Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's been a long, long, time!

As I began thinking about this post, the song by Harry James from 1945, "It's been a long, long, time" keeps running through my head.

It's been a fairly significant and interesting year to put it mildly. As noted in my March post, I was rear-ended when I was stopped in traffic. I didn't think it was a big deal, but it turned out to be fairly significant with months and months of treatments. I'm over the worst, and moving forward.

July 15, I finally retired. Woo Hoo! I spent the next few weeks packing, and on April 27, Dale came and we loaded a 22' truck, put my car on a trailer and headed for "home." We arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Monday August 4. Having never lived outside the State of California, this is a big change for me. So far, I'm in love, albeit semi-overwhelmed with all of the work before me.

Much has been completed on our "new" home, but much remains to be done. I have boxes piled floor to ceiling in my future studio, that all need to be unpacked and places found for all my things. Here's an idea of what it looked like this morning: There will need to be some significant cabinetry added in the kitchen, which currently has original 1935 cabinets and old, worn, and horrid Formica counter tops. A new range is in the offing, hopefully sooner rather than later. Thank goodness, Dale  is a retired Contractor, and an amazing finish carpenter among other things. 

The studio currently has a stained concrete floor, and a new electrical panel sufficient to run a HVAC system and my sewing equipment. Other than that, it's raw, but will be done, hopefully before the end of this year so I can get it set up in time for SWAP 2017. 

12' X 28' space with walkways. EEEK!

And that doesn't even include all of the boxes in the house. First things, first though. I took my machines in to be cleaned and serviced because I know how badly they can get out of time on a move like this. I don't have a sewing room set up yet, but I will have my machines ready to go as soon as I do, and may just start doing things as soon as I get a corner cleared. Between now and the time the studio is completed, the spare bedroom will be used as a sewing spot. 

My eldest granddaughter has an order in for an apron for her birthday, which is coming up this week, and then I'll really be getting time to sew when I want to. Retirement is a wonderful thing, as I will be able to do what I want, when I want to do it. Hooray! 

I am already finding (despite all there is to do around here!) that letting go of work stress is having a wonderful effect on my mental state as well as my body. I have much less joint pain along with the move, am eating more healthy, and hope as I move forward into my new life to have many other positive outcomes. 

I did figure out that when going from an elevation of about 15 feet above sea level to 3,900 feet plus that you need to take it a bit easier than you have been. I can't do as much in the same amount of time as I could in Fairfield. Luckily, I am not too worried about getting things done immediately. 

I'm doing a little gardening, a little unpacking, a lot of cleaning, and some naps! Hopefully I will get this blog going on a more regular basis as I have the time to sew and think about what I'm doing.  I have a fairly large list of Craftsy classes to complete, and I have the Bootstraps fashion basic pattern that I want to fit so I know what alterations I will need for their pattern drafts. 

As I was writing a note to my friend this morning, I realized that I feel such a sense of peace here, it’s amazing. The energy of the place seems to me to be calm and accepting of all things. It’s beautiful with an ever changing display of God’s handiwork, and so very different from California. This was a shot I took Friday as I was leaving the Motor Vehicles Department. Those are the Organ Mountains in the distance, and the typical daily, ever changing, cloud show.

I am reminded of the New Mexican state flag and the symbolism behind it whenever I contemplate the nature of this land. I’m going to be working to fulfill the promise… a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others!

Hopefully this post will find you all well and enjoying your summer with many enjoyable pursuits, sewing and otherwise. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

I love this one!

I had my doubts about how the ubiquitous waterfall cardigan would look on my short and plentiful curves, but I may be over them.

What's not to love? Easy and quick to sew, easy to wear, comfortable, and dresses up the basics. Can be worn with anything from jeans to a dress.

I used Simplicity 1920, View B. The only alterations made were to move the shoulder point forward 1" tapering to zero at the neckline. I did leave the tabs off the sleeves, and the elastic out of the back waist. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 or 7/8 inch. On me they're bracelet length, and that works just fine.

The fabric is a luscious designer ponte from Marcy Tilton. I think it's out right now, but it was the Vreeland Navy Designer Ponte. I bought the fabric in August of 2014. You've seen it before in Barb pants, and I made a simple A line skirt out of it too. I think this took about 3 yards, and was complete in a few hours.

