Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dreaming in polyester

Okay, so I finished the muslin for the bias cut dress. That's hanging in the closet for whenever I get the urge to finish it. On to the things I wanted to do: tops for spring!! I cut the fabric for this butterick top while I was home sick with the allergy flare-up from hell (started about 2 weeks ago, I'm feeling much better today, but I'm also a temporary alto. I'm very squeaky...if you can imagine a husky squeak.). I would post a picture of the fabric but I'm in bed and the camera/fabric are in a different room. God bless laptops. And laziness.

Which brings me to an interesting point. I didn't give a darn about the dress when I was making it. Maybe because it is a muslin and I'm not a fan of making muslins. It's a waste of time (not really, as any sewing book will tell get to iron out all of the bugs in the fit/pattern, etc). It's a waste of fabric (again, not really, as any long term sew-ist has at least a couple of cuts of fabric that were, ahem, not a good idea). I also didn't care about the dress because I my latest sewing fixation is on spring-y shirts. Let me just tell you...I was so not in love with that muslin project that I actually did house-cleaning rather than finish it. Housecleaning. Like doing the dishes or even worse, going through my "important paper stack" and shredding all the old stuff. I filled a whole garbage bag by the time I was done. And I'm talking a 30-gallon garbage bag. Like I said, I wasn't in the mood for the dress. In my five-ish years of sewing, I haven't made one dress. Possibly because I have fitting issues and I know that I need to spend time firguring those out. I think that's the entire reasion. Also because...well, i just don't wear dresses. Which is Sad, because I have like, 30 patterns for dresses. Well, maybe less than that...but more than enough. It's like of like my craze for fitted jackets (#1 in the Holy Grail of fitting in any sewing list). I have like, 15 patterns for jackets. How many have I made? 2. One of which had to be retired because it didn't actually fit. Argh. I do in fact, wear fitted jackets. They are more versatile than dresses. If I owned more jackets, I would wear them everyday. But, I have a jacket that I wear at work, it's machine washable and goes with everything, so because it's just plain easy, that's what I wear everyday. Getting back to the point of this's interesting how a project can really change my sewing mojo. The level of excitement about this top is...well, way more than the dress mojo. I couldn't wait to get home from work today so that I could work on my top some more. That should be in italics, because italics would fully convey my desire to sew this top. Really. Despite the fact the the fabric is a sheer polyester and I hate sewing with that stuff. (The fabric came from my mom. I don't turn down free fabric. Especially when it comes as a Christmas present from my mother. Sewing is one of the very few things we both love. I try to encourage that as much as possible.) Why do sheers suck in my book? Well, the seams show through on the fashion side. So you have to do special seam treatments and those take extra time. Time that I'm not willing to spend (see my treatise on making muslins, above). You also have to line the garment or live in NYC or LA where a transparent garment is acceptable. So's going without underwear, see Britney Spears...or not... I don't like lining garmets, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it takes time and I'm not that good at linings. One could argue that I just need more practice... My collection of 101 camisoles. Despite these reasons and MUCH MORE, I still love this top. I hope it loves me back.

Did I work on it at all when I got home? Nope. Entirely because I have a stitch in my side from coughing so much over the past week (please God, give me the necessary inspiration to invent a cough medicine that works.). So I came home and lay down on the couch. Then it was time to go to choir practice ( I didn't sing, it's a short but wholly unrelated story). Then I came home and lay down some more and now it's time to go to sleep. And in my dreams I will fantasize about my new Spring shirt.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Muslin completed!

I've finished the muslin for the Kwik Sew Bias cut dress...or close enough to completion that I can figure out what needs to be fixed. I need to make my standard sway back adjustment...above the waist like I always do. I also need to take out some length above the bust...maybe an inch total. The front of the armholes also cut into my skin when I reach forward...that may be fixed when I take out that length above the bust. If it's still a problem (or worse), I'll have to widen the front armscye by about 1/4-1/2". I used a cotton fabric (actually, another old sheet) for the lining...this dress needs a real lining fabric...i.e. something that is thin and slippery. The cotton adds a bit too much body to the dress and it kind of catches on the fashion fabric.

But the above are all really very minor things. The fit on this dress is quite good..and because of the bias, it is easy to get it on and off. A real plus for me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Must have more shirts!

Okay, so here's a clue to my inner type-A self. I pick out all of my outfits for the week so that a) I do all of my ironing at once, and b) I don't spend 5 minutes every morning looking in my closet and thinking "crap, what am I going to wear today?" So this past Sunday, I was going through the clothes and I was tired of all of it. I'm ready for spring. I'm ready for some new spring tops. I am ready for some new spring pants. And skirts. More shirts please!

