Saturday, November 15, 2014

Moving

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.

http://hearthroses.wordpress.com/

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.

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).

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/11/ready-for-my-closeup-mr-demille.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/as-promised.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/going-quickly.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/bound-buttonholes.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/finally-we-have-stack-of-bits.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/sleeves-for-maeve.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/sleeves-on-muslin.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/10/why-do-these-clothing-posts-take-so-long.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/09/first-quick-muslin.html

http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-much-delayed-coat-project.html

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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crafting a Wardrobe

I've been thinking about craftsmanship lately (see previous post) and looking at my wardrobe and thinking thoughts.

As I hang the laundry out to dry... I see the things I've made for myself and for my family.  What worked?  Where did I use the right level of craftsmanship?  What would I change, going forward?

I'm slowly crafting a wardrobe.  And I'm starting to get a feel for what pieces are here for five years, for two, or just for one.  Cotton blouses?  One at their best, the second year a bit down-at-the-heels, and then gone.  Cotton skirts?  Two years at their best, the third a bit down-at-the-heels, and then off we go.  Denim?  Until it rips!  I still have all the denim skirts I've sewn, although the first two are definitely "down-at-heels".   I can get years from a good dress - if I take care of it.  My coat should last decades.

I'm slowly getting an idea of what I wear ... and what I should stop wearing and/or start wearing.  I have a wash and wear life, very casual.  I *do* clean the floors in most of my clothes... and I rarely visit an office.  That doesn't mean I shouldn't be lovely - and that doesn't mean I shouldn't enjoy some craftsmanship.  My hard work makes my clothes last.  Knowing what looks good on me and works in my life means I very rarely donate clothing - I tend to wear it to rags.  (It's time to go through things and be firm with myself).

I'm reasonably pleased with what I have made.  Yes, the little quilting cotton dresses I made for my daughter are much the worse for wear.  But - they got WORN.  So - the fact that I didn't put a ton into most of the dresses (excepting the lace bibbed one) is okay.  They're all 2" too short now.   Faded.  Stained.  Loved.

Next sewing season?  I'll make the girl up a stack of stash-busting dresses and try out a few new lines.  I know what comfy little cotton dresses have in store for them - and being slept in, spilled on, and grown out of... why not use these for experimentation?  A wardrobe of "wearable muslins".  I'll save my couture techniques for other things.

DH's shirts are still going strong.  I need to find a color that is not blue for his shirting!  He doesn't need any shirts right now, but when it's time, I think I'll start from scratch and make him a sloper of his own.  I fiddled with the fit here and there and everywhere with those shirts, and I'd like a clean copy.

14yo still has those jammies... they're getting worn holes in.  I think making him some pajama pants instead of separates might be in order.  French seams?  Worth it.  Good quality flannel?  More so.  Quality shines forth with real wear.

The four shirts I made?  The blue eyelet is pretty faded.  Oh, not so badly I can't wear it... but by next spring, it will need retiring.  That was a *great* color/vibe/fabric.  I reached for that shirt over and over.  The bright blue was just as comfy, but only coordinates with my denim.  I'll get more wear out of it now that I can wear the denim again.

The green linen skirt is the only "meh" - not really its fault.  I know what's happened to all of those full swoop skirts... and it happened to this one.  It pulled off of grain at the seamline, all the interfacing in the world couldn't save it.  That skirt  pattern is much better as a six-gore.  If I get adventurous, I might re-cut it as something else.  Certainly enough fabric.

None of that is very exciting I suppose... too detailed.  But what it comes down to is that I'm happy to use basic good sewing skills on the clothing that I wear, I'm sloppy and playful with my 10yo's play-clothes, and more textile-oriented when it comes to the menfolk.

The more I learn, the better the return I get for my time and my money.

Craftsmanship pays.

To Discuss: The Purpose of Art, Craft, and Beauty

I was watching a documentary on haute couture the other night while I was adding the interfacing to the shoulders of my coat.  The documentary went behind the scenes to meet some of the women who buy haute couture, as well as following a dress made by Karl Lagerfeld for a runway show.

Haute couture is *extraordinarily* expensive.  However, it is not simply conspicuous consumption  - it is expensive because of the materials and craftsmanship.  One of the former workers at a couture shop estimated that a couture garment takes up to 150 hours to create.  150 hours with the most skilled hands on the planet, with the finest materials, with no slightest thought to stinting on anything, anywhere.  The result?  Everything I've ever read about couture says that it is like nothing else - that it feels like part of your body, it is so beautifully fitted.  One of the people interviewed said that the fabric preparation meant that the garment would not wrinkle, treat it as you wished.  These garments are works of craftsmanship, finest craftsmanship.

Of course the people who buy a blouse that cost about the same as my car aren't sitting on uncomfortable chairs or wearing uncomfortable shoes or eating off of ugly chipped plates.  And these are the class of people (growing smaller all the time) who have always been the supporters of the arts.  If we are to have a painting that takes three years to complete (check the dates on some of the works of the old masters) then we must have someone willing to pay to take care of the artist and his retinue for three years while it is being completed!

So - if we are to have dedicated artists, who do nothing more than create the finest ... whatevers ... then we must have people who can afford to support said artists.  Is that right?  When children starve, should someone make something pretty for someone who could afford to feed a town on the cost of the pretty thing?

And yet art, and beauty, they are necessary to the human soul.  Humans create art, all humans create art, all humans enjoy beauty - in some form.  Although I don't wear garments that feel like a second skin, it pleases me to know they exist.  And in their recycled form (as museum donations), I am able to enjoy those garments insofar as they are beautiful.  Not so much as the owner... but still.  And stepping away from wearable art - what of sculpture and paintings and fountains and beautiful furniture and gardens.. the original owners wanted to inhabit a beautiful space, to be inspired, to feel a sense of wonder.   And now I can visit the palace of Versailles or the Forbidden City - and I can marvel.

