Sunday, June 21, 2009

Simplicity 2782

Welly well well.

It still needs hemming, pressing and a belt or sash, but I was anxious to post.

Hasty Pudding!

This is the dress I ended up making for the wedding reception---but did not finish in time.
(I wore my green birthday dress)

Who makes a dress the day you need it?

I seem to do that alot--- which, frankly, sucks the joy right out of the process.

Sewing without a deadline is far more enjoyable.
You can take your time and zen out.
I like to burn red incense and take little dancing breaks when special 80's tunes come on the radio.

And of course, since I wanted to whip this out on the fly, I had some issues.

This 30's pattern JUST arrived in the mail from a sewing buddy yesterday---the original 30's dress I was gonna make had around ten pieces, and this one only had 6, so I thought I'd have quick and flashy success---but I really mucked it up.

First, none of the seams matched up--which means I did a crappy job cutting out the fabric.

But it was okay because I had to take most of the seams in anyway.
And then I misread a few steps in the directions.....
Then the bias facing on the neckline really threw me.

You know.......honestly?
I'm still not quite sure what the hell happened.

The pattern was great.......but I sorta sucked.

You never can tell.....even after lots of practice, things can go terribly wrong.

I do like the dress though....and it will be very wearable after completion.

And I am going to figure out that facing if it kills me.
And I'll probably cut the skirt on the bias next time.
This was a good lesson in patience and procrastination.

And now I have another green dress!

A girl can never have too many green dresses.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dog and Butterfly

Easy peasie puddin' pie.

Simplicity 7876 Wrap-Skirt

It took less than an hour to make.
And it matches the flutterby pockets on my old sweater.
At first I thought I'd accidentally cut the fabric out upside down....and I was very sad.....because all the butterflies were flying down toward the ground.
it is basically a circle skirt....
so in the front,
they are flying
Which means I cut it out correctly afterall.

More photos of my special boy!!
We just got back from a walkabout in the rose-colored-low-angle-sunlit evening.
I love the northwest!!
Everything is so green and mossy.
I love summer, but fall is bestest.
The previous owners of our house converted the woodburning fireplace to gas, and we are in the process of converting it BACK.

I look forward to the ritual lighting of a warm fire in the chilly autumn mornings.

Good things happen at the hearth.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The owls are not what they seam........

Spring apparel fabric at Joann's is 60% off over the next couple weeks, so I headed to the Bellevue branch yesterday to see what I could see.

Sadly, there wasn't much in regular apparel that I liked...however, the quilting section had oodles to choose from---but not onsale.....and I only had one coupon.
All of the red tag apparel fabric in the bargain bin was 50% off sale price, so I purchased 6 yards of this mustard and ivory cotton for a whopping 12 dollars, which will make a nice summer frock and matching bolero.

And I used my 40% off coupon for three yards of wonderous rainbow butterfly batik.

There is a hippie-dippie pixie in my heart. She is with me always and occasionally needs to be fed. Yesterday she was hungry for a batik butterfly wrap-skirt from this 70's pattern.

And I'll wear it whilst crafting from my latest ebay gem:

I swear my mother had this exact magazine.
Crafting must be genetic.

In the 70's, our living room walls were covered with knotted owls, gripping tiny pieces of driftwood harvested from the beaches of Kenai lake. And every Christmas we'd riddle the coffee tables with macrame candles, angels and whozits that she endlessly whipped up at the dining room table.

A red and green jingly-jangly knotted bell thingie hung from the ceiling (it's in the first picture, in the top middle photo on the left), and on Christmas Eve after we'd gone to bed, my dad would shake the bells---and my brothers and I knew Santa was making his way down the chimney. You'd think we would've sneaked up the stairs to peak, but we never did.

We just snuggled down deeper and wished for sleep....which, for me, never came.

Man, I LOVE the seventies. I know some people think it was a tacky time, but it reminds me of my childhood.....the grown-ups howling with laughter at my parent's down-home dinner parties, baked artichokes, kitchens decorated with in wide legged pants with appliqued turtles, strawberries and ladybugs....and the huge purple felted murals at the Episcopal church.

