Monday, December 31, 2007
And the girls definitely need to clean the mirror in their room! And, of course, simply clean the room itself! To think it was straightened up last week--you'd never know.
Here's the dress so far...
Now, to work on the matching jacket. That's what I'm going to do this coming week. I'd really like to wear this to church next week.
1. Sew one classy/dressy outfit a month. Use my Lucky mag as an inspiration.
2. Organize my stash better.
3. Sew down my stash and use up half of my PR Weekend fabrics.
4. Clean my bathrooms and kitchen EVERY week.
5. Actually paint my kitchen and living room this year and put up new baseboard molding.
That's the completed list.
One thing I will NOT do, but would like to do, is a SWAP. Honestly, I see so many wonderful SWAPs and don't know how people do it. Some have jobs, some don't, and I'm in the don't group, but my four kids keep me so busy that I would just get incredibly disappointed if I did plan one. So many days I'm starting my dinner at noon or 1 p.m. so everything is ready by 3 so we can start our late afternoon/evening sports schedules. We never really get a lull, and by the time 9 p.m. rolls around it's bedtime. There's just not enough time and my SWAP would take two years to complete.
Back to my New Year's Eve agenda, we are a boring, but fun, bunch ;) . I'll be making margaritas and have the Smirnoff's coolers chilling. The dips and assorted crackers and chips wll be set out on the table, there's a movie to watch, then we'll watch the ball drop on TV. I'll be putting the final touches on my dress, too. Gotta get a little sewing in the mix pre Margarita.
Off to work on the dress.
Friday, December 28, 2007
So glad it is underlined in cotton batiste and not Ambiance too. I've tried it on several times for tweaking and the cotton feels...so warm. Every time I put it on, I think of Ambiance and get the chills. Great for summer, but NOT for winter, at least for me.
Almost forgot. I have to get my 80's shoulder pads out of my supply box. Way back when (and I do mean way back when!), I bought at least 12 pairs of shoulder pads sometime in the mid to late 80's. What was I thinking??? Must have thought big shoulders would be forever. The naivete of a late teen/early 20 something. How I so wanted to look like Krystal and Alexis Carrington with those elegant clothes and "beefy" shoulders. There's even a Dynasty pattern still in my stash LOL! The dress pattern I'm using is from the early 90's and still requires those 1/2" pads. I can tell there was extra room in the dress design for them. But it's not ridiculously big in the shoulders so it will be okay. (Or so I think.)
And when I finish, I can back to my jacket. Tonight I got sidetracked by finishing a Christmas present for my daughter's friend. We're going to see her tomorrow night and DD#2 forgot to add her name to my pillowcase sewathon for her friends.
Gosh, I still have to catch up on blog reading. Hopefully tomorrow. I just saw Cenetta's/The Mahogany Stylist's absolutely AWESOME coat on her blog when doing a quick check. Didn't have time to post an comment, but DO check out the coat she made for her daughter. Think Designer Knockoff contest for sure!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
It was a great Christmas where we were able to stay home most of the day, and I made much progress on my Christmas dress (okay, so now it will be a New Year's dress :) ).
The zipper is done, the neck facing done, side seams are basted and just a little more tweaking in the upper thigh area is all that's needed to complete the seams with some permanent stitching.
Tomorrow I will work on the sleeves, the next day maybe the hem, and it will be given a final pressing so it can be worn to church. I'd get a picture of the WIP, but it doesn't fit on Phat Chick because she's too fat. I really need to slim her down because I got a little zealous with the fiberfill when stuffing her.
It's bedtime now, but I can't wait to work on my dress tomorrow.
Monday, December 24, 2007
My favorite Christmas tree ornaments are the ones that take center front at the top of the tree every year. My SIL gave us the First Christmas Together pillow ornament for our first married Christmas together (well, actually our second ). That goes right at the top center. To the left is the groom, the right is the bride. Those are Hallmark ornaments and I had to buy not only the bride and groom set, but an extra bride because the bride in the set was a brunette. That just wouldn't do because they had to look like us so I bought the extra blonde bride to match the brown-haired groom. They *had* to match us. Right below that trio is the Hallmark Ornament of the Grand Theater. On our first date we went to an old time cinema just like the one portrayed in the ornament (even with a balcony!) and it was also called The Grand. When that came out, I knew I *had* to add that. It was calling my name. It's a very nostalgic ornament for us.
