Friday, June 27, 2008

Weather Report

Its been sunny and beautiful the whole time we've been here. We are having a great time. Last night we went into Lahaina for dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was very good, but the service was just OK - not what I'd expect of that restaurant. Today, Andy and Ray are going parasailing while Debbie and I go shopping! (Not that we havent already done some shopping.) I have more pictures, but am having trouble with uploading. You can see some of our room by clicking here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

One of these days...

I will get fit right on a blouse. It's got to happen!! But, it won't happen today. I'm done sewing until I get back from vacation - unless I get everything done today that I need to and get a moment of inspiration later this evening. I always have the same problem with blouses. Right now, you can see that there are terrible draglines from the bust to the waist. Also, there is too much fabric above the waist in the back. I have already raised the waist 1" in the back and raised the darts as well. The FBA seems too big because there is excess fabric at the bust point and the darts seem to stick out at the sides, but the drag lines would suggest that there is not enough fabric at the bust. I've tried raising the darts, and now they seem too high, but when they were lower, they stuck out at the sides. this shouldn't be so difficult.

AS you can see here, there is too much fabric above the dart on the blouse fabric. Also, now the dart looks too high. The dart point was about 1" shorter in, but I lengthened it because it was kind of pointing out to the side.

Friday, June 20, 2008

McCall's February 1936

I was having a really bad day today. I came home and sat on the floor in my bathroom looking for something and found an old box. When I opened it, it was a bunch of old documents from my mother's highschool. I have often thought of throwing this box away. Today I decided to look in it and look what I found! Just thought I'd share.

And then, there was light..

One of the biggest complaints I've had about my sewing machine is the poor light. It has one TINY bulb placed to the left of the needle. This thing does not even give as much light as a small Christmas tree bulb. I usually have to put a lamp next to my sewing machine and try to get the light in the right place. I've tried goosneck and adjustable desk lights, but they are always too big and bulky. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that a woman in my quilting class, who also happens to have the exact same sewing machine that I do, had this bendable bright light attached to her sewing machine. I couldn't believe how much light this little thing put out. She had bought it at the quilt shoppe, but said that it was $50.00. Ouch. Of course, being the good consumer that I am (ahem, ahem), I started scouring the internet looking for this light. Well, I found it, for 50 bucks plus shipping everywhere I looked. The quilt shop where she ordered hers was also sold out. I've been considering ordering one. The day before yesterday, I was in Exeter and stopped in at "Stash Builders" which is the local quilt shop in that town. They had one sitting on the shelf. Well, it's not on their shelf anymore; It's on my machine. The pictures don't do it justice, but this thing really puts out bright light. I love it. It's amazing how much better you can see with proper lighting. Worth every penny - and yes, I paid $50, but at least there was no shipping!
Here's the lighting before and after:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NL6407 - Getting Better

All evening, as I've been doing other things, I've been thinking about this pattern and considering everyone's helpful comments. I traced off pattern revision 2 and made another muslin front. After doing that, I noticed that I still needed to raise the dart, so I did that by 1.25 inches.

As you can see, this one fits much better and I have plenty of room in the arm. (More on that later.)

This picture was taken before I raised the dart in the pattern. I think I will need to raise it even more than I did on the pattern though from the looks of this picture.

After looking at Birgitte's link to fashion incubator, I carefully measured my sleeve cap and armhole openings on the seam lines. There was only a difference of about 1/2 inch. However, when I put the two pieces together, there was more like 1 inch difference. I think this is because I altered my pattern to try to fit what I did on the muslin and I must have been a little off.

Here is the original pattern piece. I have found that I have trouble with sleeves that have a really high sleeve cap like this one does. I decided to flatten the top and add the the width by slitting up the center of the sleeve and then spreading at the bottom seam line. You have to remember to re draw the grainline after doing this alteration.

After making the sleeve, I remembered that I did not scoop out the front and add to the back. I did this to the pattern piece, and although it didn't really look much different when I looked at the whole piece, you can see the difference when you fold the sleeve in half. Also, I notice that the shoulder seam mark is about 1/2" toward the front of the sleeve.

I also realized that I needed to raise the waist seam in the back, so I did that on the pattern piece, but not on the muslin. I'm done with the muslins now - I hope! Maybe I will get to get this thing cut out after all. :-)

Thank you again to all of you who took time to give me suggestions on my blog or PR. It's so wonderful to know that I can count on my online friends for things like this. I love that!

Q & A

This is actually New Look pattern 6407.

On the left side of the muslin, (my left, viewing right) I did NOT make the sleeve bigger, which was part of the problem on that side. Plus, by cutting the armhole 1/2" bigger all the way around, it was just way too tight. I slit the sleeve from hem to top, but the blouse was still pulling at the armscye.

Heidi - I do think I need a larger FBA, but as it is, the dart is now gigantic. I have not seen the the alteration you are speaking of, but would love to. Also, I agree that both of the darts need to be shorter - I don't want to look like I'm wearing a sculpted Madonna shirt! This size 10 was over on my shoulder, so I took the right shoulder in 1/2" and think it sits better there.

