Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's summer here now!

In Las Cruces, New Mexico summer has arrived. Our ten day forecast shows six days with highs in the 90's and four with highs in the 84 to 88 degree range. Our night time lows are all in the 60's. We may even get a bit of rain on the "colder" days, so that would be nice and refresh things a bit.

Dale had gone to Santa Rosa, California for the last week to visit the kids and watch our granddaughter graduate from Sonoma State University. She graduated with honors, and he got a nice visit with both his daughters and their families, and even got to have dinner with my daughter one evening. On his return, he had a layover in Phoenix, where the temperature was 108 degrees at 4 p.m. He was glad to get back to our 90 degree temperatures. It was 94 when I picked him up at the El Paso airport at 9:00 last night!

I'm quite pleased to report the serger is back and in use once again. I had a few things cut out that are finished now.

I used my TNT pattern, and made up a quick royal blue tank top. Nothing out of the ordinary other than the fact I used cross grain for the neck binding, and the armhole bindings, and turned and stitched them. I may have to redo it with bias. It seems to me to not be quite tight enough on the neck band, and after a quick washing and drying I'm going to reevaluate and perhaps take the straight grain off and add some bias. We'll see how that works.

  

Once the tank was done, I did two quick pair of pajama bottoms out of cotton flannel. Both pieces were from JoAnn Fabrics a while back. The floral was several years ago, and the teal was purchased in 2016. Neither is good quality fabric, but they will be useful in my wardrobe. I don't post pictures of things like this to bore you, but because this blog is actually my sewing record of things I've made throughout the years.

I am using these as a kind of "muslin." They are from the Style Arc Barb pattern, shortened to about an inch of so below my knees. The pattern is designed for knits, and these are both wovens, but with the weight loss, they fit fine in the woven. I had decided to do a quick and dirty muslin to enable a few pair of quick elastic waist shorts to wear around home in the heat. It was a big success in my book. The only changes I'll have to make is to add pockets, since I'm not sure I can be awake and not have pockets! As Barbara from the Sewing on the Edge blog mentioned a while back, my main accessory is poop bags in my pockets! LOL





I've been cleaning rather frantically because like a lot of sewers, that is lower on the list than sewing most days, and I have a granddaughter coming to stay for the first week of June. I'm very excited to see her, and we should have some nice photos of things to share. But, I do have to clean, as she'll be staying in the "guest room" aka the sewing room, and there really does need to be enough room for her bed!

The next outfit will be a pair of "desert color" stripped shorts, and a sleeveless, collarless, button down shirt using my TNT pattern I've made several from before. Those shirts are getting a lot of wear in this weather!

Hoping you are all enjoying your sewing, and making lots of gorgeous or at least useful things!

More later,






Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quick catch up

I've been sewing, but it's been a little of this and a little of that. 

The bathing suit tankini took a lot more contemplation and a lot more testing and work than I anticipated. Getting an inner bra installed in something you're not sure where the bustline will be is a process. It was overall successful, but harrowing and difficult in my brain. I spent a lot of time mulling over what exactly would work. In the end, I eliminated their lining piece and did one of my own design, adding the bra cups where I felt they should be on my body. 



Sorry about the flannel pajama pants underneath the top! If you look closely, you can see that the bra area is not ideal, but it is certainly wearable. Sorry about the fuzzy picture of the pants. They work just fine, but as I'm peeling pounds away, I think they won't last for long.

I did make some decisions based on this muslin. I need to shorten the straps by about an inch. In the future, I'm not going to try to add the bra into the tankini top, but actually make a swim bra out of the same fabric (from my custom bra pattern) and just it combined with the tankini top. 

I have upped my Aqua Aerobics to three times a week, and hope to get in five times in the combing weeks. That will necessitate a few more suits as I go along. I'm thrilled that this program is really enhancing my range of motion, and ability to move. Every week I am able to do something with my body and my knees that I haven't been able to do in years. It's very exciting to get closer to "normal" physical status for me. 

