Monday, January 28, 2008

God's Beauty

I live in a town of about 100,00 people in central California. I am lucky to live where I do because the cost of living is probably less than anywhere else in the state. We are about equidistant from LA to San Francisco and within a few hours drive to the coast or the desert. The mountains are only an hour away. The downside is that we are in a valley, and we have terrible smog. I love everything about living here except for the smog. But on clear days, you hope nobody comes here because everyone would want to move here! it is gorgeous.

I work in a smaller town (about 8,000) that is only about 15 minutes away from my house. Well, with the last storm we had, I had the treat of seeing this as I drove to work. It was breathtaking. (you must click on the picture to get a better view.)

My good friend Maureen took this picture.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

PayPal problem continues

Some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will remember that last October I had a problem with PayPal. Well, to make a long story short, they still have over $1,000 of my money and now they want me to send the over $600.00 more! Here's the long and short of it.
My son was selling unlocked iphones on ebay when they first came out. (not a great idea, but it was legal at that time)
He sold a phone to a customer and then paypal locked his account saying that his social security card was not valid.
In the meantime he had sold a couple more phones on ebay and needed to have somewhere to make the deposits. I let him use my account (apparently this is against their rules, but I didn't realize it.)
One of the buyers decided not to complete the purchase, so we asked PayPal to refund the payment. Even though the original payment was made to my accoung, they took the money out of my sons account (which had no money in it) and left him with a negative balance. Now they are sending him to collections. They have over $1000 in my account, but will not transfer the money over to pay my son's account - even though it was their fault for taking it out of the wrong account. They will not move the money because they have not been holding it for at least 6 months. Does that make sense???? They HAVE the money in their system. Why can't they move it over??????
I'm calling my attorney on Monday

BWOF 12/06 Pants

I made these pants over the last couple of days. They actually look better on than they do in this picture (ever use a blind man as your photographer?) but I can see that I have some fit issues in the back. They looked perfect in the mirror - but the camera doesn't lie! I have already lowered the back crotch curve to make it more of an L shape and then ended up lowering the entire crotch curve by about 1/2=5/8 inch both front and back. I cut a 40 at the waist, 44 at the hip, and then tapered to a 42 at the ankle. I've made these before, but this time I just drew a straight line from hip to ankle. I ended up taking in the side seams from the pocket down about 1/2 inch. Oh, I also added almost an inch to the front inseam for full thigh adjustment. I had added 1/2 inch last time, but when trying on the brown linen pants, they still pulled too much against the front of my thighs. These fit better there and the inseam runs down the middle of my leg rather than closer to the front.

Still not sure how to get rid of those wrinkles.
I seem to be "fit-needy" these days. What do I need to do to get rid of the wrinkles under my rear and on the back of the legs?

I really like Sandra Betzina's method of doing the fly that she has in her Power Sewing book and I use it every time. This time I also added an extension behind the zipper to give it a more finished look (picture's kind of blurry though)

I wore these pants to a George Winston concert last night and they were really comfortable to sit in all evening. I really like the drape of this RPL. I got it on the clearance aisle at JoAnns last year for a total cost of about $5.00

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fighting Sharks and other battles

Well, I thought I had a rant about irons on my blog last year, but I couldn't find it. Long story short - after 2 Shark EuroPro irons that spit all over my fabric after just a few weeks, I finally ended up with a Rowenta DuoPower iron. This iron worked well for me and I loved it! (Notice the past tense) A couple of weeks ago I came home from work and my ironing board was soaking wet. I thought the cat had knocked over the iron and my DD had picked it up again. A few days later,same thing. I asked DD if she knew why the ironing board was wet and she said she thought the iron was leaking. WEll, a couple of days ago, I pick up the iron and water starts POURING out of the bottom.
I bought this iron some time last summer. I do not still have the receipt. Target will not take it back. Yesterday I went to Bed Bath, and Beyond and bought a Shark professional. I am saving the receipt.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Muslin3 and I've had it!

ETA: I had some problems uploading some of the pictures, so the link to the album is Picass Album on this dress

OK, THis time I cut a 12 on the top, 16 on the bottom. I used the FBA according to FFRP. Raised the waist 1" below the bust.

As you can see, the armhole looks almost the same. The original is on the bottom, the last tissue is in the middle, and the new tissue is on top. Funny thing is that the dart landed pretty much in the right place. Well, the armhole fits in this - I wish I could say that for the rest of the dress.

This is what I see:
I'm back to the sack
The bottom seems to fit fine in the front

there is too much fabric in the upper back and middle back.

The dart seems to be in the right place, but the front has too much fabric in the center front. I folded out 1" in the front and almost 1.5" in the back. There is still excess fabric up around the shoulders in the back.

Using this method for the FBA gave me a better adjustment, but now there is too much fabric in the front. Maybe I should have started with a smaller size? Or do I need a narrow shoulder adjustment or other adjustment?

I don't love this dress enough to keep working on it right now. I'm going to put it aside for awhile (or forever?)

