Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ugh! A Temporary UFO

A few things with my son's Green Pepper Oregon it is in a temporary UFO state.

First off, I was doubting the fleece thinking it wasn't right for the project. Gut instinct: Don't use it. But I did. So I'm thinking to myself, "Gosh, this is thick Polarfleece!" It was a nice piece from my Malden Mills mammoth remnant bag I purchased several years ago. There are pleats in the sleeves and the front outside pockets are cargo pockets with a nice, big center pleat. After sewing one of the cargo pockets, I went into my daughters' room to check some Polarfleece remnants in their closet. Yes! It is 300 weight... My machine doesn't handle 6-8 layers of 300 weight fleece well at all. Even a size 16 needle is having issues over the ultra thick layers.

On Friday I made the cargo pockets. Saturday I tried to sew the cargo pockets to the jacket. No way. It wasn't working. It is next to impossible to get straight topstitching with my machine on so many layers, and I simply won't accept that "homemade" look. What to do? Toss the cargo pockets (yeah, it hurt after all that work, sewing the velcro strips on, lining the darn thing, etc). I made patch pockets instead.

Then I had DS#1 try on the jacket. The sleeves were fine without the cuffs. The width was fine too without pleating the sleeve at the bottom. So I will have simple sleeves, no pleats. Another design change made for the fabric used.

Next up, the zipper. Forget the zipper guards. It's just not going to work with the fabric layers. So I changed the style to a center zip. I chalk mark my front where I want the zipper and take the zipper out of my supply pack. Green Pepper sent me the WRONG ZIPPER--ARGHHH!!! It's a separating zipper all right. Only it's 2-way. I specifically asked about the 28" black separating zipper for the Oregon jacket. I didn't see that size for the type of zipper needed for the jacket on their website brochure. So I'll call tomorrow for a new one. In addition, I lost one of the 45 cent cord toggles so I'll have to get that too.

The jacket now sits about 2/3's finished on my couch. The lining has been stored inside the jacket. Darn. I was really hoping to finish this jacket by tomorrow, and it's not going to happen now. It's an unfinished, temporary UFO. So I'll wait and work on Christmas presents for the girls friends and embroidery for DD#1's new jacket. Maybe clean out my sewing machine too. It's a lint-ey mess inside.

Thanks, fellow bloggers, for your comments on my last post. That sewing level stuff bothers me like an itch I can't scratch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feel the Fear...Wait! What Fear???

These are just some sewing thoughts brewing in my head. After reading a few different threads over at Patternreview, it got me to thinking (I can already hear my wonderful DH saying, "Oh no..." ; LOL ) There are always those threads where people ask, "What skills do you think one should have to rate themselves Beginner, Adv. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert?" Truly, I think it is a matter of perspective, not necessarily skills per se.

My own view of what determines those levels will vary greatly from someone else's view. I call myself an Intermediate level sewer because there is ALWAYS something to learn. Always new machines with new bells and whistles. Always new notions coming out to use, and new fabrics to be used. My classification is based not on what I know, but how I feel in the vast world of sewing. Technically, I can do and have done many techniques of what people consider "Advanced". But do I feel advanced? No. I'm always humbled by the works of others when I get that feeling like I'm doing real well. There are always many sewing moments where I say to myself, "Wow! I never thought of doing it that way."

What has been on my mind lately is a thread about an Advanced Beginner doing welt pockets. But this same issue applies to bound buttonholes, bagging a lining, or other sewing tasks perceived as difficult (aka "advanced"). Why do people think these things are hard? Technically, they are very easy. IMO, (using a bound buttonhole as an example) one just needs to perfect a straight stitching line, be as accurate with measuring as possible, and have the right tools (like great scissors that can cut right to the point), have good instructions, etc. to get the job done.

In this respect, I find the Internet has done many beginning sewers a disservice. There are simply too many people categorizing specific sewing activities as Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. In addition, the "fear" factor has become standard, almost a "rite of passage", for techniques some consider advanced. Gotta thank the Internet for that. Personally, I think a good Advanced Beginner can learn how to do a neat and tidy welt pocket rather easily with the right tools and the ability of precise, straight stitching. That is simply practice. And no fear!

