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.

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!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dreaming and planning

Have to say, this week and weekend when I haven't been working, has been mostly spent in a dream with me fondling fabrics, playing with patterns, and putting together my initial plan's story board. 

It has taken ALL of  my time and all my concentration this weekend! LOL 

To give you an idea, I'd decided I was going to do navy, grey and red this year. I wear a lot of navy and grey, and love red so much, but haven't had the inclination to wear it for a few years. Getting back on my feet literally has given me a huge surge of creative energy. 

First I pulled out a few items in blue that I though might make it into the SWAP. 

Hmmm... since I need three color groupings this year, that might be a few too many. Pulled out some grey and some blue, which I didn't photograph. It's a little embarrassing to have more fabric than a small store! I am intending to do all of my SWAP from existing patterns and stash fabrics. It is easier to move clothing than 30 or so bins of fabric IMO.  

Anyway, I've folded, and fondled, and measured and plotted, and planned. At this point in time, my preliminary plans are these:

Grouping One:
Simplicity 4278 Grey Wool jacket completed June 2015
Burda 6810 Blouse Grey paisley rayon shirting
Self-Draft Grey wool flannel trousers

Grouping Two:
Simplicity 1920 Navy ponte knit jacket
Vogue 8689 Blue rayon print
Self-Draft Navy wool gabardine trousers

Grouping Three:
Pamela’s Perfect Tee Shirt, red and cream rayon jersey
Pamela’s Perfect Tee Shirt, red and navy rayon jersey
Self-Draft Black wool gabardine trousers

Combo Pack;
StyleArc Stacey Jean Jacket Chinese Red Faux Suede
Hot Patterns Plain & Simple Princess Shirt blue linen print.

Here's my first try at the story board for this year:

Since I have all those other fabrics out already, perhaps I will do some preliminary sewing to fit in with my SWAP. I could have a cohesive collection by the end of April, perhaps!

More soon!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

AWOL a long time, but hoping to correct that this upcoming year!

Well, I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL so long. It’s been a most interesting year. I thought that it would be easy for me to get through a year and a half with my husband about 1,600 miles away, but it hasn’t been so easy. I miss him a lot! 

Despite being widowed for more than 5 years before I met him, we have been married for 13 years. I’ve gotten used to his presence in my home and in my life. It’s a little lonely without him, I have to admit. Add to that I’ve been working very long hours this year trying to build up a slush fund for all the repairs and updates we need/want to do, and I haven’t gotten nearly as much sewing done as anticipated. I was picturing myself as I was during the first years after I was widowed, sewing many hours a day. That just hasn’t happened, although I have done some sewing this year. Not blogging about it, but sewing did get done.

Fitting remains the challenge, and with the help of some wonderful people, I’m actually getting better at it. Thank you Mrs. Mole. Learning HOW to start was a huge help. By learning to measure my body separately front and back in multiple areas… including shoulder to bust, shoulder to waist, width between apex, and similar things on the back area, I have cut my muslin process down from as many as 8 to many less. Jacket I’m working on now, just took two tries to get it right! HOORAY!

I’ve been lurking, watching most of the blogs I follow, adding a few more throughout the year, and checking in on Stitcher’s Forum at Artisan’s Square at least once a month, and lately about once a week or more. As we got closer to the release of the rules on November 1, it became a few times a day! I’ve been watching the palpable excitement over the discussions of SWAP 2016, and even more so at the announcement of the rules.

As we all know, life can get in the way, but I’m sticking my foot into the water and anticipating going for a full SWAP collection this year. I don’t anticipate any big life changes like I’ve encountered in the spring the last few years, and am very hopeful we have a very uneventful 2016.

I need new clothes, and the rules fit into my lifestyle well. My lifestyle will be changing over the next year, as I am starting the countdown to my retirement, with (for now) an anticipated move at the end of August 2016. In the interim, I still need to have workable clothing that looks business casual and is easily laundered. So it’s going to be a mish-mash of a year for me sewing wise.

I’m thinking my retirement looks like gardening, continuing with remodeling and updating our home, sewing, perhaps a bit of quilting, walking, and biking, a comprehensive exercise program and some exploring of the amazing country we’ll be living in. I’m also anticipating a bit of volunteer work, and getting involved with the community. Perhaps a foray into a new and different part time career to keep me interested.

So far, the photographs and the visits have convinced me that New Mexico truly is the “Land of
Enchantment.” It will be my first time living outside the State of California, and I’m anticipating a bit of weather shock when I first live in an area with four seasons, and a bit of culture shock too. It’s exciting to start thinking and planning my next phase of life.

I’ll be sharing my ideas about the SWAP as I get my planning put together. 

More later!

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!