Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights of 2015

Top 5 of 2015
No, I don't sew all the time as you probably can tell from my finished project productivity. In keeping with the "Top 5 project", I've listed some other things that I do.

1. Family Time

My day starts somewhere around 6 to 6:30 AM with a big lick on my face. My dog, Roxy, is ready for breakfast. I love her so much that I usually don't mind that she wakes me earlier than I would like. After eating, I watch her romp around the backyard or we go for a walk. Hubbie is a television addict so most nights I watch a show with him. I work on my knitting during the show because just sitting goes against my Type A personality.

2. Travel

While I'm happiest as a homebody, that man of mine likes to be on the go. We joined good friends for a cruise to the Panama Canal in the Spring. I've wanted to see it for a long time and was not disappointed. During Thanksgiving, we went on another cruise with my son, grandchildren, and extended family. I loved spending the time with the family. In September, we spent our regular week at the beach.

3. Unplanned Nursing Job

Work in the medical field was never a career option for me. During October and November, my guy had 2 surgeries. The first was outpatient for a hernia removal. The second was a major emergency because the hernia surgeon nicked his small intestine. He was in the hospital for 10 days and barely could do anything by himself for almost a month afterward. I did a lot of cleaning up messes, laundry, bandaging,etc.  Hubbie normally does all the cooking and was gouchy about my sincere attempts to provide non-gourmet food. The nursing job continued somewhat on our Thanksgiving cruise. We could not have gone except for the help from my son. Let's just say that I am grateful that I am retired from nursing and cooking for a long time- I hope.

4. Reading

I love to read and spent a lot of time in the library before the invention of Kindle. Normally, I read while I eat breakfast and lunch and, again, before I go to bed. I won't  list all the books I've read in 2015, but one of my best recent reads is "The Short Drop" by Matthew Fitzsimmons. Currently, I'm reading the first book in the Mitch Rapp series, "The Transfer of Power" by Vince Flynn, It's a good read so more books in the series will go on my reading list.

5. Taxes

I did taxes professionally for a number of years. I love the challenge of paying the lowest taxes legally possible.While I am no longer doing taxes for pay, I spent a lot of time doing the tax returns for family. My son owns a limited liability corporation that became extremely successful in 2014. His taxes kept me busy January through March in 2015 and several times during the year for accounting reports. Since I have reviewed corporate taxes and learned a lot about his business, I'm hoping that 2015 taxes won't require so much time in 2016. I did enjoy learning new tax information. On the rare occasion that I have trouble falling asleep at night, I'll read the IRS tax code. That works better than any pill on the market.

Top 5 Sewing Misses

Top 5 of 2015

This post is hard to write because it means looking at my poor sewing decisions. When I look at most other posts of "sewing misses", I think that their "misses" look pretty good. At least, they look better than mine IMO. I learned at an early age that one needs to deal with problem or the same problems will rear their ugly heads. So... I'm doing the post so that I can, hopefully, avoid the same problems and move on.

1.So Sew Easy Cowl

Looking at this picture sent me to my weight lifting tape. At the same time, I realized that one of the basic rules of sewing is to sew for your current body. I made the top in a clingy rayon and/or made it too small. The pattern is a good one, especially, for beginners, and the cowl is nice. I do wear it as a layering piece, but would never take the jacket off. The post is here.

2.Silhouette 350

I like this pattern and the combination of colors. I worked on fitting the muslin for a while. I still missed with a poorly fitted blouse as a result. While the colors worked, the solid was too heavy for the lightweight knit. This is a good plan that was poorly executed. I'll never wear the blouse. I did save it so that I can work on the fit issues one day (seems like one day never comes). The post is here.

3.Grainline Hemlock Tee

I'll make this pattern again. For a loose fitting top, I'm satisfied with the fit except for a small swayback adjustment . The fabric is comfortable. I do wear it around the house despite hubbie's "jailbird" comments. I simply do not like looking like a jailbird. The fabric was a mistake. The post is

 4. Silhouette 195

I want a white t-shirt! Without success, I tried twice to get this pattern to fit like I want. The long sleeve post is here.  I did not blog about the short sleeve one. I think that it is time for another t-shirt pattern! I did make a Grainline Lark before Christmas (not blogged about yet). I'm happy with it although I haven't taken pictures. I'm hoping the pictures look all right so I can use that one for 2016.

