Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fitting in

Chili thinks the "Sit" command involves chairs. Velvet chairs. ;-) Pepper is content on her usual fleece pillow in front of the window.

Training is going well. Chili now comes when called with "Come" (or the usual kissy-pucker calling an animal sound) and the whistling is long forgotten. He's learned to Sit on command, and not just on chairs. ;-) He sits before we put on his leash, he sits when we need to take it off, and he sits to wait for the door to open. He's starting to grasp Lay Down too. He's a smart pooch who just needs some guidance.

The training sessions are hilarious. First, there's Chili, all wiggly and goofy and so eager to please so he can get that delicious morsel of ... doggie kibble. No need for special treats here. Hand feeding him anything does the job. So far, we know that in addition to the kibble, Chili eats raisins, carrots, lettuce, croutons, acorns (outside), spiders (yay!), and any crumb on the floor he's sniffed out. And then there's Pepper, who goes through all the commands I'm giving Chili because she hasn't figured out yet that I'm not talking to her. Or maybe she has and she just wants to guilt me into a kibble morsel for her too. It's working. Hmmm. Who's training who?

Both dogs continue to get along great. They play with each other during the day, around naptimes and walk times. Chili has SO MUCH energy (as do most JRTs) that we need to go on little explorations around the yard during the day. It's good for me and Pepper too, so I don't mind. Although I won't be taking another 2-leash stroll off our property again without help until Chili learns better leash manners. On Monday, it was all I could do to control him from darting across the street to greet the boxers and dobermans in the neighbor's fenced-in yard or the horses next to them without getting tangled in a leash web and landing on my butt. Pepper is fine without a leash, but I had her on one in case she wandered when I was attending Chili and so her leash was getting mixed in the tangle too. Whooeee ... what a workout that was! ;-)

I'll be working on the jacket some more this morning. Maybe I'll even get to the point of working on the sleeves. Hey, it could happen.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tutu, Revisited

The topstitching and serged seams are now all ripped out. I did that this afternoon and then I took the dogs for a walk to recharge my batteries. It's actually cold here today so the weather was perfect for that. While walking, I picked up "hitchhikers" all over my shoes and ankles. So after I was back in the house, I spent the next 30 minutes ripping *those* out. Seemed to be a theme today. ;-)

Below are two pics of the jacket before I took it apart (sloppily arranged on the dressform). The tutu effect is much more pronounced in the back view, and this is because the bias of the lining peplum is fighting with the bias of the jacket peplum. They're both cut with the same exact "grain" (bias angle), but they just don't want to play nice. There's plenty of length in the lining, so it's not that.

The pic below is after all the unstitching. The lining and jacket are pinned together at the sideseams but the lining is left hanging free at the bottom edge. Much, much better.

So tomorrow, I will baste it all together and check it again. If it works the way I think it will, I'll just hand-tack the lining hem in a few key spots. Ewwww. Handsewing. ;-) And by the time I'm done, the weather will probably be warm again.

The Nyquil is kicking in (yawn), so I'm off to bed.

Hip, Hip, No Hooray

The jacket is inching toward wadder status. After sewing up the sideseams and topstitching all around the edges, the peplum is sticking out way too much when I have the jacket unbuttoned (or, rather, unpinned, since I haven't actually done buttons or buttonholes yet) and it looks like a tutu. Not what I need. Grrrr. I think the stiffness of the denim is part of the problem and I also think the full back lining is going to have to go. Catching it into the sideseams is adding to the sticky-out factor. I'm NOT looking forward to ripping out serged seams and topstitching so I'm just going to glare at it for a while.

Meanwhile, my cold is still hanging on and DS#2 has been home from school for the past two days with a fever and nausea.

We're not having fun here today. ;-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Jacket & An Afternoon at the Dog Park

My head cold is still making me drag around the house so my declaration that the jacket would be done by weekend's end is not to be realized, but I did work on it after our trip to the dog park (more on that below). The inside body is completely finished now and my plan did work out.

After the insides were connected, I trimmed seam allowances, pressed and turned it all right side out. It was the moment of truth for my first notched collar and I have to say that I think I did pretty darn good. ;-) There are no ripples or puckers and the inside corner joins all come together as they should. There is a lot to be said for accurate marking and pinning.

I still need to topstitch all of those edges but just as I was about to start, the main lightbulb in my studio burned out and it was too dark to go on. So I moved Zillie into the bathroom for a photo session and then started this blog entry. DH has now replaced the bulb but I think I'll call it quits for the night and pick up again in the morning.

