Monday, December 31, 2012

Simplicity 2474 in purple mosaic

I sewed! I sewed! OK, you can get up off the floor now. :-)

This top is probably the last make of 2012 for me. Tomorrow is a half-day at work but it's also going to be Tyler's last day with us as he's taking off for St. Augustine to ring in the New Year with his big brother Michael, and then back to North Carolina and being a Marine the day after. We'll have dinner together before he leaves and then I think I'll be doing some toasting of my own and it's probably not a good idea to mix that with the sewing machines. The skirt is not actually sewn yet ... just the front pinned onto Zillie for photo loveliness purposes.

The pattern is Simplicity 2474, and the last thing I bought it for was this simple top. But a simple top is what I was after since the Joann's fabric bought yesterday is from their lovely (cough:cough) polyester collection and I did not want to fight slippery poly with fussy details. It will be a nice layering piece in the winter and then move into spring and summer nicely.

I bought 2 yds since I didn't have a pattern in mind until last night. This pattern calls for just under 2 yds. Even after adding 3 inches to the length at the hem, I only used 28 inches of those 2 yards. Which means there will be a matching skirt for a 2-piece "dress" sometime in the near future. Part of the fabric savings was that I used pre-made bias binding for the neck and sleeve facings, and part was pattern layout stupidity.

I made a quick muslin and decided a real FBA was in order and so made a 1/2" adjustment. I started with the 14 at the neckline, graded out to the 16  at upper bust, 18 at hips, and ended up adding an additional 3/8" at the hip sideseam. Thank you holiday treats at the office I didn't resist this year. Back on the wagon this week, that's for sure.

These two pieces are all there is if, like me, you don't use the 2 facing pieces. The pattern calls for a CF seam, for no discernible reason I could see. So I eliminated it, which also helped in the fabric stinginess. I kept the CB seam since it does have some shaping.

Here's a shot of the inside and the black bias used for the neckline facing. I think it would've been nigh on impossible to make self-fabric bias with the slippery poly. I'm glad I didn't even try.

The sleeves have a pleat at the hem, which you can sorta see here. You can also see the same bias used to finish the sleeve hems.

The top is simple but I like it. And since it is poly, it will be easy through the laundry. I think it will get a lot of wear since it goes with the purple and with black. And if I make that matching skirt, I'll even have a mini wardrobe capsule. I'm hoping to spend New Year's Day in the sewing room to finish up the purple skirt for a new outfit to wear to work on Wednesday and maybe I can hustle and get the print skirt done too before the fabric gets buried in the stash closet.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back in the Saddle ... Kinda

It's that time of year when all the cool bloggers seem to be doing 2012 In Review type posts. Dare I say I'm not a cool blogger? Or is it just because I'm just a lazy blogger? The truth is I can't be bothered to go back and look at the last year on the blog from this laptop (my home desktop is on the edge of dying and I'm not ready to spend bucks on a new one when I have all I need in that at work and the lappie is technically just fine). It's hard enough to type without hitting the stupid touchpad every other sentence. But I digress.

I know I sewed some things during the year cuz I've been wearing most of them to death. But there were some changes in my life in 2012 that seem to be closer to the front of my brain. Separating, moving, officially being hired at my dream job. Yeah, I'd say those were some major rollercoasters, but I'm on the other side and only see a cloud of dust in the rear view mirror. I'm having a ball. Life is good. :-)

Christmas week and beyond has been great. I actually got a wild hair and pulled out the decorations for the first time in years. It's amazing what being happy does for motivation to decorate with tacky Christmas stuff. ;-) Alex got in the mood too and strung lights all over the outside of the house. Which means we weren't the neighborhood Scrooges like I thought we'd be. Go us!

Tyler arrived 12/20, dumped his stuff, and started visiting all his friends. Mom who? ;-) That's OK, I was expecting it and I had to work through Friday anyway. He's been in/out over the last week but we've actually seen him a lot. We spent all day Christmas Eve car shopping and he did manage to come home with exactly what he wanted. Let's hope that this time he doesn't total it within a month. ;-)

Alex's gift to us was tickets to Blue Man Group at Universal for Christmas night, which was a blast and also means that I actually was at Universal Studios for two Christmases in a row since Alex and I spent all day there Christmas Day 2011. Who wudda thunk? Yes, Life Is Good.

