Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pinstripe Pants! & A little back story.

Just another quick pair of slacks for my new work wardrobe. I purchased this wool in Sicily many years ago on my first venture out after my late husband passed away.

Within a month of hearing a terminal diagnosis, my company let us know they were going to "downsize and sell the business to a competitor. I was an outside salesperson and the other company did strictly telemarketing. So I had several major life changes within a very short six months.

In trying to decide what I wanted to do, I made lists of what I was going to do with my life. At that point, just a few months shy of my 50th birthday, I sat and though about what I'd always wanted to do and didn't have the time, money, or energy for. There were several items on my list, and one was that  I'd always wanted to go back to school and get some kind of degree. In order to determine if it was something that would work for me, I took an Italian language class. Towards the end of the semester, some of my classmates about my age were talking about a local club that had fabulous and relatively inexpensive group tours, and they had one coming up to Sicily. Ten days. I thought about it and waffled, and went back and forth.

Finally I decided I wanted to go. I called to sign up and found out I was on a waiting list. I figured that if I were meant to go, I'd be cleared, if not, the Universe was telling me to stay home.
It turned out I had about 10 days from clearing the waiting list to departure. I did some quick sewing, and some packing, and off I went. It was glorious! So far as I remember, it was October of 1998. I loved being back in school, and I loved the trip. In my youth I worked as a travel agent for about 10 years, and it brought back all the longing for travel and to see the world. The weather was great, and I was enthralled with the depth of knowledge and history the guides were able to impart. Overall very successful!

Moving on, while there I decided I needed to buy some Italian wool as my "souvenir" of the trip. . I had a friend go with me and we wandered through the market until we found the correct shop. In my first year halting Italian, I was able to let him know what I wanted. It has been in stash for so long, and I wasn't sure which piece of wool was which until I got it out and was doing the prep prior to cutting, I use Eucalan soap, soak the wool for about 30 minutes in cold water with the Eucalan, and then hang to dry. When I got ready to press, I found this on the selvage:

Winner! A few days later, these were ready for my first meeting at work on Monday:

So now I'm on to a muslin for a new blouse. I hope to get several long sleeved, woven, business like blouses made during the month of December, and maybe a couple more pair of slacks. We'll see how it goes!

P.S. The last post omitted most of the verbiage! It did say Happy Thanksgiving. So I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Thursday, November 22, 2018



Wishing all my blog friends a lovely thanksgiving with lots of food, friends, relatives, fun and love!

I'll be back soon with some more sewing projects.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Work pants

Feels a bit strange to be making a work wardrobe again, but I'm having fun and enjoying the fact that I'll be meeting lots of new folks and making money at the same time! AND best of all, it's only for a few months, so the rest of the year, we're hoping to get to play explorers when we have a long weekend.

My knees are improving and I notice odd things at odd times. I'm far ahead of my friend that had both knees replaced a few months before I did my stem cell therapy, so it's encouraging. I did see somewhere on a site that a woman who had hers done indicated it was about a year before she felt back to her "before" status. In that case, I'm only half way through and am pleased with my progress. It is odd though that I am having to "relearn" how to walk correctly. After 10 years +/- of knee problems, I had adapted my stance and my way of walking. Now I'm working back to normal and frequently get odd leg cramps because of the change. I am hoping it will eventually get me back the 1 1/2" inches that I've shrunk, but at the ripe old age of almost 72, I'm not holding my breath.

Anyhow, I spent my odd minutes here and there last week working on another core piece. These are a quick pair of slacks out of a grey stretch cotton. I'm pretty sure it's a piece I got from Gorgeous Fabrics back in May of 2016. Unfortunately, I copied the photo off the website, but didn't attach a swatch when it got here. I used the same Burda TNT pattern I've been using for almost everything that covers my lower half.

I do have some black linen for the next pair of slacks, and probably will also make a pair of black tropical weight wool ones too.

