Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Most Inspirational Blogger of 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone! And a Happy Belated Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. My blogging has been very sporadic lately, and it seems the holidays come and go so quickly. On my end, this has been the Christmas that wasn't. It simply hasn't felt like the Christmas season, nor did it feel like Christmas today.

I can't pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it's partly the news. The economy, so many people losing their jobs--it leads to a general feeling of not being in the holiday mood. It could also be my friend fighting cancer and getting denied disability for the second time, while I know another person out of work since summertime who is enjoying year-long unemployment checks while gambling in Atlantic City, not necessarily even looking for a job.

It has been a year of friendship disappointment. There's nothing like lending a long-term friend a high degree of support, yet having their dishonesty and half truths cause people to question my credibility. I promptly terminated the friendship and all association with that person. While another person acted as if they wanted to renew a friendship after blowing me off last year, I simply refused to go there. It caused me to wonder why it was happening and what they wanted from me. I felt they were only doing it because of my connections with other people. Sorry, I'm not going to be used. So, a good riddance to 2009.

Except for one bright spot! That would be who I consider to be the most inspirational blogger of 2009. She's the one person who made me want to consider an aspect of sewing I have never had an interest in. That is, until January or February of this year. She is the person who sews absolutely beautiful bras! I was continually amazed by her better-than-Victoria's Secret bras. Her exquisite detail and beautifully selected fabrics and laces were incredibly inspiring, and I even asked her if she would consider offering a class on PR on bra construction. Instead, she opted to create a lingerie sew along for interested sewers on bra construction. This busy lady graciously offered her expertise and time (of which we know there is so little of) and helped out all of us in creating beautiful bras, sharing ideas, and learning about fitting bra patterns.

If you don't know already who is, what I consider to be, THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOGGER OF 2009, I'll tell you :) . It is...Sigrid.

Before this year, I never had any desire to sew up a pair of panties, nor a bra. But it is her work that provided me with the inspiration to sew up beautiful panties and a bra. I've sewed up two pairs of pretty lacy panties and one bra. The bra was a muslin, but I'm going to make the same bra as a back closure instead of a front closure one. On a side note, my days of front closure bras came to an end the day I was in the middle of teaching a high school class, and my bra became unhooked as I was writing on the chalkboard LOL. It was made worse by the fact that I had on a dress that was close-fitting from the waist up. Not a good experience as a C-Cup woman as one can imagine.

Anyway, I made plenty of little mistakes and ended up with little holes on the back band from seam ripping. Not to worry. I will make my beautiful bra in early 2010. However, it wouldn't have happened without Sigrid. Therefore, she gets my admiration for providing inspiration in an area of sewing I have never had an interest in before. And to accomplish that, one must produce outstanding work to the point that it creates a desire to do the same in another person. To never have an interest in lingerie sewing to have a strong desire to make beautiful bras and panties because of one person's work is a testament to her outstanding work.

Way to go, Sigrid!

Christmas 2009

Well, it's been an interesting past two weeks. I still haven't finished most of the sports headbands, just one completed one. It's what I'm going to be working on during Christmas vacation. Here is one of the headbands for DD#2's friend who absolutely loved it. We gave it to her Wednesday evening, and her father found her wearing it in bed on Thursday morning. So I guess she truly was pleased. It's my original design, although not much thinking required for it ;) .


Hayley's quilt is finished, and I'm just waiting for pics at this point. I asked her to take pics of it before giving it to her grandparents. We have been working on it for about three weeks, but she had to finish it up on her own. Hayley is my 13-year old sewing student, and I can't wait to see the finished project.

Now, on to my Christmas present :) . My little, lovable Jake who is really growing. The little guy gets neutered on Monday so that is his unlucky day. But we want to keep our little kitten permanently loving and as the breeder said, "Do NOT let him become a man!" LOL. Here is my wonderful little boy. Check out his adult fur growing in. It's short and wavy--so cute!

Snuggling with DD#2:

The handsome guy showing off his short, wavy coat (soft as velvet!):

Right now, I'm off to bed! I'm in normal body rythm mode of going to bed at 11:30 and getting up around 7:30 a.m. If only it could be like this every day...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm NOT Stupid!

I'm not stupid, but today I certainly felt like I was. I was stitching out two embroidery designs today. One is the original, one is a mirror image of a pointsettia design. The first one was beautiful. The second had some wonky stitching and I just didn't like it. The third one I must have pressed one too many buttons and put in the wrong thread color because I know the thread color order by heart. The fourth one I *thought* I forgot to mirror image the design when I stopped, then started back up again mid point later on. But...on the FIFTH stitchout, I realized somehow the design probably went bad on my CF card.

I've wasted a tremendous amount of bobbin thread and half the day doing this
@*#(*&*#* design. It's very frustrating because I waited three weeks for my machine to get fixed and now I'm backlogged with work. Christmas deadlines you know. Tomorrow morning I'm deleting the design from my card and downloading it again. Ugh!

I just HAD to vent!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quick Update!

It feels like forever since I posted! But I've been busy. Lots of sewing projects done or in the queue.

Before I get to the list, however, I have to include a pic of my handsome boy, Jake. MeredithP asked about kitty pics so I'll happily oblige :) . He is such a wonderful kitten and is now 4.5 lbs. He's long, lean, very athletic and just learned how to jump to DD#1's top bunk bed. It's amazing how this 4.5 kitten can jump to the top, but the amazing jumping skills are characteristic of the Devon Rex breed. Here's a pic of Jake doing his morning thing--snuggling next to DD#2 while she eats her breakfast. He does this every day and purrs like crazy. A real people kind of cat, and he does indeed seek out human companionship.

Also, to answer other questions as per comments:

Connie, I sure would love to go to Montreal for a PR Weekend! We'll see. It all comes down to economics, and this year has been a bit leaner for us.

Kim asked a question about teaching. Although my certification in my specialty is K-12, I have only taught at the 8-12 grade level. I LOVED teaching high school. Loved the older kids, and my philosophy on the different grade levels has always been: Little kids have lots of little problems. Big kids have a few big problems. Personally I think it's way easier to teach pre teens and teens, but I realize that is just my personality. I'm not a little kid lover. Not that I don't love kids--I do! Enough to have four of my own LOL. But I never loved babysitting or cooing over toddlers. I love it that my youngest is now 10 1/2 and my oldest almost 18. They're the most fun ever, and I never want to go back to the toddler days.

