Saturday, April 07, 2018


Skirt? Done!

Even the hand sewing—that is the button and skirt hook and eye, and the final pressing.

As for the vest-- started, and about half way done. All the edges—and there are a lot of them, have been over sewn.And the pieces have been somewhat sewn together. All the pieces of the outside have been sewn, and ironed-so I have a shell (the out side) of the solid purple, and a “lining” of the print fabric sew together, too.

There is more to be done before I sew the out side to the inside. First, I want to add some pockets—for the solid purple, there will be two lower pockets on the outside, for the print, there is going to be a breast pocket The solid side will also have some ties—they will be partially sew down, and will have buttons and buttonholes, to make a flatter feature—all the better for a reversible garment.


The pockets are prepped, the pieces have been ironed, and the placement marked. All ready to be sewn.

The finlly sewing will be sewing the outside to the inside, and then hand finishing the side e seams. The design calls for the side seams to be left unsewn, (to turn the vest right side out). And then the side seam is partially sewn, (by machine) and then finished with hand sewing. Then there are the are buttonholes to sew too, and buttons-- Both sides of the vest front get buttonholes, and buttons. A few hour of work--but the vest should be done by mid week. 

Most often, I make the vest with the front facing done in the same fabric as the out side, but I didn't have enough fabric for that, so the whole of the vest is lined in the lining fabric. The only thing I need to do to have a reversible vest is to work on the front (button) closures. It makes sensee to make the effort. It will require some delicate hand sewing (at the side seam) —but I think it will be worth it. Especially since I am “ahead” of schedule.

a bright print.
the bright print paired with some blue
I checked the closest fabric store to see if they had any of the lining fabric (no) but fell into a hole—and found a beautiful bright multi color  print (@ 50% off!) The print, on a white background, has blue, pink and purple. I have enough, with careful planning, to make a dress and a vest. The dress, with likely have a front facing and collar cut from a matching solid, I'm thinking the dark olive green—I like this color, and it is one that is particularly becoming. I like the idea of a contrasting front facing and collar, partly for a bit of variety, and partly to tone down the print, A lot of my “uniform” pieces are, or could be considered somewhat conservative—but I have a wild and crazy streak—and this print reflects that.

print with matching solids
A vest of this fabric will be a good “go with” for last years blue skirt (and vest), and it will go with last months bright pink skirt, and with the newly completed purple skirt, and the prussian blue skirt I am planning on making. (Part of fabric I plan to cut in May.) So I can go monochrome with a few skirt and vest set, (blue, purple) or pair this crazy print with the bright pink skirt, (and later) with the prussian blue skirt. But that is not all--the dress? It can be toned down by even more popping on any of the solid vests—A real case of separated working together.  

The floral print isn't the only thing I found irriesistable--a phychedelic, paisley print jumped out and grabbed me too. —It, too, will be toned down by pairing it with a solid. It has a black background,  I have a few black skirts (besides the one that is planned for later this season)--the print will go with all of them-- But it would go with with a lot of different solid colors in the print-- (yellow, turquoise, blue, orange, and lime green.) All of these colors are already in my wardrobe except for the lime green, I own nothing in lime green—I don't even own a single piece of lime green fabric, or for that matter, a spool of thread in lime green—but things could change.. A lime green T shirt (when those summer sales of 4 for $10 T-shirts come round) could be added to a rainbow collection. But even if I don't get anything in lime green, this wild and crazy print will still be fun. I still haven't decided which color to pair with the print—I like all of them! I might use this print, and an assortment of the solids to trim out some T-shirts, too. Both prints are bright fun things to add to my collection of solids.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

At the 11th Hour,



Image of buttons on skirt
Of the last day of March, I sewed on the last button—and now the claret skirt is done, too. So March ends with a new shirt dress, and 2 new skirts. About half the things I cut in the beginning the month, sewn up! Well not really half the things, but the vests are so much less work than the dress, it really is about half the work.

I added a small coin pocket to the claret skirt—It's big enough to hold a charge card (or membership card, or drivers licence, or the like) Just a little detail/change to the basic pattern. As are the inset side seam pockets—but then I always add side seam pockets, and they hardly count.

waist band coin pocket
It has started off, the first 3 days, as an unseasonable April, and I have started to work on the deep purple—a matching skirt and vest. First thing I did was to cut the lining for the vest –Everything else had been cut—and I got a head start by ironing the interfacing onto the skirt waist band, and filling to bobbins, on Saturday.

Since then, all the edges have been finished, and the skirt assembled. Right now, all that remains to be done is the waist band and hem.