I also pulled out a very old Burda pattern...from before they added seam allowances! I looked but it doesn't have a copyright date on it, so not sure, but the wide shoulders appear to be maybe from the 80's? Fairly bad picture but my scanner isn't working so I'm having to use pictures from the Internet.

I had originally cut this back when I was a size 14 or European size 40, so I had to use the pieces from view A, the green one. I had made a lot of these tops back in the day to wear under a suit jacket, and I figured if I can adapt it to my current size using my Suzy Furrer block it should work. Plus it is super easy and quick to do. I have the pattern copied off with my adjustments and will be playing with that in the next day or so. If it works, a nice rayon challis will work well for my future plans.

Well, more later! Hope your sewing endeavors are going well!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Dia de los Muertos shirt

Just a quick post today to document that I actually made a shirt for my sweet husband.

Back in 2013 he had a quadruple bypass and ever since has been saying he came back from the dead. Quite some time ago he requested a shirt out of Dia de los Muertos fabric to wear on Halloween as well as to commemorate the life giving surgery. Long story, but the first one was done with a commercial pattern and did not fit AT ALL.

If you're unfamiliar with the Holiday and want to know more about it, here's a link to the Wikipedia article:

I went ahead and did a pattern draft for him, and it mellowed in the pattern drawer for several years as every time I'd offer to make it up, his response was he didn't want to take me away from what I wanted to do. Well, things changed this year.

Shortly after I started my tax classes, he said he wanted the shirt for this year. He's driving a school bus and many of the drivers were special things for Halloween. In and around my classes and homework (about 35 or 40 hours a week) I put together a shirt using the parts I found. Unfortunately, it's not perfect, and I've made some notes on changes for the next shirt I'll make him. But bottom line is he loved it, wore it, got lots of compliments at work.

So without further ado:

It's a bit wrinkled after a day of having a seat belt attached, but it didn't wrinkle as much as I anticipated being 100% cotton. I've got a few ideas for some more shirts, perhaps for Christmas in and around making clothing for my new work life.

There are a pair of grey pinstripe trousers almost cut out and ready to go, so I'll be off to work on them.

Hoping your sewing is going marvelously and you're enjoying your processes! More later!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jalie Rose...The first of many!

A Jalie Rose!

I’m enamored of this pattern for sure. I have been looking for a pattern for a woven, sleeveless shirt with a collar and collar stand for quite a long time. Finding a pattern that works with my curves is difficult to say the least. Jalie won the gold cup! The pattern went together well, and it may be the nicest shirt collar I've seen in a long time! 

I put together a quick muslin and determined that other than adding a 1” strip through the back yoke to make up for my gravity affected shoulder posture. I did also shorten it by 3” as I’m only 5’2” tall, and their fit is designed for 5’6”. I may add back another inch, but not sure of that. I didn’t need any other alterations! What a thrill.

For my first of hopefully many to come, I used a luscious cotton lawn from the stash. Depending on your color sense, it’s in a creamy white and either turquoise,  aqua, light teal, or mint green, but I love it and it will go well in my wardrobe with multiple items. I took my time, and made sure it all went together well, even doing hand basting to be sure I had things right. It'd been a long time since I did a woven shirt collar. 

I’m not sure where the fabric came from or when, but perhaps in 2013 when I was putting together the fabrics for the teal collection, perhaps not. I had purchased 2.75 yards, and it’s 58” wide, so I have a nice remnant for who knows what.

For the collar and under-collar, I used a fusible tricot from Fashion Sewing Supply, and the buttons were in a bag of various shirt buttons from the stash, possibly also purchased from Fashion Sewing Supply. They are awesome!

Without further ado...

Completed 09-19-2018.

This morning I cut out the A-Line skirt from the teal blue denim remnant that I used for the pants back in February. This will work with some of my core items for tax season along with many items for the Spring and Summer. 