So I guess it's really a personality kind of thing. One has to ask themselves what kind of age group they love dealing with. Perhaps looking at their own personal experiences and family life can help identify the age group one would like to teach if they're thinking about it as an adult. Personally, I think teens are so much fun to work with and they tend to have few problems. The problems they do have can be major but I like dealing with one or two biggies than lots of small ones. I have worked with some absolutely terrific kids and out of the 1000+ I've taught over the years when I was working, there might only be 1 or 2 that were truly bad eggs. Overall? I loved being a high school teacher! Even teaching at the community college wasn't as fun as teaching high school.

Back to's the list of my activities:

1. A birthday picture quilt. It's coming along. The holdup? Something went wrong with the tension disc in my Janome 300E. I brought it in the same day (two weeks ago now?), and I've been very lonely without it. In fact, I need to call today about it because I have Christmas presents that have to be embroidered and soon!

2. Both blouses (a McCalls and a BWOF) are done and ready to be reviewed. Just need the time. Not my fave blouses because I used a shirting cotton from It's okay fabric. The blouses would have been much better in a drapy fabric but they're still wearable. Just not my faves because of the fabric used. It was the first BWOF pattern I ever used so the "wearable muslin" is just okay. On my second try with a better fabric I'll do a forward shoulder, possibly a slight broad upper back alterations, and a 1/2" FBA. BWOF drafts for a C-cup? Well, not my C-cups I guess.

3. Completed two more chemo hats and am waiting for the fleece fabric order I placed on 11/24 from Fabric Mart to make several more. Where is it? It's been 11 days so I hope it hasn't been misdelivered. I just sent them an email about the order because it hasn't arrived, and I'm concerned about it.

4. In the midst of making a self-drafted, simple elastic-waist mini skirt out of a leopard print woven mesh underlined with black lining fabric. It just needs to be hemmed. I'm making the lining shorter than the mesh so it has a "peekaboo" effect at the bottom of the mesh. We'll see if I get the effect I'm looking for.

5. Smack dab in the middle of making a pair of pants. About a year or so ago, I wrote a post about the the Elusive Perfect Pair of Pants. Well, it's not so elusive anymore :) ! It's getting much better and am fairly close to a great pair. The pair I'm making is for myself or DD#2. We're the same shape and virtually the same size. The only issue is I'm not altering for asymetry on this pair. My plan was to make it for her, but if she didn't like it they would become mine. However, she tried them on last night and seemed rather pleased with the initial try-on. A little side seam tweaking for a snugger fit so we'll see. When I try them on, I get an inseam pull at the botton on my right leg at the hem. It's very likely because my right hip is about a 1/2" or 5/8" higher than my left hip. If the pants were for me, I would have cut each side separately but since I didn't know who the pants were for, I just did the usual thing.

6. 20 Christmas presents are in the works for my daughters' friends. 20 sports headbands, all embroidered. The good thing? They're quick and easy, and I redrafted a book pattern because I wasn't totally happy with it. It's now my own creation, and I really love the changes--much more comfortable I think.

7. Drapes! My vertical living room blinds, 21+ years old, are in VERY sad shape. I bought a traverse rod, hooks, and am following the instructions in a book for pinch-pleat draperies with matching sofa pillows. Once that project is successful, I will venture into slipcovers for my couches. Home dec is certainly not my fave, but it's always the dept. store prices that send me into a tizzy and push me to making my own home dec projects. I will finish hemming my tab top curtains from 2 1/2 years ago while I'm at it. I picked out the fabric for the drapers at my local sewing store so I'm good to go with this.

8. During short time blocks, I'm making a third pair of pretty, lacy panties. My first pair is okay. Not wide enough across the lower part of my bum, so I tweaked the pattern and made a second pair. Much better, but I need to tweak the crotch piece. It sits too far to the back. I'm very short in the front crotch, long in the back, so I'll tweak a little more. Still have to get going with the matching bras, but that's more of a thought process so it will wait until after Christmas. Panties are quick, no-thinking kind of projects.

9. Other time blocks? PATTERN REVIEWS! When was the last time I did pattern review? It was for my maxi dress. I have so many other things to review, and I've been VERY neglectful in doing them. The perfect night to do them? Sometime during the Christmas holiday vacation when we stay up late.

BTW, in other news, DD#1 got her first acceptance letter. It's to Temple University, and they gave her a Merit Scholarship so that definitely helps out in defraying the cost should she decide to attend. Still waiting on the others at this point. It's a real exciting time for her. And guess what! She shocked us all by picking a Winter "sport"! She's a tennis player in the Fall and Track girl in the Spring, but we nearly fell off our rockers when she announced she was trying out for...(gasp!) Basketball cheerleading LOL! She made the team, and the entire family is going to see her cheer at the first home baskeball game. Even her sporty friends were in shock and asked, "You did what?!?!" Quite funny. She and four or five of her friends decided to try out on a lark, and she ended up being the only one to go through with it.

My daughter is a cheerleader. Who would have thought that would ever happen. Not me LOL. I'll share pics because this is definitely an event no one in the family wants to miss!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Surprise Me."

I asked Stacey about what colors and styles she wanted for chemo caps, and she said, "Surprise me." I warned her that was a dangerous statement LOL, and told her she be getting groovalicious fashionista chemo caps. You know, leopard print fleece with leather flowers! (She'll probably get one of those too :) .) But in the meantime, I made two more caps in a different style with ribbon flowers accented with hot-fix crystals.

Tomorrow I'm making a true red one with the band embroidered in a Christmas theme. Embroidery Library is having a good sale so I'll hunt up some nice designs. This is cute, quick, fun sewing and very purposeful. So meaningful when doing it for someone so special!

Recent Sewing Projects

Thank you to the wonderful bloggers who added Stacey to their prayer list. She had her first chemo treatment on Tuesday. I made one chemo turban last night, and finished the second this morning. I sent Stacey links to different sites that had different styles of chemo hats so she could see different kinds. The ones that I made below are from the Charitable sewing projects at . Nothing hard about them, but I found the depth of the tucks in the back of the chemo turban (3/4") may actually be too deep, not giving enough head depth. I told Stacey to let me know if the tucks need to be let out on the red hat. That one has deeper tucks than the blue.

Here are the chemo turbans. The front has a band loop at the CF. I embellished the band on red turban with a black, embroidered flower in my embroidery stash. If she doesn't like it, I'll remove it.

Here is a view of the backs. Notice the tucks in the red hat are deeper than the blue tucks. Well, it might not be that evident from the way the hats are displayed, but the head depth is definitely different.

Hopefully, they will have a new home with Stacey tonight.

Ah...that UFO I posted about a couple of days ago? It's done. BTW, thanks to my blogging friends that wished me healthy vibes :) . Today was my first day back at the gym since Friday and I'm pooped! Still not 100%, and my cardio routine gobbled up most of my energy for the day. (It's why I'm sitting here typing this post in the middle of the day.) But anyway...

