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):

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

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.  :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vintage without Whimsy

As my regular readers know, I'm all about a vintage silhouette.  I like the clothes of eras past - I think they're more flattering than the clothes made now.  But I don't want to have that vintage look - I don't want anyone stopping me, thinking I'm on my way to a costume gala.  (I run enough against the grain as is,  with the long skirts for everyday thing).  That's fine if that's you - I consider that look "vintage whimsy".

But how do you wear clothing made from 60yo patterns without looking like your clothing is antique?

- Accessories.  This is the biggest thing.  If you wear a pillbox hat or a fascinator, gloves, stockings, red lipstick and kitten heels, you're going to look vintage in blue jeans.  Accessories set the mood of an outfit.  So - pick modern accessories, a modern aesthetic.

- Fabric.  Speaking of aesthetics... if you make a dress from the 40s in a tiny floral print, it's going to look vintage.  If you make it in plaincloth, it will look entirely different.  There are vintage enthusiasts who hunt down vintage fabrics for their vintage makes - and there is a reason that they do this!

- Fit/Hemlines.  I do like the mid-century fit - it suits my body well.  But should I make up a lovely lace blouse from the Edwardian era... I'll skip the pouter-pigeon front that was so en vogue back then.   If I made a dress from the 70s (possible) it would be fit to wear over proper undergarments, not braless with a girdle.  This hits my beloved mid-century dresses straight in the hems - a calf-length silhouette was all the rage back then.  Tea-length gowns are friends to those with long, slim calves.  (Aka not me, not me if my weight was in the two-digit mark).  My latest dress would look oh-so-vintage in tea length but I made mine just past the knee.  I put my hems where they flatter me.

That's the key for vintage inspiration, IMO.  Take what the past has designed, and work it for you.  I'll never wear a 70s caftan, no matter how fond I am of seeing them on other women.  If something is oppressively vintage in style - either pair it with something modern or tone down the aspects of the style that are very vintage.   For instance, the 40s brought out some of the most fabulously detailed and interesting suits - but the collars and shoulder pads scream "times past".  So - tweak the collar ever so slightly and ditch the extreme shape of the shoulder.

And when you see something from times past that makes *you* swoon - snag it.  Snag it, wear it without apology, and own it!

No one will be the wiser........... ;)

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Finished, finished, finished.


I'd take a pic, but frankly I'm not getting into my corset and petticoat at 8pm just to model.  Sorry.  ;)  Maybe I'll make you wait until I finish the bolero?  -evil laughter-

I'm very proud of my work here....  not like you can tell much from the hanger picture.  But the things you can see that matter:
- invisible hem
- look at that drape!  I got her on grain
- seams?
- there's a side zipper?

The whole thing is meant to be so well done that it just organically exists.  -pleasedface-

 Here's another picture (in focus, lol) of her insides.  Really well-done clothing should be nice on the inside.  Nice enough you'd not be shamed if someone saw you wearing your clothes inside out.  (Confused, mind you - but not ashamed).

And since you were all just holding your breath with anticipation, I give you my daughter's curtain panels.  You'll be able to tell that a 10yo girl lives in her room, possibly from space.  S'okay, I talked her down from Hello Kitty.  Or pink skulls.  These (oddly) are denim, so the opacity that she was going for (so her father's daughter, her room is already really dark) is a go.  (I want you to picture this in an lavender bedroom.  Go ahead.)

HAD to go to fabric store

because 10yo needed curtains.

Found curtain fabric.  Pix later - it's in the wash.

But I walked by.  And I squeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaled.  I'd originally gotten this dress pattern for the cream linen, but it was just going to be TOO boring and stiff and classic on me in plain linen.

So.  Um.  I have been looking for a pretty, lightweight fabric that will drape and flow and ...

DH says it looks like someone ate a paint store and then vomited it up.  (Actually it's giant daisies, though I like the feathered effect so will cut it to show that rather than the daisies).  Harumph, say I.

Anyway.  We're painting a bedroom today and I'm not hemming but you still get pictures.  :D

Friday, August 8, 2014

Insides should be nice too...

I've put in the lingerie snaps (-grins at Maeve-) and was marking the waist stay so I thought I'd show off a teeeeny snap of the inside.

Just have to make the hem.

And the bolero.  ;)

This is the lining and that ribbon goes 'round the waist for add'l support.


I have Serious Shoe Issues.  It's the whole broken foot thing.  But it's been un-broken for six years now... and I want to wear pretty shoes, gosh darn it!  There's only so many sensible shoes that a gal can take.  And I've taken all of them.  ALL OF THEM.  There were combat boots, people.

