Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finished Sewing Projects!

Here are two of the four that I have to post about. Both of these were done last week pre-accident so all I had to do was model them. I left off my head. I'm in a grumpy, dumpy mood. (You don't need to see it, nor would you want to.) Medical issues still plague me and that's why.

Anyway, first project is my leopard print skirt. It's just a simple, self-drafted pattern. You know the routine: measure your hips, add preferential ease, cut the width of the fabric to that amount, cut the length adding the hem and waist allowances and bam! You have the "pattern". I wore this outfit to church this morning. I was going to wear it with some fabulous heels I bought, but those will wait. Worry about tripping is one thing when you're healthy, but when you're not, it's a no go. Flat boots are a must.

The leopard print fabric is a mesh woven. The skirt is lined with a Bemberg-type of lining. The two layers sandwich the elastic at the top of the skirt. The black lining is about 3-4" shorter than the skirt for a "peekaboo" effect. I tried to show it in the pic below but don't know how evident it is. In the sunlight, the effect is more evident. I was actually ambitious enough to change the threads on my serger to do a rolled hem on the lining and the woven mesh fabric.

Here is the non-fancy, simple dimple, elastic waistband:

And here is the easy peasy rolled hem.

On to my elusive "perfect" pair of pants. They're not perfect yet, but they're getting there. The pants draft was from a Threads issue a couple of years ago. The pattern was self drafted from those instructions with tweaks from another Thread's article by Joyce Murphy on body space.

Before Christmas I ordered Marian Lewis' pants fitting book. The method she uses is not much different than what I did in Jean Haas' Darting Below the Beltline class, however, she does add some new info for the crotch area. I did NOT use the info in her book yet. At this point I just wanted to develop a basic custom block. Believe me, it actually looks like a Franken block 'cuz I have such a weird shaped body.

My plan now is to shave off another 1/2" from the back under the butt via a fisheye dart alteration since there is still a bit of baggy-ness in that area. I think my fuller right side is taking up more of the fabric than the left too. My posture isn't perfect in the pic for this post so I need to examine more of my back pics. Once that is done, then I'll create a separate right and left front and right and left back. This is a necessity for me. My right side of my body is both wider and fuller than my left with a bit of hip height discrepancy as well. This is partly what Marian discusses in her book. Ideally, for a great pair of pants I'd do well with a vertical seam down the middle of the back leg too. I'm trying to get a tradeoff at this point.

Another thing is I like my pants snug. There is almost no way I'm going to eliminate front wrinkles at the crotch with the fit I want, especially in the fabric I used. I could make the pants looser and the wrinkles would go away, but the baggy fit would bother me more than the wrinkles. Ah...the old tradeoff again. It is what is. I'm not going to obsess about these things, but ridding myself of most of the baggy butt wrinkles with my custom drafted pattern is my goal. Most, I say, because that fabric in the back also is ease. That doesn't make things easy. So I'll keep taking a smidge out of my draft, no more than a 1/2" each time. Give me another two or three pairs of pants and I think I have the almost perfect pair.

Here are the pants front:

Here's the pants back. Not perfect, getting there, but definitely better than RTW.

Next up are the shirts I finished two months ago. They need to be pressed before being modeled. Maybe tonight they'll at least get hit with the iron.

See ya tomorrow, hopefully!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sewing and the Spine

Thank you, everyone, for your comments and good wishes. My aches, soreness, and occasional dull pains still plague me in the neck and shoulder area with mild intermittent headaches and slight sinus pressure. Yes, the other lady was insured by the same company as me. I've discussed options with an attorney. Still waiting to hear about my van. If you saw the crumpled front of her car, you'd get an idea with the amount of force that hit my van. Let me tell you, this stuff is really a pain in the a$$. One thing the attorney brought up was massage therapy in addition to the chiropractor. I never thought about that. My chiro is not a fan of muscle relaxants and neither am I. As she says, "The heart is also a muscle." I don't want to be relaxing all my muscles, just my neck and shoulders, so the muscle relaxant prescription still sits on my counter, and I don't plan on filling it. There is a massage therapy place near me so I will check that out today.

DD#1 had X-rays two weeks ago at the chiro. Then she had another set the day of the accident. I'll let the chiro check out both sets. As she was adjusting my daughter, she said her current back pain is definitely the result of the accident.

Off the topic of the stupid car accident, good news! I finished my khaki pants from my "elusive" perfect pants patterns. This was my custom, self drafted pattern I worked on last year. (Yes, I did say last year...). I'll take pics soon. Made great progress on DH's jacket. Traced off the pattern for my Vogue retro jacket, and finished cutting out the fabric and interfacing for my Burda blouse. Which reminded me as I was cutting it out--only work with great fabric. Life is too short for crappy stuff. I hope I don't regret using this brown, crinkly cotton for the Burda blouse. Pics are coming!