I finished the first of three hunting projects for Rich back at the beginning of October, just in time for archery season. It was a hunting "thingamajig". Can't remember what he called it, but he really likes it. So I dawdled with projects two and three, but knew I had to get them done before deer season starts the Monday after Thanksgiving. So as of yesterday, projects two and three are done!

Here is a pic of the pad: The back was reused, along with the velcro straps on the front. But the camo fabric was replaced, velcro straps, reattached to the new front, and restitched to the original back. Here's the front:

Here is the back. It's the original back that was still in decent shape.

The third, and largest, project for Rich was the tree stand cover. He wanted something to take the bite out of the cool, Autumn "breezes" while sitting in the tree stand waiting for the right doe or buck to come along. The tree stand cover took somewhere between 3-4 yards of fabric, and the picture below shows the back of a small portion. The velcro on the top will go around the railing of the tree stand, and the pockets at the bottom are for supplies and/or small rocks or wood pieces to hold down the cover so the fabric flaps aren't flying all over the place when it's windy. It's not one long pocket, but rather a long pocket with vertical stitching channels to create several separate pockets along the bottom edge.

The tricky part to the tree stand cover? Using industrial strength velcro, the kind with the adhesive back not meant for machine sewing. After one hellish struggle on my machine and breaking a needle, I searched the Internet for tips. One great tip turned up: You can stitch the industrial strength adhesive velcro BUT sew slowly and clean the needle with alcohol every 10 stitches. Quite time consuming for all the strips I had to stitch to the fabric, but it worked like a charm with no needle breakage.

So now I'm moving on with trying to do reviews of two blouses, and hopefully making more chemo hats and DD#2's pants. More to come, very soon :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayers for Stacey

If you have a moment, would you please say a prayer for Stacey? She is a good friend of mine and a wonderful person, the kind everybody loves. She's funny, witty, kind, an all-around great person. She's just a year older than me and is in the hospital. She has a 4" malignant tumor that the doctors are hoping to cure and are optimistic about it. If you knew her, you'd love her just like everyone else does.

Tomorrow she will likely begin chemotherapy treatment. I've already looked up chemo hat/cap patterns and said she could have this pretty, long-haired blonde wig I bought several years ago. It can be cut any way she likes it. Maybe she will be in the group that doesn't lose their hair but just in case.

Please say a prayer for her. She has had a very rough past two years and now she just found out about this 3 days ago. She's really special, and her infectious laugh and sense of humor light up any room she's in.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Feel of Suede

Quick note:

Meredith asked:

"Forgot to ask: does he feel like suede? There is fur there, but I wondered what texture he feels like. Completely adorable, but he's going to have trouble hiding any weight gain from the vet :-)"

Thanks for asking, Meredith :) . Yes, he does feel like suede. Yet softer. Our little kitty is molting so he's actually losing fur in a few spots. He doesn't have much fur to begin with! His full coat will take two years to come in. His father and mother feel like...Minky! Short, soft dense fur. However, I think each Devon's fur is slightly different.

I've forgotten how active little kittens are, and this is an exceptionally active breed. Our schedules have been changed around to accommodate his kittenhood. DD#2 is getting a lesson on "parenting".

Excuse me...must attend to our little boy's needs... :) .

Saturday, October 24, 2009


He's our little baby. Our little boy. DD#2's very much desired kitten. Another source of joy and companionship. *My Sewing Buddy*. Although I'll probably think twice about that comment when one of my patterns end up shredded as his personal toy ;) .

He's active. Quick as a whip. Highly inquisitive. Gives new meaning to "cat-like reflexes". Yet loving. Loves to be held and cuddled. And an added plus? Low allergenic. He's Jake, our Devon Rex. Loved so much by our family.

'Nuff said. Here's our pics of our sweet, little boy:

And after all the fun we have, he gets all tired out! (Yes, an embroidered blanket just for him.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Happy Anniversary, Birthday, and Good Sewing News!

What a fabulous weekend! Sorry, no pics handy.

First, my 23rd Wedding Anniversary on Saturday, followed by my birthday on Sunday. It was so nice that both of those days fell on the weekend. What did we do that was special? Nothing! And that's why it was special LOL. If you knew what our schedule was like, nothing is actually VERY special indeed. DD#2 made my favorite red velvet cake. DH made my fave morning breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast. Purchased my special coffee creamer and actually had some good wine on Saturday night. My happiness formula:

Good Food + Good Drink + Good Company = A Darn Good Time

Okay. Let's be honest--add in some sewing time :) . Which I did.

So, I don't want to keep anyone in suspense (like I could actually do that LOL) about my Good Sewing News so here it is:

1. The sewing machine in the cabinet my MIL gave me died. I got the official word last week. An internal gear was broken and the tech said he could fix the machine for straight stitching only, but the zigzag would never work again. I said I'll keep the cabinet, but chuck the machine.

So...why is this good news??? Because the tech told me he sees a Kenmore that would fit into my machine come in every one or two months. This morning I got the call that a Kenmore just came in! It fit my machine perfectly. He'll tune it up and it will be ready to go. The one caveat--it has some major dings in the porcelain bed. That's okay. There has to be some type of filler that can be applied to fill in the somewhat deep dings. Do any handy people know what I can use? This is an olive green Kenmore circa the mid 70's. I can ask a handy guy I know for advice as well.

2. I started my quest for the "Elusive" perfect pants fit last year. Even self drafted my own pattern as per the instructions in a Threads magazine from at least a year or two ago. Made additional modifications to the pattern via Joyce Murphy's Body Space Concept also in Threads. With the pattern created, I set it aside and didn't work on it for a year.

This weekend I made the capris I was supposed to make from my self-drafted pattern last year. I have to get back into pants because DD#2 wants me to make her more pants for school. So I stitched them up and tried them on right before going to bed last night. Not expecting much, I was stunned to find an almost perfect fit on my backside! No butt bag! No extreme horizontal folds of fabric. It was thrilling! I'll do a post of it in the next few days.

3. I finished the white blouse I was working on. I love it. It might need just a little tweaking here and there on the next one, but overall the fit is good and the construction was a breeze. Simplicity gets a thumbs up on this pattern--no instruction surprises. I'll do a post of this as well in the next few days.

4. Jake (our new kitty) is coming home on the 23rd! We just can't wait for this little ball of fluff to keep us company. He will be well loved.

Okay. That's all for now. Just a quick update with more sewing blog "stuff" to come soon.

ETA--Thank you, Anonymous! I forgot--it was Kristin who shot JR. I was wrong. See what aging another year does to a person? ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who Would You Cast... play you!

