Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dinner & Dessert

Edited to add recipes below.

Absolutely no sewing today. I wasn't in the mood. I wanted a day to just vegetate and putter around. We all slept in, including DS#2 who got back from wrestling camp last night.

Soon after I got up, I prepared the preliminary makings for some Rocky Road ice cream and put that in the freezer to chill. While waiting for that to cool down, I sorted through DS's stinky camp clothes and started the laundry, took the dogs out, made lunch, and tidied up the kitchen. Hmmm. That doesn't sound like vegetating, does it? Well, if you consider that we had planned to go to the dog park after lunch and we finally made it there around 6 PM, you should understand how slow I was moving. ;-)

Here's Dani jumping for joy in and out of a puddle at the dog park.

Before we left the dog park, I decided that instead of the same old, same old shrimp stir-fry I was planning for dinner, I wanted to do Alfredo sauce and pasta. That meant a stop at the store on the way home and a late dinner. But, mmmmmmm, the wait was worth it.

And for dessert, the Rocky Road ice cream I started this morning and finished this afternoon in the new ice cream maker, complete with waffle cups and chocolate sauce.

I probably should've stuck with the lighter stir-fry since we're all so stuffed, we can barely move. ;-)

* * * * *

The ice cream recipe comes from the internet. The Shrimp & Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo I made up, so the measurements are approximate since that's how I cook.

Shrimp & Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo (serves 6 adults, or 2 adults and 2 teenage boys)

2 packages fresh fettuccine pasta
40 or so medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen, 2 bags, thawed)
fresh broccoli cut into about 2 cups of small florets, blanched until dark green
1-1/2 cups heavy cream (Yes, OMG)
1/4 cup butter (as if the cream weren't enough)
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbl dried parsley (because I forgot to buy fresh)

In large saucepan, over low to medium heat, combine butter and cream, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Add cheese and garlic and stir until cheese is melted. Add cooked shrimp and broccoli. Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente; drain.

Place pasta in a serving dish, and toss with shrimp sauce. And be prepared not to move for 2-3 hours after eating!

Rocky Road Ice Cream (from BHG website)

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 14-ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk*
1 cup water
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/3 marshmallows, cut into small pieces
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, smashed into small pieces (I added this)

*I didn't have sweetened condensed milk so I found a conversion for evaporated milk, which I did have.

In a medium saucepan melt the chocolate over medium-low heat. Gradually stir in milk until combined. Gradually stir in water. Remove from heat. Pour half of the mixture into a blender container; cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with other half of mixture. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

Stir in whipping cream, walnuts, and vanilla. Freeze in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Stir in marshmallows and semi-sweet chocolate pieces before ripening. Ripen 4 hours. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Undies Answers

I'm working today so no sewing until the weekend, but I have a few minutes to answer some of the questions about my current underwear project.

"Where do you get your supplies, ie. the material and elastic?"

I've purchased elastic and lingerie fabrics from Sew Sassy, Bramakers Supply, and Anne St. Claire of Needlenook Fabrics (via email and telephone — Lori, help me with the phone number please!). I've been very happy with each of these vendors.

"Those fabrics … Where in the world do you find pieces like that?"

These are scraps from tee shirts and other knit garments I've made and the fabrics come from all of my "regular" sources, mentioned previously throughout the blog. A good list of internet fabric stores can be found on Pattern Review, here.

Also, if you want solids, any of the lingerie suppliers above can put together white "kits" that can be dyed using plain ol' Rit or Dylon dyes. Dyeing your own can be fun too because then you'll have laces and other "findings" which perfectly match, like the purple set in the photo above. Just be sure to use nylon lingerie thread because regular polyester sewing thread doesn't take dye and you'll end up with white stitching like this, (I made these couple of years ago).

"What pattern are you using?"

I'm using Kwik Sew 2908, modified for an enclosed crotch lining sewn like this.

"Is it difficult to make your own or no?"

Heck no! And the sewing goes pretty darn fast too.

"I can't remember what fabric you said you're using. I think you said rayon/lycra. If so, is it slippery enough to allow your clothing to slide freely over the undies?"