Birgitte - the pattern does have a line of ease/gathering stitches across the top of the sleeve cap. I didn't worry about evening them out since this is a muslin.

Marji - In using the FFRP FBA, I had to increase the width at the CF slash by 1-1/2 inches. Maybe I should have done two. The problem I have with this is that first of all, it changes the armhole from a smooth curve to something like a fish hook. I adjusted this by taking a second slash under the armscye to lower the curve (Kind of like the Sandra Betzina method)

Secondly, the dart ends up being about a mile wide. You can see that I redrew this dart several times. I think it is pointing to the right spot, but does it look like it needs to be raised? I do think that both darts need to be shortened as I said before. Oh, the other thing is that using this method, you slit right through the vertical dart, so I redrew the dart under the apex. I don't think I was supposed to sew the entire widened dart together.

So, do any of you see anything/something else that I am missing? I've already widened the sleeve by 1". I'm not sure if it's just the sleeve thats giving me trouble. Why am I not getting this? Something must be counter intuitive (at least to me) here, because like Heidi, this seems to have been my nemesis for quite some time.

Thanks for all of your help. I'm going back to the pattern pieces and seeing how well I can incorporate all of your advice. Obviously, this blouse is not going to make it on our trip. Well, maybe it could, if I didn't have to take care of all of lifes other little details that get in the way of my sewing ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fitting woes - again

At first glance (earlier this evening) I thought this muslin fit pretty well. Well, except for the left sleeve which I tried to fix and made it worse. So, I went to work on the right sleeve. I think the problem is that I am really narrow in the upper back and from armpit to armpit, but nowhere else. I started this pattern with a size 10 and did a FBA using the FFRP method. Without sleeves, it looked like it fit perfectly, but I thought it might be a little wide in the shoulders. I sewed on the left sleeve to see how it fit, and it was cutting me off in the front. I tried making the armhole bigger, which would move it in narrower in the front, but that just made the sleeve tighter.

On the right sleeve, it seems to fit OK, but you can see some wrinkles radiating out from the armscye. I am also noticing that I would like more ease across the bust in this blouse, but it is already loose enough in the back. I have already added 1.5" in width to the front using the FFRP FBA method. In the shoulder seam at the armscye, I have narrowed it by 1/2" front and back. I also added 1" in width to the sleeve.

This makes the sleeve fit better, but as soon as I move my arm, it is way too tight. I'm not sure if the sleeve is too small, or if the front of the blouse is too wide and therefore cutting off at the arm.

I could cut a 12 and do the same FBA, but then I will need to take in an additional 1/2" at the shoulder seam. Also, my front would be a 12 and the back would be a 10 - I'm guessing I would need to use the 12 sleeve and still add to the width of it, but how much?

I think my other option would be to just add more at the side seams to make the front bigger below the arms, but not above it. But I still have the same sleeve problem. Do I keep working on this one, or try a different pattern?

I REALLY need a good TNT blouse pattern that fits.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Paper Piecing

Yesterday was my first adventure with paper piecing. Basically, you have a piece of paper with a pattern on it. You lay your fabric behind the pattern and sew in the line. Next, you flip the fabric away, and sew on the next and next until you have a finished block. I've made a little tutorial to help myself remember how to do this, because I'm sure in one month from now I'll be saying, "How did we do that again?"

It was nice to get away for a few days, although it's a long drive to New Port Beach. The resort was HUGE - over 700 villas. Lots of pros and cons. everything was very nice, but no matter what you did, you had a ways to walk. Even the clubhouse was a bit of a walk, and we were in the closest set of villas. Also, there was no restaurant on site, so you either had to drive somewhere or order in. There were 4 swimming pools and 2 jacuzzi spas and an onsite dayspa. We did spend one afternoon at the pool, but I never went in. It was a little overcast most of the time we were there, but still enough that I did get sunburned on my chest.

Our villa had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining room, living room and balcony with a table and chairs. I had a picture of the livingroom, but my husband is sitting there in his underwear, so he probably doesn't want me to share that shot!

On Saturday, Andy and I took the shuttle to Crystal Cove beach and walked around there for a couple of hours. They have a little bar and cafe there, so we ate lunch as well. They have some really cute cottages right on the beach that they rent out, so we may look into that for a future trip. We walked back up (and I do mean UP) to the resort, so that was quite a trek.

Shopping in NewPort Beach is incredible. They have one large mall called Fashion Island. I don't know how many shops there are, but they have Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Macys, Juicy Couture, Giorgiou (can't remember how to spell that), and probably hundreds of others. The only place I bought anything at was J.Jill, and I just picked up a couple of tops and a pair of shorts and casual pants for summer. My feet were giving me problems all weekend, so I didn't want to get any shoes - good thing!! I also found a couple of cute sweaters at Banana Republic in Laguna Beach, but ended up getting them because they didn't have the colors I wanted in my size.