Quoted from Ann's blog:

"...In fact, let's start a meme. Here's how it works. Who would you pick to play the role of You in a Hollywood movie (could be Bollywood, Ozziewood, Eurowood, you pick). Post it on your blog and leave a comment here pointing us to you. ..."

I thought it was about looks for casting purposes at first, but then considered it to be looks and intelligence/talent as well.

Oh my gosh! This is so easy.

Past: Audrey Landers. Oh that 80's hair! I love it. Had it. Still love it. Still have it when I want it ;) .

Present: Audrey Landers (might be a little retouching done here and there, maybe a little Botox or Rejuvenex, who knows. But heck, she's looking mighty fine.) Ya know. She's looking better than me and she's older. Life's not fair. But it's nothing a little money wouldn't change, huh.

Future: Audrey Landers


Okay. The young things may not know who this chick is. She's the girl who shot JR LOL! (If the next question is "Who is JR?", then forget about it ;) . ) I can't tell you how many times I was told I bore a strong resemblance to Audrey Landers when I was in college. Too many to count. So I would have her portray me as my past. Ditto my present. Many people probably don't know it, but she's a very talented woman: actress, composer, singer, etc.. And she seems relatively private. Those are things I admire and relate to, so she can portray my present. I can identify with that. And my future? Well who knows what that entails, but she can do that too.

That's who I would cast!

Redraft No. 1 of McCall's 4922

Here's the pattern, same as my previous post

We're talking a basic oxford style. There's a bit of variations on sleeve detail, hemlines, and bias cut pieces on the pattern, but I need something more though. We're talking teens with attitude. The "standard" oxford style just won't do. So I drew some sketches. Here they are:

So for my first modified version, I chose the bottom sketch. It has bust gathering detail at the CF at the bustline. So I pull out my cutting mat and get to work on the pattern piece with slash and spread. This is what I ended up with (adding 1.5" of gathers which worked out perfectly):

For this pattern, I used a 10 at the neck/shoulders/upper chest, then morphed to a 14 at the full bust down. The other alterations I did were forward shoulder on the bodice with the coresponding alteration done on the sleeve as found on my Sleeve Tutorial blog post and a very slight swayback tuck (1/4" above the waist).

That swayback tuck will vary according to what base size I use. If I used a 12, I'd do about a 1/2" tuck. Which brings me to a question I've seen on the PR boards about cutting a CB seam after doing a swayback tuck. People seem to stress over this, and I don't know why. Here's the issue:

The top of the pattern at the CB neck and the bottom of the pattern at the CB hem are on the bold yellow line. After doing the swayback tuck, the back edge "dips" or curves inward. How do I handle this? Simply align the CB at the neck and the CB at the hemline at the fold in the fabric. It will end up looking like this:

See how there is a slight excess of fabric at the CB because of the swayback tuck? It would, of course, be more if I did a 1/2" tuck which I sometimes do. HOWEVER, the excess of width is usually not a problem. Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I eliminate the excess by removing width from the princess seam which I have shown in the photo with a new cutting line in white.

This isn't rocket science. It's just a common sense approach to dealing with this issue. And yet I see a number of sewers fretting about this particular alterations. On a top without a princess seam, it can simply be removed from the side seams as well.

Believe me, when I started with tissue fitting and pattern alterations, I made big issues out of small things. It's really easy to do because it's easy to get overwhelmed, especially on a figure like mine that requires oodles of pattern alterations on a base size 12. Morphing from a 10 to 14 is my favorite option, although some patterns I can't find in that range so my pattern alterations increase exponentially.

So where am I on this top? Almost done! All I need to do are the buttons/buttonholes and hemming. Here's a pic from yesterday without the addition of sleeves. Please excuse the hasty photo. I didn't have time to press it again and this cotton is like a wrinkle nightmare. In retrospect, a cotton/poly blend would have been better. But you get the general idea.

I should be finished with it soon, maybe tomorrow. This top takes me back to the 80's for sure! I had this one Brooke Shield's blouse pattern that I made at least 5 times when I was in high school. Truthfully, it has been years since I've made a blouse. But I'm really liking this one. Sure hope DD#2 doesn't want to snatch this for her school wardrobe. This is her "muslin" since we wear the same size. It's actually her 2nd choice top. Her first choice is the one with underbust horizontal seam with vertical tucks to be added on the bottom pieces, kind of like the shirt below in a recent Burda WOF mag. This style will be my next redraft. BTW, does anyone have a 9/2009 Burda WOF they would like to sell me??? This is an awesome top and I'd love to trace it as is. It would save me redrafting time.

BTW, thank you, everyone, for your comments on school dress code/uniform policies. I must add that this is our first year. That is why it is SO darn expensive for me. Starting from scratch for four kids. It is truly a monetary nightmare. They have virtually nothing to use from the previous year to build on for a school wardrobe. Subsequent years will not be so bad, but the first year is very hard. I feel very sorry for the many parents in our school district who have lost their jobs and are in the same boat of buying everything new. Relying on hand-me-downs, at least in my family, is not an option this year. Virtually everything is brand new.

Right now I'm adding a few nice pieces here and there for DD#2. She actually likes and wears what I make her. Same with the boys. DD#1 thumbs her nose, but I know she secretly "approves" but will never actually wear what her mother has made.

Okay. More later. My fingers are tired and I'm going to enjoy my Saturday evening glass of wine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

School Uniforms and McCall's 4922.

Life with a dress code policy. Fine for a job, but a pain-in-the-you-know-what for parents like me in a public school district that just went to a standardized dress code (technically--UNIFORMS!). Although the claim can be made that uniforms save money in the long run, for me it has been a huge monetary investment since my four kids needed entirely brand new wardrobes. I've probably already spent at least $1,000 on back to school clothes with another $500 to be spent on winter attire that meets the school code standards.

A true uniform, IMO, would be much easier. Instead, we have choices. For pants, Docker style navy blue, black, or khaki/stone colored pants. Shorts and skirts are to be the same colors and must come down to the knee cap. Tops have to have buttons up to the neck (one unbuttoned is okay) in oxford style (girls tops can be a little fancy with gathered sleeves, front pleats, etc., but must be in the full button down style of an oxford WITH a collar). Tops can be white, grey, any shade of blue, or black. Same color tops and bottoms cannot be worn, for example, black shirt with black pants. AND absolutely NO logos or symbols of any type.

Kids have been sent to ISS for tops with no collars, pants with rivets, pants with more than 4 pockets, pockets below the hipline, shirts that don't have buttons up to the neck, skirts that are too short, etc., from Day 1. That includes Kindergarten students too. I think there were something like 2 full rooms of In-School Suspension kids for failure to follow the dress code to a T the first day of school, and that was just at the Intermediate school (grades 5-7).