Yep, some rayon/Lycra and also EOS buttermilk, and some nylon/Lycra. And all plenty slippery. I don't enjoy Velcro butt. ;-)

"This is prolly TMI, but I had to get up in the middle o'the night to find some different undies. Mine were driving me CRAZZZY. Stupid panties."

This just cracked me up (no pun intended!). But Angie, I know EXACTLY what you mean and you're not alone!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cutting, Cutting

This is the stack of undies cut so far. I think there's about 9 pairs in there. I still have to cut crotch linings, but I need to raid DH's tee shirt drawers first. ;-) I also need to measure out my elastic. I have a feeling I need to get some more.

These are the stacks of fabrics still waiting to be cut.

I don't know if I'll get it all cut or not. I really hate assembly line sewing. OTOH, it would be nice to have the rest at least ready for piecemeal assembly when the mood strikes.

DH loved his birthday gifts, but the ice cream last night didn't happen. I got all the ingredients ready, turned the machine on, and poured them into the cylinder thingie. Turns out it wasn't frozen enough and we ended up with really cold, but still liquid, ingredients. But it's got to be ready now, right? We're looking forward to enjoying homemade peach ice cream after dinner, doubley-so now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Old Man River

That's what DS#2 calls my husband. It's all in good fun. Today he's "Even Older Man River" as it's his birthday. DS#2 is still at wrestling camp so he won't get to tease DH in person, but I know he'll mention something in his nightly call.

I'm a "bad" wife … didn't sew DH a thing this year. Instead, this is what he's getting. He hasn't opened the gifts yet. I don't know what he's waiting for! He's old. He may not have that much time left. LOL!

First, an ice cream maker that Deepika at Pattern Review recommended in a tangent conversation during the live chat Sunday night. She mentioned and linked to hers and I knew that DH, a/k/a Ice Cream Freak, would love it. I also bought some fresh nectarines yesterday so we can make "Peach" ice cream later tonight. That is, if he opens the box in time to freeze that cylinder. ;-) When strawberries are in season here again next February & March, this little machine is going to get a big workout.

Next, two WWII movies. DH loves anything WWII-related. Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, the two recent flicks Clint Eastwood directed.

And last, the latest Paul McCartney CD, Memory Almost Full. McCartney (and the Beatles, of course) is a fav of his.

Happy Birthday Mike!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Miscellany

Monday again? How did that happen?

First up in this hodgepodge of a post today … This is the flower on the tee after it came out of the laundry (washer/dryer). Somewhat wadded up, but not unrecognizable.

And here it is after a 15-second pressing job. So I think it will stay since it's not a pain in the neck to make nice again.

Next … instead of cutting out panties like I originally planned to do, I put together the double welt pocket tutorial. Best to do that while it was still fresh in my mind. You can go to it now directly here, or later you can find it by clicking Sewing & Pattern Tips in the upper right of the sidebar. If you find errors, glaring or otherwise, let me know. Here's a preview of the sample piece. That red edgestitching really makes a statement, no? ;-)

Some replies to comments …

"Ack! What do you mean it's always a crap shoot with pants, even with a TNT pattern?"

LOL! I didn't mean that as literally as it came off the fingers. I just mean that changing up fabrics or hem lengths or waist treatments also can introduce that pesky human error element. The basic pattern will fit as long as your body hasn't done a major change since, but you'll always need to tweak something or other.

"Where do you get your pant wt fabric? I too live in FL and am constantly looking for cool, kewl fabrics and your choices fit both."

Thanks! The fabric for the latest capris came from Lucy's Fabrics, click here to go directly to it while it lasts. It's a blend — 70% Polyester / 25% Rayon / 5% Spandex, sometimes also known as RPL (rayon/poly/Lycra). Some RPLs are great; some aren't. This one is great.

"I love the flower - you should keep it. Did you have to adjust the body of the tee for the wider neckline?"

I probably should've to be technically correct. But I was lazy and didn't. I figured I had already eyeballed the front shape into that curve for the gathering and it wouldn't matter much to attach it to a slightly wider neckband. It worked out fine, I think.

