Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Ironing Board Cover

I did it, and before bedtime like I was planning. Yay! I actually feel productive for today.

The fabric is not really me for wearing, but it makes a pretty good ironing board cover and the green in it actually matches the walls. Even if I had been able to find a cover in the stores, it still would've been some hideous color or print that wouldn't match my sewing room so this is a win-win all around. (What is it with those hideous prints anyway?)

I started by "re-purposing" this big Husqvarna ironing pad I've had forever but never used. I think it came with my sewing machine or some accessory kit I bought. I can't remember. It has a solid heat resistant side that I laid over my ironing board and traced onto from underneath with a Sharpie. I forgot to take a "Before pic, so this is "After" I cut out my tracing. Obviously. ;-)

Here's the heat resistant side. After I cut it out, I separated the heat resistant layer from the padding to use as my pattern.

I folded it in half and cut around it with a rotary cutter and arm, adding about a 1.5" seam allowance as I cut.

I serged 1/4" elastic around the edge of my new cover with my serger's elasticator foot. Yes, Cidell, this is a perfect use for that foot — thank you very much! The serger thread left in the machine from the last project even coordinated.

And voila! I was done. I put the padding layers onto the board on top of the old covers and pads and then put the new cover over all of that. I always keep adding on top. The more padding, the better. LOL!

I have enough of this fabric for at least two more covers and my "custom" pattern is now on stand-by. No more searching the stores for a cover that fits.

Start to finish, it really did take only about 30-40 minutes. I should've done this months ago.

Skirt Finally Done

Sheesh. Could it have taken me any longer to finish this? Well, maybe, but at least it's finally complete. The fabric is a linen/rayon blend, so wrinkles abound. Really. The photo is blurry so it's lying to you. I'm going to wash it a few times to soften it up. Hopefully. But here it is done, and on me. Shield your eyes from the shocking white underbelly. ;-)

My first version of this Butterick 4877 skirt was from a stretch woven. This green fabric has no stretch, but the skirt still fits 100% with no additional alterations. This pattern is definitely and officially now a keeper. For the next one, I'm going to combine the bottom pieces of this view (godets & panels) to make a flounce instead. I'm not especially thrilled with how the godets stick out so much and I think a flounce will look smoother and more even. But don't think I won't be wearing this skirt. The sticky-outy godets don't bug me that much.

I did remember to sew some twill tape to the facing seam allowance so it won't stretch out during the day. (I need to go back and add twill tape to the first brown version because the waist did grow a little as the day went on.) I decided to zigzag it on so it would stay as flat as possible when it fights my stomach. Ahem.

This is what the inside of the skirt waist looks like. Not exactly what you'd see in RTW, but this ain't no RTW … it's custom! LOL!

Because I've had such good luck with Butterick patterns lately, I succumbed to the Club BMV one-day sale and ordered a couple more: 4819 for the button-down shirt from Annette's review, and 5223 because I just loved Toya's version of it. I also bought V8489, mostly just to look at. Ordering through the mail during these sales is cheaper than gas. But then pretty much anything is cheaper than gas these days. Yikes.

The next project is to do something about this:

That's my ironing board. Yeah, pretty bad, huh? I'd been putting off making a new cover thinking I could find one to buy. Hah. I've bought and returned 3 that don't quite fit and the rips keep growing. It's time to just buckle down and do it. I've picked out a "what was I thinking?" denim print from the stash and will make the new cover before I go to bed tonight. Cidell says it takes 30 minutes.

I'm kind of dragging today. Yesterday, we finally had the yard sale I've been putting off forever. I hate doing yard sales but we had so much stuff that was "too good" to just throw out and it's been piling up. I was organizing stuff all week, then up late Friday night getting it laid out and ready, and up early yesterday to bring it all out and run the sale. DH parked his big pick-up truck down at the beginning of our driveway, blocking the driveway and with a sign on it stating our starting time. And the (expletive deleted) early-birds actually DROVE AROUND IT and continued on to the house! I was so irritated at that. I was already tired, it was 400 percent humidity outside, and these people drove on our yard trying to "beat the crowd?" Did they think they'd be welcome with a big smile? Hah! They obviously don't know me in the morning. LOL!

But at least that's done, I've got some bonus cash, my garage is cleared out, and DS can park his Mustang in it again. And my skirt is done. ;-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Woman's Prerogative

So, remember how I said last night that I would be doing the pantyhose thing today? Hah! When I stepped out with the dogs this morning at 7 a.m. and it was already 4 billion degrees with 3,000% humidity, I quickly moved on to Plan B. Like I really needed an excuse to wear my new jacket anyway.

(Do you see the Dani legs hiding behind me and the white Chili blur to your right?)

