Sunday, November 2, 2014

Catching up

Hello all.

I've been holding my breath for a month. If you're a regular reader, you know that in September Dale and I took an "exploratory" trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico to see if we wanted to move there for retirement. We have a good friend there who is a Real Estate Agent, and was showing us around town with the various areas and what was available, at what price, and in general giving us a feel for what it would be like to live there.

Long story short, he had asked me what our perfect retirement home looked like to me. After contemplating for about 1 minute, I said... about 1600 square feet on a couple of acres, "fixer", close to town but with a country feel, and after being here a week, I want an adobe home. After explaining to me why that wasn't going to be easy to find, especially in our price range, we just left it that we had about an year to 18 months before we were ready to buy, and maybe something would happen between then and now.

We got a call our last morning in town and Bill asked if we'd go look at a property with him. His ex was the listing agent, and she would meet us there if it was okay. Little did anyone know, I'd been looking at the property on line for several months, and thought it might be just what we wanted.

We went, we looked, and the wheels started turning. As a real estate appraiser, I'm a quick study when I look at a house, particularly a "fixer" and am able to determine if it can be great. While the house isn't great right now, I think it can be spectacular with time and my husband's skill set. It needs some adobe restoration on the exterior, but it has a new heater, new water heater, new gas lines, and a new septic tank. All good things. Don't know about the electrical yet, but overall it appears to be cosmetic other than adobe repairs.

I knew I'd have to stay where we are for about 18 months before I could retire, BUT, perhaps, we could get the house and Dale could get it fixed up the way I wanted, with frequent visits between Northern California and New Mexico in the interim.

Many weeks of negotiations have transpired, and it appears to me that the Universe is pushing us as hard as it can to New Mexico. We are in contract on the house, at much less than it was listed for, and we should know within about 10 days if it's going to work.

We had intended to wait until the Holidays were over before our closing and the first foray to New Mexico. I was going to stay where I am right now and have over a year to pack, cull, and purge as necessary with Dale coming back every couple of months and taking a small U-Haul with the items that were ready to go. Then we got a call this week that our landlady has been in a major car accident, and is going to be off work for several months. They need to sell our house, and have given us notice that they'd like us out by the first of the year. YIKES!

As it sits right now, we are probably going to close on the property on or about December 15. Dale will head out in his truck, towing a trailer with tools and some basic furniture and personal items. Then get there, unload, and turn around and fly back for Christmas. I'll be moving into a small apartment for the next 15 months, and he'll take a large truck full of the stuff we intend to move to New Mexico with our dogs right before the first of the year. We'll have the carpets and windows professionally cleaned, and be done by New Years if all goes well.

So I have about 60 days to go through an entire house, determining what I need to keep for my apartment, what will go to New Mexico, and what will get sold or donated. And right in the middle of my hysteria, plans for SWAP 2015 were released and it look like it's right down my alley.

Well... maybe. Perhaps. I WILL be living alone, and no one will interfere with my sewing time. Less cooking. Less cleaning. Less interaction required. I can be a hermit and just sew every night for four months. Hmmm... the wheels are spinning. And most especially once I saw BeeJay's gorgeous SWAP plans. I could start and see how far I get. Don't have to submit if it doesn't work out!

I better get busy, I think!

More later....


Monday, September 22, 2014

Wow! I was busy.

Here are a few more garments I've made this month.

Made between August 30, and September 1. A pinstripe twill, denim colored. It may have some linen in the mix also. Fabric Purchased From: Fashion Fabrics Club    Date of Purchase: 05/07/2012



Pinstripe Jeans inseam pockets ala David Paige Coffin

The aqua top prototype. Am going to redo the shoulder and side seams and hopefully get it working correctly. Started 9/2 and worked on it at least a little bit every day until 9/7. As you'll see from the pictures, it needs to be reworked, but I wanted to do quick and easy tees instead of pondering and playing with it. I think I'm going to have to do some top stitching along the front to get it to stay in place too. It's on the list for this week for deconstruction, and then we'll see where it goes:


The grey tee initially completed 9/9 and picture with the neck band removed for replacement. Fabric from Emma One Sock, rayon jersey. Sorry for the picture. It has been piled in the suitcase and then on the ironing board after I removed the band. 



