Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homecoming 2009

Well they just drove off for dinner and then on to the Homecoming Dance. Alex is wearing "his" tux (my grandfather's tux from the 50s/60s), his new snakeskin (!) shoes, and rented shirt, vest/tie, cufflinks/studs. Is he beaming ear to ear or what?

India is wearing the dress that Alex picked out for her on a shopping trip a few weeks ago. The boy has pretty good taste, I think, as she looks great. You can't see her hair very clearly in these pics, but it's done in long spiral curls and is very pretty.

Here's one pose which shows their true personalities, since they're both such goofballs. ;-)

So, it's me and the dogs tonight as DH is away working and DS#1 is off to his seasonal gig at Busch Gardens' Hall-O-Scream. I think I'm going to work a bit on my Stars & Stripes quilt squares. It's been a hectic/hard week and I'm not sure if I'm up for any complicated sewing tasks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alexander The Great

Tuesday's Theme is "Time Traveler," to dress either as past or future. We chose past. Yes, "we," since apparently I'm now the official costumer and as such I get to have a say as to the difficulty level and time commitment. LOL!

Presenting … Alexander the Great (in a not-so-great pic!)

For those that have been following my sewing for a few years, you might also recognize …

Alexander the Gladiator from about 8 years ago, in honor of the Russell Crowe movie that my sons could quote verbatim back then, and often did.

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. Where DID that little boy go? ;-)

* * * * *

For tomorrow's version, I started with two cheap red RTW tees. I cut the torso off one and sewed it onto the bottom of the other to make a long knit"tunic" onto which I then zigzagged some gold stash trim around the bottom and sleeves.

The gladiator costume was originally made from a man's size pattern. Whew! But I probably used a size small back then and it was not about to go around DS' chest anymore. Luckily, the side "seams" were only Velcroed together. So I dug out some black Velcro and covered the hook side so it wouldn't poke DS and then made some straps out of scraps of the exact black pleather I used for the original costume. (Yes, I still had some. LOL!) These straps connect front to back horizontally under the arms. You can sort of see one on the left side of the very first pic above. I know the description of the straps is probably hard to picture. Trust me, it works great, DS can get in/out of it easily (important for football practice after school), and it won't be hard to un-do if we ever need to. We're pretty happy with how fast this went together and how good the costume still looks.

I swear I'm not usually a pack rat, but some things you just know there's a good chance you'll use again. This is turning into a recycle week - old fabrics, old costumes, old tuxedos.

DS#1 had a funny idea for the Time Traveler costume - he said to choose past, as in "yesterday" and wear the Capt Underpants costume again. Tempting! ;-)

Captain Underpants

Background: This coming weekend is Homecoming at DS's school, which means that this week is Spirit Week. Each day has a "theme" and today's is Dress Like a Superhero. DS chose Captain Underpants.

While I thought I would be sewing this weekend, I had no idea I would be sewing a "naked suit" and cape.

The "real" Captain Underpants is bare except for underwear and cape but DS knew he'd already be stretching the dress code with the underwear-as-outerwear and wanted a "naked suit" to cover himself. We were in the mall on Friday buying him dress shoes when he declared all of this, and he went looking for such a suit at the costume store. Even if he had found one, it was going to cost at least $50, and for crappy hot polyester at that. There was no such costume to be had. I think I was relieved, even though I knew it meant I would volunteer to make one. Still, it would cost nothing but time since I already had all the materials and DS would buy the huge tighty-whities.

I started with KS 3277, women's plus yoga pants, and KS 3299, men's fitted tees and a thin white cotton jersey knit. I cut out the smallest size pants (after removing the flare in the leg and omitting the waistband), sewed them up and had DS try them on. The legs were loose so I "pinched" about 4 inches total, dividing between inseam and outseam, to make them form-fitting, and then serged some 1/2" elastic to the waist to hold them up. For the shirt, I raised the neckline to almost straight across so none of his chest would show.

I already had the red satin from another costume and fashioned a yoke-with-tie-thing to attach to a big rectangle. Easy-peasy for that one.

Next, I heated up a huge lobster pot of water, and added teabags, with a pinch of pink and yellow dyes to make a flesh color. I fished out the teabags and tossed in the white suit, stirred for about 2 minutes and pulled it out. One run through the washer and dryer and we had the naked suit.

Voila! Captain Underpants!

