Monday, October 31, 2011

Jalie 2921: Happy Halloween

Amazingly, I got *everything* on my To Do list for this weekend done, and I had time to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and catch the end of the Steelers game. Boy, I sure would like to have their TV set-up in my house every Sunday during football season.

Crappy cell phone pic

Here's my finished Jalie 2921 and a try-on preview of my outfit for tomorrow.

I read some of the 50+ reviews for this top after I had it cut out. A few of them mentioned it running tight. One review mentioned 4 inches of negative ease. Uh oh. I had gone by my measurements and cut a straight CC (16). As it turned out, I'm glad I read the reviews after cutting or I would've been tempted to cut a bigger size. There definitely is NOT 4 inches of negative ease. I measured waist and hips of the finished top and at the most I came up with 1 inch of negative ease. The top fits great.

I said I cut a straight CC, but that's sort of a fib. I did scoop out the back neck 2 sizes down because Jalie always runs high in the back neck on me. I'm glad I did this, because this pattern was no exception. The back neck as modified fits me perfectly, and the tie/collar doesn't gape in the back at all like some of the reviewers mentioned. I also scooped out the front armhole down a size because I could just tell by looking at the pattern that I would need to. I was right. After all these years making tons of knit tops, I'm pretty familiar with my preferred armhole shape, no matter what size I am. Other than those two adjustments which I made while tracing, I made no other adjustments. No FBA, no bicep increase, no blending to a bigger size at hip level, nada. Yippee! I love cut and sew patterns. However, when I make this again, and I will, the only other change I will make will be to narrow the shoulders 3/8". They are OK on this first make, but they will be perfect when I narrow them.

This was one of the funnest tops I've made in a long time. It's so FAST to put together and it's so cool how the neckline/tie is done. It's the burrito method and it's brilliant for a tie neck. Plus, once you have it all sewn into the burrito, it's like opening a Christmas present turning it right-side out. I loved that!

While I was in the "black mood" buying tights at Walmart, I picked up this top too.Very out of my usual color palette, but I like it. I might have to rethink my self-imposed ban on black. I put a chain belt on and I liked it even better (the top has some metallic threads), but my camera batteries died at that exact moment so I don't have a pic. The top has a cowl neck, which you can't really see here (and it's a 12/14 - woot!). This top will also work for my upcoming trip to Virginia where it's currently Brrrrrrr.

After recharging the batteries, I tried on the Bealls jeans I mentioned a couple of posts ago so I could see them from the camera's eye. I'm still on the fence with them. The fading/distressing down the thighs isn't the best look for someone with my thighs even though EVERYONE wears jeans like this. But the overall shape is pretty good. They give me hope for the Jalie jeans one day.

This is what my bed looked like 20 minutes ago, during the mad closet shuffle. I cleared out SO MUCH stuff that I actually have lots of empty space on the closet rods and a ton of leftover empty hangers.

The donate piles are growing. I also have a full big box that's not in the pic. One of next weekend's tasks will be getting this stuff out of the house and to a good new "home." While I'm not sad to be shrinking out my clothes, I'm a little sad over some of the fabric "lost." I wish I had some of it back to start over. I know, I know, it's not like I don't have a TON of fabric waiting, so I'm not too broken up.

Next weekend, I will sort through my dresser drawers and make space for all the crap on top of my dresser.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Production So Far

13 embroidered tees and/or sweats plus 1 denim shirt. At 30 minutes minimum per shirt to set up, embroider and trim jump stitches, you do the math. So GLAD that's done. My sister owes me. Big.

2 cammie purses cut out and ready to sew during the upcoming week. One is for hire. One is for me, a re-do of my first purse, since I've improved the construction, and also because I've used one of Tyler's actual retired cammi blouses this time. (Retired due to ugly an ink spot on one pocket which I cut around.) Since I'll be at his base again in 3 weeks, I want to have my New! and Improved! purse done for that trip.

Jalie 2921 cut out and ready to sew as soon as I'm off the computer. The print will be the top. The solid below is the sweater I bought last week. I want to wear these tomorrow with a black skirt, as my nod to Halloween — in color, if not in costume.