* * * * *

And finally, thank you everyone for the really nice comments about my blog, poochies, and everything. I've been enjoying myself too. My 1st Blogiversary was yesterday, which I can't believe I forgot! Guess what I was doing a year ago? Making underwear. See, it really is time for some new undies. And on that note, it's time to get cutting!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Capris & The Dog Park

This is what happens when you wear your new capris to the dog park. That's a muddy paw smudge, by the way. But the capris did pass the butt-on-picnic-bench test with nary a snag so I'm very pleased with that. Mud washes out, snags do not. It was about a billion degrees out there today and the capris were extremely cool and comfortable. I think I'm going to buy more of this fabric (a bottomweight rayon/poly/Lycra) to just plain stash before it's all gone. OK, I just did. Now I'm safe from any sudden run on the remainder. I hope. ;-)

And, speaking of the dog park, here's our Sunday afternoon:

1. The Welcome Committee

2. Pepper and her friend Max. Max likes pudgy girls. ;-)

3. Chili. a/k/a The Gopher

4. Dani, a/k/a Esther Williams

5. Sibling time

6. Chili standing tall on the picnic table. Wouldn't you hate to be a sled dog in Florida? Do you think he can pull a jet ski? ;-)

7. Contemplating sticking a toe in, but not for very long. Pepper is so NOT a water dog.

8. But these two are.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Casual Capris, Complete

The capris are done. Nothing much to write home about fashion-wise. But it will be nice to have some ultra casual pants to wear with some of the tees I've made lately. I have another pair of khaki-colored capris but they are hot to wear on walks, so these new capris will fill that void.

Here's me with my hand in the pocket. The dogs will key into that move very quickly as it will mean "treat!" ;-)

Here's the pocket again but it looks slanted because of the weird photo angle (and tummy fluff). I'm including it to show that the pocket doesn't gape and you can only see a slight outline for the pocket bag.

Yesterday I tried to get "fancy" with the waistband and ended up ripping it completely off. Today I cut a new plain wide casing, sewed it on, coverstitched and inserted the elastic and the pants are finally done. I'm glad because I took what should've been a fast and easy project and really over-complicated it. (Hi Belinda!) But that's what I do sometimes.

Next up? Underwear! Tomorrow I'm going to cut out about 5-6 pairs from various knit scraps I've been saving and I'll work on them in dribs and drabs over the coming week around my "real" work. I hate assembly-line style sewing but I really want some new undies.

By the way … I had a look through most of my sewing books earlier to see how each of them covered double-welt (or bound) pockets. The method I used was only in Palmer/Pletsch books. Specifically, Pants for Real People and Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring. I'm guessing it's also in Jackets for Real People but I didn't specifically look. What's so great about this method is that you are not trying to place and sew separate welts/lips and instead, you create them "on the fly" after 99% of the stitching has already been done. I'll do a photo-tutorial at some point, but I can't promise when.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Real Deal

Here's the final pocket on the pants front. It looks a little funky right now because the opening is basted shut and, well, this knit just does not want to cooperate in proving I have straight stitching. Trust me. I'm OCD enough that I would rip out and re-do crooked stitching. ;-)

I haven't yet finished the pocket bag. I'm going to wait until I have the capris on to decide how deep I want the pocket, depending on where it hits me, etc. It will be an easy "alteration" … just a quick run through the serger to chop off the bottom.

In an email last night, Belinda gave me a good hint about using a lightweight fusible interfacing so I gave it a try. I think I like the stabilizer better, but only because it's fiddly to draw a straight line on the interfacing. Bulk-wise, it's great. IOW, there is none.

A few of you commented about interfacing and fabrics, etc. Let me tell you what I was thinking and why I made the decisions I did.

"Is your knit a pant weight? Using a thinner fabric could also eliminate a lot of bulk. "

"I also think that if you make the whole pocket out of the double knit it will be thicker, not thinner than if you add the pocket facings to a light weight pocketing. "

Yes, the fabric is pants weight doubleknit. Using a thinner knit fabric would give the pocket a tendency to creep up and/or stretch out. There really isn't excessive bulk with just the two layers of the pants fabric. It was the facings from the original instructions that added unnecessary bulk.

Using a thinner woven fabric would mean I'd have to iron my pocket after laundering the pants. Um, no thank you. ;-) I think it would also bunch up because of the friction factor between two different types of fabric.

