tissue. Luckily I remembered before sewing the shoulder seam and I just made the adjustment during construction. I'll fix the tissue while I'm doing the other alterations but it would've been nice if I had just remembered before I cut. Ahh. Too many things on my mind these days.

I'm undecided on the length. I think I want it short like this, but I will probably add an extra couple of inches for insurance. My main plan is to wear it with the graduation dress from last year. With pants, I'd want it longer but I don't think I'd be wearing it with pants. At some point, I'll have to cut bait and fish and make a decision. 

You can sorta see my new haircut in this pic. It's not a new style. Just back to the usual. It was past my shoulders before I got it cut, which is WAY too long for me both in looks and care. It flips up on its own so this is a very low-maintenance cut/style. I've learned that I can't fight my hair in the summer humidity so it's best to just go with it.

The shoes from last post were from Zappos, here.

Tyler leaves tomorrow morning, so I'll be taking him to the airport bright and early. After that, it's back to the job hunt. I haven't actually applied anywhere yet. I was getting my resume and self in order first, because of course I'll be getting dozens of calls wanting me to come in IMMEDIATELY, right? Hahaha! Yeah, I crack myself up.

Continued heartfelt thanks for all the nice comments and notes that have continued to arrive. I should have life disasters more often. There are a LOT of lurkers out there that I'm glad to finally "meet."

Oh, here's a warped fact about me this week: I've been watching "Say Yes To The Dress" like an obsessed fool. What's up with THAT? It doesn't make me sad or wistful or anything bad like that, and I definitely do NOT want one of those dresses anytime in my future, but still I can't help watching all those young brides try on $10,000 wedding dresses. But it's better than all the cooking shows that just make me raid the kitchen, right?

Friday, April 22, 2011

When Life Gets You Down

When life gets you down …


These arrived today and fit so things are looking up, right? ;-) They are actually a copper metallic, not as brown as they look in this pic. And they are pretty comfortable for someone who has been living in flip-flops.

More random bits of good news:

My interview clothes from three years ago? They still fit. Whew! I've been up and down the scale since I made those, but I seem to be at the down level at the moment, which is good. It means I actually have clothes to interview in. It also means I've been self-medicating with chocolate less than I thought. I'm hoping none of my current clothes fit next year, when I'm settled and happy with my life again.

* * * * *

I've been looking at my pattern and fabric stash the last couple of days and the mojo is stirring. Maybe because the pressure is off to make interview-appropriate garb? So maybe there will be some sewing soon. I wish I had a more work appropriate stash, but I'm sure I'll be able to find something in there. I think it's also time to thin it out so I don't have to move it all, which means you will probably soon see me selling off chunks of it in the classifieds.

* * * * *

The Marine is flying in tonight for a long weekend. Yay for sons!

* * * * *

A new haircut, which looks great and makes me feel happy. I hadn't had a cut since October so you can imagine how shaggy I looked and felt.

* * * * *

Good news for Leah, who left comment #10 on the Giveaway post. Which means she won! Leah, contact me a djc @ cedesign dot com with your shipping details and I'll get the pattern to you soon. One less thing to pack, right?

* * * * *

And the best news this week? All of YOU!! Thank you SO VERY MUCH for all of your comments and emails. Please know that I have read each and every one. More than once. The outpouring of love and support has really lifted my spirits and is appreciated more than I can ever express.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rough patch

I'm sorry I left everything hanging but my life is a disaster right now.

The company I worked for went out of  business suddenly, which means I don't have a job and they owe me a month's pay. My husband and I are separating, and I have to pack up and move somewhere in the next couple of months and find a job.

I don't know when there will be sewing in this spot again. Or happiness.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

B5197: In Theory, But Done Anyway

The not-handsewing-the-zipper idea works in theory. In reality, it's kind of a pain in the butt wrangling the interfaced (very stiff!) purse around the needle to make it happen so I think the next time I make this, I will have to move to Plan B, which would be to still NOT handsew the zipper lining piece, but instead, use Wonder Tape to hold it in place while I topstitch both outside and lining from the top.Whew! Run-on sentence much?

But it did work as I imagined and I did finish the bag. And it's HUGE. It's more like a laptop case size. But my mom likes big purses, so she should still be OK with it. She can definitely fit a magazine (or five) inside, and she likes that.

The lining is from the last piece of a Laurel Burch cat print I've had for years. I still have about a yard left so you'll see it again at some point. I'm not thrilled with the puffy factor of the lining, though. I handtacked the inside corners to the outsides but it still wasn't laying flat, so I shoved a covered purse bottom made from Peltex down inside. At first, I was going to have this piece in between the lining and outside, like in my purse, but I had to change my mind after seeing the lining misbehave. It seems to be working to hold the lining in place and the solid color works to break up the busy print, which might otherwise be *too* busy if you've got a lot stuff in the bag.