So that's going to be the next project, some new shirts. What will it be? I have a couple of as yet untried patterns but I'm also looking for RTC inspiration. The janet Button-up is adorable...the wide neckline will look great and the little pouf sleeves will be fabulous. I may not keep the sleeves..I'm always cold at work and pouf-y 3/4 sleeves just don't sound right. Check out the Cordata! and if you zoom in on it, it looks like a bunch of little hearts! I'm in love. I could probably re-interpret that fairly easily using fabric yo-yos. I may have hit upon something here! The Tamatebako blouse is stunning but seeing as I can't figure out how they did that gathering-thing, it will probably remain in idea-land. The neckline treatment on the Cynosure blouse is interesting...possibly too much of a good a ruffle on steroids. I would probably do a narrow ruffle..definitely a narrow ruffle. Out of some gauzy cotton...ooooh. Which I happen to have... The rest... I can live without. I cannot do the blousy, gathered, peasant blouse thing. It would make my bust microscopic. And I would look like a ten year old.

Let's see what Banana Republic has to offer...nothing that I'm interested in. On to the Gap...ack, nothing there either.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

So, what are you blogging..?

I'm still working on cutting out the muslin for a bias cut kwik sew dress. Very boring for posting right now..especially since I haven't done any work on it since Friday morning (more on that later).

I'm currently fluffing out my links for other blogs and as I was going through the links, I saw a picture on Liana's Fashioned blog that I love, love, lurve. Go to the March 11, 2008 entry and scroll down to the 2nd and 3rd photos. Yeah, those two. Isn't that the COOLEST twinset ever? It ain't your grandma's twinset. Imagine, a pin-tucked twinset from a sheer. It's awesome. Totally sexy. I want one. Go ahead and check out the rest of the pictures. I have never heard of this Chado Ralph Rucci dude (dudette?) but he's now my favorite designer. I wanna design like him when I grow up...or until next spring anyway!

There's another sewing/fashion blog that I check in with regularly...A Dress A Day! And the blogger (Sorry, I don't know her name), posts "a dress...mostly everyday." She loves all things retro and I love that she loves all things retro. She make me want to love all things retro, except I remember that I am not into vintage or retro patterns. Most of them don't come in my size and I really dislike re-sizing patterns. Right up there with washing the dishes. So in her most recent post, Linktastic Friday No. 4, there's a link to paper wedding gowns. Not as tacky as you think, but you have to wonder (or at least I do), about the increased risk for a "wardrobe malfunction." Looking through the pictures of the wedding gowns, many of them are even pretty, but you have to like modern style dresses.

So I went out of town over the weekend to visit some friends and go bridesmaid's dress shopping (which was purchased but not at a store; when the dress arrives I shall post a picture and provide the fabulous story). As I was packing last Friday, I really, really wanted to bring the fabric for the KS dress. I had only two more pieces to cut out you see and well, I wanted to take advantage of any down time. Now, I believe cutting out is the hardest thing to do on the road, because it's so tool intensive. I need scissors, pins, pincushion, ruler (preferably the yard stick as I was cutting one layer at a time AND on the bias), marking pen, and marking chalk. Oh, and the fabric and patterns needed. Most of the items are small and will easily fit into a bag. But...I didn't wanna bring all of that with me. Mostly out of sheer laziness...just more schtuff I have to pack. So what was my crazy solution (because, oh yes, I WAS going to finish cutting out the muslin for this dress!)? My friend's mom also sews and I was just going to borrow her stuff. Perfect. I even had a 5 h "layover" at her mom's house. Except I got so busy chatting with her mom and playing with the grandbaby that...I didn't do it. (Insert irony here.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A detour from sewing..

I started a thread over on regarding spendthrift or tightwad tips. I did it because I'm currently reading the compendium of the Tightwad Gazette. It had such a variety of interesting tips that I wanted to share them with my fellow PR-ers (that is so not a word, but it works!) and start an online conversation about everyone's money-saving tips. Everyone has shared such great tips, that I wanted to compile a list on my blog. i'll try to give credit where it is due, but sometimes I'll spell usernames wrong or miss them altogether. So I apologize in advance. I can't post everything on the blog, so here's a link to the thread.

Here goes:

From Leora: Mary Hunt's blog and forum.