You really need to feel the fabric in real life to know these things.

"Without the interfacing, how will you keep the pocket from stretching out of shape?"

"I'd think twice, maybe 3 times before I left out the stabilizer in your pocket."

With the method I used, you outline the pocket hole about 3 times and then I edgestitched it too. That's a lot of "stay stitching" so it's not going anywhere. ;-) I'm also not planning on stuffing a bunch of stuff inside the pocket. A few dog treats and maybe a cell phone when I'm out walking or a grocery list while I'm shopping. That's it. These aren't meant to be dress pants so even if it *does* stretch out a little over time, I'm OK with it. The pocket will be covered up by a shirt anyway. But, really, I don't think it would stretch even if I didn't use the fusible, which I used only because you need to draw out the template on *something* and I wanted to try Belinda's suggestion. Two birds/one stone, etc.

So now that the pocket is done, maybe I can finish these pants tonight. I only have the waistband and finishing the leg bottoms to go.

Thoughts on the Sample Welt

Here's the finished sample welt pocket. You can see the pocket bag sticking out at the bottom. The second photo below shows a peek inside the pocket. The stitching is actually straight but the knit has a slight texture that creates hills and valleys.

I took photos during the construction process but now that I've finished this one, I've decided I'm going to change a few things for the final pocket. Yes, there will be a final welt pocket for the capris.

I used the welt pocket instructions in Pants for Real People. Not only is this a great book for pants fitting, but there's also a lot of good pants construction information toward the back, including easy and well-illustrated instructions for different types of welt pockets. I followed along step-by-step for my sample but for my final pants, I do need to change a couple of steps.

The first step in PFRP is to sew strips of fabric onto the pocket bag piece. (Highlighted in yellow for clarity in the photo below.) This is because it's assumed you will use a fabric other than the main fashion fabric for the pocket bag. For my front pocket, it means additional layers and bulk that aren't necessary since I'm 99% certain I'm going to use the same knit for the pocket and welts as I'm using for the pants.

The instructions also have you create a "stitching template" on non-woven interfacing. I think for the real pocket, I'm going to use washaway stabilizer and eliminate yet another layer. The knit is sturdy enough, has great recovery, and I won't be loading a lot of stuff into the pocket.

Finally, I'm going to trim the backside of the welts close to the stitching to remove even more extra fabric. The knit won't ravel and there is enough stitching and overstitching that nothing is going to move anyway.

The only other changes I'm planning are for size. I want the width of the pocket to be a little bit bigger. It's about 4 inches wide now. I think 5 will be easier to get my hand in and out. I'm also going to make the pocket bag about 2 inches deeper than the PFRP measurements given since mine is for a front, not a back, pocket.

I'll take more photos as I make the final pocket tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What Am I Thinking?

"Do you *really* want to do a welt pocket on casual knit pants? What are you thinking?! Welt pockets, knit fabric? Difficult pockets versus no brainer pockets? Getting the idea? LOL!!! Just put normal pockets in and stop over thinking!! ;-)"

That's an excerpt from Belinda's comment to yesterday's post. Do I smell a challenge?? ;-)

But seriously, I don't think welt pockets are difficult. Granted, I've only made them a few times and I have to follow step-by-step instructions, but I didn't have any problems. (Just jinxed myself, didn't I?) But even before Belinda's comment, I decided to at least test the pocket in scraps from the pants fabric (which BTW is a doubleknit that I think will support a welt pocket just fine). So the test is what's currently in progress. I have all my pieces cut and I've started assembly.

But I've got to leave in about 20 minutes to drop off DS#2 for camp and then I'm heading to the dog park to wear out the pooches so I can have a very peaceful afternoon of sewing. I'll take pics as I do the test pocket, which might turn into a photo-tutorial if all goes well. If not, the pics will document my goof-ups. ;-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Capris & Camp Prep

I've made some progress on the new capris. I cut them out and started sewing yesterday. The "fly" (not really a fly) is sewn and topstitched, as are the sideseams. I've basted the center back and inseams for a quick try-on and things are looking good. (Whew! It's always a crap shoot with pants. Even with a TNT pattern.) I still have to decide what exactly I want to do for a waistband though, as these are knit and my plan is for pull-on without a pull-on look. Not that anyone will ever see the waistband of these pants, so why the heck am I overthinking this anyway? I also need to decide about pockets. I *need* pockets on dog walks (treats, etc.). These capris won't have front scoop pockets but I'm thinking maybe one front welt pocket would do the trick.

