Friday, March 28, 2014

Sewing Notes: Hemming

Standard Sewing Instructions:  Hang any skirt with a bias hem out overnight (at least) or 24 hours (better) so that the fabric falls the way it's going to end up falling before you hem it - that way you don't end up with an uneven hem.

Why do you do this?  Because after 36 hours, this is what your hemline looks like on any loosely-woven or fine or sheer or true-bias-cut fabric.  This was evened up with scissors before I hung it.

My method for hemming really long skirts:

1) I stand in the hallway in front of the only full-length mirror in my house, sticking pins in and checking for evenness.
2) I take it out to the ironing board and true that up a bit - when you get it out there, you can see any lumps and bumps in your arc.  Iron it, pin it.
3)  New last night - I run a 3/8" hem from the folded edge, at the longest stitch length, then check to see if it's straight
4)  Trim excess fabric, fold up the hem, and sew.

It made a nice even hem and was much less heartache.  I used a basting stitch to run that first trial, just in case - but it worked.  

I did hem this by machine (!!) just because I'm forever putting my heel in my hand-hems and ripping them out.  Anyway linen likes topstitching and the blouse that goes with has some, so I figured we were good to go.

Only weird thing on this skirt is the hip seam wiggles.  I don't really know what's up with that - the zipper side is interfaced.  I might put in a stay-ribbon at the waist, see if it helps the hang.

Anyhow.  That's how I hem - and that's why you hang your skirts out overnight or more when dealing with certain fabrics/certain cuts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sea Green... Seafoam... aqua green?

Pick a name for this color, please?

I cut these three garments out on Sunday morning.

The green linen was a length for the skirt - but it had enough extra bits (unsurprisingly, garments that consist of two giant arcs are fabric-piggy) that God poked me and I gave a try to squeezing in the blouse (princess seamed blouses, on the other hand, can be quite fabric-frugal) - so I ended up with two garments for the price of one.  -pleased face-

If you're disturbed by this amount of green (my husband was), take heart.  I will probably NOT wear them together.  :)  I have plenty of items that will go with both.  This will likely form the heart of my summer-summer wardrobe, as this is a very light-weight linen, and the clothing items that match it most closely are also very light-weight.

One really random blouse:  I've had this length of fabric in my stash for some time, it was near the linen.  When I grabbed that out, I grabbed this out too.  It was a cheapie from the remnant table, and I had a trial tshirt to make with it.  Except - I HATE working with knits.  I had my experiment a couple of years back and ... I hate it.  Must be better if you have a serger.  I don't.  Don't want one.  I'll just skip the knits, thanks.
But that said - this is such a light weight fabric, that I thought, "well - I have a woven pattern that might work.  How about that peasant blouse?  It's a quick sew - and the worst that happens is I lose a $5 piece of fabric that I'm not using anyway."

Weirdly, it goes with the seafoam green (although I'm unsure about pairing it with *linen*)  - and it obviously goes with denim.  So - a win, if not a "wardrobe basic" at least I have a tshirt sort of shirt to get dirty in.

So - a very good three days at the sewing machine.  :D

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Looking Like Myself & grad pic

I made that second blouse... it's eyelet paisley cotton in ivory.  I'm so going to wear this to death.  :)

Looking ridiculously like myself here, in my rose skirt.

 Here's a close up of the shirt (someone on FB asked me - so here you go)

And here's me getting my Intern certificate from Pastor Mike last night.  :)

I came to a shocking realization .... I live somewhere warm, I wear substantial foundation garments, and I always wear secondary garments between my foundations and my blouses.... easy enough to add slips to my repertoire... and THAT means I can stop lining everything I make, which makes for less expensive, more practical makes, and faster sewing.

I cut three garments today... a basic skirt in seafoam green, a matching shirt (same pattern as above) because God poked me in the shoulder repeatedly and said, "you have enough scraps", and a peasant blouse in a lightweight knit that had been hanging around a stash drawer for over a year now.  I'm not going to make that tshirt - I can't be bothered to sew tshirts, so why not see if it works?

And then I hit the fabric store.

So, if you're missing me for the next couple of weeks, I'm trying to fill up my empty closet and my daughter's.  Well.  If you're missing me *elsewhere*, as I'm sure I'll pop in here with clothing pix as they come off the presses.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Girl Dresses

Yes, my design worked.  :)  It's a tad loose, but in growing girls, that's a plus.

So, we have a flutter sleeve with a pintucked bodice (with beading lace/ribbon that is functional, and sewn down) and a small flounce of a skirt.