My mom sold her pottery and macrame at art shows...she had a kiln in the basement and would fire everything from plant pots to sculpted owls---and her own beads. I would watch her sitting there, hands wet with clay, poised at her wheel. It made a soothing humming sound.....the clay smelled earthy and moldy.....I can still hear that sticky whisper as she sliced the large blocks with wire.....Shhhhhh....Shhhhhh....Shhhhhh.

It's like I can taste it.

And I probably did, since I was about two or three at the time. :)

Most of these memories were made in the dark, as Alaskan winters are long and the days short. It was *always* dark or getting dark outside. And freezing. We were often greeted by the scent of bread baking as we waddled in from the cold, wearing layers of snowpants, moonboots and wet mittens. I am so glad my mom was at home during those years.

Okay....back from the time capsule. I could get lost in that headspace for days.

SPEAKING of owls....

This is my new most favoritest fabric ever.

I got 2 and a half yards to make a long sleeve shirt for wintertime, to be worn under a burgundy corduroy jumper. Just *look* at their little hats and scarves. Oh my gosh gosh gosh! It makes me so happy I want to clap!

And lastly, some teal/seafoam green cotton with cream-colored leaves for a 1930's dress. There's a wedding reception this weekend and I want to be ready.

I had a serious craving last night for rice krispie treats....which is a loverly vintage snack, BTW. Invented in 1939 by a gal named Mildred Day, god bless her.

These are my modifications, as the butter/marshmallow/rice cereal ratio is important and the recipe on the box is not to my liking.

(I have a sneaking suspicion it is not the original recipe anymore, and they want you to add extra cereal so you use more of it...but that makes a very dry treat).

Krispie Treats

5 TBSP butter (always margarine.....and if using unsalted butter, add a tsp. salt)
one 10. oz bag KRAFT marshmallows
melt in saucepan over low heat
turn off heat and slowly stir in about 4 1/2 to 5 cups rice cereal
Pour into buttered 13X9x2 pan.
Don't stop until the roof of your mouth hurts.
Keep them covered in foil overnight, if they last that long.

I did the math, and a whole pan has about 1900 calories and 55 grams of fat...which in all honesty, split between two people in 24 hours is not the end of the world.

Especially if you make them only once or twice a year.

It's a hoot!

But, that said, I now have a really bad headache

coupled with a general feeling of "otherworldliness" that I could do without.

Alas......'twas worth it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Overalls from 1940

I once had a boss that told me she hated dogs because they were needy and smelled like foie gras.
And I felt really sorry for her.
Because I think dogs are the best thing ever.
Even better than cookies and rainbows.

My doggie likes to help me sew by laying down on the fabric when I am trying to fold it or straighten it. Sometimes I forgo cutting out patterns on my cutting-table, just so we can have this little ritual on the floor....not that we ever have it on the table. Just saying.

Dogs *love* fabric...especially quilts....and I think they bless it somehow with the fur they leave behind.

I've thought about collecting it and knitting a sweater, as outlined in this book but I just can't. :) Has anyone done this? I love my beast with all my heart, but....I don't know.

He's a real spazz....a border collie mix, which means he is neurotic and crazy. I've heard dogs and their owners share personality traits, so when I see him run into the sliding glass door chasing after flies, I have to wonder.

He usually tries to bite the vet during vaccinations, and it always reminds me of the time three nurses had to hold me down, kicking and screaming, during a booster administration when I was about four. My middle brother shared this apprehension--and wouldn't kick--but there was generally a wrestling match that ended in piercing screams.

Our youngest brother was smarter than both of us, and would run back out into the waiting room to hide under the chairs.....just out of reach. But he was always bribed out with the promise of Happy Meals or trips to Shakey's Pizza.
Fearful, fearful children.
Our poor mother.

So my dog is a nutjob. See his ears go back as I try to smother him with love? He's my little freak. And I love him. Even more than I love my new overalls.

I had a heck of a time with this pattern.

Even though many older patterns have illustrations, I find the directions difficult to interpret.....but frankly, I find most directions confusing. If I could just *see* someone put the darn thing together first, I would remember how to do it forever.

So it takes quite a bit of time to do the first draft. I was ready to set the bodice on fire and dance around it naked. That placket was confusing as hell.

BUT I am finding the more projects I complete, the more pleasant the process becomes....After finishing these, my next project was easy like Sunday morning.

