Saturday, May 29, 2010

How irritating

Well, I got Teresa to try on the wearable muslin I made for the J2908 jeans. Sadly, they're a little bit too tight for her, so it won't be quite as easy as I had hoped to whip up two pairs of jeans for her. That's okay, though, because I really do want them to fit right.

In non-sewing related news, our garden is coming along nicely. We have peppers, tomatoes, basil, oregano, Swiss chard, beets, mint, lavender, thyme, sage, a few leeks, and I think there's something else, but I forget what. Also, Teresa and I have been granted permission to take the canoe out alone on the Patuxent River. Also, I am officially a high school graduate. In other words, although I haven't been sewing much, life around here is good.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm just not feeling it

Sorry guys. I know I've been falling down on the sewing and blogging front. I'm exhausted, my next sewing step is hemming pants (shudder) and quite frankly, my current sewing project isn't that interesting. I've been working on the Jalie 2908 jeans pattern. There are rave reviews of this pattern all over the blogosphere, but honestly, I'm not feeling it. After sewing up my wearable muslin, I had to alter essentially everything except the legs. I altered the crotch seam and the waistband. My last pair of pants, one from Burda Young Style, didn't need nearly that much alteration. In fact, I made them before I learned to alter, and all I did was put some buttonhole elastic in the waistband. The hips fit fine. I am extremely tempted to frankenpattern the Jalie legs (which have a much nicer shape) onto the Burda hips and waist. Of course, this will take a little bit more alteration, because the Jalie jeans call for a stretch denim and the Burda doesn't, but I think it's probably less effort overall.

I feel like the Jalie pattern is just a little bit big around the hips and it might fit if I could make it a size smaller, but there's a pretty large gap between the R (which I cut out) and the Q. The difference in the hip measurement is around 2.5 inches, I think. That would be too small, I think.

Have any of my readers ever sewn pants? Got any tips to pass on? My first pair of pants worked so well, but my second was a total disaster, and now this third pair isn't working very well either. Why do I always run into problems when I try to branch out? *sigh*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'll take that as a compliment...

Yesterday, we had door to door salesmen come and try to sell us "high-quality, extremely cheap" meat, which was still far far more expensive than what we usually buy. TH wanted to know, once they had gone, why we didn't buy the meat, if it would normally cost $250 and they were selling it for $140. I used the analogy of clothing stores--a pair of jeans which is on sale at J. Crew, for example, is still way way more expensive than a pair of jeans at Kohl's, and if you can only afford clothes from Kohl's, it doesn't make sense to buy the "cheap" jeans from J. Crew. I then added that I actually did have one pair of pants from J. Crew, but that I'd gotten them from a thrift store. He asked, "Oh, are those the ones you're wearing?"

I was actually wearing a pair of jeans I made myself. Now, I can't *really* take it as a compliment, since the kid's never been in J. Crew, or any other high end store, and knows nothing about fashion. ("Oh, come on, this is church appropriate--the hole is really small!") But hey, I've never had anything I've made compared to anything as expensive as J. Crew, so I'll go with it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I've joined Sew Retro

Those of you who read Sew Retro, look for posts by me! I've joined their list of contributing members. My introductory post is here. If you don't read Sew Retro, I would recommend that you start now. This is a fantastic blog. Anyone can post, as little or as often as they like--it just has to be about retro sewing. Some people (like me) are occasional dabblers in vintage patterns, and others are astoundingly talented seamstresses who wear vintage fashion on a day-to-day basis.

In my own sewing related news, I haven't been sewing much lately. I am in the last week of school, with only one essay left, but I have some videos (history lecture videos, not just for fun videos) to catch up on. And while I am not terribly weak, I do draw the line at dragging my sewing table downstairs to the study every day and then back upstairs again. So instead of sewing, I've been working on an embroidery kit I was given for my 12th birthday or something which I *cough*stillhaven'tfinished*cough*.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finished dress photos!

