Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's Church Outfit

It's getting on towards fall here in Maine and today was rainy as well.  I never know what the temperature will be in church and so have to dress in layers.  Often my hands get cold while waiting to play the piano so I have to sit on them!  So today I took no chances, wearing tights and suede heels.

My outfit consisted of a KS 2875 sweater/jacket with a boucle from EOS, a Jalie 2794 sweetheart top made from a cotton/lycra from Christine Jonson, and a knit pencil skirt from Christine Jonson Basewear Two made from an ottoman knit, one of about five thousand I have made from this pattern(just kidding!  but I have made about 20 or so--instant gratification and better for you than chocolate chip cookies).

I really love making these boucle sweaters and have them in several colors.  They look a little more dressy than a plain sweater, almost like a jacket, and are warmer and don't require shoulder pads.  They give an outfit just that extra polish, IMO.

 Here are three views of the sweetheart top on its own.  I made this up originally by my measurements on the pattern and found it to be quite tight-fitting (and I'm really sucking it in on the side pose).To help the situation a little I put in some sideslits, so it's wearable but I'm not really comfortable with such form-fitting clothing. I know that's how women dress these days and maybe my refusal contributes to a certain dreaded frumpiness.  Hence The Dilemma.

Actually, I go back and forth on this topic quite a bit with my daughters.  I can always count on them for brutal honesty.  Mr D, however, is another matter.  "Do I look frumpy in this outfit?" I ask him.  "What does that mean?" he always replies.

I've never personally known a woman who was totally satisfied with her shape and look.  But at least sewing can help.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Latest Jalie Jeans

Well, here are the latest attempts at "perfect" jeans, still working on the fit.  I find these a little tight, not nearly as comfortable as my navy ones, posted in my 90/10% entry earlier.  The fabric is a stretch denim from EOS, very nice quality.

I wanted to make them "skinny" with a hem circumference of 14-15 inches, but as I basted the lower leg more narrowly I found that the wrinkles increased on the back leg.  I must have done this about four times and finally left them as originally done, with a circumference of 16 inches.  I try to tell myself that maybe the leg size balances things out more and that maybe I wouldn't look so good in skinny jeans anyway.  Sounds kinda sour grapes, wouldn't you say?

I didn't realize until I looked at the picture that clogs were probably not the best shoes to wear  but just grabbed them in a hurry for the photo.  Also, you probably can't tell by looking at the picture that I did put pockets on the back, just didn't embellish them in any way.  Mr. D says they need some kind of add-on, just to allow that lingering male gaze.  He demonstrated his "chercher la femme" ogle.

Very helpful.:))

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Newest Member of the Sewing Team!

Yay!  My brand new Ott light will allow me to create beautiful ballgowns and tuxedos and enable me to leap tall buildings in a single bound!  Actually, it won't do any of those things, of course, but will save my eyesight for a little longer.  I do have a smaller one on top of my ironing board which is helpful, but used to have just a regular living room lamp, which was NOT helpful and gave off a lot of heat besides.

As you can see, I don't have a fancy sewing room, just a converted bedroom.  However, I do have a large fabric stash in our cellar.  Also, I put my machine on top of my mother's old White cabinet and use the drawers.  One of these days I'll have it serviced but that will require a home visit from the tech guy.

Anyway, I do recommend this beautiful light to anyone still on the fence.  $50 at Lowe's.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reflections on the Creative Process

Isn't it strange how the work on a new project can be very frustrating or very rewarding?  And often so suspenseful?  Unless you are making the same thing over and over again there must be that element of suspense, where you don't know just how well this thing that you have envisioned is going to come out.

Last night before dinner I was working on yet another pair of Jalie #2908 jeans and got to the try-on stage.  Since this was very nice fabric from EOS, I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized they were going to be satisfactory.  Phew!  There was a good feeling of accomplishment that stayed with me throughout the night.  Often when a project doesn't work out I find I have to make up something else fairly quickly in order to restore my confidence in my ability.

Do other people go through these gyrations?

This brings me to my dilemma about blogging.  I have been sewing for 50 years and although I have always been passionate about the process, it was of necessity quite a solitary one.  Until the internet.  I am so glad to see the proliferation of sewers of all ages and abilities displaying their creations, but I often find them more intimidating than inspiring.  In fact, I held off starting a blog because of it.  I will never have the style of Carolyn (I drool) or Erica (I swoon) or many of the other ladies who have beautiful blogs out there but I will strive to improve my work as I go because I just cannot turn off my passion for working with textiles.