I'm leaving this question open, because it's a real question, and I don't know that it has a final answer.  Do we walk to the side of utility - do we become socialists, and share everything out and make sure every belly is fed and every head covered and... and... and... before we start making luxury crafts once again?  And when is it okay?  Where's the line?  Or do we side with Marie Antoinette, letting the peasants starve in our cloth-of-gold dress?

For myself... I tend to be mentally of the Arts and Crafts movement.  I strive to get rid of the ugly stuff, and pay for good craftsmanship, beauty and utility.  Beauty matters to me - but so does charity, and I am well aware that all of this world will burn while the souls of men will last forever.  But ah - beauty.  My heart dances to your song with its every beat... I could never be plain - I love pretty things far too much.

And I'll confess, one of my fondest daydreams of Heaven is being able to create... I do hope I get to make pretty things for all my friends, and I'd love to make everyone my friend.  Not a bad way to spend eternity, n'est pas?

So write me a response and let's think about beauty and its place in this world together.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sewing Kit: What You Need

It's that time of year again... when everyone is about to make their Christmas lists.  If you're thinking about taking up sewing, or dusting off the sewing machine and really using it, here's a list of gear and goodies:

1)  A basic sewing machine

2)  Good quality shears.  I have a pair of Ginghers and they're the bomb.  Can be purchased on sale, and these are like a good kitchen knife - indispensable.   If someone wants to get you a tiny pair of likewise good quality scissors, little scissors are good to have too.  (You get the good shears resharpened periodically - yes, just like good kitchen knives).

3)  Measuring tape.  Measuring metal thingie.  You have to have the first, the second is nice to have while you're learning to fold over 5/8" seams (you can press right on it, it's metal).  I went years without a clear, gridded ruler - but I don't know how I managed. I use the thing constantly.  http://www.amazon.com/C-Thru-18-Inch-Beveled-Transparent-B-85/dp/B000V59R8K

4)  A good quality iron, and an ironing board.

5) Steel pins and a pincushion.  Okay, steel headed pins aren't required, but who wants to melt the plastic-headed kind?  I like to have a couple of pincushions.  They're cheap and having a pincushion where I pin and where I take the pins out is nice.

6) A tailor's ham.  Okay, if you're just starting - you don't need this yet.  But you *will* need it, so ... hey.  (If you're making anything fitted, you need one).

7)  Surgical tape and a bit of tissue paper.  Go ahead and just use tissue until you develop a need for the good stuff, then Swedish Tracing Paper is the bomb, for sure.   Regular tape melts under a hot iron, not optimal.  Speaking of, I need to get more surgical tape!

Here's my book list:

Vogue Sewing Book - Okay.  There are a lot of instructional books on the market, and they're probably all decent.  But this is the one that has ALL the basic instructions.  Like having that one classic cookbook in your kitchen.. you need this.
http://www.amazon.com/Vogue-Sewing-The-Editors-Butterick/dp/1573890162/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1414992279&sr=8-7&keywords=the+vogue+sewing+book

Sewing Machine Classroom -  Love this book.  Very clear instructions, it's on a ringbinder, it's just all with the happyjoy.
http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Machine-Classroom-Learn-Outs/dp/1440216002/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414992330&sr=1-1&keywords=sewing+machine+classroom

Threads Guide to Sewing - I know, you have the Vogue.  But this has some info the Vogue does not, particularly in regards to sewing things other than clothing.
http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Sewing-Guide-Reference-Best-Loved/dp/1600851444/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414992642&sr=1-1&keywords=threads+guide+to+sewing

If you can snag a Better Homes and Gardens sewing book from the '60s at an estate sale or something, do.

If you have a Joanne's within 45 minutes of your home, sign up for the mailer.  If it's within 20 minutes of your home, sign up for the text alerts (assuming you don't pay for texts).  They have *ridiculous* sales.  I think Hancocks does too... but they aren't in my zone.  Seriously.  You're never going to pay more than $5 for a "Big Four" pattern ever - and the 40% off coupon *on every mailer* can help with those scissor purchases!

Hope this helps someone........... :)

(PS did some solid work on the lining today and fidgeting with the shoulders, I ended up interfacing them with hair canvas, they lacked structure).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thanks, Mood!

I've been looking for the right fabric for a cape for my daughter.  She, as you may have noticed, is a typical 10yo, with a passion for Hello Kitty, pink, purple and pastels... and you may NOT have noticed that she's only a few inches shorter than I am.

Does everyone remember the lovely Chanel-like emergency jacket that I made for her, the year we randomly had temperatures in the 30s... for a month?

Ah.  Well.  I'm a little sad that I didn't take the time/have the time to properly tailor the front of that jacket... but it's as well, because it was too small the year after.  -sighs-

So when I was at the ASG meeting and they had a pile of "take what you want", I snagged a cute cape pattern.   My thinking is that even though I expect she will grow like a weed for the next few years, a cape won't get instantly outgrown.

And then the fabric search was on.  I wanted a wool - the point is to be mildly waterproof and pleasantly warm, and to last.  *She* wanted purple or pink or light pink or light purple or light blue... I wanted a color that wouldn't scream "little girl" next year when she's in middle school.

First I hit Fabricmart, they of the wonderful and regular sales.  Glory be!  They had a bright purple wool flannel and a BRIGHT pink (the shade of her bedsheets).  Hooray!  I shall wait for a sale...