I bagged several linings as a newbie sewer. I started doing some serious sewing in 8th grade and by 10th grade was working on blazers with bagged linings. I never thought about them being hard. What I did think was, "Is this really going to work when I turn it right side out?" And amazingly it did! I didn't have the Internet, didn't have any sewing books, didn't have a mother to rely on for sewing info (my mother did not sew other than fixing a hem or sewing on a button). One of my older sisters did sew and was very good, however, she simply wasn't around much as she was 6 years old than me. She was away at college while I was working on blazers. The only thing I did have to help me was good directions from a Big 4 pattern. And everything turned out fine. My only disgust with most of my sewing projects was using my mother's piece-o-sh** machine that she rarely used, never had serviced, and was about 15-20 years old.

Nothing seemed to hard for me. Consider it naivete. Or maybe simply youth. There's something to be said for make-it-work sewing. There were no classifications in my little sewing world of "Beginner", "Intermediate", or "Advanced" and for that I'm grateful. Imagine the things I would have passed over simply because I would have categorized myself as a Beginner sewer when I was in 10th grade.

The Internet does much good. There's so much knowledge out there and it has improved my sewing skills tremendously because of it. At the same time it is discouraging. Not for me, but for others. I want to shake people when they feel something is hard or might be hard. They had to hear it was hard from somewhere. I want to scream at them, "Try It! It's not as hard as you think!!! In fact, it's kind of easy."

I think for the first time, I realized that I do not like sewing classifications, and I'm thinking of removing mine. It's almost like a hold-up label for some folks, like if you're an Adv. Beginner you can't do welt pockets. Which is entirely untrue. So I'm mulling it over. Sometimes classifications are good, but when it promotes fear or self doubt and possibly holds back a sewer from working on a project, that's when I want to do away with them. Let's see where I am in a week with this thought. Although I'm leaning toward removing my classification.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Quick Jacket Update

DS#1's Oregon jacket is moving right along. I was working on the front cargo pockets today and almost have them finished. I tell you--the fleece is ultra thick and a royal pain to stitch. So many layers that it makes my machine balk. Between the seam allowances (yes trimmed!) and fabric, there are up to 6-8 layers of fleece in certain places. If stitching them on proves an almost impossible task, I'll consider leaving them off and creating side seam pockets. Once I get the cargo pockets on, the rest of the assembly should be a piece of cake.

This issue is my own doing. I knew I'd have this problem as fleece is not a recommended fabric for this pattern. Sometimes it is better to leave certain things off due to fabric differences so I'll see tomorrow how the pockets go. And how determined I feel to make it work.

With all the time I'm investing in this jacket, the dreaded phrase, "I don't know if I like it" haunts me. If my son says that when he tries it on, he's in his room for a month! ;)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day!

My tummy has expanded! It is FULL!!! And for the first time we didn't have any family visit, nor did we have to travel anywhere. This is my mom and dad's "year off" and they went to Florida for Thanksgiving. My MIL went to Florida as well. The day was very relaxing except for DS#2 having stomach "issues" today. His demeanor is absolutely fine, but his tummy is not cooperating today.

My son was sitting next to DH this morning as I was getting ready to go to the gym. Just as I walk by the couch, DS#2 runs to get up and vomits right on my shirt and the floor (okay--carpet :( !!!). Can you believe it??? I don't care if he gets sick on the kitchen floor, but not my carpet. My shirt? Oh well, that's easy to change. Anyway...other than that it was fine. He was so upset about it though. I put the turkey in the oven, went to the gym, then went to buy him some ginger ale. I raced home to set up the dessert table for our 11 a.m. dessert buffet.

And on the dessert table:

  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie
  • Chocolate Cream Pie
  • Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Pumpkin Roll

Three hours later...our menu for the day:

  • Turkey, of course, with gravy and Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes and Sweet Potato Puff
  • Corn and Green Bean Casserole
  • Artichoke Spinach Dip with Bread Rolls
  • Cranberry Sauce and Salad

Thanksgiving is a huge day for me with cooking and baking. I don't get much of a reprieve because of DS#1's food allergy. So all the desserts need to be homemade, as well as most of the main menu items. It's also my favorite holiday. The only holiday where we simply enjoy eating. No mention of presents, no rushing, nothing hectic, just enjoying each other.

Since we are home all day, I'm working on doing a review of the nightpants/sweatpants I've made over the past two months. They are all done and I'm putting the pattern away. Finally. I love the pattern, Simplicity , as it is so useful. It is really a nightpants/lounge pants pattern for wovens, but I used it for sweatpants too and narrowed the legs so they weren't as wide. Here's the pic of the pattern:

Bear in mind, DD#2 picked up the Junior-sized pattern by accident. But it actually worked out quite well for both of us.

Here are the nightpants I made for DD#2 which didn't fit her. They became mine :) .