* * * * *

The rest of this entry is about our trip to the dog park today after lunch … just a little fair warning. ;-)

Even though we have a big yard, I wanted to go to see how Chili does off leash without risking him zooming into the woods. This dog park is about a 15-minute drive from our house. It's approximately 5 acres, divided into two fenced-in sections. One for big dogs and the other for the little guys. There were TONS of people and pooches there today since the weather was perfect — sunny and about 65 degrees. I think we saw every breed of small dog in our section today. Beagles, Bostons, Yorkies, Pugs, Shelties, Dachsies, Min Pins, Westies, and more.

Chili is Mr. Social. Pepper is a bit more reserved. By the time we left a couple of hours later, Chili had introduced himself to every single dog there, and to the girls twice! Apparently, he's still not quite reconciled with the neutering. ;-) Chili must've run 20 miles at top speed while we were there. He *never* slowed down. I don't think I'm going to be trusting him off leash for a long while yet. But since we have the 2nd retractable leash now, I'll be taking the dogs on regular walks off our property. Both Pepper and I can use the exercise.

Now on to the photos …

Here's Chili playing tag with 2 new friends soon after our arrival. DS#1 and Pepper are jogging in the background near the fence.

Comin' on to one of the little ladies.

A quick swim break. Looks like baths won't be a problem with Chili.

Football with the guys. And that's *not* Chili in the foreground. We actually know the owners of Chili's "twin" and the little black/white Jack Russell behind directly him — he's our mechanic and she's the receptionist at the boys' dentist (they're married and own both dogs together). We spent a lot of time talking with them and comparing our JRTs.

Chili is in this shot (he's on the left of his twin) along with DS#1, DS#2, and DH. The guys and the dogs tossed the football and/or chased after it for at least 45 minutes straight. It was quite hilarious to watch them all trying to get the football at the same time and if any of the JRTs managed to get the ball, they kicked it around on the ground like a soccer ball and were quite indignant to have to give it up to a human.

This dog just cracked me up so I had to include it. Do you think he knows what he looks like? Poor baby. I know he really just wanted to play football. ;-)

This was taken about an hour ago. I came downstairs to ask DH to change the lightbulb for me and found him and Chili snoozing together on the recliner. They were both so sound asleep they didn't even stir when the flash was going off. ;-) I think Chili has settled in with his new family quite well.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The jacket slowly progresses

Without thinking too hard, I can come up with many excuses for why this jacket project was stalled most of today (head cold, new doggie playtime, reading some of my "new" sewing books which have been arriving for the past few days) but the main reason is because I was in a state of severe frustration with it and I needed time to work through in my head exactly how to proceed. Let me back up …

Problem #1: I didn't read the cutting chart closely enough when I was first cutting out. If I had, I would've noticed that the back yoke and peplum pieces were to be cut twice. Once as the garment and another time as a facing. Oops.

Problem #2: I was out of fabric. I mean down to tiny scraps. I had to get creative just to cut the 2 collar stands. I definitely didn't have enough for those "new" pieces. Plus, I really didn't want another layer of denim to sew through and even worse, this denim is flocked so I would have Velcro butt if the flocked side is worn against my backside.

Problem #3: I had already sewn the two stands to the two collar pieces, attached the undercollar unit to the jacket body, trimmed seam allowances, and topstitched when I later figured out that the Burda WOF instructions wanted me to sandwich one whole collar unit (top and undercollar) in between the facing and jacket. Too late! So the WOF method was out. As if it was ever actually in, seeing how my eyes cross every time I read those instructions.

So then I decided that maybe I'd just line the whole thing. I was already sewing it together in the way that you would for bagging a lining. Except …

Problem #4: The front facing pieces which incorporate the lapels are "all in one" and thus shaped very oddly and so it would be a big headache to redraft those pieces to match up with the front side panels that would be needed to fully line the jacket. Plus, like the collar pieces, they were already sewn, trimmed, etc. In the pic below, the jacket is turned inside out and you can see the shaping of the front facings.

So, many times today I went up to the sewing room, fiddled with the jacket pieces, thought about solutions (sneezed, coughed) and then left the room. My head was already stuffy with this cold and was too full to process this information. But I got my night-owl second wind a couple of hours ago and I think I've got a workable solution that not only should work but will look good on the inside too.

Below is a pic of the facing pieces the instructions want (right sides together, with the bottom facing just pinned into place to show this). Per Burda, the top facing hem would be turned and handstitched to the bottom seam allowance of the yoke and the peplum facing to the bottom seam allowance of the middle section. Stupid looking, isn't it?

