Tuesday, August 29, 2006

About the shelving

A few readers have commented here and privately about the shelving, wondering what it is and where to get it, so I thought I'd answer here in case others were also curious.

It's track shelving from Home Depot, brand name Closet Maid, and this stuff is GREAT! Very, very easy to install. Much easier than the wire shelving that fits into brackets which must be leveled and installed separately, like this. With the track shelving, the only part which has to be installed level is the main/header track across the top. You can sort of see the header track in this old pic of my previous sewing closet (and the Home Depot pic linked below).

Next, you slide on the vertical rails shown below and secure them with screws or toggle bolts into the wall (depends on your wall).

Next, the brackets which hold up the shelves snap into place in slots on the vertical rails. These are completely reconfigurable if your needs change since they snap in/out easily and when/wherever you want.

The last step is to snap the wire shelving into the brackets. Again, the shelves are removable and reconfigurable, no tools necessary.

We reused shelving from the previous house so some of these are doubled-up which you can see at the left side.

Otherwise, the shelving is sold by the foot and a Home Depot person will custom cut it to the length you specify.

Here is a pic from the Home Depot website which shows one configuration. There are also lots of options you can add-on besides just shelves -- hanger poles, drawers, shoe racks, and more.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I mean it's REALLY gotta stop!

Here it is. The new stash closet. And in this pic you can't even see everything.

Like the fleeces and sweater knits across the top ...

Or the stacks at each side ...

Or DH's expression as he stood before it. (No photo on THAT!)

Nearly everything is in there, save for maybe a few pieces in the laundry room or buried under the mess on my cutting table (mess created during stash organization).

So here's a rundown of what's what in there.

Top shelf: Fleeces, sweater knits, weird stuff like faux fur, vinyls, double-sided prequilted cottons (from my Vera Bradley phase)

Next shelf down: Flannels, seersuckers & woven stripes, blouse weight woven prints, drapey silks/rayons/polys, dressier wovens, and knits that wouldn't fit below

Next down: Rib & lycra knits (mostly cotton, mostly for sleepwear), buttermilks and other similar knit prints, solid denims/twills, denim/twill prints

Next down: Solid knits in half the colors of the rainbow

Bottom shelf: The knits from the other half of the rainbow

Floor bins L-R: (1) Crafty scraps, felts, etc., (2) ugly stuff for muslins, (3) knits that wouldn't fit on the shelves (oops), (4) quilting cottons (most less than a yard) and ribbing, and (5) outgrown jeans that I steal from and larger denim scraps (for patching or playing).

No, I don't know how many yards or dollars this represents. Ignorance, in this case, is bliss.

It's gotta stop!

You saw that empty SPACIOUS closet in the previous post, right? Well, it's empty no more. In fact, I'm still unpacking fabric and the closet is getting precariously FULL. Uh oh.

I think I have as many buttermilks as Linda herself at emmaonesock. Those prints sucker me in every time. I also found Powerdry a'plenty. Denims and bottomweight twills? Not as many but still plenty. Silks, some. Jerseys in all shades of the rainbow? Yup. Shirt cottons? Of course.

In fact, the only thing I'm proud of is that I have far less fleece than Joann's. Yes, I have some, but there's only 2 cuts that have never been used. The other pieces are largish scraps from past projects and even then, it's not a whole lot. So, at least there's that.

Right now I'm just working at getting everything into the closet in some kind of order that makes sense to me. I know I have a rearranging session in my future, but out of bins and onto shelves is big progress so I'm going to be happy with that for a while before I even think of redoing it.

Here's what the closet looked like around noon yesterday. Trust me, the back wall is barely visible today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One of these things is not like the other

Two of these paint splotches are NOT the final color for my sewing room. The gold-ish blobs were from the original paint I picked. (That's DH's "artwork" in the middle of it.) It was green on my sample card and green in the store. But it was gold/brown on the wall. Grrr. $28 down the drain.

So then I laid paint cards all over the floor and looked at them for weeks in every possible light before making my next decision. Which was also WRONG. Sigh. But it was close enough that after I toned it down with a 1:1 mix with white, it was going on the wall. And so it did, today.