Then I made another pair for myself and DD#2 out of the green, astroturf fleece. I showed her wearing her pair a few days ago, but here are mine:

Here's the back view. I really like that back. No baggy butt or major wrinkles. I used Joyce Murphy's Body Space method on the green pair and cut the crotch curve to match my flexible curve ruler after checking what my crotch curve should be. I have a pants draft that needs to be stitched up using the same method. It's ready to go, I just have too little time to get started on the pants right now.

Then I made three pairs of sweatpants for her. She is too busy to model them so I had to put them on. She likes her waistband low in the front so pardon my belly button. (I will admit photo surgery on my belly button LOL. It is simply not suitable in it's natural form and will provide NO viewing pleasure. A little smudging with the smudge tool and my belly button returns to it's pre-baby smoothness and shape.)

Here's the grey and red pairs:

Here's the black pair--no embroidery on those and she can't find them right now. But here they are on the couch:

Last but not least, here is a product I discovered at Pocono Sew and Vac. I was having some issues with fabric show-through on my embroidery letters on the pants. The ever-knowledgeable staff recommended this black vinyl which is placed on top of the fabric while it is stitching. It is then torn off, much like tearaway stabilizer. I also used it on the design that Mary digitized for me. It comes in different colors, but the ones available at the store are black and white. They offered to order me the right color, but I used the black because I was short on time with the Chinese Auction quilt. But the vinyl also came in very handy with the pants letters.

The other embroidery tip I learned while doing the pants was something I learned from Embroidery Library. I applied Washaway Wonder Tape to the sides of the upper hoop. I placed my fabric (with chalk-marked centering lines) underneath the upper hoop aligning the chalk lines with the centering guides on the upper hoop. I pressed down onto the fabric firmly so the Wonder Tape on the four sides of the upper hoop adhered to the fabric. When I pressed this down into the lower hoop, there was no shifting of the fabric. Best thing about this method? The Wonder Tape washes away. It is supposedly good for 5 or 6 hoopings, but I found it to be effective only two times with the fleece. That's okay. Stick the plastic hoop under the faucet and wash away the adhesive for the next time.

That's all for now. I'm working on finishing a post I started several days ago but it's not done yet. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy whatever your plans are for Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving Sewing

Tonight I finished up the jacket lining for DS#1's Green Pepper Oregon Jacket. Here it is on the couch:

This is absolutely a terrific jacket pattern! The instructions are so wonderfully written, the kind that makes you wish all patterns were written this way. Very detailed and leaves nothing to the imagination. The only thing I don't like about this project is that my son will not appreciate all the little pattern details like the ones shown in the photo above--the velcro pocket on the left and the zippered pocket on the right. And that's in the lining! Really, I should have left those out. I will be absolutely amazed if he ever uses them. DH, on the other hand, would appreciate those things. I will be making this jacket again for him, so I guess all these little details will make me prepared for his when I get to it.

Also, while doing the velcro pocket on the front lining piece, I really discovered how much I love Washaway Wonder Tape. I used it to attach the velcro pieces in an exact position on the lining which made stitching them to the fabric so easy. No shifting, no fussy-ness. Really very pleasant and that's how sewing should be :) . Here is a pick of the marked position (in light pencil) where the velcro should be placed. The Wonder Tape was just applied to the back of the velcro, ready for the strip to be removed to adhere it onto the jacket front. Wonder Tape is exactly that--a wonder! I just love that stuff.

Now I have to mix the creme filling for my pumpkin roll. To all my US sewing cohorts--Happy Thanksgiving. Eat, drink, and be merry! And spend a whole bunch of time sewing this weekend instead of shopping ;) .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh!

This is my Oh My Gosh news for the day. Newsflash from an email from Pocono Sew and Vac:

Pocono Sew & Vac


Our Biggest Sales Event of the Year
Friday, November 28th
We'll be open from 7 AM to 7 PM
With Discounts From
20% off to as high as 80% off!!!


Special Holiday Deals Just for You!
For our Super Sales Event we'll have many items on SALE!

