Wednesday, April 30, 2008


And, for a little levity, I had to add this:
(this was forwarded to me by my brother)


Fresh from my shower, I stand in front of the mirror complaining to my
husband that my breasts are too small.

Instead of characteristically telling me it's not so, he
uncharacteristically comes up with a suggestion.

'If you want your breasts to grow, then every day take a piece of toilet
paper and rub it between them for a few seconds'.

Willing to try anything, I fetch a piece of toilet paper and stand in
front of the mirror, rubbing it between my breasts.

'How long will this take?' I asked.

'They will grow larger over a period of years,' my husband replies.

I stopped. 'Do you really think rubbing a piece of toilet paper between
my breasts every day will make my breasts larger over the years?'

Without missing a beat he says, 'Worked for your butt, didn't it?'

He's still alive, and with a great deal of therapy, he will walk again.
But, he will probably continue to take his meals through a straw for
some time!

Stupid, stupid man !!!

SWAP voting

Originally Julie said that you had to be a participant of the thread on stitchers guild in order to vote in the swap. It seems the rules have changed and anyone who is interested in sewing may vote. The only condition is that you take time to really look at ALL of the swaps and consider how well they work together. Details and couture sewing are not necessarily criteria for voting - it's whatever wardrobe is most pleasing and wearable in your opinion. I think they're all wonderful, so I'm hoping to take some time today to really look at all of the entries more closely. Of course, we are all winners because we all have new clothes!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's time to vote on SWAP

This year I participated in the Timmel SWAP. If you've been reading my blog, you have already seen my entries. If you are new to my blog, and/or wondering what in the world a SWAP is, it means Sewing With A Plan. It is a contest sponsored by Timmel Fabrics to create a wardrobe. This years contest basically was 6 tops, 4 bottoms and a jacket of some type. (There are variations and you can read the rules here:
It is amazing to see all the wonderful wardrobes that these fabulous sewists have created. I don't know how in the world I can narrow it down to 3 votes. If you care to vote, please take the time to really look at ALL of the wardrobes (You will get great ideas and inspirations!) Then, you must vote for 3- if you only vote for one or two, it won't count. Mail your votes to Julie at I have gotten great ideas from all of these wardrobes and hope I can spend some more time studying them before I make my final votes.

Mastering Mitering

Well, OK, maybe not "mastering", but at least this one was successful. I've always had trouble when mitering a binding to get it to look right on not only both sides, but either side. There was just an article (last month I think) in either Threads, Vogue magazine, or one of the other sewing magazines. But do you think I could find it when I wanted to do these bindings? Of course not.

So, I reached for my handy, new, yet seldom yet used Readers Digest sewing book. Not only did it tell me how to do the corners, but it also told how to do it several different ways depending on what you are doing. I am loving this book more and more. It seems to always have the information I'm looking for. I'm sure I'll be pulling this one off the shelf again and again.

I did have a little trouble when doing the "stitch in the ditch" in the corner, as you can see in this closeup.
I'm not sure yet whether I'll fix it or leave it. One of the things that has been hard for me to get used to on my Baby lock is that the fixed needle position is on the left rather than center. You can change it to center, but all plate markings and feet are made to work with the left needle position. There are center slot feet, but I am getting used to the left side. Anyway, that's my excuse for the less than perfect stitching here.

Life is not about sewing these days for me. Dad is in the hospital and I have been there pretty much most of the day every day. When I'm not in the hospital it's the medical office, attorneys office, calling insurance, at the bank, up at Dad's, or trying to tie up other loose ends. It's been stressful, and in fact, I'm taking some time off work to try to not only get all of this done, but to prevent a major health meltdown. Fortunately, my brother who lives in town has been a huge support and taken on a lot of the responsibility of caring for Dad while I take care of legal, medical, and financial details. My other brother flew in from Tennessee Sunday night. We meet with the oncologist this morning and I'm hoping we'll get some answers then.