So what I've come up with is this: I'm going to make a middle back section from the lining/facing fabric, quasi-bag the front facings and collar units (already done), and quasi-interline the back. When finished, the shoulder seams will be encased wrong sides together within the back yoke and front facings (like you would a shirt with a back yoke). The back "lining" seam allowances will be sandwiched between lining and garment (IOW wrong sides together), and I'll sew the back lining sideseams and armhole seams with the corresponding jacket seams, like an underlining. I think I'm also going to incorporate a pleat in the middle section of the back to allow for spread when wearing it. The peplum is semi-bias so it will have some give. It's too late to incorporate a pleat in the back yoke but my posture is pretty darn erect so I don't think that area will be a big problem. But if it is and it rips, I'll just deal with it later.

So there you have it. Progress, very little. ;-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

More Gratuitous Pooch Pics

I am really sewing today, just not as much as I planned. The jacket won't be done by tonight's dinner out with my sister/BIL, but definitely before the weekend is over. So far, so good. I've attached the collar stands to both collar and undercollar pieces and topstitched them. I attached the undercollar unit to the jacket body, which included one-half of the notched collar construction and all pieces fit like a glove (or jacket!). Whew! I hope it goes as well for the layer the public sees. I've pinned the sideseams and am about to have a quick try-on session just to be sure the fit is still what I'm expecting. DH came home with dog treats and a nametag so we were interrupted. ;-)

Someone asked how old Chili is. The shelter estimated 3 years old, but after 24 hours with him, we disagree. I'd put him between 1 and 2 years, an old 1 or a young 2. He's still got a lot of puppy behavior (the good kind), and Pepper is treating him like a "kid." He's completely housebroken which is great, although since he was only neutered the day before we brought him home, he has tried to "mark" a few areas inside. But we're keeping him in close scrutiny and distracting him from doing that with a spray bottle and shaker can. Only one inside marking attempt today (so far). This is normal dog behavior and while annoying to us humans, at least we don't have real floors here yet, right? I can see that as he gets more and more settled (and that testosterone dispurses!), his desire to mark inside is decreasing substantially so I'm confident this will not be an ongoing problem.

Chili definitely needs some obedience training (sit, stay, etc.) but we've learned that he comes when whistled at so we'll gradually turn that into come-when-called and train him for the other commands. Jack Russells are smart dogs so I expect he'll be a quick learner … especially if his new favorite doggie treats are involved.

Both of the dogs have been up in my sewing room with me this morning. I had a folded pile of a flannel pants muslin and scraps under the ironing board. Chili went over to it, rearranged things with his nose to make a nest, and promptly settled in for a nap. My new dog loves fabric — He's definitely a keeper!

Presenting … the Chili Dog

Here he is! He's still settling in, sniffing everything, and licking Pepper to death (she's enjoying that).

Pepper is not too photogenic this week, as her forehead has been shaved and stitched due to a minor surgery yesterday to remove a cyst. But she's been happy with her little brother since they first met and I think they're going to be great friends.

Chili is a bit skinny and Pepper … well … not so much. We didn't realize the extent of Pepper's plumpness until Chili arrived for a side-by-side comparison. Looks like it's time for salads for Pepper and protein shakes for Chili. ;-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Making mountains out of .... well, mountains

Here's my front panel piece laying on the table. Yep, that's an FBA in 3D relief. Yep, it's a mountain. It cracked me up so I thought I'd share. ;-)

Only a little progress on the jacket so far. I've been busy running errands and … getting ready for our new pooch. We found him at the county shelter today and he'll be coming home with us tomorrow. Just in time for my sister's visit. We plan things well, don't we?

The new dog will be named Chili — to go with Pepper, naturally. Chili … Pepper. Get it? DS#1's idea. (He being the Red Hot Chili Peppers #1 fan.) Chili is a Jack Russell Terrier, and an incredibly cute happy bundle of dog love. We were planning on another girl dog but he was just too irresistible. We'll pick him up after my sister leaves for her hotel and I'm sure we'll spend the rest of the night settling in with him and reassuring Pepper that she's still our #1 Princess. Both dogs will be recovering from surgery, Pepper from a cyst removal from her forehead and Chili from neutering. It will be a low-key evening. The timing all around could be better, but things have a way of working out so I'm not too worried.

So, back to the jacket. There were no instructions for any interfacing, which I'm assuming is because it's to be made from denim. Since my chosen denim has a bit of Lycra stretch, I decided to interface the undercollar and the front facings/pocket flaps where there will be buttons. This was my set-up yesterday, watching ESPN's morning radio show. Yep, watching (listening to) radio on the TV.

