Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boo on the Flu

I wish I could say I've finished my mom's table runner or that I've been sewing at all. But this guy looks like how I feel and it's been all I can do to drag myself to work in the morning and get the daily must-do's done. Then I drag myself back to bed … after a stop at the Dayquil/Nyquil bottles.

Am I whining? YES! Do I want pity? YES! You try being sick in a house with 3 (cave)men and you'd be sucking up for some sick pity too. ;-) I even had to drag out the crock pot and make my own turkey soup from the Christmas Day turkey leftovers today. Wahhhh. But it felt so nice and warm going down my sore throat it was (almost) worth having to do it myself.

I hope I'm better by the time 2010 rolls in so I can take good advantage of my days off. If not, toast the bubbly for me, will you?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

I'm a little late on the Christmas gifts this year, but my mom and sister understand and will be happy with their gifts … whenEVER they arrive. ;-)

First up for mom, a combination housewarming and Christmas present. A table runner for her new house in her colors. I'm also going to make a set of coordinating napkins from the leftover fabrics.

The pattern I'm using is this one. It's a quilt-as-you kind of pattern but I nixed that part. It seemed like overkill and a good way to make mistakes. I'm not sure if I should review this pattern on Pattern Review. Do people actually read and/or reference quilt patterns?

I cut and pieced it today. It's really easy, trust me. Here's the top, pinned to the batting and the backing, ready for quilting. I used my Featherweight for all the piecing, which was fun.

For the quilting, all eleven straight rows of it — LOL! — I moved back to my D1 since I have a stitch in the ditch foot for it and the harp space is bigger. The quilting took all of 30 minutes, tops. I might have to make one of these for me.

Before I started on this project, I scanned swatches of the fabrics and used it to make a mock-up on paper to be sure it wasn't going to look too funky. These are so not my colors and picking out the fabrics was the hardest part.

Here it is quilted and trimmed and awaiting binding. I'm taking a dinner break right now but will finish the binding later tonight and it will be done. Definitely a one-day project even for non-quilters like me.

Next up will be scrubs for my sister.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poetry on a Stand

OK, not the most imaginative blog title. ;-)

It's done! Yay!! And I love it!

I'll share more details later when I write up a proper review but in the meantime, here are some photos of my finished CWC knock-off Poet Blouse, on Zillie. I'm planning to wear this on Christmas Day, probably with my green knit Marrakesh pants. Or jeans. I'll try to remember to get a pic of me in it, before I spill something on myself. ;-)

The fabric is cotton poplin with a bit of Lycra. It wrinkles easily, but not as easily as it would without the Lycra. I think this blouse needs a bit of the rumpled look to really embrace the "Poet" look, so I'm not going to fret about the wrinkles. The Lycra keeps it from going completely limp, which is a Good Thing. I interfaced the plackets, collar, stand and cuffs.

Funny thing when I was sewing on the buttons — I had all 3 buttons sewn on the front and one sleeve done. When I got to the second sleeve, I realized I had completely forgotten to topstitch that cuff. That's what happens when you work in snatched batches of time. So, there I was thinking I was already done and I had to put it to the machine one more time to finish that last cuff. At least I noticed before I left the house in it.

The trim is lacy elasticized rickrack I've had in the stash forever. I still have TONS of this so you'll be seeing it for years.

In a couture world, the inside edges of the plackets would be turned under and clean finished. In my world, they're serged. ;-)

I also trimmed the honkin' big dart with the serger so the show-through is not a honkin' big dart uptake.

These are the patterns I used — McCall's 5556 for most of it, and McCall's 5673 for the 3/4 length cuffed sleeves. For M5556, I changed the shape of the bottom of the placket, added gathers below the placket, back waist darts, and left off the faced hems. I also reshaped the collar points into curves. For the sleeve, I widened them at the bicep, which also meant widening the cuff to match. I also added a loop closure instead of the buttonhole called for in the pattern.

This will probably be my last blog post before Christmas, so to all who celebrate, Merry Christmas! To all my Jewish readers, a belated Happy Hannukah! And Happy Holidays to everyone else!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still Sewing Away

No pictures today, but I have been making steady, if slow, progress on my CWC Poet Blouse knock-off. I think I fixed the dart poof that was bothering me. I'm still not happy with their actual placement — they're too horizontal — but I'm not willing to rip them out and re-angle them either. I think my annoyance will fade once the blouse is finished.