The cream tee completed 9/10. Fabric an eggshell rayon jersey from Christine Jonson purchased 3/31/13. It will be so useful in my wardrobe! It's been packed, so needs washing and pressing, but here it is! Doesn't look that great over my jeans, though! 



I also hemmed a couple of pair of Levis for Dale before we took off. The sewing machine was running a lot over the first two weeks of the year! 

More later!



MIA? Not really.

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted. I have been trying to wear Me Made clothing everyday, and I think I've succeeded, with the possible exception of a day or two in pjs all day. And most of those are me made too! Unfortunately I had a computer melt down and lost a few things right before we were to go on vacation. So I will be posting SOME pictures, but not all.

We did a wild run driving almost 2,700 miles and had 5 days in Las Cruces, where we will be retiring, hopefully sooner rather than later, but at any point, I anticipate being there hopefully by New Years of 2016 in our new house whatever that may be. I did wear me mades every day we were there.

For our vacation, I lost my mind and decided I needed some new tee shirts. I went on a tee shirt binge, and got several completed. All are from my very altered Pamela's Perfect tee shirt. A blue print with 3/4 sleeves, a teal short sleeved, a white short sleeved, and a grey with a vee neck. Unfortunately, the grey fabric was a light weight rayon jersey and the neck binding just didn't work. So last night I took it all off and will redo it after adding some stablizer around the neck. For some reason, I don't have the pics of the aqua shirt, the grey tee, or the white tee. I'll try to rectify that soon!


The 3/4 sleeve blue cotton knit. It's from old stash, and it may look a little bit familiar because it was the left over fabric from one of the dresses I made for my daughter for her birthday. It was completed 9/08.

Teal rayon tee. Fabric purchased for this year's SWAP. Purchased April 7, 2014 from Emma One Sock. Completed 09/09.

The aqua top just isn't there yet. I'm going to be changing it out because my idea, while good, wasn't quite the ticket. I have large folds running from the shoulder point to the underarm. After much contemplation and rumination, I have decided that I didn't make the sleeve area deep enough, and that will be unsewn and corrected, hopefully. It's also huge in the body, so when I'm doing that, I'll take it in a bit. I will get some before and after photos of that one too!

Hope your month is going well and you're making good use of National Sewing Month sales!

More later!




Monday, September 1, 2014

It's National Sewing Month in the States starting today!

I'm going to try to sew at least a little every single day no matter what!

We're even going on vacation and I'll be taking my little Pfaff Passport "portable" machine with us so I can keep up the promises. As part of it, I'll be doing a daily "made by me" also. They may not get posted daily, but I'll try to get pictures every day!

Catching up.... The silk topper. I am just not sure about this. I had thought about using a silk organza interfacing, and then after fiddling with it, decided it was sufficiently opaque that the regular interfacing wouldn't show through. Obviously I was wrong. There are still some minor issues with the top, but I'm pretty sure they are fabric related. Please weigh in with your opinions... I'm thinking about trying to add a white lining underneath to the body only (NOT taking the buttonholes out of this fabric!) so the facings won't show. But I'm honestly not sure whether it is worth the additional work despite the fact I like the fabric. Here's a pic:

I also wanted to show you the revised Sangria top. I took about 4" out of the center at the bottom, and I think it looks better despite the fact that I've gained a few pounds since I started my "diet." :P}} 


It's being worn with my latest pair of Style Arc Barb pants. Black Karl Lagerfeld rayon/nylon/lycra ponte from Marcy Tilton bought specifically for these pants. I added pockets to them! 

I finished another pair of "trouser jeans" this weekend too, but unfortunately, I didn't inform my photographer to take pictures of those specifically, so the pics will have to wait for another day. 

