Thursday, April 24, 2008

S3624 or Procrastination at its best!

First, let me say thanks for the positive comments and emails on the lime gauze top. I received some good ideas and will revisit the top soon. Hopefully, I can turn it into something I like.

I'm leaving my house at 6:00 am tomorrow to fly to Orlando with my daughter for a cheerleading competition. And then on Monday I will fly from Orlando to Denver for a 3-day conference. I travel a lot so packing isn't usually that big of a deal but a multi-city multi-purpose trip requires some creative packing to avoid two suitcases. Then there are all the arrangements I need to make regarding my son, the dogs, the house, etc. But instead of focusing on that mundane stuff, I decided to make a new top for my trip. Simplicity 3624 is now MY NEW FAVORITE PATTERN!! Love this one! So quick and cute, I think! Perfect for dinner in Orlando or cocktail hour in Denver. Dontcha think?

I cut it out and started sewing it last night and finished it up tonight after work. Probably took two hours including cutting. I made View C although a bit shorter. I will definitely be making this one again. In fact, I am going to turn View B into a dress.

BTW, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The cheerleader daughter is at a concert tonight. And she hasn't started to pack either. I suspect we'll both sleep on the plane tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rocket Party

Here are some pictures of our neighborhood Rocket Party held last Saturday. We launched at a local school and then gathered at a friend's house for a grill-out afterwards. Much fun was had!! My son assembled the rocket but then we ran out of time before we got to the painting. We proclaimed that ours was the Earth Day Rocket, left intentionally natural. Nobody believed it.

It was fun to watch. These things went hundreds of feet in the air. I don't know who was more excited, the dads or the kids! After a launch, the kids would take off running after the rockets to retrieve them. There were a few casualties. For our last launch, my son opted for the super charged engine. Our rocket was never recovered! I figured somebody out bringing in their Sunday paper probably found it in their yard.

Some evidence of the day:

"Aw, Mom, this is embarrassing. Get off me. And take those stupid Crocs off your feet."

"Their rocket might be pretty but size DOES matter. I'm just sayin'..."

".....3...2...1... BLAST OFF!"

"Houston, we have a problem."

Tonight, "Awards" were presented. LOL.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fabric Randomness

I didn't really need to post three times today but I didn't plan ahead. So here goes another post!

Wanted to give a shout out to Marji who took a rough fall a couple days ago. Hope you feel better very soon! And before she took her tumble, she did a little de-stashing and sent me a wonderful package containing these two lovelies! How sweet is that?!!

And in other fabric fun, I received this cool two-sided fabric from Michael's Fabric. It is turquoise on one side and a Burberry stripe on the other. I plan to make this little raincoat at some point. I think I might have already posted this but if I didn't, high fives to Sherri at Michael's Fabric - excellent communication and very fast shipping. I will definitely order from them again.

And Finally, I picked up these two fabrics from Hancocks on Sunday. The black, red and white will become a shirtdress (S2923?) and the red will probably become S2926 with black piping trim.

S3887 or Put Your Blinders On!

Almost finished S3887. I say almost because I bought some embellishments for the neckline but I can't decide whether I like this top. Let me rephrase that. I know I don't like this specific top but I can't tell if 1) it's just too big at the neckline or 2) I don't like the color of the fabric or 3) the style is not for me. Or some combination of all three! The top makes me look huge. (BTW, forgive the athletic shorts - getting ready to go walking.)

What do you think? Should I try this one again in a smaller size and less ahem... colorful fabric? Or move on to something else? Gelbean's and Adrienne's versions were so darn cute! (Shoot, I just read some of the reviews at PR and several point out that the back neck band is too big. And I now remember reading this BEFORE I started. Ugh.)

Hey, maybe I had it hiked up too high? Does it look better here?

Happy Earth Day!

I have been thinking about making some reusable fabric grocery totes. I have a couple from Trader Joe's that I TRY to remember to carry into the store to eliminate at least some of the plastic grocery bags. I think it would be fun to make some decorative ones so I can look both chic and eco-friendly. Ha ha ha. My mom mentioned a month or two ago that she would like to start using reusable bags, too, so I would like to make some for her, too.

Anyhoo, can anybody point me to a basic pattern for a simple shopping tote? I would want it to have a wide enough bottom and enough height to hold boxes of cereal and the like. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I could draft a pattern as simple as that myself but PEOPLE.... I am too busy looking chic and saving the earth. I mean really... only so many hours in the day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Butterick Recall

Remember Butterick 5173? The pattern was recalled due to the serious error. They offered a replacement pattern if you returned the faulty pattern. I mailed mine last Monday and received the replacement today. I think that's fast customer service!