More later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Its Been Awhile: Finished Sewing Projects!

Yeah, it feels like forever since I've actually posted about finished projects. Really, I'd like them to be garments because my garment sewing has been so sporadic lately, but any finished projects are good.

The first project is an embarrassing UFO. DD#2 and I discussed the idea of a Birthday Memory Quilt for one of her close friends. Her friend's parents took the girls to the 9/20/09 Mets game (which they won!), and I asked the mom to take pics for the quilt. DD#2's friend still doesn't know what her birthday present is, but my daughter has been telling her that it has been coming along. For an entire 4 months! It seemed like every time I tried to work on it, I'd get to a point then stop for some reason. I was planning on finishing it the last week of November, but my tension disk went wonky on my embroidery machine. It had to be serviced, and it took 3 long weeks to get it back. At that point, I was pressed for time with 20 headbands for Christmas presents for my daughters' friends.

Here are some of the headbands with their Christmas tags. The school name and mascot were also embroidered on them in addition with each girls' names. I used some great 100 weight fleece ordered from (royal blue on the front/grey on the back and terrific fleece BTW). I made several changes from a book's design so it's essentially my own at this point and enjoyed using my Coverstitch for the topstitching around the headband edges.

The downside to these headbands? DD#1 came home and said several people were mad at her because they didn't get one LOL. I may have several orders come spring time when Track and Softball starts. Truly, these headbands were a big hit with their friends. These headbands were designed to perfectly match the embroidered scarves I made for their friends for Christmas 2008

Back to the Memory Quilt! Here is the quilt front:

DD#2 picked the pictures to use for the quilt and I embroidered the front with the Mets lineup from the 9/20/09 game. Baseball graphics and text were added for a customized Birthday Memory Quilt. It was great that the game date was also the exact date of her friend's birthday.

The quilt is double sided with orange fleece on the back. That side is plain because I wanted it to feel soft against her skin. The top and bottom edges are fringed and knotted, the sides are just fringed. I used the iron-on transfer sheets for the pics and ironed the pics to cotton flannel. For the edges of the pics, I used pinking shears, then stitched around the inside of the pinked edges to attach the photo blocks to the quilt.

Here's a closeup of the upper front of the quilt:

Here's a closeup of the lower quilt:

The one disappointment? The girls couldn't get a pic of themselves with David Wright ;) . But at least our darn Mets won that game. I was very happy for Danielle. She's a big Mets fan and we're a family of Mets fans although sometimes we wonder why.

Next up, finishing my leopard print skirt.

ETA, I'll leave you with a pics of Jake in my sewing room.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cats Play Fetch!


This was supposed to be a sewing post, but I wanted to share what comes naturally to many Devon Rex cats: Playing Fetch!

No cat I ever had (pre Jake) played fetch. I think most don't. Jake didn't need any training, he simply went right to it. He played fetch with my husband at the beginning of December, then kind of stopped. We think we found out why. He has a preference for his toy mice. We have small mice which are too hard and big soft fat mice that don't fit in his mouth. He likes our little soft medium-sized one and will play fetch for the longest time with it.

Today I took a little video clip of what Jake does best :) . Skeptics take note: Cats do indeed play fetch. Enjoy! (Just don't look at my walls or woodwork...painting and new moulding comes after I make my curtains from the fabric I bought before Christmas.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Headbands, Skirt, and Other Things

Other things first :) . I love writing about Jake. I realize not everyone is a cat lover so I'll make it quick.

Here's the cat tree Rich made for Jake. He LOVES it too :) .

Jake fooling around.

What a showoff he is! Proudly displaying that short, wavy coat of fur. If only my hair could be as wavy as his fur.

On to the headbands. They're Christmas presents for my daughters' friends. I just couldn't finish them in time with my embroidery machine in the shop so long so they'll get them when the girls go back to school. I finished 7 today, and will finish the other 8 tomorrow.

Here are the finished headbands:

And here are the ones that will be finished up tomorrow. I need more 1" elastic so that is what's holding me up.

And you see this skirt below? I started it about a month ago. An easy, no pattern necessary simple pull-on elastic waist skirt. What is it waiting for? Me to set up my serger for a rolled hem. I have to change from my off-white thread to black thread. This is the time when I long for a jet-air threaded Babylock, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. The leopard print fabric is a woven mesh purchased locally, and the lining is a black, polyester lining fabric purchased somewhere in NYC. Paron's I think? My sister purchased 10 yards for me way back when.

It's above the knee with the lining about 3" shorter than the woven mesh. That's the way I wanted it. I can wear it with my brown suede boots or my black leather ones.

Still no reviews as of yet. I really wanted to get some done, maybe tomorrow night? I don't know--the headbands still need to be finished for Monday. We'll see...we'll see.

And BTW, HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!! Sure hope 2010 is better than 2009. Thanks for the encouraging comments in my previous blog post :) .