Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Joy of Sewing

At last, I have something in common with Debbie Cook! It's not her amazing ability to fit and sew. No, it's her consideration of alternative titles for a blog post. I had trouble with this one. My alternative titles are:

1. How to Practice Your Use of Not-so-nice Words and Learn New Ones (probably the most accurate)

2. The McCall Vest (boring)

3. Picking the Worst Possible Pattern for Your Body (not something I would encourage)

I decided, finally, to stay positive. After all, I'm learning to sew. Learning new skills are part of the joy of sewing, but sometimes that is painful - especially when there are fitting issues.

All righty: I decided to make the vest from McCall 5193. I keep thinking that this is a Vogue Pattern because the fit was so difficult. Usually, I only have minor issues with McCall (in addition to my standard adjustments which I expect). Fortunately, I knew that I had to make muslin since it is a close fitting vest. Honestly, I think I could have drafted the pattern from scratch a lot faster. That muslin had so many tucks, fabric additions, etc. etc. that there was no way I could transfer all that "stuff" to the pattern. Finally, I got it to fit! I am proud of myself with that. So often, I just give up and go to some other pattern. I had this vest in my head and come h___ or high water I was going to do it. I ended up cutting the vest apart on the seam lines and tracing the muslin pieces on pattern paper. (The muslin fabric was flimsy (a mistake but I thought I might has a wearable muslin. lol). Here's a picture of my work in progress:

On the fabric, the white "thingys" are my fabric weights and the yellow stick dots show the piece and what side. Yes, I had to fit each side separately since I am assymetrical and it REALLY showed with this pattern. After I traced the fabric piece, I added the seam allowance. I'm accustomed to American patterns and didn't want to thread trace my stitching lines. I have cut out the vest and started sewing it. So far, it is going together well. That is the Joy of Sewing: learning new skills and meeting a challenge. I sure hope the sewing continues to go well so I can keep up the positive attitude.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday. You are looking at our refrigerator message board where we write important things like meal plans and stuff that we'd better get done right away. Usually, those things are chores or errands. It's nice just to write a fun message. Below the message board is a close up of the smiley faces drawn by DD and her husband. I smile whenever I look at them. They are a great way to start the day.
It's been a wonderful day so far. I took a class at the local Bernina Center to learn sewing on leather. It's so easy that I can't believe how long I avoided it! Actually, I sewed a pleather fold-over purse that's finished except for sewing on a button. Sewing friends are so much fun!! As for my age, I'll just say that I'm at an age where I'm grateful that I'm healthy, feel good, and can haul my heavy Bernina to class.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Here's the blue embroidered blouse with the sleeves eased from notch to notch. I still don't think it is a very flattering style made in heavier fabric. If I ever made it again (which I doubt), I definitely would use light weight fabric. The capris are Lois Hines Cruise pants. I love the in-seam pockets. It's one of my favorite quick and easy TNTs. The fabric is a tencel/denim - winkle free and one of the most comfortable fabrics I've ever worn. I wish that I could find some more of it. Yes, I know, Tim Gunn, I should never wear capris as they make me look shorter. Sometimes, I had rather be comfortable than look tall. Besides, I wasn't planning on meeting Tim Gunn for a critique or a runway show.
Parting Shot:

This is my youngest DGS and DH playing checkers at Cracker Barrel. Aren't they adorable?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Turtle Progress

I'm back from vacation and, mostly, caught up with all the after-vacation stuff ... the e-mails, the snail mail, bills, laundry, etc. I'm ignoring things like weeds in the yard. This vacation will go on record as the worst yet because DH was sick, coughing day and night and grumpy! Also, he loosened the screw on his glasses. I would have had fun with "he has a loose screw" but decided not to joke with a man who doesn't feel well. My vacation challenge was finding an optician in an area where directions were things like "You know where the old Albertson's was - it's right there". Actually, I did find an Optician - not the one I called but one who could fix it. On the plus side, the condo was super and so was the weather. I went walking everyday on the beach. I finished reading "World Without End" which was long but excellent. Then, I settled into vacation reading of Nora Roberts. One was a romance novel - so boring I can't remember the name. The other was "The Hollow", the second book in a trilogy. It's the typical Nora Roberts: amazing woman finds amazing man and together they fight demons. I enjoyed reading the book - perfect for vacation. I'll read the third book when it's available in December. Sometimes, I like knowing there is a positive ending and the demons are killed or suppressed. I sure wish the world would be like that - soon - I can use some good news on the tele and newspapers.