 The vest(s) , even though they are fully lined (or perhap, because they are fully lined) work up quickly. The neat little pockets will take the most time, and I have been adding them to so many vest, even they have gotten to be quick work.

print and color dots
I am sorry now that I didn't buy more of the lining fabric—the more I see and work with it, the more I like it. I might make a run to fabric store and see if there is any more. The print goes great with the purple—but there isn't any purple in the print. Its made of dark navy, bright pink, light blue (a sort of periwinkle blue) and medium turquoise. It would make a great top—to go with the purple skirt and vest set, and with the last month's pink skirt, and with all the different bits of turquoise in my wardrobe.  It would go well with my blue skirt and vest too (also from last year).

After the purple set is sewn up, next will be the grey vest, and finally the print vest. Then all the the things I cut back in the beginng of March will have been sewn up. I expect to have all 3 vests finished up before the end of April.
Print liner and 3 go with solids

The next “big cut up”, which (likely) won't be till sometimes in May, will include a triple set of black set. Starting with a black coat dress. The same basic uniform coat dress, this time trimmed with red piping--on the sleeves, on the front, on the yoke and collar. The inside of the yoke will be lined in red cotton, and there will be red lined kick pleats on the side seam, little flashes of red every where. The same basic coat dress, just a yards and yards of red piping to add a different detail--making it the same, but different.  I thought about cutting miles of bias, and making my own red piping—but in the end, I bought ready made piping.

The other 2 pieces of the set, just a simple remake of a skirt and vest set that are the other "uniform" pieces. . I think the skirt in this set will be a remake of the claret skirt (ie: a button down the front gored skirt)—just because, well because I have quite a number of the 6 gore version. Likely the vest will have a red lining-the same red used for the dress. I might even change the skirt to add a red facing to the front of the skirt (instead of the self facing the pattern calls for. Another use of the red lining. 

I also plan to cut the prussian blue fabric cut—another skirt—and a favorite color. And maybe a navy (in more ways than one!) version of the coat dress—That would be 2 more dresses, 2 more skirts, and a vest—for a total of 3 dresses, 5 skirts, and 4 vests, this spring. Lots of new pieces, and lots of new colors added to my wardrobe.  This is a bit more of counting my chickens before they are hatched, but....

All this will make a small dent in my fabric stash, and a big boost to wardrobe. It leaves a piece of yellow, for a skirt and matching vest in the same yellow (as this years shirt dress) There is also a coordinating piece of plaid (yellow/red/blue/white) to be worked on later(an other vest) - And mounds of denim, and piece of yellow twill for a jumper, and some pieces of linen/rayon (purple, blue and teal) and the striped fabric I used for the girls dresses last year, and a piece of putty twill, and, and, and....

And if I do find more of the pretty lining fabric, well a top to be made!



Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Days Go By


Tuesday:

Every last detail of both the pink skirt and yellow shirt dress have been completed Both are hanging up in my closet, awaiting there debuts.

The claret skirt got started on Tuesday—edges finished with an over-lock stitch, interfacing ironed on, and even some sewing done. By the time I was done with sewing for the day, the pieces (2 front, pieces, one back, and a waist) had been sewn, but not assembled. I went through 2 bobbins of thread!

I experimented with doing some machine embroider on the back patch pockets—and I didn't like the look—so there is only one back patch pocket—the experiment was discarded.

Wednesday morning, skirt fronts got sewn to the skirt back with all the little details for the set in pockets completed, too. All the seam were pressed, and threads were trimmed. I marked out the button holes for later. I plan to  added an extra buttonhole/button on the center front—the placement was just a little short of what I prefer. There will be an extra button on the waist band, too—for sure.

Later in the day came the hem. I decided to go with a narrow rolled hem—I want this skirt a bit longer. Most often, I like my skirts just below knee length—and rarely make a mid calf length—And rarer still, above the knee. The narrow rolled hem will make this skirt just an inch longer than average—Not much at all. This is a heavy weight fall/winter skirt—a little bit of extra length is nice on a cold weather skirt.

I will extended the waist band a little past center front, too, to fit two button/buttonholes. I am in the practice of cutting my waist bands 3 or 4 inches longer than required—when I am adding side seam pockets, and using the inside pocket as a placket (instead of adding a zipper) so my waist bands need some extra length--to accommadate. Habits (like cutting a few extra inches of waist band) die hard. I have some extra waist band length, extending the waist band an inch on both sides of the center front will be easy. The trimmed excess will become my scrap material for a practice buttonhole. Right now, the waist band is pinned, but not even basted

Saturdays work will start with the waist band, and then will be all the buttonholes and the hand finishing...