Also from the Life Is Good Department, shopping today. For moi. I'm not gonna lie ... love those me-shopping days. But jeez Louise, remind me to NEVER go near the mall the weekend after Christmas. I knew enough to stay away BEFORE and did all my shopping on the lappie, but I thought I'd be safe by now. Hah. Joke was on me. But I had a DSW gift card just burning a hole and off I went. I seriously needed some new black heels and I'm happy to report success. And then some.

Pair #1:

Pair #2 (Please ignore the dirty stuff in the sink back there. I know I am.):

Pair #3 (totally impractical but so pretty. And comfy):

Uh ... my name is Debbie and it's been 10 hours since my last shoe purchase:

I'm almost embarrassed by this. Almost. And there's at least 30 pairs you can't see at the ends of those shelves and the floor to the right. Shoes and fabric. What can I say?

Also for me today ... another wild hair but this time at the nail salon. Aren't they cool? I've been inspired by nails on Pinterest lately and decided to just go for it today. Love them! (Hate the old lady hands.)

And speaking of fabric. A trip to Joann's today for purple thread also yielded this, which will become a top to go with the purple ponte Magic Pencil skirt I'll be making tomorrow when I actually get into the sewing room again and back in that saddle.

Yes, Life Is Good.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm not dead yet

Fans of Monty Python's Holy Grail should get that post title. :-)

Just a drive-by posting to say I'm alive and well. Just really busy at work and life and my Scroogy self is looking forward to December 26.

My mom self is looking forward to December 20, when the Marine will be arriving for a couple of weeks. He came back from his first deployment last weekend, and truth be told, I think he's a little sad to have left Japan. He loved it there! Rumor is the next "trip" will be to a far less friendly place with a lot more sand. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. He *is* a Marine and they all want to go there.

Tomorrow is our Christmas holiday party at work. I didn't make anything new. I'll either wear exactly what I wore last year or I'll pair the jeweled top with the black Neue Mode skirt I made recently. It's been pretty warm this week.

Speaking of work, I received my first bonus in many, many years. I'm happy to report that it was performance-based, well ... more like performance-ENHANCED ... and I nearly fell on the floor when I saw the evidence in my bank account. Nice to have solid proof they like me as much as I like them. Such a GREAT place and wonderful people.

Not sure how much more sewing will be happening after I finish my sister's cardi this weekend, but stick around cuz you never know.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Not for me

Today in the sewing room was not for me. Well, mostly.

First up, is another make of the cardi from Vogue 8546. This time for my sister for Christmas, on request after trying mine on last winter. I cut it out today and will sew it either tomorrow or during the week. It's a fast sew, if I remember correctly.

Here's mine from 2 years ago. Hers will be purple Sophia knit. I still wear mine since sizing isn't really an issue in this drapey style. I'm sure I could make it smaller and it would still fit about the same.

For me, I did manage to eek out one Magic Pencil from the leftover purple Sophia, so that's ready to be sewn.

The other Not-for-Me is this infinity scarf for the "white elephant" gift exchange at work on Tuesday.

The rules for our exchange are to spend no money, find something, anything you already own that you want to part with, and re-gift it. We did this last year too and it was pretty funny since you start by unwrapping one gift but it can be "stolen" along the way by the later unwrappers. I've had this fabric in my stash for years and these infinity scarves seem to be trendy right now so maybe it will be a winner. If not, less than an hour was spent making it (thanks to Dawn's tutorial here) and these 2 yards are now out of the stash and can stop mocking me.

Since I'm basically a Scrooge, this will probably be the extent of any holiday sewing or crafting.

