Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sewin' is Goin' on in Florida

To answer your question, Gwen, there's a lot of sewing going on down in Florida. Debbie, from Tampa on the Florida West Coast, has been sewing up a storm. She's made some cute tops and is working on fitting jean capris. Gigi, from South Florida, recently has made a couple of tops (one was originally a dress with a too tight skirt - guess it happens to all of us!) and a quilt. All of these were made from fabrics that certainly brightened my day. As for Rose (me!) from the Florida East Coast, I've been mostly playing. I've spent a lot of time seeing plays, eating out (opps-diet time!), and generally spending time with family and friends. Saturday, I watched my oldest grandson perform hip hop and acro in 4 recital programs starting at 1:00 and ending 9:30. Oh, the things that grandmas do! I enjoyed a lot of the performances from some talented students and the younger ones were so cute. Of course, my grandson, who is a real ham, did an awesome job!! I did watch the costumes closely but didn't get any ideas although some of the embellishments might work on regular garments. After sitting all that time (30 minutes is usually my limit), I was exhausted on Sunday. I wanted to sleep as long as I sat on Saturday. I didn't do that but I was moving slowly all day. I did work on clearing out my closet. Actually, I needed hangers for my current projects. It was silly to buy new ones when those unwearable clothes are taking up space in the closet. I actually threw away a bathrobe that was spot worn and so stained that it wasn't even usuable for a rag. I have a new, perfectly good robe that is so long that I trip on it. I got that hemmed - finally. I hate to mend, but don't want to make a robe right now. Silly, that I was putting off such a simple task! I discovered that I really need a couple of pairs of shorts and some more knit tops. I must get to those before too long. Also, it was clear that I need a "little white dress" (Tim Gunn's little black dress: Florida Style). Every summer I try to make one really challenging garment. Last summer it was a coat that didn't get past the muslin stage. This year I was thinking of trying V1087. There are two problems with that: (1) I need to do a dress that I know I can finish and (2) I don't have any white knit fabric. I have some ivory linen that would be perfect for a different dress.
Finally, yesterday I got down to some serious sewing. The Kwik Sew 3620 blouse is hemmed and buttonholes marked. I thought I had some red buttons but they seem to be hiding somewhere or I never bought them. I do have some white buttons that would work. I just have to decide whether to use them or go buy buttons. Here's the blouse on Dolly:
That strip down the front is masking tape to mark the buttonhole placement. I'm not sure how well that is going to work, but I'll try it this time.
Until I make the "big button decision", I'm working on BWOF 2/09 #118. Silly me, I believed that I understood the Burda instructions. I thought that it was a simple top until I got to the sleeves. I did a big "duh" and went to PatternReview to see if anyone else had made this pattern. Bless you, PR! Everyone else who reviewed it had some confusion. Fortunately, Dawn did a tutorial review. I had to read her review and the instructions side by side several times until I thought (lol) that I understood them. Here's my progress:

The sleeves start at the gathered section and, then, are sewed to a bottom section of the bodice. At first, I thought it was silly to gather a knit sleeve. Then, I pinned it on and realized that there was no way I could ease in all that fabric. Actually, I pretty proud of the gathering. I use gathering a lot and have tried multiple ways to get it smooth and even. I even bought a gathering foot for my machine. I never could get that right. I'm using Shannon Gifford's method of sewing 3 rows of basting stitches. One row is at the 5/8" seam line and two rows 1/4" on either side. That means removing basting as one row shows but it seems to hold the fabric in place.
Here's a picture of my neck edge:

I'm continuing to work on perfecting this task. This time I adapted Sarah Veblen's method to the way I attached the binding in a previous post. Instead of leaving one shoulder opened and pinning the binding on, I sewing both shoulders. I walked the binding around, stretching it a lot at the "gap places" in the back and around the lower front. I cut off quite a bit from the length recommended in the pattern. Then, I quartered the binding and blouse and sewed it on - stretching a bit more at the back where I tend to gap a lot. It worked very well. This method saves the aggravation of trying to sew that second shoulder seam even and went much faster. For the first time, I used my coverstitch machine to sew down the binding. I'm finally learning to control the stitching with my coverstitch machine! I think it turned out pretty well. Now, I have to continue on with the top and hope that I really do understand what I'm doing. You'll see the results soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gotta Have New Spring Shoes