Also on the agenda — laundry, a bit of grocery shopping, maybe some closet reorganization tonight during the football game, and finding some black tights while I'm out this afternoon. If not, I'll just go with regular nude PH. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thought for the Moment

While I'm still embroidering shirts for my sister and her husband, I've also been looking at blogs, message boards, and pattern reviews (The embroidering is mindless — I'm taking too many breaks!) and I'm seeing so many pretty and interesting things. It occurs to me again how GLAD I am to be a woman, and have so many choices. While not every style, color, print is going to look good on me, I can't imagine being tied down to a boring old gray, navy, or brown suit with a shirt and tie every single day. It's so much more fun to have FASHION, where styles and colors come and go, and I can pick and choose and experiment, whether in sewing or with buying.

And let's not even get started on SHOES … another pair of which is supposed to be arriving on Monday. Oops. How did THAT happen? ;-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simplicity 1945: Done

Hah! Bet that's not the model you were expecting. lol

Alex came up to the sewing room to say hi after work and then started acting goofy and tried on the sweater I had just finished. So of course I "borrowed" his cell phone and quickly snapped a pic for evidence. I don't realize how much bigger he is than me until I see things like where my sweater hits on him. In my mind, he's still my "little boy," when in reality he's anything but little.

I grabbed the now-french-fry-smelling sweater back and he took a pic of me, but I didn't do a mirror check first and it's hanging horribly, plus it's a little stretched out from the previous model. I'll get a better pic over the weekend. With the batwing sleeves, it's not a favorite design in terms of flattering, but it's so soft and snuggly that I'm sure it will get a LOT of wear when the temps are low.

Now that it's off the sewing table, I can spread out for my sister's embroidery project, which is up next while the baseball game is on.

And the jeans I'm wearing? I wore them to work today. Yep. Jeans for me on Jeans Friday for the first time. It felt weird and comfortable at the same time, although my office wardrobe is not uncomfortable at all and I've rather been enjoying being dressed up every day. But today was a low-key day at the office, with yet another Halloween goodies party at 3 PM and it was gray and rainy all day. Jeans were the ticket. If I were eating sweets, I would've gained 15 lbs by now. ;-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Hour

The job keeps getting better. Or, I should say the perks. Today at 4:30 PM started the Halloween Happy Hour (really 2 hours if you wanted to stay until the 6:30 PM end time), complete with adult beverages, smoking cauldrons, homemade goodies to look like eyeballs, skeleton goblets, spooky music, mood lighting, spiders and bones decorations, and more. The spread was quite impressive! I so badly wanted to take pics but that would've been too weird, I think. Yes, even weirder than the decorations. I stopped by for a few minutes but passed up everything except a deviled eyeball, I mean, egg. I didn't think drinking and driving home in rush hour mixed too well. I could imagine me flying off the Crosstown (elevated highway) without much help. ;-)

I wore 100% RTW today. I am really getting my $18's worth out of this dress.The colors are just so me. I have at least 3 top layers that match it, so I hope I'm appearing to be wearing different outfits when I mix it up every week. Probably not fooling anyone, but it's nice to pretend.

I'm also getting really good at sucking in my stomach. Heh. I'm about to explode here. ;-) But at least it actually IS sucking in now. The actual weight loss isn't as dramatic lately (probably around 7 lbs. in the last few weeks), but things are definitely shifting because I'm fitting into smaller things in the stores, in patterns, and in my closet, and my measurements are smaller.

I've had a few comments asking what I'm doing to lose the weight. Well, one thing I'm NOT doing which I should be is to exercise. I need to move my eliptical (and probably myself, my TV and DVDs too) into the empty bedroom instead of waiting to move house, since at this point, who knows when that's happening and my preferred time to excercise would be early morning and alone, which I am NOT at the moment. We're still sharing the bedroom but with two dogs between us, it's hardly a marital bed. And *someone* is a late sleeper. Pffft. ;-)

But what I am doing is actively avoiding carbs, eating around 40-60g per day with nearly all of those coming from produce. I do not eat any processed foods, except 3-4 times a week, a whole-grain, high-fiber bread "round" with one meal. I don't eat potatoes, pasta, rice, sweets/sugars, or many fruits. I do eat lots of protein (fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds, and some meats but they're harder for me to chew), reasonable amounts of fat and whole dairy, and lots of veggies and some berries. I don't count calories or measure anything. It's basically Atkins (not the induction phase), but I'm not following Atkins per se. I started eating this way out of necessity after my dental work, and the "side effects" were obvious so I researched low-carb eating both on the internet and in books from the library and came up with a routine and foods within that plan that work for me.

