Monday, June 17, 2013

Under Construction

I'm re-thinking and re-arranging the blog, so please bear with me while it's under construction.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Filed Under: It Could Have Been So Much Worse

I love our dogs. Our girl, Shasta, is so sweet and Thor is, well, just like every other little boy...full of mischief.

Like this. I guess this is to be expected when you have to share your sewing room with two big, rowdy dogs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Now, To Pat Myself on the Back

Do you see how little it takes to make me happy? Some of my blog posts have been pinned!

Seattle Street Fashion

What's the first thing that jumps out at you when you scroll through these photos taken on the streets of Seattle?

You'd think that people here would rebel against the perpetually overcast skies by choosing bright, vibrant colors. Instead, they choose black, white, gray and the ever popular denim. What's up with that?

Take this girl, for example. Her outfit is well put together and she is undeniably cute, but, really, would a pop of red have killed her?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Plan C

Do you remember the Hong Kong finish I was going to use in my Simplicity 2150 jacket? Yes, I remember it, too. I also remember that I had abandoned that plan, Plan A, if you will, because the flannel bias strips that looked so pretty were phenomenonally hard to work with. So I advanced to Plan B, overlocking the seam allowances of the jacket, which I thought would be fast and still be interesting if I used contrasting thread.

Plan B was scary for me, because I don't have a lot of experience using my serger, despite having owned it for roughly 15 years. Maybe longer. The knife terrifies me. It's sharp and it moves fast and no one has ever made the mistake of calling me coordinated. So I worry about ruining garments and I worry about ruining fingers. That's the potential for a double whammy as I'm reasonably certain that, were I to cut off a finger while serging a garment, I would also ruin the garment.

Anyway, I pulled out my serger and stitched up a sample. Call me crazy, but that looked pretty darned good to me. Thus reassured that Plan B was The Answer, I started on my jacket seam allowances and...disaster. Okay, not on the magnitude of , say, an asteroid striking the earth, but, you know, almost. There were no tears, but it was close.

So it was back to the sample scrap, where I barely tweaked some of the settings and serged all the edges again. I serged slowly; I serged fast. I barely skimmed the edges with the knives and I trimmed off full seam allowances, all with beautiful results.

So I - stupidly...go ahead and say you; you know you're thinking it - tried it again on the jacket, again with disastrous results.

Take a look at the photos I've included below and tell me what you think, because I'm at a loss; I've serged the edges of my rather large sample scrap until it's roughly 4" by 4" and have been unable to recreate the abnormal stitching.

Any ideas on what might make my serger act as though it's demon possessed? 
And all of this brings me to Plan C, which is really Plan A...but without the flannel.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Reassessment

Do you remember the Hong Kong finish was was going to use in my Simplicity 2150 jacket? Yes, I remember it, too. It's just a distant memory, as I haven't set hands on the jacket in over a week. It's occurred to me that my enthusiasm for the jacket project has faded in direct proportion to the fiddly factor of the flannel I was using for the seam finish. I really want to get this project completed - I need the jacket - so I'm dumping the flannel. Since I don't have a good place for cutting bias strips right now, I think I'm going to overlock my seam allowances. Unlike my sewing machine, Lily, I don't have a very good relationship with my serger, so wish me luck.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dare I?

How yummy is this wool biker jacket?

Burda rates it advanced. Pondering.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Hong Kong Finish

Since my denim jacket, Simplicity 2150, is unlined, I'm choosing to use a Hong Kong finish on most of the seam allowances. I love the way this plaid flannel looks, but I have a word of advice for you. If you ever feel the urge to cut bias strips of flannel to make your own bias binding...lie down until the feeling passes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Denim Jacket

Right now I'm working on Simplicity 2150, View A, which I'm making in a wonderfully stretchy denim. Having just come back off a two-year sewing hiatus, my fitting skills were a little rusty.

I posted a question about trying to fit my suddenly much larger bust (despite having lost weight...who saw that coming) over at Pattern Review, considered the responses, then thought about it for a week before getting serious about making the required alterations.