I'm expecting it to be a workhouse in my wardrobe and it's already in rotation. Without further ado:

Next up will be a navy and gray abstract rayon jersey tee. Hopefully completed soon!

Hope your sewing is progressing! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

And the beat goes on...or life gives you a wake up call when you think everything is perfect!

I started this blog post back on January 13, and anticipated I'd have the blouse done in a week or two. I intended to use the pattern as my grey long sleeved blouse out of a nice rayon paisley print. But before I cut into the “good stuff” I wanted to do a muslin and see if it was going to be possible to make it into something wearable for me. This was my second garment for my 2016 SWAP.

 I’m tracing off the pattern, and then will do what I know I have to on alterations before I go any further. It’s McCall's 6436 and I think it’s what I want. I’m trying View B first. I don’t want pocket flaps, but I do want pockets. I think the two piece sleeves will help to adjust my bodacious bicep issues.  I prefer a yoke on the back, but figure this will allow me to make upper back alterations if necessary and then once it’s fitted, I can always add the back yoke. I may eventually go ahead and do the Burda anyway as I want to see what options they have.

Before I’ve gone any further, I’ve reduced the width of the shoulders, shortened it as it’s almost mini dress length out of the envelope, and done my sway back adjustment. I also added a seam at the center back as that makes it much easier to adjust and/or add shaping. It does have cup sizes and I’m hoping by using the DD it will have enough width through there. I do have to add an inch to the sleeve width, but strangely, the cuffs are really wide and need to be narrowed!

The first fitting sans sleeves was January 18. Here’s what it looked like at that point:
Sorry for the cranky face. Trying to use a camera and stand straight and be sure the muslin is straight and all the rest.

Not bad, but some tweaking needed to be done. So I moved forward and made a “wearable muslin.” It took a while and was finished up about the 20th or 21st of February. I wore it, found it to be supremely comfortable to have a blouse that actually fit and was looking forward to doing my blog post and starting on the grey paisley.  

Adjustments included:
General Alterations : Shorten blouse by 6”; Narrow shoulder by 1”
Move shoulder point forward by 1” to zero at neck edge.
Bodice Front: Start with DD front. Back off darts by 2” from bust point
Redraft dart angle. Add tummy width… about 4” in from front band, from waist to hip, add 1 ½”
Bodice Back: Split back and cut two pieces, to include a seam for fitting purposes.
Add ½” to center back pattern for a total of 1.” Drop back dart top point by 2”.
Redo back armhole curve to bring in to center back by ¾” at base of curve tapering to zero at notches and underarm seam. 1 ½” sway back adjustment to zero at side seam
Sleeves and Cuffs: Shorten sleeve 1”. Narrow cuffs 1 ½”. Add 1 1/2” to sleeve width Add pleat to cuff; check to be sure sleeves and cuffs align. Straighten sleeve seams after adjustments.  

There are a few items that will be tweaked on the next version, but it’s overall a very wearable and comfortable blouse. Soon to become a TNT hopefully!

As usual, life gets in the way when you have plans. I was coming home from Costco on the afternoon of February 24, and stopped behind two cars on a very short on ramp to the highway. They evidently didn't get the  whole merge concept, and as it was 4:45 pm, traffic was picking up a lot. I was the third car back dead stopped. A young man who was evidently showing off his muscle car for his girlfriend came onto the on ramp and hit me going at what I estimate was 35 to 45 mph. He said he hit his brakes and me at the same time. Both my car and I were damaged.

After a little over a week in the body shop, he car is repaired. I am getting there with visits three times a week to my chiropractor. But due to the accident, my attention span is off, and I’ve not felt like I wanted to cut into my beautiful fabric (saved since August of 1993!) until I was sure of the fit and my competence.

In the interim, I got busy on a waterfall cardigan, and currently have a tee on the sewing table waiting for attention.

This is a pretty long post, so I’ll save the next items for the next post. I'm disappointed that with my accident I probably won't finish my SWAP by the end of April. But there's always next year, and I will be retired and hopefully have the time to do it right!

As always, more later!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

First SWAP item completed!