All OTT LITE LAMPS - On Sale - Great Gift Ideas
Floriani Embroidery Thread - 50% Off - All In-Stock 7-am-1-pm
FABRICS - All In-Stock - 1000 Bolts 30% Off - 200 Bolts 50% Off
VACUUMS - 25% to 50% Off MSRP
VAC BAGS - Buy 1 Get 1 FREE (Same Type)
VAC BELTS - Buy 1 Get 1 FREE (Same Type - Limit 4 Each)
CENTRAL VAC PACKAGES - $100 Off - For Existing Homes
HOOVER - DIRT DEVIL - EUREKA - $65 Limited Supply Values to $149
AIR PURIFIERS - Lowest Prices of the Year
SOLAR COMFORT HEATERS - We're Cheaper Than the Web

All Items Limited To In-Stock Only


Big note here! I would be remiss if I didn't post this information. This is absolutely a must-visit place if you are in the Poconos or surrounding area on Black Friday. It is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, just off of Rt. 80. The traffic will likely be horrible, but it's worth it for a visit to this top-notch dealer. I just might have to rethink my plans--Ursula's store, then Pocono Sew and Vac. For some of those sale prices, it would be SO worth it!

Also, good news! I just picked up my first official sewing student. We begin next week. Today I'll be working on the course outline to match the course syllabus for her so she'll know what the plans are for the class and the materials needed for the first sewing session.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just a Bit of Time

I don't have very much time this morning to post, but I'll do what I can. Thanksgiving week is upon us here in the US, and I have to start making my pie crusts today. I'm particularly annoyed because I forgot to buy the foil pie tins and every store is probably out. The upside to this (which is also a downside) is that I might have to go out and buy pie pans. That will be way more expensive than the foil, disposable tins; however, in the long run I'll never have to buy the disposable ones again.

Last night I went to a ladies' night out church "dinner". My friend invited me and it was lovely--just desserts and appetizers were served. Every attendee brought a dish along with a bottle. The lucky ones were able to have their hubbies drive them to and from. My friend who invited me was my sorority sister in college and my DH joked, "She's not getting a keg???" No, she has graduated to wine LOL. There were endless bottles of white and red wine at every table. It was a semi-formal event with appetizers served first, followed by a church prayer service for about half hour, then we returned to the church hall for dessert. It was a really nice event.

I wore the Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress below to the Ladies' night out event. It was a UFO for the longest time because I accidentally pressed the CF seam and got an imprint. Then I had to embellish it to cover up that mistake which took about 9 mos. Embellish, run out, embellish, run out, finally finished. Each one applied by hand--it took forever! Every time I ran out of crystals, I'd order more. Then they would arrive and I wouldn't be in my creative groove for a while. Anyway, I really love the dress, but something about it has been bothering me and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Finally, right before leaving last night, it dawned on me what I needed to do. Here's the dress:

And here's what needs to be done below. I drew a pic of the silhouette of the way it now looks on the left. For it to be more flattering on me, I need to nip in the side seams in the mid thigh area to look like the illustration on the right. I'll work on that sometime this week. This is such a lovely holiday dress and I want to love wearing it, not just like wearing it. Didn't have my suck-it-in shapewear on either last night and a dress like this begs for it. I had to suck it in myself with no help from spandex. I was terribly disappointed with my new Hanes Smooth Illusions pantyhose. Years ago they made them in ultra smoothing tightness. They are not that way now and it was a waste of $9 for those hose.

Moving on, here's the pile of notions, fabric, and lining for my oldest son's jacket. I started separating the pieces while watching TV on Friday night, but quickly realized that I need to do this at the kitchen table with no background noise. There are left and right fabric pieces, left and right lining pieces, and I don't want to screw up making two lefts and no rights. That is something I hope to get started with today while the kids are at school. It is perfectly quiet right now,l and the kerosene heater is providing some wonderful super toasty warmth. The kids love when I fire it up on cold, get-ready-for-school mornings. We just hauled it up from the basement family room this weekend just for that purpose.

Okay, now I have to face the day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just Another Day

Strange and unexpected things happen to me all the time.

Take that waistband elastic I bought at Ursula's store 2 or 3 days ago. It sprouted feet and walked away. Didn't like my messy house I guess. So this afternoon I headed up to her store again to my another roll of elastic. I need it NOW. Unfinished projects on the couch at this time of year are certainly not needed, nor wanted. The last pair of DD#2's sweatpants are waiting for elastic and they're done. Last night I did all the embroidery and rehooping for the large vertical design down the leg. First time I've had to do that was this week on the red and grey pairs. I found a great hooping tip and a nice topping idea that I'll share when I review the pants.

With all the embroidery I'm doing lately, DH says I should purchase Embird Studio. Wow! I surely never expected him to say that! The poor man always feels neglected because of my sewing. However, even he can see the advantages of having digitizing software, thanks to Mary :) !

Tonight I begin working on DS#1's Oregon jacket. The jacket, lining, and interfacing are all cut out and marked. Now it's time to get down to business with it. It has maybe 10 pieces, and it's been a long time since I've made anything over 7 or 8 pieces. I'll probably have to think a little when making the jacket.