I waited a whole week for a a sale - but I guess all the Anna and Elsa costumes ate up that wool (lovely stuff) because it was *gone*.  -sigh-

Page after page wandered along... I found a cute purple plaid at Sunni's online shop, and she had a sale... why wasn't her sale working... dangit it
ended yesterday.

Flick.  Flick.  Flick.  Well.  I know Mood has a website, and they tend to be expensive, but why not take a look?  OH!  Look at the pretty rose - a more sophisticated shade of pink, and *just* the color of her lips... in a plaid with a brown the shade of her hair... Oh!  And *this* wool is half the price of the other wools... I guess it's a closeout.

-click to order-

Thanks, Mood!  :)



(PS I have flu, which while not particularly unpleasant, has left me energy-free... so I'm not sewing.  Shopping yes.  Sewing no.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As promised...

It's Wednesday, and I was able to spend some time with my sewing machine.

Everything's done on the outer coat, now to make the linings/facings and ... on!

I think I might fiddle with the shoulders a bit first, extend the shoulder pad a twink, but... that's totally not relevant, right?  ;)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Going Quickly

I sat and sewed all weekend...


All my padstitching is done, I just put the collar on the ham to be shaped (you steam it and leave it to dry).  The body of the coat has been completed, has likewise been steamed and shaped in the appropriate places.  
I had some fights with my princess seams, we've come to a draw.

I'm really surprised by how much time I had to sew and how far along I got - for reference, this is most of the work, unless the sleeves make me cry.  

But tomorrow I'll be cleaning house and Tuesday I have an appt to clean out BFF's long-stored clothing with her, so you'll have to be patient!  :)

See you in the funny papers!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why an overcoat?

Why are you making an overcoat?

I'm making an overcoat because...

1) I don't have one.  I don't have a coat, unless you were talking about the trench I scored a few years back that is two sizes too big for me?  No?  Then I don't have a coat.

2) Wait.  You don't have a coat?  But I guess... you live in SoCal, you don't  need a coat.  Sure, I don't need a coat... mostly.  I mean.  I might need one a few days, maybe a few weeks out of the year - if that. Unless I want to leave the area between October and April, of course.   In which case, probably my hoodie won't hook me up.  (There is nothing that drives me more bonkers than seeing kids dropped off to school in driving rain wearing cotton hoodies without so much as an umbrella... )

3) You could make a whimsical coat.  Or a cheap coat.  Or ... well, why so classic, why are you messing with the hand tailoring, why put so much time and effort and cash in?  Because I'm planning to have this coat for at least a decade, if not more.  Even if (please!) I lose a ton of weight, I can take this coat in... and since it fits my proportions, that might not matter if I wear a really fluffy sweater or two underneath.

4)  All the other girls have one.  Yeah.  I'll 'fess up.  Part of why is the simple joy of taking on a big challenge and making something impressive.  An overcoat can be made amazing if you choose your own lining and details.  And I'd NEVER spend the kind of cash on myself that a coat like this would cost if I bought it.  (Frankly I'd probably balk at spending the amount of money I've spent just on supplies).

5)  Fit.  Something like this ... fit properly... to me... yeah, that's a big deal.

So.  I spent an hour doing hand-tailoring today.   It was soothing ... and frustrating, because I looked up and said, "I've spent that long and I only have this to show?"  But that's okay.  Hair canvas has a certain gravitas.
I just felt chatty tonight... winding down before bed.  :)

Chicken broth in the crockpot

If I buy organic chicken, I save the bones for broth.  But it's been too hot to make broth on the stove... so I put this in the crockpot and left it.  Worked well - and I got a much longer simmer than I'd get on the stove, which means more lovely minerals in the soup for us!  (More than one soup, I thin it down and flavor it).

Directions:

Take your chicken carcasses, a head of garlic (take the root off), some bay leaves, a bit of pepper - and I threw in some tarragon.  All dry spices, this is gonna boil and boil and boil some more.  Throw all in a crockpot.  Add water until mostly covered.  Lid up, turn on low.



Leave it for a while.  This one went 24 hours.  Love a crockpot, yes I do.  Going to use this with beef bones, yes I am.

Strain the broth out, keep the bits.

Put the broth in the fridge, this will separate the fat easily.  You can keep it if you want, it's organic, right?

Fish the bits of meat out of the strained bits, refrigerate.

Then make your soup.  :)  I'm going to put a bit of kale, some wild rice mix, mushrooms, celery, carrot and onion in mine.   Later.  ;)

........
Nothing to show on the coat for a while.  Spent three hours yday finishing the hand work on the other five buttonholes and putting the hair cloth on the back of one of the fronts.  Will put the second piece of hair canvas on the second front today.  Yes, I could use fusible interfacing, but hair canvas has more presence.   Anyway I want to play with the shaping a bit with the collar.  It's fun to shape the cloth with your stitches.  Feels a bit magical.  Stitches and steam, you'd be amazed what you can do with wool with stitches and steam.

This is fun but really, you can see a pattern piece covered with Z shaped stitches.  Not too exciting.

Onward!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bound Buttonholes

I don't work with wool often.

I don't make many tailored garments.

Jackets?  Um.  No, not really.

Thus, I've done three sets of bound buttonholes.  One for my green jacket a la Gertie, one for the red, and one for the ivory linen bolero (which I totally flubbed).

None of my experiences was anything like "fun" or "easy" - and that last set of bound buttonholes *almost* had me committing to hand-worked buttonholes for my coat.  Only DH (and my admitted lack of ability in handsewing) convinced me to give it another go.