Here's the Grandma bag with its daughter Mom purse. Mine looks pretty saggy, but it's not really. I'm beginning to think it's harder to photograph bags than clothes.

I thought using a commercial pattern would go faster, but it turns out it didn't really save much time at all if I don't count the muslining for my self-drafted pattern. The Butterick pattern was OK, though, and I'll probably use it again for the shorter version of the bag I just made and then it won't turn out so huge. I'm not sure which bag pattern I'll use next. I have at least one or two more to make and I'm enjoying experimenting. I might also get back to sewing something wearable one day soon too. ;-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

B5197: Another Chapter In "I Hate Handsewing"

I'm slowly working on the Grandma purse, using Butterick 5197 (you know, the one with the Dumbest Pattern Piece Ever). I followed Bunny's example for this one and used a combo of fusible fleece and Decor Bond to interface. It's not finished yet but I'm pretty sure this combo will be perfect. Thanks Bunny! :-)

On to the subject of this post title … It's not so much that I *hate* handsewing, but more that I dislike it very much when it's not necessary. I prefer to use my machine whenever and wherever possible.

Case in point: There is a band/gusset that encircles the whole purse. At the top of this band, a 20"-ish (I think it's actually 22" but the pattern is upstairs) zipper is to be inserted. Remember that — twenty or more inches of zipper.

The purse is lined, and the pattern instructions would have you press under the seam allowances where the lining meets the zipper and then handstitch the lining to the zipper tape.Twenty-ish inches, times two (for each side of the zipper).

Uh, no.

So, I'm trying an experiment. I sandwiched the zipper between the outside and lining pieces so they're both machine-stitched to the zipper at once. The zipper separates so it's quite easy to do each side this way separately.

I've left the last 1/2" of the lining pieces unstitched (1/2" seam allowances) at both ends of the zipper and will either machine-stitch the rest of the lining at these spots or I will handstitch if it doesn't work like I think it will. Even if I end up handstitching, four inches is a HECK of lot more palatable than twenty-ish up and down each side of the zipper. Don't you think? Yeah, I thought so.

As one of the last steps of construction, I will edgestitch along each side of the zipper catching both outside and lining fabrics. I'm playing it safe at the moment in case my experiment is a bust and I have to rip out the zipper. But if I'm on track with this deviation from the instructions and it works, I'd do the edgestitching earlier on in the process.

Oh and here's a little tip. If you're ironing the panels next to your white-ish zipper and you see that your iron suddenly has a white streak on its sole plate, don't clean it off and keep ironing. It's the zipper melting, dummy. ;-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Anyone Up for a Giveaway?

Up for grabs a new, unopened copy of Kwik Sew 3764.

I had first ordered it from an online sewing pattern shop which shall not be named because they took FOREVER to send it or even communicate with me after inquiries. So long, in fact, that I ordered a second copy from Which meant, of course, that I eventually ended up with TWO copies of the pattern. My gain is your gain.

Leave a comment and you'll be entered into the random drawing. Comments to this post will be closed next Sunday evening and the winner will be announced next Monday, April 11. International (to me) readers are welcome to enter too. I'm especially enamored with Aussie accents (but it won't give you any advantage if you have one, even if you do bribe me with Vegemite).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B5197: Dumbest Pattern Piece Ever

I've decided to move on to a commercial pattern for the next purse, for a few reasons: I'm kind of tired of working with "my" pattern at the moment. It's really more my style than my mom's. And I bought a whole bunch of purse patterns during the BMV and PR sales and on Etsy and I'm wanting to use one (all of them!). If I'm being honest, it's the last reason that's tugging the hardest, and who am I to argue? ;-)

So last night I decided on a modification to View D of Butterick 5197, shown above, and this morning I started cutting out the pattern pieces. But before I had all the sheets unfolded, I was confronted by this:

The Dumbest Pattern Piece Ever.

Yes, an ENTIRE pattern sheet printed with crisscrossing diagonal dotted lines. OK, so the pattern instructions call for pre-quilting your chosen fabric (which I'm bypassing), but does one really need an ENTIRE pattern sheet to know how to do it?

I had to look up in the instructions to see exactly what was supposed to be done with this sheet and I learned that you are supposed to pin it to your fabric/batting sandwich, then baste it, and then sew over each of the dotted lines. Really? The writers conveniently forgot to mention how long it will take to pick out all those leftover bits of tissue after you tear off the "pattern." Why didn't Butterick either instruct to use a quilting guide on your machine or just chalk the lines in using a ruler? Dumb, dumb, dumb. And how many trees, worker hours, press runs, and energy units were wasted in the making of this?

Other runners-up in the Dumbest Pattern Piece Ever category? Rectangles for anything and/or pattern pieces for elastic instead of a length measurement in the instructions.

What pattern pieces have you come across that make you scratch your head and laugh?

Friday, April 1, 2011


Perfect for April Fool's, no? (You might have to give the video a sec to download.)

Dogboarding from DANIELS on Vimeo.