So, here are the photos of the finished dress on me. Photos are courtesy of my little sister H. Please excuse the background--our back yard is primarily functional, and as such, I had a choice between the basketball hoop, the trampoline, the vegetable garden, the compost heap, or the chainlink fence and the neighbor's yard.

First of all, a full length shot:


Next photo shows the slight fitting issue that I didn't notice until it was too late: the bodice front is slightly too wide, and it wrinkles and gaps a little bit if I don't stand perfectly straight:

You can also see the tiny pucker in the front of the skirt, but that was just a little tuck I accidentally sewed in there and didn't fix--it's hardly noticeable in real life, due to the busy print.

I'm very glad I underlined the skirt. I really did it for modesty reasons, but I love the slight stiffness the skirt has. It doesn't spin terribly well, since it's not very full, but H did manage to get a pretty good spin photo, which I will post because of my obsession with spinning photos.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm done!

Well, my goodness. Hand picking zippers is a pain in the rear! New Look 6699 has turned out beautifully, though. I haven't got any pictures, as I only finished it recently, but it really looks just the same as it does in this post. I am really looking forward to bringing this dress on vacation this year, since seersucker travels pretty well. I'm especially looking forward to wearing it at Princeton. I think it will fit in nicely with the gorgeous buildings there.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Look 6699

I'm almost done! I have half the hem and the zipper to do. I decided to hand-pick the zipper, as I have trouble with invisible zippers. I think my zipper foot is a bit too wide--it does say on the instructions that you need their special zipper foot for a proper zipper installation.

This dress is quite fitted, and it's making me realize how pathetic my dress maker's dummy is. It's wider than I am in the shoulders and bust, which is where I have most of my fitting issues. Plus it doesn't have a stand, so I have to awkwardly prop it against the wall, which is bad for taking photos of things with skirts. (Case in point: photo to the left.) However, I don't know that getting a replacement is practical either. I figured out today that my shoulders are different heights. Getting a dummy that reflected that would mean getting a custom made one, which is far out of my budget. I've been toying with the idea of making a duct tape dummy, but I'm not convinced I could do a good job of that.

I didn't alter this pattern much at all. I cut my usual mish mash of an 8 at the bust, a 10 at the waist, and a 12 at the hips. I took a little width out of the upper back while installing the zipper to make the fit tighter, but I think I may have deviated from the pattern to do that--the pattern envelope calls for three inches of ease, which I thought didn't look so nice with this style.

The bodice of this dress is interestingly constructed. There aren't any bust darts or anything like that, just the gathers you can see in the photo on the right. This works quite well for someone like me, but I think someone with a fuller bust than I might have an issue with the pattern as drafted. I'm quite sure this isn't drafted for the standard B cup, anyway.

Also, just because it's funny, I'm showing you a picture that shows how slanted the neck of this dress is on my dummy. I find it highly amusing that I never noticed how off my shoulders were from each other before. Sewing has taught me so much about how incredibly oddly shaped I am!

I think this dress is just bordering on the too childish. I think the print combined with the ruffles is pushing the envelope a bit. While I don't have a problem with "childish" clothing, being an 18 year old who regularly gets pegged as being somewhere between the ages of 12 and 15 has its disadvantages, so I try to stay away from outfits that make me look even younger than I am. The skirt (which you can't see properly in any of the photos) is a nice classic A-line which rescues the dress from being all together childish, though. On the whole, I'm very pleased with this dress, and barring any disasters in the zipper and the hem, I'm pretty sure this will become a wardrobe staple.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick update

It's late, and I'm tired, so today's update will be quick.

I am still working on NL 6699, and it's coming along nicely. So far I've found a slight error in the pattern--there are instructions for putting a slit in the back of the M skirt, but the necessary marking aren't on the pattern piece and the line drawings don't show a slit. So I skipped it. It's easier without it anyway.

I am racking my brains right now to come up with some hand sewing projects, since I will be out of town a lot this summer. (Habitat trip, philosophy camp, two family vacations, and a trip to drop my sister off at college. Yikes!) I can't think of one that will take a long time and still be compact, though, so I may just bring some embroidery. Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here are some pictures!