Speaking of Homecoming, DS is sort of letting us off the hook for the dance. Instead of renting a whole tux, he's wearing my grandfather's tux from the 1950s. Yes, *my* grandfather — who gave DH the tux (plus a white dinner jacket) many years back. DH has never worn it and so all the pieces (jackets, pants, cummerbund, bowties, braces) have hung in a garment bag in my closet for years because I knew it would come in handy one day. Who can throw out a good wool tux? DS tried it on a couple of weeks ago on a whim and it fits. I had to let out the pants waist, but the length is perfect. Pretty cool that he's wearing his great-grandfather's 50-year old tux.

I decided to take the rental "savings" and buy him a pair of black dress shoes (which is why we were at the mall in the first place), which he'll wear for his Homecoming, his girlfriend's Homecoming (different school), Senior Prom, and then Graduation. We're still renting the shirt, vest, tie, cuff links/studs — some things are just easier/cheaper to rent!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

And One More

Are you tired of seeing my bras yet? I know I am, even if this one is fun to look at. But I'm giving up for a while, until I have the proper fabrics.

This is made using the latest "redraft" which incorporates the power bar on the side. It technically fits fine but the fabric is wrong and there is absolutely no support in the lower cups. That is the only bad thing about sewing bras … there's really no such thing as a "down and dirty" muslin which means you really don't know what you've got until you're just about done making a whole bra.

I feel like I've wasted a lot of time the last few weeks sewing bras I'm not going to wear, but I know it's not really completely wasted because I do have a good pattern now. I just need to marry it to the correct fabric. And hopefully the bra mojo will be back when the fabric arrives.

So this afternoon I put away the bra supplies for a while and turned my attention to some instant gratification sewing.

I traced, cut out and sewed Jalie 2804 for DS#2's girlfriend. Sorry it's just pinned on Zillie but (1) there was no way it was going to fit Zillie and (2) I wasn't going to embarrass the GF (or myself) with begging for modeled shots for my blog. ;-)

I completely guessed on her size, choosing size "R", and made no alterations other than to listen to my inner voice and trace up a size at the hips and to scoop out the back neck as I always do for Jalie patterns. It fits her perfectly. Ah, to have that 17-year old body again. But even my 17-year old body would've needed an FBA. Hers does not. The empire seam falls exactly where it should right out of the envelope. It was nice to see first-hand that patterns as drafted do actually fit someone. ;-)

I wish I did have a pic with her wearing it so you could see how nice it looks on her. The colors and style suit her very well. She's usually a very plain t-shirt kind of girl so this is a bit "wild" for her, but I do think she'll wear it. Either that or she's a very good actress. LOL! But as I told her, even if she never does wear it, it's OK and it won't hurt my feelings. It was fun for me to make and that's all I was after.

The white modesty panel is part of the pattern and is sewn into the upper bodice. I like the elastic trim I used. It looks like it's floating in air, but there's a clear mesh area which gives that illusion. The GF liked the faux cami, noting how much cooler it would be than to wear a real cami underneath.

I think the whole thing took me 2 hours start to finish. And probably 3/4 yard of fabric. Do I sound jealous? ;-)

* * * * *

In football news, DS's game was first delayed and then cancelled Friday night due to a nasty t-storm that wouldn't go away. The game was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon, and they won. Yay Cougars! They're now 2-0 and first in their division.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Hey everyone, I'm still here and alive. It's just that it's the first couple weeks of high school football season and that means I'm neck deep in tee shirt sales duties, along with my regular job. Plus, I've decided that I will once again help out with the team meals on Friday afternoons. This is my younger son's last year of high school and I decided work can wait on Fridays since we'll never get this time back again. I'm very thankful that I have the luxury to decide that.

Over the years, we've watched many neighbor boys and pee-wee league teammates grow up and become excellent players. We've seen many earn scholarships to top universities. We've even seen a couple of DS#1's former teammates drafted into the NFL. It's hard to believe this is my 11th year being a football mom. Even harder to believe it's my last.

On the sewing front, yet another bra has been on the sewing table since last weekend waiting patiently for me to finish it. I'm really determined to get this thing right. It also helps that it's still hot as h*ll outside and there's no way I'm even starting to think about a new season for clothes so I can take my time with the bras. But I want to finish them up soon and not be caught out with nothing to wear when the temps do finally start falling — maybe by Christmas? LOL! I'm hoping to spend some quality time in the sewing room on Saturday and Sunday, of course with football on the TV!

Go Cougars!