This is what the sewing room looks like tonight.

And this is what will start becoming the stash closet this week, after I unpack the various bins and boxes that have housed my fabric for the past 10 or so months. (That's DH making some final adjustments to the shelving supports.)

The closet will never be this empty again.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


(Yet Another Pair of Shorts)

Here's the back view, complete with chalk marks and everything. They're in the washer now because they look too new. They need some distressing on the seams, hems, etc. to look less like Mom made them and more like What Everyone Else Is Wearing. I was a teenager once, I know how it is. They'll be done washing/drying by the time DS gets home from football practice and then I'll see if he's agreeable to another modeling session. (Edited to add: He did, here and here.)

Here's the front, a bit plain here but they really do look better in real life.

I shamelessly stole a few ideas from a pair of his RTW shorts.

First, the coin pocket construction. I wasn't even thinking of adding a coin pocket (or earring pocket as DS uses it) until I looked at the RTW shorts and saw how easy it would be to add. Instead of a separate little square pocket turned under and topstitched all around, the RTW version had a second layer on top of the hip "patch" on the pocket facing. I was already planning on using lighter weight fabric for the pockets and then adding the "patch" of denim to the area that shows. Three layers of denim for pockets is about two layers too many.

The second layer for the coin pocket is identical to the patch except that it does not come to the top edge of the patch. Instead, its top edge is just turned under and topstitched where it will show and the pocket is situated on the patch to be about an inch below the waistband seam. It's then overlocked around the bottom edge to act as one with the patch and the whole shebang is zigzagged onto the pocket facing.

Here's a pic after all that has been done. Easy, eh?

Here's a pic with the wrong side of the other front pocket on top.

Before completing the pocket bag construction, I fused a strip of Design Plus bias stabilizer along the seam edge of the front of the pocket to help it from stretching out.

Here's a shot of the inside showing the completed pockets. As you can see, I don't care too much about matching my thread to the pocket bags. The only one who will see them in actual use will be me on laundry day. I was already changing threads at what felt like every other seam to do the topstitching so I wasn't about to add another spool to the mix. His RTW shorts look 10 times uglier than this on the inside. The next time you're stressing about your sewing, take a look at the inside of RTW.

Another detail I stole from DS' RTW shorts was the cell phone pocket on the side seam. Again, easy construction. The top was turned under and topstitched. The bottom and right were turned under and topstitched to attach them to the shorts. The left was ... well ... left, to be sewn into the side seam.

The back hip pockets were also just turned down about 3/8" and topstitched. You know how most patterns have a "facing" area about an inch wide for patch pockets? Well, RTW doesn't. It's just turn and stitch. I like that. The denim is sturdy enough that it doesn't need a facing here.

The tag is my idea. I had two of these "Epidemic" tags I removed from a pair of the other DS' jeans about 4 years ago. I knew they'd come in handy one day. Here's a close-up of the bigger one I sewed to the front hem area.

The last "style" changes I made vs. the envelope instructions were (1) a fly shield from the same twill as the pocket bags (less bulky) ...

and (2) double belt loops all around. I don't know what made me do this because I hate sewing on belt loops, but I thought it would look cool, and it does. No pain no gain, right?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Test Shorts Passed

Don't let the expression fool you — that's how football players just home after the day's practice smile.

I finished this test pair early yesterday morning and they fit nearly perfectly out of the envelope. Like most teenage boys, DS pulls his waistbands down to hip level so you will see some wrinkling. Try to imagine them pulled up a couple of inches. I've reviewed the pattern with more detail on Pattern Review, here.

I'm just stopping by today on my way in and out between numerous football activities at the school. Both sons are now on the high school teams (Varsity and Jr. Varsity) and I'm going to be seeing a lot of the road between school and home for the next 3 months. We started up at the school at 10 this morning and there's a scrimmage game at 7 p.m. We'll be heading back out in about an hour. It's been a long day already and we're only at the halfway point. Whew.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Progress Report

The photo above is indicative of Blogger's image uploading today, not of my sewing. Although I have had snail sewing days too. What's with Blogger??