Sometimes when I get really frazzled, I set the instruction sheet aside completely, and sew without it...which is less complicated than trying to make sense of somebody else's words.
It feels like a learning disability, I tell ya. And maybe it is.
I always scored really low on reading comprehension, even as a young child.
My SAT scores were abysmal....just smart in other ways, I guess!

(My ACTs were *much* better, by the way...better enough to get me into an advanced english course in college....go figure)

I would like to make another pair, but with shorts.....Look how cute these are:

This is the cover of a romance magazine from 1940. You should read some of the stories....Oh my heck.
(I don't really say "oh my heck" just to be clear.)

Of course I love this stuff for the ads and photos....and there is a whole section called "Pies On Parade" with the most delectable sounding culinary yum-yums. Here's the should enlarge when you click on it.

I have another outline due on Tuesday for my fairy-tale writing class, so I will probably work on that and make the Summertime Cheesecake Pie today.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simplicity 5914

Almost forgot one! :)

(actually, I almost forgot TWO. I made those wonderful 40's overalls from evadress over 2 months ago.......guess I should post those some point...)

I had been looking everywhere for a skirt to match an Anthropologie sweater my husband got me for Christmas. When I received the sweater I had not been sewing as much as I do now, and I could not for the life of me find ANYTHING that looked good with it. Rather, looked good on ME with it. :)

I used to love shopping when I was 21. My friend Emily and I could spend 8 hours at the mall and find a million things that looked awesome...and eat those soft and salty pretzels....but now?

I know I've already mentioned this along the way, but it is *crazy* how the body shifts it's shape as we get older.....Even when you take pretty good care of yourself.

I am so very thankful that I started sewing again, because I never have to experience the awful "dressing room nightmare" of trying things on and not having them fit....looking super frumpy...too tight, too loose, weird waistband, muffin top, short crotched, wait.....I am a size 16? I was a size 4 at the other place! Tight armholes, fits in the thigh but enormous on the waist, uni-boob, i can't put my hands over my head, what IS this color?? trampy, trashy, Far Side, oh crap I just ripped it, manufactured cookie-cutter excuse for fashion that makes us all feel terrible about our bodies.

So I made a skirt. :)

Out of corduroy....but not the kind with the wale. So it looks more like velveteen or something. There must be a name for it, but I am still learning. :)

When I make this again I will cut a smaller size. I had to take it in all over---the front and back pieces are the same. There is a slight curve to accomodate the rear end, so that curve shows up in the front as well when you put it together. I just sewed thru the curves at the front to make the seams lie flat against my body, if that makes sense. :)

Now I love my sweater even more!
I am going to make a few of them in lots of colors.....A deep burgundy one for autumn.

How can I be dreaming about Autumn?? Summer just GOT here!

McCall's 5137

Oh my gosh! Am I finally caught up?? Is this four or five blog posts in one day? I had fallen seriously behind.

This are my versions of the beloved Duro.
And it is true love.

Quick to make (in one afternoon, after you suss out the bugs with the first draft) and so, so colorful!

This is the cool version:

and this is the warm:

I don't know which I like best, and I think I need to make a neutral version as well---in ivory eyelet or somethin' somethin'.

It's two sizes smaller than my measurements on the package (many people said they were swimming in it if they cut it to match their size) without the sleeve or hem bands, so it would be more flattering and less busy.

I wanted a nice hippie-like sun dress to throw on in a blink of an eye over a swimsuit. Or something to wear to a picnic. Or something I could wear while I take a bike ride! Or even all three in the same day!!

And it is perfect---A little low cut---really needs to be worn with a tank top or slip underneath---but slips are nice anyway.....and I need more of them.

Maybe some 1940's slips should be on the next agenda! There's a rockin' pattern for one from 1945 in the old stash......with matching taps pants.

P.S. It's going to thunderstorm tonight! I love a good thumpest! Don't you???

Magic to Make!

This is me and my brother's loverly girlfriend before we hit the town for my 36th birthday. We had much champagne and pink martinis.

I was visiting that weekend for a family reunion of sorts, and when that was over and done with, we attempted to go "clubbing" Boise, ID.

Firstly, when did I become such a snob? Secondly, when did making music requests to a DJ become a thing of the past? And thirdly, HOW DID I GET SO OLD??