On the sewing side, I'm progressing at a slow, steady turtle pace. I finished a pair of tencel/denim capris and fixed the blue blouse with the puffy sleeves. I wore them on vacation and got several compliments on the blouse. I'm glad that I made the effort to fix those sleeves. As soon as my photographer stops coughing, I'll get a photo to post. Also, I just need to hem the Vogue 4076 blouse that I made from the deco dress fabric. It looks a lot better than the dress. I want to use my new coverstitch machine for the hem. I just haven't made the time to play with the machine that is still sitting in the box (sad!). I purchased it on sale at a good price, knowing I might not get to play with it for a while.
Mr. Postman brought me this brown and natural organic cotton while I was on vacation. It's another sale item, of course. It's still pricey but excellent quality with a good drape. The stash light-weight cotton twill goes with it perfectly. I plan to do some kind of tailored blouse with it. That means the vest needs to stay opened. Right now, I think that it would look better if I didn't do buttons. We'll see once I decide on the blouse pattern. Here's the M5193 pattern for the vest and skirt:
I plan to use the brown blouse fabric for piping around the vest. I've done piping on a pillow but this will be new learning with the corners on the vest. I've checked Kenneth King's "Cool Tricks". I hope that he rescues me!!

Parting Shot:
This is my fabric consultant, Harry, in the afternoon sun-a dailey ritual. Since he is a white cat, he prefers black fabric (leaving white hair to mark his spot). Since I've been home, he paws and kisses my face numerous times during the night. That interupts my sleep but I have a hard time fussing at him when he's being so loving. I believe he missed me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

August Mini Wardrobe Complete!

Oops, it's already October. I can believe how fast time goes! I did finish the wardrobe in September, but didn't get around to posting. It's much too late to show the entire wardrobe together (The white skirt and jacket will be wonderful next summer, but not right now.) Anyway, I finished a pair of beige pull-on pants to wear with the blouse. I used the MyLabel pattern and added side pockets from LH Cruise Pants. I can wear both of these items for the next couple of months here in Florida.

The pants fit great (love My Label for pants!). The hem on the blouse is level when I wear it and the sleeves on the same length. My right side is just lower than the left. DH is so busy now that I don't want to wait for photos wearing the garments. Here's a review of the blouse:


Pattern Description:

Loose-fitting, yoked, 3/4 length sleeve. There are various other sleeve lengths.

Pattern Sizing:

6-14 I made size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

It looked similar, but the sleeves were different.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the yoke front with gathers that do not look like maternity wear. I disliked the sleeves. These sleeves are too puffy for me.

Fabric Used:

linen for the yoke and light weight rayon for the blouse

Pattern Alterations or any design changes that you made:

I did a lot of alterations for this pattern. Most of the alterations were ones I typically make.

I inserted the sleeve with ease from the notch to notch rather than higher at the dots as instructed in the pattern. That works okay for this light weight fabric but still has too much ease for heavier weight fabric. (I made another one in embroidered cotton.) Also, I reduced the width of the sleeves by an inch. When easing, I sew 2 rows of 2.5 length stitches (rather than basting) and pull the bobbin thread to gather. I can control the ease much easier that way. Other adjustments were a slight FBA on the right side, lowered the right side by 1/2", my typical sway back adjustment, and shortened the length by 2". I stitched on the sleeves and then sewed the side seams and sleeves at one time which I find much easier. Although the pattern didn't state it in the instructions, I understitched the yoke at the neck edge.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I probably won't sew this pattern again. If I do, I will reduce the sleeve ease. I might use the yoke in another pattern but I doubt it. There are too many patterns out there that I want to try. I do recommend it to anyone who looks at the pattern carefully and likes the puffy sleeves. It probably would be a good pattern for someone much younger than I am.


This is an easy to sew pattern with a well designed yoke. With the very puffy sleeves, it probably is more suitable for teenagers or someone in their twenties.

Well, I'm off to finish packing and straighten the house a bit. We're leaving for Ft. Myers tomorrow for a week of R&R. In the sewing department, I have a few things that I'm finishing up (including the blouse from the Deco Dress fabric) and, then, I'll work on another contest that I entered. Yes, I know that I never finish a contest on time but I do finish them later. Maybe this time I'll meet the deadline. lol

Parting Shot:

Yes, Judyl, the water from Fay finally drained away and, fortunately, we did not get much rain from the following hurricanes. This picture was taken a few days ago. I can walk on the grass although it is a bit soggy. I do miss seeing the ducks.