I have been doing a little sewing, and I'm stressing the word little - maybe one or two seams a day, maybe once or twice a week. I'm making this Vogue top to match the pants that I made last week (or was it 2 weeks ago?) Anyway, This is a quick and easy pattern, but I forgot to trim off the seam allowances before I put the binding on, so the flaps will be a little wider than the pattern intends, but I think it will look fine.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vogue 7883 - just starting

I finally got to do a little sewing this weekend. I started by making the easy pull on pants from Vogue 7883. I had some yellow linen-look fabric from JoAnns, and I thought this would make a good wearable muslin. The fabric must be polyester, because it really wanted to cling. I started with a size 12 and widened at the hip to somewhere between a 14 & 16. I always have to redraw the crotch in pants patterns to make it lower. Well, guess what? You know that line that goes horizontally between the crotch and waist that says lengthen or shorten here? That thing really does work! Why in the world I did not figure this out about 6 pairs of pants ago, I'll never know. Geez...
Anyway, the pants are great and I really like the fit. Amazingly, I did not do ANY additional alterations after cutting them out. Of course, they are, after all, elastic waist pants. We'll see what happens when I try this on regular pants!

I would have been done with these in one evening except that I realized that this fabric is far too see through. I had originally planned to underline these pants and then changed my mind. I should have stuck with the original plan. I did have some yellow cotton/poly batiste, so I used that to make a lining for these pants. I really like the way it turned out and the great thing is that they no longer cling!

The one drawback to elastic waist pants is that it's so hard to figure out which is the front and which is the back. I have gotten into the habit of doing some kind of decorative stitching in the back before I sew the casing down. This time I put a "B" for "back" Another thing I like about these pants is that they have pockets. Believe it or not, I don't think I have ever made inseam pockets before. So, here's a tip for lining pants with inseam pockets: Make sure you baste down the top of the pockets before you sew in the lining. It is not so easy to reach up into the leg between the two layers and try to smooth out that pocket and baste it after you have already sewn in the lining - not that I would know anything about that...

Next up, the top. Now, I haven't decided whether I am doing long or short sleeves, but I know I need to get the bodice pattern fit. I usually cut out a 10, but decided this time to start with an 8. Vogue patterns seem to run big in the shoulders for me, and I have a really narrow back. Here is my dilemma: I must do a full bust adjustment. This pattern has no darts, and I really don't want to add one (although, maybe I will, still) Most FBAs require using the dart. I decided to try two different methods and compare them.

First I tried using Sandra Betzina's method in her Fast Fit book. This method requires slashing the pattern from bust point to hem, and bust point to center of shoulder. You then make 3 slashes from the armscye to the the line from bustpoint to shoulder. You then spread the pattern pieces the desired width. I spread mine 1". Then, if there is any discrepancy between the hemlines, you even them out. Also, if you want to use the original waist measurement, you angle the hem portion back to the line where you slashed it to begin with. You can see what I did here:

I actually slashed the armscye 4 times instead of 3. This is very similar to the FFRP method, but FFRP has you slash through the dart. Also, FFRP doesn't usually work for me because it also makes the pattern much wider. I didn't have a dart to work with on this one, so I didn't try the FFRP method to compare (although I could have added a dart and then rotated it out, but I'm really not into all that work. I just want to make my top!) SB's method changes the shape, but not size, of the armscye slightly (as does the FFRP method)

Next, I decided to go ahead and do my favorite Pivot and Slide method. This method is found in Nancy Zeiman's Fitting Finesse book. This is my favorite method because 1) it is easy and fast, and 2) it works!
This method involves cutting out the original pattern piece, putting it on top of another piece of paper, and then pinning and pivoting from certain points to the desired measurements. I kind of do it backwards because I don't like to cut out my pattern pieces. Also, I use see-through tracing paper and put my paper on top of the pattern instead of underneath it. This is much easier to me, faster, and uses less paper. The only thing is that when you are reading the directions, you have to do everything opposite since you are sliding the new pattern piece instead of the old one. Here is what the FBA looks like on the pivot and slide method.
The pencil lines are the original pattern lines, and the darker lines are the new lines. Normally I do not even draw the original pattern lines when I am using the method. If you have never tried it before, you should give it a shot. Once you do it a couple of times, it is so easy and I never have to look back in the book to remember what I did (unless, of course, it is a new alteration)
Normally when I do this alteration, I also increase the dart size if there is one, or add a dart. Another advantage of this method is that it does not change the shape of the armscye or shoulder seam at all. The problem with this method and the SB method, is that they don't add any length to the front of the pattern . Since I have to adjust for a DD cup, I usually need about 1" extra length in the front. Adding that amount to the side dart puts in that added length.