Feeling pretty good about this. The goal is at least one garment per week, and here it is the end of the first week of 2016 and I have one garment completed.

This is for capsule #1. Grey wool flannel slacks.

These are a pair of unlined medium weight wool flannel slacks. The fabric was purchased from Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley the end of  January 2015 as a birthday present for myself. 

I don't generally line my slacks because I prefer to wear a "pant slip" underneath. These should work for 3 seasons in Northern California and who knows how many in New Mexico, but at least late fall into early spring. 

I used my TNT pants pattern, self drafted from Don McCunn's "How to Make Sewing Patterns" class and books. I made my waistband finished width 1 1/4" and did a Hong Kong finish on the inside of the waistband as per my usual. The inseam pockets were done with the instructions from David Coffin's trousers book. 

Interfacing for the fly and fly shield is Fashion Sewing Supply Pro tricot deluxe fusible.  I used a piece of Ban Rol for the interior waistband stiffener, and a button for the waistband from my stash. 

These will go into rotation immediately!

I'm working on a muslin for a blouse using Bootstraps pattern #54469. It's a very nice looking blouse and was a free pattern. I'm not sure why it was free, but I didn't question it. That will be my second entry for my SWAP. Once that is complete, with my previously made grey jacket, this will be my first capsule.

I hope a lot of you that read this are participating in SWAP 2016 too. There are many participants, with lots of different aesthetics, and it should be a wild and crazy collection. Even if you don't finish, or decide not to start, it's really a lot of fun to watch. Check it out here:

More soon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First one of 2015

My very first garment of 2016. A knit cardigan in shades of grey and indigo. A winner I think.

It may be that this becomes part of my SWAP, but it may not. It wasn't on my original listing, but I fell in love with the fabric even though it was an impulse buy. The grey and indigo fit well with my SWAP, which is a grey grouping and a navy grouping. We'll see how the time goes.

I do such good pictures, I think I should be a fashion photographer/model! LOL

Even though I used a TNT pattern, Petite Plus Twin Set cardigan, OOP, I changed it up a bit to make a different look. Generally I just do a doubled piece the length of the front, and serge it on, which makes a nice flat front. With this fabric, I used the uneven, semi-fringed  selvage edges as the front facing and placed the raw edges on the outside. Fabric is from Girl Charlee (see prior post) purchased in November. That's unusual for me to sew something up so quickly, but we're having VERY unusual weather in Northern California, currently below freezing when I get up, and some days into the very low 50s, but mostly 40s during the day. I needed a cardigan!

My good friend asked about my prior post and questioned what I meant when I said I wasn't very good at change. A partial quote: "What would that be? I know I sometimes face change with anxiety or maybe it would be more accurate to describe it as an overall amorphous feeling of malaise. But that would be me projecting my feelings onto to you." She went on to say: "So in some ways I think that your physical self will be rejoining your spirit self. "

As always, she makes me think in more depth. I had to really contemplate what it was I was thinking and meant when I wrote that statement. I love the idea that by changing my actions and reactions to things, letting go of stress, and allowing my life to flow in a more organic and natural way will allow my spiritual and my physical self to once again conjoin and make the correct decisions based on what works for me.

My response: "It’s not a feeling of malaise because I’m frequently excited to do something new. I think it’s more of a frantic and frightened energy. Like if I get out of my routines, I won’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to do. May be why I’m so uncomfortable when I’m in a group of people I don’t know. I don’t know the behaviors and the reactions I’m supposed to have, so I feel panicky that I will do or say something wrong and no one will like me."

I think many of us spend our lives being the "employee" the "wife" the "mother" the this or that and don't think about who we are. I've worked since I was 16 years old, and my "self" was always wrapped in my career. For the last 20 or so years, if you ask me who I am, I would say "The Appraisal Lady." But I think there is way more to me than that despite the fact that is my major role at this point in time. Now that I'm getting ready to let go of that title, I need to find a new niche that I fit into well. Hopefully something more rounded with lots of interesting and diverse ideas, roles, and functions, enterprises, and undertakings. We'll see how that goes as the year continues.

Back to the sewing blog... I've started my grey wool flannel slacks for my second 2016 garment. The darts are in the front, fly zipper is installed, and I'm starting work on inseam pockets. Wish me luck. I'd like to have those done by the end of the week! They'll be a welcome addition on my lower parts!