This last week, I got the urge to purge, and started in on the back of my closet where the really old things that I didn't want to get rid of reside, despite the fact that at the minimum they are 2 to 3 sizes smaller than I am, and some quite a bit more than that! In the process, I unearthed a blouse I thought had gone quite some time ago. 

I made it back in the 80's or 90's, when I was probably a size 8 or 10. It was a very unusual blouse for me because in those days, I didn't wear patterned tops, didn't wear these colors, and the majority of my blouses were long sleeved to wear under business suits. This particular blouse had a hidden button placket that just showed the top button on the outside, and some little kimono type cap sleeves. I've been wanting to remember how I did it for several years now, and wanted to recreate it to wear now. Well, for what it's worth: 

The Inspiration Piece

Long story shorter, I took my basic bodice, and overlaid the neckline and shoulders of this top, figured out, (I hope) how to make the hidden button placket, and have a new pattern made and cut out. I haven't started sewing yet, and that's going to be my 20 minute task for today. I'm using an OLD stash cotton-silk blend woven in an aqua. I figure worse case, it will be a wearable muslin. Best case, I have a nice new blouse for summer and Indian summer. 

Will you join me in trying to sew every day for National Sewing Month? Maybe we can make it into International Sewing Month! More later!





Friday, August 22, 2014

It all came to a screeching halt!

I was merrily going along, sewing my cardigan jacket, unsewing my blue top at the ruching, and thinking I was going to have several garments done in a weekend. I had even traced off my new Bootstraps Fashion crop pants pattern, (evidently the same as Lekala but at 3 times the price) and another McCalls blouse for muslins.

BAM! The best of intentions... somehow, why I don't know, my Pfaff, that always makes perfect buttonholes messed up on the second one. Yes, the one right at bust level that is impossible to miss seeing. My friend had just had this happen not too long ago, and I had smugly said that never happened with my machine. Wham! Karma bites me on the butt.

I have to say removing sewn buttonholes is one of my worst nightmares even in easy to work with fabrics. This silk chiffon was a whole 'nother story! I spent at least a part of every night for a week trying to tease the buttonhole out of the shirt. In the evenings after a long day of typing numbers it becomes problematic to get my eyes to function.

Yesterday I had a partial day off. I spent one hour and 20 minutes sitting in bright sunshine, 80 plus degree weather with my glasses plus a jeweler's magnifying headband holding the fabric almost against my nose, and a seam ripper, tweezers, and tailor's point scissors, trying to get the entire thing removed without tearing holes in the fabric. I did get a few minor pulls, but I don't think it will be noticeable in this busy pattern, thank goodness. And it's done. But it was exhausting. I MAY have been stressing about this a bit. :P}}

After that, I was kind of off sewing for the afternoon. Did some shopping with the hubby and then in the evening worked a little on the ruched top, sewed a piece of silk for a scarf, and then the day was done for me. I'm hoping to have multiple things to show for my weekend of sewing.

I think I'm going to use a stabilizer on the back of the fabric for the buttonholes. From what I can tell, after sewing the first leg of the buttonhole, instead of moving to the side for the second, the second was sewn right on top of the first. That made it horrendous to take out.

If you read this and have suggestions on buttonholes in silk georgette, please leave a comment.

I'm also going to put together a small tutorial on making custom shoulder pads. If, like me, you have unusual shoulders, custom is the way to go, and it's easy!

More later!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Have to retool a bit, but I like it just the same!

I finished up the Sangria knock off over the weekend, but didn't get any photos until Monday. It's not an epic fail, but it needs a bit of tweaking to get it just right.

Here's the hanger shot:

As I said before, this is a really light weight tissue rayon jersey from Girl Charlee. 
http://www.girlcharlee.com/

Things I love:
1. the color is spot on. This has been lightened a bit to show the insert, but it's a glorious royal blue. 
2. The fit is good. 
3. I love the way the rayon jersey turns into cowl type folds instead of the more staid and fitted look of the original. 
4. It's really comfortable to wear.