I found my camera! I have a real problem with losing things. Today alone I had to look for my math book, my gardening gloves, and my camera. I have no idea what I will do next year, when I have no family around to tell me that my gloves are in the closet with the work gloves (which is odd, because I could have sworn I left them in my bedroom!) and the camera is in the cabinet in the kitchen. My math book still hasn't turned up.

Anyway, here are some fabric pictures. This green and purple and blue flowered seersucker will become New Look 6699. Technically, it is already in the process of becoming NL 6699. For some reason, my camera utterly failed to pick up the seersucker texture, but it really is seersucker. I have slightly under a yard left of this, and barring another problem which requires a pattern piece replacement, I'm thinking it would make a cute top for my six year old sister J.

This green flowered fabric is going to be a coat for Teresa. In reality, the green is slightly brighter than shows up in the photo (at least on my monitor) but it's pretty close. This is going to be lined with dark green silk from my stash. However, since Teresa will be at Notre Dame in the fall, I want to make this wind proof. I am going to buy some windbreaker fabric and underline the coat with it, but I haven't yet gotten around to figuring out what kind to order.


This denim comes from Lura's Fabric Shop. I ordered from this store at the recommendation of the Selfish Seamstress. I had no problems with my order, and I, too, recommend them. I will warn you that shipping and handling charges are a flat rate of $11 or so, which is pretty high if you're not ordering much fabric. However, their prices are quite cheap even with the shipping factored in! I got three yards of the denim on the right for about $32 including shipping! Not bad, not bad at all. My picture makes the denim look a little bit more gray than it is in real life. It's a very dark blue. This denim will become two pairs of jeans for Teresa. I like the idea of topstitching one of the pairs with rainbow thread, but I haven't yet dared to bring this idea up to Teresa. I'm pretty sure she'll think it's silly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Photo-less sewing update

Apologies for the lack of pictures in the last few posts. I would love to give you a good excuse, preferably one involving saving someone from drowning and thereby ruining my camera or something equally impressive, but the truth is that I don't really know where my camera is. So that's why I have no pictures.

On Saturday, I spent an impressive amount of time sewing. I got nearly all of a pair of Jalie 2908 jeans done. Mine aren't really jeans, they're made out of black stretch poplin, but whatever. Everything is done except the buttonhole and the hem. I am waiting on the buttonhole, because I am working on figuring out how to do a bound buttonhole. My regular buttonholes look extremely bad, and my machine doesn't do buttonholes, sadly.

Today, I worked on Simplicity 6699. I would have made more progress, but to my great distress, I decided I wanted to raise the neckline more than I already had. I wound up making it three inches higher! Today's patterns. *sigh* I think that part of the problem is that my shoulders are very narrow, but I also think the pattern neckline is lower than it looked on the envelope. I'm making this dress out of a white seersucker with purple and green and blue flowers on it. I think it will be perfect for summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When I am queen

...we will have some extra laws around here. Here are some of the rules I will institute:

1. A maximum of one essay on a topic I know nothing about per week.

2. Small siblings with a desire to sprinkle glitter on things will a. sprinkle their own glitter, not their older sister's and b. sprinkle it on their own stuff, not their older sister's sewing table.

3. Aforementioned siblings will not take the caps off bottles of Fray-Check, knock them over, and leave them there, dripping onto fabric. Bonus points to children who don't lose the cap of the Fray-Check.

4. Uncooked rice will no longer be used as confetti or any other type of toy. Or if it absolutely must be, it will be swept up, not left all over the living room.

5. Electronics will not die in the midst of a lecture you are listening to for school. Electronics that do run out of batteries will allow themselves to be charged, especially if they are less than six months old.