Here's the current status photo and report. The front and back panels are sewn together and topstitched. (The topstitching isn't showing up very well in these nighttime pics.) As you can see, I decided to go with the upper pocket flaps and have sewn them into the yoke seam and then topstitched. I also sewed the lower pockets and flaps into the front peplum seam, which is where I quit tonight. I'll attach both peplum pieces in the morning before my sister arrives. I used the pocket/flap instructions from a Kwik Sew denim jacket pattern so I wouldn't tear my hair out. It was easy-peasy with those. I was actually getting the Burda instructions, but I wasn't agreeing with them. The pocket lining fabric was a Royal Pain, though. Icky slippery poly stuff. Wonder Tape to the rescue, whew! The upper flaps are fake pockets. I would never put anything into an actual pocket there so I left them off.

The temperature is dropping tonight, and I won't have a new jacket to wear tomorrow as planned. Sigh. But dinner has been pushed to Friday night anyway so maybe I'll have it then as I'll have all of tomorrow night and Friday daytime to finish it. We'll see. I'm not going to rush.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Did I say 17 pieces?

Well, that's wrong. When you figure in cutting a separate undercollar, sleeve bands from measurements instead of a pattern piece, and interfacing, I know I'm well above 20 by now. Whew! My hands are tired. But the jacket has been cut out and I'm about to go sew for a couple of hours before I meet up with DS#1 to pick up tickets to a concert he's going to on Sunday.**

**Red Hot Chili Peppers, and since he used my credit card and Ticketmaster didn't let us know until after the purchase was complete that they weren't mailing tickets, I have to be present when they're picked up at the Will Call. I'm glad it's not an out-of-town concert like the RHCP show he went to in NJ late last year. Then we're off to the Pound to look at pups. I doubt we'll find The One since I'm picky, but you never know — sad puppy eyes are hard to resist. Oh, and no, we're not replacing Pepper. We're looking for a "little sister" that was promised when we moved into the Money Pit over a year ago.

I went ahead with Fabric 3 in the photo below. It never officially made it into the stash and instead has been waiting in a neat "on deck" pile on the floor since I bought/prewashed it. I had been thinking of maybe using one of the print denims in the stash, but this paisley was still calling the loudest so it won. I probably won't wear it with the purple jeans from Denim #2 below, though. It's just too much purple for my eyes.

One of my errands yesterday was a trip to Joann's for thread and buttons. Thread was easy, but buttons. Grrrr. I hate that Joann's is the only local venue for buttons. Even if I was a button stasher, I probably still would've needed to buy for this project since it calls for 15 buttons. (No, I'm not even going to think about 15 buttonholes on denim right now.) I did see a few possibilities in J's button aisles, but none with 15 in stock. Sigh. I ended up buying bronze-colored bachelor buttons (think jeans waistbands) so I'll be whacking my buttons into place instead of sewing them. I left J's with only thread and buttons, in case you were wondering.

So, I'm off and running …

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Last look at muslin #2 (time to fish or cut bait)

I've sewn the sleeve in and it's a keeper. The only changes I still need to make are (1) to shorten the sleeve about 3/4" above the elbow (already tested with a pinned tuck) and (2) to narrow the shoulders a little bit more. In the pic below, I had already narrowed it by 1/2". I think I need 1/4" to 3/8" more. I'm confident in these changes so I'll just transfer them to the pattern pieces and cut the final fabric next.

The sleeve & armhole notches/marks/landmarks lined up very well, except for the back arm seam. It's supposed to hit below the yoke but mine doesn't. I've decided it never will because of my square shoulder alteration, which adds fabric above that landmark. The sleeve fits well and looks good and that's what matters.

This last pic is of the muslin with the undercollar sewn on to test my notched collar skills (cough, cough) and to see the whole effect. I'm getting too used to these lapels with seam allowances still showing so the actual lapel width is probably going to look too narrow to me. I think I'll sew the width wider than the pattern dictates because I do like that wider look.

I'm off to watch some football in between transferring all of the last tweaks to my pattern pieces. Go Saints! Although I like the Bears too, so I'll be happy either way.

Presenting Muslin #2

Muslin #2 is mostly done. I still have to sew in the sleeve, give the collar a practice run and redraft the front facing to match my alterations, but it's late and I'm going to save all that for tomorrow. I'm 99.99% sure that once I align the sleeve into the armhole the way it is actually supposed to go, the twisty problem will be gone.