I will close with a couple of pictures of lovely daughter C in a costume she requested for a belly dancing recital.  The pattern was originally a generic Butterick skirt pattern which we altered, using some junky stuff from Joann's as well as leftovers from my stash.  The vest especially required quite a bit of custom fitting but overall I thought it came out well, considering what we started with.  I am always amazed at how a flat piece of fabric can turn into a well-fitting garment.(or not).  And that's why I will continue to create.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 90%/10% Outfit

You know how they say most people wear 10% of their clothing 90% of the time?  Well, here's that outfit for me:  my "best-so-far" Jalie pants and an old top from Christine JonsonBaseWear Two pattern.  The fabric for both pieces comes from Sew Baby, just some very good quality cotton that is very comfortable and reliable to wear.  Hot pink is probably my most flattering color close to the face and cheers me up when I wear it.  I find that as I get older I need to wear these bright colors to keep me from looking washed out. No neutrals for me these days.

Here's a not-too-great view of the back, kind of stretched out after a few days of wear.  However, I don't wear my clothes too tight anyway.

Here I am with my jacket Kwik Sew 2875 now OOP.  I love this pattern and have made it at least ten times. The fabric is a very thick quilted cotton originally purchased from Fabric Mart. I extended the fronts by one inch to allow for buttons and buttonholes and also shortened to a more flattering length for me.  This sucker is really warm and great for fall.

I have since tried several different cardigan patterns but always seem to come back to good old KS 2875.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What I Wore to Church This Week

I attend a quite small rural Catholic church where no one dresses up on Sunday...except for Mr D and me. He is the only man who wears a suit still and we are considered kind of old-fashioned, I guess.  However, I would not feel comfortable any other way.  Naturally I tend to go with the unmatched suit on most Sundays and try to mix it up, just for fun.  To complicate things, I lead the singing and play the piano, so have to look somewhat together.  This is NOT usually the case, since I'm generally running out the door with one shoe on and not having a chance to test my jewelry options.

This was the case this week:  I obviously should have worn a necklace of some type to liven up this outfit, which consisted of a cotton/linen jean jacket from Burda, made a while ago and cannot remember the issue right now, as well as hand-me-down top, and skirt from Christine JonsonBasewear Two. I honestly love this pattern and have made it enough times to have some pretty strong opinions as to how to work it.  This particular skirt is a rayon/lycra knit, also from Christine, and I have lined it with swimwear lining from Joann's, which gives it a little more body.

Here's the back, which looks pretty wrinkly by now, but that's linen for ya.  The jacket is unlined but also has velcro for temporary shoulder pads, which I put into all my jackets. (Drat! Another skirt that needs taking in.)

Please notice my beautiful polka dotted shoes once more!  I want to get as much wear out of them as possible before boot season starts.
It was a little chilly so I wore my Christine Jonson Easy Coat.  I have made this coat up several times and have here modified it for more flattering pockets.  The fabric is also from Christine, a cotton that I got on sale from her along with a flower pin that I threw together for a little oomph.

Boy, this post is turning out to be a real Christine Jonson Love Fest, isn't it? But it's true, I really love her patterns and fabrics.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Summer's End: One Last Time for the M6559 Maxi

Well, I didn't get to wear it as much as I wanted to , but the M6559 maxi dress was something I had to try , given all the great reviews out there. Today the weather was very mild so I put it on for what is probably the last time.  There are certainly many beautiful versions out there now.

I cut out a 10 in the shoulders grading out to a 14 at the hips for safety.  I had to do quite a bit of fiddly fitting with this ITY from Spandex House in NYC.  Of course it wouldn't hold a press and "grew" by the minute.  I found the fabric to be clingy in all the wrong places, something I certainly don't need. I had to take large darts in the back to give some shape, probably about 4 inches total.  However, this is a common adjustment for me anyway.

This is how I wore it out in public most of the time with this bolero from Pamela's Patterns. This is my go-to shrug for covering up my old-lady underarms.  Trust me, you don't want to see them. So I either wear a shrug or drape a shawl as artfully as possible. This is actually a large part of my Sewing Dilemma:  my husband and I go to a lot of evening functions and dances.  It's hard to look glamorous if your arms are covered.

Anyway, I hope people are still wearing the 6559 maxi next summer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jalie #2918 Tee Shirt for Grandson

This tee shirt for men in 22 sizes, #2918, has been reviewed several times and with great praise.  I also found this to be a great and well-drafted pattern.  My daughter had been requesting a v-neck tee and with the cold weather coming I decided to do the double sleeve version.

My grandson is 5 but a little small for his age so I cut out the size 4 and added an extra inch to hem and sleeve length.  I have been doing this with Kwik Sew patterns for a while and it seemed to be a good plan.