These rules probably explain why I have not done any sewing at all today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I feel like a ditz

Today I decided to cut out the pattern pieces for New Look 6699. I have waay more fabric than I need, due to the fact that this is a mix and match pattern. Also, when I bought the fabric, there was an extra 8 inches on the bolt, and the lady at the cutting counter asked me if I wanted the end of the bolt for half off. I said sure, figuring it was such lovely fabric I could think of something to do with it. Much to my surprise, this turned out to be a frugal decision--since I bought the end of the bolt, it was all 50% off! And it was already 50% off, since it was on sale. So I got over 3 yards of fabric for about $6.50. Good deal? I think so.

Anyway, I laid out all my pieces and pinned them, only to discover I couldn't find my sewing scissors. I lost the pair that is technically mine a few days ago, so I borrowed my mother's. [If I were my mother, I would not lend things to me.] Somehow, though, I managed to lose those too. I used them Friday night! Where could they have gone in a weekend?! I also don't understand how I lost my own pair in the first place. My room is so small, there's not much place it could have gone. I'm currently cutting out my dress with pinking shears, which has the advantage that I won't have to finish any seams. The disadvantage, of course, is that these shears are old and stiff, and cutting with them makes my hands hurt.

I think this may be a sign from Heaven that it's time to clean my room. Too bad I have gardening, sewing, Bible study, baking, and a possible shopping trip to do today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'm getting bored--prom dress photo!

Okay, so I was originally going to wait for a few more prom photos, but I got bored waiting for them. So I'm posting the one photo I have, and will just make a new post if/when the others show up.

I think that this prom dress worked out quite well. Quite honestly, when my friend A described the dress she wanted, I thought a white dress with a blue sash would look weird. I'm very glad I trusted her judgment, because it turned out looking beautiful!

What we did was I did a lot of the sewing, but whenever A had time, she would come over to my house and do the sewing herself. I think this worked out well--it took a lot of the pressure off her, since she didn't really have time to sew the whole thing herself. But it also is much more fun for her than just having me make it for her. Besides, I enjoyed sewing the dress together with her more than I would have enjoyed sewing it by myself. (Although, honestly, I think there are few conditions under which I wouldn't absolutely love sewing something that uses 15 yards of tulle for the skirt!)

I reviewed the pattern itself, Simplicity 3878, here. The basics of the review: I thought it was a lovely style. I think that there was way too much ease in the pattern, though. We made a muslin of the bodice, and altered the pattern pieces to make the bodice tighter. However, I also felt like the amount of ease in the dress kept growing--every time we tried it on, we had to take a little more out! It worked out very well in the end, though. I folded over the extra fabric, rather than cutting it off. If A wants to lend her dress to someone bigger than she is, the dress can be enlarged by taking out the lining and zipper and taking advantage of that extra fabric. (I don't think that was well explained at all. Does that make sense?)
We didn't quite follow the pattern--we shortened the skirt and left off all the ribbons, beads, and trims Simplicity wanted us to sew onto the sash.

I went over to A's house the afternoon before prom, so I got to see her in dress and make-up and shoes and everything. She looked beautiful! A took the extra fabric from her sash and sewed her date's tie and handkerchief herself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pattern giveaway

No, no, not me! I would never give away one of my patterns! They're like my children. Really. Okay, not really. But close.

There is a pattern giveaway hosted at Kusine.com! Jessica is giving away a reprint of a retro Butterick shirt pattern from 1943. I've entered--are you interested? Hop on over and leave her a comment!

Good luck! (But not really--I want to win. I've never won a blog giveaway. :P)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back to the drawing board...

...but only sort of. Yesterday when I was working on my Simplicity 8884 dress, I realized that there was a little hole in one of my pieces. I also noticed that the fabric shed (shedded? shud? :P) like crazy--there was a fine black dust all over my sewing table and all over my hands. I brought the fabric down to ask my mother if she thought it would keep shedding. She noticed something I hadn't, namely that the fabric was quite weak. It didn't take much at all to tear it. So I've decided that with the shedding and the weakness of the fabric (which is probably due to old age), I'm going to scrap the black version.