This skirt likely won't be worn this spring—it is a really heavy gros grain (yes, like the ribbon) fabric, and will only be worn if April like March, continues to be an extension of winter. Snow is not unknown in April (the last recorded day of frost isn't till April 17th!) I made it now, because, well it's turn was up. I have some more summery/spring things in my queue—a piece of sky blue, and some more yellow—but I wanted to get this made—when I run out of steam in the fall, I will have this skirt waiting for me.

Button holes marked with shoes.
I even have a pair of shoes (well slip on sneakers) that will go  with this skirt, and the pink skirt, and even with the dark purple skirts (next months first project). I actually bought these last year, about the same time that I bought the fabric-Another reason this fall/skirt is part of my springtime sewing. 

Not as good a match--but....
I am excited by my progress—When I upgraded to new hangers, I cleaned out some skirts that I really just didn't wear—leaving room for new stuff. One dress (thread bare, but I really liked it!) was more than 25 years old. The advantage of being a clothes horse, is: you have so many clothes, each piece only gets worn a few times a year—so pieces last for ever. I still have other pieces that date back the early 1990's--they too are beginning to look worn out, and will soon find their way into the trash bin.That old dress, that I really liked? It will be cut apart, and turned into a pattern—and be resurrected in a new color. Between this year and last, I have added (and plan to add more) my wardrobe—but less talked about is how many pieces have been culled.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Saturday Sewing—In the Pink


Sunday

Not done, but lots of work accomplished! All the edges over-locked with a zig-zag stitch. The front put together, then the back, ironing all the seams, (and a second bobbin filled), pockets added, and side seams sewn. All that in one breath-- but it represents a few hours of work.

If nothing else got done that would be a lot---but the hem got turned up, pinned and ironed. Not sewn yet, but ready to go. The waist band was basted on too. And a practice button hole for the waist, too (there will also be an inside hook for the waist band.) But it looks like a skirt! The waist band needs to be sewn in place, and the seam pressed, and a buttonhole made (this skirt will have an inside skirt hook, and a button, too.)

I am very happy with the progress I made. An hour or two's work on Monday, and the skirt will be finished. Tuesday or Wednesday I will start to work over-locking the claret skirt. With a bit of pre-work, I might get the claret skirt finished on next Saturday.

But that is a bit of counting my chickens before they are hatched! The Claret skirt has some details that will require more time. A small “coin pocket”, with a button down flap, and an embroidered back patch pocket are two time consuming details that are this skirt will have. It's very similar to my uniform 6 gore skirt; but is has a center front is a button closure, with 2 gores on either side, the back is just 2 pieces—not three. There is also bit more of flare at the hem. The center front will required 6 buttonholes: one a the waistband (and that might turn into 2) , 5 more down the front. While my machine does buttonholes automatically, they still take some time. (and more time sewing on the buttons!)

I tend to add some minor detail to most of the skirts. It really depends on how much fabric I have—and the mood I am in. The same goes for vests—some are plain, most have set in pockets, some have inside pockets too. Buttons can make a big difference too—big or small, matching or contrasting. My uniforms aren't perfectly uniform.

Monday

Bright pint 6 gore skirt
Here it is late afternoon, and I am finally posting pictures from early today. The pink skirt is done (except for the hand sewing) Waist band sewn on, buttonhole made, and hem sewn (filled another bobbin, too). All this was done by about 1 PM today. There will be a final pressing after the hand sewing. That will likely be done this evening (along with the last few buttons that still need to be sewn onto the yellow dress.  Here (below)  is a photo of the yellow dress--showing the perfectly matched buttons. 






Yellow dress with perfectly matched buttons
Tomorrow and Wednesday, I'll get the edges over-locked, seams sewn, (front and back assembled), pocktes added to the claret skirt. That will leave the hem, waistband and hand sewn details for Saturday. March will go out with the second skirt finished--Well that is the current plan!

I don't have much in the way of pink tops—well a few T-shirts, but that is about it. But I have lots of scraps, and will use the scraps to trim a T-short or two to make some go withs—And I will have the pink/purple/grey vest, too., soon enough.



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Almost There!


Wednesday I got the buttonholes made—the last bit of machine sewing done. Thursday evening, (while watching TV) I started sewing on the buttons (5, of 11 total), and doing a little bit of hand sewing-one of the front facings is sewn down, one to go. So, a few more buttons, and a few more stitches, and the dress is done (likely today).

I love how the buttons are such a good match—almost dyed to match color ( no photo right now)
sleeve hem, sewn straight

As is the thread. The sewn hems (sleeves and lower edge) are almost invisible!  It's a bit of luck to find such perfect matches.
And while the sleeve and hem images look like two different colors, and my avatar image (just to left) looks like a third shade of yellow, they really are almost the same--my yellow lace hat matches this dress perfectly.