I think it's totally unfair that something that makes or breaks your garments *entire* look - the whole, "does this look professional, or does this look homemade" is 1) do it right the first time or else 2) done on the first step.  I've not even gotten to know my coat yet, why do I have to play with fire?  -sigh-

So, I pulled out the books.  I have three good "how to sew" books.  A couture sewing book, the Vogue sewing book, and an old 60s era home-sewing book (which takes for granted an amazingly high level of skill).  Vogue proved the winner... bigtime.  Another resource was my incessant reading of blogs - I was reading over at Lilacs and Lace, and the bound buttonhole queen was discussing how she does hers and I saw ... I saw... THREAD TRACING.

Thread tracing and machine basting the heck out of *everything* has made all the difference (well, with the Vogue instructions) and I think, I *think* I might have beaten the bound buttonhole at long last.  We'll see... I have the handstitching phase to do on five more!

..........
Fun with blogging.  Maeve was full of all kinds of good advice about buttons, so of course I needed to take a picture of the buttons I'd safetypinned to my jacket to decide on placement.  And then I decided, "hm.  This won't do - I need to put the lapel and collar on or she won't get the full effect".  Whereupon I found out that my top button needed to come down and in - it was hidden under the lapel!

So I'm really pleased that I took that picture... well, this picture... (before and after).  Thanks, God!

Lots of measuring and fiddling today.  I dunno, but I think this just might go pretty quickly, now that I've started at all.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally. We have a stack of bits.

First I'd like to say that I am super grateful to all the time I have spent crying and moaning and learning to alter patterns.  When it came time to making my sleeve a two-piece sleeve, which I've never done before, and the instructions said, "cut here and..." it was a breeze.  I think a craftsperson is allowed to enjoy their skill, and that moment pleased me.

Second.  Well, I got it done!  Having done the pattern changes to the outer coat previously, today I started by making the changes to the lining and facing bits of the coat, truing up any odd bits, and making sure my pattern pieces were perfect and ready to go.

Jo wanted to know if I was super nervous.  Yes, at first I was.  Lots of tension, especially while I was making the changes to the lining bits.  But then... well, I've made how many muslins of this coat?  I was ready.  (Still stressful, you know how it is - you have to get everything just right before you cut... for every single layout).

I keep calling this (and occasionally other patterns) "fabric pigs".  Today I took a picture of what a "fabric pig" looks like in the wild... (I used the blank space for collars and such, it wasn't wasted, but there is a big pile of triangles on the floor of my cutting area right now - I'll have to sort it out later and see what's usable and what not).

Thought you guys would like to see the lining, because it's awesome.  Also, fabric pigs sometimes have to be cut on the flat instead of folded over and doubled.  Blergh.

I cut haircloth too, which you can see in this picture, of my big pile of done!  (The lining is the stuff with the weird stripes on the back, the haircloth is the beige-y grey stuff).

So.  That was most of my day, along with a haircut for 10yo, grocery shopping and the normal stuff.  There's a hot bath in my future!

Hope you're having fun.................

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sleeves for Maeve

Thanks for pestering me to make the sleeves better, Maeve.

I actually *used* some of the tricks I know... and I ended up with a sleeve that I knew fit as soon as I put it on (well away from any mirrors).

I was trying to put in an elbow dart, which looked odd... but ended up taking a tuck out at the elbow (instead of taking the extra length out at the wrist).  That helped enormously.  And then I made it into a two-piece sleeve  - which allows for better fitting and a button detail at the cuff.

Adjusted the shoulder to the bit I'd already done, only properly... and I have a sleeve that inserted without gathers.  This bodes well for the final run and a smooth sleeve cap (a puckered cap is a tell-tale sign of homemade goods).

I need to take out the extra inch I'd put in on the front, it's too much.  Then *one* row of three buttons down, for a slightly asymmetrical line (always flattering on me - I drape my belts at that line) and some hem/cuff detailing and we're GTG.

In other words, I think I might cut fabric tomorrow.

GULP.


Ignore the slight flop at the top of the shoulder, I'm not wearing a sleeved garment underneath.  I'm pretty sure that will fill in nicely with a sweater, which we will all assume I'd be wearing underneath an overcoat.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sleeves on the muslin

I got my final muslin put together.  I put an extra 1/2" on the already 1" extra on the shoulders, which was too much, so then I took it off.

I'm wondering about the scale of the collar here - seems a bit small (remember the seam allowances.  Seems about right as it is - I think I"ll add some width).  Not sure what's going on with the back collar - I've got a nice "roll line" going - and I'm not sure I want to have quite that much roll line quite this early in the game.  Must look at instructions and pictures on envelope *carefully*.

Anyway.  Got it finished, took some pix.  Put it on Dolly, and am going to leave it there to marinate for a bit while I put some more work into the peasant blouse.  Working the neck embroidery now.

Pix - please feel free to complain about the fit, I'd rather have a word of caution now than be less than satisfied when all is said and done.

Definitely buttons have to happen... now, should there be a belt too?  (This pattern is a fabric pig, but I have a LOT of fabric, a belt would be easily gotten).


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peasant Blouse

This is the blouse I"m experimenting with, to see what my heirloom machine will do, and to see what I can run up that might be salable for the prices I'd ask...

I made the sleeves, then assembled the body of the chemise/peasant blouse.  Next up is the embroidery around the neck to keep it gathered, and then ???? We'll have to see.

Just thought you'd enjoy.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Why do these clothing posts take so long?

1)  Nibbled to death by ducks

2)  Fitting

We've talked about #2 before, right?  I don't fit anything out of the package.