I bring a salad to work for lunch nearly every day but sometimes I bring a low-carb wrap filled with tuna or chicken salad, with guacamole on the side, and a sugar-free Jello or Atkins bar (OK, those are processed but not quite in the same group as what I call crap). I'm never hungry. The protein, fat, and fiber take care of that. I have hardly any interest in food except to fuel myself. It's not a comfort anymore. Looking in the mirror and wearing smaller clothes is my comfort. I've actually caught myself forgetting to eat. Which is a miracle compared to what I was doing a year ago, drowning my sorrows in sweets.

I don't miss anything about my former eating habits so I really don't think I'll be going back to it. I just feel too good with what I'm doing to change it. I only wish I had found this 15 years ago. When I was at my sister's (an RN) back in July, she took my blood pressure at my request. It was only slightly more elevated than super-fit-and-healthy Tyler's, and well within the normal/healthy range. I'm guessing it's even better now. High blood pressure runs in my family so to be "normal" is doubly great. At some point, I plan to have a complete blood panel done as well as a physical. It would've been nice to know my starting point, but I'll be happy with healthy numbers now and no comparison. And maybe I will actually acknowledge my next birthday. ;-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

About To Get Busy

So, Saturday was a waste shopping-wise, as I whined about already. Apparently, I just picked the wrong stores. I was out Monday night and stopped into Beall's, where I found a zillion things I liked. I tried on a bunch but narrowed down my purchases to one print and beaded shell in brown/purple tones, one pumpkin-ish cardigan, and one pair of jeans. The jeans will probably go back because I think they're just a little too low-rise for me to like. But I wanted to look at the finishing touches for more than 15 minutes, for when I do eventually sew my own jeans again. Plus, they are a regular size 16 so I wanted to bask in that for a few days too. Heh heh. I've already worn the shell (no pics, sorry) and have plans to sew a Jalie top to wear with the cardi — I forget the pattern number, but it's the tie-front top. 

Last night was a total wash. I laid down to watch TV at 8 PM and woke up at 2 AM, still wearing my (old) jeans. Oops. I changed into a nightgown, brushed my teeth, and then went back to sleep until 6 AM this morning. I'm very well-rested. ;-) But not much in the mood to sew tonight so there won't be anything to show tomorrow either. This is just a boring, photo-less post tonight and it may be tomorrow too.

This weekend is when I have to kick it into high gear. This morning, I had a cammie purse and wallet order come through my email. And yesterday a box arrived from my sister (with a check — yay sis!) with a bunch of shirts for more embroidery for the towing business design. I can do that and watch TV at the same time, so maybe I'll set up for embroidery tomorrow night. I hope I'm motivated because it would be nice to knock all of those out before the weekend.

I will need to find something for a coat, though. I've decided I'm going to Virginia for Thanksgiving, leaving the Wednesday before, with stop in NC to pick up Tyler. Nothing fancy, since it will be jeans all weekend long. But something that fits, and flatters. I haven't bought a real coat in over 20 years. My old coat is so old it's in, so that will be my Plan B. But we do have a Burlington Coat Factory in town and that's my Plan A. Hopefully, I can squeeze in a trip there in the next week. Geez, I 'm so busy lately. This working stuff really cuts into my free time. :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

End of the Day Wrinkles

So I wore the new outfit. Like that's any big surprise. By the end of the day, the skirt had stretched and bagged out somewhat and is full of sitting wrinkles. Oh well, I still like it. The "ruby slippers" passed the test and were pleasant to wear all day. I loved looking down and seeing them. Funny how they kind of look like flats in this pic, even though they have 3-1/2" heels.

There won't be any sewing tonight, as I'm out the door in a few minutes to run some errands and then I plan on vegging and hitting the pillows earlier than 1 AM.