In other news, both the shoes and the fabric I recently ordered arrived. The shoes went back since they weren't immediately comfortable. Sob. Half the fabric is also going back since I'm not thrilled with it. I have too large a stash to just keep what I don't love and I'd rather have the money back to buy what I do. But that still leaves a few cuts that I did like and tomorrow they'll be pre-washed and ready to go for whenever the mood hits.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Model Shots

I'm already in lounge clothes (OK, PJs) as I write this, but I did take some pics before the quick change after work. After 4-1/2 luxurious days off, staying up late and sleeping in, I'm a little pooped from my 6 AM wake-up call. But the day went fast and it was great to actually eat a healthy salad for lunch. I'm staying away from the dreaded scale but I'm sure I've added a couple lbs since last weekend.

Here's the whole outfit as I wore it all day long. Side note: No Nonsense tights - best ever! Finally a pair of hose that doesn't creep downward during the day and doesn't reach to my armpits when I put them on. Lots of colors on their website too ... some of which I'll be buying soon.

And since I think I'm supposed to be showcasing the blouse, here it is without the cardi.

Now to veg in front of the DVR and then football, and maybe indulge in yet another turkey sandwich.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Orphaned No More

I'm done, and I finally have something to go with the nearly-orphaned skirt I made last winter and have yet to wear.

It was nice to sew with a woven. I haven't done any edgestitching for a while. Or buttonholes. Ug. ;-) But I took my time (boy, did I ever!) and the blouse is beautifully sewn ... if I do say so myself. There was absolutely no frog-stitching on this, which I think may be a first. Too bad the fit isn't perfect too. lol But as I said yesterday, it's passable and I will wear the new blouse. Even if I will have to iron it with each laundering.

In fact, I have it lined up for tomorrow when it's back to work I go. I'll layer a black vee neck cardi with it and the not-orphan skirt, and my fun shiny (patent) wine shoes.

I'll try to get a pic of me in the outfit tomorrow when I get home.

Before taking pics tonight, I did a little "surgery" on Zillie. I took off her old 44DD bra and sacrificed one of my current 36s, removing lots of stuffing in the process. I also dialed her width settings waaaay down. As Bunny commented, that felt good! She still needs some work and I'll have to sew her cover smaller at some point, but at least now I could get the blouse onto her easily.

A couple of you have asked for details on my erect back alteration. Well, there really isn't much to it. It's basically the opposite of a dowager's hump alteration, or just like a swayback alteration which is usually done at the waist. Erect posture means less fabric is needed to go from the base of the neck to the waist ... being a straighter line, shorter distance, and all.

To remove what is excess length for me without affecting the sideseams, I slash the back below the neck and above the waist, like this below, leaving a hinge at the side (armhole in this case).

The I overlap the slash at CB about 1/2" (your overlap may vary depending on your body) and tape the overlap in place.

This will make a CB cut-on-fold line "crooked" (see the tissue to the left of the yellow line above). Ignore it and align the top and bottom of the cut-on-fold line of the pattern piece with the fold of the fabric and cut as usual. It works out fine this way. Technically, it gives a little more ease across the back but hardly noticeable. But more important, collar/neckband pieces still fit the neckline without further adjustment. You *could* add a CB seam if there isn't one, but I don't unless I actually want that seam.

Hope this was all clear. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Butterick 5615: In Progress

Sewing today, but slow sewing. I think I'm still in a turkey coma. ;-)

Zillie needs a body makeover because this blouse barely fits around her but is more than OK on me. All that's left is to sew the cuffs onto the sleeves, hem the peplum, and then buttonholes and buttons.

I'im not madly in love with it because there's something funky with the armholes, but it's not bad enough to  stop me from wearing it - especially under a cardi. I should've made another muslin once I adjusted the sleeves and narrowed the shoulders but I thought those adjustments would be enough. They weren't. The armholes are too low and not scooped inward enough for a good fit on me. What I have now is basically a RTW fit. Oh well. At least my erect back adjustment worked and I won't be tugging it down from my neck so that's one improvement over most RTW blouses for me.

I ended up NOT lengthening the bodice above the peplum because I realized that by making the same adjustment to the back, I'd move the back peplum seam down and it lands in the perfect spot as it is. And, really, the front tie is where it's supposed to be but I thought it would *look* better lower, i.e., it would visually lengthen my torso. I did lengthen the peplum itself by 2". I'm not sure I'll keep all of that addition yet but it's easier to cut off than add on later.