5. HP Fast & Fabulous T

I like this top, but it is more of a beach kind of garment. Since it isn't my style, I don't wear it often. I took pictures, but never blogged about it. That's my bad.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 5 Sewing Hits

Top 5 of 2015
1. V8805 Red Knit Dress

Normally, I don't wear dresses. Perhaps, I just didn't like the dresses I had. I wore this dress  a lot and always received compliments.  

2. Papercut Rigel Bomber

This jacket is my favorite make of the year. Since I live in Florida, I didn't wear it as often as other lighter weight jackets. The weather did permit me to wear it often last winter. Usually, I wear it opened which looks better. I do like it closed because it shows my favorite feature, the zipper.

3. Grainline Morris Blazer

I love this blazer and wore it a lot.  On a whim, I entered it in the Girl Charlee July 4 contest and won  a $75 fabric prize. The fabric is so  comfortable and goes with many other garments in my wardrobe. The pattern is great with clear instructions. There will be another Morris Blazer soon!

4. Blue Prints Saltbox top and Sew It Over Ultimate trousers

This outfit ranks as the most often worn, particularly the pants. Yes, I did hem those pants after looking at the pictures. The pants are starting to show wear now so I definitely will be making another pair.

5. Cashmerette Appleton Dress

I have another dress in the top 5 which surprised me. After trying numerous unsuccessful wrap dress patterns, this one went together like a dream with only a SBA as an alteration. The fabric from Mood sewed easily and is soft and comfy.

I pleased with my successes this year. Next up, I'll show my misses.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cashmerette Appleton Dress: My New Favorite

I made the Appleton Dress on a whim. After all, I'm usually not a plus size and have never been successful sewing a wrap dress. I've tried at least 4 wrap dress patterns and twice as many muslins. The only thing that I accomplished was a bunch of wadders. I expected to cut this dress up to make a top. Since I love the fabric, I almost didn't try to make the dress. What a pleasant surprise!

I made a size 12 with a SBA. Usually, I have to do a FBA so that was another surprise. I didn't do any other alterations to the pattern. The instructions were excellent so the dress went together easily.

Hubbie was taking these pictures. This crooked picture is the only one of the back.

I doubt that I will make this pattern again, but I would like to try the Cashmerte Washington dress at some point. I don't need that many dresses. My wardrobe is screaming for tops and cardigan. I'm off to finish a cardigan.

Happy Sewing!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kristen Kimono Tee: Action Shots

When I saw Lori's version of the Kristen Kimono Tee, I knew that I had to copy it. As she did, I originally bought the fabric from Mood to make Lindy Petal Skirt. I thought that this skirt would be super cute in a stripe fabric. Because of the stripe spacing, I think it would take close to a bolt of fabric to match the front of the skirt (at least more than I had). So, the fabric went back into the stash but only for a short time.

I'm working on improving my with photos with Crafting A Rainbow's Better Pictures Project. The October Project was taking Action Shots. The top and the pictures were taken in October, but I'm just getting around to blogging about this top


There's not much to say about this pattern except that's it's great and it's FREE. I did make a FBA but no other alterations. I'll be making more of this pattern. It takes less than a yard and is great for that extra piece of fabric from other garments.

Unfortunately, I did not get my dog in any of the pictures. We were playing ball. That girl moves fast. Maybe I'm not fast enough for my remote. I have a 5 year puppy! Like her Mom, I doubt that she will ever grow up. I am envious of bloggers who post pictures with their dog sitting patiently at their side.
Here is my dog Roxy when she first came in. She headed for the bed and looked at me like "What's with all these pictures?" and quickly headed for her crib (cage).

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bumble Bee or Jail Bird?