Last night and this afternoon I worked on the sleeves. The cuffs are on. I added button loops as closures to match the front loops. I'm just about ready to sew them into the armholes. After that, it will be downhill. I even made a stop at Joann's for buttons (success!) while out and about running a million and two errands. But I'm done with my errands and don't plan to venture out again until Thursday night, for our annual family Christmas Eve tour of house lights in various neighborhoods.

I'm really happy with this blouse. I think it's going to be one of my most favorite things I've sewn. I just hope I don't screw up now … you know, like a big scorch mark when I'm pressing seams or some other disaster like that. I must say it's been quite stressful working with all this white. It's been good for me, though. The "stress" is actually making me relax and take my time, if that makes any sense.

With any luck, I should have a finished blouse to show for my next post.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Only White Here Is In the Sewing Room

I always feels pangs of slight jealousy when the first big snow of the year hits the East Coast. I'm a NY-er by birth, grew up in Connecticut, and had plenty of snow during those years. The big Saturday storm looks pretty in all the blog and news photos I've seen, but in my heart I know better and I'm glad to be 1,000 miles away from it. It is supposed to hit the 30s here tonight, so not only do I commiserate with my East Coast friends in spirit, I'll also be sympathizing in the flesh too. ;-)

Progress continues on the CWC Poet Blouse knock-off. It's going well so far. I'm about to attach the sleeve cuffs and then insert the sleeves. And once again, I'll need buttons. I'm going to try to make do with what's in the button bin, but I really wanted prettier shank-style buttons. Though not enough to trek out to Joann's anytime soon. (Surely J's has suitable white buttons?) Maybe I have an old blouse in my closet I can pilfer from. I'm also pretty sure I'm going to have to mess with the bust darts since right now they seem too pointy. I haven't sewn up the sideseams yet or really tried it on, so maybe they're not as bad as I think. In fact, I may just go up and pin the sideseams right now and try on the darn thing before I go further with the sleeves.

Angie asked about the upper back tuck-thingie I showed last post. Angie, from the pics I've seen, you have square shoulders. The fold of fabric you describe is usually due only to square shoulders, so you should first alter for those and see if that does it. I have square shoulders too, but also an erect back. Altering only for square shoulders doesn't solve all of the problem for me. I still need to remove length at the upper back for collared shirts. I'm sure I need to do it for other shirts too, but it's really only when there's a collar that it's uncomfortably obvious. I don't make (wear) a whole lot of collared shirts, so this has been a slower realization for me than my other regular alterations. Besides being hot in the summer, the other reason I don't wear a lot of collared shirts is because the collar has always bugged me in the back. Hmm. Maybe I'm on to something. ;-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Instead of Christmas Shopping

I hate malls even when it's not the holidays. So any excuse to stay away from stores today works for me and I've spent most of the day in the sewing room. (I should be sewing gifts, but I'm taking a cue from The Selfish Seamstress! - L.O.V.E. that blog!)

I'm trying to stay focused on the garments I lined up in my "on deck" pile here and I'm doing pretty well, having made 4 so far. Not all were complete winners but at least they're off the list.

Right now I'm working on copying the Coldwater Creek Poet Blouse, using the McCall's pattern below with 3/4 sleeves swiped from another McCall's pattern.

After 2 FBAs (Full Bust and Full Bicep), I've made the muslin out of old sheets and tweaked it, and am now going to cut the real fabric. Per the pattern, it's much too long to be the CWC blouse so I'll be chopping off length …

… and taking up excess at the back and shoulder, as shown below. For the back, it's the opposite of a round back alteration and I find I need it in most any blouse with a real collar and almost all Jalie knit top patterns, except on knit patterns I just scoop the back neckline instead. For someone who spends most of the day at the computer, I'm surprised I still have such erect posture. My mother should be proud - she "scolded" me to stand up straight my whole childhood. ;-)

Changing the front placket area to a squared-off bottom mostly worked, but I made the inset pieces too short and I think there's a bit too much gathering. That's what muslins are for, right? I've fixed the pattern pieces for that area and hopefully it will now work as I planned. It's zigzagged together in lieu of buttons on the muslin.