When I cut out the jacket, I've decided on my 2009 Sewing Resolution: Down and Dirty Sewing! There's a vintage Vogue suit pattern that's been in my stash for two years. Ditto with Vintage jacket and dress. I'm going back to "thinking woman's sewing". Back to blazers, suits, and the more complicated garments. Part of this is attributed to my teaching sewing at Ursula's store so I need to refresh my memory of some of the more advanced sewing skills necessary for these patterns.

Speaking of Ursula, don't forget! If anyone is in the Poconos on Black Friday, Ursula is having a 40% off sale--ALL fabrics. Only fabrics. It's the once-ever sale. Her website is:

Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moving Right Along

The nightpants are done, both mine and DD#2's. Here is DD#2 modeling hers:

These are those "astroturf" fleece pants. But oh how comfy and warm they are!!! Her legs look short and kind of stumpy in this pic, but trust me, she has at least a 34" inseam on the legs.

Here are two pairs of sweatshirt fleece sweatpants that are finished (the red ones and the black ones). The red ones have the softball team logo on them, with the team name and the word "SOFTBALL" vertically placed on the left pant leg. (She likes them! :) ). I ordered the sweatshirt fleece from SewZannes Fabrics, and we were both happy with it. We examined the fiber content on a RTW pair of her softball sweatpants and the fabric from SewZannes is virtually identical to her RTW ones. About the same weight too.

Her last pair, the grey ones in the pic, are waiting for embroidery. That's what I was working on tonight--a sample stitchout. The grey pair will be the school team mascot with the logo and the word "SOFTBALL" stitched vertically down the leg, the same type of style as the red pair. The jeans are DS#2's. He's been patiently waiting for more jeans, and I had to size up from his jeans sloper to account for growth. This is his wearable muslin pair. He has to try them on again but wasn't in the mood tonight. I need to determine exactly where he wants his waistline before attaching the patch pockets to the backside.

Here's my embroidery machine getting a workout on the stitch sample for the grey sweatpants. Unfortunately, once I got to the word part of the stitch sample, the embroidery machine bugged out. Must be something wrong with the design but the machine locked up again and again when I tried to advance to the last thread color change for the words. It was okay, and I was able to finish the sample be creating a separate design with just the words to finish it up.

And who did a wonderful job tonight organizing my embroidery threads and clipping the wayward thread tails? DS#2, of course. He is very meticulous and organized. He was also very thrilled to organize my thread box! What a guy!!

And last, but not least, here's that RTW top I had to fix for DD#2's Field Hockey banquet. I took off the bottom band, stitched the CF seam below the empire waist band (it was open and not appropriate for a girl her age), and has the lace insert I created at the V for a modesty panel. For a girl who lives in sweatpants and sport pants every day of the school year, this style is quite a change for her. She didn't complain about it one bit either. Do I detect a hint of change? That's fine if it doesn't include boys LOL. Her fashion style (well, lack of it) is a 180 from her fashion diva older sister. She's into the sporty look, definitely not the runway styles.

And now I'm off to bed! Things have been really cooking here, and I'm really tired. The downside of being so busy is that I'm so far behind in blog reading. I'm hoping to catch up with it this weekend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sewing like a Mad Woman!

That's what I've been doing--sewing and cutting like there's no tomorrow. No pics yet though. Unfortunately. Both night pants are done--mine and DD#2's. Last night I finished DD#2's red, sweatshirt fleece sweatpants with the team embroidery logo and name down the side of the left leg. (Shoutout to Mary on this! Thanks, Mary!! That team logo is really coming in handy. Over the weekend I embroidered a RTW AC Moore t-shirt with the team logo too :) . ) I'm really doing a lot more embroidery lately, and the girls seem to be very interested in this. DD#2 wants "personalized" sweatpants and her name embroidered on a sports jacket I just bought her. DD#1 chose not to buy the team jacket for $54 and plans on going to our local sporting goods store to pick out a style and have me do the embroidery on the front, which is two crisscrossed tennis rackets with her name and graduation year.

The embroidery is going okay. I'm learning a lot while doing it. Which stabilizer is working better, adjusting the tensions just right, finding what works and what doesn't. My only pet peeve is when my thread gets caught on the spindle and/or the end of the sewing spool of my embroidery machine. It just might be the brand of sewing spools I'm using which lends itself to this, but it's a pain in the a$$. It jams up in the area and the thread won't feed, which results in the bobbin threads pulling up tight, then about 30 seconds later the machine beeps and stops.