But the capris are on hold until later this evening or tomorrow as I do laundry and various errands in preparation for DS#2 taking off for a week of wrestling camp in Georgia, starting tomorrow. They're not really camping, as in The Woods. They are staying in dorms at the State University.

One of the things I've been doing today is getting DS#2's ipod stuff loaded onto my computer. Poor kid has been without "new" portable music since we moved into the Money Pit. I've yet to set the boys' computer up anywhere and that's where all the ipod software was. But during the dining room remodel, I found the box with the ipod software and told him I would load it on one of the other computers in the interim. Unfortunately, I made a bad decision during the install and he lost all the music that was already on the ipod. Oops. But we spent some time copying some tracks from favorite CDs so he's set for the week. When he gets back, I'll teach him how to do that himself and then he can load whatever he wants. (I really don't know how I ended up with the only 2 teenagers in the world who aren't computer saavy.)

Since I was doing the istuff ;-) and got itunes updated, etc., I finally subscribed and listened to a couple of Lori's Sew Forth podcasts. Cool stuff, Lori, and you sound NOTHING like I was imagining! When DS comes back home with the ipod, I think I'll be borrowing it for sewing time. If I can stand those ear buds long enough. In the meantime, I'll listen from the desktop speakers.

Now I'm off to the grocery store for a week's worth of non-perishable snacks, travel size toiletries and other miscellaneous "camping" stuff. It's going to be very quiet around here with DS#2 gone and DS#1 working full-time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tee Time

I finished this tee tonight. As you can see, I went with plain sleeves. That was mostly because of laziness. ;-) These are just faster to sew.

I'm on a roll because every tee I've made in the last couple of weeks has become my new favorite. It's so nice to have a choice of new tees/outfits to wear for summer. It also means that it's time to start weeding old stuff out of the closet and drawers.

I tried a little raw edge "embellishment" for this one. I rough cut 3 of the brown outline flower motifs from the fabric scraps and then zigzagged around the outline, stretching a little for a curly effect, and then trimmed the excess. I attached them together with a circle satin stitch pictogram on my machine. For now, the flower is just safety-pinned to the top to see (a) how much I really like it and (b) how it will do through the laundry. If I decide to keep it, I'll attach it more permanently with a few handstitches.

I also reshaped the neckband just a little. I made it a little wider so it would be more open on my upper chest. The new pattern piece is on top in the pic below.

Speaking of new outfits (which I was earlier if you scroll up), I've decided once and for all that I'll never be able to do a SWAP. I buy fabric for and sew outfits, not wardrobes. I love seeing the SWAPs and storyboards everyone else puts together during contests and just good planning, but I'm much too fickle to be tied to one color scheme with everything coordinating. The brown I've been sewing lately is about as close as I get. I do tend to pick the same color families but I still don't really have a true mix and match wardrobe. Just lots of outfits in greens, turquoises, and now corals and browns.

Tomorrow (or is that later today?), I'll work on altering the pattern and cutting out the fabric for the capris that are next up … so I can finish this new outfit. ;-)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tees & Capris & Q&A

Next up on the cutting table: Another tee (big surprise, right?) and some knit capris.

For the tee, I'm going to make my Diana Mode inspired gathered vee neck again. I think I'll do basic short sleeves this time instead of the shaped, gathered hem band. I may change my mind on the sleeves, though, since I do like them a lot. I'll be using this fabric for the body, and a solid brown for the neckband.

For the capris, I'm going to rework my TNT fly-front Simplicity pattern (4068) into a pull-on pattern with a faux fly and side pockets. This is the same pattern for the coral capris you see me wearing with my latest Ottobre Woman tee with the lime green neckband. (Speaking of which, thank you everyone for all the nice comments on that!) For the capris, I'll be using this beefy doubleknit from Lucy's Fabrics:

I'm all about getting summer clothes made quickly right now, so you'll be seeing mostly TNT patterns for a while as I (try to) whittle down the stash piles. But I am easily tempted so I'm sure a new pattern or two will make an appearance. I've already tagged some cute skirt patterns from some European pattern magazines.