Currently, I'm working on several things at once. I am adapting the Morris Blazer from Grainline Studios to my personal body, and a muslin will be coming out fairly soon. I have a tank top begun, but the serger has issues and so will be out for servicing starting tomorrow. I have some pajama pants laid out on the cutting board as I can do those without the serger. I'm also going to be working on a muslin for a sleeveless woven shirt. Just an old fashioned shirt with front buttons, back yoke, and regular collar. 

Our weather is a bit crazy right now, but overall warm and sunny. We did get a few drops of rain this week, but our temps are generally in the 75-85 degree range during the day. That necessitates sleeveless tops, tank tops, and knee length shorts to supplement the bathing suits. Also need more shorts, so those are percolating too. 

Hope things are going well in your sewing world! More later!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Been down and out of it

There is a really nasty cold going around, and I was lucky enough to get it a few weeks ago. The first week was mostly lying in bed, sleeping, and trying to get plenty of fluids. In between naps, I did get to the sewing room a little bit.

I was able to complete a new pair of jeans, and a cotton oxford cloth tank top. It can be worn alone or under my "big shirt" or other topper. As the body is shrinking, (thank goodness!) it is changing in ways that were unexpected. The water aerobics is helping a great deal with range of motion, and mostly eliminating the pain in my knees, so I am more able to do things, and so on and so forth. I've started to rebuild muscles that had been sorely atrophied, and it is also making a big difference in motivation when I can so readily see results. The waist has shrunk, as has the butt, but perhaps due to my age, the belly is holding on strongly. I'm thinking I'm going to get back on limited portion sizes to do much good with that part.

Anyway, here is my new outfit. The jeans are again a self draft from the Don McCunn "How To Make Sewing Patterns" book. I think I may want to slim the legs down a bit to be more fitted, now there is less of me. The tank is modified from the one I made in knit at the Sure Fit Designs retreat. I eliminated about an inch in shoulder width, changed the French dart for a standard dart, and did some upper body adjustments for my slightly rounded back, plus more at the waist for a sway back.I may need to do a little bit more at the bust to eliminate the wrinkles from the bust to the waistline. The back of my pattern is beginning to look like a mountain road with all the S curves! LOL

This outfit should get a great deal of wear over the next several months. 

I've moved on to a new bathing suit. Bottoms are in the works. I'll share, but not on me at this point in time!

Move later,





Friday, March 31, 2017

This is why you should post after each garment!

Okay... I forgot one of my makes. I had in my head an idea for a shirt similar to one I made back in the dark ages and literally wore out. Unfortunately, when I went pattern diving, I realized I was a size 12 when I made the shirt. Measurements on the pattern are listed at about 34-26-36, and it's been a REALLY long time since that would fit me!

Instead, I decided to try to make a "big shirt" with a Mandarin collar. I did a franken-pattern using an old Simplicity # 8497 mixed with a Bootstraps that has been fitted and muslined. It’s kind of an old fashioned “big shirt” but brought into the 21st century. I widened the shoulders by an inch, and have short sleeves on it. I used a very nice blue and white striped oxford cloth, and actually have enough left over to do a tank that matches. I’ll be able to wear the big shirt open over the tank in air conditioning. I’m enjoying working with the cottons more so than the knits for now.

I finished up the shirt and have worn it a couple of times. It’s not exactly what I wanted just yet. I like the big shirt theme, but want a regular collar, and the shirt tails at the sides with side slits. So that’s in rotation, but not quite there yet. 

So although it works for now, I will be experimenting with this also in the months to come. This style is heavenly in the heat with either a light weight cotton fabric, like a plisse, or a seersucker, or something of that nature. 

Without further ado:






And now I'm moving on. I'll try to post more often so I don't forget! LOL



Been sewing, not posting?

I've been doing a bit of sewing, but not really posting. Don't know why, but that's the case.