I wish I had something more profound to share, but this is all I've got. Oh, I did find out today that I'm included in an all-day training session at the "mother ship" (the firm's main location on the other side of Tampa) on November 22nd. That's a good sign. Right?? I'm looking forward to seeing more of that office. I've only been in the lobby and one conference room during my very first interview back in August (Was it August or early-September? I don't remember.).

Have a good evening!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Moving Along

The McCall's skirt is still in limbo. I don't love it today. I might love it next week. I'll revisit it then. I spent far too much time this morning fiddling with it, thinking I could just quickly fix it and move on. I ripped out the waist facing and lining and sewed on a petersham waist facing. The petersham works fine. I still need to handstitch it down next to the zipper and tack it in a few strategic spots. But, I'm just not highly motivated since the skirt doesn't fit as well as I want. It's not exactly too tight. It's more like its curves are not in the same place as mine.

Until I figure out what to do about THAT skirt, I've decided I can wear the HP blouse with this cocoa brown skirt. One of bonuses of dressing in pretty much the same colors all the time is that everything usually mixes/matches to some degree.

After deciding to just stop messing with that skirt, I cut out another of my TNT Burda skirts. This pattern fits me so well that I think I will morph the McCall's back style/pieces onto it and try that. At some point. But in the meantime, I have a new purple twill skirt. You can't see it, but I topstitched the front seams in a brownish/taupe color. I also topstitched the back darts, which you can see below, and I handsewed in a hook and eye at the top of the zipper. OMG, I think I saw pigs flying by the sewing room window. ;-)

The twinset is from Target a few weeks ago. I will be quite colorful when I wear this outfit with my new red shoes, probably tomorrow.

I lined it, and did not change my serger thread from the skirt which shall not be mentioned again for at least a week. I don't have purple anyway, so it was just a matter of how much whatever thread I used wouldn't match. I went for the whole enchilada, which turned out to be handy for the next project below.

After finishing the Burda skirt, I started on this Simplicity 1945 cascade cardigan. It's not finished yet, but almost, and there are serger tails hanging off everywhere.

It has batwing sleeves, which I think look better on me than on Zillie because, well, I actually have arms. It was hang-around-in-your-too-big-clothes-day for me today so I'm not up for modeling. It's a very soft sweater knit and I really like it, but it will have to be worn over something silky since it's very clingy.

I like this cardigan better than the eShrug, but I still have ideas for another that I will morph from my (previously) TNT Ottobre tee. I think it will look better on me with real sleeves. That will be one of my next projects, since I need tops and layers more than skirts now (but I still have some skirts in the queue too!).

So, while yesterday was mostly unproductive, today I managed to get a skirt and 9/10 of a cardigan done and I feel good. I have two new outfits to wear!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Theme of the Day? Waste of Time!

Today started out well enough. I was out of bed around 8:15, rip-roaring ready to start the day. Tired of messing with my skirt, I wanted to go shopping. I had plans to hit up TJMaxx, Macys, Dillards, Kohls, and maybe JCP all before hitting Walmart for groceries. But first Alex and I went to lunch at Applebee's and then went our separate ways. Him to hang out. Me to shop.

Since Shoe Carnival is in the same shopping plaza as TJMaxx, I hit there first. I was having a grand time trying on shoes. And then my phone rang, and it was Alex calling to tell me there was a problem with the mustang. What seemed to be a HUGE problem, since water was pouring into the passenger's footbed area *inside* the car. Well, I already had 2 pairs of shoes picked out (buy 1 get 1 half off), so I bought those and then drove to meet Alex.

Yep. Hot, rusty water pouring in. But absolutely NO water leaking under the hood or under the car. Weird, right? The car has no A/C, but I forgot about the heater. A 1965 heater, with a little mini radiator inside the car above the passenger's feet. Which was now leaking like nobody's business.

Luckily, Alex's friend's dad came to the rescue and fixed it up by simply disconnecting the hoses to the heater and re-routing them onto themselves to close the system. A 1965 heater doesn't provide much heat anyway, so it won't really be missed. If it ever even worked since we got the car. I distinctly remember freezing my butt off in the car on the drive with Tyler to bring it home to Florida from New Jersey in the middle of winter the year we bought it.