Of course, there are plenty of other wonderful ornaments like the kids' first Christmas ornaments, the sports figures, cars, trains, Star Wars, Barbies, etc., but the ones in the pic just have so much meaning and wonderful memories attached to them.
Just thought I'd share something special on this warm and cozy Christmas Eve :) !
Our First Christmas Together and matching Bride and Groom
Our "First Date" Ornament
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I feel like Cinderella that has a mountain of cleaning/housework tasks to do before going to the ball. And that is not a good feeling.
Friday, December 21, 2007
No time for working with my dress or jacket. What a bummer. Tomorrow and Sunday are big family cleaning days with a few errands thrown in between. Although I plan on doing something sewing related tomorrow night. And more cookies and pies must be made but DD#1 will make the cookies. I'd like to get to the gym at least one more day, too, because two big eating days are coming up on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Time to hit the sack.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Oh. I almost forgot that I still have to cut three more pattern pieces as well as the lining. But that's okay. Anything but what I've been doing the past 5 days. And to top it off, it seems that every time I go to an appointment, I have to go back for more. DS#2 now has two ortho appts. tomorrow, one in the morning, one in late afternoon. And I still haven't finished Christmas shopping, nor have I worked on housecleaning this week. But I'm not worried. This year I will not stress at Christmas time. Stress is not in my nature and I will not let this holiday season get me down with everything that doesn't get done.
I am going to stay a happy chick and not a grumpy one.
The bottom corner of the dress shows the black cotton batiste underlining. After contemplating the issue of lining, underlining, or both, I decided to just go with underlining. For the type and style of dress, underlining just seamed easier. I'll probably use a HongKong finish on the seams. The zipper was going to be handpicked with seed beads but I couldn't find the shade of red beads that was needed so it will just be a regular centered zipper. And why cotton batiste? Because I'm ALWAYS cold! Batiste doesn't feel cold like Bemberg rayon. So that completes my Progress part 3 for today.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The bad news is the kids have dentist and orthodontisit appts. again today and tomorrow. And tomorrow's ortho appt. is a long one because DD#1 gets her braces off. I have to do *something* today so I can take it along for whatever hand sewing/basting/marking that needs to be done.
I'll probably work on some block fusing and cutting the lining.
ETA--heading down home stretch with block fusing. Oh man! I can't wait to get this dreaded chore over with. A nice BIG press board would make things so much easier.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
DD#2 is quite perplexed though. After all my raving about the beautiful serger stitching on the pillowcases, she couldn't understand why the machine doesn't backstitch. She does know how to use the regular sewing machine so I think she is kind of befuddled why a serger is such a wonderful thing to have. She wanted to wrap them up right away, but I told her I had to bury the thread chains. There were three on each one so it took about about 20 minutes to get them all done. I guess for all my raving, she can't understand why I could call a machine that doesn't backstitch wonderful.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It was great to see Barba and Shura again as well as meeting Annette. And it's all thanks to Deepika, founder of Patternreview.com, which is what brought us together in our area.
So what did we do today? We talked about the focus of our group and our current projects. Annette modeled her lovely top with EOS fabric (SO soft yet substantial by the way--I can easily see what it's dubbed "Linda's favorite"), Barb's top in such a pretty Gorgeous Fabrics knit along with her awesome purses, Shura discussed the progress on her skirt (we can't wait to see it!), and I wore one of the tops from S4076, one of my fave patterns. We shared the patterns with each other and discussed muslins and other sewing/fitting activities.
It doesn't really get much better than that. Starting off the weekend bright and early in a sewing group talking about fashion sewing. I get SO excited about it being the true sewing geek that I am and that is said with an enormous amount of pride. It's that pride that "binds" us together...the common "thread"...and I'm such a nerd with the puns LOL.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Then I have to stop at a ribbon and craft store that carries nice cottons for the pillowcases for sports and horses. Hopefully, the ones I want will still be in stock. Off to get started on my busy day...