Now I will show you the comparison of the two methods. The P&S pattern piece is on top and the SB pattern is on the bottom. As you can see, there is quite a bit of difference in the two. However, if you measure the armscye and the side seam in both pieces, they are exactly the same as the original pattern. Again, the problem is that neither of these methods have given me the added length in the front. I could just lengthen the center front and draw a line, but that would also increase the length of that line, and another pattern piece will be sewn to it. (in all truth, the difference turned out to be minimal, and I could have just "fudged" it, but still...)
I decided to trace the original hem line, move it down 1" and then taper up to the side. Of course, this will end up about 1/4" shy of the side seam. I then slit the pattern from hem to armscye and slid the side seam over until it met the hemline. Here is the result:

Well, that's it for tonight. I hope I actually can cut something out tomorrow, but after church, we are going up to visit my dad.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Timmel Swap - final preview

Whoo-hoo! finally finished - pictures and all. I owe a big debt of gratitude to my good friend Maureen for doing my pix for me. I couldn't have done it without her. (Well, I could have, but it wouldn't have looked nearly as good!)

Final pix go up on the Timmel SWAP site on the 21st, but I'm posting mine here now. (who knows what will happen in life between now and then?) Doing the composite photo was where I really needed Maureen's help. Not only is she a wonderful photographer (and friend, may I add), but she also has PhotoShop, which I do not. I cannot eliminate backgrounds, use a magic wand, or change my background color. She was able to do all this for me and then I imported them into "Comic Life" to do my final picture. Here is the result:

We are also allowed to submit 6 additional photos. I had 7, so I eliminated this one

top - striped knit from Timmel Fabric- New Look 6735
pants - black ponte knit - New Look 6735

One of my favorite tops, the black turtleneck didn't make it into any of the pix, but it will be one that I wear most often, I think. It is super light weight and goes under many things I currently have in my wardrobe. Although the turtleneck (like the striped top) is not part of my photos, it is still part of my SWAP. Here you see it under the green shirt, which is no longer part of my swap. I had made 7 tops and you are only allowed to enter 6. Since this green top just did not photograph well, (believe me, we tried and tried) it was the one that got eliminated. Actually, it is probably my least favorite out of the SWAP, so it was the best one to go.
Turtleneck - Christine Johnson Base 2 pattern - black rayon jersey
Green shirt - BWOF 3/2007 - oxford cloth

This top, which I call the "poet's blouse" is probably my favorite blouse out of the swap. I put a lot of time and detail into this one, and it is just comfy and casual to wear. It also works tucked in with the fitted skirt and worn over the black skirt with a belt at the waist. The pants in this photo are made of an olive green rayon gabardine and I just love the fabric. They were a little small when I made them, but I've lost a few pounds, and now they fit me perfectly. One thing I really like about these pants is the fact that they have a fly front and angled pockets in the front.

Blouse - BWOF 1/2008- white cotton broadcloth
Pants - BWOF 12/2006- olive rayon gabardine

I purchased the fabric for this top at F&S Fabrics on the PR westcoast weekeknd. It is trimmed with black satin ribbon at the neckline and has ties in the back. It has a side zipper, but I plan to take that out since it slides easily over my head.
These pants have an elastic waist and wide legs. They sit below the waist.

Top - New Look 6515 - rayon crepe
Pants - New Look 6735- black poly ponte knit.

It was kind of windy when we were taking the pictures and my hair kept blowing in my face. Here I'm really just trying to get the hair out of my face, but we liked the pose, so we kept it.

I am surprised at how much I like this top. I do not usually go for velvety, shiney kinds of clothes, but I wanted to try something different with the simple knit top pattern. This is a stretch velvet burnout that I got at JoAnns. It is polyester, but the "mesh" quality of the burnout makes it cool and comfortable. It was surprisingly easy to work with as well. The skirt is a 6 gored skirt made out of the same fabric as the wide leg pants. I really like the drape of this skirt.

Top - NL6735 - stretch poly velvet burnout
Skirt - NL6735 - black poly ponte knit.

Here is the BWOF tie-neck blouse. I have made this twice, and actually like the second one I made better. This is made of a poly chiffon with a geometric print. Because the fabric is sheer, I am wearing a black camisole underneath. The sheerness also makes the fabric breathable and comfortable.