* * * * *

Now, onto some answers to comments recently received (grab a cuppa, I didn't realize I had so many to answer):

About the Jalie 2681 skirt, "Could you make this pattern into a full length skirt? If you think it would work I would HAVE to go buy me a pattern!!"

Yes, that would be an easy change. Just slash the gore piece and add length. Voila!

"Do you cut your gores out on folded fabric? If so, I found it helped me if I take what I've cut directly over to the serger without separateing them."

Yes, I did cut on folded fabric, but I just had a brain freeze that day. ;-)

"I was wondering, what is the name of the cutting board (with the grids) on your sewing table?"

I don't know the exact brand as it wasn't marked. But it's the cutting mat that Joann's sells. It fits the cutting table also sold there and is pretty reasonably priced when you use a coupon. I've been using it a while now and it's holding up great.

"I was looking at that New Look pattern you were considering that had the tops with the Duroesque shape. Is it true that there aren't ties in the back on those tops? … I wonder if it would pull a little bit in the back where the midriff band in the front crossed the seam there."

Correct, no ties in the back. It might pull as you mention, but it shouldn't if it fits well.

"I have an alteration question. It appears that we both have the same body shape and need to adjust patterns. I get BWF and like some of the patterns but they are too small, Do you ever grade these patterns up (or maybe you don't need to do this)? Do you use your software for this or do you do slide and pivot--or just what?"

If the pattern is simple, I would probably copy it with my software or morph the style elements I like onto a TNT pattern that I know fits. Otherwise, I have graded up using the method described in a past Threads article, where you increase around the pattern the same amount as what's between one size and another. As WOF are multi-sized, it's easy to see how and where one size increases/decreases from the next.

"Where and how do you get Octobre Woman? Do you also sew from World of Fashion?"

First, yes I sew from WOF. It's one of my favorite pattern sources. You can purchase a single copy and/or subscribe to OW directly from the Ottobre website (click here). Click on "English" at the left for the English version of the site. There are other sources but this is what I did. Their service is great.

"What brand machines are those? I see your washing-machine is a front loader."

My washer and dryer are LG. I've had them about 18 months now and I LOVE them! This is my first front-loader washer and I'm a convert.

"I love the contrast color on that top. It's perfect. Will it work with any of the previously made capris or the new skirts?"

Thank you, and yes. As you have probably seen by now, it goes great with my coral capris. I also have a skirt on my to-make list and it should go with that too.

"As usual your top is beautiful. I have a question on the coverstitching of the neck-binding. How do you start and end the binding in a circle, as on the neckline of a tee or top? Or do you finish the neck off before joining the shoulders?"

Thank you! Just to be clear, the latest tee with the lime neckband is NOT a binding applied with the coverstitch machine, although I did topstitch it with the CS after it was sewn on. To answer the question … I leave one shoulder seam unsewn, apply the binding with one of the binders, and then sew/serge the other shoulder seam. If you look at your RTW tees, you'll see that most of them are done this same way.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who's Been Drinking From MY Bowl?

Along with the three dogs, we also have a cat. Right before I took this pic this morning, I heard him scratching at the door from the garage to the kitchen. I let him in and he went over to the dog bowls as usual. Dani had followed me and is still fascinated by this creature who basically ignores her no matter how much she tries to beg for a new playmate.

Gizmo stays mainly outside by his own choice. Over the years, we've tried to get him to stay inside but he's 15 and by now quite set in his independent ways. We adopted him from a local horse ranch as a tiny kitten and I think his outdoors and barn roots were stronger than any bribes we offered. He doesn't stray far from the house and he'll come in to steal the dogs' water (see photo) or to "shortcut" from the garage to the back yard.

He's even gone on walks with us. Yep. He follows at a typical cat distance of about 15 yards and if you turn to look at him, he pretends he thought of the walk by himself as if to say, "What are YOU doing on MY walk." It's really quite funny. Except for the time we took the dogs (then only two of them) across the street and into a nearby neighborhood for a night time walk. When we had circled that neighborhood and were back at the entrance waiting for traffic to clear so we could cross back over to our side, there was Gizmo waiting for us at the entrance. Yep, unbeknownst to us, he had followed us down our long, dark driveway, and across the street to that neighborhood.