From yorkshire lass:
I will have a huge cooking day and freeze the results. Stews, pies, lasagne that sort of thing. Stews and similar go into old margerine tubs (they stack nicely in the freezer and hold enough for one person). This way I have the oven on for about four hours but will get enough food from that session for twelve to sixteen meals, depending on what I make. Pies get cut up into single size servings and cling filmed, Lasagnes go in single size silver foil trays, soup in plastic bags stood inside something square then taken out and stacked up when they are solid enough to stand up. I have been known to cook and mash several pounds of potatoes at once and freeze them in single servings.

From Phyllis:
I always water down liquid dish detergent and shampoos by almost 50% - and they work just as well. My note: My parents did this when we were little and it drove us kids nuts. But, it's a great that I will revisit! (Mom and dad were right,eh?)

From EWP601:
Pay your bills on time. (I am TERRIBLE about paying bills on time. I have 99% of my bills on an automatic payment system (for free!) from my bank. That has got to be the single best money saver for me.)

From EveS:
I've learned the rotation of my store's sales and shop accordingly. I try to buy enough of whatever is on sale to get me thru to the next sale. (This is something that I have to adopt, my food bills are ridiculous.)

From JoanN5A:

1) I hate this one -- Buying at most about one bottle of wine a month. As I said, I hate this one. (Sigh. I'm a big wine fan too, tho not a wino :). Fortunately for my wallet, I don't live anywhere near a wine store, unless you count the wine section at the Food Lion.)
Trying to avoid reading blogs and posts (including on PR) about what people are splashing large quantities of money around on. ( I found it so "enabling" that I had a hard time resisting the tempation. I finally had to quit reading those threads. Maybe someday I'll have the self-restraint to enjoy reading those threads without feeling tempted. It can happen...)

From MichelleT:
I also have one grocery store on the way to and from work that marks down it meats from the day before every morning. If I have time I stop in to see what is marked down and something we would eat. Two days ago I got meat for 5-6 meals with a total of $36.00 off the regular price. (What a neat idea. I'll have to steel myself to wake up at 5am one of these days to see if this will work at my local grocery store...)

From tourist:
I also make a point of saving money and electricity by vacuuming as infrequently as possible. (I got such a kick out of this. I do the exact same thing!)

I'm sure that there will be many more excellent tips posted, but these are the things that caught my eye.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

In search of...a bridesmaid's dress

My sister is getting married this fall and I will be her maid of honor. She wants me to wear something deep brown or burnt orange. I'm going for the brown because it will be easier to find the dress. I went dress shopping online last night and found a couple at J. Crew that will fit...I'm just pending an opinion from Teresa before I buy it. I wasn't entirely happy with either of the choices from J. Crew so I thought, well, as long as the dress is simple enough, I can make the darn thing. I even have a kwik sew dress pattern that will be very nice in a light, flowy silk and being that it's a kwik sew pattern, will be easy enough to sew up. So even though I'm likely going to buy the dress, I went ahead and cut out the pattern today anyway. It's a dress pattern that I've been meaning to get to for ages (I've owned the pattern for at least a year...maybe two...or three?). I also have plenty of fabric for a muslin...a fitted sheet that I don't use anymore. I kept it because it's a beautiful ruby color, with tone-on-tone stripes...and I thought, "that would make a pretty skirt..." I'm nutty. So anyway, if the muslin doesn't work out, I'm not out any money.

It actually turned out to be a good thing that I used the sheet for a muslin...because the dress is cut on the bias, I needed a LOT of fabric. about 1 yard more than I usually buy for projects. Once the muslin is done I will probably put the pattern away....I am overflowing in fabric right now (no pieces long enough for this project, unfortunately) and I will have to make room to store the as-yet-unpurchased-fabric for this project.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cootie Cover #1, Final Test Drive

Hi world! I went on a covert mission last night and tested Katie's Cootie Cover. I'm proud to say that it went 99% perfectly. The carts at Michael's Art and Crafts are smaller than the ones at Wal-mart, so the toy loops flopped over the front of the cart, but other than that, the cootie cover is one cute little thing! Oh, and the pockets are totally useless as they too hung over the sides of the smaller cart. I suspected it while I was attaching them, so I am not surprised.

Alyson's cootie cover is 85% done. I pressed and pinned the binding on tonight. Tomorrow I will sew it on and likely Friday I will insert the elastic into the binding. Buying pre-quilted fabric definitely made my life easier and sped up the project immeasurably. Yay!

I also used the binding foot for the first time the other night. I'm not totally impressed by it. I don't think it makes attaching the binding any easier. I didn't have to use pins, but any time I saved by not pinning was spent guiding the fabric into the binder foot. It might make sewing on home-made binding easier (not using pins), but there was not any advantage using a store-bought binding.