I did get a little sewing done besides the quilt, and I do mean LITTLE. My friend Lindsay had a baby yesterday, so I made her a blanket.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quilts are not just "whipped up" in a day

Unless, of course, you are Eleanor Burns. Monday was my quilting class and I really liked it. There were about 6-8 of us in the class. It was amazing that almost everyone there was either a teacher on vacation, or retired school employee! It must be the mathematical appeal of the quilt. It took me all day to finish 4 of the log cabin blocks and 4 of the fence rail blocks.

The quilt we are making is kind of like a sampler, which is cool, because I will be learning a lot of techniques this way. I am still pretty bummed that I am missing three out of the six classes.

Andy and I are leaving tomorrow morning to go to Newport Beach for a few days. We have never been there before, so we are looking forward to having a few days away in a new place. Of course, here I am blogging instead of packing. I wonder when I will get that done??

And, speaking of getting things done, my next project is to tackle my sewing room. This will take days I am sure! (I am posting these pictures in the hope that it will shame me into cleaning up this mess!)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

This Wasn't on the Agenda...

Yesterday I was looking for the brown fabric that I wanted to make my shorts out of. I have been looking for this for 2 days, and although I had it in my hand when I started my jacket, I can't figure out where I put it!! Well, in my search for the brown fabric, (2 different pieces, actually. How do you lose 2 pieces of fabric?) I ran across this top all cut out with the lace and buttons already in a baggie. I was having a really depressing day and needed some sewing therapy, so I got started on this. I love it when everything is already cut out with all the notions - kind of like a "kit"
I am not happy with the button holes in this blouse, in fact, I had to rip out and resew 3 of them! The sad thing is that the buttonholes were perfect, but I just could not get them in the right place to save my life. I guess I was not thinking straight, because I usually have not problem with the placement away from the edge, but these are just too far - even though I did several of them over. I do like the pintucks, though.

I used a 2.0 twin needle and a pintuck foot. I don't know that I needed the pintuck foot, because these are spaced far enough apart that I could not use the guides on the bottom of the foot anyway. I tightened the upper tension and stitched down the lines I had drawn with erasable pen. I then pressed them slightly to the outside.

Tomorrow I start my quilting class. I am so excited. Unfortunately, it is a six week class, and I am going to miss three of them. Our vacation is planned from a Monday to Monday and my class is on Mondays. Then, the other day, I found out that I have an all day medical proceedure scheduled for the Monday after that. I'm bummed that I'm going to miss 3 classes in a row. So, I'll make the first two and the last. I'm hoping they will let me come in during another scheduled class (if there is one by the same instructor) to make up some of the time. I'm not sure how many of these fabrics I'll use, but these are what I'm choosing from. I definitely want the main color to be red.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Boy lip syncs to Billie Jean

Yeah - he's one of my students! Shy, quiet, and amazes me every time he gets on stage. This kid is 10 years old.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No Muu-muus!

Yes, I'm going to Maui - NO I do NOT want to look like I'm wearing a muu-muu. Right now, that's about what this dress looks like to me. I think the big thing is that I did not put the vertical darts in the front (after all, the pattern did not call for them) but OMG! Want to gain 20 pounds fast? Wear this dress and you will look like you have! I'm hoping the vertical darts will fix that problem, after all, the last one looked good, right? I am loving this fabric, though. It is soft and the crinkle kind of gives it a knit-like quality. Which, taking that into consideration, maybe I should have taken some ease out of the pattern. Well, if the darts don't do the trick, I can always take it in a little in the side seams at the waist as well.

I used prepackaged binding to bind the neck, but it is too stiff. The problem with premade bias strips, is that they are usually made from a poly cotton blend. The polyester makes them stiff, in my opinion. I decided to use silk organza to bind the armholes, but the problem with that is that while it is less stiff, it is also scratchy. I'm hoping with a couple of washings, they will soften up.

I did the hem with my serger using wooly nylon in the upper looper and setting it for a rolled hem. I did increase the stitch length slightly from what I usually use on a rolled hem, because I wanted to be able to crinkle it again. I basically just crinkled it in my hand and steamed it and squished it a few times. I like the way it turned out.

Well, I go back to work tomorrow. I wanted to see my students on the last day of school. Tomorrow is a teacher work day, which I would have to do anyway, so I might as well get paid for going. Of course, since I'll be at work the next two days, major issues have come up with my father and I really need to be with him. Fortunately, my brother will be able to spend some extra time there the next two days, and we had a big conference today with the hospice nurse, social worker, facility owner, my brother and myself. I was pleased with the plan we came up with at the end of the meeting - too bad it took that many people and 2 hours of meeting to come up with a good plan. Now I won't be there when the plan is implemented, but I will definitely be going after work to see how he's doing. I don't see this getting any easier in the next few weeks (months?), but the main thing is that he is in the right place and we are there for him.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

S4082 Finished

and I would have finished much earlier had I not mismarked my hem line and therefore sewn the pockets on the wrong place, which, of course, I had to rip out and re sew. I can't remember if I've ever made anything where I didn't have to rip out something!

Any way it's finished - well, almost. I just slid in some shoulder pads for the pix, but need to pick up some black covered raglan pads. But, other than that, it is finished.

Next up, the pink and brown dress, and then shorts.