Things I don't love:
1. The way the center piece hangs way below the hem line. I really don't need pooling around my abundant and bodacious belly! LOL
2. It was almost impossible to do the hems and make them look nice. If you look closely, you will see that one sleeve hem is done by machine, and the other is hand sewn. 

Thoughts for the next one: stop the ruching about 4-5 inches below the hem, or pleat the interior instead of gathering. Definitely make the seam allowances on that piece wider to give some room to work on it. 

So it has been set aside for some breathing room for a few days while I work on the first version of the cardigan jacket out of the Georgette fabric that I want to use for my summer topper. 

I am contemplating the best way to fix that droop at the front and have come to the conclusion that the only way to do it is to remove the hem, reopen the sewn and serged seams from about 6" up, and remove the final 5 or 6 inches of the ruching, then re-hem. It's not going to be fun to take the stitching out of this as the color of the thread is almost a perfect match for the fabric and it's so drapey that it's hard to remove the stitching without cutting the fabric. BIG SIGH. 

But I believe the top will be worth the work! 

Moving ahead, I'm working on a "jacket" out of a Georgette. Not sure whether it's silk or a blend. It's OLD stash fabric, probably purchased back in the 80's from the old Natural Fiber Fabrics club. I'm using my modified cardigan jacket pattern, and this will be the first "wearable muslin" after all my alterations to the actual muslins. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one. It's the first time I've sewn anything out of Georgette and it's a bear to mark the darts. I'm hoping they come out looking right instead of sideways. :P}}

A sneak peak at the fabric, which will be a workhorse in my wardrobe:


It's got almost every color of my core wardrobe in there. Hard to see in this swatch, but it has navy, dark brown, taupe, black, cream, gray, and even a bit of yellow in there. I'm hoping it will turn out well as it would be nice for a topper over a tee in the really warm temps, and give me the professional look without the typical "glow" I endure from summer through the middle to end of October!

Hope your sewing is going well!



Sunday, August 3, 2014

How to add ruching to your tee shirt front! Picture heavy!

Just wanted to show you how I did this. I'm not a professional pattern maker, and make no claims to doing this the "right way" but this is the way I did it. 

This is my take on a ruched front tee shirt. I'm leaving the sleeves alone as I don't need any excess bulk on my upper arms. My inspiration is the Bresnan Studios Sangria tee shirt shown in the previous post. 

I knew I could do this with a Franken-Pattern from my much altered Pamela's Perfect Tee shirt and my much altered LJ Designs Ala Mode Margarita top. But I needed to figure out what proportions I wanted for the center piece. I have a very light weight tissue rayon jersey to use, so knew it should fall in soft folds without too much bulk. I waffled and pondered and thought, and then talked to Dale about it and showed him the “inspiration” picture. I was initially thinking I needed a 1 1/2:1 ratio for the center piece, but he thought it looked like more 2:1, so that’s what I went with. He's much more visual than I am, and as a finish carpenter, he really gets proportions. 

Here's my much altered Pamela's Perfect Tee Shirt Bodice Front piece. Because I use it so much, it's been copied onto Poster Board, rabbit punched, and hangs on a pattern hanger for easy access. 


I made a new copy of the PPTS top, adding ¼” seam allowances past the part where I mocked up the center princess line. Then I copied off the center front at the width I wanted with a ¼” seam allowance, trying to keep the proportions and nice shaping of the original Margarita top. I didn't go ahead and make it into a full princess shirt by incorporating the darts into the princess line because I like the side darts on a tee shirt for better shaping over the bustline. 



After that, I measured the center piece, and marked it in 1” increments. When we were in Flat Pattern classes, I remember Lyra showing us how to do this on something else. You actually cut apart your main pattern piece, and add the additional pattern paper at intervals the entire length of the new enlongated pattern piece so it maintains the shaping, and just gets longer for the ruching. 

This took FOREVER to do! Using various scraps left over from other drafting projects, I made a really long piece of pattern paper, and drew in the center front line straight for just under 40 inches. Then starting at the bottom, I marked it in 1” increments. Next I took my cut pieces from the pattern and taped them to the new piece, with 1” separating the original pieces until I had the whole thing done. It's roughly twice as long as the original piece. You can see my tissue jersey in the background, the original center piece and my elongated center piece before trimming and final taping in the front. . 