Based on my high bust measurement (34"), I cut a size 12 at the shoulders and tapered out to what was probably about a 16 (I can't tell for sure because my pattern range ended at 14) at the waist, then back down to a 14 at the hips. The fit in the shoulders is beautiful.

Inexplicably (to me), just making the FBA solved almost all my problems and I only needed to make some very small adjustments to the seamlines to get an acceptable fit at the waist. (Note: Since I'm still in the process of losing weight, I will not be too concerned if the finished jacket is a bit snug. It will fit eventually.)

So now I have cut into the denim and actually sewn the front princess seams. I'm feeling pretty gung-ho and would like to make faster progress, but my back is thoroughly trashed and is slowing me down. I'll post photos of my altered pattern pieces hopefully later today. I need to dig through my fabric stash to find my black linen backdrop.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Adding to the Pattern Stash, Dress Edition

You can never have too many, right?

I don't work outside the home and my everyday attire is jeans and t-shirts, which suits the kinds of things I usually do, like housework and gardening. Unfortunately, this generally isn't what I want to sew. As I commented in a thread over at Pattern Review, I want to sew dresses, darn it! And so I hit the pattern sales at Hancock's and JoAnn last week.

And here are the latest additions.

Simplicity 2248
Simplicity 2886
Simplicity 1800
Simplicity 2249 (Yes, I realize this looks like a shapeless sack, even on the model, but it had a '30s farm wife vibe that I couldn't resist. I can see myself working in the garden wearing this dress.)

McCall's 6322 (Yes, I realize this looks too young even for my youngest daughter, but it's an a-line dress, for crying out loud. It's all in the fabric choice, right? RIGHT?)


The next two were impulse purchases.
Butterick 5745
Butterick 5751 (Yes, I realize now that this dress is designed for two-way stretch knits, but I didn't know that when I bought it. That's what I get for making an impulse purchase.)

I also picked up this dress; not sure why because it's 95% certain I will never make it. But...I love it so much.
McCall's 6279

So there you have it. Now let's see if anything comes of the dress fever.

And the Winner Is...

I held a (very small) random drawing and the winner of Cal Patch's Design-It-Yourself Clothes is lakaribane. Congratulations!

Keep checking back for more giveaways...the Series of Unfortunate Events that resulted in an extra copy of this book may have left me with others to give away as well.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grand Re-Opening!

You may notice it's been a while since I blogged here, if when you say "a while," you really mean almost two years and not, say, two weeks. It's not as though I've been holding out on you; other than a very few cases of garments in dire need of repair, my sewing machine has been sitting idle the entire time.

A couple of reasons for this. First, we've acquired two big, rambunctious dogs; their crates nearly fill the floor space in my small sewing room and they have a distressing tendency to demand my undivided attention. Sometimes I feel like they are more trouble than a human infant!

I had also gained "a few" pounds, if when you say "a few," you really mean over 60 pounds and not, say, five pounds. So, yeah, I'm not posting a picture of that. I found I wouldn't sew for myself at that weight...or buy new clothes, either, for that matter, until forced by desperate necessity, like the hole in the inner thigh of my jeans was just too big to patch if I still wanted to be able to wear them in public. It was as though by sewing or buying clothes in a larger size, I was accepting that I was, indeed, a fat person and had given up all hope of ever being a normal weight again.

Now that I've lost some weight, I feel the sewing fever coming on strong!

So here I am! And, hopefully, here you are, still reading, because I'm just getting to the important part. To celebrate my grand re-opening, I'm giving away a copy of Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch. Through a long Series of Unfortunate Events, I acquired duplicate copies of this book, so I'm spreading the design love around!

There are three ways to enter:
  1. Link to this post on your blog, then come back here comment with the link to your blog post.
  2. Like my page on Facebook.
  3. Follow me on Twitter.
Isn't that easy? Why, yes.  Yes, it is. So get on it right now, because you only have until next Saturday, May 25th to enter!