Found out the other day that if the shoe fits properly, I can wear a heel.  But I tried a low heel and ... meh.  Then today I was at the shoe store with the kiddos (son is wearing a size 10 now) and well, I am making this pretty new dress and those shoes totally don't go with the dress... but they're awful purty and...

Well, it turns out that high arches wear higher heels more comfortably than low heels.

Even broken foots.

Oh, they're 3" heels, they're not COMFY.  But they're pretty comfy.  More so after I made them a squidge wider.  (Fear she with an awl and some sewing knowledge).

I'm happy.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Progress, and I have issues

1) I have issues.  I really like the texture of good fabric.  I know.  You're shocked.  But I was cutting fabric last night and there was this tidbit of linen on the floor and I kept stepping on it and it felt so cool and soft and lovely ... -ahem-

2)  I'm a dork 'cause I forgot that corduroy is a napped fabric and thus had to recut one of my pieces.  Fortunately I have a lot of cord.

So.  What's done?

I made the lining - I wasn't sure that the test hadn't stretched a squink, and anyway getting it back onto pattern paper was interesting so I thought I should make the lining before cutting into the good fabric.  I can always pick up more cheap batiste - not so much more of my lovely linen.  Good thing I did - I had to enlarge things a tad.  Not much, but a tad.  Caution pays!

Last night I cut the dress in the linen AND in the cord.  Because it's just that awesome, and I need two dresses.  Probably won't wear the cord for a few months, but it will be good to be hooked up.  It doesn't need lining, since it's opaque.  I do a ridiculous amount of pattern prep with fitting and whatnot, there is NO reason for me not to make duplicates of flattering garments, particularly in vastly different fabrics.

Today I've been working on the dress - I am about to insert the lining into the dress and finish that - presumably I'll be able to hang it out tonight.  I hemmed the lining (I don't expect the batiste to get too opinionated, and anyway it's lining) but the dress proper will be the better for a hangout.  I will be hemming this one "properly" which means hem lace and hand stitching.


Oh, you thought I just did the lining for the dress?  Nope, I checked the bolero too.  And dannnng this is going to stretch my skills.  Already did, thank you very much.  I had to look up "how to make bar tacks for lining"... yeah.  Old patterns.  Higher expectations.  Word to the wise.

 Couture expectations?  I know you remember me whining about fitting this.  Three pieces/side on this bad boy.  Front/back/side.  Yes, it has sleeves, they're part of the front/back.  The side is its own thing.  Check out those angles!  So acute that you have to reinforce them with organza... can you say yikes?  Yes you can!

The "winter version" of my dress will be made in this yummy hot-turquoise (okay, really it's Chinese blue) corduroy.  You're welcome.

I keep trying to describe the color of this linen... it's so lovely.  Just, this cream that's really the lightest possible peach color, it's not brownish or yellowish like oyster or ivory.  I'm calling it pearl, because I have pearls just this shade.

So, back to the sewing den - as I said, I'm pretty close to having the dress done other than hemming.  Onward!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Creativity and Purpose

I was talking to a lady last night and something gelled in my heart and head that has been swimming along for ages.

I truly believe that all humans need to create, and that they need to create value.  Although I know that my role as wife and mother and homemaker is an important role, it is, essentially support.  I keep all the plates spinning, I keep life going as it should.  That's my job - my primary function in life.  And that's fine.

But it's not everything.  I need a corner of my life to work on something frustrating.  Something to swear at and struggle with and conquer.  I need to come fresh from the battle with something worthwhile in my hands.  I need to *create*.  And I need to create something that is valuable, not something made of pipe cleaners and paper towels.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

That's the verse on my sidebar - and it's there for a reason.  We're not meant to worry about the minutiae of life - or even the big parts of life.  But we have worry to spare... we have focus to spare... we have this urge.  Why not think on those things that are lovely?  Why not create those things that are lovely?  Song or cloth or art or dance or tables or gardens or dinners or .... the world needs all the beauty it can get.  

When we cut ourselves off from this way of improving ourselves, from this way of improving the world around us, we let some part of our hearts shrivel up and waste away.   We become vulnerable to the accusations of our own irrelevance.  For what have we done?  What are we for?  What value do we have?

This is not the only thing that we need.  But it is one thing.  And in filling this need, we conquer not merely the creative battles in our paths, we conquer many fears without even noticing them.  So many attacks on our souls become irrelevant, as we allow our hearts to fully trust in our Lord and concentrate on the good work that He has put in our hands for this day.

Matthew 6:33-34  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.