Before trimming and finish taping


Ready to cut out of fabric

If you decide to do this, you will need some planning of your cutting layout. I hadn’t thought about it being on the fold, and had left enough yardage for 40" in length, but not enough for the width, so the center piece wound up getting cut on the cross grain instead. Thank goodness for horizontal and vertical stretch in the jersey fabric!

It's in my sewing room now awaiting construction. Next post will hopefully show the finished garment!

I keep a big bag of paper scraps from other drafting projects for alterations. It never seems to diminish because very time I use some, I have more left from a new project. It was really nice to be able to pull out pieces for my alterations. 

My lovely friend Kathleen pointed me towards this blog post. It's about infinite lists. It's a lovely freeing thought to be able to let go of all the "shoulds" because they will always be there ad infinitum and allow that everything on your to do list will still be there infinitely whether or not you take an hour or two to feed your soul and do creative things on your "want to do" list. 

http://tashamillergriffith.com/2014/07/25/time-productivity-and-all-the-things-id-love-to-do/

I hope you take some time to do your "want tos" along with your "should dos." 

More later! 






Saturday, August 2, 2014

I’m eating my words!

When I headed to Springfield, Oregon for the Sure Fit Designs week long retreat, we were instructed to bring some knit for a pair of yoga pants. I told Glenda I didn’t want to make yoga pants as I don’t wear knit pants. Haven’t ever, don’t like them, will only wear them for exercise and sleeping. Never in public. So instead of the yoga pants, I worked on my woven pants and top trying to get the fit right on those. 

BUT… I, like a lot of people, downloaded the Style Arc Barb pants pattern for free to see what the hoopla was all about. I had taped all the pieces together a while back, but didn’t get to the point of actually doing the alterations I knew I’d need, and hadn’t done anything further with it.

This week I had a midweek day off… which means I’m working all day tomorrow but that’s another story altogether. Thursday morning I set my goal of getting a pair of Barb pants made. Worst case, I can always use pajamas! I pulled out my custom draft pants to overlay to be sure I had sufficient fabric to go around me without pulling and stretching. I really don’t like tight pants on older, well-endowed behinds. :P}}

After some miscellaneous work tasks, I started with the pattern. It looked like it was going to be a pretty good fit with the exception of needing a longer piece on the back crotch curve. Got the alterations done, and cut them out. Started sewing. In less time than it took me to do the pattern alterations, I had a new pair of pants. I’m absolutely thrilled. They fit great, I wore them all day on Friday, and they were comfortable and didn’t wrinkle despite the 104 degree heat. They actually held up better than I did!

I did have to get some new elastic because my very ancient roll of elastic (10 years plus?) didn’t have much recovery left. And because by that time, I’d had them on for several hours and knew how much I liked them, I got enough elastic for a few more pair! Today I actually ordered some more rayon ponte… the good stuff… from Marcy Tilton so I can make a few more pair. I’m hooked!

Without further ado...here’s my first pair of Barb pants. I may take the next pair in a tiny bit, but overall I think it’s a great pair of work pants.

Now these are done, I'm working on a Franken-Pattern.
I love the Bresnan studios Sangria Tee shirt, but it doesn't come in my size.

 http://www.brensan.com/Garment/Stretch/stretchpatterns.html

So I'm trying to meld the much altered Pamela's Perfect Tee shirt with the LJ Designs Ala Mode Margarita top front. That will give me a pseudo princess line in the front to make my ruched piece. For the first incarnation, after studying the drawing, I'm going to have the center piece at a roughly 2:1 ratio. The fabric I'm using is a really light weight rayon jersey from Girl Charlee in a royal blue.  It seems like it took forever to get the pattern done and I just finished cutting out the pieces. I'm hoping to have it finished tomorrow so hopefully more pictures.

Now I'm going to get about an hours work in so hopefully my day isn't so long tomorrow.

More later!