Thursday, January 31, 2013

This post is for my sister

...who is engaged! So of course now we're thinking about wedding dresses.

Teresa wants a wide flared skirt so it can twirl when she spins. She also is hoping for a dress that she can wear again after the wedding, if she shortens the skirt and dyes it. And lastly, she wants more coverage up top than most RTW dresses offer nowadays--either wide straps or sleeves.

Given how low I think the chances are of finding this, I'm thinking it sounds like something best to be sewn. So I'm turning to you for help. Does anyone know a pattern that fits all these characteristics? The easier the better, since Teresa would probably have to do a lot of the sewing herself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fearless February!

Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing
I'm joining Fearless February over at Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing! Here's my challenge to myself:

In the month of February, I will learn to sew buttonholes by hand. I will make as many as possible in order to improve my speed and my technique.

Anyone else want to join?

Monday, January 21, 2013


As some of you may know, I've been having joint pain issues for years now. Today, I finally made it to a doctor who would listen to me, and I have a diagnosis. Actually, two. I have the beginning of osteoarthritis in my hands and misaligned kneecaps.

I'm relieved. I had been thinking this was worse, because something that caused pain in so much of my body must be bad. It never really occurred to me that I might have two different problems! I have a nice conservative doctor who doesn't want to rush to medicine, and so I am under the following instructions: "Don't worry. Live your life. But come back in six months so I can check on you, ok?" He wants me to strengthen the muscles around my knees, which I will do, and other than that, not to take any serious steps. When I get back from overseas, we'll reevaluate.

Where does this leave my sewing? I don't really know. But he said not to worry, and he knows I sew, so I will continue to live my life, sewing and all, and we will see where that leads me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Anonymous comments

have been disabled. Blogger's spam filter isn't blocking most of the spam any more, and I get a ridiculous amount of it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mending is sewing, right?

Well, probably not this mending! My grandfather is visiting us for Christmas break and he brought me a few mending projects to do. He tried to cut a change pocket out of the pocket of a tweed jacket and chopped a hole in the pocket lining. Also, he tried to get my 13 year old brother to cut through the stitching stitching the back pocket of his pants closed and my (well-meaning but sewingly moronic) brother chopped a slit in the pants pocket instead.

Mending tape to the rescue! It's nice to be able to do such a useful repair with so little trouble. And now I have a reputation as a sewing magician because I fixed them so fast. Haha.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Working on a running skirt

 I'm am trying something new this year. I'm trying to sew myself a running skirt! This is new for me because I don't have a lot of experience working with knits at all, and a really unstable lycra knit is a whole new ball game for me. I'm using Jalie 2796, which has the benefit of having a million sizes, but the disadvantage of having them all on one piece of paper, which is larger than the floor of my room.
 I used my new Sharpies that I got for my birthday to trace the pattern pieces.
 This is the fabric I'm using. I actually don't know what it's made of, because I got it at the sewing blogger fabric swap, but that's ok. I'm using it for a muslin, which I suspect won't fit me very well anyway.
 I couldn't figure out an efficient way to lay out these pattern pieces. This is the best I came up with, but since the fabric was free I wasn't so terribly worried. I have some ideas of what to do with the scraps, which I'll probably experiment with later.
This is the pattern for the shorts that go underneath the skirt. Cut two, sew them together. Whoever came up with this one must have some serious 3d to 2d skills. I still haven't really figured out which edges turn into what...and I've sewed it together! Haha.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Success of a non-textile kind

Yesterday, my father and I spent the day at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We had a great day and saw about 30 species of birds, some of which we'd never seen before! Here are a few pictures that I took.
This is the sign you see at the beginning of Wildlife Drive. Apparently they have Delmarva Fox Squirrels, although sadly we didn't see any.
There were so many Tundra swans and Snow geese there. When you got out of the car, you could hear their wings from several hundred feet away.
I have no idea what this is. Ideas?
There were lots of Bald Eagles flying around. We saw one on probably six or eight occasions.
J had begged me to bring back a picture of an eagle "in the wild" and luckily for her, I managed to bring back some adequate ones. (My new camera has a very nice zoom!)
Freedom! Democracy! All that jazz!
And this snake, whatever it is. Anyone a snake guru?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Final shelf

Here, in all its glory, is my finished shelf.
I tried to do an up and down version of a panoramic photo for you. It sort of worked. Just let your eyes go out of focus when you see the transitions, ok?