My fabric choice didn't work well for the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee. The Tee is a great pattern. It's free from I Grainline Studio!  I had no idea that the fabric would look so ridiculous.

Hubbie says that I look like a jailbird. I agree with his opinion, but it is an incredibly comfortable top. I will wear it around the house, but not out in public! Actually, I did wear it to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist although he is super nice - He still plays around with my teeth. The dentist office feels like jail to me. I do have to be careful if I wear it to work in the yard. The police copter flies over my house often. I would hate to mistaken for an escaped convict.

The last picture shows the yellow stripe a bit clearer. In real life the yellow is brighter.  I tried to straighten the pictures in Photoshop, but couldn't make it work. That's going to be a project for another day. Otherwise, this post would be a long time coming!! Hubbie was taking the pictures. I was goofing off (most fun I've had in a photo shoot) and told him to just keep snapping pictures.

I did all the sewing by serger except for the hems. That's a first for me although I sew with knits quite often. The only problem I had was serging the neck binding. I will be serging knits a lot more now. The top was an easy sew and only took about two hours. An hour of that was spent playing with the neckline.

I'll do a few more knits before a tackle a coat. That scares me so a pair of jeans may happen before that starts. I still have a few months before it's cold enough for a coat in Central Florida/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blue Prints Saltbox and Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The Saltbox and Ultimate Trousers are two patterns great patterns! I know that I will make both of these patterns again.
The Saltbox is an easy sew, but it was a challenging fit for me. That's mainly because of my body. I did a full bust adjustment, reduced the width of the neckline in the back, and did a 1" sway back adjustment. Although these are typical adjustment for me, the challenge was working across multiple pattern pieces. I think the effort was well worth the time. What a super pattern for color blocking!! I'd like to do it in a knit next time.

The ultimate trousers are a quick, easy sew. The pants took me a long time to sew because I kept doing stupid things. I'll list them at the end of the post in case you don't want to read about the tears I shed. The only fitting adjustment that I did was a 2 inch baggy seat. I typically do a 1/2 to 1 inch adjustment. I'm glad that I did a muslin!! I've noticed that a lot of bloggers have a similar problem so beware if you make these great pants. Kenneth King has a great tutorial on Threads for making this adjustment. I did make the pants a bit long. For me, pants tend to shrink after washing.

Some more pictures:

Here are the CRAZY things that happened while I was sewing these pants:

1. My husband's printer won't work with Windows 10 (that's a warning!) so he used my computer. To add paper, he moved my serger that was sitting next to the printer. I don't know how he did it, but the thread feed was bent and the thread was tangled inside the serger. I was able to fix it, but that took most of an afternoon.

2. The fabric right and wrong side are very similar. I manged to sew them backwards because my chalk marking wore off on one side of the front. My thread matches the fabric so ripping dark navy thread took forever.

3. My needle broke when I was attaching the facing. There was no pin or anything that I could see. It was irritating.

4. I thought that I added 2 inches to the back pattern to compensate for the 2 inch baggy seat adjustment. Somehow, I added the length to the front pattern. Don't ask me how I did that!! Fortunately I had some extra length, but I still had to add a facing. I kept changing the length on the wrong side. I spent at least a day ripping and adjusting the length of the pants. This one really was stupid on my part. (Yes, there was more ripping of dark navy thread!)

5. I was almost finished and the bobbin thread ran out. I should have had enough, but I did all that resewing.

I think there was more, but I've forgotten now. I love this outfit so the pain is fading quickly!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

LRD: Vogue 8805

The little red dress is a garment that I've wanted to sew for a long time. I needed a dress that packed well and was easy to sew. When I saw Lori's dress, I knew what I wanted to make. The dress was exactly what I wanted. I was not disappointed!

I was amazed that my adjustments were similar to hers.I made a size 12, C cup, lowered the bust dart 1/2", and used self fabric to bind the upper edge. Also, I coverstitched the seams because the dress was just too plain otherwise. Unfortunately, the coverstitch does not show in the photos, but it did make a big difference. The fabric has been in my stash for a long time so I don't remember where I bought it. It is a red pointe that I did buy with the LRD in mind.