I finished the Bootstraps #40029 second shirt, and added about 3" to the sleeves, which suits me better. Here's the finished top:


Bootstraps #40029 #2

It's gone into rotation already. I debated about what would be next, but due to the weather in my new location, shorts hit the radar hard. I have the Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts that I thought might be just perfect. I haven't used many Style Arc patterns, and the instructions and way of doing things are a bit different than I'm used to. On the first pair I goofed up the waist facing treatment, and had to modify it to work. I also left out the hem vents on this pair. Here's an in progress photo with the pants on before hems and waist facing. I think you can tell they lie really low on my body:


When I got to the second pair, I inserted an inch in the body of the pants to bring them up a bit higher. I did get the vents into this pair too. They're all done except sewing the button on the second pair. Unfortunately, as I was doing my preliminary test for the buttonhole, my machine decided it didn't want to do those anymore. SIGH! It's now in the shop where they are estimating a 2-3 week turnaround. I'm hoping it just needs adjustment and not a new computer part! I pulled out my Pfaff Passport that I bought to take to classes, and set it up. I've only used it a couple of times, and it took a while to find everything and get it moving, but I actually really like the buttonholes on that machine. Both pair are in a light weight denim from JoAnn Fabrics. Here's a pic of both together. 


I'm not sure if the first pair are going to make the cut. I cut the size indicated for my measurements, but yesterday I was wearing them, and after the typical denim stretch, they were falling off my body. I realized I could actually remove them without undoing the button and buttonhole! Perhaps after a couple of wearings and washing in hot water, they'll be fine. I did realize I really don't like a waistband facing on MY body. I love them on others, but with my body, they don't sit well, and as stated above, have a tendency to move on down the torso. 

To that end, I went out today because JoAnn has their Burda patterns on sale for $2.49 and got Burda #6613, which will be used for the next pair of shorts. Hopefully going back to my beloved Burda will get me some shorts that work really well on my body. If they don't I'll modify my self drafted trousers to make the shorts work for me. 


I'm also reworking the navy ponte waterfall jacket I made a year ago. It was kind of oversized when I made it, and 30 pounds later, it's just sad. So I've removed the sleeves and the side seams, and am debating what I'm going to do with it. I think it's going to be recut with a Semi Grainline Studios Morris jacket vibe. Or maybe something else. However, it's going to be a lot shorter, a lot more fitted, and probably will lose at least most of the waterfall. 

My "to do" list is getting longer and longer. I want at least four or five pair of shorts, several new woven tank tops, some tees, and...I have a few bathing suits on the list too, as we've become regulars at the Tuesday and Thursday Aqua Fit classes, and I'm going to add on a third one each week. The old bathing suits are getting pretty roomy, and this week as we were doing "jumping jacks" I almost lost the bottoms to my Tankini. I got a pattern from Butterick that is in the right range I think, and have the fabric and notions for three new suits. We'll see how that goes. 

Hope your March was marvelous! More later,


Monday, February 27, 2017

A lot is going on around here!

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and some sewing!

Since this is mostly a sewing blog, I'll start with the sewing. I am leisurely working away at my SWAP 2017 plan, and at last post, I was starting on the Bootstraps #40029. It is a great pattern and went together quite well, despite my leisurely pace for sewing it. I will make a couple of changes on the next one, which is already underway.

I did get the customized pattern with all 17 measurements, but I have put on a few pounds, and/or was slightly bloated, so the bottom button is unbuttoned in this picture. I have also lengthened the sleeves in the second version. Head cut off due to no makeup or hair styling! LOL



The fabric is a very light cotton chambray (I thought it was rayon until I looked!) It was purchased in May of 2015 from Amazon supplied by Designer Fabrics Warehouse. It's a dream to wear, and I anticipate a lot of use from this over the warmer days of summer.

I have started on the second version of this, made out of a Cotton/Lycra shirting from Emma One Sock. It's a dark navy with a tiny white flower print, and was purchased back in July of 2014. I'm using up some of my stash fabrics this year! It has the collar installed but not yet finished. Here's an "in process picture of it, slightly fuzzy.

As you can see, sleeves, are yet to come, as well as hems and buttons and buttonholes. This one is heavier and seems to me that it looks a bit more upscale than the chambray one. We'll see once I get it finished. 

