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: http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php

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: http://www.girlcharlee.com/violet-blue-black-boucle-stripe-hacci-sweater-knit-fabric/famous-designer-p-11580.html?cPath=90_126

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,




Thursday, December 24, 2015



For whatever holiday you celebrate, best wishes from our home to yours.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A relatively productive weekend.

Kind of a fun weekend. I've been having lots of issues lately. The computer is giving up the ghost and I've been sick with the nastiness going around. So this is the first weekend in several weeks that I've felt like doing anything at all.

My new computer got here yesterday, thanks to Amazon, I've spent about 8-10 hours since noon yesterday getting it set up and ready for work tomorrow, but in and around programs loading, I did get some quick sewing in too.

It was nice to have time for sewing. And nice to have some palette cleansers of easy projects too. I got a new pair of Pilates pants made, and finally got my Maria Denmark Kimono sleeve tee made up. (It's a free download from her site if you sign up for her newsletter and she goes from a size XS to a 4X.) Check it out, especially if you wear dresses.

http://www.mariadenmark.com/



The Pilates pants had a few alterations in the muslin phase. I lengthened the body of the pants as I don't like low waisted pants, and I actually lengthened the legs too  by an inch, which is odd, because I'm only 5' 4" tall. I'm not sure what the width of the waistband is supposed to be as I just did a 2" waistband. I've found it's best to do the waistband 1:1 with the pants waist, and then shorten the elastic by about 4 to 5 inches less than your waist measurement depending on the stretchiness of the elastic. In that way, the pants stay up no matter what you're doing. The fabric is a ponte de roma from Girl Charlee bought 11/27/15 on sale. It's called Black Charcoal Broken Chevron Feathers. They have it in a couple of other colors too. Lovely to sew and a nice weight too.

For the Maria Denmark Kimono top, I know she has directions on how to do an FBA on the website, but I didn't use hers. I did the lazy way, and just laid my TNT tee shirt over the pattern, and used my measurements as per that shirt. I used a size larger than my measurements indicated, because I don't believe a woman of my age and size need tees with negative ease. Just doesn't leave enough to the imagination IMO. I did rotate the dart I added down to a French dart as the Kimono sleeve with a dart right at the armpit was too close. I also lengthened the sleeves on this one by about 4", decreased the neck circumference a bit, and shorted the length of the top by 4". I like the fit quite well, as it gives me moving around room, and in this minimally stretchy knit, I don't think it would be comfortable if it were any smaller.

I found the Maria Denmark draft to be an excellent product. All seams line up well, and it was a quick and easy sew. If you don't need an FBA, I would think this could be done in an hour or so start to finish. I find the design very comfortable to wear, and like this one a lot. I used a mesh knit without a lot of stretch that was very old stash... I think bought in the 90s or so, maybe later, and used a lightweight stretch silk scrap cut on the bias for the neck binding. The fabric is what I think of for golf shirts. The binding is the cream, aqua, and beige remnants from the sleeveless top I made earlier in the year. It's nice against my neck.

Other news...
I'm definitely on the countdown to retirement and my new life. If all goes well with my apartment managers, I'll be signing a six month lease the end of January, and that will be it. I'll be on my way to my new home by the first of August! Can't wait for the new and exciting life to come.

As to the house, Eileensews asked about an update and I spent some time writing it only to have it disappear. I expect my post is circling the moon now. :-)

It is coming along. Dale has different priorities than I do, so hasn't done much with the inside yet. As a matter of fact, he just hung curtains last week (there were some there, but yukky cheap sheers) as it's getting cold, and he finally decided the lined curtains I'd sent might help keep out some of the cold. LOL

We have had some unexpected items crop up, and as Dale says, the house tells him what it wants next. Since I'm not sure what I've said in the last 10 months... he got a riding mower aka tractor for Father's Day last year. It's been a real blessing in getting the weeds knocked down and kept down. He still uses a regular lawn mower in some areas, but the two acres told him they wanted a riding mower.