Anyway ... I have sewed DS's trial shorts as far as I can go before he needs to try them on. (I keep forgetting to jot down the Burda pattern number so I can link it here. Oh wait ... look online Debbie! Here it is, 2713.) I changed the construction order so I would end up with a center back seam up through the waistband to allow for easy taking-in (or letting-out) after the try-on. I basted the waistband on, basted the center back/crotch seam, and serged the in- and outseams separately in case I have to redo those too. I also left off the back and side pockets. I'll put on the back pockets if these are a Go. I'm hoping we'll be close on this first pair. He's so not-picky that if they fit at all, he will want to wear these even if they are technically a test. Maybe I'll get them done by tomorrow morning, but maybe not. I have lots of Football Mom stuff on my plate for the next week or so.

While I was in sewing zen, I also decided to finish the wearable muslin for my turquoise Burda WOF blouse. Why I didn't decide this before I changed the serger and machines threads to black for DS' shorts, I don't know. So, all threads are now white and I'll have to change them back. Why do we who sew dread those thread changes so much? They take what — three minutes, tops?? All that's left for that blouse is the buttons, which I'll sew on by hand while watching Rock Star tonight.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Quick Tee

The tee is done and I like it. I made this with almost no alterations to see how the pattern fits before I alter it. It's pretty good, but I will need some alterations for a great fit on future versions. Still, I'll wear this a lot and I think I'll wear the whole outfit to the concert we're going to Wednesday night. (Remember the gift tickets I bought for DH's birthday back in June and supplemented with the shorts I made for him? Unbelievably, the time is already upon us.)

I've reviewed this pattern on PR here. Below is a detail pic of the coverstitched binding and seams.

Next up on the sewing table is a pair of Burda shorts for DS#2. They are cut and ready for stitching. This will be a "muslin" (maybe wearable, maybe not) for him because I'm not exactly sure of his size, even after taking measurements. He's kind of all over the chart.

But first, lots of errands and other stuff to do today.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Splish, Splash

Saturday Estimate for Emergency Well Repair: $1,695
Actual Charge for Sunday Morning Work: $1,395
Hot Showers: Priceless

Yep, we've got water again. Ahhhhh!! And $200 more in our pockets than we were expecting last night. Dave was a straight arrow after all and adjusted the price for something in the works that did not have to be replaced. He could've not mentioned it, pocketed the $200, and we would never have known. But I'm glad that he, like us, subscribes to theory of What Goes Around Comes Around. All of our neighbors are on wells here too, and we will definitely spread the Good Word about Dave, which should come back to him in new business at some point down the road.

The laundry is churning again, and my cut of fabric is next up on the hit list. In the meantime, I'm finishing the top I traced and cut last night. I did have one major brain-fade goof, but it's not going to matter in the long run. This top from the August 2006 issue of Burda WOF is what I'm making. But I'm doing it in a knit and with short sleeves because I need more tees. The goof-up was that I cut the center front as two pieces instead of on the fold because when I traced it, I added a seam allowance to the CF and forgot to mark it as Cut on Fold. I was a little distracted yesterday so I suppose some little oddity was to be expected. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' with it!

I'm using a subtle (vs. shocking) lime green interlock. It goes beautifully with the skirt I made up a few days ago. Interlock is not my favorite choice for tees since it tends to bag out when you wear it, but I'm hoping this will be one of the better-behaved interlocks. If not, it's only a tee and I'll move on.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Well, well

Update: Well Repair Guy has come and gone. We'll have water tomorrow morning-ish, but will be $1,600 poorer. It is the pump and while we're having that replaced, we decided to go for the whole enchilada and replace the 30-year old holding tank too since it has a small leak and also seems to be where all that sludge was coming from. Big sigh. Thirty years is a long time for a pump and tank to last. I just wish we had had more of those years instead of the previous owners.

On the bright side (yeah, right), Well Repair Guy Dave seems to be a pretty straight arrow and a pleasant guy. I know his pricing is fair since we had previously looked into replacement at a future time. (The future is now.) Dave agreed to not charge us for the service call since he's going to get the whole job. We could've ended up with a lot worse from a desperate last-minute weekend service call. I hope I don't have to eat my words, or if I do, I'll be able to wash them down with some clear fresh water.