That's the lime green slinky skirt with the jacket which, for some reason, I had forgotten about until I saw it in the closet this morning … even though I had originally put it with the jacket fabric in my planning stages. The brain. Sigh. It does what it wants, when it wants. ;-)

I wore "Sondra's shoes" (sorry Sondra, I'm keeping 'em) without hose and was gloriously comfortable and looked pretty darn good anyway. Besides, I think I'm always more attractive when sweat is not running down my face. LOL! So, I'm already re-thinking the pantyhose thing. Self-tanner and/or real sunshine is much more comfortable to "wear."

Of course, 5 minutes after I got in the door and had finished with the photo above, I was wearing this. No pantyhose required. Chili approves (and reminded me to clean that mirror!).

I Missed It

It's after midnight so my 2nd blogiversary was officially yesterday. Wow! Two years already? Teena left a comment wishing me a Happy Blogiversary and I actually had to go check to see what she was talking about. But she was right. Thank you Teena, and thank you also for de-lurking. And thank you to all my readers out there. I wasn't certain when I started this that I'd keep up with it, but it turned into a fun outlet for me. I'm glad you all seem to enjoy my ramblings too.

I'm still working on the skirt but I thought I'd show you how it looks so far. Both the jacket and skirt were basically just thrown on Zillie so ignore wrinkles, crookedness, etc. This is the best I do at 12:43 a.m. Plus, Zillie doesn't have my lower half curves and so can't even begin to fill out the skirt at the waist and hips.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on the jacket. I think this is one of my favorite makes ever. I found out today that I have a 2nd interview on Monday at a casual dress office and I'm thinking of wearing this outfit for that. I really want to wear this jacket somewhere! Of course, wearing this outfit on Monday does kind of depend on me actually finishing the skirt.

Tomorrow is yet another interview with the full pantyhose regalia. I don't know how much sewing time I'll be able to squeeze in when I get home. The skirt still needs the waistband facing and to be hemmed.

Speaking of comments … I know I'm really behind on answering questions. My apologies, but I just can't seem to squeeze enough hours out of each set of 24 I have to work with. I hope to catch up soon.

Now it's off to bed so I'm not dragging in the morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jacket Review & Photos

I wrote the jacket review for PR, which you can read here.

Or, if you just want the pics …

The S Dart:

Already Behind

The jacket is done and I like it a lot. Here's a little sneak peak until I take some more pics and write the review.

We had a huge t-storm pass by earlier and our power was out for an hour. That completely messed with my day. I couldn't get dinner into the crockpot, I couldn't take a shower (electric pump on well), I couldn't read (it was like night outside so it was too dark inside), I couldn't start the laundry. And then Pepper, who has always been terrified of thunder and power outages, peed on the bathroom rug. Sigh. So now I'm behind about 2 hours and still haven't made it into the shower. (Why does a dog get scared when the power is out? Is she that spoiled?)

I did cut out a few pattern pieces for the new view of the Butterick skirt I want to make today. After the big clouds passed, there was enough light coming into the sewing room window that I could fumble my way through the remaining 3 small pieces.

It's still raining, but obviously the power is back on. I'm going to grab a shower and work on that skirt.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Techniques: Perfect Curved Patch Pockets

Pressing the curves on a curved patch pocket can be a pain and since I like doing things the easy way, here's what I do.

1. Use the pocket pattern to cut 1 piece of lightweight fusible interfacing per pocket. I used Palmer/Pletch's Sheer.

2. Measure the top turn-down allowance of the pocket and trim this from the interfacing. My turn-down is 1", so I trimmed 1" from the top of the interfacing.

3. Overcast/serge the top of the pocket.

4. Pin the interfacing to the pocket with the fusible side OUT.

5. Sewing the two together, starting and ending the same distance from the top of the interfacing as the top turn-down allowance. My turn-down is 1", so I started and finished 1" from the top of the interfacing (the interfacing, not the pocket). The red dots in the photo below show my starting and ending points.

6. Fold the interfacing down and out of the way. Fold the top edge of the pocket right sides together. Stitch as shown by the red lines below, being careful not to catch the interfacing.

This is what the pocket looks like at this point.

7. Trim seam allowances close to stitching, with pinking shears. Using pinking shears will notch the curves in the same step as trimming the seam allowances.

8. Turn the pocket right side out. Use a point turner to turn out the top corners and use your fingers to "wiggle" the seams open and shape the pocket around the curves.

9. Once you are happy with the shape, press the pocket from the front (fabric) side. Remember, it will be permanent since you will be fusible the interfacing in place, so make sure you have it shaped the way you want it to be.

