Sunday, January 25, 2015

At Last ~ Here I am again!

Well, things are moving forward and time is flying. I’m in my apartment in Fairfield, CA and Dale is in Las Cruces, NM. Well, more or less. There are still a few boxes here needing sorting, and he’s not the A type I am so he has lots and lots and lots of boxes all over! LOL

I’m having to be more creative with space, so my “sewing room” is more spread out here than it was at the previous house. The cutting table and drafting area are in what would normally be the dining area. The sewing machine is in the living room, and the serger is in the 2nd bedroom which is also my office.

Today I hope to get pictures hung so it feels more like my space and not so amorphous. I think having my pictures hanging and all of my items around will help it feel more like home for the next while.

Finally having things more or less put together and a long 18 months stretching in front of me, I’ve definitely got my wheels spinning about what I want to do sewing wise over the next year. I had thought to do SWAP 2015, but I am rethinking the idea. There is much I want to sew, and most will follow the lines of SWAP, but I don’t want to restrict myself to a set number of garments that will ALL work interchangeably. AND I have bathrobes and pj bottoms that need sewing as well as the Granddaughter’s wedding quilt. 

I did get my "pre SWAP" pair of jeans made, and at some point I'll post those pictures. They're my usual trouser jeans, and are super comfortable and have already got tons of wear! 

The quilt is going to take a front seat, as they are getting married in August and I really need to have it done in time to send out for quilting. I’m trying to convince myself that 45 minutes a day on the quilt will enable me to spend an hour or more on my garment sewing. I’m going to have to see how that works out. I find quilting pretty boring despite the fact that I love quilts!

I also have found a marvelous pearl grey herringbone wool in my stash that I don’t even remember buying, but it must have been a 1980s or 1990s purchase because that was when I was doing outside sales and would have been in my mind for an outfit for work. That’s going to be my first garment. It will be a very casual jacket for my current work as it’s been pretty cold for here. This is the first winter in a long time that a light weight jacket hasn’t done the trick. The wool with a lining will be just about perfect IMO.

Yesterday was my birthday. I met my daughter in Berkeley for brunch, and just happened to wander into Stone Mountain and Daughter ostensibly for buttons for the jacket. Well what do you know? I found just the exact amount of pearl grey wool left on a bolt for a pair of slacks and a matching knit for a top. So I am excited about that as my first new outfit for the New Year. The colors aren’t true in this photograph, but here’s the three pieces together. I think they’ll be a great work outfit.


 Hmmm… perhaps that knit fits in with Jungle January?

Well, I hope to be posting and sewing much more regularly this year.

I am wishing you all a fun filled, sewing bonanza this month.

More later,




Friday, January 2, 2015


It's FINALLY happening. First truck is here today, and I'll be crazy moving for a couple of weeks and then expect to be sewing my heart out in my new apartment.
I hope you and yours have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year filled with fun, joy, love and many pleasant surprises!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season and a Fabulous, Prosperous and Creative New Year!

I know I've been missing for a while. We're still hanging in limbo over the house purchase. Two steps forward one step back. At this point, we're 10 days past the "closing date." Still packing. Hoping to close in calendar year 2014. We might squeak by.

In the interim I've been doing some instant gratification sewing... pj bottoms, sweat pants and things along that line, as well as an almost completed new pair of trouser jeans, which will be the first item in my 2015 SWAP, sewn prior to the official beginning.

Most things are packed and awaiting a move to our house or to my apartment. But since we're still waiting, there are still a lot of things needing to be packed that we are using on a regular basis.

I have come to the conclusion as I empty drawers, closets, and all the rest that I MAY have moved beyond fabric collector and am pushing hard against the title of fabric hoarder. It has been nice to find some lovely fabrics I don't remember buying, and others that I thought had been lost for posterity. I have been organizing, cataloging and purging as I've gone through, but I'm only about half way through my stash at this point in time. WOW! I have a LOT of fabric! LOL

I'll try to be better about posting in the New Year. Can y'all believe that we are almost up to 2015. Seems like just yesterday everyone was in a panic about the world as we know it ending at the millennium due to computer issues.

As I close out my year on the blog, I'd like to wish you all:


Whatever your family traditions may be, and in whatever way you celebrate, I'm wishing you all the best. Thanks for being my virtual sewing buddies. I've enjoyed reading your trials and successes in your sewing and sharing mine with you. 



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!