I took my muslin to my ASG meeting on Saturday for constructive criticism.  The ladies there told me I needed to give myself a bit more ease in my back/side princess seams, widen my shoulders by a good inch (!!) and drop the armscye a bit.  (Glory be, it was too high - almost never happens).

Spent some time this afternoon making what are hopefully the last changes to my main pattern pieces.

A couple of pictures of my poor slashed, spread, taped and abused pattern for your amusement.



I'm hoping that the next muslin will be the last muslin - I am making it full length and will thread-trace the hems, and will also cut the collar to make sure it matches up and is in proportion to my figure.  (If I'm making a custom garment and going to all this trouble, there's little point in not checking that sort of thing - I'm 5'2" so there might be adjustments.  Might not.  But there's only one way to tell!

Someone remind me to buy surgical tape.  Regular tape doesn't iron... and I'm out of papertape.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nibbled to death by ducks

SuperSlavisWife and Elspeth challenged me to do a week in the life of me.  (Here:  http://hearthtobelovely.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/a-week-in-the-life-of-me/ if you want it).

I only put the thing up over at HHH because I wanted to make it easier to have a convo.  Usually householdy stuff is here.



What's interesting is the various fallout.

1) I tried really hard to impress imaginary people and stressed myself out.  "What's the next task, can't let the side down!"

2) I noticed that my theoretical schedule and my real life weren't meshing well.  That's useful, and I need to look at that more closely.  It's very very easy to devalue the things I hold dearest to take care of the ducks that nibble and/or things that I think make me look like a better person.

It's tricky for me.  I am a person whose energy-source is time spent in nature, alone... and whose deepest desire is to work creatively.  And on paper I value those things, but emotionally, I feel like the time I spend on "me" is essentially selfish time - it's hard to devote myself to that time without feeling like I'm leaving things undone.  (And I need to watch my phone time - I can't sew on the phone, though I can clean up a storm.... at some point I need to say, "enough!" and put down the duster and start running my sewing machine).

But then a week or two goes by and I hardly touch my machine, I don't get out in nature, and I feel blobby.  I'm not Candy... I don't actually *like* cleaning.  I clean because it needs to be done, and I can do it on autopilot.  And I value an orderly and beautiful space.  Can't have flowers on the dining room table if you can't find the dining room table under the debris!  

Well, BB said you needed a priority list, and I think it's time to think that out a bit.... perhaps I'll do that over at HHH.  I do my best thinking while "talking", after all!  :D


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pretty Things

Elspeth was talking about learning to crochet and how good it is to make pretty things after a hard day maintaining order amidst chaos.

Yes, yes, a million times yes.  This used to be the old way of doing things, and as I (admittedly) sit here behind my computer screen ... I mourn the restful evenings with a pretty bit of thread in hand.

For you, dear friend:


My grandma made doilies after her hard days as a farm wife.  For heaven's sakes, don't be insane like yours truly and try to start teaching yourself to crochet here.  (Yes, I did.  Really.  See:  Why I don't know how to crochet).   This is one of a pair, it's meant to be starched up in a ruffle (there goes a couple of hours of work, just with the starching) and put under a lamp.

I remember my other grandma sitting in her easy chair, chilling out with Grandpa while he watched sports on TV, working some cross-stitch or needlepoint.  I have rugs that she made in those evenings, and a lovely Christmas tablecloth covered with poinsettias.

If you've got the eyesight sufficient to see across a few thousand miles, you can catch my husband working in the garage on something fiddly after a long day at work.  It's *satisfying*.

Creation, beauty - it's not always 'work'.  Sometimes it's just being part of making the world a nicer place.

Ping (but it doesn't work on blogspot):  http://lovingintheruins.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/stop-and-stare/

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quick Recipe Post: Tsardust Sriracha Jicama Slaw

Maeve inspired me to play with some jicama slaw ... do some things other than just cabbage.   I just got out of the kitchen, this is AMAZING.  Can't want to nom it up at dinner time.  Must write it down, so I don't forget what I did!  (Sorry, Maeve - it has nutmeg in the Tsardust spice... but you could eliminate that no prob).

Ingredients

4 carrots, peeled
1 jicama root
2 large honeycrisp apples
Tsardust Seasoning (Penzeys - they sent it to me as a free inclusion with my last order) (about 1 tsp)
Sriracha Sauce (about 2tbsp)
Mayonnaise (about a cup)
3 small but juicy oranges, juiced (probably about 1/2 cup)
Salt and black pepper (just a tad)

Grate the jicama, carrots and apples into a big bowl. In a little bowl, mix up the mayo, orange juice, sriracha sauce.  Whisk until smooth and you like the flavor combo.  Pour liquid over veggies, stir well.  Add dry spices until you're happy.  Stir well.  Refrigerate, serve.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Embroidered Sleeves

What?  Where has Hearthie been?  And why isn't this post about her coat?

Well, Hearth has been insanely busy helping move her BFF in four doors up, and doing life stuff.

The coat, which fit so nicely without sleeves, didn't fit very well WITH sleeves.  So I'm going to make some modifications and take it to my ASG meeting next week.  I really want to get the fit solidly nailed - and it's not.  It fits well so long as I don't try to lift my arms.  Oops.  I don't make too many sleeved garments (you've noticed?) living in SoCal, so ... um... yeah.  I need input.

But there's a project I've had my eyes on for some time.  I've been wanting to make beautiful chemises for sale on Etsy.  I'm hoping to get my skills up to making nightgowns for trousseaux - delicate and fragile and covered with embroidery, ribbons and lace.  Well - I'll get there.  But I also love a good peasant blouse/chemise.  Either for everyday or for Ren or costume or as a nightgown.