Top - BWOF 2/2008

Although I was disappointed in the performance of this herringbone knit after washing (it pilled terribly) I really love this cardigan. I think it is a flattering style, and is easy to wear. This fabric does hold its shape well and has just the right amount of stretch. I am wearing it with the olive and cream tweed wool skirt. I love this skirt. This is one of the items that took more time. The skirt is underlined with silk organza and lined with bemberg rayon. This is a great skirt pattern with a lot of different hemline variations. I plan on making many more of these. I love the flounce in the back on this version. You can see a better picture of the front of the cardigan here.

Skirt - Simplicity 4784 - olive and cream wool tweed
Cardigan - NL 6735 - olive and black herringbone knit.

Any wardrobe contest is a big undertaking, and the SWAP is no exception. The community on Stitchers Guild is a great support and inspiration. When the finals are posted, you must check them out. There are some fabulous wardrobes out there. I can hardly wait to see all the finished collections!

There are more pictures in my Picasa folder

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's Thursday

Yeah, that's the catchiest title I could think of. NO sewing is getting done here, even though I have great motivation like this:

(two new knits from Gorgeous Fabrics)

and this:
( yay! My new CoverPro has arrived, but I haven't even had time to plug it in!)

The fabric above I purchased to make 2 body suits, but I think I'm going to turn the brown one into a dress/ tunic.

I'm hoping this weekend to make a pair of quick pull on pants and top.
I've been spending much time checking out assisted living and skilled nursing facilities for my father. Have taken 2 days off work to go to court, and many hours of decision making regarding what will best suit his needs - and what can we actually get him to do. Right now my brother is taking time off work to stay with him until we can get better living arrangements in place.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thank you

Thank you Marji, Liana, and Sigrid, for nominating me for the excellent blog award. I've noticed this award on some of my favorite blogs in the last day or so, so I'm going to try to nominate those I have not seen with the award yet. First of all, I have two I would like to nominate who, although they do not have "blogs", they use their photo sites like blogs.
First is Johanna, who has been making some amazing clothes for her swap. She always has some artistic or unexpected element in all of her garments.
Next is Miriam, known as Hawkemorningstar on PR. She always makes beautiful and feminine clothes. I really enjoyed meeting her at PR weekend LA.
Next, I'd like to nominate Robin Denning. She does a lot of sewing and is and ecouragement and inspiration.

I have a few more to nominate, but that will wait for another post - well, except for one more.

I'm excited because I finally finished my SWAP and this morning Maureen, a dear friend and fabulous photographer, came over and took tons of pictures for the swap. We'll be working on them this week, so I'll be posting as I get some. We had a good time taking the pictures. I'm nominating her blog for several reasons. Although she doesn't post sewing, she is a witty writer and is passionate about all that she does. She has many interests and I check her blog almost daily.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cardigan - last SWAP piece

Yes, I have finally finished all of my pieces for the Timmel SWAP. My friend Maureen is helping me with all the photography (hopefully) this weekend. These pictures were taken at dusk, so they're a little dark, but you can still get the idea. I really like this cardigan and can see that I will wear it a lot.

What I don't like is the fabric. I don't remember it being said that it was dry clean only, and the first time I washed it, it pilled both inside and out. I didn't think it looked that bad at first - no, actually, I hated it the moment I saw it. I put it aside for a moment and later on I thought, I guess it's not that bad. But it is that bad. It looks old and worn to me.

Another thing I wish I would have done that the pattern did not call for, is to add interfacing to the front bands. They look a little limp and would have really benefited from some fusi-knit.'

I tried out the stretch buttonhole on my sewing machine and like the way it turned out. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to the woman in the quilt shop. We were talking about twin needle stitching. I told her how my fabric always makes a ridge with twin needle, even though I adjust the tension. She suggested using water soluble stabilzer and to spray it first with spray adhesive to make it stick to the fabric. "It comes right off and doesn't leave any marks," she assured me. Well, I haven't done any twin needle yet, but decided to try it with these buttonholes. I LOVE the way this works. I have used stabilizer with buttonholes before, but it always seems to move out of place even when pinned. This was the perfect solution. The stabilzer tears right off and then I used a wet washcloth to remove the rest. The adhesive spray is called "505" and worth every penny of the $12.99 I paid for it.