Dani eventually gave up hope that Gizmo would play with her and went and bothered Chili instead.

Ottobre Woman Rocks

Edited to add link to review here.

Edited to add photo of me in tee (and coral capris wrinkly from wearing all day) below.

Another now-TNT Ottobre Woman tee. This went together very easily, and I love it! I'm so glad I kept the green contrast because I really like how it looks. I'll write up more blog details and a review tomorrow sometime, but for now I'm off to bed. Last night partying with my uncle and his wife (my aunt, I suppose, but she's my age, so I don't really think of her as my aunt) has caught up with me. Zzzzzzzzzz

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fabric Explosion

While I was out doing errands, my order arrived.

O. M. G.

I've never received such a huge box from them. And it was full. Of this:

There are a few pieces in this mix that aren't part of that order and have been temporarily "stored" here awaiting their turn at prewashing, but most of the pile did arrive today. All of the solids are great — either rayon/Lycra or cotton/Lycra knits. If I can get them made up soon I'll be living in them this summer. (The key here for me to remember is TNT!) There is one knit print I'm not thrilled with, so it will go to the knit "muslin" stack. Or maybe I'll take up on their satisfaction guarantee and free return shipping.

Over the weekend as I do laundry, most of these will be prewashed. Then I'll need to find room in the stash closet to put them. As long as I can still fit my fabric in the closet and not expand elsewhere, I feel OK. But I think I'm at the critical mass point now.

Speaking of fabric, a few readers asked about the fabric I'm using for my next top. It came from Ebay so it's a one-shot deal. Sorry.

Now I'm off to the sewing room for a few hours to hopefully finish the Ottobre Woman tee I started yesterday.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not Brown and Not Sewing

I cut this out yesterday afternoon right before dinner. And then the phone rang. It was my uncle from Viriginia (who is only 7 years older than me so we're very close) telling me he and his wife are in Tampa and are coming by tomorrow (today). He's very spur-of-the-moment like that so when I saw the Caller ID, I just knew he was in town and was already mentally preparing my to-do list.

Sewing is on hold while we do a mad-dash vacuum/dust and a trip to the grocery store so we can offer some drinks and snacks before we go out to dinner. Plus, I have to wear out the dogs today so they'll behave while we're out.

What you see in the pic is Pattern #5 from Ottobre Woman 02/2007. I've been waffling about the neckband fabric. First, the pattern calls for a satin woven. Nope. Not happening here.

Next, I want to wear this top with my coral capris, but I don't really want to be orange from head to toe. Plus, the solid coral fabrics I have are not quite the right shade anyway. There is light lime green in the print of this fabric and I've cut the bodice so the greens are close to the neckband. I think it will have an "unexpected" look but that it will look nice.

On the other hand, I have an order with some solids arriving from tomorrow. I wonder if I should wait and see if one of those will look better?

In the meantime, I'm off to do some errands so the top will just sit and percolate a while longer anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another One for the TNT Column

OK, one more edit if you can stand it. I just threw on the brown skirt earlier for the pic below because I thought it would look better than my floral PJ pants. When I really got dressed for the day, I decided to pair the new tee with these khaki capris. DH was still home when I came downstairs and commented that he liked the new tee and the way the tee and the capris "matched." He then asked if I made the pants.??? Men! Yes, it's nice he does notice. But nearly 6 months later?? ROFL! It's not like I haven't been wearing these capris at least once every 10 days or so. This just cracked me up.

Edited to add a photo of me wearing the now hemmed top, and a link to the review, here.

* * * * *

A huge shout-out to Angie for trying this pattern w/o alterations and then modeling it for her review. It's definitely a winner and likely would've languished in the pattern stash indefinitely without Angie trying it first.

This is the Puffy Sleeve Tee (pattern #4 in the 02/07 issue of Ottobre Woman). Obviously, I have a thing right now for gathered sleeves. I stuffed them for this photo but the elastic needs a trip through the washer/dryer to spring back into shape after being stretched out by the serger.