Teresa and I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics today. I've been planning to make McCall's 5525 for Teresa, so we bought fabric for that--a lovely green linen/rayon blend. I am going to line it with silk from my stash. What we haven't yet decided is whether or not to add a layer of windbreaker fabric. When Teresa visited Notre Dame, it was extremely windy, but we're not sure how representative that is. For the Simplicity 8884, I bought a dark blue lawn with flowers on it. I also bought some green, blue, and purple seersucker for another dress, New Look 6699 (pdf file). I also bought ten yards of tru-grid, as I was running out. The Jalie 2908 jeans are next on my to-do list, and I want to trace the pattern pieces on tru-grid, as I can easily see myself using several different sizes to make jeans for several different family members.

I hope to have pictures up tomorrow, but I have to babysit shortly, followed closely by youth group, so I doubt I will have time to put any up today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NL 6807 and a test post

Apparently I can publish to this blog via email, which seems convenient. I thought I would test that out, while posting the photo of NL 6807 that Branka requested. So here goes!

Edit: Ha, it worked! Except I can't tag posts and I can't format the photos and the ad from the bottom of my email shows up along with the post. So I think I prefer the regular old way.

Weirdness....

I put my New Look 6807 top on this morning, and believe it or not, most of the wrinkles are gone! The shirt hangs up a bit in the back, but I think that's the fabric catching on my pants. Bizarre! I've never had something look so horrible on my dressform and then look normal in real life--they almost always look better on her than on me.

So that's done with. My next project is Simplicity 8884, a pattern I inherited from my grandmother. Sadly for me, not only is this pattern a bit big for me, it's also in much worse shape than the one pictured on the Vintage Pattern Wiki. Mine looks like this:

In case you were wondering, the pattern pieces are falling out the sides of the envelope--they're not underneath it. I'm not really sure what I did to this poor pattern envelope, because I'm pretty sure it didn't look like this when I got it. Oh well. Since, as I mentioned, this pattern is too big for me, I wound up altering every single pattern piece except for the sleeves. So I have a whole bunch of tru-grid pattern pieces that wouldn't have fit into the original envelope anyway. I keep them in a plastic ziploc bag, along with the instructions, the pattern shred-velope, and the real pattern pieces.

I'm making this with the short sleeves of view 2, but I'm lengthening it. I'm not yet sure where I'm going to hem it. I'm sewing it out of a black cotton, which I also inherited from my great-grandmother. I'm not totally sold on the combination of the fabric and the pattern. The fabric seems a little stiff and I'm worried it will look weird. But we'll see. If worst comes to worst, I'll call it a second muslin. ;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Various random notes

This post will be a bit of a mish-mash. First, we'll start off with a photo of my sewing table:
Not too messy, but not that great either. Sorry the photo is a little blurry. The camera batteries were dying, so I couldn't take another photo. (You'll notice that dead camera batteries will be a nearly omni-present theme in posts with photos. My camera uses batteries extremely quickly and the rechargeable batteries we have are nearing the end of their lives and hold very little charge anyway. Sorry about that.)

Now, on to today's finished object, a pair of pajamas for B's doll Manny, made to match his. These pajamas were a mess and a half. The rise wound up far too small and the waist far too big, so I did some last-minute changes in the form of an added waistband, a good two inches taken out of the back seam, and some shirring to make everything a bit tighter. It looks pretty silly up close, but the shirt covers it up. And anyway, people, this is a pair of pajamas. For a doll. Let's keep this in perspective.

The other thing I worked on today was the shirt I "finished" yesterday, New Look 6807. I mentioned already how I'm not happy with the neckline. Although I raised it at least an inch, it's still awfully low for my comfort. I was originally going to rip out the neck band and add more gathers to the front to make the neckline smaller, but I decided to add a pleat to the center front instead. This kind of negates the gathers, but it saves a tremendous amount of time. It doesn't look that bad, either:
(As a matter of fact, the photo actually makes the pleat look a lot more bumpy and weird than it does in real life.)