My final tweaks to the bodice are perfect on the front (although it's hard to tell on Zillie) and near-perfect on the back. Moving the princess seams inward was a good call. The bust area fits better and doesn't make the girls look as "widespread" as before. The back fits and falls much nicer too. There are still some wrinkles back there but I really don't want an overfitted denim jacket so I'm not going to obsess about them. I'll be wearing it open most of the time and I won't see them in real life anyway. Some of the wrinkles are also because I decided to not shorten the shoulder to waist length any more than the 3/8" I already removed. If the waist seam sits at my actual waist in the front, I look like I'm even more all bust than usual. The additional length, even though it affects the back fit a bit, is a better illusion for both sides of me.

Unfortunately, I *still* sewed the #$@!! lower section onto the sleeve backwards. Or, more correctly, I sewed the left band to the right sleeve. At least this time I didn't sew it on upside down too, so the mystery flare is gone. Obviously, I will need to baste the real ones in place and triple-check them before I commit. ;-) Yeah, I'll probably still sew one on wrong.

Claire asked in a comment about my muslin fabric. For this jacket, I'm using actual unbleached muslin purchased by the bolt from Joann's with a coupon. Amazingly, this bolt is the first true muslin fabric I've used for fitting. In the past, I've used clearance and Walmart ugly cottons and ugly knits. But I've used up pretty much all of the cheap uglies in my stash so it was time for a restocking and I decided muslin was better to mark on, cheap, and easier to store.

My final jacket fabric is a stretch woven. The muslin is not. I chose to use non-stretch muslin for fitting because I don't want the Lycra in the final fabric to be compensating for fit issues. This way, the Lycra will provide an increased comfort factor but not an increased fit level. At least that's the plan.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gearing Up for Muslin #2

I'm making progress. Tortoise-type progress, but progress nonetheless.

I'm pretty sure I figured out what happened with the sleeve but I won't know for sure until I sew the second muslin, which is happening right after I finish this post. I aligned the underarm seam of the sleeve with the sideseam of the bodice. You know ... how you usually do that. But for this jacket, those seams are not supposed to align and are, in fact, offset. And there is a definite mark (notch) to tell you that, if you pay attention. I did not. That's what I get for thinking I'm so smart and not looking over the details. ;-).

The other problem with the sleeve is that it is too tight. It's OK with nothing under the muslin but as soon as I tried it on with a tee, no way Jose. Which called for another head-scratching session, because the sleeves are 2-piece sleeves and with the "built-in" elbow dart, they do not pin together flat. I thought about what to do and came up with this:

(Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them for detail viewing.)

I pinned the sleeve pieces together so that the grainlines were parallel and the armscye seam was fluid.

Then I adjusted the bicep width like this (my alterations are marked with red pen on the pattern):

IOW, I slashed across the bicep "latitude" and straight down from the top center mark plus a couple more "pizza" slices in the upper arm area, leaving hinges as necessary at the seamlines.

Then I filled in the spreads with more STP and raised the sleevecap back up to close to what it was before the alteration and trued any seams that needed it.

Other alterations included moving the princess lines closer to center front by slashing/spreading the side front panel and slashing/overlapping the center front panel. This is roughly pinned at the seam on your left.

Finally, depressing as it is, I still needed more hip room for the jacket to hang nice in the back. A center back seam would've been ideal but I didn't want to change the look of the jacket back. (Can you see where I tried that and then Scotch-taped it back together?) Instead, I slashed through the peplum at and up through the back panel seams. I then added 1/2 of each spread to the bottom of each side of the panels tapering to zero by about the mid-high point, and I spread the peplum to match the new width. My mind says this will work. We'll see how Muslin #2 really looks.

Now, off the computer and up to the sewing machine where Muslin #2 is waiting, cut and ready to be sewn.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I've been tagged by Liana and Gaylen. Um, thanks ladies. ::wink::

First, the Rules:

• Someone Tags you
• You post 5 things about yourself that you haven't already mentioned on your blog
• You tag 5 more bloggers

So, here goes. Grab the coffee, it will probably be boring because I'm not about to put my wilder escapades out for the general public. Doesn't that sound intriguing?? Good. It was supposed to. I'm so boring now that I probably don't even remember any wild escapades. Maybe.

