Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Siblings

And I, have a long history of “swapping/sharing/using” each other's things..

My first car? (Mine not my Ex'es) was my sister Geraldine's car before it was mine. But Geraldine brought it from our sister Margaret.. (who bought it new)-We've done the same with furniture, and hand bags, and so many things over the years...

What a Print!

So Sunday, —her last full day here, on her almost annual trip, (from Japan) Geraldine brought out a beautiful piece of fabric for me. It had been a gift to her. I think it was intended to be a Sarong. But it had been sewn into a wrap skirt...and un worn. Both as a sarong, and later as a wrap skirt. She been following all my sewing posts, and decided I should do something with it.

A simple kaftan
First off, I undid the hems and elastic that formed the waist band.. Next I will give it a wash and press as I continue to mull over the best use of this hand batik print fabric. It is from Noor Arfa —the print is a few years old. I am thinking about using it to make a modified kaftan—something like this—Not a overly full kaftan, just not too much shaping to the dress either..(I might tuck in a dart)—but mostly I just want to show of the beautiful print.

I want to pick up (or first, sort through my scraps!) and find a bit of navy to make shoulder and a cap sleeve—and give the sleeve and shoulders a bit of shaping, without cutting the print. Small cap sleeves will be cut in place, (not cut separately and sewn in.) I'll add underarm gussets to improve the shape and fit—These will be done in the navy, too.. I might add a whole stripe down the side in navy, too. The navy scraps (on shoulders) are bit light,  but give you a idea of my thinking (PS Geraldine--I love this idea--and if you like it too,  want the fabric back--(after I have finished construction)-Speak up now! or I will make it in my size

The sketch is sort of the idea (and so is the print pinned to the maniquin) ). Most of the rest of the fabric is the golden color you see at the edges..but there is a blue band at top and hem all the way round.
Note the notch in hem
 (visible on right side) 
Visits from my DIL (and oldest granddaughter, Beatrice) and my sister are the 2 main reasons there hasn't been much Saturday sewing. Last week, in the heat, I got a little sewing down each day—So Saturday past I got most of the yellow/grey/white vest finished. There are still some small details left to do—pressing and a few inches of hand sewing (the lining) still to do. This vest is closer to the original pattern--but--Changes include a center front zipper (vs buttons) inset pockets, and small rounded notches in the hem.  This the first time I have used these specific details--making it a unique version of this tried and true vest pattern.  

 I have a full week to finish up the grey skirt (already cut) and maybe make a yellow one too—and so  finish up the last of the sewing for the season. I really have gotten a lot done—3 dresses, 4 skirts, and 3 toppers (vests and a small jacket) a real boost to my wardrobe (and I got a lot thrown out too!, to make room for all these additions.) Plus 2 dresses for the girls--a bonus!

I'll keep myself busy in August doing some hand embroidery—Pretty pillow cases, and an embroidered patch for a jumper style dress for the fall. Some will be iron on transfer designs, one is one of my own.

As always, my plans for future sewing have grown and grown—I think I could spent every weekend of the fall (13 weekends!) and not get all the sewing I plan to do done!

For me, there will be some winter skirts, (purple and plum and grey) with a co-ordinate vest, and some denim pieces—a whole wardrobe almost! A matching skirt and top (will it be a vest or will it be a jacket?) in a denim print. A denim shirt dress, a casual denim skirt (with a fly front, and patch pockets,) and a “dressier” denim skirt. Finally at least 1 (more likely 2!) denim jumpers I already have 3 denim vests, and a sleeved vest, too, as well as 2 denim jackets (store bought), to round out the collection.  A complete "line" of denim clothing!

That's 13 pieces on my to do list—a full seasons worth of sewing–and it presumes I will finish each piece in a week! Which is possible, but not always how things work.


Meanwhile, I am keeping a eye out for some emerald green pin stripe corduroy—my granddaughter, Ms C has fallen in love with “the Corduroy Bear” --who she calls Eddy Teddy. She also loves her OshKosh coveralls--which she is rapidly out growing.  . I think she will really love a pair of bright green corduroy coveralls—so she can match Eddy Teddy. Her sister might get a dress—since she prefers dresses to pants. And both will like it if I make some matching doll clothes... See what I mean? Endless plans on project to sew....Where will I find the time?   

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sew, What's Up?


This post is more than a week overdue...

Bit and pieces! The nile green skirt—done--but it's a bit snug—I have been losing weight (oh so slowly! --about a 1 lb a month)--It might be a year at that rate before this skirt fits comfortably--(but spring comes round every year!)

Meanwhile I took a break and got some mending done... took up the sleeves of a jacket for my DD, and some other mending—lots of little things done. 

I also made 4 pairs of pillow cases, too—A bit fancy with french seams, next they will embroidered. I like to sleep with NO air conditioning. So cotton sheets and pillow cases are a must. Extra pillow cases are useful, too since I sometimes change them more often than sheets. 2 pairs of natural white cotton, 1 pair each of blue and pure white. I also got some hand knit lace trim added 2 pairs of pillow cases. Very simple projects.. but nice to have them done.  More about these (and photos) later this week.

