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!