1. I hate beets. I love every other vegetable, but I can't stand beets. I think it's because my father used to make me eat them. This, from a father who himself wouldn't ever eat brocolli, lima beans, and other things. I used to cram it all into my mouth, excuse myself to the bathroom, and spit them all out down the toilet. ;-)

2. I honeymooned in Rio de Janeiro. Coming up on 20 years ago in 3-1/2 short months.

3. I totalled my father's car the day I got my driver's license. Um. Yep. And had to call him to come get me. The thought of which made me start hyperventilating. Which in turn necessitated a call to the paramedics. My dad, who was always very particular about his things and his cars especially and who was never wrong, secretly hated that car he bought (it had been a lemon since Day One but he'd never admit it out loud) and he never said a cross word to me about it. I think he was glad to be rid of it. ;-)

4. I cried when I found out (prebirth) that my first baby was a boy and not a girl and then 3 years later cried when the doc told me my second was going to be a girl. I love both of my boys (yes, the doc was wrong) very much and can't now imagine a life with daughters. It's good to be Queen. ;-)

5. I went to 9 different schools between grades 7-12. My dad kept putting in for promotions which took us to different places. A couple were "temporary" private schools until my parents bought a house and registered me in the proper district. I hated it and vowed to never do that do my children. We've lived here for almost 17 years and my sons have been in the same school district with the same friends the whole time. We moved to a "new" (different) house in late-2005, but it's only about a mile from our old house so nothing changed for them.

You're IT! ... Right Sides Together, Sew West, Skipping Stitches, Girls in the Garden, and Crazed Sewer.

Jacket Muslin and Odds & Ends

Jacket Muslin

Well, here it is. I think Zillie's bra needs a bit more stuffing because this fits my bust better than hers and hers used to match mine better. Must've gotten squished during previous fitting sessions (hers, not mine!).

Good things:

1. It mostly fits and I think I like the style lines on my body. The jury is still out, though, until the fit is improved. I think I may need to lengthen the peplum just a bit since I like where it's hitting now and there's no hem sewn.

2. It goes around me and the center fronts meet.

3. The real sewing will be mostly easy (see note below on new instructions).

Bad things:

1. I did something seriously wacko with the sleeve and will investigate that within the hour. The sleeve on its own fit with me sliding it up my arm. The sleeve after being sewn in feels (and fits) like it's sewn in backwards (which could very well be!) and I notice the seams didn't land per the line drawing of the back. Definitely operator error on this one.

2. The lower section of the sleeve is also weird. It's flared, and the photo and line drawing are not. Possibly I sewed it upside down. Another thing to check, which I'll do by comparing those teeny-tiny little numbers on the pattern pieces (and which I probably should've done before sewing). This whole sleeve business is made harder with WOF's scant instructions and severe lack of illustration. I pulled out some better instructions last night and will go over those this morning. Another thing I should've done first.

3. There's still a little too much length between shoulder and waist, I think, but I can't tell for sure until the sleeve is out or corrected.

4. Upper pocket flaps. Not sure this is a good look on me. I'll decide after the fit is finessed.

5. Shoulders are too wide, but I was expecting this since I didn't narrow them yet.

Good thing this is only a muslin.

Odds & Ends

1. Lorna asked for the links for my book splurge: I bought from, and, after using Google to search on a few authors/titles to get started. Abebooks is a middleman for other sellers, like Amazon's used booksellers, and had the most titles/best prices. I left plenty for you.

2. New cutting mat: I don't know the brand, it's not marked. I don't think it is Dritz because that would be printed on it somewhere, don't you think?

I do like the way it feels when I'm cutting but I still prefer the softness of self-healing mats. I'll see how it goes as I get used to this new one. I can see that this mat will get roughed up as it's used (the con of non-self-healing), but with a 40% off coupon and my extra 10% off ASG discount, I won't have a problem spending the $30-or-so to replace it yearly, if necessary. The size and color push it ahead of the self-heal mats so far, although my end-all, be-all would be a HUGE white, self-healing mat. For those of you who have a mat like this, do you use something to smooth out the cuts every now and then?

It's still not completely flat. Too bad they have to be shipped/stored rolled up tight in boxes. So I sprayed the table with temporary adhesive spray and stuck the mat down. Where there's a will, there's a way. ;-) Now that my mat covers the full table surface and is white like the tabletop, I don't think I'll need to take it off anytime soon. If I do, and the stickiness is a problem, I'll just wipe it off with rubbing alcohol, which is another sewing room "notion" BTW. I use it all the time to take Sharpie marks off my fingers and table.

In case you're wondering, I prefer the white color underneath when tracing anything, or taping computer patterns together. I always took my other mats off the table when doing those things.

3. Replacing the zipper in DS's pants ... yeah, I know I could've taken it to the cleaners and had them do it for a reasonable price. But, I wanted to see if I could and DS makes me feel happy with his response when I mend something of his. So, totally selfish project even if at first glance it didn't seem so. ;-)

4. Pincushions ... it's been fun seeing all of yours after my Old/New post. Keep the pics coming!

5. No shopping this morning. ;-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hello. My name is Debbie and I'm an internet shopaholic.