As per my last post, I have a new friend, Carla, who has invited me out and is introducing me to some other local people. Her family has been in the Mesilla Valley since the 1800's, and she says she's probably related to everyone here some way or another. We've been to Aqua Fit a few times, and last Friday night, she invited me to go with her to the local Bernina/Quilting shop where they do a last Friday of the month sew-in and potluck.

I had purchased several "jelly rolls" a few years back thinking I could make the Jelly Roll race quilts with them. One was baby fabrics, and I'm a bit late in making a new quilt for my first Great Grandson. This was a perfect opportunity! Last week I stitched the pieces together a few hours at a time, and had the top done by Friday night. I put it together with the batting and a backing, and spent my time at the sew-in stitching along each line to quilt the pieces together. I've sent off for another fabric for the binding, and as soon as it gets here, this quilt will get completed! Hooray. Another stash item that will be in use! The fabrics I'm using are called "Monkey Tales" and those are sock monkeys all over. I think it's so cute for a little boy! Here's a pic of the top before quilting.



The sew-in was a lot of fun, and the potluck was great! I've been invited back, and I think that will be a regular monthly meeting in my calendar moving forward.

I'm doing a little gardening, a lot of sewing, a lot of reading, and generally enjoying life here in the sunshine. It's a bit odd to me to have sunshine 360 days a year, but it sure eliminates the Seasonal Affective Disorder I've suffered with for years. I need to wait until "last frost" to start planting most of my garden, but I am getting things ready now.

I sure hope you all are enjoying your time and accomplishing things that make your heart sing!

More later,

Monday, February 13, 2017

I may have a new and local friend!

I'm rather excited as a neighbor stopped to chat with Dale the other day and wound up inviting me to her Aqua Fitness class at the local aquatic center. I've wanted to go for a while, but am very shy and introverted and haven't gone yet because I didn't want to go by myself. She left her number, I called, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow afternoon will be our first trip to the pools for the class. We chatted a bit about protocols, etc., and she mentioned after the class, she just throws on a dress and wears that home. As you are aware, if you've followed me for a bit, I don't wear dresses, and don't have any. However, that said, a pull on dress is a great bathing suit cover-up. With that in mind, I decided I needed one for after classes. This is what I came up with:


The fabric is a cotton Batik from my stash, and it reminds me of many cover-ups I have purchased over the years on previous trips to Hawaii. It's a pretty basic sundress style with a self bound neckline and armholes. 

I didn't have a pattern, but figured I wanted to draft something quick and dirty that would work. I took my altered tank pattern, that fits a little large right now and put that on. I took a denim a-line skirt I made a while back, also a little large right now, and put it on with the tank tucked in. In order to determine where the tank would end, and the skirt would begin, I pinned all the way around the waistline of the skirt. 

Once I had a length for the top determined, I took everything off, and marked the "waistline" on the tank pattern. Since everything is a little big, and the fabric I used on the tank has minimal stretch anyway, I just used the tank pattern at the original size. I traced it off to the waist, then because I was too lazy to try to find the skirt pattern, just laid the skirt over the tank and traced it. I added a small hem allowance, and made the dress up eliminating the waistline darts. It fits great just as it is. This one was a definite win! It will go into use tomorrow! 

My new friend Carla also invited me to a sewing potluck the end of the month. It's at the local Bernina store, and she said the attendees mostly do quilting, but you're welcome to bring anything you're working on. Carla grew up right down the street, and will be a very welcome entry into meeting more people in the area. I'm actually looking forward to both events. 

Now I'm back to the blouse pattern. I realized that the pattern was purchased before they had the "customization" feature. Which meant there were about six measurements instead of the customized 17 or so. I know that patterns don't fit me because I have VERY narrow shoulders, and really "bodacious" biceps, plus I've lost about 25-30 pounds (depending on the day) since I purchased it. That makes for some inches lost. Instead of fiddling with it, I just went ahead and bit the bullet and bought a new pattern to my customized measurements. At $3.49 US, it's not that big an expenditure. The new pattern is all taped and glued together, and I'll be moving on with that today. 