Today I'll whip up one more pair of sweatshirt fleece sweatpants in black for DD#2. This one will be quick because she doesn't want embroidery on the black ones. The grey ones (planned for tomorrow) will have her school name/mascot on the left leg with "SOFTBALL" going down the side. This should satisfy her demand for more sweatpants :) . There are no complaints about baggy crotch/back seat and too short legs either. She usually has to roll over the waist two or three times to bring the crotch up, then the pants are woefully short. She gets her 34" inseam, short crotch depth, lower front made to order!'s plans after the gym:
  1. Cut out the black sweatpants and sew them up.
  2. Cut out two pairs of denim jeans for DS#2
  3. Cut out the interfacing for DS#1's Oregon Jacket.
  4. Cut out a sample scarf for Christmas present sewing.
  5. Work on the softball embroidery design.
  6. Write out detailed lesson plans for my Beginner Sewing I class.

My scissors and rotary cutter are going to be smokin'!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great news!

The Chinese Auction quilt went to a good home :) . The father of one of the 14U parents bought it off the grandmother who won it for $40. I'm VERY happy about that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Down.

One pair of lounge pants down, one more to go. DD#2 tried on my pair and I'll make minor pattern tweaks to her liking. She likes her front waistband low and a little more room in the upper thigh. I'm doing something right--she said, "You made those pants in a day?" :) . Try 4 hours on and off between making dinner, picking up her sister, doing dishes, etc. That's pretty good for this slow sewer. The secret? Shhhh! I used my serger whenever I could. She doesn't understand that though. I'll let her be impressed with my "speedy sewing".

DD#1 and DH were less than impressed with the fabric LOL. One of them commented, "It looks like astroturf." It kind of does. The loopy/curly green fleece does indeed look like artifical turf. But it sure is SOFT! I'm wearing them right now and am thinking of making a lounge top to go with the pants for cold winter nights.

Maybe some pics tomorrow. DD#2's pair should be able to be whipped up in no time too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finished, Still Breathing, with Elation and Disappointment.

What a weekend! I finished the Chinese Auction quilt at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Sunday morning before church I finished up the rice warmers. The baskets were filled and off we went to the Chinese Auction/Basket Bingo. We left at 11:45 and didn't get back home until 7 p.m. I've never really been a Bingo person, and DD#2 found out she isn't either. After 20 games of Bingo, 4 Special Bingo games, Door Prizes, and Chinese Auction, she was SO ready to head home! It's funny how one can do nothing but sit, and be bored and hungry. Not that I should have been hungry, but boredom builds an appetite. And it's tiring being bored for so long. We were exhausted when we left. But, it's for a good cause so that's okay.

Mary did SUCH a wonderful job digitizing the softball logo for the quilt! THANK YOU, MARY!!! It really made the quilt so special. Less than 5 minutes after I put the basket on the table with the back logo/names/numbers showing, one of the 14U players ran up to another 14U player and asked, "Did you see that quilt???" It created quite a buzz, and the girls were thrilled with the pics inside. Lots of tickets were dropped into the container for "The 14U Basket". I was so happy that people liked it and was hoping one of the 14U girls would give it a good home. That's the elation part.

Here's the front of the quilt:

And here's the back. I REALLY wanted to show the full logo to show what a great job Mary did, but had to blackout the team name :

This the closeup of the back:

Here's the disappointment. The 14U basket was won by a grandmother of a 16U girl! What is she going to do with a quilt that doesn't have her granddaughter on it, features none of the girls on the 16U team? I just hope it doesn't end up in some rubbermaid tote destined for Good Will. It was meant to be a keepsake quilt for a 14U girl. Guess Grandma was NOT wearing her glasses. Or maybe she was like my mom thinking, "Oh...I thought it was your team." Oh well, what can you do? It happens and we move on. I'm hoping she gives it to a 14U parent, or maybe one of the 14U parents bought it off her. And then there's that 14U tote with the 14U pic on the back LOL. It is what it is. But the rice warmers are good. What woman does not have cold hands? Most women I know have them, including myself.

This was the project that came straight from the old noggin. I knew what I wanted and went to work. The pictures on the front were placed under a "picture window". Same principle as a bound buttonhole without the lips. That was my intention so the fleece edges would be raised around the picture, kind of like a window frame. Since there were two layers of fleece, I didn't use batting. That would have made it too thick IMO. I applied woven, cotton muslin on the back of each front square to act as a stabilizer to prevent stretching. My must-have tools for this project? Basting spray and a walking foot--definitely. No headaches and quick sewing. The two finished sides were stitched together with the ends fringed.