I really didn't plan all this shopping and I think I definitely need to remove myself from the computer tomorrow morning in case I'm tempted again, but, really, the budget can handle it so it's not a problem, right? Right?? OK, DH would probably prefer I shop for tile or carpet, but where's the fun in that?

So anyway, there I was at 7:30 a.m. just happily minding my own business, checking my email, and what should pop into the Inbox all quiet and innocent-like?? A sales announcement from Fashion Fabrics Club. Yes, I get these on a regular basis and usually I just delete them without further thought. I mean, have you seen my stash closet? But this one mentioned knits and velours at very reasonable prices and I was tempted and clicked the link. Oh no! It all looked so pretty.

Want to see what jumped into my cart?

The first one is a cotton/Lycra knit. (No, Belinda, you can't have it ... although something keeps telling me you already do.) The next three are rayon/Lycra knits. Next, are two slinkies (of the acetate variety) and finally 80% cotton/20% poly brown velour. Because the order is from FFC, notorious for slow-boat shipping, it won't be instant gratification but maybe I'll be done with my jacket by the time it does arrive.

Speaking of the jacket, the pattern has now undergone the initial adjustments, and the muslin is cut and nearly sewn. I'm going to finish putting it together (with at least one sleeve) after dinner, but I already see a bust point adjustment in its future. As much as I went on and on about the 17 pieces, it really hasn't been bad at all once they were traced. The pieces are fairly small which means cutting out is fast and easy. And because they are small, I was able to use up my bigger muslin pieces that I had re-wrapped around the bolt. Yes, I was saving muslin scraps ... but they were much too big to toss. See, I do truly save money sometimes! ;-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A little overboard (oh, do you THINK?)

So I was browsing some bookseller sites this morning (uh oh) and I found all sorts of used and OOP sewing, fitting and patternmaking books that have been on my mental wishlist for a while, whether I knew it or not. Resistance was futile, apparently, because I bought them all. Yikes!

1. Fitting Commercial Patterns: The Minott Method (Jan Minott)

2. Coordinated Pattern Fit (Jan Minott)

3. Pants and Skirts Fit for Your Shape (Jan Minott)

I couldn't decide which one would be the best from the very brief (non-existent?) contents descriptions. I know I want at least one of these. If the others are too duplicative, I'll resell them on PR.

4. Fantastic Fit For Everybody: How to Alter Patterns to Flatter Your Figure (Gale G. Hazen)

I think I had this at one time, but I can't find it. Maybe I didn't like it and resold it? It was pretty cheap today so what the heck. I can always resell it again if I really don't like it.

5. Pants Fit for Your Figure: Point-By-Point Pattern Adjustment (Louise Bame)

I've never heard of this one, but it was cheap.

6. SEWING CASUAL CLOTHES Sportswear, How to Make and Fit Slacks, Smart Separates and Beach Wear, Leather Fashions, Sport Clothes for Men (Better Homes & Gardens)

Leather fashions for men? Hmmmm!!!! No, that's not what made me buy it! It also was very cheap and I have almost no sewing books for men so I figured why not. And it will be hilarious to see the 1970s styles, which, of course, my sons will probably think are very cool! ;-)

7. Sewing Pants for Women: A Guide to Perfect Fit (Else Tyroler)

Another one unfamiliar to me but too cheap to not buy. (There I go, "saving money" again!)

8. How to Make Pants and Jeans That Really Fit (Barbara Corrigan)

I ask you, how could I not buy a book on fitting jeans??

9. How To Make Clothes That Fit And Flatter (Adele Margolis)

10. Make Your Own Dress Patterns (Adele Margolis)

I've wanted Margolis' patternmaking book for a while. This one is the recent Dover reprint so it was very reasonably priced. The other is to complete the "set" ... I already have her Dressmaking book.

11. Easy Guide to Sewing Tops and T-shirts (Marcy Tilton)

This book has great reviews but is usually hard to find at a reasonable price. But I did today, so I scooped it up too.

12. Mustang/Cougar 1965-73 (Chilton's Repair & Tune-Up Guides)

Yeah, OK, not a sewing book. But my son needs this for his '65 Stanger and it was less than $5.00.

Total: About $175, including shipping. There were plenty not on my current list (until today) that I left for another day. I'll let you know when they start arriving and I'll definitely write up reviews on PR since there aren't any for most of these.