The only change that I will make next time is a sway back adjustment to take care of that extra fabric in the back. The next version will be color blocked. What a great pattern to play with different ideas and try new techniques!

Yes, my expressions are strained in these photos. I have a hard time smiling a lot when the temperature is in triple digits and the sun is in my eyes. For most of the day, I was running errands. So, I was sweating so much that my hair was sticking to the sides. I had put off taking pictures for a while. If I kept making excuses, this post would never happen. There may be a perfect time for taking pictures - I haven't found it yet.

There isn't a lot going on in my life except for the maintenance of my large house and yard. Other than sewing, the high points are family time, playing with my dog, and reading good books. I finished the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The writing and character development is excellent. I can see why it won a pulitzer prize. It is a very long book that is hard to put down at many points. Now, I'm reading something a little lighter, Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

Happy Sewing!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Morris Blazer and Girl Charlee Fabric: Love at First Sight

After seeing so many wonderful versions of  Grainline's Morris Blazer  on the blogs, I wanted to make one for myself. The pattern sat in my stash until Jen started a Sew-a Long. My fabric was ready waiting for the next day of instructions. Then, I saw The Red, White, and Blue Sewing Contest at Girl Charlee's Fabrics. That would not have tempted me except I saw a gorgeous Blue Red Ikat on White Ponte De Roma Knit. It was screaming at me to use it for a Morris Blazer. Apparently, fabric can speak to me through the computer. I quickly ordered it along with a royal blue solid cotton jersey knit to make a top to go with it. O.K., I'll confess. A couple of other knits jumped into my cart, but those are a story for another day. I do love Girl Charlee knits and the prices are reasonable.

I was not disappointed with the two fabrics that I used for the contest. Both the blazer and top fabrics were easy to sew. They are so soft and comfortable! The Morris Blazer and the Briar top went together quickly with no hair pulling!

The instructions in the Sew-A-Long were clear and made sewing this blazer a breeze. The only problem that I had was the area in the front where the facing met the hem. I serged my facing so that it was a 1/2" too big at the joining point. As a result, it looked sloppy on the inside and bulky on the outside. The picture above showed how I fixed it. I turned the facing in 1/2" so that it fit perfectly. It sure would have been easier if I had done that first! Next time I'll either take the 1/2" off with serging or turn it under.

I made a size 4 in the shoulders and a size 10 for the side seams. I cut the back on the fold because of the print. I think that fit fine and no adjustments were needed. The pattern adjustments were: 1.5" full bust adjustment, added 2" to the length of the body and added 1 and 1/2" to the sleeve length. That's it. I'm pleased with the fit.

The Briar top deserves a separate post. It's a good top pattern, but I will make some changes in the future. I'm so looking forward to making another Morris Blazer and sewing my other new fabrics.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

So Sew Easy Cowl Neck Top: A success or a horror?

I've been searching for a cowl neck blouse with a drape and fit that I like. Despite trying a number of patterns, I haven't found the perfect pattern in my quest for a TNT cowl. When I do, I think that I'll put a copy in my safe deposit box. I am getting closer. Don't you like the drape of this neckline?

The pattern is So Sew Easy Cowl Neck Top. It's a quick one hour top to sew and a great one for beginners. I felt beautiful wearing it and received lots of compliments - those cherished ones like, "Where did you buy it"?

The fabric is a rayon knit jersey. I made it in a size 4 with a size 5 for the side seams. I added 1" to the length (next time I'll take that away and reduce the length at least 1 inch).

Now, the horror part.This top was completed in February with the pictures waiting on the computer to be posted or deleted. To me, the pictures show my every figure flaw that I knew and some that I wasn't even aware of having. I'm doing the blog post because I believe that this is a great pattern with a lot of potential for me.