While I'm eternally grateful for the free and quick-turnaround fix, it did kind of put a damper in my shopping plans. But I headed back out after we were done dealing with the car around 4 PM.

First stop, TJMaxx. I was in and out of there in 5 minutes. I decided I wanted a real department store with pretty racks and organized clothes not a scavenger hunt. So THAT was a waste of time.

Next, Macys at the mall. Where I found absolutely NOTHING I liked enough to try on. It was all either too casual or too dressy. I didn't find career clothes. Waste of time #2.

Back in the car and around to the other side of the mall, to Dillards. (It's not that I'm lazy, but I didn't want to walk from one end of the mall to the other. I hate malls.) I always find things at Dillards, and I did today. I tried on a lot. But again, nothing really did it for me. I'm kind of in between size ranges right now. Not quite all the way plus anymore, but not NOT plus, if you know what I mean. So everything was either too big or too small. Waste of time #3. By this time, it was after 6 PM and I still had the groceries to get. So, clothes shopping was done and I was off to Walmart and then back home to unload.

Discouraged by my shopping failures, I decided to have another go at my skirt. Waste of time #4. While I fixed the tummy pooching problem by ripping off the waist facing and taking an inch off the top of the skirt front, I royally screwed up how the facing would fit by doing that. So now it's all puckered and weird. ARghhhh. I knew better but tried it anyway. Here is its present state:

Since walking away, I've decided that I can probably save it by using petersham for the waist (almost typed waste — hah!) facing. I think I have some. I'll look later. In the meantime and as soon as I finish typing this, I'll rip off the now-understitched facing one more time while watching some TV before calling it a night.

To end on a good note, my new shoes. I'm going a little crazy in the shoe department, but I love it. The last time I worked outside my home I was also a shoe fiend. Looks like old habits die hard (or not at all).

Aren't these GORGEOUS?? This is the way for me to do Mary Janes. And that color -- oooo, I've died and gone to heaven Oz. (There's no place like home, there's no place like home!!)

And one casual pair, since all I have is either flip flops or 15 years old. Not that I need an excuse to buy shoes. But I do need to clear out some of the 15-year old dust collectors.

Friday, October 21, 2011

M5523: Still Not Loving It

First things first — it's not my birthday. That's not until March. But I'm not having my next one anyway. Ever. ;-) Still, thanks for the good wishes just the same.

Next, I definitely don't have to worry about a short week, after leaving early yesterday afternoon. This morning, the traffic was non-existent so I was sitting at my desk and working at 8 AM. We had a working lunch meeting that went for 90 minutes, and I didn't leave for the day until nearly 6 PM. And I still have hours of stuff I left behind. It's really nice to be so busy, because it means that my time is well-spent and, more importantly, they trust me with all this stuff. I'm still glad it's Friday, though. ;-) I'm looking forward to sleeping in until 8 AM instead of 6 AM, with a cute little pooch snuggled in next to me since it's going to be downright FREEZING here overnight (in the 50s — our Florida thermometers are "vanity sized," so 50 = 30.) ;-)

So, the skirt. I tried it on after work while I still had on pantyhose and heels. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try on a skirt with a pinned-down waist facing while wearing pantyhose and NOT catching a pin in them? Trust me, don't try it. That smile is fake.

There's a poochy thing going on there at the tummy, and it's not just the tummy (or last night's dinner).

It's worse when my top is lifted up (so don't lift it up, Debbie, geez!).

It's better when I yank up the front waist. Sigh. That means it needs an adjustment and I'm not sure if I feel like ripping out the waist facing. It's also going to be too short if I hem it with a normal turn-up (not turnip). I'll have to face the hem.

Here's the back view, where all the style action is. I like it, but the seaming sorta points to the good china and I'm not sure about that look.

So, I'm not going to sew it anymore tonight.I've got my jeans on and I think I'll finish the book I've been reading and catch up on the DVR.

By the way, I finished Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father and loved it. I'm not political AT ALL, and neither is this book. But it does confirm what I've always felt about BO ever since I first heard him speak. He's intelligent, fair, open-minded, and a very good man. What you see is what you get. I found his perspective on being black in America and in Africa really interesting and thought-provoking. While this book is really more just BO's story than a racial anything, as a white woman, he made me think about things I never would've thought about on my own and I think (hope) I'm better for that.