I may be on a fabric diet but that doesn't apply to shoes! Here are my wardrobe additions:

These Naturalizer sandals look brown in the picture, but they actually are olive. The shoes are a perfect match for the olive suit that I'm going to make this month (lol). At least, I've traced the BWOF patterns.

Geez, the camera is not doing a great job of showing color! These Softspots shoes are red. I have lots of red in my wardrobe and might do some red dress sewing this summer. I'd love to make a red linen jacket, but that requires a fabric purchase (We won't go there!).

Finally, a true-t0-color photo! These shoes are Clarks Indigo in champagne. The heels are much higher than I usually wear, but they are the most comfortable shoes I own. With such a basic color, I can wear them with lots of things.

I made it through the Fabric Mart sale without buying fabric. That may be a first. Fortunately, I spent Mother's Day with the family at Animal Kingdom. I had a wonderful time but was too tired Sunday night to fabric shop. You know that is tired! There was lots of stuff going on Monday. I did a little sewing and put my computer on sleep to avoid temptation.

Lately, I don't know where the time goes. I'm working on a print blouse that only needs to be hemmed and buttons/buttonholes added. If other things don't distract me too much, I should be able to finish that today. Also, I'm working on a mustard knit BWOF top. I had to take a break from fitting those blouse sleeves!

I'm back to sewing and, hopefully, will have something completed to show soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April Review

April showers didn't happen where I live. It's been so dry that we're having brush fires. Fortunately, we do have the May flowers because we stand there with the hose watering.
Even though this April was busy with tax returns due and a week of vacation (yea!!!), I did manage to complete 5 garments. Two of the tops that I made I love. The BWOF 2/09 #108B is a great pattern that I'll make many times. The Sandra Betzina V8151 definitely is going in the TNT drawer. In this picture, I'm standing on the balconey of the condo where we stayed on vacation. I'm ready to go out to dinner and love wearing my new top. Most of the vacation we just sat and watched the ocean or went for walks in the sand. The water and the beach were as wonderful as they look. Well, back to sewing. The other garments that I finished were a KS 3338 T Shirt (a TNT), the LH Bergman Blouse (It's too hot to wear wool crepe now!), and white twill LH Cruise pants. The twill pants winkle a lot more than I would like, but will be a summer basic until I replace them.
My stash reduction hopes did not occur in April. Honestly, I love my stash but really am running out of storage space. I purchased 14 yards of fabric and used 10 yards. So, my plan for May is NO Fabric Purchases. That's tough because there are some great sales, but I must show a bit of discipline.

During vacation, I did think a lot about sewing and planned numerous projects. I finally located a couple of Ottobre Magazines and want to try some of their patterns. Lucky magazine had a month of clothes to wear. They aren't all mix and match, but a lot are. Spiegel has many wardrobe ideas and even has a survey to determine your "style". It was fun to go through their catalog and the wardrobe suggestions that they had for me. My style is "relaxed glamour" and the wardrobe suggestions are great. I'll be copying them soon and, fortunately, I have a lot of fabric that will work. You can check it out at http://www.spiegel.com/.
I'm aiming for 6 garments in May-really want to reduce that stash and have some new clothes to wear. At the same time, I know that the month is not starting out very well in the sewing world. I'm trying to finish a blouse and almost put it in the "wadder can" several times. I ripped the sleeves out and reinserted one of them this afternoon. Tomorrow, I'll try it on and see if it looks at least acceptable, get it finished or consider it a learning experience. I'm ready to move on to lots of exciting things on my sewing list!!