So far, so good, right? Only sort of. I also mentioned there were some weird wrinkles in the back. I had cherished hopes that this was just an odd symptoms of the neck bagginess and that pleating the neckline would do away with this problem. No such luck--they got much worse, and now the back of the shirt is extremely wrinkly and bizarre looking. It's hard to describe, so I'll just put up a photo:
Is that not weird looking? I've never seen anything like it, even in RTW clothes, which almost never fit properly. My original thought was that the shirt needed a swayback adjustment, but now I'm not so sure. There seem to be an awful lot of wrinkles for that. The back of the shirt also gaps out a bit at the neck.

What I can't decide is how this shirt would actually wear. My dressmaker's dummy is covered with some sort of cloth which makes her anything but slippery, so fabric often hangs differently on her than it does on me. Her shoulders are also a little wider than mine. Perhaps the thing to do is to put on the shirt and wear it for a few hours and see if the wrinkles are less noticeable or something. To do that, though, I think I'll have to wait a few days, as it's currently about 55 degrees and rainy.

In the meantime, I'll do some internet research and see if I can find a way to fix this problem. This is definetely the most interesting fitting challenge I've met so far--all my other problems have generally been a matter of taking in shoulders or bust seams.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I think I know why sewing blogs die...

...I think it's the photos. I have a post on the prom dress all written up, but I'm waiting for photos. I have a top I finished today, but when I went to photograph it, I discovered my camera batteries were dead. For now, though, I'll tell you that the shirt is New Look 6807 and I'm not very happy with it. I love the fabric, which is a green and brown flowered knit from Fabric.com, but the neck is too wide and low for my taste, even though I raised it a good inch. There's also something very screwy with the lower back. I'd almost say it needed a sway back adjustment, but I've never needed one before. Can that happen, that one particular pattern will need a swayback adjustment? (People who were actually taught any of this, help me out!)

I'm not sure at this point if the shirt is salvageable. I think the back can just look weird and I can live with that, but I think I either need to find a way to raise the neckline or wear something underneath it. It's not that bad objectively, but I don't really feel comfortable wearing it myself. Maybe I'll find a friend to give it to or something, if I still feel this way after some tweaking.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Me-Made May, day 9

Well, technically I should be wearing something I made myself, as it is still May. However, I'm not. We are going to a Confirmation for a beloved cousin today. I have some dresses I made that I could wear, but they are fancier than what is normally worn at my cousin's church. My original plan had been to finish the top I spent yesterday working on and wear that with a black skirt, but I didn't get time to finish it, due to an intensely time-consuming shopping trip. (I went shoe-shopping and mother's day present shopping in the same trip. Success on both counts, but still. *shudder*) So I am wearing my brown shirtdress from Kohl's, along with one of the pairs of shoes I bought. Hopefully when I get home I can change into something I made.

On another note, prom was Friday. I went over to my friend's house to see her in her dress. She looked lovely. Hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday I'll post a couple of pictures and my pattern review.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some pattern lust for all to enjoy

I was feeling a little down yesterday afternoon, so I thought I would cheer myself up by looking at some lovely dress patterns. I am always on the lookout for a pattern to recreate a lovely shirt dress I got on clearance from Kohl's a while back. I found one that isn't perfect, but works fairly well, namely Butterick 5315:
The actual dress I own has buttons all the way down and a slightly narrower skirt, but this is definitely the closest I've seen yet.

While I was searching, I found a whole bunch of other patterns I like. While I certainly don't need any more patterns of any type at all, I saved some of my favorites, and I thought I'd post some of them here. That way, if you find one at a yard sale, you can buy it and mail it to me. Just kidding.

First on my favorites list is Vogue 1102: Can you say adorable? I love the bow and I love love love the full skirt. I think I would change the back, though--I'm really not comfortable with showing that much skin. I'm trying to figure out how to do that without making the bow invisible. Maybe if the dress and back were black, and then the bow and an added trim around the edge of the dress were hot pink or bright blue or purple. Or maybe make the back black tulle or organza or something sort of seethrough. I'm worried that would have the effect of fishnet stockings, though.