Here's the first dress, in a "voile" that is more of a light weight quilting cotton.  PERFECT colors for 9yo..

 Here's the second dress, in a linen (or linen-like material, I forget).  It has fewer pintucks - I wanted them in scale with the print, so the above dress has sixteen tucks, this one has eight - and they're twice as wide.  I'm going to need to sew her a quick slip (she's nine, it will be a very quick slip) to go under this, it's a bit sheer.

Good work for this week.  And I have a second blouse for myself, cut, interfaced and ready to sew....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recipe Post: Italian Breakfast

I think I wrote about working with the groundskeeping crew at church, and how the Italian guy who runs it feeds everyone a gourmet breakfast?  Well, I was taking mental notes as I chopped up vegetables, and I made my own version this morning.  It *has* been approved by the familia, and there's a good chance of me making this for dinner some day (with roasted veg for a side) too.  It's a stovetop fritatta, if you want to put a label on it, I'll just label it one of the best healthy recipes to cross my path in a WHILE.

The principle:  Use a ton of yummy fresh veggies, fry 'em up slow and low with olive oil and garlic and onion, throw some scrambled egg on top.  Serve with meat and strong, sweet coffee.  And salsa.  Definitely some tomato based bite goes well with this food.

My take:  You see here - an onion, too much garlic, three small carrots, half a small head of broccoli, three leaves of swiss chard (including stems), maybe 10 dandelion green leaves, two small blue potatoes, dried oregano, dried onion, salt and pepper.

Saute the onion in a ton of olive oil (remember you're going to make scrambled eggs in this pan).  Add potatoes, carrots, garlic - you know, the hard stuff - when the onion gets soft and translucentish.  When those things are about half cooked, add the green things.  This isn't the usual flash fry I do with the green things, and that's why the usually bitter chard stems and dandelion greens taste so good.  Saute low and slow until everything is *thoroughly* cooked, then add your usual scrambled egg mix on top.

The Italian Man added bell pepper (delish - and adds a nice sweetness, but my hubs is allergic), mushrooms, celery, a few other types of green crunchy things... basically, you put good yummy food in the pan, you fry it up, and you add egg.

If you want to use it as a side dish, skip the egg.

I am not over stuffed but my body is singing a carol of happy nutrition to me.  "Ah, you have *fed* me".

Srsly, I'll be doing this again (soon, I have more dandelion greens) and very probably for dinner.


(Yes, this is how I write recipes.  A little of this, a little of that, cook it well...  Sorry, that's how I think in the kitchen.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frankenstein Design

I've been wanting to make something a bit more sophisticated and pretty for my 9yo daughter than what she'd gotten from her last dress.  I sketched something out (right) and put a frankenstein first draft together from bits and pieces of the patterns to the left.  

The body of the dress is from the chemise from the folkwear pattern - I think it would look just darling, with pintucks down the body to give her a little structure.  Flouncy sleeves and a flouncy skirt - very 30s.  Cute?  Hopefully!

I grabbed my stash of sheets and started cutting/stitching.  This is a very rough draft, designed to give me an idea of what needs to happen with the final form - and if this will work on her.  9yo don't need fine fitting, this will do just fine.  The big tucks are to indicate pintucks, the flounceskirt was too big, as were the sleeves - but of course these things will be adjusted if the whole idea seems to work.  

It's roughly about the same size as the last dress I made for her, so I think we might have a winner.  She's at AWANA now, so she'll have to try it on tonight.  :)

I hope this works, because the aqua voile covered with purple flowers will look smashing in this pattern.


Finally, a shirt win

Can you hear the angels singing?  If you could see my closet... well.

Anyway.  I'm going to go to the fabric store now.  There's some soft blousing that is calling my name.......

I will honestly never wear this untucked, I don't wear my shirts untucked as a rule.  But I wanted to show that it fits properly the whole way down.  ;)

Even on the side!

 And this picture is just for Velvet, since some of us wear bright colors in lieu of makeup.  'Cause I'm a BRAT.  But I wubbes oo anyway, V.  :D

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Corset cover/Camisole

For Anne, who wanted to know about this.

It's just a quick camisole/corset cover that I made from some lace I got at the discount fabric shop that I frequent.  I'd seen this: and when I found very similar lace... well, what was a girl to do?

But I didn't do nearly that nice a job making it.  I just wrapped it 'round my dress form and put a couple of bust darts in, buttons down the back, and folded up the hem to my waist.  Ribbons over the shoulder.