Dress hem, zig-zagged
I am going to let this dress mellow for a while—I like to keep new clothes for a week or more (as much as a month!) before I first wear them. I am thinking this dress might become my “mother's day dress”. Something nice to wear for the first time, on a special occasion—My birthday is in May, and we almost always combine my birthday celebration with mother's day..

I have already filled a bobbin with pink thread, (and threaded the machine) with a spool of pink. Yesterday was my day with the girls (no sewing day) and now, today, I will start on the bubble gum pink skirt. I wish I had as perfect a color match for pink as I did for the yellow.

Work on this skirt, and the others, will be faster—I 'll use a simple zig-zag overcast stitch--(faster to sew than the over-lock stitch the yellow dress required) Skirt pieces are shorter, too, though the skirt does have more edged to over-lock. All the seams are straight, too. Likely I won't finish the skirt entirely in on Saturday, but it will be finished with little bits of work on Monday( the waist band) and maybe Tuesday, the skirt hooks and hand sewing. I might even start to over-lock stitch the edges of the plum/claret skirt.

I see the fabric for the top, (pock-a-dot and solid) as claret. Perhaps that is what I should be calling the skirt. It, too, will take more than a single Saturday—but, if I get some of the work started before Saturday, I might have enough time to finish it off on Saturday.  That will be the end of the month and will bring me to the half way point of my pile of cut fabric.

At this point, I have not just the fabric cut, but all the fixings on hand too. There are buttons for the claret skirt, (which features a button down the front design) and for the all 3 of the vests, the interfacing has been cut, too, and of course, spools of thread are on hand. There is always a supply of machine needles, and I have plenty of bobbins on hand. I will zip through the skirts and vest!

If I work each Saturday in April, by May, I will have a whole collections of new separates—lots of new things that match with each other and a lots of previous things—Even the yellow dress has a few “go's with”--like the blue vest (with the yellow/blue/white print lining, Or the yellow/grey/white vest,(from last summer) or the light grey vest (that matches the light grey skirt) or even the dark purple vest—I like high contrast—and purple and yellow are contrasting colors! Not to mention, other accessories like hats, and scarves, (knit ones, or pashima ones) I even have a pair of pinkish/purple sneakers that will go well with the bubble gum pink skirt, the claret skirt and the purple skirt and vest. I sew for myself as if I were a buyer for a store! Lots of go together separates, in lots of different colors (even if there is a limited variation of styles.)

And May won't be the end of my Saturday for sewing spree.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Saturday is for Sewing


From Sunday:

And some sewing got done. But the Yellow shirt dress is far from finished.

Friday is Nana's day with the girls—The girls being Misses J, C, and K. The day really starts at midday, picking Misses J and C (4 year old twins) up from nature school. Some times we stop for errands, (last week I got my oil changed (not much fun for the girls) but the place I go to offers a free car wash—and the girl enjoy watching all the cars get washed.

The most frequent stop on the way home is “Old McDonald”-- As they have renamed the chain. Its the cheap junky toys they really like—They never finish the burgers, and often don't finish the fries--(unlike the spinach and cheese roll they get from the pizzeria—They LOVE spinach rolls.

After lunch, Miss K(2 years old) joins the fray. Miss K, like any loving younger sister, always wants to join her older sisters, but, alas, at age 2 she isn't always up to the game.

Nana stepped and and diverted Miss K with a game of Trot, Trot to Boston—I am sure you know it—but maybe by a different name. The child is placed in your lap, hold your hands like reins, and is “trotted” by lifting your heels, as you sing song, Trot, trot to Boston, Trot Trot to Lynne, Watch out the (child’s name) doesn't fall in! At that point, you spread your legs, and the child slips down When this Nana plays the game, the child in question always land on the floor—butt first and gently, have slid down Nana's skirt. It is always followed by a giddy “Again”. The first half dozen times, Miss K had me all to herself, and LOVED the game.

But soon enough, the twins joined in, and an ordered progress followed, first Miss C, then Miss J, and finally Miss K.

Its a work out! Lifting sturdy (read “well muscled”) 4 year olds is lifting 40 pounds. The “Trotting” means lifting them with your feet/leg muscles, and the controlled “fall in” works your arms—8 repeats turns into 16, and 24 before Nana puts an end to the game.