All but one of my roses survived the move, as did the fig tree and the pomegranate tree. We got an unexpected bonus in that one of the "stumps" that we thought was dead turned out to be another fig and grew tons of figs when it got some water. We have three pecan trees too, but they need some attention from an arborist and I expect some sort of fertilizer. We're just glad they survived at all.

We've done a lot of what I'll call "infrastructure" upgrades. Despite what we were told, there was much that needed to be upgraded/repaired/replaced. Some we knew about, some we didn't.


First up was all new waste lines from the house to the septic system. I won't go into detail, but it was apparent when he had Roto Rooter out twice in less than a month there was an issue. When the trenches were opened up, it looked like someone who #1 had no idea how to run waste lines had done them, and #2 that they were falling down drunk when they laid it out. The fall was just wrong, and they had several 45 degree angles in them for no discernable reason. New lines were run from the house to the septic tank, and no problems have arisen since.

Around the same time, we also got new water lines, and new electrical services. Dale's taken care of the roof where some of the flashing was incorrectly installed and had odd leaks in some of the atypical thunderstorms this year. Not that thunderstorms are atypical, but like most of the world, the weather there is changing dramatically this year and they're getting El Nino weather patterns, which is rare.

We've got the rear steps that were crumbled repaired with a nice landing at the bottom, and added steps and a landing at the slider on the side. It still needs the trim around the slider installed. He's working on the exterior, and for now, is just patching and painting the cracks as he can. No time to figure out how to make and apply adobe just right. Hopefully next summer for that!

A huge unexpected project was when he started on the garage/shed roof. The shed part, approximately 12' x 28' had rot throughout the rafters and interior and he basically rebuilt it from the inside. At this point, I just about have him convinced that will be my new sewing studio! It does need a floor, as it is currently dirt floored, will need good lighting, and an electrical upgrade, but it's coming! We did have a roofing company do the actual roof, but he's going to do all the gutters too.


We've just replaced the heating system, the duct work,  and swapped out the evaporative coolers for what we call central air in California, and they call "refrigerated air." The evaporative coolers are not very effective in high humidity, and this year as it rained almost every day, Dale wasn't too happy with them. He's now a happy camper. Along with this, the gas lines got rerouted, and I'll have a gas line to the kitchen for a dual fuel range, and another to the laundry area so I can actually use my dryer.

We still have fencing and several other big items to complete. I think next up is the concrete floor and getting the "shed" livable, and then all new windows. He's pushing for a wood stove as the power went out for a few hours recently, and he figures anyone "in the country" needs a wood stove in case of power outages. We were hoping to do a prefab Kiva fireplace, but have decided it's not practical and with a price about three times the wood stove, it's kind of settled.

Once all that is completed, the kitchen and master bath will get some attention. It's a process, and we knew that going in. But as things become more livable and look more like a home, it warms my heart. We're building our future one day at a time. We've had a few people from the neighborhood, and the Realtor who listed the property stop and compliment him on the upgrades since we bought it.


That's all for now. I'll hope to be back soon!












Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been doing a little sewing as well as a lot of planning. Finished up a jacket from Butterick 5647 that I like quite a bit. Excuse the wrinkles, this was after a long day at work!

I added welt pockets as I like the look, but didn't even think about the jacket being unlined. Had I used patch pockets instead, (it has flaps for pockets but no real pockets which I need and want!) it would have been done quickly. I love the look of this jacket. Even altered for a curvy figure, it retains a lot of curves, and is very flattering. Shawl collars are one of my favorites.

Now I'm working on a muslin for some exercise pants. One down, probably a few more to go. I'm taking a Pilates Reformer class, which is designed for rehabilitation of people with injuries. I need exercise pants, but don't want the negative ease in commercial patterns for this body. So it's taking a while. First used my Barb pants pattern, which has too much ease the way I altered it. Next got a pattern from McCalls 6350. Again, too much ease the way I did them. Third one coming up though. Hopefully three's the charm.

Today I'm cooking for our Thanksgiving, and giving the house a quick once over. Hope you all have a very enjoyable day, and if you're in the US, a Happy Thanksgiving!


More later!