The fabric doesn't photograph very well, as it looks like a very puckered sheet. In real life, it's much drapier than it appears here and has a slight vertical rib texture. And the puckers are because it's straining on Zillie. And needs a good pressing.

One thing I *will* like about this blouse once it's done is that it will pair with my wine plaid Magic Pencil and finally that skirt won't be an orphan. (The knit I bought to make a top to wear with the skirt matched fine, but the fabric was yucky so I returned it and once again the skirt was orphaned.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Full and Happy

This is where the pups and I have been planted for the last few hours - watching football, napping, surfing.

I've had  a pretty good Thanksgiving this year, although entirely different than any other. I got up around 8:30 a.m. and peeled about 20 huge sweet potatoes and then set about to make my annual Sweet Potato Soufle, Alex's favorite part of the meal. We were over at Alex's friend's house at 12:30 p.m. and almost immediately were sitting down eating Thanksgiving "dinner." That's the earliest I've ever eaten on Thanksgiving! It's now 11:15 p.m. and I'm still full. Alex and his friend are camping with the friend's grandparents at a state park about an hour away. The grandparents are RV'ing it, while the "boys" will be in a tent.

Which means I've been home alone since about 4 p.m. and I've been a turnip. But I'm really enjoying being a turnip, camped out in my own style - on my bed, with football on the TV, and the dogs snoozing next to me. As you can see, Chili has made himself a nest. He probably won't move much for the rest of the night. Neither will I. I needed a turnip afternoon/evening since last night was a doozy, out bar hopping in Ybor City with a friend from work. We had a great time, but I was feeling it this morning. I' m obviously waaaaay out of practice. lol

Since Alex really wanted his own "leftovers," tomorrow I will put our turkey in the oven and at some point make mashed potatoes and the proverbial green bean casserole. I made a second dish of the sweet potatoes this morning so those will only have to be reheated. There will be no Black Friday shopping here (I detest shopping crowds) so there may even be some sewing while the turkey cooks.

I'm thankful for a happy and healthy life, my wonderful sons, my great job (which, yes, I still love!), my snuggly pups, a nice home, new friends and old, a full stash closet, and much, much  more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

If I Had a Million Dollars ...

(Do you know that Barenaked Ladies song?)

I'd buy me ...

Gawd how I love these shoes. I mean L.O.V.E. But, alas, $250, or even the sale price of $189, is not a realistic budget item for me for YAPOS (yet another pair of shoes ... funny how that rhymes with Zappos ... hmmm.) Sure, I could splurge and try to justify but ...

So, what popped up in Zappos' sneaky-intelligent targeted advertising last night?

Not a bad second choice. I caved, and they'll be here Tuesday.

It's been a no-sewing-Sunday, but I did survive the grocery store so I'm counting the day as a win.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Butterick 5615 Muslin

Next up is Butterick 5615. I'm making View D, with the long sleeves. Coincidentally, mine will be white too. I really NEED a white blouse.

But first, a muslin. This will not be a fast sew, but I have a short work week coming up followed by a long weekend so I'll have some time to devote to a slower project. I want this to turn out well which means I will have to keep reminding myself that it's not a race since I do tend to be an impatient soul in the sewing room.

The muslin is not bad, but a muslin was definitely needed since there will be some tweaks required. I started with the 16 at neck/armholes, grading outward to the 20 by the hips. The only other adjustment so far was to square the shoulders before cutting out the pattern.

I read the PR reviews for this pattern and no one (not neven Belinda!) mentioned an FBA. There's no sewn bust dart in the pattern but obviously bust room is built into the waist/tie/gather area because I definitely do not need an FBA with this pattern. Nice.

What I DO need to adjust are (1) widen the sleeve bicep - not a surprise since I cut a smaller sleeve than I should've per the size I used in an attempt to eliminate bogus sleeve cap ease. That no cap ease part worked, but now I need a little more bicep ease instead. (2) erect back adjustment, which is a usual adjustment for me in a woven blouse and why most RTW blouses drive me crazy. You can sort of see the back neck folding at my shoulders, which is the indication I need this adjustment in a pattern. And (3) to lengthen the upper bodice above the peplum so the tie hits me lower, and to lengthen the top overall since I think it's a bit too short (it's unhemmed here). The best adjustment will be for me to add about 3/4" above the peplum and also add another 1/2" TO the peplum. This will be one of those times I will be reminding myself it's not a race and to not take the faster way of just adding above the the peplum.