10. I fuse a strip of Steam-a-Seam under the top edge of the pocket to keep it from bagging out, especially helpful for this stretch woven. This step is optional.

11. Admire your perfect curved patch pocket, topstitch the top edge in place (not shown here), and then attach the pocket to your garment.

(Obviously, this will work for non-curved pockets too.)

Jacket Still in Progress

I haven't had much sewing room time this week so the jacket still languishes. I hope to get it finished this evening.

I've had a number of questions about how the collar/lapels are sewn. I just used the method from Butterick's instruction sheet, shown below. Since the jacket isn't lined, this method works perfectly fine. I'm not too experienced with lining jackets yet, but does anyone (Belinda? Marji?) know why this wouldn't work for bagging a lining as well? Sewing the notched lapels and collar pieces was certainly a lot less fiddly than making two separate units of collar pieces.

Click on the pics to enlarge them for clarity.

This is the inside of the jacket, with the shoulder pads attached. BTW, the instructions are wrong about attaching the shoulder pads. They instruct to attach the pads to the seam allowances, which would be all fine and well, if the facing weren't sewn into the armhole seam (which was done a few steps before the pads). Obviously, a boilerplate instruction dropped in without proofing the method. I hand-sewed the pads along the shoulder seam of the facing only. I'll note this in my review, whenever I finish the jacket and write one.

And before you ask, this is one of the shoulder pads. It's a raglan style, 1/2" thick. Raglan pads work best for me because it gently curves/smooths the end of my already square shoulders. (It's sitting on a piece of linen that will be a skirt to coordinate with the jacket.)

Next post in a few minutes will be a separate entry for a little patch pocket tutorial.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stopping Point

The jacket is mostly done. I need to hem the bottom and sleeves, attach the patch pockets on the front, and add buttons. I also never did make it to Joann's this weekend for shoulder pads so I still need to pick up some of those too. For now, I just slipped in my "try on" shoulder pads. They aren't washable or covered, which is why I need to buy others.

I added an inch to the length of the jacket before I cut it out. The longer length you see below is not turned up, so that extra inch plus the original 1-1/4" hem allowance is still there. In the bottom pics, I've folded up about 3 inches, which would be about 1" shorter than the original pattern. I think the ideal length is going to be somewhere in between these two. Or, in other words, the original length of the pattern. (I'm also not wearing a good bra, so the girls are not hoisted up to where I originally fit the pattern and darts.)

I think I'm going to go with the neutral buttons below. I don't have anything else in my button box that I like better and I don't think fancier buttons need to compete with the print.

Progress on Butterick 4818

Slow progress, but progress. Although the alterations were simple, I just kept dragging my feet around other weekend activities. Now that the pattern is altered, a muslin tested, and everything is cut out, the mojo is back and I'm moving along.

Here's the front pattern piece. As you can hopefully see, the FBA is not huge — only about 3/4". I did have to move the entire dart down about 3/4" though. Even with the 1/2" shoulder pads per the pattern, the dart was still pointing to my chin. ;-)

I started with the 18 for chest and did NOT have to narrow the shoulders, which is unusual since that's a very regular alteration for me. I did scoop the armhole just a bit but that's more personal comfort preference than anything.

When I picked this pattern, one of the reasons I liked it was because of the way the underbust fit snugly and flattered the model. Yeah, I know they use clips, pins, etc., but I decided I could get the same look with "S" darts (see Threads #107). It took a few tries with pinning, basting, and marking, but I think I've got it now. The waist darts end closer to the apex than "normal," but I've seen plenty of patterns and RTW tops that do the same thing so I'm fine with that. Plus the dart seam tends to get lost it the print when it's on me anyway.

Speaking of the print … I actually managed to catch myself before making an ugly mistake. Usually, I cut back pieces that have a CB seam from doubled fabric, like you would for an On the Fold layout. But when you have a print that is anything but subtle, you'll more likely than not get an unpleasing visual between the halves. Like this:

However, if you cut the two pieces single layer, you can decide where to divide the motifs. Luckily I had enough fabric to cut one more back piece (and before I sewed anything), making the entire back look much better. Don't you agree?

I'll continue working on this today and maybe I'll have a finished jacket to show you tomorrow. Although not if the dogs have anything to say about it. ;-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Butterick Jacket

No new pics, because the camera wasn't upstairs when I was trying on the muslin and, well, it's a lazy Saturday, right?

To refresh, the pattern I'm using is this one, Butterick 4818:

If you like it, buy it. It's going to be a winner. I do have some alterations to do, but nothing out of the ordinary. I need a slight FBA, maybe 5/8 - 1". Hey, that's slight for me. But I think this pattern is drafted for a large C or D cup and I could probably get away without an FBA but doing the FBA will make it perfect, especially since I plan on wearing this jacket by itself and closed. I will have to move the bust point down, which means re-marking the waist dart too. Not a big deal, but Butterick should draft in this size range for less perky girls IMO.