Overall, I was really pleased with the quilt. Truly, I'm not a quilter. My heart is not in it. But it was a nice project to do for the auction and I'm glad I did it. My motivator for this quilt? Cindy at Patternreview did a lovely t-shirt quilt for her BIL. Here is a picture of her quilt. She answered some questions for me which got my brain thinking on methods I wanted to use for this softball quilt. Her quilt was lovely and inspiring.

So now I'm taking a breather. My family is hoping for some good, home-cooked meals with that big project done, and I'm back to garment and accessory sewing. See the jumble below?

That blue and grey microfleece fabrics are for my daughters' friend's Christmas presents and the green, curly fleece is destined to become night pants for my daughter and me. That was the fleece I was thinking about sending back. It's so darn soft inside that the decision was made to keep it. This pic doesn't even include DS#1's jacket either.

That's all for now. I have to get some sleep.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Racing Against the Clock!

Today I begin that race! My quilt has to be done by Saturday night. Tomorrow I go and get the baskets for the Chinese Auction. I'm going to go to my sewing dealer this morning to get some necessary supplies first thing this morning, even before going to the gym.

I would SO much like to thank Mary! I was interested in getting a design digitized for my quilt. It would have cost me $62, and that's over 1/3 the price of Embird Studio so that was a "no thanks" kind of deal. I'd rather put that money toward the purchase but can't buy Studio right now. Anyway, Mary stepped in and offered to digitize it for me. That was so kind of her, and she emailed me the design last night. It is AWESOME!!! I'd LOVE to share it with you all, but it is a searchable, official organization. When the quilt is done, I'll show you as much as I possibly can of it. I stitched it out last night and finished it up this morning. Other than not having enough basting spray and the right stabilizer (which I'm purchasing today), the stitchout is absolutely perfect for my fleece quilt. Some lucky winner is going to be very warm and happy with early Spring softball tournaments. We bloggers are "sew" lucky to have such kind and wonderful cyber sewing friends. I was mentioning to DH that my cyber sewing friends are so much nicer than some of my "real world" friends (thinking about the latest incident I posted about the other day). This is really true because I've actually met several people in our blogging world at PR Weekend NYC the past two years, and they are just as nice as could be, always offering help and advice. We sewists are just a different kind of breed :) .

On DS#1's jacket news, I ordered all the necessary notions for the Oregon jacket from The Green Pepper. It will be more of a lightweight jacket with Polarfleece for the outer shell and the hi-count nylon tafetta for the lining. The phone rep told me I could skip the needlepunch because the fleece should have enough body in it. Come to think of it, I'll need to add WonderTape for the zipper to my must-buy notions list this morning. Once I finish the quilt, my next high priority project will be this jacket. I'll probably sew the jacket concurrently with sewing DD#2's sweatpants.

More later, I have to get ready for my busy day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chinese Auction Quilt Part 1

Here is the front, semi finished. DD#2 convinced me to add the girls names in the white blocks. Working on that tomorrow because my test embroidery is done. So far, it meets her "Seal of Approval". I cut out the center square of the back. That will have the name of the team and possibly the full names and numbers of each girl on the 14U softball roster.

An hour ago I emailed the team logo to find out how much it would cost to digitize it. Just wondering, because I highly doubt a turnaround time of two days, probably impossible. The quilt has to be ready by Saturday night so I can assemble the basket.

The back squares must be assembled tomorrow, and I'll need to get at least two squares of embroidery names done on the front. At this point, I have to stay on task. There is no time that can be wasted.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Change of Heart

Dawn left a comment and I reread her pattern review on her son's Green Pepper Oregon jacket. So I'm thinking the fleece with some type of thin lining will work rather well for the Oregon jacket. What a change of heart from this morning! I really like the style of this jacket, and he liked it too. Yes, Keely, I do have a KS hoodie pattern! Duh! Yeah, I wasn't thinking about using the hoodie and cutting up the middle. That would be easier than drafting a hood! ETA--Yes, Mary ! I did use basting spray :) . Great minds think alike LOL.

However, I really want to sew this Oregon jacket. Originally, this pattern was purchased for my husband. As for when, who knows! He's been mentioning that he needs a new jacket, and I never sew anything for him anymore. The last jacket I made for him 4 years ago is looking very worn out. Even if the smallest size is big for DS#1, that's okay. He'll likely be going through his growth spurt soon and will fit into it for all of 6 months maybe? You know how fast they grow once they start. At least DS#2 would be able to use it eventually. The joy of having pairs :) .