None of these adjustments are difficult but they will take some time and I'm not up for them tonight. I might not be tomorrow either since I have to enter the grocery store with the hoards to get our Turkey Day fixn's. Alex and I are invited to his friend's family gathering but Alex still wants his own turkey, etc. at home for later.On a slightly sad note, this will be Tyler's first Thanksgiving away from family.

Speaking of shopping ... I started my morning with a little fabric shopping. And by "a little," I mean this:

I plead temporary insanity.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Neue Mode 23150: Finished

Hot off the machines, here's the finished skirt.

And the pattern again, so you don't have to flip back a post.

I like it, and it's an easy sew. You can see in the pic above that there is a slight bell curve at the hem. But it still hugs at the hips, which is better for me than a regular A-line shape. Like a pencil skirt with flare.

There are two reviews for this skirt on PR (and if I ever get motivated to post there again, I might add this as a third). One mentions that the waist yoke isn't shaped like the drawing and the other mentions that the yoke is narrower than the drawing. I didn't find either to be the case. The yoke definitely curves upward in the front, although it's hard to see on Zillie because of the elastic. And all I can think of for the other comment was that the reviewer didn't add the seam allowances. I found the pattern true to size, although it's European sizing. I made a 46 with no alterations. (Correction - I just re-read the reviews and the one comment about the shaped yoke agrees it's shaped, but the skirt top is not.)

What IS off on the waist yoke is finishing it. If you follow the boilerplated instructions, you'd get a stitching line in the middle of it where the elastic is stitched down. I thought that would look weird (not that it's gonna show anyway) so instead of stitching it down at the bottom of the folded-over elastic, I triple straight-stitched at the top edge. That keeps it from flopping upward, matches the triple straight-stitch topstitching at the seams, and looks better than a line through the middle of the yoke.

I left slits at the bottom of the sideseams. The pattern instructs to leave a slit at the center back. I'm a rebel. lol

So, now that I've made it I think I'll morph this with the beloved Magic Pencil. There's no real reason for me to have a yoke since I'm not going to tuck in, and it will eliminate two pattern pieces.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Neue Mode 23150

Next up is a pattern I've had in the stash for close to 10 years, Neue Mode 23150. I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to try it but its time has finally come. It's printed multi-sized on tissue but without seam or hem allowances, so it does need to be traced. Fortunately, there are only 4 pieces so tracing went quickly.

I'm making View B, the shorter version, from black ponte knit. Yes, another black skirt. I'm double-topstitching the seams with a triple straight stitch. Black on black, so it will be subtle. I'm also going to leave open short slits in the sideseams, instead of making a CB slit per the pattern.

And that's all I have for tonight. :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Men at Work

In honor of the upcoming 237th Marine Corps Birthday (November 10, 2012), and because … well, he's my son,  I'm posting the video Tyler shot and edited while sailing around the Pacific the last couple of months.

(Please comment on YouTube if you can. My son is a comment 'ho too. LOL)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Modeling the Makes

I wore the new outfit to work today, and remembered to snap a pic when I got home. Unfortunately, I didn't set the scene very well and I have a lamp growing out of my head. Now that it's dark early, I had to scramble for some light in the house that didn't show clutter. Yes, I still haven't unpacked every box and I'm beginning to think I never will. I mean, when in the heck will I need to set up china and crystal?

Here's the polka-dotted dress remade into a drape neck top and the newest brown Magic Pencil.

RTW top with the Simplicity skirt. I still need to add a hook and eye above the zip, but the replacement zip is in and went in just as perfectly. Whew. Not really loving this combo, though. The top is too long and it will be a major PITA to hem so it might be going back.

Goofy twirl and jazz hands shot.

All that modeling wore me out so now I'm sitting here writing this in my PJs. lol

There's not going to be a lot of sewing this week since it's the start of my firm's 2-week United Way blitz/drive and there are a number of after-work activities planned. Tomorrow night is bowling, dinner, and drinking at Splitsville. Uh oh. Good thing I voted early. Did YOU???