Unfortunately for me, our "standardized dress code" has too many choices which means more money. The boys are easy, they're young and not picky. A plain 'ol polo in any color will do them just fine. They're not particular about their pants either. Girls, on the other hand, need "fancy" style oxford blouses. Princess seaming, tucks, gathered sleeves, and ruffled fronts in the broad array of "acceptable" colors which includes ANY shade of blue. Skirts with fancy seaming and detailing is a big thing. It would be SO much easier if the uniform was like a Catholic school uniform. One color/style blouse, one style/color dress.

Choices may be nice for the kids, but the bottom line is that choices mean more money for the parents. And I haven't even gotten to shoes. They must be in a predominate color of black or white. No fancy colors or stripes. That's really hard too. I like my kids to have good footwear with good support, but find myself shopping at Walmart for cheap, plain color sneakers and shoes. DD#2's cheapo shoes I bought at Payless were killing her feet. The Dr. Scholl's insoles helped, but I may have to go the route of $60 or $70 Naturalizers. It was far easier when my sporty girl simply needed one pair of shoes--her top-quality sneakers for almost the year.

So where does this lead up to? McCall's 4922.
A princess seamed blouse with several variations. That's what I'm working on right now for DD#2. I made a design modification which is one of 3 design sketches I drew on paper which deviate a bit from the standard, classic button-down oxford shirt style.

Detailed info on that is in my next blog post.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Did I Just Make?

I have no idea! Technically, it's a cover for something hunting related. I'm making it for Rich, who is making me a tall cat stand for our new kitten. I'm also making him a cover for his tree stand and redoing a medium-sized seating pad. The velcro on the pad and thingamajig cover was in great shape so I was able to reuse that, however, I'm buying more velcro for the tree stand cover. It's great to be able to barter services like this. The cat stands (or cat trees?) I'm looking at are anywhere from $150-$300, and I know he'll be able to make one even better than what I'm seeing in the catalogs.

Rich bought the outdoor fabric on his own after I directed him to a few online stores that specialize in outdoor fabric. He called and then made the purchase. The tree stand should be done in a few days, then I'll work on the seating pad which should be a snap. He bought just enough material, about 5 yards, and it is enough for all three projects. I've never made anything like this before and it's not too bad. I'm not much into home dec and hate making Halloween costumes, but something like this has a meaningful purpose which will be appreciated for several years.

My only issue with the project? The fabric is treated and has a special finish which makes it very stiff. Maneuvering 5 yards of stiff fabric while sewing seams is a feat in itself LOL. Check out the massive yardage on my kitchen table. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a picture of the tree stand cover when it's done.

More later. I'm getting back into some garment sewing! Yeah, baby!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meet Jake!

Here he is. This is *THE* one! We took a long drive out to the breeder on Thursday and definitively selected him from the litters. He's a Devon Rex, low allergenic, short/wavy fur, huge ears, big eyes, known for their wonderful temperment and desire for human companionship. He was snuggling right up on my chest and neck, and in the pic he's cozying up with DD#2.

We can't wait to take him home. I need a soft, fuzzy, and warm computer and sewing companion. DD#2 wants a pillow and homework companion. The only thing I can definitely say is that he will be loved by all. We are SO looking forward to his arrival in about 3 weeks. It's been two years since our last cat died of old age, and we miss having a fuzzy, friendly, loving cat in our house. Over the next three weeks, guess what I'll be doing! Yep, securing all the threads and everything else that little kitties love to play with in a sewing room.

There is a story behind all of this as well. About 20 years ago, DH and I went to a cat show and picked up three business/cattery cards. DH was cleaning out some stuff about two weeks ago, found those three cards and showed them to me. The first two cards were the two catteries related one of our cats that died 4 years ago. One was the cattery of his mother, the other of his father. The third card was simply one we picked up because we found the breed interesting, but there are so many different breeds at the shows. What was breed/breeder on the card? The Devon Rex! And the owners of that cattery 20 years ago sold a cat (for breeding purposes) to our current breeder and helped her get started. It's really a weird coincidence, but really, I believe very few things are coincidence. It was simply part of the "master" plan--it was meant to be.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jake and happy sewing! Especially if you own any furry or feathery helpful, loving critters in your home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Recent Projects

I asked in a previous post where does time go. It flies by, and yet it seems like I have nothing to show for it. What I didn't mention is how totally unexpected things can happen that can befuddle, bewilder, and leave a person (that would be me ;) !) actually shocked and confused. Kind of like walking into a wall. Yeah, friendships can do that to a person.

So, in order to forget the negativity of the situation, I'm reconnecting with my projects. I need feel-good sewing and have something to show for it. So I refocused my much needed attention on sending in my PR Top 10 dress by the date it absolutely needed to be shipped, made a quickie skirt in 45 minutes with a leftover remnant from my "Mini" maxi dress, embroidered and stitched up my great nephew's baby quilt that's been sitting around for 4 months at least, put the final two embroidery lines on DD#1's tennis jacket, and am working on a quickie summer top that maybe will be worn once during the rest of the summer. We have to get at least one more day in the 70's after today.

So here they are in no particular order:

The baby quilt made from Minky and cotton flannel

The quickie skirt I stitched up yesterday and wore today:

The quickie top still a work in progress--I'm futzing with the placement of the straps and will add the facing. I plan on making it short too. Sure hope it doesn't look like a potato sack on me like it does on my DTD.

DD#1's RTW jacket with the last two lines of embroidery for her high school tennis career (She finally got the No. 1 singles spot she's always wanted AND was voted in as Captain.) What a royal pain it is to make sure alignment is as close to spot-on as possible.

Sewing truly is my feel-good-about-the-world activity. It makes the stars all seem like they're in alignment and makes *most* things right.

On my last post about kiddie sewing machines, I wanted to make a clarification. My friend and I did not know each other well when she bought this machine for her daughter. She did not know I did any type of sewing at all. That is why she did not ask for my help. She simply was buying what she thought was a decent machine for her daughter, a beginning sewer.

Peg mentioned the Janome Sew Mini. That would have been a much better option. The reviews for it make it seem like a nice little machine. However, I think the caveat of this machine is it doesn't make buttonholes? So I still couldn't recommend a machine like that to a newbie sewer. It would make for a nice, portable convenient backup though.

Overall, my point was if pattern companies were going to allow their names to be placed on a beginner sewing machine, make sure it's a quality machine from a quality/reputable company. It certainly doesn't need a bunch of bells and whistles, but it needs good basic features found on regular, full-sized machines. And we all know that a good, basic machine CAN be purchased for about $100. But this $70 toy machine was no bargain. Peg, had a very good point--don't shoot them all down before trying them. However, it would be hard for me to shoot down a Janome ;) . I love my Janome machines.
Good night, and happy sewing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Honestly, I don't know! Can someone help me get it back?