Things I found out:

1) If you're radically not the same size front and back, make separate front and back pieces.  My back is INCHES shorter than my front, this led to some hilarity in the hem area.

2)  Don't stress easy jobs, just do them.  I twittered around for a while not doing this, and it took me a couple of hours.

Oh, and the original is pigeon-waisted, which gives you that pouter-pigeon silhouette so coveted in the Edwardian era.  Not since, so that's why mine doesn't have the waist gathers.

Betsy doesn't have as small a waist as I do, so this wouldn't button, which leads to the odd hang.  Well.  Some of it.  Most of it is the whole, "My back and front are not the same size and I was being lazy".

Very wide darts from the waist.  If I'd put in side seams, I could have had some low side-seam darts.  But I didn't put in side seams.  Once is all I'll make that particular mistake.

For all of my laziness, this looks GREAT under my low-cut sweaters and under buttondowns, and that lace (and the extra room up top) covers up the top of my corset pretty well.  

I'm working away on my blouse, should have it done tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shirt Fitting

As I may have mentioned, I keep opening my closet, looking inside and saying, "Dang.  I need more shirts."  (I think I have five I wear... plus sweaters.  It was 80 degrees today...)

Looking for a cute shirt pattern -

I started with view A.  (Who wants a shirred shirt?  Not me.)  Theoretically I was a straight size F out of the box.  It's hard for me to figure out tissue sizing on princess seams, so I gave it a go.  Came out surprisingly well in the first draft.  (This is a sheet.  Always make a muslin.  You may remember it from making a muslin of a shirt for DH some time back).

Two changes to be made.  It didn't have quite enough room in the bust and it had a bit too much room in the back waist.  I gave a quick go to a slash (in the muslin) about where they always tell you to slash and spread the pattern for princess seamed alterations.  What do you know - a slash made it fit!  Wild.  I'm short but I am long in the torso, so I didn't make any length adjustments, except to compensate for the length I added in the bust by taking an equivalent amount out on the "lengthen/shorten" line.   (Yes.  Patterns over curvy bits are a mystery unto all of us).  (An inch, if anyone is interested).

The usual back-waist taper.
I put in those two pattern adjustments and voila! I have a shirt muslin that fits - not too tight, not too loose.  Body skimming.

So tomorrow or this week, I'll sew up the real deal.  If it works, you'll probably see a pile of them.  I've needed a cute easy to deal with shirt for *ages*.

I was worried about the sleeve length - but it looks cute in muslin.  Not nearly as short as shown.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Do more good things

I've been sorting out my head... and I notice that I enjoy any number of things that are extremely good for me, but I don't do them much.  These are things that are good for my soul, my body, or my mind... but I don't do them.

I'm going to do more good things.  Fun things.

My favorite organic grocery store is not much further away than my children's old school.  It is in easy walking distance.  My kids and I are going to start walking there once a week for the grocery shopping.   Because we can.  I'll get us all juices (they just opened a juice bar) and we'll have fun.

I adore long walks.  I need to train up for them... but I love them.

I love being outside.  Why not go outside more?

I love creating.  Why am I sitting at my computer desk when I could be sitting at my sewing machine?

Yes, there has to be balance - I can't exhaust myself (especially all at once) and then flop.  But -more good things-.  Nothing that I love to do - truly love to do, not idle fidgets to fill up time- is bad for me or anyone else.  Quite the contrary.

We spend a lot of time fussing about the negative things in our lives, boxing ourselves out and away.  Not that negative things don't have to go - but you have to put positive things IN.  Fill up with joy and idle entertainment tastes like cardboard.

More good things.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

So many thoughts

... and so little time.

Since this is at least partially a sartorial blog, here's my sartorial thought for the day.  Remember the butterflies and roses skirt?  The one I was seriously worried about being "way too much"?  Well, I have to stop thinking *anything* is too much.  I look dreadful when I stay safe and classic.  I look like myself when I just go for broke.  I don't think I wear that skirt but that it gets compliments... and that's helping me make some needed courage adjustments.

For my next make (after I finish my corset, which is on the home stretch), I'm making a shirt. I need shirts.  Decided to try out a new pattern, which should be flattering - I look good in mandarin collars, princess seams... and, well... I look good in color.

-put your sunglasses on now-

Yes.  Bright blue cotton with a polka dot texture (very large dots) and tiny, lipstick red trim.

If this works out as I see it in my head, I'll get a ton of use out of it.  If not, well... you won't miss me in a crowd.  :D