This work out, (and napless day) leaves me tired on Saturday. But I woke early, and started sewing by 10 am. Got the side seams sewn, (and ironed) then the sleeves set in, (with a lovely little eased cap--(not a truly man-tailored flat sewn sleeve) More ironing, (working on the hem), filled yet another bobbin, before lunch (1PM to 2PM) and after lunch, the band collar basted in place, and facings pinned.

Then I needed a nap... I opened my eyes an hour and half latter, but decided to continue, for just a few minutes more..4 hours later, it was dark, I was ravenously hungry, and sewing was done for day!

I planned to Monday, , so sewing will have to wait.. I'll to do a little bit each day, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to get the dress completed.

There were other little projects done, too. A box of 2 gal zip lock bags were put to use organizing future project—I am such a miser—I save every little scrap—Last year I planned to make some appliques, to add to T Shirts, but never did. This year I am going to get that done.


Half a dozen years ago, at a garage sale, I bought a huge bag of “fat quarters' (about half of them were denim pieces, of every shade of indigo and blue.) The seller was 'going to” make a denim quilt top. I turned them into skirts—The 18 inch by 22 inch quarters were too small to make a skirt length that suited me, but when I trimmed them out with scraps, they became long enough—I really enjoyed the creativity required

And I especially enjoyed that a small part of $10 bag provided, (along with other scraps) 5 skirts—One with a simple add on, (not shown) one with a ruffled edge, another with a gathered hem, a double tiered long skirt, and finally, one with a extension made of bandana's –5 skirts for a little more than $10! And that was just the denim fat quarters.  There are still many more fat quarters, (some even in denim!)

I am still thinking how to use up the other pieces—The remaining pieces, are for the most part, singles. One fat quarter isn't enough fabric to do much with—well in terms of making clothes! But there are a few quarters that are 'over represented” , that is, there are 4 or 5 (in one case, 7!) These bits and pieces are challenging me again to make use of them. But for right now, I am just sorting them—Paired with other pieces, (large scraps!) I can see how they can become simple tops--(I have already made some of the fat quarters into totes/knitting project bags)-
See instructions on how to make a "shoe box" style tote bag, (from 10 years ago!) using fat quarters here

One set is 7 fat quarters of a pock-a-dots—now paired with 2 remnant lengths of a claret--(each about 1 yard) I still have to  decided how I am going to put them together,--but they will go well with the plum skirt to make a top. I like monochromatic, (or near monochromatic) outfits. There are 2 other "pairing" of solids and prints, (some from last years print outfits, so there will be a few almost free pieces of clothing.  

From today:

A few little details done: facing sewn, the under arms trimmed and overlocked, the hem sewn. Still needs buttons and buttonholes, but the end is in sight! Shown with one of several scarves that will make a nice match.






Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saturday Sewing—Completed

See how the fabric unravels!

Part 1—Saturday: Which is to say, nothing was sewn together! Instead, every piece (fronts, back, yoke, pockets, collar) was edged with an over lock stitch! Two partial spools (one, a 220 yds spool 90% full. The other, about the same yardage) were used up! And nothing was sewn (together), though I did get the darts sewn. The edge stitch— two stitches to left, 2 stitches down, 2 stitches up hill and to the right, (starting point) and 2 stitches forward, 8 stitches, and only 2 moving forward. It is no wonder it ate up thread--(and time!) When sewing seams, a front and back are stitched—but with edging, each edge (one front, one back) needs to be sewn.

edge stitch in contrasting color.
The coarse even weave (something like Oxford cloth) frays just looking at it, so edge stitching was not an options, but a necessity!

I also got the interfacing ironed on (I almost always use non-woven iron on interfacing) So, now that each piece is prepped, sewing up won't take much time at all!

Plans for today(Monday) are to spend a little time sewing up the (collar) band. This needs a bit of precision; sewing round the curves, grading the seam allowances, notching, turning and pressing. Nothing very hard, but a little time consuming. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I will get the pocket pieces sewn to the side seams, and other day, I'll get the sleeves hemmed.

When Saturday rolls around again, putting all the pieces together will be quick work! Well, quick work except for the button holes. The actual button holes won't take much time or effort (How I LOVE that my sewing machine has this automated!) Measuring and marking, making, cutting, and hand sewing on the buttons—that will take some time-- Because I have changed the neckline, I will likely have to adjust the button placement. Change one detail, and other details need adjusting!

That is part of the reason I want to do other little details during the week. Then, come Saturday, I will have enough time for basic assembly, and the detailed button holes, too!

