Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Buttonholder Took My Mojo

I lost my sewing mojo for the past couple of weeks. I never thought that it would happen to me. That'll teach me to be so smug. I was ready to put button holes in my red, white, and blue blouse. Also, I need to do button holes for the green linen jacket. For some reason I just could not bring myself to do them. I don't understand it. I have done many successful button holes. So, I found all kinds of other things to do: organizing stuff, tracing patterns, fitting patterns, cutting out garments, planning Fall sewing, even doing some much needed household chores. Meanwhile, Big Bertha (my sewing machine) sat idle and didn't even call for me. Thursday night DH wanted to watch "Top Chef". I said go ahead, without complaining, and just recorded "Project Runway".

Well, last night I watched all 3 hours of Project Runway. I was so happy to see Tim Gunn and Heidi again!! I was disappointed with the winners. At the same time, I enjoyed listening to the judges' comments. They must know a lot more than I do about style. I would not buy or make many of the garments they liked. Mainly, Tim Gunn is extremely motivating to me. Finally, I'm happily sewing again. I was up and at my machine early this morning. My button holes for the blouse are done. Of course, the thread broke on one of them so I had to rip and resew. I think that was my sewing machine reminding me not to forget it for so long! I've almost finished the Loes Hines Hepburn pants that were cut out in May. The instructions are so different from what I usually do. I couldn't make sense of them. The light finally dawned today. They are still challenging for me to make. I'm not sure that they are particularly difficult. They are just different from the way I normally sew pants. Well, I have the waistband to sew down, hems, and hook and eye. The mojo should last long enough to finish those few things!
I am going to take a sewing break now and look through the stash for jacket fabric. I've joined the ChanelJacketSewalong and still need to finalize the pattern and fabric.

I am amazed at how animals can pickup on our moods. Harry, the cat, is usually happily testing fabric and meowing with pleasure at my sewing efforts. Today, he is back to his normal Sewing Guru self. For a while, he looked more like this closing shot:

Friday, August 7, 2009


Sewing has been more challenging this past week. New skills just take a while to learn! Most of the sewing has been good with a few clinches. (I made sure my seam ripper was handy.)
The pockets are ready to be sewn on the Burda 02/2009 #115 jacket. I know at least one of the individuals who reviewed this pattern put the pockets on before doing the hem and facing. Burda instructions have you sew the pockets over the hem and facing. This time I decided to go with Burda so the pockets are waiting. I spent a lot of time preparing the pockets because I really want them to be exactly even and the same size. So, I used a variation of a tip from Shannon Gifford. (Note: Her courses on PatternReview are excellent.) She suggests tracing the pocket without seam allowances on cardboard. For these pockets, I used template plastic which, IMHO, is easier for tracing than cardboard. The first step is pinning the pocket pleats on the pattern:

Then, I traced the pocket and flap without seam allowances. The pattern slipped a bit with those pleats pinned so I checked and corrected the tracing. I labeled both pieces, partly because I'm scatterbrained and partly because I may use these tracings for pockets on another garment.
Then, I cut out my traced patterns and used them to iron the seam allowances over them. The ironing was easier and more accurate. I checked my accuracy by folding the pockets and flap at the center mark to make sure both sides were the same. Then, I checked the pockets and flaps to make sure they were the same size. They were! (Before making the pleats and pressing the seams, I added fusible interfacing to the top of the pockets. I do use pockets and want them to be stable.)
Here's my big clinch:
The linen I used has some lycra in it. The fabric must have slipped because the upper sleeveon one side was cut way off grain and hung crooked. I ripped and carefully pinned this sleeve so that it would hang on grain. What a pain! The difference between the upper and lower sleeve is not big so, hopefully, I can just shorten the sleeves a bit and still use the sleeve bands. Naturally, I did not have enough fabric to cut another top sleeve! After the fact, I remembered a tip that I read somewhere (can't remember where) to press fabric with a dry iron, spitz with water, and iron parallel to the selvage. I tried that with a skirt I cut out last weekend. The fabric lies so nicely. I guess I've been steaming the fabric out of shape. That won't happen again!!
The collar is ready. I really worked on it. The points are pretty good but I sure wish I could do them better. I know, from past experience, that the points can only take so much fiddling before a hole appears. I used Pam's tutorial for the collar except that I didn't have to turning tool she used. That tool is on its way to me now.
I had to read the instructions for installing the collar several times. Finally, I figured them out. The front facing is only sewed to the notch for the end of the collar before the collar is sandwiched in between.
I did pin the CB and shoulder points to check the fit first. We'll have to see how this works.

Then, I moved on to doing another collar for a shirt that I had cut out. I just had to try that collar again quickly. It was sort of like someone who comes close to drowning in a pool. They had better get right back in (assuming there is no physical damage, of course) and start swimming. Otherwise, a lifelong fear of water can occur. I certainly don't want to have a lifelong fear of pointed collars. Here's my blouse V2634, in process, that I hope to finish this weekend:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Review: The F Words

No, there were not any nasty words coming out of my sewing room during July. The words that describe my sewing for the month are: four, fun, and fortunate.These monthly reviews do provide me with an incentive to focus on finishing projects. I like numbers, but sewing is not a numbers game for me. Sure, I could complete a lot of garments and even use up a lot of fabric. All I have to do is make a bunch of quick TNT T-shirts. Although I do wear a lot of t-shirts, I would find that kind of sewing BORING. I like variety. Also, I want to continue to increase my sewing skills. I know how to make t-shirts. Hopefully, I'll add to my list of "know how tos" by the end of the year.

I completed four garments this month: the S2936 raglan sleeve blouse in a woven fabric, a TNT KS3338 T-shirt, the Ottobre 02/2009 #1 Camisole Top, and a pair of "cheatin' jeans" from Loes Hines Cruise Pants pattern. These garments did provide a little bit of new learning. I'm proud of the way the woven blouse turned out. I'm about ready to move to a tailored blouse with set-in sleeves. The camisole was a new pattern which really didn't provide any new learning. I do have a great way to use up knit scraps. The pull-on pants gave me an opportunity to practice using the heavy jean topstitch thread. There will be a pair of jeans in the near future. (The pattern is cut out ready for tissue fitting and a muslin.) I made the KS t-shirt just because I love the fabric.

I had a lot of fun during July. While the seam ripper did appear on several occasions, there were no frustrating problems. I traced and cutout some patterns. The planning and starting of new projects always is exciting. (That's the reason why I need some means of accountability.) I also did the dreaded pointed collar and collar stand for a blouse and my "never-ending" green linen jacket. They turned out a lot better than any of previous attempts. I'll definitely wear the blouse and jacket (assuming I can attach them satisfactorily). They don't look as good as I'd like but they are not bad. Plus, I didn't find the process frustrating and enjoyed trying a new technique. Maybe I really am learning to sew!!!

I feel quite fortunate to have such a wonderful fabric collection. Now that I've gotten over my purchasing guilt, it's nice to be able to "shop" at home with such gorgeous choices. I did put away some of my fabric choices for summer projects since I know I won't be able to complete them before Fall. I have more than enough still in my current projects basket. I started looking at my fabric for Fall and have a basket full of those choices. I think the Vogue Pattern Magazine and the Vogue Pattern Sale started that. Plus, I do love Fall sewing with all the earth tones. I have plenty of brown fabric to use along with matching colors.

Well, good-bye July and hello August. I'm working on the green jacket and, if nothing major happens, I'll finish it this month. I don't know how much wear I get from it now, but it's bugging me.