After Dave left, the skies opened up and deluged us with rain. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. But DH had the "brilliant" idea to set out a slew of buckets so we can flush the potties through the evening. You can see where his priorities are!

I finished tracing the Burda WOF pattern. We've got frozen pizzas in the oven and a jug of purchased iced tea for the beverage. The rest of the evening should be relatively calm and maybe I'll even cut and sew the pattern I traced.

We now interrupt this PSD for another PSD

Today was supposed to be a PSD, as in Personal Sewing Day. The menfolk took off for the movies and left me alone to do with my day as I wished.

I went upstairs and that's when I realized that I had completely forgotten to prewash the fabric I was planning to use. Sigh. OK, I can delay since I need to do some laundry anyway. I gathered up the dirty clothes, made my way to the kitchen to clean up after lunch makings on my way to the laundry room and ...

PSD turns into Personal Stress Day at the Money Pit. We have a well for our water and it seems that the pump that brings it into the house isn't working. Instead of water, we have stinky iron colored sludge, splatters and air coming out of the taps.

DH and Well Repair Guy (who charges $125 just to show up) are now out at the front of the proprety fending off mosquitos and trying to assess the problem.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have water before the weekend is over, but I'm not optimistic. There's only a couple hours of daylight left for today and unless it's an easy problem to fix, we'll be waterless until ... ??

Needless to say, the sewing mood went away. But since I don't have much else to think about right now, I'm going to try to distract myself by tracing a pattern from the latest Burda WOF. And, boy do I wish I had filled up my iron this morning when I first thought about it.

And Done-Done

I wish I had straighted this up on Zillie before snapping the pic, but you only notice these things after the photo session is over. Oh well. Here's the 100% finished blouse. Wooo hooo! The buttons are just simple pearly white plastic buttons but until I find something better, they'll do. Otherwise, the blouse would remain a UFO and I wanted this done and off the list.

I took a few more pics of some of the details. This one below is the right side of the collar/fringe.

This next photo is of the wrong side of the collar. The fringe is sewn as an applied strip and then the excess seam allowances of both the strip and the collar pieces are cut away. This will fray like mad in the laundry for the first few washings, but eventually it will fray itself out. The two passes of stitching are hopefully secure enough to hold it all together.

Next, a blurry (sorry) shot of the inside neck, showing the bias facing.

And finally, the buttonholes. As you can see, the top buttonhole is sewn on a slant. The placket where it joins the bodice is angled at the top and the buttonhole really wouldn't fit without the slant. I matched the angle of the empire seam and I think it looks fine. It works well too, keeping the top of the placket neatly together. Form and function together, how nice when that happens.

Tomorrow is a PSD. I'm hoping to cut and sew another pair of denim capris. I find myself living in the two pairs I've already made.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006


I'm calling it quits for a day or two on this blouse. I'm just plain sick of it right now. All that's left is buttons and buttonholes, which will turn out much nicer if I'm in a good frame of mind about it. So, I cut out and sewed a skirt tonight after I put aside the blouse. The stinkin' blouse took over two weeks. The skirt? An hour. Sigh. There sure is lot to be said for TNT patterns.

I like the blouse. But I'm just really, really tired of working on it. I'm an instant gratification kinda girl. It's looking pretty wrinkly in the photo, but it's linen so it's going to always look wrinkly. I also goofed on the collar. But kind of on purpose. The fringe is a strip that is applied as you sew the upper and lower collar pieces together (WS together) and because it's not bias, it doesn't really want to "bend" around the notch shape on the pattern. I don't hate the shape I ended up with, but I'd like it better if the notch was more defined. Oh well.

It also looks slightly "saggy" on my dressform. I think Zillie needs a day at the reshaping spa because, hard as it is to believe, her butt is bigger than mine and the back of the blouse hangs up on her but not on me. I'll get a pic of me in the blouse at some point after the buttons are done.

I really like the turquoise linen with the print of the skirt. The blouse also goes nicely with a few more things in my closet. Big surprise, right, since I've been sewing turquoise and green for a while now.