Butterick included a coupon for a free See & Sew pattern to compensate for the shipping. I think I'm going to pick 5168
I like the jacket.

After browsing the See & Sew patterns, there were not too many that appealed to me. Is it me or is the fit of the garments on the models really bad? Look at this - the turquoise dress looks to be about two sizes too big for the model:

And this - both crotches are all wonky:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

B5179 or How to Over-Complicate an Easy Pattern

As I mentioned, I got lots of sewing done yesterday. This dress was item # 3. Described as a Fast & Easy, it really should have taken no more than 2 hours including cutting. But ask me how long it took me. "How long did it take you, Bonnie?" Oh, probably 5 hours and I almost ruined it!

The dress is Butterick 5179 and I made view C although I added the contrast band from View A and used the same contrast fabric for the yoke. The pattern was easy to follow but I added a little time after deciding the challis I was using was a bit too sheer and needed a lining. I cut out the smallest size and it still came out like a tent.I know the dress is sort of a flowy dress but what I got was WAY bigger than the picture indicated. Mistake # 1, didn't make a muslin.

No problem, I thought. I'll just take it in a bit at the waist to give it some shape and reduce the volume. I'll just wing it. Mistake # 2, don't wing it. Always measure. I ended up with a good waist size but it jutted out awkwardly at the bottom - I didn't have a cleanly graduating seam because I didn't measure. Plus, somehow I distorted the band at the bottom so it didn't line up with the side seams. I have no idea how that happened. Oh, did I mention, all my seams were serged at this point? Ugh. Mistake # 3, don't serge until you've done the final basting.

So, I laid the dress out and drew a clean seam on both the dress and the lining. And serged it. Tried it on and realized it was too tight! Mistake # 4, see Mistake # 3. Crap, by this time I'm seriously losing interest in this "Fast and Easy" dress but I want to wear it to the cheer banquet this afternoon so I persevered. I realized I had some extra room in the back center seam so I undid the band on the bottom (for the 4th time) and opened up the back seam, adding some width that way.

Basted it all together and WHEW, it fits although it's definitely not perfect. It's a little shorter than I wanted but that was because I re-serged the bottom band several times and lost length each time. The upside is the zipper turned out perfectly and the contrast yoke matched up perfectly.

So moral of this story is DON'T CUT CORNERS. You would think I would know this after admiring so many expert sewers but I got impatient. (My normal M.O.) I will actually make this dress again in the sleeveless version but I will alter the pattern up front to get the fit I want.


Here is another finished product from yesterday. This little jacket was inspired by some jackets I saw at a fashion show a few weeks ago. I really love animal prints and thought it would create a fun look to wear with jeans. The fabric I chose is sort of a giraffe look and it coordinates with the shoes I bought a few weeks ago. My daughter and I at first thought it would be too much "animal" together but we both like the look.

What a quick project this was! I already had the fabric cut out but it probably only took 1 1/2 hours to sew. It's not lined so I serged all the seams and used a twin hem needle to hem the bottom and sleeves. The fabric is a minky polyester from JoAnns. Complete review at PR.


I spent a good part of yesterday in my sewing room and VOILA! My trench is finished and the weather cooperated by being rainy and cool today so I wore it to church! Complete review at PR. Here are some pictures of it.

You will see my brand spanking new briefcase in this last one. Ordered Tuesday, arrived Friday. I can't say enough good things about customer service. Every order I have ever placed has arrived in 3-4 days. [ugh, as I copied the link, I saw that everything is 20% off today. Figures, I couldn't wait 5 days. Ever impatient.]

And since it's Sunday... a confession. At the end of Mass this morning, the woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I just want to tell you your coat is beautiful. The details are incredible." In a fit of vanity, I blurted out, "I made it!" I was annoyed with myself but it was such a nice rush to receive such a compliment, especially from a stranger.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The next coat

Thanks to everyone who posted nice comments regarding my trench and more importantly for the encouragement on my neck injury and Friday's procedure. I emailed everyone that I had email addresses for but for those of you I don't, I wanted you to know that I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts! To Dotty - I was especially glad to hear that your treatment was successful the first time.

Although I still haven't put the finishing touches on my trench (been out of town), I already have another coat in mind. I just sent an email to order some of the gorgeous b'berry fabric from Michael's Fabric. [Edited to say that Sherri of Michael's fabrics couldn't be nicer to deal with! I can't wait to receive my fabric.] Specifically, I ordered RC03 - turquoise cotton on one side and the b'berry print on the other side. I now have to pick the right pattern. I am considering these three:

New Look 6736 Look at Ande's adorable version here!