I debated cutting one more muslin, but I just don't have it in me. It's not a super-fitted blouse, so I should be able to fix things as I go, if still needed. I hope I don't have to eat my words because I really want to have this blouse in my wardrobe.

So that's what I've been doing today, instead of Christmas shopping. Bah Humbug. ;-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hot Patterns Tie Me Down Top

Finished top below. Review with more pics, on PR here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Love This Jacket!

Do I look happy? You bet! (And a lot happier than the last photo I posted, eh?)

I promised I would show a pic of me in the Hot Patterns Riviera jacket when I had buttons for it. It took seemingly forever, but I finally found buttons at Sawyer Brook. It took me two orders, though, since apparently I can't read a ruler. The big front buttons were good, but I ordered one size too small for the sleeve plackets. So I wouldn't be left with 4 "orphans," I went ahead and ordered 2 more too-smalls when I put in my second order so I'd have a set of 6 if I ever need them. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;-)

(Note: This is not a new red jacket. It's the same and only one I made earlier, a "ginger" colored fleece.)

The buttons are a perfect match to the fabric, but the fabric has yet to want to cooperate with my camera so the color never looks true to life in my pics. Oh well. Trust me, it's a great color and matches my gray auburn hair nicely.

I changed the suggested button placement and moved the top button up above the yoke seam. I think it's more flattering on me to *not* have a more-or-less solid line of yoke+pocket flaps+button right across my bust. Staggering the buttons breaks up that line and creates more vertical interest. At least that's what my eyeballs are telling me. Your eyeballs may disagree.

Here are the smaller buttons on the (faux) sleeve placket. I suppose I should've taken a photo that shows the front and sleeve buttons side-by-side so they don't look exactly the same, which they aren't. That was the hardest part of finding buttons — finding two big enough for the front and which also had smaller companions to match. Carolyn, I envy not only your button stash but your proximity to NYC to shop for more.

The other reason I look so happy is that the temps dropped a bit here today and I could actually wear this because not only was it cool outside, I had somewhere to wear it to! I'm pathetic, aren't I? LOL!

To complete the outfit, I'm wearing the green Hot Patterns Marrakesh pants I made for Thanksgiving. It's my HP day, because I've also started on another HP top, and will hopefully have something to show tomorrow. It's the Metropolitan Tie Me Down top and it looks like it will be another winner with few alterations. DS#2 is gone on an overnight wrestling trip. DH has to work. This means I have no mom/wife/work duties tomorrow and can hide in the sewing room as long as I want.

Speaking of Hot Patterns — I'll gloat a bit and tell you all that I had my lunch date with Trudy and Jeremy a couple of weeks ago, down their way in Sarasota. It was a GREAT time! They are so much fun, with tons of energy, ideas, and jokes. Just like their YouTube videos but better. Time flew and I think we could've sat and chatted for at least three more hours. Thanks for the invite Trudy and Jeremy — I had a blast!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How I Wasted 20+ Hours of My Life

(Or, If Looks Could Kill!)

I'm an 80-year old woman wearing a carpet.

I even fully lined it before I decided to toss it. But at least I stopped before sewing on the sleeve bands, hemming it, or thinking about buttons.

I spent far too much time working, ripping, and reworking ideas to highlight the seaming.

Plain old triple-stitch topstitching with dark green thread disappeared (see princess seams in first photo above). Double strands of off-white upholstery thread showed up slightly better, but looked like basting. Riiiiip. Raw-edge strips of self-fabric showed fine but were going to ravel away to nothing, which I decided *after* I had sewn it all on. Riiiiiip.

I settled on black bias tubing couched on with a green double zigzag. While this is the best of the bunch and looks fine, I wish I hadn't bothered. In the end, nothing could save it.

It's just not me. I don't wear fabric like this. Maybe that's why it had been in the stash for so long?

I cut my losses and threw it out, never again to be tempted to "save" it.

Moving on.

ETA: After receiving 2 comments with suggestions for fixing it or coming back to it, please note: It's too late. It's gone. Outta here. I decided I didn't want to come back to it and I tossed it. Believe me, I know pretty well what I'll wear and what I won't. Besides, there are too many other things on my list that I want to sew. I'll never miss this jacket.