Parting shot: He's been to the Philippines, Malaysia, and spent Halloween at Disney Hong Kong and is on his way back to Japan and then home sometime next month. I can't wait. He's posted on Facebook a few times along the way, but it's been a while since I've heard his voice. I miss my Marine!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Two-Piece Dress Finished

It's nice to start the weekend with a new outfit to wear when the weekend is over and it's back to work. There was no sewing last night. My sister called and that wiped out my sewing time, since we gabbed for about 2 hours. So I got up this morning and finished the Simplicity 1849 top and then spent 2 minutes sewing the matching Magic Pencil skirt. OK, a little longer than 2 minutes, but not much. ;-)

Here's the finished top, now fully hemmed.

And with the skirt, to make a 2-piece "dress." I have the feeling that these 2 pieces will get a lot of mileage, worn both together and separately. They are so *my* colors. And I do love me a print or two. Totally unplanned, but I like the way the print does NOT match across the bust but does further down where the 2 pieces meet up. Adds to the dress illusion while also breaking up the horizontal striping a little bit. The only thing better would be if the dark area hit the waist but one can't have everything in a quickie project and 2 yds of fabric.

Here's a closer view of the twist/knot area. You can see that there is a fair amount of pull/gathering going on here so why the smaller overlay was drafted to end up with virtually no stretch is beyond me. I'm glad I caught that and changed it.

Nancy K asked about the clear elastic applied to the neckline. I'll do a full photo tutorial on that soon-ish, but for now ... go back about 3 or so posts and you'll see more detail from the post on my brown dotty drape neck top. And yes, after stitching on the elastic I turn and coverstitch, as you can see below. For those without a CS machine, you can twin needle it instead. You want some stretch but also recovery, which is why I wouldn't recommend just a straight stitch to finish. On this top, I applied the clear elastic in 3 separate passes - once for each side of the vee (leaving a little tail hanging center front) and then the back neckline separately. I then attached at the shoulder seams and coverstitched in one pass, starting at the point of the vee (where those little tails come in handy to grab on to). It didn't have to be perfect at the point since the overlay covers it, but mine turned out pretty well anyway. Probably precisely because it IS covered up. Hah.

Now I'm off to run some errands, including a stop a Joann's for another black invisible zip for that black skirt above which mocks me. I'll get some me-modeled pics of the recent new makes soon.

I also almost forgot that this top is actually a "muslin," so I'll be cutting the originally planned solid knit top when I get back. Maybe I'll have TWO new outfits for next week.

Don't forget to change your clocks tonight! I think I'll be sewing for that extra hour. :-)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I (Heart) NY

I'm sitting here writing this with an eye on Rock Center with Brian Williams on the TV and I'm overcome by sadness for the victims of Sandy. I feel a kinship and loss from far away. I'm a native New Yorker, born in Queens, although it's been a long, long time since I lived in the state. My grandparents and/or great-grandparents all came through Ellis Island and stayed. All of my family are New Yorkers. I've personally been to every place being shown hit by Sandy at one time or another in my life. My maternal grandparents moved to the Jersey Shore when I was a very young girl and we used to go to Seaside Heights regularly. It now almost doesn't exist, although it always will live in my memories. The pictures on TV pang my heart and I sincerely pray for everyone affected by the storm.

It feels kind of silly to be posting my sewing progress now but since that's what I started out to do, I'll go ahead and finish.

I finished the neck edges with clear elastic and a turn under and then basted the sideseams for a try-on. Although it would have been passable, I decided the left (your right) side piece really did need to be cut with more stretch so I removed the first one, cut a new piece, and then continued on. This pic below is with the original piece. You can't really see a difference between this pic and the next with the replacement piece, but I can feel it. Less unnatural pull on that side.

Pardon the non-matching dress underneath, but that's what I wore to work and I didn't change to sew. All that's left for the top are the hems, which I'll tackle tomorrow night and then maybe sew up the skirt. 

And on Zillie, with more accurate colors.

Good night.