My machine will do an amazing number of  stitches that look like heirloom embroidery ... at least the straight stuff, lol.  So.  Practice.

I started work on my first highly-embroidered piece today.  Pintucks (though I decided to turn them inside after looking at them), a ribbon, four colors of thread... yep, I had fun.  It took me the afternoon to just make one sleeve.  Which is okay.  I never wanted to make anything mass-produced.  Art pieces all the way, baby.

Would you like to see it?  I'm pretty pleased.


Now - to make a matching sleeve, then sew up the rest of the blouse and attack *that* with embroidery too!  Muauahahaha!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

First Quick Muslin

The torso fit worked pretty well off the books - I took out a CHUNK at the base of my neck (guess all that T-Tapp got rid of the fat pad there) but basically the modifications I made are good.  No FBA needed, to my shock.


(Yes I could do a nicer job of sewing my muslins.  :p)

Decisions made - one nice button and I'll want to make a tie.  (That's a bathrobe tie, I thought it would be about the same thickness as wool).

I'm fighting with the sleeve at the moment.  I never make long sleeves so the extra room that the pattern said was there was NOT enough room if I want to, say, move my arms at all.  :p

When I get things pretty much how I like them, I'll add the collar.  I want to make sure it's proportional to my short self.

If you think I've gone off track and you live where it, say, gets under 50 degrees for more than an hour or two?  Feel free to leave comments!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Much Delayed Coat Project

I dug through my boxes of patterns....

Did some ironing of paper.....

And de-taping (what was I thinking?  Wait, no, I know... so glad I know a better way to fit princess seams now!)

And pinning...

And anyway it wasn't five billion degrees in the patio today...

So - we have the beginnings of the Much Delayed Coat Project


Doesn't look impressive - but I've figured out the following:  1) I want to increase the size of the front piece by 2" and the side-front by 1" (on both sides).  2) I have committed to the ankle-length version of this coat (yes, I bought enough fabric).  I neither need nor want to increase the rest of the coat (well, at least until I muslin it - that's what those are for).  I'm 5'2" - doing increases where I need increases is a better plan than starting from a bigger overall pattern.  Everything *else* goes out of whack.

Next up, I'll muslin from about hip up - just a quickie, to see how much of an FBA I'll need after I add that much room to the aforementioned pieces.  After I plot out the FBA, I'll make a full length muslin, to check proportions of everything.

Here's hoping the weather stays cool!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sorta-been Sewing

The original dress, in aqua with purple flowers
As you know, my sewing space is in my patio.  My enclosed, but still entirely not-temperature-controlled patio.  In the winter, my night sewing gets curtailed.  Right now - in the hottest month of the year - I'm finding it difficult to go out there at all.

Ne'ertheless, I managed to finish 10yo's last "school dress" for the fall.  Finally.

I frankensteined the original dress off of a chemise pattern, a cool sleeve, and a skirt ruffle.  But she didn't like the sleeve - it flips over her shoulder all the time.  Okay for an adult, annoying for a kid.

So I redesigned the sleeve into a tulip sleeve.  And it fits into the arm-hole okay, but what I didn't realize is that because the armhole sits so far back on the body, the sleeves can be a wee bit awkward since even though these are openish sleeves, they're not the mere flounces that I was originally working with.

Eh.  That means my next dress for her will have to be drafted from scratch.  Something I was trying to avoid, on a body that is growing rapidly.   (She grew 2" this summer).  It is what it is - her proportions are NOT those of a woman, but she's substantially larger than the largest "child" size.  This is why I make my (and her) clothing.  :p

Not-being-perfect and awesome also demotivated me.  :p

Oh well.  They're good dresses.  She'll wear them, she'll grow out of them.  They're modest and flattering and comfortable.  And I learn.


First off:  I rummaged through the scrap drawers, and found this blue butterfly fabric that I'd used for a dress for her in kindergarten.  I didn't have enough to cut the skirt too, so I used leftovers from my blue eyelet blouse.  Essentially this was a free dress.

Second dress:  10yo picked this fabric herself.  It's a slightly stretchy quilting-weight cotton (I know, weird), but it suits her very well.  Self-fabric for the skirt.... the interesting detail here is the pink binding on the sleeve edges.

The first and second dresses were made with quilting cotton, and they're both a lot stiffer than the third dress.  To be fair to myself, I drafted this dress to be made in voile, and the voile dress DOES look a ton better than the first two.  I'm still working on this whole, "must use exactly the right weight fabric" thing.  :p


The third dress was used with some cotton voile I picked up at Joanne's (yes, they do have a small clothing-appropriate fabric selection).  I had more fun with this - used smaller pintucks, to reflect the smaller print and the lighter fabric (actually all three dresses have different sizes and spacings for the tucks), used embroidery to finish the hem and sleeves, and an interesting ribbon at the hip.

So - I'm done for now with little-girl dresses.  I need to draft and create some little-girl shorts to wear under dresses, but for now - pax.  Onward ... to more challenging waters.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Old-School Way of Life

A lot of the time, I think that everyone knows everything that I know, or at least the things I take for granted.  And then I bump up against the fact that some of the things I know have gone so out of vogue that they're radical new ideas in health or homemaking.

So.  My mom is old enough that she was a kid before they had the polio vaccine.  It used to be called the summer sickness.  My grandma *enforced* mandatory summer napping, to help reduce her kids' chances of getting sick.