I want to work on my swap
I need to finish my jacket for stitch and flip.
I have a couple of coats waiting to be cut out.
I'm giving this a rest.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

January: A Month of Muslins

First of all, a huge shout out to Marji for all of her time and help. It is so nice to have another set of eyes - especially experienced ones. Also, Debbie, thank you too and all of the others who are offering help and support.

My question is this - why am I spending so much time on this when I should be working on my SWAP?? Answer - because I'm driven, that's why :-)

Tissue #3

Anyway, this is my current pattern for front bodice. This is what I did
1. re cut a straight size 12
2. raised it one inch above the bust line
3. re-drew the armhole to lower it back down
4. did an FBA according to the method in FFRP (see link Marji left on my last post)
This involved pinning the dart, pinning the tissue to my Tshirt at shoulder and side seam, measuring the difference between pattern CF and my CF ,which was 1.5", slashing and spreading the pattern that amount, and then staring at it for 45 minutes trying to figure out what to do about the weird armhole)
5. At this point I figured, "Hey, it's just tissue, try it on" So again I pinned it to myself and guess what? It fit. Really. The waist was where it belonged. The dart was only slightly too high. everything else seemed to fit OK. I was most surprised by the armhole because it seemed to curve around and fit close to the body. I ALWAYS have trouble with gaposis at the armhole, so I wonder if this will fix that.

I marked the apex on the pattern and then drew a box around the dart and slid it down about 1/2".

I still may make one more tissue taking out the length below the dart to see if that gives me a better armhole. Marji gave me some good suggestions for doing that, and I may try both to see which gives the better fit.

Monday, January 07, 2008

S3631 - Getting closer

This time I cut a 10 in the shoulders, tapered to a 12 under the arm to the waist, did a FBA of 1.5" leaving the dart point at its original position from the top leg, raised the waist 1" im the front and back, tapered to a 14 below the hip. After trying it on, I lowered the dart 1" (on one side only just to check) took out the side seams at the bust 3/8", and the hips too. I also shortened the back at the shoulder seam an additional 1/2"
Looking at the pictures I think:
I need to go back out to the 16 at the thigh in the skirt
the back still has a lot of wrinkles - do I need a sway back adj, or do I need to raise the back more - if so, where? or do I just need to make the back side bigger across the butt?
Raising the back 1/2" really helped, but I also feel like I have a little too much fullness across the upper back/shoulder.
I think the diagonal wrinkle in the front is either because I only lowered one dart, or I may be standing slightly twisted.

Also - how do you fix "hallow chest"? my dresses always look like I need to take a big dart right down the center from the neckline to the top of the bust

This is much better, but still not exactly right. Of course, using a better fabric will make a lot of difference too.

Also, it looks like one side of the waist is higher than the other..

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Simplicity 3631

THis is a very popular pattern, and although most people have wanted to make the jacket, I really liked the dress. Notice I used the past tense. I'm not sure what went wrong here, but this thing looks like a sack on me. Here's what I did

I cut a 12 in the shoulders and tapered to a 14 at the underarm and 16 at the hip. I also enlarged the dart and added 1-1/4" to the front length to accommodate the dart. I raised the waist 1" on both the front and back. I also took a 3/4" CB when adding the zipper to take out some of the fullness. Because the bodice is lined on this thing, it was really hard to determine the fit before putting in the zipper.

I csn tell now that I did not need to go to a 14 at the underarm and that the 16 was probably close to right at the hips.

I have noticed in dress patterns before, that they always seem to hang better if I take an inch off the shoulder seam. Should I shorten the pattern above the bust and then lower the armhole? also, when I pull the pattern up like this, it hangs better, but then the dart points too high - how I wish this would be where the girls really are these days ;-)

The dress is too baggy under the bust as well. My waist is 30", which would mean a 16 in this pattern. It's too big.

Soooo - I need your help! This is a "wearable muslin" for the dress I wanted to make out of wool. Do I need to make a lot of alterations, or just bag the pattern and try to find something else? Is this style just not right for me? Please give me your advice, constructive criticism, thoughts. Thanks!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Veldt, Britex, and Thai Silks

We got home last night after spending the day driving around like idiots in the worst storm we've had in a long time! We finally had sun on our last day in ka anapali, but unfortunately had to leave. We flew into Oakland for MORE RAIN. When I was in highschool I read The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. One of the vignettes was called "The Veldt" I believe. It was about a place that was like a big city under a bubble because all it ever did was rain. People had to live in the bubble because they would go out of their minds in the rain.
As we drove from Oakland to San Francisco, to Los Altos and then home - in a nonstop downpour, I was reminded of tht story over and over again. It NEVER stopped raining.

Of course, neither of us were dressed for it, but we went out in our sandals and light weight clothes, because that was all we had. Now if you know anything about California geography, you might wonder why in the world I would take such a strange route to get home. Well, that is simply answered - Britex and Exotic Silks! I had heard so much about Britex, that I really wanted to check it out. I was surprised how narrow it was inside Britex. I haven't lived in the Bay Area in so long, that I had forgotten that everything in San Francisco is narrow! Anyway, the store is overwhelming! There are 4 floors. The gentleman at the front desk, (who reminded me more of a concierge than a sales person) suggested I start at the top and work my way down. Now the coolest thing about Britex (besides the obvious) is the elevator! It is like an elevator in a luxury hotel. It was super quiet and super smooth. Kind of like the difference between a BMW and a Chevy. OK, I am intrigued by the simple things.

