Saturday, November 15, 2014


I'm going to start moving my content over to WP.

I want to be able to give you more consistent linkage and content, and I can't do that here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Teaser: Or, what I did to redeem a no-good, very-bad day

Today we were *supposed* to get my 10yo daughter's braces off... and then she and her brother had a field trip scheduled to Legoland.  What a busy, happy day!

But 10yo woke up with a fever.  We took her to the orthodontist, vaguely hoping he'd still pry off all that metal.  Nope.  No ortho.  And no Legoland.  I got BFF to take my son to his field trip (I had all the passes) so at least he didn't have to stay home.  10yo and I hung out... she coughed, played Minecraft, and took a nap.

Me?  I took the extra day at home with nothing planned and started on my Christmas sewing.  (I know, I said I wouldn't do any.  Did you believe me?)

Eees plushy and soft and squish.  Have I mentioned that I have a textile PROBLEM?  :)

Dork: Feeling like a big girl

Don't ask me why, but finishing that coat makes me feel like a big girl.  Like I'm a real seamstress now.

I'm so squee.  I need to fix the hem.  But I'm still squee.


Yes, I'm a dork.  Hey, this is my blog.  If I'm all, "Yay I can do this!" and silly, this is the place to say it, right?  :D

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

All the Vogue 8346 posts

Sometimes I hit blogs to see how people made something and I can't find all their construction notes.  And that bums me out.  So I'm going to take a minute to put the linkies here so you can see them.  (They're in reverse order).

Any other construction notes?  Oh.  Yeah.  Sewing something with 4 foot long princess seams was NOT NICE.  Baste 'em.  Baste everything.  Swear and baste and baste again.  There is one of the front seams that I just gave up on perfecting after sewing it about 15 times.  (Seriously).  It kept pulling off, the weight of the wool just - yeah.

Ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille...

We are DONE!*

 A fully lined, perfectly fitting, overcoat.  Vogue 8346, for those playing along at home.   She weighs 6lb!!

It is made in 100% wool with a polyester brocade lining.  (If you're going to sew your own coats, get a great lining.  I could have gone plain.  I agonized over "will this be flexible enough?"  It is.)

Changes in the pattern?  The original pattern calls for faux buttons on the front, with snaps (snaps???!!?) to hold the coat front closed.  The original pattern doesn't call for any of the interesting hand tailoring that I did.  I also made the sleeve a two-piece sleeve.

You can see that I put in two sets of buttonholes - only one of which is visible from the outside.  The other set fastens a hidden (flat) set of buttons.  When we *do* get inclement weather here - it's windy.  No sense having a coat that won't stay closed.

I moved the buttons where I wanted them, choosing a single line to the side.  I think this is flattering to my figure.

Yes, the coat has pockets!  I nearly didn't put them in, and I did have to move them up for my short arms... but I have pockets.  :)

Plenty of room in the sleeve and the armhole for the warm fuzzy sweater I am not wearing at the moment.  But still - a good fit through the torso.  Layering room w/out being sloppy.  Yay!

This little gal has been YEARS sitting in my cedar chest waiting for me to get up the courage to make her.  And now that I've made her, I expect to get decades of wear from her.

It's a banner day, folks.  A banner day.

*  There's a little weirdness happening with the hem.  I'm going to let her hang a bit and then I'll see what needs fiddling with.  She's ankle length, if you were wondering.  High ankle, a good length to keep all of me warm but stay mostly out of the mudpuddles.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sewing and Design: Finding the Happy

How to make clothing that flatters your figure:

1)  Find out what flatters your figure.  Older books are often better about being blunt about this.  Newer style books will say, "oh just wear whatever".  Don't.  You know this.  Another good way to see what flatters your figure and face - photographs.  An old photo of a blouse I made ages ago has inspired me to try a whole new neckline.  Likewise, the "almost good" isn't good enough for you to make with your own little hands.

2)  Get ideas.  What you don't want to do is just look at whatever is in the mall and say, "woe is me.  Batwings are in and they make me look like a linebacker".  You'll end up finding a less-linebackery batwing... but why not avoid it altogether by finding something that truly flatters YOU?  I like scanning vintage patterns for this - you can get ideas that aren't currently en vogue and use those to your advantage.  Yes, something that was all the rage five years ago will look dated today - but something all the rage 20 years ago?  You could just be ahead of the style.

3)  Be honest.  If you know perfectly well that you can't wear a certain shade, don't.  Buy it in a throw pillow for your couch.  Buy a shirt for your beloved.   Just don't put it on your body.

4)  Have some fun.  But what about that color that *does* look amazing on you?  Why not pair it with that neckline that hasn't been seen for 40 years and do something amazing?  Buttons and trim are part of play.  For instance, I get mad compliments on that blue and red blouse - I wouldn't get half so many if I hadn't said, "what the heck - it'll be bright, but I know those colors rock on me" and gone for broke.  Do eet.

5)  Learn a basic pattern, then play with it.  If you look at the vintage patterns, you'll often see a basic shell dressed up or down or sideways with different collars.  The bodice is the same - the collars make all the difference.  Or the sleeve.  If you don't have figure issues that prevent sleeve play, by all means do something with your sleeves.  Sleeves are expensive to mess with in terms of time, so you won't see much ready-to-wear with interesting details... you could make something amazing.  (Vintage patterns are great for sleeve inspiration).

6)  Play up your best features, and change them around if you can.  Bright eyes?  Velvet skin?  A throat that makes swans envious?  Show them off.  This *can* be sexy, but doesn't have to be.  It will be beautiful.  Be comfortable in your beauty.

7)  Play with texture.  I know certain textures are my friends and some are ... not as friendly.  Lace and tweed and leather and knits... they love me.  I love them back.  Why not wear lace with tweed?  I can pull it off.  Maybe you look amazing in the most pulled together, controlled stuff... take it to the max.

Above all - keep your eyes open to the "yeses" and start plotting the garments of your dreams.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Being a Lady: Be Kind

Ladies are ladylike because they want to be ladylike.  No one will force you to be a lady, not in this day and age.  In fact, people will look at you askance if you make an effort to be a real lady.

And as fond as I am of little gloves and tea sandwiches, those do not make a lady.  You can be a lady stark naked in the rain... have you never read "The Princess and the Pea"?  Take the real lesson - that who you are isn't about what you show on the outside, but who you are in a trial.  (Skip the lesson about being oversensitive).

People are hungry for kindness.  Give it to them.

People who don't deserve your kindness will be confused when you give it to them.  Allow yourself the amusement at being so dreadfully confusing - and be kind.

It doesn't matter who the object of your kindness is, or what they've done.  Be kind.  You are a lady for yourself, and for God.  That's your motivation.  You hold your head up, you smile, you act with consideration... and you point them to Jesus.  Mess with those paradigms!

Everyone expects everyone else to act like a gutter snipe.  Because that means you're getting your own, or saying what you have to say or being yourself.  Well, guess what.  The person *I* want to be is kind.  So I'm going to be kind.  So what if you ...................?  Oh, you think I don't know what you did?  Pish.  I do.  I'm still going to be nice to you.  Could I humiliate you?  Yes.  But then I wouldn't be who I want to be.

My end game is making God look good, and hopefully getting a few more souls interested in Him.  I'm not going to do that by seeking my own.

So.  You want to be a lady?  Learn to be kind, and start practicing it, all the time.