Vogue 8480 Erica's bright yellow version can be seen here. Too cute!

McCalls 5635

My new briefcase is on the way! (Why no, it didn't go on sale and you are correct that I have no willpower. akimbo, your testimonial pushed me over the edge! lol) I decided the blue one would get dirty very quickly after being thrown in airplane overheads, under seats, on the bus, etc. No to mention the daily trips to the office. So, I selected the red one instead hoping it would hide the dirt a little better. Snazzy, no?

And finally, thanks to Mimi for nominating me for the "Excellent Blog" award! I'm suppose to nominate ten other blogs but that will have to come on a later day as I promised my son I would take him to the music store and he's been hovering over my shoulder for the last 30 minutes! Ta ta for now.

Edited to add that as I caught up on my Bloglines, I realized Nancy of SewWest (I love everything she sews!!) also nominated me. Thank you, Nancy! That was so sweet of you!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Miscellanea

What a glorious weekend we had! I really wish it had been a three-day weekend. I spent the previous weekend sick in bed - from Friday night to Monday morning - and so this weekend, I felt an especially exuberant boost of energy as I not only played catch-up but tried to take advantage of the great weather. Never enough hours in a day...

I posted a few recipes on my recipe blog. My neighbor is having some health issues with her five year old daughter and so the neighborhood food brigade has been enlisted to alleviate some of the household chores while they deal with it all. My day is today and I made Brunswick Stew, Spinach Citrus Salad and Soft Ginger Cookies. The salad is a new recipe to me from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade cookbook and is such a beautiful spring salad. The stew and cookies are two of my favorites - I was striving for comfort food.

After several months of neck and arm pain and lots of tests, the diagnosis is protruding discs between the C5-C6 and C6-C7 vertebrae that are pushing on the nerves on the left side of my body. Steroids and physical therapy haven't worked so the next step is an epidural injection this Friday. I did not have epidurals when I delivered my kids and after reading what the procedure entails, it kind of freaks me out! But if it takes away the pain, numbness and tingly and allows me to sleep, I'm on board. I haven't slept through the night in three months and I don't even have a cute little baby to help make up for it!

According to my doctor, the kind of damage in my neck is usually caused by trauma (like a car accident or something) but I haven't experienced anything like that. Just woke up with a stiff neck one day, tingly/numb arm the next and it progressively got worse. I suspect it might be because I tend to carry to much weight in my briefcase. So..... I am purchasing one of these two lovelies as soon as ebags has their next sale. Don't you just love the blue color?!! They also come in other pretty colors - pink, orange, green and of course, black, but I think I'm going with the blue. I prefer the style of the one on the bottom but I noticed some of the reviews commented that it doesn't hold much so I may default to the other one. Wonder if I can deduct this as a medical expense on next year's taxes?!!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

So darn close!!!

My goal this weekend was to finish my trench coat. I had barely begun sewing it before this weekend but I thought I had a wide open weekend. Do you do what I do when you have a wide open block of time? Fill it up??? Aside from a 4 1/2 hour basketball/cheer banquet tonight with my daughter, I had nothing actually scheduled. But I ended up doing a bunch of cooking, a bunch of cleaning and a little yard work to take advantage of the sixty something degree day. Woo hoo! And then there was the trip to the music store to try out drums (the 13 yr old, not me, lol). And the trip to Lowe's to buy a lawn mower. And the grocery shopping. And the long walk with the neighbor. And Mass. Yup, nothing actually scheduled. But I digress... Back to the trench.

I am very happy with how it is turning out. All I have left is the hem and the buttons / buttonholes. It fits beautifully. My only disappointment is that I did not interface the lapel. The fabric was SOOOO stiff, I didn't think it needed it. It probably does. But I'll cope.

Here are a couple close ups to show the detail of the fabric, lining and buttons - this is actually a fabric from the home dec department. I don't know what you call it but it has embossed design on it, some parts shiny, some parts dull. Very elegant looking, I think. I used an olive green lining, which coordinates well with the gold fabric.

The pattern is Simplicity 4084; a Threads pattern. The pattern is quite clear. There are a lot of pieces and it took a long time to cut out - 2-3 hours. If I counted correctly, there are 18 pattern pieces for the main fabric, 13 pieces for lining, and 8 pieces for interfacing. I had planned to make view A without the piping but I forget to add the front yoke pieces until it was too late. So, I guess I actually made View B. I added the bow after admiring a similar look on some RTW jackets.