I made this with no FBA and it fits great. Once I get a pic of me in the top, you'll see. I traced a straight 48 through the upper body, tapering to the 52 at the hips. The only fit alteration I made was my usual for square shoulders. I did not need to narrow the shoulders or raise the armholes, which are alterations I almost always need to do. Before cutting the fabric, I laid my TNT tee over the Ottobre pattern tracing and they were close so I decided to try it without alterations like Angie did. Success!

I used my coverstitcher binder for the neckline binding and applied the sleeve hem elastic like you'd do for an attached elastic turn-down waist, then coverstitched from the right side instead of following the pattern instructions for those elements. The tee length is about 1-2 inches too long and still needs to be hemmed. I'll do that tomorrow.

The fabric is another rayon/Lycra knit that's been in the stash a couple of years. As you can see, I'm still on the brown theme. It will go great with my latest brown Jalie skirt.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Never Simple

Last night I wrote to Belinda that my next projects need to be simple tees that I can whip out and then just throw on for a dog walk, vacuuming, and any of the other exciting aspects of my usual day. I even have some TNT tee patterns. So, what I am doing next? A TNT tee? Yeah, right. And Angie, it's all your fault. ;)

Ever since seeing Angie's tee and reading her review of the pattern from the 02/2007 issue of Ottobre Woman, I've been fighting the temptation. It wasn't much of a fight though. I quickly surrendered and have just finished tracing the pattern. I'm going to test it with an aged stash fabric. If it works as well as Angie's, I'll be thrilled and will have a new tee. If it doesn't, I'll have yet another PJ top and then I'll get out one of the TNT patterns.

Cross your fingers …

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tomorrow's Dog Walking Outfit

Well, I don't have anywhere else to go so why not? ;-) And, yes, I was being goofy in the middle pose. As Angie pointed out yesterday, it's a bit weird taking photos of oneself in the mirror while juggling camera, dodging dogs playing tug-o-war with fabric scraps they steal from my trashcan, and trying to stay in the shot (OK, those are my distractions not Angie's) and yet still come up with something I'm willing to park on the internet for the entire world to see. Not that I think the entire world is reading this, but you know what I mean.

Here's a close-up of the sleeve. The top of the sleeve is gathered a lot more than the bottom. It makes a nice shape, I think. I like the narrow hem band too. I'll definitely be using this sleeve again.

I'm still really digging these skirts. Our summer heat and humidity are finally here for the duration and a Florida girl needs all the updrafts she can get. ;-)

Oh, and to Claire … Yes, I agree about the turquoise but I didn't have anything this exact shade. That was part of my analysis paralysis, and I finally decided to just go with the brown.

Still Needing To Be Hemmed

It's mostly done and I think it's going to be a keeper. But I need to get over the "maternity" feeling. It's not the top so much as the belly underneath the top. ;-) I still need to hem it (the top, not the belly). When I've got the hem done (after dinner?), I'll take a pic of me in it.

I got sidetracked from hemming by fussing with Zillie. I've never been happy with the tummy and hip padding on her so in a fit of frustration on a whim, I took it all off. But the result of that was even worse since my hips haven't been that skinny since I was 8. Or maybe 11. So then I added some padding back. And then I had to adjust the waist/bust depth, which is another thing that's not been quite right for a while. But that still wasn't right. More fiddling. Zillie turned upside down. Loosening, tightening, pulling, pushing. Chasing Dani the Thief as she raced off dragging a mouthful of batting/padding behind her. All of that and Zillie isn't really any better than when I started, just different now. Sigh. I'd really like a true body double but (a) I don't know if I really want to see it and (b) I'd have to grin and bear DH doing the wrapping. But boy, if I had a true body double, I know I'd be a Draping Queen.

Back to the top. There's some things that could be better in a second version that most likely will never get made. I think I'd like the band under the bust to be a little higher. It's higher on me than on Zillie, but not where I thought it would land. The neckline probably could be a little lower. Although at least where it is now it doesn't gape or reveal too much. I like the sleeves though. They are loose enough that they aren't squeezing the flubby arms and shorter than my usual short sleeves so maybe I can get some new tan lines during the daily dog walks. ;-)