First, it was back-to-school shopping. With four kids, each one has to be taken separately, at least two days for each child. Taking all of them, even only two is of no joy to me. They're much more enjoyable one-on-one. It's about appreciating uniqueness, not thinking about how I'd like to send them to some third-world country so they can understand about squabbling. Really, if they're going to squabble and fight, it better be about worthwhile like lack of food or shelter.

And let's talk about my wallet. Not only do I have no time, I have no money. Our public school went to uniforms this year. The BOE calls it a "standardized dress code". Whatever. It means buying all four kids totally brand new wardrobes.

Even with that, shirts, skirts, and pants all need to be hemmed. The shirts can't hit past mid-behind, the pants can't touch the floor, the skirts and shorts have to be at the knee cap. Not what I call enjoyable sewing.

So how about sports. Call me a chauffer. That really is what I am, but get no tip. "Take me here." "Take me there." "Come pick me up." "I need to be dropped off." Then it's fundraising. DD#2's softball team is requiring each set if parents to come up with $200 in sponsorships. So I'm dressing up every day for the next week going all over the place praying that some businesses will provide sponsorships for her team. There IS a reason why I switched out of Marketing when I was in college. I hate sales and I hate selling. Especially during these tough economic times.

I still have to beat the deadline for the PR Top 10 Contest and send my dress in. It has to be mailed tomorrow. Where's the box for mailing? I don't know. The dress was just dry cleaned though so at least that is done.

I want to sew! My Coverstitch has only taken baby steps. Haven't even had time to really get into it and try some new things with it.

This is the second week of school and I have yet to have a "free" day to accomplish some sewing that has value to me, like making a dress, pants, skirt, or coat. My bathing suit! The one I started in May or June? It's still being worked on! I'll finish it for Christmas LOL.

And blogging, don't get me started. I'm scared to look at the blogs I have subscribed to and the ones I plan on subscribing to. My blog is so boring too! First, the look is stale. The content is abominable 'cuz I haven't done much sewing lately. And no sewing means gives me a very cranky frame of mind. Hence, this blog post today. It's just a lot of complaints. And I'm sparing everyone my biggest gripe for the week.

Happy sewing to you all! Some of us have to have some fun ;) !!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Other New Baby and Sewing Activities

The other day, DD#1, DD#2, and I took a 1 1/2 hour plus trip to visit our new baby. His name is Jake.

Here's a pic of baby Jake OR what baby Jake will look like:

Jake is either the middle kitten OR will look like the black one on the left from a new litter. I have to call the breeder tomorrow because she said we could have the champagne-colored one if the purchaser did not send in the deposit in a timely fashion. If not, we have picked out a little black boy kitten from the newest litter since the current 2-month olds are all technically sold. Either way, we will be so happy.

Our baby is a Devon Rex. We were looking into a cuddly, social cat that is low allergenic due to DS#1's asthma. We had 4 Persians at one time and he tolerated them well, but to be on the safe side we're going with a minimum fur coat that is supposedly well tolerated by cat allergic people and asthma sufferers. Do you know what the fur of a Devon Rex feels like? MINKY!!! I didn't know it at first, but I am embroidering a sample of Minky for my great nephew's embroidered blanket and it feels just like the Devons at the breeder. The adult Devon's fur is very short, a little wavy, and oh-so-soft!!! They are great little cuddlers and like to sleep with their owners :) . DD#2 is so excited about this.

So our "adoption" date is either the beginning of September or the beginning of November depending on which kitten. We are currently preparing for his arrival. I have to make sure my sewing supplies are stored well and my patterns are in a safe place. Cat lovers know how much cats love all things paper!

Back to sewing. As mentioned above, I'm working on sewing an embroidered blanket--Minky on one side, cotton flannel print on the other. It will be embroidered with my nephew's name, birthdate, length, weight, etc., the usual baby vital stats. Next up is working on a tree stand cover for this guy I know who is a hunter. He bought the fabric and I'm going to make it for him. I was going to have in pay me, but perhaps I'll barter and ask him to make me a tall cat stand. I'll buy the supplies and carpet, he's good at making things so maybe he could create a nice one for our new baby.

One quickie summer top is ready to be cut out, maybe shorten a previously made wrap skirt, perhaps make a simple elastic-waist skirt from a great EOS ITY-like print fabric. Then work on some summer capris that I was supposed to make last summer, and of course my bathing suit which will be finished in (probably) December! In between I keep working at my bra and panties. The panties are a quick project and I'm still working on a better fit. The bra takes a bit more time and I need a nice block to work on bra #2. Will bra #1 ever get done? Currently it is a no. I seam ripped enough that now I have little holes in the fabric here and there. It's okay, that's how we learn, from the mistakes we make.

I did have time to enter my Madison Avenue dress I made a while back in the PR Top 10 contest. Of course, I don't even expect to make the finalist stage, but it's nice just to enter. I've already been inspired by several who have posted the creations they have entered. Many of the patterns I wouldn't have even given a second look by the pattern covers/illustrations, but the work of PR members is, of course, amazing! I just loved MelissaB's, LonestarLady's and VeryPrairie's interpretations found in this thread. I'm hoping all will be posted soon.

That's it for now. Hope everyone got some sewing in this weekend!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My New Baby!!!

There she is! Isn't she a beauty?!?! My new Janome CP1000. I've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting to bring her home! Since last October in fact. She was on layaway at the dealer and they took care of her during that time.

She took her first baby steps today working on DS#2's travel baseball shirt. RTW sizing is so crazy. The Adult Small t-shirt I ordered for him for his tournament was just the right size, but all were on the smaller side of the range. The kids that got Youth Small or Medium looked like they had a baby's shirt, no kidding. So the new baseball jersey was an Adult Small and the sleeves were between the elbows and wrists, and the hemline of the shirt was between his crotch and knees, closer to his knees actually. So I pinned a new hemline and sleeve hemline to his liking. I took off 4" of length on the sleeves and 3 1/2" of length on the shirt hemline. I have to be careful not to take off too much because the shirt has to stay tucked into the baseball pants.

So here is the shirt:

It really looks much better on him. He was beaming when he put it on after coverstitching the new hems and felt great. My new baby did NOT disappoint!

Below is the closeup of the coverstitch on the sleeve hem. Isn't that exciting! Some pretty stitching indeed. I can't wait to look into the binders and fellers. I checked out Debbie Cook's tutorials on the accessories so maybe with some birthday or Christmas money I'll splurge and get some accessories. Sometime during the next 3 weeks I'm going to sit down and review Debbie's tutorials and try some things with my CP1000. The fact that it has narrow, wide, and triple stitch is just a super thing to me.