ETA..and here are the pillowcase fabrics. 3 girls will get softball, 1 a kitty cat because there were no soccer or field hockey prints, 2 tennis, and 2 horses. One of the tennis pillowcases will be for DD#1--astounding! She actually asked for a pillowcase. Like something made by me would actually be kind of cool???
Oh...and another thing. I looked lovingly at a Babylock Evolve serger/coverstitch machine while choking on the $1990 price tag. But what a machine!!! WHAT A MACHINE!!! D***, that is THE machine, isn't it?!?!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tonight, I'm hoping to cut out the first four pattern pieces for my jacket, and tomorrow (hopefully!) I can cut out the lining pieces. Anything but the sheer boredom of block fusing! Maybe if I can rent the new Harry Potter DVD tomorrow it won't be so bad.
ETA...adding pics...I'm done cutting the four pieces!!! Three are shown below--yeah!
The downside of block fusing! Look at all the high quality wasted interfacing :( . All that good stuff down the financial drain. That really stinks.
And some more good stuff. The first batches of cookies. I put some in little baggies for me for the weekend. I don't eat junk food during the week and if I don't stash some (they're under the veggies in the produce drawer in the fridge so no one will look there) there won't be any left for me. Shhhh!
This weekend is our second "future ASG" meeting! We have five definites who are interested and trying to spread the word. I can't wait to get through our mini "agenda" and hear about everyone's recent projects and favorite notions. The sewing gods are smiling on us too! The weather is bad today and will be bad Sunday, but looks we'll be spared Saturday morning. Maybe we can get some pics of our fab group sewing meeting.
Monday, December 10, 2007
No. 1 Reason: I feel like I'm constantly being interrupted and I need solid chunks of time to think things over to avoid making silly and stupid mistakes. Just as I was placing pattern pieces on my fabric and working with the layout, my girls got off the high school bus. I was just getting ready to cut the fabric into two separate pieces for block fusing and "knock, knock, knock!" Train of thought interrupted. Pretty soon the boys will be home. Tomorrow I have to get a minor surgical procedure done, and on Wednesday the girls need ortho and dentist appts. By the time I get back to my fabric, I'll forget where I left off!
I remember the glorious sewing days pre kids! Having entire days here and there to sew work clothes. The summer of my first pregnancy (it was the first trimester) I made an entire maternity wardrobe in two months. I went back to work in September and my co-workers were amazed at how many nice-looking maternity clothes I had. It sure was nice to have so much time to sew!
The No. 2 reason is expensive fabric. Years ago I didn't buy fabric that would worry me if I made a mistake. Disappointed, yes, but not gasping and choking for breath from making a mistake on $20-$30/yard fabric or thereabouts.
So my sewing is VERY slow going. There is no way I'm going to make a dumb whopper-of-a-mistake on this jacket fabric. Right now I'm going to see what I can do in a 20-minute chunk of time before the after school chaos begins of DH and the boys coming home.
Progress is being made on the dress and jacket. The jacket pattern has been traced and altered. Today I will double check the alterations on every piece, then proceed to block fusing. I highly doubt I will get to cutting out the jacket in the next two days. The kids have a 2-hour delay today so that means the absence of a clean kitchen table this morning.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
So the other day I cleaned off my kitchen table and put the machine back on the cart with its cover. The cart was organized according to my original intent. And *finally* my kitchen table is free of "stuff"! The purpose of this was actually twofold: get a little more organized for our Christmas Eve dinner and get a good cutting surface back for my Christmas outfit project. Cutting is my most disliked aspect of sewing and I put it off with a lot of excuses. However, I'm trying to commit to more intensive sewing projects rather than the quick and easy ones so the absence of a machine means I'm getting down to serious business.
Thus far, I've cut out the red silk dupioni for my dress as well as the interfacing to underline it and the cotton batiste for the lining. Ambiance would have been more luxurious but it feels way too cold next to my skin during the winter so cotton batiste is a must. Now I'm going to cut and trace the pattern pieces for the jacket and work on block fusing the interfacing to the wool. That will probably take me a day or so. I was thinking about underlining the wool to make it warmer but am not sure at this point. Today I bought some 100% cotton black flannel at Walmart today of all places! It is hard to believe how hard it is in my area to get solid colored flannel so about 5 yards were added to the stash. So, who knows at this point if I'll use it on this jacket. If not, there are two other jackets in the cue that will need underlining.