I hope to have more to show later in the week!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Definitely moving into Autumn around here

Happy week! I finished both swimsuits and they're going to fit in nicely with my exercise classes. As I said in last week's missive, the Berry fabric was from Fashion Fabrics Club (online) and the elastics and linings are from Sew Sassy. The bust cups haven't arrived yet, but are anticipated tomorrow. I'm pleased with both, and overall they fit well.

From old stash fabric, and Jalie 3350 Swimsuit pattern

From Fashion Fabrics Club fabric and Jalie 3350 Pattern

I finished my sloper and am quite pleased with it. I don't know that I've ever had one that fits quite this well, so that's huge in my book. I've already got it lined up to check fit on my Jalie Rose that was taped together and traced off last night. I'm hoping to get it cut out and started this afternoon. 

I did get the job I interviewed for, so I spent a good bit of time this week using some tools from Nancy Nix-Rice and the Vivienne Files to do wardrobe planning. I haven't worked in an office with multiple other people for many years, so I do want to look smart while fitting in, but remain true to my aesthetic and still be comfortable. In this area, everything is "business casual" so I went through the closet, looking at what I have, and what I need to fit in. A few items will need to be altered, and a few items are on the "to make" list, but overall I'm in good shape. I ONLY purchased about 5 yards of a rayon print from Fashion Fabrics Club, (on sale!) in an ocean/teal and the rest is already owned, and a lot is already made and ready to go. I used Vivienne's latest four by five grid to put together a "wardrobe plan." Without further ado...

Column 1 or Cluster 1 includes a royal blue linen unlined jacket, which is currently being altered to get the shoulders correct. A navy short sleeved tee; a navy long sleeved tee to be made; I actually have 3 pair of navy slacks; and a navy denim skirt. 

Column 2 or Cluster 2 has a teal blue (both items the same fabric) cardigan and short sleeved tee, previously blogged; a cream and teal paisley tee and teal and camel floral tee, both previously blogged, and a teal blue denim skirt, color IRL closer to the top photo. 

Cluster 3 Aztec print sweater from 2015 with red; teal; grey and black print; red short sleeved tee; a cream/red/black and grey linen blouse that will be made soon; and tropical wool slacks in both charcoal and light grey. 

Cluster 4 A RTW teal and royal blue heavy knee length sweater; the ocean/teal rayon shirt and skirt to be made; a RTW red cardigan gift from Hubby; and a pair of black wool and/or linen slacks to be made. 

There are other jackets that will work with the plan also and once this is put together, I'll probably start a new cluster with browns, tans, and the like. 

I'm pushing the pedal to the medal as I start tax classes the 24th of this month, which will take up 3 mornings a week with at least 9 hours a week of homework along with my Aqua Aerobics classes. Those will run until November 9, and then I have about 3 days of tax updates for the new laws put in place for 2018 returns. After that, I'll have some downtime until January 2, when I go into real work mode. 

I'm excited about the job, about the wardrobe, and also about having some extra income. I'm eyeballing a Baby Lock cover stitch machine for my "reward" for all my hard work. So in my book, it's a win-win-win!

I hope your autumn plans are working out well also! More later! 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Holiday! And this week's projects

For all my friends in the US, it's Labor Day. Hope your day is lovely and you have time for food, family, and whatever makes your heart full. For those not in the US, Labor Day is a public holiday designed to honor the American labor movement and the contributions made by workers to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. (Wikipedia)

As a child, in my hometown, it was always the day before the first day of school, so we attempted to grab every last bit of summer we could. As an adult, it was always a three day weekend that allowed one tiny last minute weekend getaway or celebration before we headed into the fall season with no breaks until Thanksgiving. At the current time, I think most schools around here start in around mid-August, this year the 13th, so those kids are enjoying a three day weekend.

In my family on Labor Day, my dad would barbecue, we'd have potato salad, macaroni salad, fresh watermelon and sliced tomatoes from our neighbor's garden, and sometimes, if we were lucky, some home churned ice cream. Today I have a rack of baby back ribs that will go into the crock-pot while I spend the day sewing. Sides will be a bit more healthy and less caloric.