Other alterations needed: Tuck out waist length in the back, let out CB seam over the derriere, re-mark back waist darts, add to hips at sideseams, and square shoulder (done when I cut it out). None of these are unexpected and they won't take long. I haven't done the sleeve yet, but I'm sure I'll need to expand it at the bicep as usual, but not too much as the flat measurement is close.

I'll be using this floral fabric that I showed you in an earlier post:

Also on the weekend agenda is some shoe shopping. Shoes/sandals that I can wear without pantyhose, once I have a job. If you've seen any on Zappos or another free shipping internet source that aren't too high or too expensive, feel free to offer suggestions. I'd rather do the online thing, but I haven't seen any that fit the bill yet.

Oh, and I need to get some shoulder pads for the jacket. I noticed that Joann's actually had a TON of shoulder pads the last time I was there. Hopefully, there hasn't been a mad rush on them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blouses Done

The short-sleeved ivory Ottobre blouse finally has buttons.

Here it is as part of an ensemble. You'd think by looking at this pic that I had actually turned the dress into a skirt, but …

… no. It's still a badly fitting dress (trust me, it's worse than it looks here). Even though I've been putting it on/off over my head, today it finally dawned on me that it has a back zipper. Which will have to be dealt with if I do turn it into a skirt. Sigh. And look at that flip-flop tan on my feet already. I'm going to have to sit outside barefoot this weekend to get rid of those lines. LOL!

This is what I'd rather be wearing instead of heels and those torturous pantyhose. And, in fact, I'm wearing it right now. Very comfortable and perfect for a hot and humid day. Well, except for when Dani jumped up on me and planted a nice dark mud spot on my leg.

I really like the top and I'm glad to have something else to wear with the coral capris. The other version of this top matches the capris *too* well (think Giant Pumpkin), so I wear that one with denim or khaki capris or a skirt.

I started pattern work on a Butterick jacket. Hopefully, I'll finish alterations and a muslin tonight and be ready to cut and sew tomorrow, around the dog park and other errands. I think having to squeeze all of my boring "duties" into the weekends is what is going to suck most about going to work. Plus, I hate crowds and that's all there is at the stores on weekends. But enough rambling/ranting. It could always be worse. Much worse.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear

(Apologies to Clement Moore)

Just around the corner, almost within walking distance from the job I'm ambivalent about is this:

And around the corner from that is an independent home dec fabric store. Is it a sign? LOL!

The interview went very well. The job would be OK, I really liked the boss-person and I'm sure she liked me too. I *don't* like the commute, however, so if I am offered the job, I'll need to think hard about it. But I can see lunch breaks maybe making up for that. ;-)

So, after the interview, of course I had to stop in and browse buy. Each of these was only $2.95 per yard. The two prints are sheer poly and will be short-sleeved blouses of some sort. The solid in the middle is a taupe?/olive?/brown? poly/cotton gabardine and will coordinate with everything I've made/bought recently. It has a wonderful hand and feels like it will last a long time. I bought 7 yards, enough for a jacket, pants and a skirt. (Stop smirking Carolyn!)

This particular Hancock's is not the one I usually went to, before Hancock's closed all but this last store in the Tampa area. The woman cutting the fabrics actually sews and was talking garment sewing while she cut. How refreshing, especially compared to that meh Joann's that's more local to me. Maybe I'd even get a sewing buddy with a new job. LOL!

I sewed this top yesterday. It's another make of Simplicity 4122, but I lowered the neckline/yoke so it would be cooler (temperature-wise) to wear. I think I'll be able to wear this one in an office, at least on casual Fridays if nothing else.

To change the neckline, I just measured an equal distance down from the pattern neckline all around and cut away, after first photocopying the pattern pieces.

Tonight will be a button sewing session, for this top and my Ottobre blouse. I'm using these buttons from Carolyn for the Simplicity top. They're clear with white speckles, and have a dimple in the middle. I think they're perfect. Thank you again dear Carolyn!

Regarding all the comments to save the "clown" top. Thank you, but, um, no. LOL! I actually like ruffles and this style is OK, just not with this particular fabric. I look down and all I see is a bright splash of ruffle. It just doesn't work for me with this fabric. I'd never like wearing it. Yes, I could remove the ruffle and bind the neckline but this has been a UFO for a few years now and I'm just not motivated to do anything with it. Plus, the fabric is pure poly and unlike some of the nice polyesters available these days, this one just feels suffocating even when it's still on the hanger. I'll hem it and donate it. One day.