Friday, December 7, 2007
On to sewing stuff...I made the trip down to JoAnn's today and picked up some goodies. I had a long list of McCall's and Vogues, but narrowed down the McCall's to two and the Vogue ones weren't my size range. If the pattern doesn't include 10/12/14 sizes, then I really think about it. If I can wait, I will. That is a good size range with minimal alterations for me and it just makes things so easy to blend the sizes as necessary.
So what were my goodies? Check out the pic below! :)
There's a lot of marking pens, an extra seam ripper, point turner, thread, microtex and stretch needles, blue satin backed crepe and a fancy lining fabric for my black/white herringbone Christmas coat/jacket, and two McCall's patterns. The crepe was on sale for $2/yard, the lining was $10 with my 50% off coupon, and all the notions were 50% off. The McCall's patterns, of course, were $1.99/pattern. A heartfelt thank you to Lovely for pointing out this sale in her blog! She saved me a bundle on this trip. Even the ladies at the pattern table weren't aware of the sale and were happy when I mentioned it to them. Gotta enable when you can, right?!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
(DEAR HUSBAND-- This is where you can stop reading because I will bore you to death!!! Proceed to my last paragraph so you know my schedule tomorrow :) .)
The front of this classic style has princess seams curving in toward the neck on the front, but not the back. The pattern back only has a CB seam. You would think this would be great for my curvy back, but it is not. In fact, the "traditional" thought is to curve the CB seam to reflect the shape of one's own back curve, thereby getting a better fit. However, *as usual* , it seems that I am the exception to the rule--what else is new... Which kind of gets me going on the issue of "seam integrity" as I was reading on Carolyn's fantastic blog. What exactly *is* seam integrity and when does it apply. Does it apply to all seams? Or just specific ones? Does it depend on the pattern? I don't know.
This is where I want to dissect the concept of seam integrity because when I look at a pattern, that pattern is fitted to a perfect size 10 fit model. When that fit model turns 40 and has several kids with the force of gravity at work in several places, she too will need some alterations. And those alterations can come from slicing/dicing/pivot and sliding, correct? But her basic overall shape is essentially the same, unless she has put on a drastic amount of weight. So I presume she probably wouldn't need to touch her seams to make the necessary alterations.
I, on the other hand, am the one using the pattern that was made to fit her perfect body. And trying to FIT *her* perfect pattern on my imperfect body. So this is where the issue of seam itegrity falls apart for me. For example, let's say my waist is 28, my hips 36 1/2 on a given day in the month. Let's say hers are 25 and 36, respectively. The side seam curve is actually a dart into the waist. If I don't futz with the shaping on that seam that's made to fit the perfect size 10 model, it's not going to fit me. My curves are different from hers. On a commercial pattern (let's say a skirt), I will need to alter not only the crotch length, but will need to adjust the width and depth of the front and back darts as well as the shaping of the side seam.
Another issue to examine here--my duct tape skirt sloper pattern doesn not resemble most commercial patterns. The duct tape pieces (shown below) came right off my body to develop my own sloper. First the pattern on my body, then the pattern cut into quadrants, then the pattern tested/developed as a sloper (back pieces are shown). Since this sloper/pattern was created right off my body, I don't mess with the shape of the seams. It is true to my body and I'm not messing with seam integrity because this sloper was made to fit one person--me.
I'm not trying to poke holes in the seam integrity concept, just trying to understand it. I'm a question person. Always asking about things until I understand. And although my brains nods and accepts the concept, in practical terms I don't understand how and/or when it applies. I've got so many "what ifs" in my head.
...getting back to my issue with M5007... if I try to curve a CB seam on my back, I get the dreaded "X" foldlines in fabric starting at the CB at my waist and pointing to my shoulder blades and hips. This is *the* moment that tells me, "Don't mess with this seam!" Hence, seam integrity, I presume. Thus, the lightbult moment occurs and I realize that my CB seam doesn't need adjusting at all. What I need to add are princess seams in the back. So I create princess seams on the back piece of M5007 mirroring the ones in the front (curving into the neck). Why did I do this? Because the area of the curve in my back starts at the shoulder blade which is prominent, then curves in sharply to the small of my back, then back out to my rear end. My CB is actually quite straight with little curve. Thus, any form-fitted shaping on my back pattern pieces must be done at the shoulder blade point down, not at the CB seam.