My notes for next time (Yes, there will be a next time):

1. Forward shoulder adjustment of 1/2".
2. Add 1" to width of shoulder seam (don't like fighting a bra strap showing).
3. Check depth of cowl. It's close to being too low for my modesty level now and may go lower with shoulder adjustments.
4. Reduce length 2 to 3 inches.

Since February, I finished a dress (pictures soon), almost finished the BOM quilt, built a new sewing table, started organizing my sewing room (more like a sewing store with so much stuff), and pulled a zillion weeds from the yard. The heat index around here is over 100 degrees so I only work in the yard during the early morning. That's more time in the sewing room. Yea!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Silhouette 350: The Good and the Ugly

Love the pattern and love the colors. After looking at the pictures, the blouse will go into the the trash bin. First, I will use it as a guide for pattern adjustments. I definitely will make it again. The lines on the pattern are great. Believe it or not, I made a muslin first and worked very hard (too hard?) at fitting it. I should have made another muslin after making adjustments, but I will show you what is now muslin #2. I debated about not doing a blog post, but decided I want to use it for "the record" and someone may learn something from my errors.

My first mistake was using this turquoise fabric. Note to self: If you have trouble straightening the fabric, don't sew a garment with the fabric. This fabric was from my stash. I wish I could remember where I bought it so that I would be cautious shopping there again. The fabric was way off grain. I struggled to straighten it and  thought I had it, but the fabric does not hang well. I've started a pair of capris with this fabric - not sure if I will finish those or not. Another note to self: be sure to mark pivot points after making a muslin. If they change, matching under the seams is a nightmare.

I made a size 3 and tapered to a size 4 in the hips. I think the size is fine. While I made a 1/2" sway back adjustment, I need to increase it to 1" and carry through to the side front panel. The shoulder is so far forward that the sleeves are twisting...need a good inch adjustment there. The bottom of the sides have ridiculous looking "wings" - need to taper those in. The front tab needs to be interfaced although the pattern does not call for it. Honest, I sewed this straight - It just doesn't hang straight.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I will welcome them. This is a a good pattern that just needs work.

I haven't given up on sewing or blogging despite my long blog break. I had a particularly demanding tax season this year, signed up for a quilt block of the month with tiny pieces (a true test of my patience), and went on incredible cruise to the Panama Canal. I am not much on cruises but that's the best way to see the Panama Canal. My pictures don't do the Canal justice, but this one gives an idea of the incredible sight. I took it from the cruise ship as we were going through the Canal.

I'm off for happy sewing and wish the same for you!!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rigel Bomber Finished

I finally finished my Rigel Bomber. I love it!!

This picture shows the jacket a little better. I'm not sure about the crazy expression on my face. I think that the sun is was in my eyes.

I probably will wear the jacket open unless it is really cold. I don't live in the Northeast so super cold days are rare.
The back fits pretty well although I'll make a slight sway back adjustment if I make it again. I did stretch the ribbing around the back neck so that it would fit snug against my neck.

Note to self:  Remember to take one or two pictures without my hands in the pockets. The fit actually is better than it appears. A lot of the winkles in the jacket are caused by my hand placement.

I'd like to make the Rigel Bomber again, but I'm not sure that I will. How many jackets do I need in Florida? I'm trying to focus on the many garments that I need for everyday wear. The Rigel Bomber sew-a-long actually got me side tracked. This winter has had many cool days so I do think that it will get lots of wear.

As for construction, I made a size S. With a 37 bust and 32.5 high bust, I still didn't need a full bust adjustment. It's rare that I don't need one. I sewed the side seams at 1/4 inch and still feel like it a bit snug for me. I'll add 1/2" to the side seams if I make it again. I struggled with the welt pockets, but they turned out okay for the first time. They really aren't that difficult. All I need is practice! I really pulled my hair out had to think about inserting the zipper. I had trouble figuring out how to put the zipper in before attaching the facing. The zipper is put right side down to the jacket, attached and folded over before attaching the facing. I forgot to baste the zipper first to check if it was even. I was lucky as I could not have gotten it any better with basting.

I'm off to the next project whatever that may be. Happy Sewing to you!!