I have another spool of yellow thread, enough to finish everything, but I will need some more, for when I start on the second piece of yellow ( a skirt and vest) The pieces for those will need the same overcast edging, and the edging stitching eats up thread! Plus, I tend to keep some basic colors on hand-- But thread is not a pressing need--I have plenty of spools for the next 3 skirts, and the 3 vests--(buttons, too). The skirts will have finished edges, too, but a simpler basic zig zag stitch will be more than enough. (I remember the huge dressmakers spools of seam binding tape my mother would painstaking sew on—Just another reason I am so grateful to have a machine that sew a multitude of stitches!)

After this batch of wardrobe enhancements, I am going to take a break and make some doll clothes—My granddaughters have 18 wanna-be American dolls—time to make some wardrobes for them. I will splurge and buy some fat quarters of velvet, and they will get party dresses, and other fun stuff. I will likely add some purchased shoes and socks, too. I had a similar doll when I was a child, I played with it till I was a young teen. My mother made a few pieces of clothing for her, too. It's a family tradition—My daughter had a “Holly Hobby” doll, (an 18 inch soft/rag doll) I went so far as to crochet lace on the doll underclothes! I became more 'invested” in the doll than she was!

Then—another big cutting fest, and more sewing!

Monday to Wednesday

The yoke sew--the beginning of the end.
Collar done, pockets attached; sleeves sewn and hemmed—but not attached, A practice buttonhole done, to set up for doing buttonholes. Finally, the fronts and backs were attached at the yoke. Come Saturday again, and all that will be needed is final assembly. Mostly straight seams. Starting with the side seams, with some detailing with the pockets. Then facings and collar; stopping to press the seams before setting in the sleeves, and finishing detail on the collar. I'll press the hem, too, before I attempt to sew, a bit of painstaking worked since the curved edges add a bit of challenge. That will leave the buttonholes-- I always hand sew the buttons on, that my be “while watching TV” project—and might be put off till Sunday.

I got some ironing done, too. I like to pre-wash my fabric, especially the cottons, and pre-washing means a spot of ironing. I also had some touch up ironing, too. I am impatient to get the pieces I've cut sewn—First the skirts I think, then the vests, then more cutting! A few sets of doll clothes, and more skirts, and more vests, and another shirt dress. Sort of like washing your hair; shampoo, lather, rinse and repeat!

The next time, the shirt dress will have a different collar, (in a contrasting color), for a different look. This will be the third shirt dress in a solid color—a nice navy blue. No shoulder yoke in this version either. A “uniform dress” that is different every time I make it. Typical me—an uniform made from a bunch of different versions!

Three identical/not dresses, from last year, one grey with military details, (shoulder yoke, epilaats, pockets with button down flaps, and metallic buttons), two; the current shirt dress with man tailored details, (shoulder yoke, band collar, and shirt tail hem), three; the next one, in navy, no yoke, but a detailed sailor collar, (buttons, top stitching and a neck tie)--and maybe an anchor embroidered on the front. The basics for all three are the same, but the colors, fabric choices, and details make them seem different.

Cleaning and organizing along the way, I unearthed some fabric I had forgotten about. So, my plans have expanded—I'll soon have a rainbow array of skirts, some with matching vests, some just color co-ordinates—and few more dresses—in prints and solids alike. I am never sure of my favorite color—i really like the all, but judging by my stash of fabric, BLUE is very popular with me.






Monday, March 05, 2018

Sunday's


Most Sundays, I am to be found watching TV, because most Sundays, my local PBS station (WNET, channel 13) has an afternoon of cooking shows; Cooking with Lydia, Martha Stewart's Cooking School, America's Test Kitchen and other are all part of the line up.

But about once a month, there are specials—So instead of watching TV, I went shopping. I had a few lists—The longest was sewing stuff. I needed buttons: for all three vest, and another set for the plum skirt that has a button down front. I need something for the lining for the purple vest, I had lining (and had cut it) for the print and grey vest.. I needed some groceries, stuff I like, that my Aldi's doesnt't carry.

I needed to go to Aldi's too, the had a great special on a charging station. Now day, so many THINGS need to be charged. Instead of outlets clogged with transforms, a charging station has one single plug, that allows you to connect 4 UBS connections—so, a phone hand set, cel phone, and tablet can all be charged at once –using 1 outlet, not 3, making things easier and neater.

I got one for my DD, too. She has things worse—Her hubby has a job that requires him to carry a company cel phone, (and he also has his personal cel) the girls (as I call the twins) have tablets, she has a phone, and her laptop, too. That is 5 things to charge! Luckily, the charger station has 2 outlet so you can plug in two things as well.

pretty new cotton print.
One problem with shopping for buttons, is, I went in to fabric stores... While looking for something to line the purple vest, I saw a pretty print—in peach/corral/turquoise—I passed it by—I wasn't shopping for more fabric. But I found that the rack was on sale, and the print I liked? Just $1 a yard! I bought the bolt (well what was left on the bolt!) 4.3 yards. Likely, because I have enough, it will be skirt and shirt combo—but, I am still not sure. It could end up being a dress, or a skirt and vest combo. I might trim it with a peachy orange, or with the turquoise blue. Or both! I have 2 peach/corral swim suits, what I ever I make will match nicely—I like going to a pool with my swimsuit on (I do change out of my wet suit before coming home) a skirt and top might be the best option –a simple casual outfit to wear to the pool.