So now that mending is done, it is time to get to work on the yellow and grey vest, and matching grey skirt. I don't think there will be much else machine sewing in August—But I will be playing with this: (image of circle maker foot)  (Work has been started on the vest..in fact, it is almost done!)

This foot has been advertised all over Face Book—and yes, it does work. I can't see it working for a full quilt; the whole piece of fabric must be rotated. Fine for a square, (that was later pieced into a quilt) or for decorating some fabric for a bodice or even a hem of a skirt. The circular flower like embroider on the hem of child’s dress, or on the lapel of casual jacket. Well lots of places. Note that is a quarter--the circles even at their largest are still pretty small.

It take some practice to get a nice result. This scrap that I practiced on shows some potential.
But—to get a really professional result, takes some practice and fine adjustments.

First: There is a need to change/adjust: pressure foot tension (increase), thread tension (decrease), stitch length, (shorter), stitch width, (wider, sometimes) needle position, (to the left--for the largest circles) Getting the adjustments just right will require some fine tuning.

2nd Depending on the fabric, some interfacing (and a hoop)wouldn't amiss,  either

3rd There are adjustment to the foot, too—to make larger and smaller circles.. and some skill to starting and ending neatly—I can see how better (embroidery) thread will help too.

Finally: There is just learning which zigzag stitch pattern created the best effect.. Some seem self evident—others are surprisingly interesting,

I can see myself using this for flower like decorations for my granddaughters dresses—in time.. my first efforts aren't bad—but I expect I will do better as I get more practiced.

Finally—a splurge! I have passed on getting a rice cooker (half the members my family has one!) since I don't cook rice often, (but I do like whole grains, and rice cookers are great for all grains, not just rice) And the same goes for slow cooker—I have managed to live with out, though at times I thought I might want on. I have owned pressure cookers—but I blew my last one up (some 20 years go!) Well just the safety button.. but-- I have considered replacing the pressure cook for years, especially once the electronic ones appeared. (It is almost impossible to blow up the electronic ones)


Now I have an Instant Pot—that serves as a rice/grain cooker, slower cooker, and pressure cooker, steamer, and more. I won't use it much in the heat of the NYC summer.. but come the fall, I am looking forward for soups and stews and other hearty meals Maybe even some old fashioned Boston brown bread—Does anyone remember that? I think its time for a revival. The Instant Pot is also a steamer, and Brown Bread is steamed.     


Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Eyes Have It

No, not a typo—A couple of things came together—1) I found grommets that I liked, 2)—I reviewed the instructions for my Crop-O-Dile grommet tool, 3)—I finished the blue top by added 10 eyelet grommets on the center front-- I have found it such a hard time to find eyelet grommets (they are sold (allegedly!) in both the fabric/craft section and the scrap booking section (the Crop-O-Dile tool is sold as a scrap booking tool) –but finding them? Forgetaboutit! I don't know if they are so popular they are hard to keep in stock, or so unpopular, they just forget to re-order when they are sold out.

So, when I did finally find some, I bought a few packs!. I have meaning to add some eyelets to a pair of sneakers, (will do!) and to a few other things (I often make small “gift bags” out of scrap cloth—they can be used and recycled (as gift bags to wrap gifts for others, or for little storage pouches—which are great for travel).  Eyelets, vs button holes, or even finished edges in seam allowances are the easiest way to add drawstrings.

While I was out looking for the grommets, I splurged and bought some machine embroidery “cotton” --a nice shiny rayon thread—just two colors, for the back pockets of the green skirt—Which is minutes away from being started. The blue print skirt is finished but for 2 things: 1) sewing down the inside waist band (this will be done stitch in the ditch style), and sewing on the flat (skirt) hook and eyes for closures.(this will be done while watching TV)

I like the skirt—but I am not sure I am sold on the front ruffle—Time will tell.  It is a pretty outfit, and the pieces are good separates--I will be able to wear each piece with other things I already own. 

I also found some pale, pearly green buttons—This was all on my shopping trip to buy interfacing (3 yds. each of lightweight and medium weight, plus some tear away for machine embroidery.)  I never buy less than 3 yards of interfacing at a time—to me it is a sewing staple. I last bought interfacing about 3 years ago—so it was time.

I am thinking of doing some machine cut away embroider (which is why I bought tear away interfacing). I am also thinking of adding some more of the shiny embroidery thread to my stores. It's not cheap. ($6 a spool) but the spools are huge. and the finished effect is very nice.   I have a few store bought tops with some cut away embroidery—and I really like the look. Well--it can wait, it will still be there next time I go to the store.

But before I start experimenting, I have a queue of sewing to do: 1) sewing up the grey and yellow skirt and vest set, already cut (except for interfacing!),  2) A Jumper dress, (or 2!), One in a color (looks like it might be a yellow, (but dusty pink might win out over the yellow)); the other,  a denim) 3) another shirt dress (in black, trimmed with red). And then, I'll take a rest, I promise!

This should take me till the end of July, I will take August off, and start up again in September with some more skirts and vest, (and more old clothes discarded!)  And by then, I'll have developed a queue for things I want to knit!

If I want to be a very good sister, I will find some more of the blue print fabric, and make a simple dress for my sister... but the print was a remnant--so.  I haven't made anything for my sister Geraldine in years--(and she commented how much she liked the print.)