*I* remember being sent **to bed** whenever I was sick with anything much more than the sniffles.  Do you remember that rule?  If you're sick enough to stay home, you're sick enough to stay in bed.  And in bed I would stay, until I was back up to "sniffles".  It wasn't under discussion (although mom would deliver fresh lemonade and homemade chicken soup).  I also stayed home from school until I was well.  It was totally normal to be out of school for a week because you had the flu.  (It was also normal not to have everyone in a class out sick.  Yeah.  Concept - you didn't bring your sick self out in public).

I remember being stuck outside in the sun, to bake out a cough.  And being made to get fresh air and sunshine.  I learned, "two vegetables for every supper, one orange, one green, one raw, one cooked" at my mother's knee.

So when folks insist on going to work sick as dogs or won't take rest or won't get a bit of sun or won't eat their veggies.... it drives me absolutely bonkers.

Sorry for sitting on this vital info folks - I thought you knew!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tonight's Menu: Lettuce wraps, rice noodles and Thai peanut sauce

I just fed six adult appetites (my kids eat a lot, lol) and a toddler on a couple of packets of ground chicken, a couple of heads of lettuce, and a couple of packets of rice noodles.  Three of those appetites were adult men, and all of us did hard work all day - either moving, at work, or yardwork.  Everyone *raved*, and it was a very easy meal on a hot day.  So - sharing.  I don't really measure, so uh... work with me.

Lettuce wraps (chicken):

3lb ground chicken
1/2 white onion, diced fine
3 stalks celery, diced fine
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 carrots, grated
Spices and yumminess... sriracha sauce (4tbsp?), soy sauce, hoisin sauce, black pepper, salt, garam masala, worchester sauce, sesame oil  .... I just put it in until it tasted good.  I know, helpful.

I fried the white onion and the chicken in some sunflower oil, then added the spices.  When the chicken was mostly cooked, I added the celery and the scallions.  When it was completely cooked, I tossed in the grated carrots and let the ambient heat cook them a teensy bit.

Two heads lettuce - I used green leaf lettuce, and I'm going to put about half a head of lettuce away.  You wash and separate the lettuce leaves.  Drain/dry them.

Spoon chicken mix into lettuce leaves - three leaves with 1/4c mix seemed to fill up the average bear.  The not-average bears went back for seconds.

Rice noodles:  Follow package directions.  I got the threads, you just have to stick them in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain.  I tossed the noodles with a bit of peanut sauce, then served individual puddles of peanut sauce for ... well.  It's peanut sauce.

Thai Peanut Sauce:  My family alleges that they will eat this if I pour it over bricks.  It's easy to make, just messy.  I make this giant thing of peanut sauce because I could never figure out what to do with the rest of the can of coconut milk before it went off.  It freezes very nicely, and it's an awesome thing to have in your bag of tricks.  Anyway, we all nom on this like mad creatures.  And yes, you really need the fish sauce.  I hate fish... use the fish sauce.

Peanut Sauce

1 can coconut milk
4 cups natural peanut butter (get it at the whole foods store, they have it in little plastic tubs)
1 1/3 cup water
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
8 tbsp brown sugar
8 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp tamarind paste OR 4 Tbsp lime juice (fresh)
4 tsp sriracha sauce (or more, this amount gives it flavor but no bite)

Blend all in a food processor.  Or use a stick blender.  Whatever.  Just make sure the garlic gets blended and the rest gets mixed thoroughly, it's all pretty liquidy so it goes together in a very straightforward fashion.  Freeze the extra, you'll get tired of it in a few days (I know, seems amazing to me too - but experience shows you only want one good wallow in the heaven of peanut sauce/wk or so).

So that was dinner.  I fried up some chicken, threw in some spices, chopped up a few veggies, washed some lettuce and defrosted some peanut sauce.  Healthy, relatively cheap, and everyone loved it.

I share.  :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

When life hands you lemons

Life is going to be interesting around these parts for a while.  So - how do you cope when you are expecting a high-stress season in your life?

Fill up the bucket.  Don't fritter your life away.  Make conscious choices.  (And God.  First, last, always).

Fill up the bucket.
-  Do the things you know you need to do to take care of yourself.  Take exercise.  Eat right.  Get plenty of sleep.  Spend time with your spouse/kids.  Spend time alone.  You know all that stuff you know you are supposed to do, and you kinda/sorta do it?  Do eet.  No excuses.
-  There will be days when you hit up the unhealthy life-crutches (hot fudge, I'm talking about you). Reduce these to the absolute minimum.  If this is going to be a stressful season, not a stressful day, you cannot afford the side effects.
- Feel free to use healthy crutches liberally.  Chamomile tea?  You betcha.  Vitamin B?  Yep.  Long hot baths with lovely bath salts?  Yeah, baby.  Treat yourself with kindness.

Don't fritter your life away.
-  Figure out how much time is okay to flick-flick-flick through the social media - and limit yourself.  The answer to your stress and your problems is not on facebook.  Or popcap.  Or WoW.
-  Do, do the things that are important to you, work on your goals.  Did you want to learn paper mache?  Well, find a book or a class.  Did you want a room clean?  Stress is *excellent* for cleaning power.  Can be slow to start, but once you get going... there's definitely a certain satisfaction in scrubbing things.
- Don't just sit there.  It doesn't help you to sit and fret.  Or sit and pretend that you're not fretting.

Make conscious choices.
- So how are you going to work realio trulio extra veggies and miles on your treadmill into your life?  I dunno - but I'm sure that you do.  Sit down, think it out, insert it into your life.  Don't be mean about it, figure out how to slide these good things in sensibly, sensitively, and joyfully.
- Think about the things that will help you cope with whatever the stressful situation is.  Long-term move?  Research the new neighborhood.  Start packing and sorting as early as possible.  Illness in the family?  Start making freezer food.
- Find and make connections with folks in your circle.  Most folks will help at least a little, especially if you know exactly what you want them to do and have thought it out before hand so you're asking the person who is *always* at the store to pick up a spot of extra milk and ask the neighbor with five kids to drop yours off with hers rather than vice versa.
- Be organized.  Be prepared.  If this is a season, do as much thinking-ahead as you can.  You can't catch every eventuality, but if you've got a "this day just sucks completely" plan in place... hey.  It's better to have an umbrella if it looks like rain, right?