More later,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's a new year, and a new life!

I thought a lot yesterday about a phrase from my youth. How many of you remember hearing/saying "It's the first day of the rest of your life." It's particularly appropriate to me as this year is the beginning of a new phase for me. 

210 days and counting. I spent a lot of "background time" yesterday while I was cleaning and labeling files, getting receipts and records put together for 2015 taxes, and getting my files labeled and put together for 2016 thinking about my new life and where I'm going. What I want to change, and what I want to keep from the past. I realized that I'm not very good at change. And I am excited by change. Quite a dichotomy!

One of the things I was thinking about was how when we put our intentions out into the Universe, they have a way of coming true. Our words have meaning and resonate with our unconscious mind, helping us to achieve our goals with little effort. My nieces are wont to choose a word for each year that has meaning for them and the things they want to accomplish in their lives at that point in time. I decided that would be good for me to do as I'm embarking on a whole new life that I have no way to chart out and plan. So being an overachiever, I have chosen two words. My words for 2016 are adventure and exploration. . I want to move a little out of my comfort zone and do things that are slightly different, challenge me as a person, and excite me. So that’s where I’m going this year. 

I also am going to try to make a conscious choice each day to live without anxiety and stress and just to work calmly and efficiently through the day  in order to let go of things I'm not pleased with, and be happy with what IS. 

I have thought long and hard about SWAP this year and think despite my work load, I may be able to accomplish the 11 garments in the four month period. I have my first planned garment fabric, a medium weight grey wool flannel prepped by washing in Eucalon and hanging on the shower road. It just needs to be pressed and then it's ready to hit the cutting table. 

While that was prepping, I started on something else. One of the goals this years is to do something sewing related each day. It calms and centers me like mediation. My first garment of the new year may or may not be part of my SWAP. It would work, but it's not in the plan as yet. It will probably be held in abeyance unless it is necessary for the appropriate number of garments. It's a light weight cardigan in a grey and indigo fairly loose boucle style knit. Lovely fabric I got in my recent mini-binge at Girl Charlee. Here's their fabric swatch as my photo isn't good color wise. 

They call it a Hacchi sweater knit, and it's still available here:

I'm using a TNT pattern for the cardigan. Petite Plus now evidently OOP. Today I'll finish it up and hopefully post the finished garment tomorrow morning. 

I hope your 2016 New Year's Day went well and perhaps you had a little time for your own creations! 

More later,

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last outfit completed in 2015

Pretty basic for me. The Style Arc Pants repeated in a navy ponte from Marcy Tilton I believe, and a Pamela's Perfect Tee in a grey and blue sweater knit from Girl Charlee.

Nothing new, just a very usable wardrobe staple. Sorry for the picture. I didn't realize my shirt was up on the side, and you can see where I'm getting files moved out to storage so there will be room for the 2016 files. 

I had fully intended to spend 2015 sewing and blogging, but obviously, that didn't happen. It was much harder than I thought to have a year alone after being with to my best friend 24/7 for the last 14 years. So not nearly as much as anticipated got done either here on in Las Cruces. 

Now 2016 is starting, and I'm on the countdown. 210 days until retirement. Sounds like a big number, but considering I've been working for almost 52 years, it should pass quickly! LOL

I've stuck my toe into the SWAP 2016, and hopefully will be sharing lots of new outfits over the next few months. I've also got a new men's shirt pattern bought from Bootstraps new collection that almost fit perfectly out of the envelope. I either measured the chest wrong, or European Men's patterns fit much more closely than the US. I had to add about 1 1/2" to the front from shoulder to hem, and that's it. Dale should have a new shirt or two for his birthday in April. Maybe now he'll actually get his Dia de los Muertos shirt he's been asking for since his heart surgery!

BTW, if you happen to see this, and have been wanting to try a "made to measure" pattern, PDF only, Yulia has them on sale for New Year's for $1.19 each! Other than the PDF and the taping, I've found these to be great patterns! You do need to have probably intermediate skills to sew them IMO.

Happy New Year, and I'm wishing you a year filled with creative experiences!

More later,