The source of this tee is a large men's tee shirt from Goodwill!  Refashioning has hit our family with great success lately and this worked out well for this project too.  It is very difficult to find good cotton knits in a large range of colors that are not too expensive these days.  This tee cost about $3 and if I had waited could have gotten it for $1.50 on a half-price day.  It's possible to find good names like Land's End at the Goodwill so that's what I look for.

This particular knit did not have much stretch so when I put on the neckband I found that it did NOT stretch enough to get over the head.  Fortunately I had navy ribbing on hand which worked out fine.  The under sleeves were leftover from another project and the original fabric came from EOS.  This is a great way to use up small pieces since these sleeves for a 5 year old are not very large.

Here's a picture of my grandson posing in the new tee. Best picture I could get of a wiggly 5 year old.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What I Wore...To A Meeting

 The city in Maine where I live has about 35,000 residents.  Not too big, not too small.  I  am currently on the school board and have been a city councilor in the past.  Being in the public eye, I like to look polished but not overly formal.  I have been surprised to discover that a lot of women do dress up, especially when they have to make a presentation before the board.  Often it's unmatched suits.  Casual, yet smart.:)).

So this is the outfit I chose for the meeting: Jalie sweater/jacket, Jalie tee, and Pamela's skirt. The sweater/jacket is made from French terry and very comfortable without being too casual.
Pamela's straight skirt pattern has become my go-to for instant gratification and the fitting tips are very useful for fitting other patterns as well.  I have adjusted it for petite sizing, but it does  need either a knit or stretch woven to be made up as is.  This skirt is made of stretch bengaline, something I got out of the bargain section at Joann's.  Occasionally, they do surprise me, but not often.

The "sewing dilemma" issues here:  sloping shoulders--I do have shoulder pads made up that go into almost everything I wear.  These have velcro on one side and hook up to corresponding velcro in the garment.  As I get older, I find these are more and more of a necessity and make me feel more confident.  Also, the skirt needs to be tapered more.  I have already done this once, but my rear end seems to be disappearing more each day!

These fitting issues do not overly discourage me; I just find them part of the challenge of fitting garments well for each person.

And finally, please notice my beautiful shoes!  What luxury--a birthday gift from my daughter who knows I love red shoes and these even have polka dots!  I find as I get older that I need real pops of color in my outfits.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What I Wore...To Church

This is a dandy little dress from Jalie # 3024, an ITY from Kashi in New York City.  For a change, I had relatively few fitting adjustments to contend with, only taking my usual back darts, and thus rendering it unfit to wear either forward or backward as the pattern is drafted.  I don't mind though, because I'm quite happy with the final result.  Here in Maine it's kind of pushing the envelope to wear it after Labor Day, because fall is definitely here.  So today I wore it with a sweater which worked out well.  At my age, I don't wear sleeveless garments too often.

Here are the specifics on my adjustments:  although my measurements indicate a size U, I cut a size V to be safe.  I find Jalie to be drafted like RTW, that is, quite close to the body.  I feel uncomfortable with garments that are too close-fitting, so generally tend to size up with Jalie.  Also, I should have done a petite adjustment on the skirt and definitely will next time, although this one is ok.

Once the adjustments are made, this dress can easily be whipped up in a couple of hours.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The famous Jalie jeans--in neon green!

I'm going to start out with a bang here, or in my case, more of a whimper, and show off my ongoing struggle to perfect the popular Jalie jeans, pattern # 2908.  This was my second attempt, after several muslins.  Isn't this fabric the craziest color?  It's a stretch cotton twill that I bought on a whim several years ago from Fabric Mart.  What was I thinking?  They are not capri length, but the hem is turned up a couple of times to make them look sort of "casual" as opposed to crazy.  My daughters look at me strangely every time I wear them. I say, "You know, they're supposed to be FUN!"  Sure, Mom.

Anyway, being very short (5'1" and shrinking all the time) I have had quite a struggle to eliminate wrinkles on the back thighs.  It is much more obvious on a light color, which is why I'm not going to show a photo of the back here.  It's an ongoing challenge, but the Jalies have been the best to date for me.  No wonder everyone raves about them.  They're very comfortable.

Many thanks to velo sewer for her tips on sewing these jeans for short people.

Brand NewSewing Blog

Hi there!

I love to read other people's sewing blogs, in fact I probably spend way too much of my day doing just that. I have been thinking of starting my own for quite a while.  I know, I know--late to the party as usual.  But I'm hoping to show a few of my projects and related information, like where I buy fabric and how much I've accumulated (too much).  I'm not too computer-literate so don't expect too many bells and whistles.