Now back up to the sewing room to finish the pattern alterations for my jacket before I have to leave on some errands.

Oh, and in case you missed it on PR, the new Burda Plus magazine is up ... I can't wait to get this one! I love everything!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I found my mojo again

I guess I just needed a long weekend to putter around and veg out. Until last night, I just wasn't very enthused about working on the jacket even though I haven't lost any desire to have it finished and be wearing it. But at the end of the evening, with DH and the boys back home and settled in, I started thinking about the jacket alterations and how I was going to do them, and before I knew it, I couldn't wait to get started this morning.

I cut out the STP pattern pieces and started pin fitting the body sections on Zillie. She's not exactly my clone but close enough to give me a really good indication of what's needed. I know that if I had a body duplicate, I'd never have to pin fit on myself again ... it's so much easier and comes so naturally to pin, tuck, let out, etc. with the "fabric" (paper) draped before me instead of on me. But I just can't see DH doing a good job of duplicating me. Sigh.

Anyway …

I definitely will need about a 3/4 to 1" FBA judging by the gap created when unpinning the princess seam. The gap looks wider in the pic, but the paper is drooping. I'm also seeing a bit of extra length from shoulder to bust/waist both front and back so I'll fold that out at the armhole level. Since I regularly add a square shoulder adjustment, which means raising the armhole to match, a tuck at the armhole should kill two birds/boobs with one stone.

I need to add some width/ease across the back and also take out some shoulder to waist length as mentioned above. The pinned pattern is hanging a bit crooked at the upper back because I didn't notch the seam allowance for the neckline and that extra length is poofing outward. I also need to add some width at hip level, both at the sideseam (see sideseam pic below) and a slash/spread over the bum. Nothing unexpected there either. Unfortunately. ;-)

I'm going to make some initial adjustments to the pattern pieces and then cut my first muslin. Yes, I said first. I'm sure I'll be doing more than one. But that's OK, as long as the mojo holds out. I definitely need to try on a muslin over a real top because paper over Zillie's thin knit cami isn't a good model for jacket ease.

Note to self: Sewing that lapel in denim ought to be interesting … with that yoke seam bisecting the underside.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A teeny-tiny step forward

I've organized the jacket pattern pieces and laid them on my cutting table in the position as they would be sewn to see which piece is what and where I'll need to alter, and also to start thinking through the general construction in my mind given that the WOF instructions will likely drive me nuts. I'm now debating with myself whether to cut a muslin as-is without doing any alterations first so I'll have a known starting point, or to make some bust and hip adjustments to the pattern and then cut the muslin. I know I have to do a square shoulder adjustment so I'll do that either way.

There are pros and cons to both. I think I'll pin the pattern tracing together and see if that helps with the decision. I'm going to start with just the bodice pieces. I'll do the facing and sleeves after I've made some progress on the bust and hips.

So far, I've thought more about this jacket in the last hour than I have all week. ;-)

Cleaning Day

I've had the house all to myself today (Sunday) while the guys are up in Jacksonville. I thought I would be starting on my jacket but, instead, I spent the day stalling on it again. ;-) I couldn't move forward until I crossed off some other things from my list. First, house cleaning … i.e., vacuuming and dusting and general straightening up.

With that done, I moved to the cards and frames I've been collecting for a wall in my sewing room. I was tired of looking at them in a pile. The close-up above is so you can see them better, but the photo below gives the little vignette some scale. The three framed cards are from friends and family, the little framed "motto/charm" is the Christmas gift from my sister I showed earlier. The heart is a pincushion from my boys a couple of birthdays ago. All are special and make me smile when I look at them. They are hanging on the wall directly opposite me when I'm at my cutting table so I'll be looking at these little mementos a lot.

After finishing that little project, I moved on to one that's been silently waiting in the wings while I was working last week. These are preemie sleepers, a hat and cloth wipes for the premature baby girl born to a lady who belongs to a sewing list I'm on. Another listmember cut out bunches and asked for volunteers to sew them up. I couldn't refuse. These are so fast and yet so gratifying to make. In the past, I've made preemie clothing for TLL host free patterns on their website. I urge you to sew up a few from those scraps you're saving for a rainy day and send them along to TLL. You'll be glad you did, and the babies will be even happier.

I don't expect the menfolk back until later tomorrow (Monday) afternoon or evening. Maybe I'll have actually made some progress on my jacket by then. I have to admit that the 80+ degree weather we've been having (unusual in January, even for us) isn't helping to motivate me. But at least there's no more football games to distract me until next Sunday.