The book I'm almost done reading right now is Michael Oher's book. Not The Blind Side, by another author and upon which the movie was based, but Oher's own recounting of his childhood struggles and successes — which does differ in a lot of respects from the movie.

I didn't intentionally pick two books on being a black child/man in America — it just happened. But I've found the differences and similarities quite interesting and I'm glad I read them sort of together. BO's book is much deeper, but MO's story as a child growing up in the projects and often in foster case, while a faster read, is well worth learning too. I would even say that MO had a lot more to overcome, since BO grew up in a much more privileged and stable environment. I highly recommend both books, and probably in the same order I've read them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Thoughts

1. We had water this morning.
2. We still have water now.
3. I hope this trend continues.
4. I mean, really!
5. I left work at 2 PM today.
6. To go pick up the mustang from the shop.
7. It hasn't been on the road in almost 2 years.
8. The mustang, not the shop.
9. A new 4-barrel Edelbrock carb, intake manifold, water pump, thermostat, other parts and much money later, it's back to being a driveable car.
10. Alex is beyond thrilled.
11. My bank account, not quite as thrilled.
12. But I'm really glad I had enough money from my GREAT JOB to be able to do this for him.
13. We had been sharing my car for a long time.
14. And then I went back to work and sharing was over.
15. Thankfully, he has some good friends who didn't mind shuttling him around for some gas money.
16. After picking up the car, getting the plate renewed, and re-insuring it, we went to dinner.
17. I ate too much.
18. Not really, but more than I usually eat so I guess it *was* too much.
19. And I feel bloated.
20. Which isn't a good feeling no matter what, but especially so when one is trying to fit a skirt.
21. I gave up.
22. The skirt is almost done. I just need to understitch the waist facing, sew up the lining sideseam along the zipper, and hem.
23. But right now all I see and feel is my stomach.
24. And it's been 6 hours since dinner.
25. Note to self: Stop after the salad bar.
26. An hour after I left work, I was getting texted from work about work.
27. How did they get my cell number? Hmmm.
28. But they were panicking over something I had already taken care of before I left.
29. Whew!
30. They apologized for bugging me.
31. I think it's nice to be needed.
32. Time to go brush my teeth in RUNNING WATER and finish watching Project Runway.
33. Tomorrow is our bi-weekly lunch meeting, where lunch is provided.
34. I'm really glad I ordered a salad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quitting Time

There has been actual sewing here tonight, even if there is STILL NO WATER. I did get a real shower this morning because I demanded the well pump be turned on for 15 minutes and said screw it to the resulting water explosion by the well. I filled up a couple of buckets too, which I may need tomorrow morning. This is ridiculous. If (ahem) no one else calls in a professional tomorrow morning, I will. Along with no showers, we have no way to wash dishes or clothes and I am NOT going to go into a weekend with no resolution to this situation. Thankfully, I did my laundry on Sunday so I'm set for clothes. But Alex isn't. And the dishes the males stacked in the sink are grossing me out, besides the fact that we're almost out of clean forks.

So on to more pleasant things. My McCall's 5523 skirt is coming along. I was sort of hoping to finish it tonight because our temps have dropped and it would be a nice cooler weather outfit, but I decided to be smart and not push it. This is the flouncey back, cuz the front is just a boring pencil skirt.

The skirt itself is sewn up. I need to put in the invisible zipper, which I actually have in the correct color. Yay me! And then I need to add the waist facings, onto which I'm going to attach the half-lining I didn't use on my last skirt. Nice to have that all ready to go.

Do you know there are 33 reviews for this skirt on PR? Wow, I had no idea. I don't particularly like the ruffle-y views for myself, but I do like this one with the flounce and the view with the pleats. I'm already thinking of making the pleated skirt as one of my next projects, while the pattern is still out. It won't be as fast to make due to those pleats, but it should still go quick enough. My whole closet is going to be filled with skirts soon. But I am loving all my mix 'n match possibilities each morning.

After trying on a couple of my jackets, I found that I have nothing to wear outerwear-wise for cooler weather. Time to shop again. (Oh darn.) I'm not going to spend sewing time on outerwear this year, since it gets so little use and I'm hopeful this year's whatever will be too big next year. But I still need something, so RTW it will be.