I still have some work to do to prepare the yellow dress for sewing. I like to use tailor tacks to mark out darts and other details like pocket placement, and these need to be done. Plus I will pre-fill 2 bobbins—the even weave fabric will need need to have a zigzag binding stitch on every edge—so I will easily use up 2 bobbins worth of thread.

Finally, I need to clean up a bit—fabric has been pulled out, while looking for lining pieces, and needs to be put away, as do patterns. There is a small under shelf in my new cutting table (just 8 inches, by 32—even smaller than the table top when folded) but I have some 8 inch metal baskets, and these are just the right size for storing pattern! A bonus!

By the time Saturday rolls around again, I will be ready to start sewing


















I Have Got My Work Cut Out For Me


I planned to post this Sunday--but best laid plans and all.  More to follow.

Or more precisely, I have cut out my work for myself.


Remember last spring? When Saturday was for sewing? Week after week I worked on new additions to my wardrobe. A few skirts, a few dresses, and a dent made in my fabric stash. As the summer came to an end, so did my energy. Sewing came to a halt. Sure I did a little bit of mending here and there, but no real projects.

new sewing table
Then, this year I bought myself 2 gifts—A sewing (machine) table, and a cutting table. I ditched the old kitchen/dinette table (recycled!) that was a bit too high for sewing, and definitely too low for cutting (and besides which was oval shaped) The cutting table is a huge 36 X 60 opened and a compact 36 X 10 closed. I also added some bits and pieces, a thread rack, an ott light (I had this in storage) a bulletin board, too. Now everything is set up everything. The best addition are the two metal baskets that fit on the shelf of the cutting board—Perfect for holding patterns! My sewing room has needed these improvements for years—I still need to get some storage bins—and I plan to get a small shelf unit—the kind that holds cloth cubes—and use it to store some of my fabric stash. Since this photo was taken, I have mounted the power strips (out of sight) and hung the bulletin board, too.

3 skirts
This Saturday, I put the cutting table to use. 3 skirts, 3 vests, and a dress. All cut, including interfacing and linings (well one vest doesn't have a lining, but 2 do)

2 of the skirts, (purple and pink) are my “uniform” skirt, a 6 gore A line. The third, (plum) is a variation, 3 gores in front, with a center front button closure, (2 gores in back). There will be more of this variation, I think.

3 vests
The vests? One to match the purple skirt, one to match last years light grey skirt, (lining was cut, too!) and the third is a multi-color print—13 different colors—but really a few shades of pink, purple, and grey—So it will match lots of thing—the three skirts I've cut today for sure!

a soon to be dress
The dress is the uniform button down the front dress—this time, as a “man tailored” shirt dress, with a band collar, and shirt tail hem, and breast pocket detail-- just to add a bit of variation. There is more of this yellow, you can expect to see a skirt and vest combo, too, later in the season. I have several versions of this dress done in prints, this is my second version done in a solid. I have several more solid dresses planned; one in a navy/purple linen blend, another in a teal linen blend, plus a black one, in an even weave—which will be trimmed with red piping

I have several yellow hand knit scarves/shawls –but till now, no yellow clothing. I actually have an array of colors of hand knit scarf, and several “pashima” style shawls, in multi color prints—so some solid color clothes will show these off to good advantage. There are more solid dresses and skirt and vest sets planned. There are even more colors to add to the mix—sky blue, turquoise, more yellow, a rainbow of colors.

On deck, (as it were) is a piece of Prussian blue, to make into a skirt. This, like many of the pieces of fabric I buy, this was a remnant. How I wish it was bigger! I would truly love to have a vest and skirt pair—but I do have some white which will become a vest, since it is too small a piece to make a skirt. A white vest will go with so many solids, and prints, too. Right now my red vest is my must worn stand alone vest. I think a white vest will be almost as popular.

There will be some more jumpers & dresses, too. The kind that can be worn in the summer, as a dress, and with a shirt (long sleeved T type shirt), as a jumper in the winter. Some of these will be solids, and at least one, a print.
And I haven't even begun to work on the denim! I have a lot of denim skirts, some not too old, and 3 denim vests already, so there is no rush.