I lost some of my motivation for SWAP when the Stitcher's Guild went down for so long, but will be continuing to make the garments I intended to do. I have to admit, though, that others like this bathing suit cover-up may intercede into the mix. 

I hope your sewing is going very well, and you have a glorious February day before Valentine's Day!

More later,


Saturday, February 4, 2017

The groundhog saw his shadow!

I can't believe it's February already. For any readers who don't know about Ground Hog Day in the US, here's the information I found on Google:

Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler's Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. If this little groundhog sees his shadow, that is supposed to predict another six weeks of winter.

Well, I don't know how that works in our part of the world, but it has been lovely out with temperatures in the high 60's to low 70's, and brilliant sunshine. Generally the low at night is about 30 degrees colder than day time highs, so I'm hearing it's not officially spring until after the last freeze, which is typically the end of April. We may have showers a week from Monday, but predictions that far out are frequently incorrect in our area. So right now, I'm enjoying the weather very much in my new little part of the world. We've had a particularly mild winter this year, and it doesn't appear that will change. Thank goodness! 

January has been a rather on again off again month for me. I was quite surprised how the cataract surgeries affected me. I thought they might be similar to the Lasix Surgery I had many years ago. That was a trip to the doctor, a very quick surgery, and a day or so of recuperation. This hit me much harder, and I was down for about a week with each one. Since they were 12 days apart, it really put a kink in my plans for January. I am happy that in general, I'm not wearing glasses at all though. I'll find out on the 22nd if anything more than "readers" are necessary. 

In Northern California, I always pruned my roses around Thanksgiving. Here, the recommendation is to wait until January or early February, but at least before Valentine's Day. With the surgeries, I haven't done them yet. Today I spent about an hour working on one rose, pulling weeds, and trying to get rid of the Bermuda grass which is trying to choke out the plants I want. It is extremely hard to remove and keep out. It's going to be my project for this year! 

I was also going to do the first tilling on the area I intend to start my garden. BUT, after a couple of hours of getting the tractor and the rototiller ready for me, Dale realized when we couldn't get the tines to drop that the battery on the rototiller is dead. He used some kind of charger to start it, but the electric motor on the tiller tines requires juice to work. Now he's headed off to get a new one, and I'll try again tomorrow morning. I want to do several passes on the garden area before I actually start planting, pulling out weeds in between each pass. I'm hoping I can get rid of great masses of the Bermuda Grass and weeds before they start germinating and spreading themselves like crazy! 

In the sewing room, I finished my corduroy baseball jacket, which was the first item for my SWAP. I love it and it's already in rotation. I also realized that a 30 pound weight loss really requires new clothing as well. All my tees hang on me now, and I need to redo all my unmentionables also. 

Without further ado, here's the new jacket:


It's really too bad the fabric doesn't show better in the picture. It's a lovely navy pinwale with a tiny teal polka dot. I purchased it from Style Maker Fabrics when Carolyn of Diary of A Sewing Fanatic mentioned them in her blog last September. It's a gorgeous, quality fabric, and wonderful to work with. 

I also re-drafted my pants pattern, and got a pair made out of grey corduroy. It's my "muslin" for the new draft, but imminently wearable. I don't have a finished picture of them yet, but here are two in process pictures. The first is the pants with the waistband pinned, but not yet sewn. The second is the Hong Kong finish on the inner edge of the waistband. I love the colorful interior and have used some fabric remnants from one of the 13 aprons I made for Christmas. 




It just always make me grin each time I see the print on the interior of my pants. Staid outside, and wild and crazy inside. 

I'm in the process of tracing off Bootstraps #40029. I'll be making it without the bows on the sleeves, and think it's an excellent blouse for both casual and for business casual type situations. I can see many of these in my wardrobe. So a muslin of that is coming up next. Here's a line drawing.

I have one in my original SWAP plans, but that might get mixed around with less tees and more woven blouses. We'll see. 

I hope you're enjoying your weekend, and if you're a football fan enjoy the Super Bowl which I understand is tomorrow. 

More later!