The DJ at the first club was born in 1986 and had no idea who Frankie Goes to Hollywood were. And this kind of burst my bubble. The second DJ acted like requesting a song was a serious faux pas. He had no Depeche Mode. And made me feel bad.

The Dress Made Me Feel Fabulous.

Even after all that pinning.
Even after grading it up a size and then having to grade it back down... after it was sewn together......because I didn't do a muslin first!
Even though I had to turn the first two inches of the midriff band up over the bodice and topstitch under the bustline to make it fit properly.
And even after I hemmed nearly 12 feet of circle skirt by hand.

Butterick 8505.
Magic to Make? You were not.
By my, you were heavenly to wear.

Butterick 4790

This has been the month of playing catchup with old fabrics and patterns. Since I have been unemployed (until today, hurrah hurroh hurree) I have not been able to purchase any new fabric to add to the pile.

And you know what that means?

Stuff is getting done! :)

Decisions are being made!

Creativity conquers in a recession!

Always wanting more is bad keeps a person from celebrating what they already have.

Like this fabric, for instance.
I am kicking myself right now, as I meant to take before and after photos to illustrate how I tea-stained it. And I am not sure if I kept a piece of the original.

The flowers were a really stark white, and it looked awful against my skin. So I soaked the fabric (after I cut out the dress) in a big pot of tea until it softened them into an antiqued white.

The dress itself went together, no problem. Which astounded me after I'd read all the reviews of this pattern. I guess I am one of the lucky ones. After careful consideration, I did cut out a full size smaller than what I usually wear.
(if it helps anyone, my measurements are upper bust 36 1/2, full bust 40--or 34dd--30 inch waist, and 39 inch hips...which would mean I was a pattern size 16 with an FBA....but I made a size 14 and no FBA was needed).

Many people complain about the back of this dress being too heavy, and that after wearing it awhile, the front creeps up. I don't have this problem and I think it is because the waist is FITTED. And by fitted, I mean there is almost NO ease at the waist. An inch or less. Which is how it is meant to be worn. It fits like a glove, on purpose, and therefore looks alot like the image on the front of the pattern.
There appears to be some wonkiness with the closures at the front, but when I wear it, it is not crooked. I also discovered my dress dummy has a much longer waist (and smaller rack) than I do. : ) So it does not fit her properly.

This itty bitty photo is the only one I have of me in it----I will have the DH take one later. I really need a cropped and fitted dark olive cardigan to wear with it....I have never been sweet on sleeveless dresses, and this one is no exception. Plus, it makes me look *REALLY* stacked....which I guess I sort of am.....but that is not the first thing I want people to notice. :)

Rick Rack, Frick Frack

I will start with my second version of this dress, as it was my first rick-rack installation. (So we can get the frustrations out of the way---because I adore this pattern).

I had to sew the trim into the seam three times before it looked decent. It was either not showing enough, or showing way too much...sigh. I almost gave up, but the third time worked like a charm.....well.......good enough to be charming, anyway. Any advice would be muchly appreciated....I thought I'd centered the rick-rack on the seam line, but that was not the case. Tips?

Oh my. That center photo needs pressing! Oops. :)
This is a pattern dream come true, because I hate set-in sleeves. Okay...maybe I am not done venting, :) But I find them tedious. I need to set a day aside where I sew about ten set-in sleeves in a row until I get the hang of it and am no longer afraid.

That's what I did with buttons and buttonholes......Once upon a time, I just threw them on there without measuring all willy nilly, but realized later that it looks really, really super bad to do it that way....especially if you use brightly colored buttons :) So I sat down one afternoon and worked on nothing but button placement and holes. Yeehaw.

Sewing is a good meditation and challenge for me. It works BOTH sides of the brain, which is good since I am soooo right-brain dominant I can hardly finish a sentence without swirling into a totally different...hey! Cookies are good.

I discovered Butterick 7373 when reading an old Dressaday post. And another copy just happened to be on ebay in my size at that very I snagged it. I have made these two versions and plan on making a couple more.

It goes together relatively quickly. I no longer finish the bodice and then add the skirt seperately, if the skirt and bodice have matching side seams. I make the front of the dress, then the back, and then sew them together---much easier than trying to attach a finished skirt later...especially when there is a side lapped zipper to install.

Did I mention I am no longer afraid of those either?