Once again, for the next few months, Saturday will once again for sewing.

With all these new clothes, I have been cleaning my closet of old, dingy and worn stuff, and have upgraded with new clothing hangers—all matching! No more hodge podge of styles and shapes and colors! I had been thinking about this, (many of my older plastic hanger had been breaking) and then Costco pushed me over the limit. Boxes of 35 hangers (the velvet flox kind) for $10 (30 of very similar one were over $20 at Bed, Bath and Beyond) 125 hangers later, my closet looks better! I did end up buying a bunch of skirt clips at B, B & B, since Costco didn't have these handy accessories.

I painted all my closets when I moved here (almost 20 years ago now!) with good quality paints, and they still look pretty fresh (before painting the white paint (a flat) was a dingy grey—I used a semi gloss and it has held up well. The paints (several different ones) were cheap—Custom colors that had be returned to big box home improvement stores—My bright pure yellow 'computer room” has a marigold yellow closet, (with toffy brown shelves) Other closets are periwinkle blue (a sort of blue violet color) with true blue shelves, that don't exactly match the colors of the bedroom (more of blue green color) or the entryway (a better match to the deep violet)--It was one of those good pieces of advice I picked up—Paint your closets before you move in! I am so happy I did!

I spent most of the last 6 months reading,. First Ron Chernow's HAMILTON, and then I started on GRANT (which I haven't finished yet) I highly recommend both.

Monday, January 01, 2018

My Craft Room Sewing table

I haven't done much knitting or sewing since September—I have been reading instead.

And this past week, I have been fighting the flu—and working on a new (really new, not just a recycled new to me) sewing table... This is the first part of some planned improvements. The table came completed unassembled. The package came with a hundred or so screws and bolts and over a dozen pieces to put together. It was, I guess a four hour job—but working while not feeling well turned it into a 5 day job!

Part 1—replacing the old kitchen/dinette table with a proper sewing table DONE!

Here is my new sewing table (pristine ) The center insert can be easily lowered or raised to be use as a sewing table (as is) or with the center raised, a cutting or crafting table.

I am MOSTLY pleased with the table—The “drawers” are fabric and only supported at the edge—and almost useless, the are not strong enough to hold a pair of sewing shears—I plan to hang my shears—but. I think I have an idea that will work to improve the situation—I need something flat, thin and strong—(and cheap!) I think that I can cut slats to support the “drawers” from vertical blind slats. Slats will over more support to the bottom of the draws--(I might even use some crazy glue to make them sort of permanent. One great advantage of living in a multifamily building is the “Recycling” room is actually a great source of recycled material! I 'll keep an eye out, and hopefully find some soon.

Some features I do LIKE--
1—I have routed the machine cords UNDER the table with the use of some Velcro zip ties. Tidier to start. When the center is lowered (as it will be for sewing) the power cords are handy to plug in. When the center is raised, the power cord to the machine will be secure neatly under the table

2-- The flat surface make it possible to clamp on the work light. It holds a U shaped florescent bulb—It is not a OTT brand fixture, but I replaced the standard bulb with an OTT brand one—so it has great lighting. (the previous dinette type table had an apron and it wasn't possible to mount the light.)

3—The size and shape—the dinette table was oval, wider and shorter. This table fits up against the wall, with the leaf, is 60 inches long (vs 45) and 23 inches wide (vs 30) The rounded corners of the old table contributed to things falling off the edges—this is less likely to happen now. A better shape and size.

4--The ability to vary the height is great—It makes sewing easier –My sewing machine came with the extended bed and now this bed is at table level making a HUGE work surface. My machine can be packed away, and the center lifted, and I will have nice craft table for painting or beading or jewelry making (with great light!) That is the machine cover tucked under the table.

I like that the little plastic set of drawers fits below the left side extension, and that my little waste can fits under the drawers. on the right.

Part 2 (still to come—and soon) Will be be hanging some stuff. The cork/magnetic white board combo, and some spool racks, shears, and my yard (really a meter) stick will be the first things to be hung—all with 3M command hangers--Organizing the wall space will put my tools right where I need them. The extension cord/power strips will be mounted too There will be a floating shelf, too I tried to install it last summer, but I messed up. My walls (even the interior ones) are not plaster but cement—and hanging anything is a major PITA. These improvements won't take much time or effort—but I haven't decided on the exact placement for all these things—so it might take a week or two to get them done.

There are other improvements to come—I needs some bins for fabric storage—and other stuff-- But I am happy the table is put together and ready to be used! I might even repaint the entire room—I have a lot of work to do—but I am happy with this start.