The next dress is Butterick 4386:
I don't actually think I would wear it, at least not in that pink, but I like the bow, and I like the contrast collar a lot.

This is Simplicity 2444: I really like the bow here. I'm starting to think I have a thing for bows. Maybe I should get or make something with a bow on it. Like one of these dresses. (Someone, please tell me I don't need more patterns, and my bank account *really* doesn't need me to have more patterns.)

Last but not least, McCall's 2607:

This is not a pattern I would actually buy, but I was happy to see it. I've got a princess seamed dress pattern that I altered to fit myself, and I've always wanted to try adding gores (or godets? I can never remember which is which) into the seams. The fact that there's a pattern with a skirt like that gives me hope. At least I think that's what going on in the skirt of the white version, and maybe the green one too. It's a bit unclear.

(I think the formatting may be slightly off here. Sorry about that. It's hard with so many pictures.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sewing for others

You know, it's very interesting. I've been seeing more and more often blog posts that are vocally against sewing for others. Maybe these people get asked more often than I do, but I've never said no to sewing something for someone else. (Well, there was the time B asked me if I thought I could sew him a night cap out of a few tiny scraps of quilting cotton, but that was different.) I've sewn doll clothes for friend's siblings, people clothes, doll clothes, and other things for my own siblings, home accessories for my mother, and even a prom dress for a friend. Some things I got paid for, some I didn't. Even the ones I got paid for didn't work out to above minimum wage, though. And you know what I realized this morning, while reading one of these how-dare-you-ask-me-to-sew-for-you posts? I don't actually care.

I enjoy drafting doll clothes.

I enjoy sewing satin.

I enjoy being useful.

I enjoy making other people happy.

If someone wants me to sew something for them, and I have neither another pressing project nor good reason to believe it will be a nightmare, then I'm happy to. If you buy the fabric and notions, I'll sew you something. I'd like even more to sew it with you. That's what we did with the prom dress--its owner and designer sewed it together with me. We had a lot of fun.

If you ask me all the time, or if you don't appear grateful, I'll probably get kind of ticked at you. If you ask me to do something impossibly difficult, I'll probably say no. Other than that, I look at sewing things for other people as a way of sharing my talents. If I had a good voice, I'd sing in a church choir. If I had extra cans of food, I'd donate them to the food bank. I don't. Instead, I have extra time and a talent (not very large, but still a bit better than most of my friends) for sewing. I'm happy to share that with them.

Besides, if I only sewed for myself, I'd run out of shelf space very very quickly!

*Please note that this isn't meant as a knock against people who don't sew for others. Some people have been burned badly. Some people have much less free time than I do, so sewing something for someone else is much more of a commitment for them. Some people look at sewing as something they do for themselves. There are a multitude of reasons why you wouldn't want to sew something for someone else. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just explaining why I'm happy to sew for other people.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Simplicity 2690


Well, I finished sewing Simplicity 2690 today. My pattern review can be found here. I made view C, which doesn't have sleeves or trim. My sizing was a mess, so I cut an 8 at the bust, a 10 at the waist, and a 12 at the hips. After sewing it, I'm thinking that the style is so loose I could have cut the 8 all the way through, but oh well.

I made a few alterations to this pattern. First of all, I made the armholes smaller. As Simplicity wanted me to sew, they'd have been huge and gaping. This was an easy fix, as the way the pattern is designed means that decreasing the armhole is a simple matter of extending the armhole seam. I also took out half an inch on each side of the bodice. This was a slapdash fix after the shirt was done except for the hem, so it doesn't look too nice. Luckily, the print hides it (mostly) and I don't think anyone will notice. The last alteration I made was that I made the elastic a little shorter than what they called for. I would have made it even shorter, but then the elastic would have made me hot. I think the elastic is going to be hot anyway, but at the length I cut it I think I can live with the heat.

The fabric I used was a rayon blend jersey knit from Fabric.com. I still have some left over, but I'm not sure what I'll make from it yet.