ETA...End result. A happy boy!

That's it for machines. Maybe I'll save up for a new serger at some point in time, but my current serger is doing it's job. Jet-air threading really appeals to me though. One thing about my new machine-- I was very surprised to find that the CP1000 has tiny screws for the needles like my serger. Hmmm...that's not my fave feature by far. Those screws are so tiny. Oh well, I'll get used to it.

Okay. Enough gushing. Back to housework but the break to post this so worthwhile! No longer do I have to lust over Karen's and Robin's coverstitching endeavors. I've joined the club :) .
ETA #2...All right. So what was I doing this evening? Geek stuff. I read the Coverpro manual for about a 1/2 hour and studied the pics and text. Good night type of reading for us sewing lovers :) .

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Mini "Maxi"--McCall's 5893

Here's my mini version of McCall's 5893. Previously I made the maxi dress--love, love, love it! I like the short mini version too. DH says it's kind of retro? Think 1960's.

I don't know about that. But it's cool. It's breezy. Feels like I'm wearing pajamas just like the maxi dress. My kind of outfit :) . If only all outfits could be like this! Here are two pics of the front and one of the back. Even picked up some little flats on clearance. Not the prettiest, but far better than what's in the shoe department in my closet. The fabric is an ITY print from Spandex World in NYC, and it's a dream to sew up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


52, 34, 33, 32, 22, 16, 14, 11, 10 !!!

Yes, that's right. Numbers! I've never liked them, never cared for math, Algebra, Geometry, etc. And at my age, they still bog me down. What is the significance of those numbers I have posted? They're the number of blog posts needing to be read in some of my blogfeeds!!! It's the same feeling like when you get behind on a project and feel like you'll never catch up. Or the thought of a delicious weekend, only to find you don't want to step on the scale and face the music. It's why I don't own a scale and haven't owned one in 20 years LOL.

At some point in time I'm going to catch up. Slowly but surely I've been reading and muddling my way through blog posts.

All while working on a second swimsuit muslin (this one might actually be wearable!). The first one was obscenely low. The inner bra is what bogs me down. I need it to be just right and I'm very particular about it.

Yesterday I wore my second pair of panties to assess my pattern modifications. They're a little loose in the back, that was after I tweaked the pattern. At first, I was thinking the back was just too big so I took out some length. Now what I think is that the front is simply too long at the crotch as I've examined some RTW panties for the front crotch seamline. It seems like it falls 1.5-2" farther back than it should. I think I'll add back the length I took off on the back and simply shorten that front crotch area. This will be for panty no. 3. If I find that it simply isn't too my liking, I'm going to drop down a size. I've found my measurement for my KS bathing suit points to a Medium, but there's no way this size worked on my figure and I dropped down to a Small which is much better. I'm thinking the panties might be the same way. I used a Small panty size but think an XSmall might work better. We'll see.

Three days ago I whipped up another dress from my McCall's maxi dress pattern. This is the mini dress version. Pics are forthcoming but my camera battery died :( . Must purchase a new one.

More later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I have a question for you!

Do you think about sewing a lot? I know I do!

So many times I'll go to bed and think about patterns, fabric, future projects, techniques--you name it, I've probably thought of it. Then when I wake up, I wonder if I'll get in any sewing time, mull over what to wear that I've made, eat my breakfast while checking out sewing blogs or PR, maybe do a bit of sewing, then start my day. If I'm lucky, I'll do sewing at some time during the day, maybe at night too.

I get very excited when I think about going to Pocono Sew and Vac. So many machines, so much gadgetry, so many sewing notions...oh, I just want to sit at the machines and experiment! And then there are the fabric stores. Where am I going? Is there a fabric store nearby?

Yeah, I think about sewing. A lot! My Coverstitch machine is still in the box. I looked at it every time I was in my sewing room today thinking about those gorgeous coverstitched hems and feeling those stretchy professional-looking hem stitches. It will be another 10 days before I can take out my new toy and play with it. Can you imagine??? Why did I even pick it up when the box tortures me every day LOL? Oh well, after 10 months of layaway, what's another 10 days, right?!?! You know, I get SO happy thinking about my "family". The machine family that is. I want to see them all lined up on one table so I can take a picture--my sewing machine, serger, embroidery machine, and coverstitch. Such a handsome family of machines it will be!

Do you virtually eat, sleep, and breathe sewing? I've been like that since 7th or 8th grade. My summers in high school were spent in the basement making clothes, many times from 8 or 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. when I had to get ready to go to work. I will admit that my sewing went into a temporary hibernation state when my four kids were 7 and under. I think I slept through huge chunks of time in the 1990's or lived in a sleep-deprived daze for a few years. But other than that, sewing has been a major part of my life and who I am.

How about you? Just wondering how many of us have this *passionate* hobby. I'd like to know I'm not alone :) .

Friday night meandering thoughts.

It's 10:45 on a Friday night and I'm waiting for DD#1 to arrive home. So, I'm thinking about sewing things and will finish up the christening outfit tomorrow night. It just needs the buttons and buttonholes. I was going to do it tonight but cleaned a bit and had to get stuff ready for DD#2's softball tournament and DS#2's very first baseball tournament on a 10U team. What I don't like about this is I'll have to use all manual settings. The 1/4" buttons are too small for my buttonhole foot!

Also, I plan on adding a number of blogs to my blogroll and subscription feeds in Bloglines. That's one of the reasons I love my Sitemeter widget. Sometimes I check out my referrals and find some great blogs that way. It's kind of like if someone is interested in my work, I'll most likely be interested in theirs as well. And, of course, I find some great ones via comments. There's some mighty fine work going on the sewing blogsphere!

Which brings me to Bloglines--I dread looking at the feeds! I've been so busy and haven't had a chance to read any blogs the past two weeks. It will probably be three since I have to get ready to go to Virginia on Wednesday. And do you know who I'm going to see in Virginia??? JEF from Patternreview!!! I'll be there for the ASA Softball Nationals and we're going to meet up hopefully for both coffee/lunch and at G-Street Fabrics. This is really exciting! Although, I must admit, DD#2 is not all that thrilled about it. She'll survive though. I'll buy a new camera battery and be ready to go.

So maybe in another 10 days I'll be back to somewhat of a normal routine and can catch up on an immense amount of blog reading. Or maybe I'll start right after finishing this post :) !

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Little Pattern of the Year!

Drum's from McCall's! This HAS to be one of *MY* top patterns of 2009! This McCall's pattern, 5893, an EASY 1-hour dress is superbly drafted and uniquely designed to fit and flatter.