And the material for these jackets??? Several years ago, Malden Mills was selling remnant bags. On the advice of one of my sewing friends, I bought the largest bag. She said it would be as big as my couch and she wasn't kidding! For a mere $75 I got 30+ yards (at least) of great quality fleece in perfect colors--burn red, royal blue, black, light blue, and tons of grey. Most were 200 weight, one or two pieces 300, the light blue was 100. There is STILL some left over so that is what I'm using for the jackets.

I did get some things accomplished today but had to go out to Ursula's store to buy some lace for the insert on DD#2's low-cut halter. I hemmed her skirt, then made the insert. She has to try the top on again for correct placement of the insert. She needs a halter bra for her top and it pains me to have to buy a bra she'll wear once. This girl wears sports bras year round so having to spend a minimum of $15 on a bra just kills me. She's the one who hates all things tight and itchy. Imagine having to deal with a halter bra that goes around the back of one's neck! She's going to go crazy LOL. She'll pick out the most comfortable one to the tune of $30 I'm sure.

So for that insert, I rarely sew with lace and was thinking of easy ways to sew the bias tape on the lace. What I did was create a template of a slightly curved neckline with freezer paper and adhered the freezer paper to the lace with an iron on a low setting. Here's my starting point:

Sorry, that's a bad, blurry pic. Next up, I pinned the black bias tape to the other side of the lace and stitched them together. That's shown here:

In my next bad pic, I started picking away the freezer paper from the seamline very carefully. I pressed my fingernail (what there is of it) just over the edge of the seamline and pulled it off like a perforation. I should have used a smaller stitch length as that would have made it easier. I usually set my stitch length to 3.0 for most projects--it's simply my preference. The freezer paper from both sides of the seamline was removed.

Then I turned the bias tape over and topstitched everything into place as shown here:
Now the lace inset sits on my dressform. DD#2 has to try on the top so I can adjust the placement for stitching. I'll take a pic of it tomorrow.

Using the freezer paper made things so easy. It temporarily stabilized the entire piece of lace and I was able to carefully pull it off when finished. It eliminated all the negatives of dealing with this potentially shifty, stretchy, fussy fabric.

I also started stitching my fleece quilt squares together but was halted by running out of cotton muslin which I'm using for the stabilizer/backing for each square. This necessitated running out to Ursula's store for 4 yards of cotton muslin. I won't need all 4 yards for this project, but want to have the muslin around for other things. Here's the quilt starting to shape up:

Speaking of which, Ursula is planning on having a Black Friday sale at her store with all fabric (fabric only) being 40% off!!! If anyone is planning on vacationing in the Poconos during Thanksgiving, please visit Ursula's store! You can find some gems there. She will help you coordinate fabrics and is very experienced with them as well as pattern design and draping. Here is the website for her store:

Scroll down for the directions and phone number for her store. You can tell her Kat sent you :) !

Not Finding What You Need!

Darn! It's really frustrating!!! I posted a question a day or so ago at Patternreview about needing a boys jacket pattern with a hood. It HAS to have a hood unlike DS#2 who didn't want a hood. DS#1 MUST have one, or so he says.

I can't find anything on-line. I was hoping to hit the Butterick sale at Joann's this weekend, but it's shaping up to be busy so it's a lack of time issue at this point. Looking through my stash, I do have The Green Pepper's Men's Oregon Jacket packet. DS#1 is 12 so I could make him the smallest size. However, fleece is his fabric of choice and, after reading over the pattern instructions and fabric recommendations, I don't think fleece is a good option.

So, back to the pattern drafting board. Why I'm so resistant to drafting a simple little hood I don't know. But that is what I'm going to do. Use the boy's McCall's jacket pattern I just made for DS#2 and morph the KS pullover neckline and hood onto the pattern.

Do you know why I'm so against this? Because my brain is tired! I've been doing so much thinking and planning lately that I just want to do mindless, yet enjoyable, sewing. Creating an easy, nice-looking garment which requires virtually no thought. That's what I want to do. Oh well, we don't always get what we want. So pattern drafting it is.

Today's sewing focus for this Saturday, November 1, will be creating a backing for my quilt squares and sewing the squares together. Sunday will be for measuring and sewing the sashing (is that what it is called?), then early next week will be the quilt batting (if I even need it--this is fleece material I'm working on), and attaching the backing. The other focus is finishing up DD#2's skirt for the banquet tomorrow.