I am really pleased with how this worked out. I'm going to make a real label for every box. Then I'll work on organizing all my non-sewing stuff, and on moving my sewing machines back upstairs.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Major Reorganization

A few days ago, I just got so frustrated with the major mess that is my bedroom. No, I refuse to show before pictures. Let's just say it was bad.

I sorted almost everything out. It was then that I realized that the current space I had for sewing stuff was simply inadequate. I had this:
On the other side of the room, where I had heaped all my sewing stuff I had found while tidying that didn't fit into the shelves or the drawers, I had this:
So much stuff that didn't fit. I knew it was hopeless, so I went to my mother's pile of extra storage boxes (I didn't know she had one, but apparently she does!) and pulled out a bunch of boxes. Then I set myself to the daunting task of sorting that enormous pile of stuff out and deciding what to keep, what to toss, and how to sort out the stuff I was keeping.

Of course, once you spread a giant pile like this out, it looks horrible. Especially since I hadn't vaccumed! But here are the results of my labor:

I am super pleased to say that I got everything sorted into boxes and stored on that shelf you can see in the background of the 3rd picture. But I think there are enough pictures in this post already, so for the final finished project you'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Major facepalm

Well, I have been on a massive organizing kick recently. I did post something a while back about how I had purged my patterns and fabric, but I didn't really do anything else. I've spent the last few days getting my sewing stuff really in order, and so far it's working very well. I have a whole shelf devoted to my stuff now, rather than a few boxes. But I think I screwed something up.

I think I gave away the wrong box of patterns.

Fail. I'm still not sure how I managed to do that without noticing, but I know I wouldn't have kept some of the patterns in my pattern box, so I can only assume I got out the wrong box when I was giving patterns away. Luckily, my favorite patterns weren't in the box I got rid of, but I'm still pretty frustrated.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sewing meetup haul

Wow, I totally forgot to post about what I got at the sewing blogger meetup! Fail. Here it is:

8 patterns, an older edition of the Vogue Sewing book, and three fabrics. The one on the far left I bought from G Street Fabrics.

The baby fabric is for various random baby projects. I didn't really have a plan for it, it was just cute. The other two fabrics are stretch fabrics and I am going to use them to sew up the running skirt from Jalie 2796. I think it will require a fair amount of alteration, but it's the only running skirt pattern I could find. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 wrapup?

I don't know. I don't really have the energy to post a complete wrap up with beautiful pictures and deep thoughts. I'm on antibiotics now, so perhaps that will change in a few days, but just in case it doesn't, here are my scattered thoughts.

*I have no idea what 2013 will bring in terms of sewing. In about one month, I'll be leaving the country (eeek!!) and spending 6 months abroad without my sewing machine. I don't know what will happen to this blog. I do hope to continue on with some handsewing, so maybe that will take over. At any rate, expect my posts to be far less frequent.

*I have now reached a point where my standards are higher than my skills can get me to. Mostly, I need fitting skills. I would love to make myself a form that is actually shaped like me, so I could try to fit myself better.

*Maybe I should do more alteration of RTW clothes? I'm a little torn on that.

*I'm making fairly good progress on my capsule wardrobe for Germany. I just bit the bullet and bought a new coat. It's a 3-in-1 coat, so it will be fleecy, winter coat, and rain coat all in one. It's bright pink, which I am very pleased about. It's made by LL Bean, so if it doesn't last the whole time I can send it back. It will probably last for ever. Nevertheless, it cost $100 on sale. I know that's a good price for the use I will get out of it, but ouch.

*Oooh, I know. I should make hundreds of hand buttonholes in Germany! I can be a hand buttonhole master. Maybe practice other hand techniques too. What are other things done by hand? Zippers, I know.

Ok, I think I'm done introspecting, so here's a pretty picture that also works as a signoff!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No sewing

Happy New Year! In my house, we are celebrating the New Year, and the Redskins' victory in the NFC East, through a fog of prescriptions. We seem to be getting better, and then someone else goes down. It's pretty tragic. Needless to say, there has been no sewing. I do hope, though, to show off the results of my Christmas present from my grandparents soon.