Finally, I had a little glimmer of hope today in relation to this job maybe turning permanent. Just casual conversation as an adjunct to another topic, but it was very positive and from the decision-maker. Keep your fingers crossed for me, because I LOVE THIS JOB and I would be happy with it for the rest of my working life. I have been here a little over a month now and I've yet to find anything to complain about. Seriously, it's that good. In fact, I keep figuratively pinching myself wondering when I'm going to wake up from my dream.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Sewing Tonight Either

This is how my day started:

I'm going to be crude here, but in order to get ready for work this morning I had to do what my father used to term a "whore bath." That's where you stand in the tub with a bucket and a rag and wash the "important" parts. Ahem. I also washed my hair, which is equally important. ;-) The biggest pain was emptying all the darn bottles into a big bucket. Arghhhh.

As you might have guessed, we didn't have water when I woke up this morning. And we still don't have it now. And I'm really spittin' nails since someone is just now getting back to the project at nearly 10 PM. It seems a certain boob tube was more important. I'm really hoping it gets fixed before morning, but I'm not optimistic so I've got my back-up case of water ready. I decided it's more of a pain to pack to go to a hotel than to do bath gymnastics with bottled water. Plus, the dogs.

Luckily, I was cheered up by the arrival of yet more shoes. One pair is a duplicate of the semi-metallic brown shoes but in taupe suede. They're very oooo-ahhhh, but unfortunately they feel half a size too big even though they're the same size, and so back they go. I sure wish I had invented Zappos.

But these I think are staying.

Yes, I know they are not my *most* flattering style, but I still love them. So hush. ;-)

Plus, they're extremely comfortable and are going to look great with my Moneypenny Pussycat blouse. And a twin set I bought a few weeks ago that you haven't seen yet. The color is Cabernet Savignon, which makes them even prettier, right? I love the shiny black accents too. But my orange toenails are going to have to go. By the way, this is NOT what I wore to work today. It's the top half of what I wore out to dinner with Alex and then a skirt thrown on in place of the jeans so I could "model" the shoes.

As you can see, I didn't do diddly squat about my dresser top last night. I was sawing logs by 11:30 PM. I don't think I'm going to do anything about it tonight either. But it's on my short list, especially since I've put it all out here. ;-)

Speaking of the blouse, here's the fabric I'm going to use for the skirt to go with it. It's very similar to the skirt I had on the other night, but just enough lighter to not be such a drab combo, I think. (Especially with those shoes!) It's lightweight wool crepe, so it ought to sew like a dream and drape beautifully. If I ever sew it.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I'm feeling tired tonight. And geez, it's only Monday. Random thoughts follow.

You know how when you wake up to go pee and feel smug because you still have another hour or two before your alarm goes off? Or is that just me? Anyway, I woke up this morning ONE MINUTE before my alarm was to go off. Grrr. I hate that. Especially on a Monday. After a Sunday that I stayed up too late watching mindless TV.

Work was non-stop. It's good. But I'm feeling a little brain fart-y so I'm going to stay away from sharp objects tonight and just tune in some football and maybe clean off the top of my dresser while that's on. It's covered in belts, necklaces, and earrings. And dust. I hate clutter. (Although if you saw my sewing room the last month or so you would never believe that!) I want to empty out a top drawer and put the stuff in there. Handy, but out of sight. But that will be giving a mouse a cookie, because once I start clearing out drawers, I'm going to find lost "treasures," which will make another pile somewhere.

I think I'm going to take everyone up on their suggestion to just donate my old clothes and not worry about tags. The worst case is they'll end up in a landfill, which is my only other plan for them. How many years will it take all my poly knit tops to break down? More than I want to know. Does anyone want an unworn biker-ish fleece jacket? Sigh. I never got to wear it, after buying the pattern twice and then spending all that time on it. There's no way to adjust it down easily and it's just huge on me. Someone will like it, and not care that the front pocket flaps are fake and the pockets are really in the sideseams.

Oh, another problem for tonight? We have no water. The well pump exploded again and my STBex isn't due home for another hour. I swear, if it gets to midnight and it's still not fixed, I'm going to a hotel.