Floor 4 - this floor had all the remnants and flat cuts. I was expecting to find some real bargains here, but even the flat cuts might be 3 yards for $50. This may have been a bargain if I knew what I was looking for, but since I was just browsing, it was just overwhelming. There were 2 assistants on this floor. Now remember, this store is NARROW, so fabric on each wall with a table down the middle left little room for walking down the aisle on either side of the table.

Floor 3. This floor was all notions, trim and patterns. I wish I would have had some projects in mind that needed trim, because I'm sure I could have found it there. I did buy 2 yards of Petersham on this floor - but it was almost $5/yard for rayon petersham. There were about 3 sales assistants on this floor, and what ever you purchased on this floor, you paid for on the floor. All fabric from any floor is purchased on the first floor.

Floor 2 - this floor is all polyester, silkies, glittery fabric, knits, home dec. Most of the fabric in this store is on rolls rather than bolts.

Floor 1 - this is the most expensive floor. Here is where you will find wool, silk, and designer fabrics. They had fabrics that were over $100/yard, and I didn't even look at evening fabrics or fine silks! The walls on this floor are covered with stacks of bolts arranged by color. So you might have one stack of bolts, all plum colored, with wool gabardine, wool flannel, RPL, tricotine, and another blend, all together. There are tables down the middle featuring different things. One table had rolls of silk for $15/yard. They were all pretty much the Ana Sui silks - in fact, several of which I purchased about a month ago on Fabricmart for $5.95 a yard!

The sales person on this floor that helped me was Pat - also known as "the purple lady" because she always wears purple. She was very knowledgeable and helpful. That alone is worth paying a little more for fabric. They have fabric from Chanel, Bill Blass, Donna Karan, and many, many others and she seemed to know where almost all of them came from and little bits of info like "this one is already bonded on the back so you don't have to fuse the whole thing with underlining" She helped me pick out two fabrics on the 50% off table, both 100%wool. I think I spent about $45 on the two pieces. I am planning a dress for the plaid, and either pants or another dress for the teal/gray wool. My dear husband sat on a chair downstairs while I did all of this shopping! We walked down the street and had lunch at a little bistro after that.

The rain continued to pour, but I was on a mission. Next stop - Los Altos and Thai Silks. If you've ever bought online from Thai Silks, you know that they have a good inventory and I was shocked to find that the store is just a tiny place and there really wasn't that much in it. Well, actually, I guess there was, but I was expecting it to be much bigger. The best thing I saw there was their selection of silk Brocades. They were beautiful. The next time I go there, I will have to have a project in mind and buy some. They did have one dress made up in the back corner of the store that I found to be very pretty. It was a very simple dress with a tie front made up in what looked like a jacquard, but it was called a "silk crepe" The fabric didn't look like much on the bolt, but I kept going back and looking at the dress. I ended up buying enough to make a blouse.

Well, there's still lot's more to tell, but I do need to finish unpacking and I would like to get something done in the way of sewing today! I've posted more pix of the island if you're interested

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Finally sunshine!

Today was a beautiful day! The first day of sunshine we’ve had. The boys and I got up early and drove to Maalea Harbor to take a snorkel/snuba trip. We were supposed to go to Molikini, but it was too rainy and windy over there so we went to Coral Gardens instead. Suprisingly, the water was cold. It seems like the water is always warm here, but it was cold today. Good thing they had wet suits for all of us. Snuba is so cool. It is like scuba, but your tank floats on a raft up above you. You are kind of tethered to the raft, but it follows you along. The instructor was great and only took 6 of us at a time, so he was always right with us, showing us things, and checking for any problems. I used an underwater camera, so will have to post pix after I get home. We were really hoping to see some turtles today, but it was too rainy over at Turtle Town. In fact, it was super windy and choppy on our way back, and most of the people on the boat got soaked. (I stayed in the cabin part so I could be relatively dry! We did see a couple of whales off in the distance, but we got spoiled yesterday with our friendly giant who came up to our boat.
If you want to go whale watching in Hawaii, take a zodiac. It is absolutely the best way to go. First of all, you are right down on the water and you cant get much closer than that. Second of all, that was the smoothest ride I have had on the ocean. Even though the water was super choppy, the ride was really smooth.

If you get an opportunity to try snuba, do it. It is so worth the extra 50 bucks. They give you really good instruction and it is like flying under water. I didn’t think I would be interested, but did it because my son wanted to - I’ m SO glad I did. We took the Aqua Adventures trip out of Maalea - great crew.

After we got back, it was still sunny, so I did go down to the pool for a couple of hours and read a book. Andy stayed up in the room and watched football games. It is almost sunset, so I’m hoping to catch a couple of pictures since this is the first one we’ve seen this trip. I hope the weather stays nice tomorrow since it is our last full day.

Here are some pictures of our suite

We are flying back into Oakland on Thursday and spending the night. I’m hoping to check out a couple of fabric stores while I’m in the bay area. Good thing Andy is such a patient man!