.......
I do have a few pictures to post eventually.  I sewed up 2/3 dresses for my daughter, not that I'm too excited about them.  The last one is ready to assemble - it's been too hot to sit in my outdoor patio to sew.  And 14yo's room will have pix eventually too... when he's done sorting and decorating.  :)  Patience!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Sweetest Friend

I know there is a section of the universe that finds it annoying when grown women refer to other grown women as their BFFs.  I am officially excepting myself from that annoyance... I've been best friends with the same gal for nearly thirty years.  

When I say, "BFF" I want you to hear "heart-sister".  K?  Or twin, my husband tells me that the two of us share a brain.  We've laughed, cried and danced together.  Skipped through the mall singing "We're off to see the wizard" together (no, we weren't drunk).  We were bridesmaids at each others' weddings and held hands while we had our babies.  She's diapered my kids, I've diapered hers.

When she had to move away, it took the last person an entire semester to stop calling me by her name.  We kept up the friendship, even across nearly the entire country.  Soon she'll live only four houses away from me.  I can't wait!

I love my dear sweet K almost as much as I love my husband or my kids.  She's *my* K, and we come as a matched set!  (The husbands know this, poor husbands).



She's so beautiful, she's always reminded me of a Waterhouse mermaid.


 If you wanted someone lovely inside, lovely outside, you couldn't do better than K.  I don't know anyone who dislikes her, and if I did I'd consider that an indication of dangerous insanity.   She has a strong gift of mercy.  She's just beautiful!

I'm feeling sentimental about her today, so I am sharing someone truly TRULY lovely with you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just a small moment of squee

So I was surfing the new McCalls patterns... and they actually had some cute, relevant, different patterns for the younger woman.  I was PSYCHED.  Not to mention I think I finally found the right skirt for my peplum jacket a la Gertie.  (Hey, that red wool is special - I'm not going to put it together with something less than awesome).

Then I saw that the two patterns that I was so enamored of were made by the same designer - a designer that I've got a fitting class on Craftsy to work though (I've watched it through, and it's good/has a different way of going about the changes, a way that makes soooo much more sense if you have a lot of odd changes to make instead of just one area of your body to change).  (I should work it through before hitting my paintbrush fabric dress...)

So - someone with some interesting and different ideas about fitting is coming on the scene, and she's making crazy and interesting patterns out of the Big Four ($2 on sale at Joannes about once/month if you're keeping track).  I couldn't be happier.  Oh wait.  I scroll down her blog and she's putting that fitting advice in a book.  Really?  REALLY?  A book?

Yeah, I know.  Fangirl moment.  But of someone whose name I didn't recognize, though I did recognize the face.

So here's the coat I think is awesome (though I think it would be better as a coat dress.  Probably because even one coat like this is insane here in SD county, and I'm planning to make a classic Vogue version):

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/177610779029699413/

And here's the skirt with some serious potential (check the way it's flowing):

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/177610779029699422/

I kinda like that top too.  Peplums are my friend - anyone with a bit too much tummy will feel the love.

Anyway.  I'll have pix of my son's room at some point this week...  we painted his room this weekend.  TOTALLY different than 10yo's room.  Totally.

Monday, August 18, 2014

And one in turquoise

With the prettier of the two statement necklaces, for Maeve.  ;)

The rest of me is definitely not ready for prime time, but hey.  BFF came over and I hadn't tried on the dress yet so I put it on for her and then I took a picture for you!  :D


I know.  So much could be improved if I wouldn't take pictures at this hour, or would wait until I had makeup or did something other than ponytail my hair up.  But... I guess you take 'em as you get 'em.

Anyway.  I sewed my seams at 6/8" instead of 5/8" (for yoja, and the 1/8th inch) which tightened things nicely except at the small of my back.  The way things are going - either with weight loss or my recent habit of lacing up all the time because my neck has been killing me - I'll be taking this in soon enough anyway and I can snug up that lower back at that point.

Won't this look too cute with a denim jacket?

Next up is back to school sewing.  Tra la!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A little girl's bedroom



10yo's bedroom has needed re-doing for ages, but it's always a zoo in there, so I look in, blanche, and back out slowly.   This summer we've tackled it for good!  (14yo's room is next).

She got rid of ever so much stuff... I know that's hard to believe, but she did!

So - new curtains, you saw the fabric for those.  I wired fake peonies to the curtain clips (very easy to do) to bring the pink up top - would look simply dreadful if I'd not done that.  Purple walls.  New comforter and sheets - she didn't like my light pink vintage quilts.  And a chair - to encourage her to sit there and read.

Hopefully her new and organized room will help her have a newly organized school year!

I think you may be able to identify this as a girl's room from orbit.  ;)



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Big Reveal

I wish I could take better pictures... .or that I wasn't exhausted/sore right now and had a better face.... and no, I don't know what's up with the bolero seam, maybe I need to press it again???

Dress without bolero:

Dress with bolero:

The bolero was evil to make and I'm never making one from this pattern again - ever - and I'll regale you with the gory details.  But for now, the sprite and I have gotten ready for Date Night with Daddy... so you'll have to wait.

I'll be pleased about the dress in a bit.  :)