Tomorrow is the big boss' birthday. I hope no one gives me the stink eye when I refuse any of the cake.

And, finally, my mother said she was going to call tonight. Another reason not to sew because as soon as I start, the phone will ring.

I'm glad my work wardrobe is sizing up nicely and I have options and don't feel desperate to sew that skirt tonight. And there's the phone now …

Sunday, October 16, 2011

HP1047 Done, but no outfit yet

 I finished the Moneypenny Pussycat blouse and I really like it. I don't like it with this skirt, but I had to wear something for the pic. (ETA: Yes, it looks OK, but just OK. It's too muddy for me.) The skirt I'm working on is muslined but that's as far as I got before sewing fatigue started setting in. The new skirt fabric is lighter and will be more contrast, which I think will look better. It should be an easy sew that I hope to work on during the upcoming weeknights.

Back view.

This pattern is one of the first Hot Patterns releases, back in 2005 (Holy Cow! Time flies!) and I think there were a few pattern issues with the original Slinky/Curvy/Glamour sizing. However, it's been reworked since then and is now multi-sized in one envelope like the current HPs. I had absolutely no problems with this pattern. All seams and notches matched up and the sizing was nearly perfect for me. At $7.95 it's a steal!

As I said earlier, I cut a straight 16. I chose this size based sort of on full bust and sort of on my recent experience with 18 being too big. I was making a muslin so I didn't have much to lose. For my alterations, I added about 3/8" under the bust curve. The empire seam as drafted was on the edge for me, nearly perfect, but since this is an easy fix, I went for it and now it *is* perfect. I also decided to widen and lower the neckline after all to make it more like the envelope drawing. As you can see, I just whacked off a very unscientific amount. I then laid the new neckline over the facing piece and hacked that off too.It worked fine.

The sleeves are very narrow on this pattern. That's pretty much my only complaint. But it's easy enough to do a simple slash/spread to enlarge. I added 2 inches and redrew the sleeve cap higher since spreading the pattern flattens it a bit. Lastly, I sliced off some of the bell fullness, which was even more full after spreading the pattern 2 inches. Again, very unscientific.I think I ended up with an essence of bell sleeves without the hassle of dragging them through my soup.Whatever they are now, I like them.

I also added 2" to the length at the bottom edge of the lower bodice pattern pieces, but my hem is about 1-1/2" so I probably didn't need all of that. Finally, I combined the two front facing pieces into one since there's really no reason for a seam in the middle. You don't need a design detail on facing. ;-)

One feature that is not really apparent from the pattern envelope is that the neckband isn't really a band at all, but a really pretty shawl collar that morphs into the ties at the front. If you haven't done a tie-front blouse similar to this, you *will* need other instructions because HP's are kind of obtuse, not really complete, and there aren't any illustrations. But this is one of their older patterns and their instructions in newer patterns are much better. I'm going to try to find a pattern in my stash or instructions in one of my books to add to my review when I write it up for

One last note about the directions — they tell you that all seams are sewn WRONG sides together unless otherwise indicated. This is a major boo-boo, because they're not, so don't let that throw you if you make this (and you should!)

The buttons are courtesy of Carolyn and a perfect match, don't you think? Once again, thank you Carolyn for that button bonanza!

I picked up this knit dress today while running through Walmart, my home away from home it seems. I'm not sure about it being work-appropriate — that neckline is pretty low. I know I can sew it higher, so I'm still evaluating. I like how it looks low, but I don't think I'm going to have any date nights for a while. Hahahaha! (I also bought a couple of new bras while I was there so girls are pretty perky today. I bought the same exact bra/cup size as my previous bras but went down in band size. That really shouldn't work, but it did. I'm now a 38DD in this bra. I haven't been a 30-anything in bras in a long time. More vanity sizing?)

It's a faux wrap pullover, with ties that tie at center front.

I like it, but it's definitely a suck-in-yer-gut-all-day dress so it might hang for 10 more lbs or so. But for $18, how could I resist? I wish the details showed better in the pics. It's also got an asymmetrically gathered waist which you can't see at all.

That's it from Chez Cook. I hope you had a great weekend!