Apologies for the poor photo--there's too much stuff in the background, and I'm not even standing up straight, which, besides looking dumb, causes all these weird wrinkles. You can see the shirt pretty well, and I figured that's what matters.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ha! I was right!

I was right! That doesn't happen all that often around here, so I'll just bask in the glory...I was right....I was right....

Ahem. Sorry. It turns out I did have more black thread. A sister had borrowed it. So I was able to finish B's pajamas during karate class last night. (I stayed home because I was still coughing a lot.) Here are some pictures:


B doesn't pose well for photos. His face always looks weird. Oh yeah, and please ignore the mess.
He's a tiger, after all, so why not act like one?

These pajamas didn't work quite perfectly. For one thing, I have neither a stretch stitch nor a zig zag stitch on my machine. I just set a fairly long stitch length and hoped for the best. It worked pretty well, but I think the hems (which I topstitched) got a little stretched out. I also sewed the collar in backwards. Duh! Oh well, B doesn't care, and it's just pajamas, so I didn't bother ripping it out and sewing it in properly. You can also see in the first photo that the strip is off-center. It's centered in the back. This was due to a miscommunication between me and my mother. While I was laying out pattern pieces, she looked at the bottom layer of fabric and said something about lining the stripes up. I thought she said they were lined up. Turns out she actually said that I *should* line them up. Oops.

That's a pretty long list of problems, but the pajamas don't actually look that bad. Well, I think the long legs look really weird, but B specifically requested them that length.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tidy Tuesday

Wow, is it Tuesday already? I think my sewing table is looking a bit better than it was last week:I didn't clean up much at all. I've had a cold this week, so there were some tissues, which I removed, along with some bits of trash. But I didn't do any real cleaning up. (For the record, the water bottle and my cell phone actually do belong there. My sewing table doubles as a bedside table--you can see my bedsheet in the upper left hand corner.)

In the bottom left and bottom right, you can see B's pajamas, patiently waiting for their new thread. Do they sell machine thread at ACMoore?

Um, wow....

I ran out of thread this morning! I wasn't aware it was possible to run out of plain black sewing thread, but I have managed it. I thought I had a whole other spool, but I can't find it anywhere. So B's pajamas are on hold until I can get to the store. And they were so close to done, too! All that's left is one leg hem, the edge of the shirt, and the neck band. Three little seams! Ugh. Perhaps I shall try to improvise a home-made cone stand long enough to finish them, as I do have four serger cones of black thread. Or maybe I'll work on one of my many other projects....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good news, bad news

Well, today has been a bit of a mixed bag, so far anyway.

Bad: I made a minor mistake in the prom dress. It was technically extremely easy to fix, but it took a while to do anyway. It also necessitated a little more sewing with nylon thread, which I dislike.
Good: The dress is finished and looks lovely.

Bad: I have a cold and am very tired.
Good: It's not as bad as it was yesterday!

Bad: It's muggy out.
Good: It's rainy. I like the rain.

Bad: My next project is kind of boring...PJs for B.
Good: I found a slideshow of hats, which aren't boring at all!

On balance, I think today is good overall. I prefer to sew without deadlines.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not really a post....

...but I felt like sharing this cool spool of thread:

Look at the bottom of it. It's so old, it comes from West Germany! Okay, so maybe that's not *so* old, but for a spool of thread, it's pretty old! Plus it's older than I am--that makes it officially ancient. (Hee hee, just kidding!) This is one of the things I inherited from my grandmother. It came with all the other materials to make a skirt and jacket set, but it really wasn't my style, so I disassembled the materials and will use them for other projects.

Day #1 of Me-Made May

Well, so far, so good! Today was B's First Holy Communion, so we went to church. I wore my retro wrap dress which I made from a Butterick pattern. It claims to be 1952 fashion, but I am a bit skeptical that it can be pinned to one exact year.



I also made a good deal of progress on the prom dress. I have a bit of lining to attach and the hook and eye to sew. Then I'll be done!

We also have a new washing machine. In other words, it's been an all-around good day.