I finally have my moulage set and ready to move on into making it into a sloper, so that's on the list for this week. After the first 1 1/2" sway back adjustment, I had to do an additional 5/8" tuck on both the upper and lower back at the waist seam tapering to nothing at the side seam. Now it looks just about perfect.

I'll be moving on with getting some things made with my sloper to check fit as soon as I've got that together. I do still have to take the sleeve class and get a sleeve that fits into my bodice and still works with my bodacious biceps! But first I'll be making up the Jalie Rose into a sleeveless shirt. Around this area, it can work on it's own, and then under a lightweight jacket or cardigan for at least a couple of months yet.

I'm also finishing up two swimsuits that I started earlier in the week. One from a very old Rose Marie Reed stash fabric, blues, aquas, light purple, and similar colors, possibly purchased in the 90's when Stretch and Sew would bring their fabrics to town once every few months and another in a relative new fabric from purchased in March in purple, turquoise, and berry. I hope to have them done today. Still need to put the darker one together, and sew the elastic around the armholes/back and legs to the lighter one. I've used the new Jalie 3350 pattern for these, and I think they will be great for my Aqua Aerobics. 

For both of these, I've used the front from View A and the back from View B. I did enlarge the straps as the directions call for 3/8" elastic with the fabric wrapper over it, and for a larger woman, a 3/4" elastic works much better, especially in a class where we're jumping and running, and really moving around a lot. While I won't be strutting my stuff in public at the current time, they're going to work perfectly for the intended use. I've been trying to work out a custom bust cup that will fit my body, and think I may have an idea that will work. These have a double cup ling so you can install "removable cups." I did buy a couple of pair of molded Wacoal cups yesterday that should be here this week. We'll see if I'm going to need to use them in the future or if my idea works well.

Although I've purchased several Jalie patterns over the years, I hadn't actually sewn any up until now. I have a friend who had purchased one of their patterns and was quite pleased. It was her first PDF, and having the ability to only print the size you want, was an eyeopener. It made an awful lot of sense to do that! I'll be using more of them in the future for sure! 

Since August is done, I'm checking in on my Sewing to do list for the last three months. I did amazingly well IMO. I have the Suzy Furrer bodice class almost completed, with the bodice fitting now. Hooray! The next few lessons are how to convert the moulage into your sloper, and truing it up, transferring to tag board, and some design options. I will have to carefully follow the instruction to change the moulage into the sloper, but the rest I have done in pattern classes before, so nothing earth shattering for me. I got the two pair of shorts completed, finished the first quilt and made another for the new grandson. Made some receiving blankets, and a baby shirt, and am working on swimsuits. No lingerie got started this month, but that's on the horizon I believe. I figured the swimsuits were more urgent as the ones I've been wearing the last year and a half are getting pretty sad and worn looking. 

September-October-November goals will be to complete the sloper on tag, make the Jalie Rose, perhaps get the McCalls 7575 shirt muslined and fitted, along with a couple of pair of long pants for winter. 

I also made a decision that in order to avoid any dementia or Alzheimer's I need to exercise my brain more, and along those lines decided to sign up to complete taxes for next year, which includes taking a 60 hour tax class. I signed up, took their assessment test, and passed, so have an interview tomorrow for the job. Because I passed both their initial assessment tests, I'll be starting as a tax specialist versus the initial tax assistant. It's a step up on the ladder, and comes with a slight edge. 

The tax class starts the 24th of this month, and will be three mornings a week until mid November. There will definitely be homework also, so that along with my Aqua Aerobics classes and whatever sewing I can squeeze in should keep me busy over the next few months. I'm looking forward to it! AND, if I decide it makes sense I'll use some of my earnings for a stand alone cover stitch machine. We'll see. I believer there is a dealer here in town that sells the Babylock, and if so, I'll be checking them out. 

So that's my week in review. I'd better get busy on my next week. Wishing you all a sew special week!