I desparately wanted a maxi dress *this* summer. NOT next summer with my sewing being so slow which is typically the case. So when I saw Erica B's version (although a different pattern), then Adrienne's version from this same McCall's pattern, I knew it was "the" one and was sold on it. Every version I checked at Patternreview showed lovely results on various figures.

What is key here is that the horizontal bodice seamline is not only gathered, but the seam allowance on the inside is pressed toward the bodice and a casing is created from the skirt seam allowance (the bodice seam is trimmed). This provides a close, comfortable, yet snug fit right under the bust which is very slimming. That's really a crucial area with this kind of dress which can very easily look tent-like. And IMO, it absolutely does NOT look like a tent. I think it's actually quite flattering.

The best part? My quick muslin of the bodice resulted in only 4 very minor alterations.

1. I moved the entire shoulder seam forward a 1/2".

2. I added small darts in the back from the bodice horizontal seamline extending upward about
2". Too much extra fabric. I removed 1 1/2" via the darts.

3. Added the same type of darts (extending just down to the waist) on the skirt in the back to match the bodice. Yeah, I didn't have to do this, but I didn't want to add it as gathers. Too many gathers is not a good look on me.

4. Added 2.5" to the length of the skirt.

These are incredibly minor alterations. I used a size 10 at the neck and shoulders grading out to a 14 from mid-armhole down. I loved the fact that this was a multi-size pattern with the 10-14 sizes which made things so easy for me.

Get this! The vertical darts on the bodice were in the right location! My bust apex is 3.5" from the CF and these darts were 3.75" away from the apex. I left as is--that 1/4" won't really matter.

The fabric used? That lip-smacking ITY purchased from Spandex World in NYC. This fabric is perfect summer weight--not as heavy as the "buttermilks" I purchased from EOS but really the same type of fabric. The drape is heavenly. So much so that I bought two more Spandex World ITY's for a short summer dress from this pattern as well as a top. Here are two more beauties I bought for this pattern and will make a shorter dress out of this pink/black print and a long top maybe with the sleeves out of this green swirly print

And the shoes! I bought Candies flip flops at Kohl's that were a great match. DD#1 not only approved of the dress, she also liked the shoes. Too bad they're not her size ;) .

Here's a pic of the dress outside in daylight. The colors are so pretty! Truly everything about this dress is fabulous. DD#1 even commented, "It really makes you look tall!" And I'm not short either--about 5'7", but the long, column style really elongates the figure and adds height. And...when I wore this to my local Sew and Vac today to pick up my Coverstitch machine, one of the employees loved my dress so much she was going to head out to Joann's this weekend and pick up this pattern.

What is needed now? Better earrings, and a good chunky brownish/bluish bracelet. Oh, and a nice-looking handbag. That would really complete the ensemble. At this point, I really hope maxi dresses are not SO out of style that they can't be worn next year.

Yeah, IMO, McCall's Easy 1-hour 5893 gets my vote as one of the best patterns in 2009! It's a little early to make that call since the year is far from over, but this pattern deserves it! McCall's gets kudos for this one!!!

Smug and Stupid!

Last night I worked on the snap crotch/legs on the Christening outfit. In not one of my finer moments, I installed the tape on the front legs, installed the tape on the back legs, then go to snap it together and realized something wasn't right--the recollection of baby clothes running through my mind.

You know, I could have looked at the pattern directions again! The method for installing the tape on the back legs is different than the front. If I still had wee little ones, I would have known this but wasn't paying too much attention to things. A moment of smugness with the thought, "I don't have to look at the directions!" will give me another hour of frogstitching with the seam ripper and installing the back tape again. How stupid is that?!?!

Again, the wording could be a little better on the snap tape installation instructions. Same type of thing with the back closure. Better wording would have eliminated any second guessing of "Is this what I'm supposed to do?" I will elaborate on this when I do a pattern review. It would have been fine if I had some baby clothes around to examine but I don't.

Lorrie made me feel much better about things anyway. She posted:

"I had the same problem with their instructions on the same outfit. I ended up modifying to fit my needs...alot easier. good luck finishing."

For once...I'm not the only one :) !

Thank you to Lindsay. She suggested I contact Bunny of La Sewista for help, and I would have except I'm starting to become pressed for time. So I'll follow the pattern instructions and use small, flat buttons. Filing that link in a brain cell for future reference should the need arise.

And, of course, thank you to everyone else for their words of encouragement. Baby clothes certainly are not my specialty but this project is moving along fine with just minor detours along the way.


Yesterday I finished my maxi dress with my Spandex World ITY fabric. It looks FABULOUS! I love it and will wear it today. Get ready for pics!

AND...I'm picking up my Janome CP1000 Coverstitch machine that has been on layaway for 10 months! I used all my birthday, Christmas, anniversary, and sewing lesson money to pay for it. So when I go to my local Sew and Vac for tiny buttons today, my Coverstitch will be coming home :) ! In fact, DD#2 was trying on polos (new school dress code a/k/a uniforms, yes, for a public school!) and said the bottom might need to be cut/rehemmed. No problem! I can give her the same hem with my new coverstitch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Christening Outfit, Part III: 85% complete

First, let's talk about the pattern. That Simplicity Christening outfit boy/girl pattern 5813. The instructions were great until the back, "placket" section. I'm a "visual" person and read the instructions and closely examine the pattern illustration that corresponds to the numbered item. The problem is, the illustration was a little misleading. I spent an hour scratching my head after doing the back closure part wrong. Still not sure if it is right, but it looks right so all is well.

Here's the front in it's current state:

Here's the back. Notice the ridge that needs to be pressed out on the back placket aggravation area. Dumb pattern!

Another thing, what the heck is wrong with Simplicity??? Putting a baby sleeve in, in the round instead of flat? I can't imagine using the smallest size for this pattern and machine stitching the sleeve in the round. When I do a pattern review, I'll be sure to note this.

The pattern required bias tape to turn the neckline seam to the inside. The likely purpose for this is to enclose the seam so it would be comfortable against a baby's neck. Instead of purchasing Wright's bias tape, I used bias strips cut from the dress lining. The positive of this is that the lining is thinner and softer than the bias tape. I wasn't going to do this, but when I looked at my clock and it said 2:40 with the store closing at 3, the lining called out to me, "Use me as bias tape!"

Right now I just have to work on the back closure and the snap crotch at the legs. I think I'll do buttons/buttonholes at the back. I was thinking about small snaps as well. Not sure which way I'll go, but will mull this over tonight. If anyone has any thoughts regarding snaps or small buttons, I'd appreciate posting a comment about it.

Now I'm off to examine the pattern instructions for installing the snap tape in the leg seams. I haven't used that stuff since high school!