This also brings about another thing that will tickle my brain. When we talk about darts, for example back darts, does seam integrity apply to darts? Because many times I'll split the back waist dart into a shoulder dart and make a princess seam. So from this perspective I think seam integrity does apply to darts. Ah...so many questions! I just love to pick the brains of my favorite fitting gurus too. They've always helped me understand these issues so I'm filling up my notepad of questions again. If anyone can shed some light on the things for me, please do so. I like the seeing the bright lights, rather than feeling light a dim bulb.
DH--this is where you can begin to read again...
Christmas shopping! I haven't done any yet. But tomorrow my agenda is set. I'm going to the gym first, down to JoAnn's, then to several places to pick up gift cards. I have to make my list and check it twice today. My JoAnn coupons are ready and the sale starts tomorrow. Just a few patterns, thread, and a couple of other things written down on a to-do list that I can't seem to locate right now. Guess that means I need to get up and do some housework now. (And read more about seam integrity when I get the chance :) . )
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
In a few days, I will go down to JoAnn's and pick up a short, boxy jacket pattern, one with fancy sleeves that is so popular right now, and make up a short jacket with remaining wool piece that is only 2 yards. I have some great buttons to match with that wool so whatever pattern I use must have buttons. Does anyone have any suggestions on cute jacket patterns? It has to be a McCall's or Vogue because those are the ones on sale in the next few days.
Now I'm going to get off my rear end to finish up some evening chores and maybe have some time to start cutting out my dress.
Monday, December 3, 2007
I'm trying to recreate the model's look on the front of Simplicity 4047, although my red dress is going to be a little longer. The waist inset on the dress is flattering on my figure, and it's one I've made many years ago when I was working. I just tried on my dress made from this pattern a few days ago to check the fit and the only alterations made to it way back when were lengthening the sleeves and skirt portion. Other than that, I was surprised how much I loved the fit. Now and back then. (Well, the inset across the tummy is a little more snug than it used to be...) A few minor tweaks here and there (which I've done already) and it's good to go. I'm going to go with the collarless dress w/long sleeves. Hmmm...on second thought maybe not--forgot about my gloves. Darn thing is, there's only 23 days left until Christmas. Hopefully I can swing it, but I'm not going to get upset about it if I can't. Gosh, I'm still working on my pants muslin and there's still so much shopping and housecleaning to do before the big day. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
But I got to thinking. I would share my figure flaw because it illustrates what I can't wear--too short tops. I am very shortwaisted with very long legs. It is easy to disguise this flaw most of the time, but occasionally if I make a top too short, it just looks--Blech! It makes me cringe when I look in the mirror because it looks like my boobs are sitting right on top of my waist. Here goes this blasted photo:
The pic doesn't look as bad as the top does now because it has suffered progressive shrinkage through subsequent wash and dry's, but it got me thinking. What are everyone else's figure flaws and how do they compensate for them. And what are your figure assets? So if anyone reads my boring blog, please share what you think are your figure flaws, what shouldn't you wear so they are not noticeable, and what do you wear to create the illusion of a more perfect figure.
For me, duro tops are perfect. Low-rise jeans are great--the illusion of a longer torso. V-waists are especially flattering. Empire waist dresses and sheath dresses are flattering too. What is DEFINTELY NOT flattering are normal waist jeans with shirts tucked in. I NEVER tuck my shirts in with jeans like this. And I don't like normal waist jeans because they scream Mom jeans, not sexy jeans, on my figure. Shirts must be closer to my hipline than to my waist. If I go above a certain point, it shouts, "Look at my short waist!"
So now that you know my figure flaw that nobody is *supposed* to know, I will share with you my figure assets which I try to emphasize. Long, shapely legs, nice shoulders and arms, and a full bust. I swear by Wonderbras for many of my sewing projects and highly recommend them for the 40 and over group like me :) . Husbands like them too LOL!